Author Archives | Earnest

Earnest - who has written 4 posts on The Impulsive Buy.


REVIEW: One A Day Men’s VitaCraves Gummies

Written by | September 13, 2012

Topics: 6 Rating, Candy, Misc, Vitamins

One A Day Men's VitaCraves Gummies

It’s pretty hard, growing up and being obligated to cast away a lot of the things you enjoyed as a kid.

Not that I don’t cling to my inner child like a life preserver, but there are still a few facets of youth that are rather difficult to carry on into adulthood. Things like tall glasses of milk, bubblegum flavored toothpaste, SpongeBob Band-Aids, and Flintstones vitamins.

Graduating to the bitter pill from basically a chewable candy was one of the hardest transitions I had to make into manhood. But is it still necessary?

You may already know the score from the One A Day VitaCraves Gummies review in 2009. One A Day has been gradually expanding their line gummy vitamins for adults, recently coming out with two new blends tailored to specialize in men’s and woman’s health, much like their already existent Men’s and Women’s Formula pills.

I picked up a rather expensive bottle of 50 gummies and a box of Men’s Health Formula, and was saddened to see how many vitamins were omitted in the making of the gummy blend.

The gummies are, in fact, completely trumped nutritionally by their pill counterparts. Straying away from their definitive brand name, it is also still required to consume Two A Day instead of One, which halves that 50-count to a mere 25 doses.

They still come in three fantastic fruit flavors – apple, cherry, and blue raspberry, which were all true to their pleasing but generic artificial taste.

One A Day Men's VitaCraves Gummies Closeup

They’re similar to real gummies enough to tempt me into having more than the suggested amount, but with a very light bitterness that sort of reminds me of cough syrup. They’re also slightly chewy, a non-issue for people like myself that grew up on Haribo Gummi Bears.

After I polish off this bottle in under a month, I probably won’t be coming back to One A Day Men’s VitaCraves Gummies. They’re tasty, to be sure, but at almost $9 a bottle, I’d sooner stick with my Kirkland Signature Daily Multi.

(Supplement Facts – 2 gummies – 15 calories, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugar, 4 000 IU of Vitamin A, 75 milligrams of Vitamin C, 400 IU of Vitamin D, 30 IU of Vitamin E, 5 milligrams of Vitamin B6, 400 mcg of Folic Acid, 15 mcg of Vitamin B12, 600 mcg of Biotin, 10 milligrams of Pantothenic Acid, 150 mcg of Iodine, 5 milligrams of Zinc, 110 mcg of Selenium, 60 mcg of Choline, 40 mcg of Insitol)

Item: One A Day Men’s VitaCraves Gummies
Purchased Price: $8.79
Size: 50 tummies
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Taste enough like gummy fruit snacks. Real supplement nutrition. High levels of B vitamins. Flintstones vitamins.
Cons: Still slightly bitter. Trumped by One A Day Men’s Health Formula. Taking Two instead of One A Day. Ridiculously overpriced. Bitter pills.

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REVIEW: Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape

Written by | September 4, 2012

Topics: 7 Rating, Frozen Food, Kid Cuisine

Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape

Kid Cuisine takes me back to a time in my life where preparing my own meals was more of a novelty than a necessity. The more I think about how many years have passed since I last tore open one of their sky blue boxes, cut the film cover with a pair of safety scissors, and entertained myself with the contents of their Fun Pack, the older I feel.

And even though my appreciation for word search puzzles appears to have an inverse relationship with my appreciation for home-cooked meals, I found myself more than willing to jump at the chance of coming back this once beloved, now neglected brand.

Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches might have also invoked similar rose-tinted memories of brown-bag lunches and boxes of Hi-C Ecto-Cooler, if it weren’t invoking memories of just the other day. You can find PB&J deep fried at the Florida State Fair, or smoothiefied on the Underground Menu at your local Jamba Juice.

Not only are the ingredients cheap, but the sandwich is easy to make – a major plus for lazy 20-somethings such as myself. Not to mention Smucker’s has been providing their convenient pre-made crustless variety for some time now. But Kid Cuisine is on the scene, so let’s see of they can give Smucker’s a run for their green.

Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape Shelf

Kid Cuisine Snack Stix can be found in the grocery store next to their other frozen dinners, thankfully at the same price. The box touts the product’s real fruit juice filling, lack of high fructose corn syrup, and baked-not-fried nature, which is reflected in the nutrition facts. I couldn’t help but compare them to their obvious competition, Smucker’s Uncrustables which, despite being similarly priced and almost identically serving-sized, manage to have more calories and fat than the new guy.

Meant to be a GoGurt-esque snack for kids on the go, a stick can be briefly microwaved from frozen or thawed in your lunch box for your convenience. It also has a recommended consumption window of up to eight hours after defrosting, so if you forget it on your kitchen counter before you leave for the day, just eat it when you get home. In the highly unlikely event you experience food poisoning as a result, I accept no liability.

Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape Frozen

Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape Closeup

The four unassuming, individually wrapped sticks slide out of the box looking like small Hot Pockets, with a soft bread texture reminiscent of SideShots. I have to admit, my inner child was slightly disheartened at the lack of a Fun Pack. The package suggests patiently waiting two minutes after their 15 second microwave time, which I obediently obliged, remembering well my disastrous past experience with an overheated Pop-Tart.

Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape Innards

The first bite revealed a modest flavor to accompany its modest appearance, with a somewhat disappointing amount of PB&J that further consumption showed to be… acceptable. The PB to J ratio was decent, something that I find most products often mess up (almost always too much jelly).

The PB&J itself I found a bit lacking in sweetness, with the bread tasting exactly as you would expect by looking at it. I fear that what they’ve gained in healthiness they’ve sacrificed in flavor, but when I remember that their target audience consists of sugar-sensitive children, I figure the ends justify the means.

