REVIEW: Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix copy

My inner kid could not resist when I learned Duncan Hines launched a Perfect Size for 1 Funtastic (yes, this is actually on the packaging) Color Changing Cake!

I particularly love products that I can sarcastically hashtag #Adulting and #PeakAdulthood. This cake is the perfect instance of such because I can eat two for dinner without anyone judging me. Yes, I am completely aware this was probably created for small humans and their fun after-school snack/activity with Dad, Mom, or sitter. But, hey I’m living my best life over here.

Unfortunately, I read the instructions after I left the grocery store, so I didn’t read the part about needing three tablespoons of apple juice. Ugh. I could see apple juice easily being a staple item for a household with a small human, but there are none in mine! I was also irked by the thought of having to buy an entire bottle for three tablespoons. However, I was pleased to find a much more manageable 10-ounce bottle at Kroger.

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Powder

I pulled out one of the individual pouches and was surprised by the robustness of the packaging. I was thinking it would be paper, like a hot chocolate pouch, but I guess they’re serious about protecting the color changing magic. When I opened it, the contents looked and smelled like an unassuming vanilla powder.

As soon as I dropped in the first tablespoon of apple juice, I was delighted to see the white powder change to pink! Cue the Toy Story Aliens’ “OOOOOO.” Nowhere online or on-pack indicated when the Funtastic was going to happen, so I didn’t expect it so early!

But after some more mixing, the batter started to look like an unappetizing Pepto-Bismol pink. To compare, I also started a second mug with water instead of apple juice. The water version was also pink, but slightly less Pepto-like. It was also easier to mix. The powder seemed to congeal better versus sticking all over the sides of the mug.

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix

Apple juice (rear) Water (front)

Out of the microwave, the cakes looked like pink Play-Doh. It was so convincingly Play-Doh-like because of the slight sheen from the steam that I almost thought I could smell that signature musk. But, it was just my mind playing tricks; it still smelled like vanilla!

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Apple Juice Cooked

With apple juice

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Water Cooked

With water

It was also like eating a classic vanilla cake. It had a wonderful fluffy texture, wasn’t too sweet, and didn’t have a weird aftertaste. The water version was a bit fluffier and slightly less sweet than the apple juice version, which I preferred. So, if you don’t have apple juice handy, water will work fine!

Duncan Hines Funtastic Color Changing Vanilla Cake Mix Water L Apple Juice Right

Water (left) Apple juice (right)

I am impressed with Duncan Hines. They’ve institutionalized mug cakes and have made them foolproof. If you’re looking for any easy snack, meal, or dessert for yourself (or your booger monsters), this Funtastic color changing cake should make your short list!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pouch – 250 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 40 milligrams of cholesterol, 360 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 24 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 4-pack
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Mug cake done right! Peak adulting. So fluffy! Works well with water also.
Cons: Definitely not pretty – Pepto and Play-Doh pink.

REVIEW: Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches

In honor of the new Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches, let’s go through a quick timeline:

Summer 2001: A young Tiffany tries her first Rolo, thinks the chewy caramel and milk chocolate combination is pretty good, but wonders why the shape oddly resembles a potty training seat.

June 2011: Nestle decided to try to make Rolo and ice cream happen – behold the Rolo McFlurry!

March 2016: The McFlurry did okay, so Nestle launched Dreyer’s Rolo Ice Cream

January 2018: The next evolution of Rolo ice cream — cones and sandwiches!

Moving on up in the world, R!


First, Rolos completely fell off my radar until now; it’s probably because peanut butter and chocolate took the spotlight for a while. Second, it’s kind of strange to launch a new ice cream flavor when three-fourths of the U.S. is still frozen from winter. But, luckily, I think ice cream tastes best when it’s 30 degrees outside. Anyone else?

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 6

Being the eager beaver, I scarfed down one cone, one sandwich, and an entire Rolo roll in one sitting. I started with the cone simply because of the packaging, which looks like Nestle’s Drumsticks but in a different outfit. As for the sandwich’s packaging, no one will care about it because it was a sad plastic sight next to the full-color cone.

