REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Gingerbread Printed Fun Pop-Tarts

Kellogg's Limited Edition Gingerbread Printed Fun Pop-Tarts

The Limited Edition Gingerbread Printed Fun Pop-Tarts are a seasonal flavor that’s been around for a few years, but I never picked them up because the images printed on them freak me out.

The images include a gingerbread house with a working chimney and gingerbread men ice skating, snowboarding and being an ice hockey goalie. Seriously, they look like the hallucinations one would have if they decided to huff a spray snow can or wear a homemade Santa beard made with cotton balls and rubber cement.

Gingerbread men don’t snowboard or ice skate. They just lie there on their backs with their arms stretched out and legs spread open, like a prostitute letting time pass by, waiting for their pay, while their client does their thing on top of them, occasionally letting out an unenthusiastic moan or “You feel so good.”

Instead, Kellogg’s should’ve printed realistic holiday images on these Limited Edition Gingerbread Printed Fun Pop-Tarts, and I’m not talking about Santa or Christmas trees.

I’m talking about images of people camping out the day before Black Friday at a Best Buy, hoping to score a dirt cheap laptop or HDTV from a brand they’ve never heard of. I’m talking about images of two adults fighting over a toy in the middle of a Walmart. I’m talking about images of children finding out that Santa doesn’t exist when they see their parents stuffing their stockings on Christmas Eve. I’m talking about images of Jewish people having to explain to non-Jewish people what Hanukkah is and how to spell it.

Kellogg's Limited Edition Gingerbread Printed Fun Pop-Tarts Top

Kellogg’s decided to go bareback with these Pop-Tarts and not make them frosted. I don’t think the Pop-Tarts’ brown crust makes a good canvas for the machine that stamps on the images because the combination of the crust and Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act-approved food coloring makes it looks like the Jersey Shore’s Snooki is snowboarding, ice skating and playing goalie for the New Jersey Devils on these Pop-Tarts.

Although they’re not frosted, there are sugar crystals sprinkled on top, which seems unnecessary because sprinkling sugar on an already sugary Pop-Tart is like pooping on poop. What really gives these Pop-Tarts their sugary, teeth-rotting goodness is the white filling inside them, which has a strong vanilla flavor with a bit of gingerbread. The filling combined with the mild gingerbread flavor of the pastry, creates a pleasant Pop-Tarts flavor, which makes me regret not overcoming the freaky images on these Pop-Tarts earlier.

Overall, I enjoyed the Limited Edition Gingerbread Printed Fun Pop-Tarts, especially when toasted and flipped over so I didn’t have to stare at an image of Snooki skiing while eating it.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 pastry/50 grams – 200 calories, 45 calories from fat, 5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 220 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein and a bunch of vitamins and minerals.)

Item: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Gingerbread Printed Fun Pop-Tarts
Price: $3.99
Size: 12 pastries
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Pleasant gingerbread flavor. Best when toasted and flipped over. Vanilla filling also had a little gingerbread flavor. Sniffing rubber cement. Contains seven vitamins and minerals.
Cons: Not frosted. Images freak me out. Gingerbread images remind me of Snooki. Limited edition. Missing Thanksgiving dinner to wait in line at Best Buy for a cheap laptop.

REVIEW: Tostitos Artisan Recipes Tortilla Chips (Fire-Roasted Chipotle and Roasted Garlic & Black Bean)

Tostitos Artisan Recipes Fire-Roasted Chipotle and Roasted Garlic & Black Bean

Poor Tostitos. They’re like the pink Corvette of the Barbie world: oh, sure, little girls play with the Corvette all the time, but only when Barbie’s having a Thelma & Louise-esque adventure with her best friend Teresa or Barbie, Trichelle, Chandra, and Zahara (what is with these names?) are going on a shopping trip. Otherwise, the Corvette stays parked off to the side, lonely and forgotten. The only little girls who play with the Corvette alone are the ones that may grow up wearing flannel shirts and favoring mullets.

