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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Favorite Day Valentine Crunchy Clusters


Dental warning! If you have dental work or any kind of fixtures in your mouth that you want to keep in place, you might want to sit this one out. The caramel in between these pretzels feels like semi-dried super glue. To say it's hard to chew or that it's "sticky" are both understatements. I'd recommend just sucking on them, but that doesn't really work with the pretzels here.

That said, Favorite Day Valentine Crunchy Clusters are quite tasty. The saltiness from the pretzels balances out the sweetness from the white chocolate and caramel, otherwise it might be too far in the direction of SUGAR OVERLOAD​​. But pretzels are the number one ingredient, and there's a fair amount of sodium—maybe even a bit too much sodium if you're watching out for high blood pressure or anything like that.


Some of the pieces are way too big to be bite-sized, and if you try to bite them in half, the pretzel and white drizzle crumble everywhere while the thick, stiff caramel fights against your teeth and tries desperately to hold everything together. It gets messy and uncomfortable.

The clusters are slightly more agreeable texture-wise when warmed. It has been very cold here in the upper midwest and that might account for some of the firmness of the caramel. I don't mean put them in the microwave, although, you never know, that might work. I put my bag of Valentine Crunchy Clusters in front of a space heater for 5 or 10 minutes and that seems to help. The candy is still absurdly hard to chew, but at least I was able to keep my dental crowns intact.


The wifey agrees with my assessment. We definitely won't purchase this product again because of the unyielding caramel mass at the center of each cluster, but if something similar came along that was easier to chew, I'd certainly check it out.

I give these crunchy clusters 5 out of 10 stars.



Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Favorite Day Strawberries & Crème Indulgent Trail Mix

Isn't it weird how foods qualify as "Valentine's treats" just because they're pink or red? Strawberries are red, therefore they're fair game during Valentine season. Furthermore, anything strawberry-flavored becomes appropriate during this time of year. Throw in some heart-shaped stuff and a spiel about being "made with love" on the packaging and pretty soon you're buying your significant other bags and bags of the trail mix and you don't even know why.

There really aren't even any strawberries in this product at all. The only fruits are cranberries. I guess there's some "strawberry-flavored" elements, but do they even use real strawberry in the flavoring? Try wading through that novel of an ingredients list to find out...

Despite my rant about the lack of strawberry and gimmicky V.D. nonsense, this is a relatively yummy mix. Let's break it down piece by piece:


First up, sweet creme almonds. We've seen these before...or at least something extremely similar. They're downright tasty. Nutty sweet and actually kind of creamy, they're everything I've ever wanted in a candied almond. There's a fair amount of 'em, too, unlike the previous mix we saw them in.

Next, there's heart-shaped coated pretzels. Pretty good. Pretzels covered in a white chocolate glaze with red nonpareils. They're crunchy, salty, and candy-esque. I approve.

Also there are different pastel colors of M&M's candies. Not generic M&M's. Real M&M's. You all know what M&M's are like, so we'll just move on to the next part of the mix.

Confectionary coated sweetened cranberries. These might be my favorite part of the mix. Why oh why is my favorite element always the one they give us the least amount of? These little guys look like wads of white chocolate, but there's sweet, tangy cranberry underneath. I want more of them.


Strawberry-flavored pink shimmer coated pretzel balls. That's a mouthful. Candied pretzel balls are always nice, but there are already white chocolate coated pretzels in this mix, so I found these to be redundant and unnecessary.

Finally, there are cookies with pink and red sprinkles. These are my least favorite element in this bag. Wouldn't you know it, they're also the most overrepresented. They're like bland, stale miniature shortbread cookies. Can I exchange mine for more cranberries?

My wife liked this mix more than I did, mainly because she didn't mind those cookie bits. For her sake, I'll give this product a decent score. $4.49 for the 8 oz resealable bag.

I give this indulgent trail mix 8 out of 10 stars.



Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Good & Gather Organic Confetti Cake Instant Oatmeal


Ah, the never-ending battle to make plain old boring oatmeal seem exciting. Confetti cake, huh? Kinda gimmicky, but hey, it worked on me. Why not "birthday cake oatmeal," I wonder.

Well, Nathan, because you would logically only have birthday cake oatmeal one day out of the year and you can enjoy confetti cake oatmeal year-round. Okay. I'll buy it.


But you know it's pretty much nothing but rolled oats and cane sugar in there. There's a tiny bit of rice flour, potato starch, and sunflower oil in the "colored bits," but those are just the icing on the proverbial cake. 
There's a dash of sea salt at the end of the ingredients, and voila, you've got a complete breakfast.

Did I mention all the ingredients are organic? That's a plus.

They colored the bits with all-natural food products like turmeric, anatto, and vegetable and fruit juices. That's kinda Trader Joe's-esque of Target. I don't remember seeing such holistic colorings from Good & Gather or Favorite Day before. The colors in the actual product aren't nearly as vibrant as they look on the packaging, but I can live with that.

The beautiful wifey and I both like it. Good & Gather Confetti Cake Oatmeal somehow transcends its simple ingredients and tastes fun and festive. I'll throw out seven stars. Why not? The value is there at $2.99 for eight packs of oatmeal.

I give this breakfast product 7 out of 10 stars.



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