QUICK YOGURT REVIEW: Chobani Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt

Chobani Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt

Chobani’s Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt has 160 calories, so this quick review will have exactly 160 words.

I like coffee. I like Greek yogurt. So what could go wrong with coffee-flavored Greek yogurt?


Okay, almost everything. After pulling back the foil lid I smelled a wonderful coffee aroma, like I stepped into a Starbucks, but after that it was all downhill.

At first taste, it’s not a flavor I would immediately assume is coffee. The coffee and tartness of the yogurt hide each other well. There’s a cheese-like aftertaste, but right before that, it tastes like lychee. It’s super weird and it’s freaking out my taste buds.

I think one would have to unconditionally love coffee AND Greek yogurt to say that they loved this. For me, I got through the container without spitting it out or gagging, but that, obviously, is not an endorsement. Before this, I didn’t have a least favorite Chobani flavor, but I do now.

Chobani Coffee Blended Greek Yogurt 2

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 5.3 oz.
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 160 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of potassium, 60 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 grams of sugar, 12 grams of protein, and 15% calcium.

REVIEW: Skippy P.B. Bites (Pretzel and Double Peanut Butter)

Skippy Pretzel P.B. Bites

When it comes to peanut butter and the pronunciation of animated internet images, I – like all of those choosy moms – always choose Jif. I can’t even remember the last time I had Skippy. In fact, I’m so trained on my Simply Jif; I almost forgot Skippy was even a brand. One might say I skipped…

Nope, this one is not gonna roll with that cornball pun. Let’s get to the review instead.

A couple months back, these popped up in the “Spotted on Shelves” section of this site. A commenter named “JETKITTY” mentioned these reminded him or her of the greatest snack in the history of our time – Planters PB Crisps. Just off that mere mention alone, I made it my life’s mission to track these down. If they were anywhere near the quality of the dearly departed PB Crisps, I would have found the heir apparent to one of my five favorite snacks of all time.

So do they stack up?

Drumroll, please…

No! But they aren’t bad.

Pretzels and peanut butter are a marriage made in heaven. How could these be bad?

The peanut butter coating is creamy and not nearly as synthetic as I anticipated it to taste. I was expecting the fake peanut butter type filling from say a Nutter Butter or a Peanut Butter Oreo, but this is really smooth.

Skippy Pretzel P.B. Bites 3

It’s also a reasonably thick coating, giving each piece a nice balance with the pretzel inside. There’s a brief sweetness to the peanut butter, but once you crunch into the pretzel, it’s gone. That was a tease. Skippy P.B. Bites basically land on the “savory” side of the snack scale. As you eat them, your mouth gets saltier. So if you expect these to be a sugary snack, you might be a bit disappointed.

Peanut butter on its own isn’t exactly “sweet” per se, but I always expect a snack built around it to be really sweet. I needed more of that out of the peanut butter. If it somehow held the brief hint through the entire bite, these would be excellent. All I could think while eating them was how much I’d appreciate a thin layer of chocolate around the outside.

Skippy Pretzel P.B. Bites 2

I dig the shape and “poppability” of the bites. If they sold a bag of pretzels in this shape, I’d snatch them up, because they’d be fun to eat. You’d think by having a pretzel that small and compact, it would be on the hard side, but these have a really palatable crunch.

So while they’re not “Top 5 Dead or Alive” like PB crisps, they’re tasty and worth a buy. Just make sure you get the pretzel flavor, because…

Double Peanut Butter is terrible. While it has the same creamy peanut butter coating, the center has a texture I can barely describe. Once you get past the good peanut butter, you hit a square of hard, gritty chalk-like peanut butter. Have you ever gotten Cookie Dough Bites at the movie theater? Think of the cookie dough inside. Now age that 7 years and give it a considerably worse flavor. That’s what these taste like. The inner peanut butter tastes like a hardened block of sand. Horrible. They shouldn’t exist.