The point I’m trying to make here is that, while other Frito-Lay products like Doritos and Cheetos get flavor makeovers approximately once every six seconds, Tostitos remains stalwart in its commitment to be just a tortilla chip, a vessel for you to dunk into the ten different varieties of Tostitos-branded dips. Oh sure, there’s some variety – you can get them round, multigrain, even with a hint of jalapeño or lime, but Tostitos will never coat your fingers with a thick layer of flavor dust.

However, Tostitos will be naked no more, thanks to their new line of Artisan Recipes. Somebody’s little brother stole the pink Corvette, and now it’s in a demolition derby with a Tonka backhoe and a monster truck named “The Crusher.” Good luck to you, pink Barbie Corvette.

Oh, right, we’re talking about chips, not reliving my childhood. The Artisan Recipes line only has two flavors for now: Fire-Roasted Chipotle and Roasted Garlic & Black Bean. I am assuming, depending on their level of success, that more flavors will be forthcoming.

I’ll let Frito-Lay’s press release do the explaining: “Tostitos Artisan Recipes offers tortilla chip fans an exciting new twist on this popular snack. Each flavor is made from high-quality whole-white corn and real ingredients like black beans, garlic and chipotle peppers that are baked in before cooking for a truly one-of-a-kind flavor.”

Ohhh, I get it now! The twist here is that the flavors are baked in. Tostitos is crashing the flavor party with an innovative idea – flavorful chips without the messy fingers. Chips for grown-ups! Or, at least, chips for grown-ups who have enough dignity not to suck the inches of flavor dust off their fingers in public. I don’t fall into that category, but I’ll give these chips a try anyways.

Fire-Roasted Chipotle

Tostitos Artisan Recipes Fire-Roasted Chipotle Chip

Let’s start with the good: Artisan Recipe Tostitos have a great texture. They are thinner and more delicate than regular Tostitos, with a nice, light crunch as you chew them. The tortilla taste is also very pleasant; they taste a lot like regular Tostitos, but with more of a pronounced grain flavor. This is because, unlike regular Tostitos (I consider Restaurant Style to be the de facto standard Tostitos), Artisan Recipes have eight more grains besides the standard whole white corn. Some of those grains include whole rye, barley, and triticale. I had to look up exactly what triticale is. Apparently science wanted to make wheat and rye have a baby, and triticale was the result. I don’t know why this was something that needed to happen, but regardless, it did, and now it’s in my stomach.

All these grains smashed together make a tasty chip, but that’s also a problem – where’s the chipotle? I had to get through chip number three before I could taste a bit of spice and feel any heat building up on the back of my tongue. I kept waiting for the smoky pepper flavor of chipotle to emerge, but it never did. Just a bit of spice and that little touch of heat at the end.

Artisan Recipes’ whole schtick is that the flavor is baked in, but there’s still flavor dust on the chips. It’s definitely more subtle than, say, a Nacho Cheese Dorito, but my fingers definitely had little red flecks on them along with the salt. I can’t call Tostitos a liar, because they never say outright that all the flavor is “baked in”, but they do fail to mention that it’s getting a little support from flavor dust. And yet, even with the backup, the chipotle flavor fails to come through, which is disappointing.

Roasted Garlic & Black Bean

Tostitos Artisan Recipes Roasted Garlic & Black Bean Chip

Predictably, these have the same nice, delicate texture of the Fire-Roasted Chipotle, but unfortunately, they also have the same affliction: lack-of-flavoritis. Those big flecks must be the black bean that’s baked in, but in the ingredients list, they are dried black beans. How could that possibly bring in any flavor?

As for the roasted garlic, I managed to find approximately one out of every four chips that tasted like garlic powder. On some of these chips, you can actually see a faint orange powder, which is curious. In fact, maybe my mouth is just inventing flavors at this point in a desperate attempt at tasting something, but I got more of a really subtle cheese taste on the chips that didn’t taste like garlic powder. Even though I had to work to find the faintly garlic-flavored chips, when I did get one, I really enjoyed it.

