REVIEW: Limited Edition Dannon Light & Fit Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt

Limited Edition Dannon Light & Fit Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt

If there’s a Real Housewives franchise in the yogurt world, it would be Dannon.

The yogurt has so many spin-off varieties. Not as many as The Real Housewives, because I’m pretty sure the producers of the reality show have been scraping the bottom of the Earth and have plans for The Real Housewives of Ottawa (Canada) or The Real Housewives of Butte (Montana).

With so many yogurt spin-offs, it gives Dannon the opportunity to make pumpkin pie-flavored varieties for every one of them. The company has already done one for their Oikos line and now it offers a Light & Fit Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt.

If I had to compare the light pumpkin pie-flavored yogurt with a Real Housewives show, it would have to be all of them. With the light yogurt and the reality show, you know what you’re going to get and it’s not for everyone. With a Real Housewives show, there’s going to be a lot of cray cray, and with the light yogurt there will be sucralose and ace-k.

Limited Edition Dannon Light & Fit Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt 2

For a fat-free Greek yogurt, it’s very good and pumpkin pie-ish. The use of cinnamon helps with the flavor, and I think there are cinnamon specks floating in the yogurt.

Also, even though there aren’t any other spices listed, I could taste those others you’d get in a pumpkin pie. Yes, the artificial sweeteners slapped my mouth like the Housewives do amongst each other, but that’s the reason why it’s “pumpkin pie-ish.”

Dannon’s Light & Fit Pumpkin Pie Greek Yogurt is thick, creamy, a great source of protein, and has a pleasant pumpkin pie flavor. It’s a great addition to the yogurt company’s limited edition fall flavor lineup and, like many of The Real Housewives shows, I expect to see it again next year.

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 5.3 oz
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 80 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 50 milligrams of sodium, 140 milligrams of potassium, 9 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 7 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of protein.

REVIEW: White BOO-tterscotch M&M’s

White BOO-tterscotch M&M's

Does anyone under the age of 60 like butterscotch besides me?

I know I instantly think of the candy dish at my Grandmother’s house, where at any given time you could treat yourself to a hard butterscotch stuck to its orange wrapper, a root beer barrel, or a button from an old sweater. On a good day you might even find a Chocolate Riesen. If you asked most kids they’d probably consider the button over the butterscotch, but I wasn’t that kid.

If you’re like me, seek help.

But also, if you’re like me, you probably wondered “what exactly is butterscotch?” I’ve had it 1000 times, but I don’t actually know what it’s made of. I’m perpetually in a state of mild inebriation, so I can’t really tell. It can’t possibly have actual scotch in it, right?

No. It’s basically just brown sugar and butter. According to trusty Wikipedia, “Butterscotch is similar to toffee, but for butterscotch the sugar is boiled to the soft crack stage, and not hard crack as with toffee.”

I guess “butterscotch” was a better name than “soft crack toffee.”

Ya know what’s a better name than “butterscotch?” BOO-terscotch!

I worry about our elderly butterscotch aficionados. These new White BOO-tterscotch M&M’s might be a bit too scary for their old hearts to take.

White BOO-tterscotch M&M’s, or “BOOMM’s” as the kids call them, are the latest Halloween tie-in from the Mars company. Not sure if you guys have seen the new commercial, but the jingle is pretty catchy – White B, double O, double T, E-R, with a SCOTCH, double M and an S. YES!

I made that up, and I can’t apologize enough for it. On to the review –>

In terms of smell, these are the most distinct M&M’s I’ve ever opened. They stink like butterscotch. Stink. I honestly can’t decide if I like it or not. It’s probably too strong, but I appreciate the fact you know what you’re in for.

White BOO-tterscotch M&M's 2

As with most of their special releases, they are about the size of Peanut Butter M&M’s. Once you crunch through the familiar, but boring fall colored shells, the inside is white chocolate.

