REVIEW: Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats

Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats

“I’m not sure.”

Those three words have popped into my head a few times while eating Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats.

So far, I’ve eaten 13 of the 40 bars that are in the box, but I’m not sure my mass consumption is a full you-must-buy-these endorsement. First off, 40 treats is A LOT for one or two people. I’m at 14 (yes, I ate another one while typing this paragraph), and I’m getting kind of tired of them.

When I first gazed upon the rectangular treat, I thought it had an orange hue. But as I stared at it, I wondered if my eyes were playing tricks on me and that its wrapper is influencing its color. When I look at one in the light and away from any wrappers, it looks like a usual pale Rice Krispies Treat, but at the same time, I’m not sure about that because it also looks orangey. My eyes and brain are so confused.

Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats 2

Dried pumpkin and pumpkin pie spices are ingredients. There’s cinnamon. Yay! Ginger. Yay! Nutmeg. Yay! Allspice. Yay! Acetylated monoglycerides. I’m not sure what that is!

Those ingredients do give the treats an almost authentic pumpkin pie flavor, albeit a bit mild. I recently tried the Pumpkin Pie Kit Kat and they have a bold flavor. If those SHOUT pumpkin pie, these are more like a normal conversation in a quiet room. At first, I thought it was a bit too light because the flavor of a regular Rice Krispies Treat comes through with each bite. But after eating so many of them, I think snack Stockholm syndrome has kicked in and now it’s just right.

Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie Rice Krispies Treats 3

But the thing with the pie flavor is that I’m not sure where it’s coming from. I know the icing has it because when I take a bite with the white drizzle, my taste buds get that mild pumpkin pie flavor. But when I take a bite from its undercarriage, sans icing, I sometimes get spices and other times it tastes like I’m biting into a regular Rice Krispies Treat.

I have 25 left (yes, I ate another). They’re good, but not I’m-going-to-eat-all-40 good. Hopefully, next year they’re available in a less Costco-like size. But if you can pawn them off to your co-workers, friends, or kid’s classmates to gain brownie points, I mean, Rice Krispies Treats points, go ahead and buy a box, and then give the rest to others after you’ve eaten your share.

Thanks to Impulsive Buy reader Carla for sending a box to me!

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 90 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 16 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, less than 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: N/A
Size: 40-pack
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Good, but not eat-all-40 good. Almost authentic pumpkin pie flavor. Made with real pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.
Cons: Only available in 40-pack. Not sure if it has an orange hue. Not sure if the pumpkin pie flavor also comes from the Rice Krispies.

QUICK REVIEW: Jamba Juice Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

Jamba Juice Pumpkin Protein Smoothie

The thought that popped into my head when I took my first sip of Jamba Juice’s Pumpkin Protein Smoothie was, “Is this is what French kissing a jack-o-lantern tastes like?”

While Jamba’s usual autumn smoothie, the Pumpkin Smash, tastes more like a pumpkin pie, this new one tastes more like actual smashed pumpkin put into a cup. It also looks like chunky tomato soup or what the Headless Horseman would puke after getting drunk about not being able to find his head again.

Both smoothies have the same “pumpkin spice blend” with pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, but the vegetable flavor stands out more than the sweet spices in this protein-pumped version. A 16-ounce serving has six grams of fiber, and it tastes like it has six grams of fiber. I’m also thinking the added almond milk, chia seeds, and whey protein might play a role in making it taste a bit more vegetable-y. Totally not a word, but let’s make it one.

Jamba Juice Pumpkin Protein Smoothie 2

While the first sip was a turnoff, because I was expecting something that tastes more like a pie, I found myself enjoying it more and more with every following sip. Those later sucks from the straw had a sweet vegetable flavor that’s enhanced by the spices, especially the cinnamon. I definitely didn’t think pumpkin pie while drinking it, but I also definitely didn’t think about dumping it down my kitchen sink.

Think of Jamba Juice’s Pumpkin Protein Smoothie as the Diet Coke version of the Pumpkin Smash in terms of flavor. It’s not as good, there’s significantly less sugar, and there are folks who will think it’s gross, but there are people who will like it. And I am one of them. To be honest, it’s weird that something that was off-putting at first quickly became something that was on-putting. Totally not a word, but let’s make it one.

Purchased Price: I forgot
Size: 22 fl. oz.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (22 fl. oz.) 320 calories, 6 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 46 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 36 grams of sugar, and 23 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst

Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst

Will “Sweet and Spicy” become the hot new snack trend? Brands have already had success in the “Sweet and Sour” and “Sweet and Salty” lanes, so why not give this a go? I mean, “Sweet and Spicy” isn’t exactly breaking new ground, but as far as the snack world goes we’ve been pretty limited, especially with candy.