I had high hopes for Artisan Recipes Tostitos. I was hoping to get some rich flavor from baked-in, authentic ingredients. And, honestly, if they hadn’t had such descriptive, delicious-sounding names, I would have given them high marks for being a light tortilla chip with a good crunch. I risk losing my Processed Foods Only membership card by saying this, but I found the addition of eight extra grains made for a more flavorful tortilla chip. Unfortunately, the chipotle lacked smokiness and had only a mild heat in regards to flavor, the black beans were sadly absent, and the garlic was hit-and-miss. That said, the subtlety of these flavors would add a little extra depth when dunked into a Tostitos-branded dip, but they shot themselves in the foot and made the chips too fragile to support most dips. Tostitos Artisan Recipes are great chips in both texture and tortilla/grain flavor, but don’t expect your taste buds to be lovingly caressed by chipotle, garlic, or black beans.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 ounce – Fire-Roasted Chipotle – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 4.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, less than 1 gram of sugars, 2 grams of protein, 2% calcium, 2% iron, 2% thiamin, 2% riboflavin, 2% niacin, 2% vitamin B6, 6% phosphorus, 6% magnesium and 2% zinc. Roasted Garlic & Black Bean – 150 calories, 70 calories from fat, 8 grams of total fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 4.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 2.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, 2 grams of protein, 2% calcium, 2% iron, 2% thiamin, 8% riboflavin, 4% niacin, 4% vitamin B6, 4% phosphorus, 4% magnesium and 2% zinc.)

Item: Tostitos Artisan Recipes Tortilla Chips (Fire-Roasted Chipotle and Roasted Garlic & Black Bean)
Price: $3.49 and $2.49 (on sale, regularly $3.99)
Size: 9 ¾ oz. bags
Purchased at: Fry’s Foods and Safeway
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Fire-Roasted Chipotle)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Roasted Garlic & Black Bean)
Pros: Good tortilla chip texture. Re-creating Thelma & Louise with Barbies. Lots of healthy, tasty grains. Demolition derbies. Garlic flavor on some chips was delicious. Chipotle delivered a little heat.
Cons: Chips didn’t live up to baked-in flavor promise. Little brothers stealing your Barbie Corvettes. Lack of smoky flavor in Fire-Roasted Chipotle. “Trichelle.” No black bean flavor.

REVIEW: Extra Dessert Delights Gum (Strawberry Shortcake, Mint Chocolate Chip and Key Lime Pie)

Extra Dessert Delights (Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry Shortcake & Key Lime Pie)

This year on Black Friday I slept in and ate pie for breakfast. From then until a matinee showing of Harry Potter, I had time to kill, so I embarked upon a ruthless search for my first review topic. My strategy was to go where the crowd most definitely would not be: CVS.

Like all drug stores, CVS isn’t meant for the early, targeted bargain shopper. Drug stores are where the most terrible gifts are born around midnight every Christmas Eve. The Bumpits. The ShamWows. The best of the past year’s late night infomercial onslaught, proudly on display for the non-insomniac market, ready to proclaim, “The only thought I put into this was whether or not it would fit into this mostly mold-free, empty box I found in the basement yesterday. Happy frickin’ holidays!” On the biggest shopping day of the year, however, I saw maybe four or five people in the whole store who didn’t work there and weren’t related to me. It was consumer heaven.

Faced with many horrible convenience food options, some of which might technically be considered “dietary supplements” or “experimental chemical amalgams” rather than “food,” I felt a little like a sacrificial product sampling lamb — an experience I had hoped to stave off at least until my second review. Luckily, I took a last minute jaunt down the candy aisle, where I found all three varieties of Extra Dessert Delights sugar-free gum lined up like shining beacons of hope in the midst of a texture-impaired, corn syrupy storm.

I tore into the mint chocolate chip flavor first. Unwrapping the plastic released a surprising burst of what I would’ve assumed was real mint chocolate ice cream, if I’d kept my eyes closed. Inside, the gum appeared greenish blue and fairly nondescript. No chocolate flecks. No color swirls. No frills whatsoever.