I’ve found that white chocolate style M&M’s tend to be creamier than the normal, but don’t fret folks, they still won’t melt in your hands. Since these are fashioned after a “sucking candy,” I ate them that way, and let each piece melt in my mouth like the famous slogan goes.

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For such a strong smelling candy, the butterscotch flavor is pleasantly light. The white chocolate has a really nice flavor, and there’s a perfect marriage between that and the butterscotch. It’s distinctly there, but not so much that you have Nam-style flashbacks of Grandma’s candy dish.

The flavor is obviously different, but these put me in mind of the Candy Corn M&M’s, which I was actually a big fan of. Those are another “old people” candy that M&M’s did right. Pairing these flavors with white chocolate was a wise decision, because they mesh so well together.

Remember earlier when I made up that jingle? Sorry again. At least I didn’t shoehorn in a Ron Burgundy quote.

So yeah, these are good. They don’t specify, but I assume they’ll strictly be a fall release. They kinda limited their window with the name “BOO-tterscotch,” but I guess if they’re popular enough they can change it.

These are probably gonna find their way to Grandmother’s house this Halloween. Maybe even beyond that. Ya better watch your back, Werther’s.

(Nutrition Facts – 1.5 ounces — 210 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 40 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of total carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 28 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein..)

Purchased Price: $3.19
Size: 8 oz bag
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Butterscotch flavor isn’t too overpowering. Creamy white chocolate. Distinctive smell. Memories of Grandma’s house. The name “Boo-tterscotch.”
Cons: Boring color tone. Specific store exclusives. Memories of Grandma’s candy dish. Potentially too scary for the elderly. Halloween gets earlier every year. So sorry about that jingle.

REVIEW: Panda Express General Tso’s Chicken

Panda Express General Tso's Chicken

Who is General Tso?

Twho cares?

All I really care about is whether years of waiting for Panda Express to develop their own version of the iconic American Chinese dish was worth it. I’ve always found it odd that the fast food chain that’s responsible for introducing many Americans to some kind of Chinese food didn’t have their own version of THE dish that was specifically made in Chinese American restaurants to introduce American taste buds to Chinese food.

And I find it even odder that Panda Express, which is known for entrees that consists of crispy chicken coated a sweet and savory sauce, like Orange Chicken, SweetFire Chicken Breast, and Honey Sesame Chicken Breast, didn’t have the sweet and savory General Tso’s Chicken until now.

The Panda Express version features crispy all-white meat chicken, green beans, red and yellow bell peppers, and onions tossed with a sweet, spicy, and tangy sauce.

I feel the best way to share what I think of it is to compare it with another iconic sweet and spicy Chinese chicken dish that’s supposed to appeal to American palates — Orange Chicken.

Panda Express’ General Tso’s Chicken is like Orange Chicken’s boring cousin who was brought up in a household where he watched 30 minutes of TV per day, wasn’t allowed to drink soda, and ate lots of vegetables. Orange Chicken is the fun one that everyone loves because it’s mostly sweet, a little spicy, and it doesn’t come with lame vegetables.

While the extremely popular Panda Express entree is more sweet than savory, the chain’s General Tso’s Chicken is more savory than sweet and comes with FOUR different vegetables. I guess being that way could make it seem like a refined version of Orange Chicken.

Its sauce isn’t as slimy as what’s on Orange Chicken, but that’s probably because there’s less sugar. Along with the light sweetness, there’s also a noticeable soy sauce flavor and pepperiness. It’s a tasty sauce that I think does a great job at honoring the dish. However, there were a couple of times when I asked myself, “Why do I taste hot dog water in my mouth?” And there was a moment when its flavor reminded me of those Lay’s Chinese Szechuan Chicken Potato Chips, which I didn’t love.

Much like I’ve experienced with Orange Chicken, the breading was still a little crispy, even though it’s coated in a sauce. The chicken inside was a little dry. The bell peppers and onions also give the entree a crisp texture. My double serving of the dish was heavy on the onions, but light on the green beans.

Is Panda Express’ General Tso’s Chicken worth getting?