(Nutrition Facts – Pretzel – 15 pieces – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 6 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Double Peanut Butter – 10 pieces – 160 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 120 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 8 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Item: Skippy P.B. Bites (Pretzel and Double Peanut Butter)
Purchased Price: $2.98 each
Size: 6 oz. tub
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pretzel)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Double Peanut Butter)
Pros: Creamy peanut butter coating. Shape and size. Tasty pretzels. “Poppability.” Any reason to reminisce about PB Crisps. You can reuse the container should you choose.
Cons: Melts very easily. Double Peanut Butter is awful. “Jif” vs. “Gif” battles rages on. RIP PB Crisps.

REVIEW: Lay’s Do Us a Flavour P.E.I. Scalloped Potatoes (Canada)

Lay's Do Us a Flavour P.E.I. Scalloped Potatoes

The whole Do Us a Flavour thing seems to revolve around the odd and the unusual — out-there flavours that you wouldn’t typically find at the supermarket.

That being the case, scalloped potatoes seems like one of the more boring flavours in the history of this promotion. I mean, the potatoes are already right there in the chip, so what flavour do they have to simulate? Cheese? Cream?

So basically, it’s a cheddar chip, but with a creamier flavour? Not the most exciting flavour in the world, but hard to mess up.

You’d think.

Lay's Do Us a Flavour P.E.I. Scalloped Potatoes 2

And at first it seems like: yeah, they did get it about right. Cheesy flavour? Check. Mild creaminess? Check. Hey, this isn’t so bad, you think, and that’s when it hits you: the distinctively sharp bite of particularly pungent raw onion. I don’t know what kind of scalloped potatoes they’ve been eating in the Lay’s flavour labs, but I think someone needs to tell them that the onions in there are supposed to be cooked.

I’ll admit that I’m not a big fan of raw onions (though they’ve grown on me over the years — at one point, if you even used the same cutting board to chop another vegetable after cutting raw onions, I couldn’t eat it), so most people might not find this quite as offensive as I did.

It’s kind of like sour cream and onion, only more oniony, somehow. Plus, at least those chips have the assertive tang of sour cream to balance things out. No such balance here; the mellow cheesy flavour is completely overwhelmed by the acrid face-punch of onion.

The aftertaste is especially brutal. It’s the type of thing where you immediately need to eat something else to get that funky taste out of your mouth — only it doesn’t work. The taste goes away, then comes right back.

Lay's Do Us a Flavour P.E.I. Scalloped Potatoes 3

I guess it does essentially taste like scalloped potatoes — only the worst version of that dish that you’ve ever had. A version made by a friend who clearly can’t cook, but means well. So you have to smile and tell them how good it is and maybe spread it out on your plate a bit so it looks like you’ve eaten more than you actually have.

I submit that a more appropriate name for these chips would be “Milky Cheese ‘n Raw Onion.”

Maybe there’s a reason why I don’t work for the marketing department at Lay’s.

(Nutrition Facts – 66 gram bag – 360 calories, 22 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0.2 grams of trans fat, 410 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 1 grams of fibre, 2 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein..)

Item: Lay’s Do Us a Flavour P.E.I. Scalloped Potatoes (Canada)
Purchased Price: $1.49 CAN
Size: 66 gram bag
Purchased at: Foodland
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Tastes vaguely like scalloped potatoes, I guess.
Cons: Tastes like the worst version of scalloped potatoes that you’ve ever had. Overwhelmingly acrid onion flavour. Horrible aftertaste.

REVIEW: Pecan Pie Milk Chocolate M&M’s

Pecan Pie Milk Chocolate M&M's

So let’s talk about realistic images of ourselves.

Mine? Blurry.

For example: I always wanted to be a Girl Scout but hated going to the gatherings. As a consequence, I never learned how to tie/untie a cable knot, so, if, say, I wanted to become the next David Copperfield, was tied to a chair via cable knots, and plunged in the sea, I would promptly be consumed by sharks. All because I never attended my Girl Scout Meetings.