At first chew, the stuff tastes like any other mint gum, but then it gets oddly cold, in this deeply unnatural yet refreshing way. It’s like slightly melted ice cream with a gum base. Given a few seconds of chewing, the chocolate finally kicks in. The whole process is very Willy Wonka. You’ll wonder what the hell is happening in your mouth until gradually you stop caring and settle into the delicious symphony of flavors and disconcerting chilliness (which I have to admit I’d miss had they not cooked up some creepy chemical way to include it). I feel like there’s another obvious joke to be made in correlation with that last statement, but I can’t quite wrap my head around it. Hmm, oh well.

The strawberry shortcake gum smelled authentic, too. I could definitely perceive the shortcake. Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. Go buy a package of shortcakes. Rip it open. Inhale. Now go smell this gum. I’ll wait and then, as your eyes grow wide and you acknowledge the accuracy of my account, I’ll say, “I know, right?”

I found myself suddenly transported back to Midwestern days of yore, picking strawberries right from the patch under the blazing June sun, wearing one of those cute little shirts that tied at the shoulders along with my heart-shaped sunglasses, my hands sticky with berry goop from accidentally grabbing rotten ones.

Extra Dessert Delights (Mint Chocolate Chip, Strawberry Shortcake & Key Lime Pie) SticksAnd – oh God, it’s so cold here! Southern California is broken! On top of that, I decided to hang a decorated glow-in-the-dark skeleton over the heater rather than have the gas turned on. I felt so bold back in the summer when I made that decision. I was tough, damn it – a gritty, blizzard-beaten Illinoisan through and through. But now it is December and I’m very worried about hypothermia. Word on the street is that it is quite the insidious killer.

Oh wait. Sorry. Gum.

The gum basically gave my mouth a brief vacation from reality without ever truly overwhelming my senses. The taste is a bit more muted than the mint chip kind, but pleasant. Mostly I got a sweet real strawberry flavor with hints of something more, but none of the bold shortcake experience promised by the gum’s aroma. I would’ve said this knocked it out of the park had I not just witnessed the spectacular home run blasted into the stratosphere by mint chip. Even so, this definitely manages to clear the wall somewhere far out in right field. It’s fair, people. Cue the fireworks. I wish it were at least April. Can you hear me weather gods? I’m willing to settle!

Finally, we come to my citrusy old friend, key lime pie. On Sunday, my brother-in-law knocked a bunch of limes off the tree in his backyard, prompting some spur-of-the-moment baking. Quite out of the blue, I had the real thing handy for comparison. Yay! The real thing definitely wins. Just putting that out there. I mean, seriously, the only way to make that pie fresher would’ve been to juice the limes straight from the tree, and that just seems unnecessary. On the flip side, this version has five calories. So there’s that.

The gum definitely does taste pie-like, following closely in the footsteps of its excellently rendered neighbors. The flavor is very middle-of-the-road family restaurant key lime pie, harkening back to a particular slice I consumed at the Bonanza in Mt. Vernon, Illinois back in the late nineties. I must say, it’s less daunting as a gum. I was a little leery of the lime flavor becoming monotonous and too sour, because I am a wimp. I’m sorry I ever doubt you, Extra. Please forgive me. It tastes like a Starburst with more longevity and no real sugar. I appreciate that even the pie on the box hasn’t been artificially dyed electric-green…ålike that pie at Bonanza. I only remember it so vividly because I found an entire old hot dog under my chair that same night. I wonder if that place is still around?