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 2

Although the cone’s packaging was pretty, it was hard to get off. There was some chocolate ice cream and caramel stuck on the side and it broke off the best part – the chocolate nugget at the bottom of the cone. While I rescued it, eating the chocolate nugget first felt all wrong. Order of operations, Nestle!

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 3

I enjoyed the top part of the cone with the chocolate frozen dairy dessert and caramel. It reminded me of a Rolo without the caramel stuck in my teeth. Then, I got to the vanilla part and chocolatey cone. These elements added nothing but sweetness. The cone tasted more like a standard sugar cone AND, while there was a crunching sound, it was soggy!

I loved three-eighths of the cone – the chocolate and caramel top and the chocolate nugget bottom – but the other five-eighths was disappointing.

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 4

I had even lower expectations for the sandwich. I took it out of the plastic and thought, “What makes this Rolo again?” It looked like a regular vanilla ice cream sandwich. I had to re-read the box to remind myself it was caramel swirled into caramel frozen dairy dessert that didn’t even look caramel colored. It was plain white, but it definitely tasted sweeter than vanilla.

Rolo Frozen Dairy Dessert Cones and Sandwiches 5

The only flavor I could really discern was the chocolate cookie. So it reminded me of eating a sweeter version of a Carnation ice cream sandwich. Nothing about this was Rolo-y.

Final Takeaway? If you’re craving a Rolo, just eat the candy (or the top part of the cone).

(Nutrition Facts – Cones – 180 calories, 6 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Sandwich – 120 calories, 3 grams of fat, less than 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 22 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.49 each
Size: 4 cones or 5 sandwiches per box
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Cone)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Sandwich)
Pros: Nice packaging on the cone! Top part of the chocolate/caramel on the cone was great – like a Rolo without caramel getting stuck in my teeth. The chocolate nugget. I like frozen dairy dessert’s fluffier, lighter texture.
Cons: Cone packaging was hard to get off – broke off the chocolate nugget. Vanilla and chocolately cone added nothing but sweetness. Sandwich was a disappointment – just like a sweeter version of a Carnation ice cream sandwich.

REVIEW: Pringles Extra Hot Chili & Lime

Pringles Extra Hot Chili  Lime

The new Pringles Extra Hot Chili & Lime is a flavor so familiar that I thought it already existed, but a quick search only yielded Pringles LOUD Fiery Chili Lime and Pringles Chile Y Limon. Hmm. Maybe it was the purple packaging that reminded me of Fuego Takis.

Speaking of packaging, is it just me or is on-can imagery always fun? On the Top Ramen flavor, it’s a particularly sprightly sprig of parsley. For this fuego flavor, it features an Evel Knievel crisp jumping through a ring of chili fire. Let the LOLs ensue. Packaging aside, I had high hopes it would bring some real heat.

Pringles Extra Hot Chili  Lime 2

I noticed that the crisps looked much like the Evel Knievel crisp on the outside, which was somewhat sparsely sprinkled with red chili seasoning mainly clustered closer at the edges. I appreciate when the actual product reflects the image on its packaging. But they didn’t smell different from the usual Pringles.

The first thing I tasted was the tanginess from the artificial lime flavor, then the chili powder heat came. It was like rapid fire ray guns of flavor: lime, chili, lime, chili (Star Wars sound effects not included). I’ve never noticed this before with other flavors, but the curved crisp shape contributed to getting the flavor effectively and efficiently. I eat Pringles by shoving it whole into my mouth, so the surface of my tongue is completely covered by the crisp. So, my entire tongue felt like it was in a pleasant state of burn.

Pringles Extra Hot Chili  Lime 3

I also sampled Takis to gauge heat level. They’re spicier and, of course, the corn flavor was very forward. Also, the heavily-seasoned rolled shape delivered a very pungent punch. To be fair, Takis claims to be extreme while Pringles just wants to be extra hot.