Similarly, M&M’s identity has become blurry as they, with both success and failure, attempt to stake claim on myriad confectionary treats, ranging from Candy Corn to Red Velvet to Birthday Cake, and, if one can make a morselized version of a fluffy, frosting-slathered baked good, why not give a shot at the illustrious goo of Thanksgiving’s iconic slab of caramelized sugar?

Pecan Pie M&M’s, here I come.

Pecan Pie Milk Chocolate M&M's 2

Out of the bag, nothing looks nefarious. We’ve got some charmingly lumpy M-stamped morsels that smell of sugar and vanilla and a curious bitter twinge…is it caramel? Perhaps burnt high fructose corn syrup? No matter as the yellow, brown, and white colors make a pleasant little arrangement, but, in terms of flavor, color is but an empty promise, silent as the sound of a mime directing traffic.

Biting in gives way to a crunchy shell and melty chocolate and…oh dear. Where are the pecans? The caramelized sugar goo? Perhaps there is crust filling that was somehow innovatively injected inside??


Not a pecan in sight. In fact, they feel and taste just like a Milk Chocolate M&M. A Milk Chocolate M&M that was combined with a cheap-o-matic caramel flavor and…is that low-grade bourbon? I can’t tell, but perhaps it’s because I’m having a mild panic attack: why, M&M’s, why have you betrayed me? Why does your delicious chocolate now taste of sugar and mildly burnt wood? What have I done that has resulted in this karmic-induce vengeance on my taste buds??***

**Unfortunately, during my inquiry, the M’s remained inorganic and, unable to respond, left me to conclude that, while sugary and melty, these are not about to change their flavor to mimic the Pecan Pie I desired.

Pecan Pie Milk Chocolate M&M's 3

If I were to tell my mother I’ve given up chocolate, I’m liable to get the same reaction as if I’d told her I was devoting the rest of my life to engineering an industrial tanning lotion for yetis. The kind of thing that elicits that Special Mom Smile that says I love you, but why do that to yourself?

And yet these M&M’s are encouraging me otherwise. They’re hyper sweet, bitter in aftertaste, and lack the qualities I look for in pecan pie (caramelized sugar, pecans, etc.). What emulsion of natural flavoring has shaken the identity of the cacao bean so that it tastes so obscure? How, dear confectionary world, did Pecan Pie become this? Where is the goo? The crust? The pecans?

I do not have these answers.

But I do have hope. Hope M&M’s will set this aside, tossing it up as R&D learning experience as they quietly retire these for better horizons. Till next time, dear M’s, I’ll be over here, waiting hopefully and shoveling my pecan pie by the spoonful.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/4 cup – 210 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 gram of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Item: Pecan Pie Milk Chocolate M&M’s
Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 9.9 oz. bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy shell. Melting chocolate. Milk chocolate is involved. Tanning lotion for yetis. Mimes directing traffic.
Cons: Where are the pecans? Where is the caramel? Why is the green M&M standing beside a hay bale on the cover? Unanswered inquiries. I will never be the next Houdini.

REVIEW: Carnival Fruit Roll-Ups

Carnival Fruit Roll-Ups

Finally, General Mills has cornered the market on adults who have a suppressed desire to run off and join the carnival.

Having often risked my life on drop towers, fried Oreo cookies, and questionably constructed bungee cords, to say I am a fan of the carnival would be an understatement, and I am flat out excited to see Fruit Roll-Ups paying a tribute to the land of rickety rides with not one, but TWO special rolls. Let’s see what this is all about.

Carnival Fruit Roll-Ups 2

Attempting to unravel the rolls proves that there has been no evolution in General Mills’ plastic wrap since 1993. Indeed, it took me a good eight minutes to attain my first roll, a process which involved unrolling, re-rolling, unrolling again, tearing a hole in the roll, trying to patch it up, tearing 3 more holes, bonking my knee on a coffee table, and plenty of bad-mouth sailor talk.