Anyway, you’re done reading now. Go try these gums, especially the choco-minty kind, unless you don’t like mint chocolate or happiness. Extra has blessed us all with holiday-levels of indulgence, minus the added layer of seasonal blubber. Even if you were to blow through a whole pack in one sitting (which I totally considered) that’s still twenty-five calories short of a single Double-Stuf Oreo.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 stick – 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of sodium, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, 2 grams of sugar alcohol and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Extra Dessert Delights Sugar Free Gum (Mint Chocolate Chip, Key Lime Pie, and Strawberry Shortcake)
Price: $1.29
Size: 15 sticks/pack
Purchased at: CVS
Rating: 10 out of 10 (Mint Chocolate Chip)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Strawberry Shortcake)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Key Lime Pie)
Pros: Pie for breakfast. Post-apocalyptic shopping situations. The Willy Wonka flavor presentation method. Five calorie desserts. Glow-in-the-dark skeletons. Shortcake. The chill of ice cream without subsequent tongue numbness. Fresh picked limes made into a pie. Starbursts you can chew on forever. Pretty much everything else about the mint chocolate chip variety. Warmth.
Cons: Last minute gifts. Corn syrup storms. The mystery of how it’s possible for gum to stay cold for twenty minutes. Grabbing rotten strawberries. Hypothermia. The shortcake element being a total tease. Most of my trips to Bonanza. Trying to juice a lime without picking it.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Nichol

Hi! Hello? Is this thing on? I don’t think… HELLO IMPULSIVE BUYERS! Oh – okay, that’s better.

My name is Nichol. Long time follower, first time typewriter monkey.

First off, I am a San Diegan, and therefore classy.

I possess the heart and stomach of a Midwesterner, the eyes of a hawk, the legs of a jackal, the bosom of a traditional haus frau, and the stature of Napoleon Bonaparte. Maybe I’m lying about some of that, and maybe I’m not, but in any case, I’ve probably got you picturing some sort of small monster banging away maniacally on a damaged keyboard in a dark room, and that, I can assure you, is a fairly accurate account of what’s happening.

I don’t eat canned tuna, barbequed Twinkies, or any foods that glow in the dark without mentioning it on the label. Aside from that, I’m about as discerning as a half-starved Beagle and at least twice as curious. This will undoubtedly give all of you ample opportunity to revel in my regret, confusion, and outrage when things like gummy rats and off-brand frozen egg rolls turn out not to be delicious.

I grew up in a small (but not tiny) town in the absolute middle of both Southern Illinois and nowhere. I’d try to describe the exact location, but you’ve probably never encountered any of the surrounding communities either, so suffice it to say I was like 65 miles from St. Louis and that was the closest notable metropolitan area. We’d usually get the “new” and “limited edition” products months after everyone else in the developed world. This somehow made everything far more exciting and noteworthy. I like to think I’ve managed to bottle a bit of that overzealous commercial devotion and keep the magic alive even in this newfangled era of instant gratification. And I’m re-opening that bottle just for you.

Following that uneventfully quaint childhood, I went on to earn a dual degree in English and creative writing from the University of Illinois. Then I got bored with corn fields and ran off to the west coast on the coattails of my best friend. I am currently utilizing my degree through seasonal work, elder care and psych studies.

Moving to an urban area has proved to be a truly novel, almost dazzling experience. For the first time in my life, I can buy things like name brand shoes without leaving the state or trusting the trench coat wearing man in the alley behind my house. Also, if I drive for ten minutes in any direction, I am pretty much guaranteed to hit an In-N-Out Burger. On the count of three let’s all think about this and drool.

I am always snarky, often unintentionally creepy, at best questionably sane, and beyond excited to be joining the team and info-taining you guys every once in awhile. I look forward to the many crunchy, processed, and/or sugar coated experiences in which we will no doubt share in the near future here on TIB.

NEWS: To Maybe Make Up For The Big Macs They’ve Sold Over The Years, McDonald’s Will Soon Sell Oatmeal

McDonald's

If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, McDonald’s is the last place you’ll want to go. However, if you want to break that resolution, McDonald’s might be the first place you’ll go. But starting January 3rd, you might be able to walk into a McDonald’s and walk out with your New Year’s resolution intact, thanks to their new Fruit & Maple Oatmeal.

The oatmeal contains half a cup of fruit, which consists red and green apples, dried cranberries, and golden and regular raisins. All that wholesomeness will give you five grams of dietary fiber and two-thirds of your daily recommended intake of whole grain.

You’ll be able to get the Fruit & Maple Oatmeal with or without brown sugar. With sugar, the serving of oatmeal will contain 290 calories, and 260 without it. It will be available all day long for $1.99.

(via Grub Grade)