I think this Pringles delivers on the promise of extra hot and is well-executed. While Takis may be too extreme for some, these Pringles will keep chiliheads content but might be a stepping stone for those still building their capsaicin tolerance.

This doesn’t dethrone my favorite Pringles flavor, cheeseburger, BUT I’d be more than open to stacking a cheeseburger crisp with this one to make a spicy cheeseburger. Woo, the possibilities are endless! I know this slogan is old, but I think it still rings true – “Once you pop, you can’t stop!”

(Nutrition Facts – 15 Crisps – 150 calories, 9 grams of total fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, less than 1 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.39
Size: 5.5 oz. can
Purchased at: Kroger
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Crisp actually looks like the image on the packaging! Rapid fire ray guns of flavor: lime, chili, lime, chili. A tolerable kick that keeps chiliheads content, but also appeals to folks still building their capsaicin tolerance. Curved crisp shape contributed to getting the flavor effectively and efficiently.
Cons: A smidge of artificial lime taste. Still doesn’t dethrone as my favorite Pringles flavor (cheeseburger)!

REVIEW: Oreo Thins Bites

Oreo Thins Bites

It’s incredible and almost incredulous how much the Oreo factory is cranking out. Not only did they just launch Hot & Spicy Cinnamon and Chocolate Hazelnut, but also a whole new line of Oreo Thins Bites.

It comes in three fudge dipped flavors – Original, Coconut Crème and Mint Crème – and one original non-dipped variety. I feel like I need a family tree to keep this all straight (and a bigger stomach).

The first thing I thought of were Mini Oreos. And after trying them, I’ve concluded:

Oreo : Oreo Thins :: Mini Oreo : Oreo Thins Bites

Oreo Thins Bites 3

Why not just name it Mini Oreo Thins? Beats me. They have the same diameter as Mini Oreo, but are, obviously, thinner. The fudge-less Original tasted like Mini Oreo and Oreo Thins – same trusty chocolate cookies and crème combo. “Well, duh, Tiffany,” you may say, but I had to make sure!

I then eagerly moved on to the fudge dipped line. The dipped versions hide the distinguishable black and white cookie, but I guess the good thing is that there’s nothing else in the cookie aisle that looks like a tiny, smooth, and edible hockey puck. Furiously shoving them into my mouth makes me feel like I’m the hamster in those tiny hamster eating videos.

Oreo Thins Bites 1

I was pleasantly surprised the original fudge dipped one wasn’t noticeably sweeter than the non-dipped one, nor did it make the cookie any less crunchy. The fudge does subdue some of the signature chocolate cookie taste.

What REALLY got me going were the coconut and mint fudge dipped ones. The coconut one is in the same batch of deliciousness as regular Coconut Oreo Thins. It isn’t artificial like suntan lotion or some candy bars. It starts with a buttery note that mellows out into a subtle coconut taste. Also, the crème seems extra luscious because it’s smooth and doesn’t have any real coconut bits.

Oreo Thins Bites 2

As for the mint ones, they tasted exactly like Girl Scouts Thin Mints to me (but hamster-sized). So, if you love Thin Mints and want them year-around, here’s your answer! The only thing a bit off-putting is the artificial green color of the crème. It’s also the only flavor where the fudge doesn’t completely enrobe the cookie, so I could immediately see bits of off-putting green.

I didn’t think I would like the Oreo Thins Bites as much as I did because I didn’t see how they would be different from the other Oreo offerings. But, I’m a believer in the Oreo factory!! I even made a “Trail Mix” out of my remaining cookies. While I have to admit mine was all Oreo cookies, I could easily see these taking the place of M&M’s in regular trail mix.

If I had to make one complaint, though, it would be in the words of Ben Stiller in Zoolander – “What is this?! Oreo Thins Bites Fudge Dipped Coconut/Mint Crème for ants?!” Why couldn’t they have made regular-sized enrobed coconut/mint crème Oreo Thins? Guess they have to keep us wanting more.