While I have higher hopes for your agility, you, too, may find yourself frustrated in unwrapping your Roll-Up. Instead of resorting to my low, sailor-mouth tactics, perhaps you might look at peeling back the cellophane as not a struggle, but a lesson in how to better manage oneself in a harsh, unforgiving world.

Once you finally get these suckers unwrapped, the rolls’ images reveal a wealth of inspiration for aspiring carousel engineers and balloon salesmen. Each roll is split into two flavors: Cotton Candy/Caramel Apple and Berry Lemonade/Cherry Slushie. Let’s take it one flavor at a time, shall we?

Carnival Fruit Roll-Ups 3

Berry Lemonade – The lemonade is strong with this one. Sweet and tangy with hints of juice, this one avoids the zest and goes straight for lemonade’s sugary qualities. There’s a slightly floral aftertaste that reminds me of blue raspberry Air Heads. I am not certain that blue raspberry qualifies as a berry, but its presence doesn’t offend the lemonade. I dig it.

Cherry Slushie – A bit of a snoozer, although it’s still good in its own artificial cherry way. It’s a deep, sour cherry flavor, much along the lines of a cherry Starburst. It’s a little one-note, which makes me wonder if it may have benefitted from a bit of vanilla or some lime. Still, quite good.

Taken as a whole, the two make a solid cherry-lemonade mock-up. A less formidable lemon would wilt in the presence of such strong cherry, but there’s a tang that brings the deep cherry notes back into place and makes the experience surprisingly balanced. Well done, General Mills. You found equilibrium and put it in a pectin fruit roll.

Carnival Fruit Roll-Ups 4

Caramel Apple – Snap dog, this is one tangy apple. It reminds me of that crisp, tart Jolly Rancher Apple flavor, which I greatly appreciate, but where is the caramel? Nowhere to be found.

I initially hoped the Caramel Apple might be a roll on its own, allowing the tang of apple to come into play with a separate Werther’s caramel-like flavor, much akin to the flavors found in Tootsie’s Caramel Apple Pops. But no. Instead of burnt-sugar caramel, the apple was paired with another, more nefarious flavor…

Cotton Candy – Not for the weak of spirit. Imagine the sugary, floral taste of six feet of Bubble Tape. Distill that into a microcosm of liquid flavoring. Combine with hydrogenated cottonseed oil and squish out onto a piece of dollar store plastic wrap. Voila. You have this flavor.

I ate this roll last, hedging my bets that its strong flavors would eliminate my powers of taste. They did. While I appreciate the green apple flavor on its own, I discovered that bubblegum-flavored apples are not for me. Those with sensitive taste buds should approach with caution.

Taken as a whole, the experience of these rolls ranged between surprisingly great to mildly terrorizing. I hammered through the Lemonade/Cherry combination with gusto, but the Cotton Candy/Apple? That’s filed under the clunkers.

While neither flavor will replace my favorite (Strawberry), I appreciate that General Mills branched out with their Roll-Up offerings in a fun, summery way that celebrates the carnival. The next generation of humans may never experience Mayor McCheese or the way, way back seat of station wagons, but I have hope we’ll hang tight to the questionably safe swings and giganto funnel cakes at the carnival.

Just maybe keep the cotton candy-flavored apples out of it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 roll – 50 calories, 5 calories from fat, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Carnival Fruit Roll-Ups
Purchased Price: $4.98 (Triple Pack)
Size: 3 boxes – 10 rolls per box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Berry Lemonade/Cherry Slushie)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Cotton Candy/Caramel Apple)
Pros: Lemonade/Cherry nicely balanced. Cherry tastes like a Starburst. Pears in ingredient list. Jolly Rancher Apple. Inspires balloon salesmen. Mayor McCheese.
Cons: Cotton Candy can get too sweet. No caramel in Caramel Apple. Blue raspberry is not really a berry. Dollar store plastic wrap. Bonking knee on a coffee table. A harsh, unforgiving world.