I want to say “Tno” just because that would make an awesome ending, but that would be a complete lie. It’s not Orange Chicken good, but I enjoyed it. So if you’re at Panda Express, Tgo ahead and try it.

(Nutrition Facts – 5.7 oz serving – 330 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 45 milligrams of cholesterol, 910 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 19 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $8.40
Size: 2-Choice Entree Plate
Purchased at: Panda Express
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Nice change of pace from Orange Chicken or SweetFire Chicken Breast. More savory than sweet sauce. Crispy breading. Crispy vegetables.
Cons: Not as good as Orange Chicken. Chicken was a little dry. Why do I taste hot dog water? Not being able to use “Tno” to end a review.

REVIEW: Nabisco Chips Ahoy Thins Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Chips Ahoy Thins Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Whether they’re about a tree falling in the forest or a bear dropping logs in the woods, there are plenty of age-old questions to ponder. One of my favorites is: “What do holiday cookies do once Christmas is over?”

Some answers are obvious: speculoos fly home to visit their Dutch families, gingerbread men work as security guards at the Keebler Elves’ Hollow Tree, and butter cookies are melted down into a fine paste to make mannequins for Madame Tussauds.

But the secret life of snickerdoodles (which sounds like it could be the name of Pixar’s next movie) has long been a mystery -— until now. Now we know that during the summertime, snickerdoodles everywhere hit the treadmill to become Cinnamon Sugar Chips Ahoy! Thins.

During the winter, snickerdoodles need to be thick in order to supply Santa with enough energy to travel 650 miles per second and reach every home in one night. But now that it’s cookie bikini season, snickerdoodles have to stay competitive with every other trendy treat.

I mean, have you seen Oreo’s midriff in that dark brown two-piece?

Chips Ahoy Thins Cinnamon Sugar Cookies 2

Each Cinnamon Sugar Chips Ahoy! Thin is thin. And I don’t mean the “someone pushed the spatula down a little too hard” kind of thin. This is the “touched by an old gypsy woman from a Stephen King novel” kind of thin.

The Thins have the girth of 2-3 stacked dimes, but they’re far from sterling when it comes to fragility. They’ll shatter into bits the moment you so much as think an unflattering thought about their mother, so don’t pack these as a snack before a half marathon or Slipknot concert. This crumbliness also gives them a mildly crisp, yet disappointingly light “crunch.” It’s like eating that last, awkwardly browned cookie in a batch.

You know, the one that was just barely large enough to justify baking instead of gobbling down the raw, doughy evidence?

Chips Ahoy Thins Cinnamon Sugar Cookies 3

The flavor is a two-part deal. The Chips Ahoy! Thins’ plain sections are half-sweet, half-bland and sandy, as if they were the result of some deluded 8-year old’s entrepreneurial quest to invent a cookie you can make while relaxing on a hot beach.

Thankfully, the overall size and dense chip ratio of these one-bite wonders means that there’ll rarely be a nibble without one or more creamy cinnamon baking chips. The slightly buttery, mildly milky, and faintly spicy chips smack of cinnamon sugar goodness, and their icing-esque nature is what makes these Cinnamon Sugar Chips Ahoy! Thins taste like abridged snickerdoodles.

But the problem with these crumbly Thins is that they’re all payoff and no buildup. The sugary cinnamon punch strikes fast and is vaporized into oblivion just as quickly—don’t expect any layers of complex flavor that unravel as you chew. It’s like a rollercoaster that instantly drop you 100 feet before booting you off the ride. Your only choice is to get back in line, or in this case: clear another line of cookies.

Despite my complaints of fleeting ecstasy, I think Cinnamon Sugar Chips Ahoy! Thins are a step in the right direction for condensed cookies. They use their size to their advantage; if this gimmick were tried in full-sized Chips Ahoy! cookies, the goodness of the chips would get lost in a desert of boring dough.