Though personally underwhelming, I can’t help but respect the product’s healthiness, affordability, and mobility. Though I may never buy them for myself, I’m sure they’d be great for my nonexistent children.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 Snack Stix – 160 calories, 25 calories from fat, 3 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 65 milligrams of potassium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Kid Cuisine Snack Stix Peanut Butter & Grape
Purchased Price: $2.29
Size: 4 Snack Stix per box
Purchased at: Publix
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Real fruit filling. No HFCS. Healthier than Uncrustables. Hi-C Ecto-Cooler. Rose-tinted memories.
Cons: Not very sweet. Needs a little more PB&J. No Fun Pack. Overheated Pop-Tarts. Getting older.

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REVIEW: SPAM Meal for 1 SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce

Written by | July 26, 2012

Topics: 4 Rating, Microwavable, SPAM

SPAM Meal for 1 SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce

Ever since I first tried it, SPAM has always held a special place in my heart. I’d have that special place surgically removed, but my doctor told me the procedure was high-risk. So now I’m stuck with the occasional craving for salty, canned meat products, a fate only slightly better than taking a chance under the knife.

And while on vacation in Madeira Beach browsing the aisles of Winn-Dixie — a supermarket chain so rare in my hometown that I’m occasionally surprised to hear it still exists — my curse kicked in and I was involuntarily willed into purchasing this monstrosity: SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce.

SPAM Meal For 1 microwaveable meals sit comfortably on the shelf next to Hormel’s other line of human food troughs, Compleats. Considering the reputations that precede both SPAM and Hormel as a whole, the aisle admittedly set the bar pretty low as far as expectations go. But, at five dollars for two trays, and with a sizable chunk of my savings having already been spent on said vacation, my options were relatively limited when it came to sweet, nourishing fuel. And, at 410 calories a serving, I’d say I got a decent bang for my buck. Not that 410 calories worth of pantry-safe TV dinner is a good thing…

SPAM Meal for 1 SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce Closeup

The microwavable marvel has the added benefits of being good to eat for well over a year and being ready to eat in just one minute. After peeling the film back from the tray, I briefly considered awaiting the apocalypse and subsequent post-apocalyptic world that would necessitate the consumption of this and similar foods. But after quickly stirring it around and pouring it onto a plate (for presentation), my meal looked sufficiently more appetizing.

SPAM Meal for 1 SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce Closerup

The first bite left me pleasantly surprised at the actual palatability of the meal itself. I was a bit disappointed that it was nowhere near as comically distasteful as I imagined. I was underwhelmed on both fronts though, that the meal was neither delicious nor disgusting, a pervasive presence devoid of any strong flavor that could only be described as Bland. Spoonful after heaping spoonful I waited, searching desperately for a flavor that didn’t want to be found, or perhaps was never there to begin with.

After separating out the ingredients for individual tasting, I was pleased to note that the SPAM bits were identifiably SPAM by flavor, sating my accursed desires. The rest of the meal was an inoffensive but not necessarily appetizing experience, similar in consistency and slightly in taste to canned New England Clam Chowder, complete with gratuitous amounts of sodium.

I’m not saying this SPAM & Penne Pasta With Alfredo Sauce was the worst meal I’ve had in weeks. I’m not saying that because I ate a Chicken With Dumplings MRE a while back, and that is the worst meal I’ve had in weeks. I’m not even saying it tasted BAD, per se. I’m just saying the meal would be more suitable eaten as one of the last things left in your dusty unlit kitchen, boarded up in the zombie-proof haven that was once your home.

(Nutrition Facts – 410 calories, 230 calories from fat, 26 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 2 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 990 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of protein.)

Item: SPAM Meal for 1 SPAM & Penne Pasta in Alfredo Sauce
Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 12 ounces
Purchased at: Winn-Dixie
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Surprisingly palatable. Real SPAM bits. Not expensive. Filling. Ready in 60 seconds. Ready in a year and 60 seconds. Winn-Dixie.
Cons: Bland. Not comically disgusting. Not very healthy. Curses. Chicken With Dumplings MREs. The zombie apocalypse.

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ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Earnest

Written by | July 26, 2012

Topics: Announcement

Salutations, Internet! The name is Earnest, and I have come here to chew bubblegum and write reviews… and write reviews about chewing bubblegum. A pleasure to make your acquaintance.

I’m a college junior at USF, working full-time to support my non-stop appetite. I moved to Florida nearly 12 years ago from Germany (military brat), and I’ve been putting up with heat, humidity and hurricanes ever since. I also spent a couple years of my childhood in California and in my birthplace, Georgia. I like to think that my well-traveled upbringing molded me into the indiscriminate gourmand that I am today. I like to think that, but living in Germany probably doesn’t explain why I keep buying deep-fried butter balls and Luther Burgers from the Florida State Fair. Though it may explain my almost daily consumption of beer.

Living near Tampa has given me access to myriads of cultural restaurants, from Jamaican to Persian to Thai, all fantastic. I’m slowly but surely trying more, but it’s really hard to do when mixing things up means turning down Florida’s delicious Latin and Southern American cuisine. I mean, one does not simply say no to an Ybor Cuban Sandwich. Regardless, going out of my way to see the sights and taste the delights has become an enjoyable (albeit expensive) hobby of mine, and that fascination goes all the way to the grocery store. I’ve always had a penchant for novelty, and I’m excited to be sharing my ventures outside of my usual Facebook audience!

My other hobbies include your standard geeky occupations: Anime, video games, and spending entirely too much time on the internet. I’m also a beer aficionado and a modest lover of music. I enjoy bacon to excess, rainy days while indoors, short walks on the beach to the ice cream stand, and I’m very much going to enjoy this.

Prosit!

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