So, are you guys as excited about new Sweet Heat Skittles and Starburst as I am?

Why wouldn’t you be? These are two candies that almost never disappoint, and foods flat out taste better when they rhyme. (Not fact checked.)

I don’t think I need to describe the textures of either candy, so I’m gonna jump right in and rapid fire through the varieties.

The Starburst have the color scheme of an original pack, while the Skittles have a pastel tint that reminded me of the “Smoothie Mix” a bit, and made for some color/flavor confusion.

Let me say that the heat is there on all of ‘em. It’s a slow burn. You can taste the fruit first and as you chew it kicks in. There aren’t different intensities. It’s not like some are mixed with certain peppers. With some, the full fruitiness came prior to the burn, while others blossomed after the spicy burst. But that could have been due to the lingering heat already in my mouth.

Sweet Heat Skittles

Skittles:

(Ranked by order of preference.)

Fiery Watermelon – Color is almost the same as Strawberry so I initially thought I didn’t get any in the bag. The delicious watermelon flavor here stuck out the most over the burn.

Flamin’ Orange – Tasted like standard orange Skittles, but spicy. No complaints.

Lemon Spark – These are regular lemon Skittles with heat. It’s great.

Sizzlin’ Strawberry – Ever have those half-mint/half-strawberry Ice Breakers? These had a similar artificial strawberry taste. I ate this first and realized they tasted better when I revisited them later. The fake strawberry didn’t hit as hard and thus didn’t taste as phony.*

Blazin’ Mango – Started hot and finished strong with mango, which I don’t really like. Not a huge mango guy.

Sweet Heat Starburst

Starburst:

Skittles are basically little bits of Starburst with a candy shell, so there isn’t that big a difference flavor-wise between the brands, obviously. Since Starbursts take longer to chew, I would say the heat is a tad more prominent here.

Sweet Heat Starburst 2

Flamin’ Orange – Tasted like a normal orange Starburst dipped in flavorless mild sauce. Excellent.

Fiery Watermelon – The best Skittle, so why would it be any different here? Well, it did have a bit of a cough drop vibe to it in this form. Still quite good.

Strawberry Mango – Neither fruit stood out. I don’t even think they mixed well, but again I’m not a mango guy. That Halls menthol cough drop sensation was here more so than the watermelon.

Pipin’ Pineapple – This had an intense, not quite ripe pineapple flavor. I thought it would work best with the heat, but it didn’t. It had a pretty awful aftertaste that the spiciness couldn’t even cover up.

In the end, they’re not excessively spicy. They’re not even Warheads candy-level, or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, but there’s still a nice kick. It smolders for about ten minutes. If I could compare the level of spiciness to anything, it’s like you had something with hot sauce about an hour ago and your mouth is starting to get back to normal.

Some people will complain they aren’t hot enough, but I think they managed to get the heat level right. These are candies after all.

*I actually think the flavors improved slightly on the second go around. Once my mouth had settled on the kick, the fruit popped a bit more. I guess it takes time for the heat to open up the taste buds.

Sweet Heat Skittles and Sweet Heat Starburst 2

There are better varieties of each on the market, and I can’t even think of a time I’d want to eat these again, but they’re both good. If I had to pick, I’d say I prefer the Skittles.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 package – Skittles – 210 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein. Starburst – 240 calories, 40 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 49 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 33 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00 each
Size:
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Skittles)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Starburst)
Pros: Creative. Not hot enough to ruin your day. Mostly tasty flavors. Starburst and Skittles having a near flawless record.
Cons: When the heck am I supposed to eat these over other variants? May not be as hot as some would hope. Cough drop taste. Shaky Strawberry flavor. Pineapple Starbursts were bad. Skittle color confusion. Not sure the sweet and spicy candy trend will have legs.

REVIEW: Chick-fil-A Hash Brown Scramble Bowl

Chick fil A Hash Brown Scramble Bowl

The pancake platter. The breakfast sandwich. Burritos of all shapes and sizes and varying degrees of sodium. Let’s face it: None of them are anywhere near as primal as the breakfast skillet, which, thanks to the ever-increasing demand to diversify menus, has finally made it to Chick-fil-A in the form of the new Hash Brown Scramble.

This is pretty groundbreaking stuff, if you ask me. Okay, so it’s not a taco with a shell made out of a freaking egg, but considering every diner in America has some variation of layered meat, potatoes, eggs, and cheese, you might say it’s long overdue for the drive-thru. And while Taco Bell has a version of the skillet on the breakfast value menu, let’s be real: It’s a dollar and it’s from Taco Bell.