Plus, their airy crispness makes them taste exactly like the imaginary “Snickerdoodle Toast Crunch” cereal I always put on my Christmas list. One of these days, General Mills Claus will inevitably deliver, but in the meantime…

Chips Ahoy Thins Cinnamon Sugar Cookies 4

Ho ho ho.

(Nutrition Facts – 4 cookies – 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 60 milligrams of sodium, 20 milligrams of potassium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.49
Size: 7 oz.
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: The surprisingly creamy wallop of microcosmic snickerdoodle chips. Gloriously milk-soaked cinnamon sugar shards. Cookie swimsuit competitions. Posing with a butter cookie paste replica of Bill Murray.
Cons: Rare nibbles of Saharan cookie dryness. The Chips Ahoy! equivalent of a Top Thrill Dragster ride. Accidentally eating thirty 30¢-thick cookies. The unlikelihood of Gingerbread Toast Crunch. Sandy selling sandy Sandies by the seashore.

REVIEW: Skippy Graham Cracker P.B. Bites

Skippy Graham Cracker P.B. Bites

Let’s get one thing straight. Skippy’s Graham Cracker P.B. Bites aren’t “bites.”

They’re balls.

Which is fine, because the country is in love with balls right now. You’ve got Pokemon Go, baseball season, Powerball, and the Olympics crowding the scene, but Skippy’s Graham Cracker P.B. Bites are what you should be focusing on.

Skippy introduced their P.B. Bites line about a year ago with Double Peanut Butter and Pretzel varieties, and they’ve proven to be a hit with the public. I’d never noticed the P.B. Bites previously because choosy reviewers like me choose Jif, but for TIB I decided to give it a shot and picked up a pack of their new Graham Cracker variety.

The P.B. Bites come in small cup-holder sized containers, because I assume Skippy thought people might take a swill of these during the morning commute. While I advise against that (due to the legal threat of causing something similar to a Pokemon Go-induced car accident), the peanut butter poppers are certainly portable and are easy to take to work or school.

Upon opening the package, I was hit with a strong wave of peanut butter scent. The smell is of a nicely roasted peanut butter, and gave off none of the artificial notes you may typically find in the peanut butter candy at the bottom of your Halloween spoils.

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The P.B. Bites glisten in the light (note to self: make Mom a peanut butter diamond necklace for Christmas), and that sheen is indicative of the oily nature of the balls. Since the bites’ exteriors are coated in peanut butter, they’re soft and tacky to the touch and can only be handled for a few moments before eating (lest you want to have a real big mess on your hands). Thankfully though, the bites aren’t sticky, so you’ll be able to pop a few before getting club hand.

While you may expect the P.B. Bites have a little bit of chew to them, this is furthest from the case. The soft peanut butter exterior of the balls melts away to reveal a small, crunchy graham cracker center. The peanut butter tastes surprisingly more natural than what you typically expect from a jar of Skippy, with a deep peanut flavor. And while peanut butter from the jar has a tendency to collect on the roof of your mouth, I am pleased to share that Skippy’s P.B. Bites do no such thing. Glass of milk be gone!

Skippy Graham Cracker P.B. Bites 4

Regrettably, while the Bites’ crunch is satisfying, the tiny graham cracker center lacks any discernible flavor and is overwhelmed by the peanut butter. This makes sense, because I can imagine if I covered myself in peanut butter and ate myself, I’d be incredibly delicious. And while the bites may not provide any graham cracker flavor, you’ll find yourself not caring because the rest of the bite is just so damn good.

Overall, with their natural flavor and pleasing crunch, Skippy’s Graham Cracker P.B. Bites are a pleasant snack that any peanut butter connoisseur would appreciate. Just don’t try to throw one at a Charizard.

(Nutrition Facts – 15 pieces – 160 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 125 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 6 oz. tub
Purchased at: Star Market
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Pop ‘em in your Pontiac. Natural peanut butter taste. Satisfying crunch. Good for people with Arachibutyrophobia.
Cons: Melts in your hand and also in your mouth. Tiny, flavorless center. Thoughts of self-cannibalism.