(Nutrition Facts – Oreo Thins Bites (13 cookies) – 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein. Oreo Thins Bites Fudge Dipped (9 cookies) – 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.99 each
Size: 6 oz bags
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Oreo Thins Bites)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Oreo Thins Bites Fudge Dipped Original)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Oreo Thins Bites Fudge Dipped Mint)
Rating: 9 out of 10 (Oreo Thins Bites Fudge Dipped Coconut)
Pros: Coconut is seriously one of the best flavors in any form! Mint Crème tastes just like a Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie. Mindless, delicious snacking.
Cons: Why are there so many iterations? Family tree may be needed to keep track of Oreo varieties. A little bit confusing with Oreo Mini unless Nabisco is phasing it out. Green in the mint crème is a little off-putting.

REVIEW: Starbucks Toffee Almondmilk Hot Cocoa

Starbucks Toffee Almondmilk Hot Cocoa

It’s been Christmas season for me since Starbucks released their holiday drinks and cups on November 1st. Yes, I’ve been blasting Christmas music for a solid month now.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to get another holiday surprise when Starbucks released a new festive hot chocolate – Toffee Almondmilk Hot Cocoa. It joins Peppermint, Snickerdoodle, and Salted Caramel on the seasonal hot cocoa menu this season.

While they all sound fantastic, Toffee Almondmilk Hot Cocoa (steamed almondmilk with mocha sauce and toffee nut syrup, finished with whipped cream and Caramel Brulée topping) is the star in this lineup because it’s the first Holiday drink that prominently features almond milk. This means it can be vegan and non-dairy when ordered without the whipped cream — no substitutions are needed like with other Holiday drinks.

But that’s not all when you order now (said in my best infomercial voice), you don’t have to pay extra for the almond milk! It’s usually 60 cents more to substitute drinks with almond milk at Starbucks, but this drink costs the same as all the others! Winning!

In full disclosure, I’m not vegan or lactose intolerant. I eat all meats and drink whole milk, but I do have vegetarian days. I believe the term du jour is “flexitarian.” Oui oui!

Now on to the good good.

When I first received my drink, it looked like a whipped cream wonderland speckled with brown sugar crystals (the Caramel Brulée topping). Naturally, I plucked one off and tried it. It was just sugary and feels like the candy that gets stuck in your teeth – nowhere near as bad as say a Butterfinger though. Its flavor was fine on its own.

I particularly enjoyed my first sip because of the temperature contrast with the cool whipped cream and warm drink. I immediately tasted the chocolate from the mocha sauce, but didn’t really pick up on the distinct toffee nut. I could tell there was a subtle “je ne sais quoi” but I took a blind taste test, I wouldn’t be able to say that it was toffee nut. But as I continued drinking, I almost forgot it was an almond milk hot chocolate. I was amazed and surprised by its richness.

Starbucks Toffee Almondmilk Hot Cocoa 2

But, I didn’t love the topping with the drink. When I did get some of the topping in my sip, I didn’t enjoy that it was large enough to require chewing. It also threw the sweetness balance off because the drink itself wasn’t overly sweet or artificial tasting despite the four pumps of sauce and syrup. But the topping pushed it over the sugar edge. I actually liked it better without it.

As whole milk’s #1 fan, I’m overall very impressed by Starbucks’ execution with almond milk (except for their decision to make almondmilk one word). I also love that Starbucks is being extra inclusive this holiday season; this new release is great for vegans and non-vegans alike. It’s officially been added to my Starbucks holiday drink rotation!

(Nutrition Facts – Grande – 280 calories, 14 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbohydrates, 28 grams of total sugars, 4 grams of protein, and 15 mg of caffeine.)

Purchased Price: $3.75
Size: Grande
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: It’s vegan and non-dairy when ordered without whipped cream. No additional cost for almond milk = winning! Surprisingly rich for almond milk.
Cons: Toffee nut, who? Caramel Brulée topping is gratuitous.