If the classic breakfast skillet inspires images of loosening your belt, then the Chick-fil-A Hash Brown Scramble will elicit a sigh of relief from cardiologists everywhere. I’m not saying it’s good for you, but considering it comes in a side salad container, it left me wondering if I should have ordered a biscuit on the side.

Chick fil A Hash Brown Scramble Bowl 3

I decided against it, because I thought it would defeat the purpose of building the skillet around the hash browns. And man, those hash browns are good. Even though the counter person forgot my jalapeño salsa, I thought the earthy, crispy tater tot-like rounds delivered tremendous potato flavor. It played beautifully with the saltier nuggets and buttery eggs. I had seven of them in my scramble, which contributed enough crunch and potato flavor without making me feel like I was eating a bowl of French fries.

Chick fil A Hash Brown Scramble Bowl 5

Even though the hash browns and chicken are good, there was something off about the whole thing. At first, I was tempted to chalk it all up to my missing salsa, but even after I added hot sauce and ketchup for sweetness and heat, I realized the culprit had less to do with an absence of flavor and more to do with a contrasting flavor.

Chick fil A Hash Brown Scramble Bowl 2

While cheese makes pizza, hamburgers, and basically everything else in life good, its uneasy relationship with the succulent and slightly sweet pressure-cooked nuggets is, at best, contentious. Both flavors contribute salt to the potato flavor, but the milky flavors of the slightly melted cheese dissipate the otherwise excellent taste of the chicken. What emerges are two distinct flavor profiles in the scramble, which, while good, never comes together in its entirety.

Overall, I’m glad Chick-fil-A decided to retool its breakfast options by giving the humble hash browns a place at the table. And while I’m not a fan of mixing Chick-fil-A’s chicken with cheese, the flavors of the hash browns, chicken, and eggs are enough for me to overlook the extraneous contribution from those annoying Chick-fil-A cows.

(Nutrition Facts – Full nutrition facts not available, but according to the menu board it has 450 calories.)

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Bringing the diner skillet to fast food menu boards. Hash browns have excellent potato flavor and a crispy, tater-tot like texture. Chicken is on point as always. Surprisingly filling for size.
Cons: Milky flavors of the cheese don’t play nicely with the chicken. Lacks a bit of “umph” without salsa. Hash browns have a tendency to get soggy if you wait too long to eat.

QUICK REVIEW: Dairy Queen’s Best Chocolate Cake Blizzard

Dairy Queen s Best Chocolate Cake Blizzard

Chocolate. Ice cream. Cake.

I’m not going out on much of a limb in declaring these to be some of the best things in life. Dairy Queen apparently agrees as they have dubbed September’s Blizzard of the Month, Best Chocolate Cake. The not so humbly named treat combines chocolate cake pieces with white icing and chocolate chunks nestled inside of cocoa fudge blended vanilla soft serve.

The site of chocolate islands awash in a turbulent sea of fudge-tinged ice cream invited me to become a willing castaway. Diving in, the cocoa fudge and chocolate chunks melded into a divine experience rich enough to make Count Chocula blush. Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse as soon as my spoon included one of the titular cake pieces. See, the thing about a Blizzard unabashedly named Best Chocolate Cake is that it needs to wow you with, you guessed it, the chocolate cake.

Dairy Queen s Best Chocolate Cake Blizzard 2

Instead of the promised white icing rich chocolate cake, my taste buds were met with a dull, lifeless dry husk. While providing a coarser texture than the smooth chocolate chunks and creamy base, it failed to deliver on any semblance of the word “best.” Instead, I found myself wishing that they were left out entirely. They felt like speed bumps in the middle of a chocolatey superhighway.

If the white icing exists then it lends nothing to the cake as it is completely overwhelmed by the, admittedly fantastic, chocolate flavor from the other elements. Worse yet, the cake pieces seemed to sink to the bottom and hamper the delayed gratification of the last mix-in laden bites that are typically my favorite part.

Dairy Queen s Best Chocolate Cake Blizzard 3

Cake misstep aside, I very much enjoyed the Blizzard overall. If you can look past the ill-chosen moniker, the chocolate highs were more than enough to offset the dry cake lows. I hope to see the cocoa fudge and chocolate chunks play a role in future offerings sans cake pieces which are, in fact, not the best.

Purchased Price: $3.59
Size: Small
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Small) 830 calories, 350 calories from fat, 39 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 1 grams of trans fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 111 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 89 grams of sugar, and 15 grams of protein.