QUICK REVIEW: Starbucks Protein Blended Cold Brew

Starbucks Almond Protein Blended Cold Brew

What is it?

Are you ready to get your caffeine and protein all in one?

The new Almond Protein Blended Cold Brew and Cacao Protein Blended Cold Brew from Starbucks kill two birds with one stone. The Almond version has almondmilk, cold brew coffee, a plant-based protein, almond butter and a banana date fruit blend. The Cacao is very similar – although with coconutmilk instead of almondmilk and cacao instead of almond butter.

How is it?

Let’s get to the point: I really enjoyed these. Going into it, I thought I would like the Almond more than the Cacao, but the Cacao beat it by one point in my ratings! Both drinks have a smoothie-like consistency – I’m surprised that “smoothie” isn’t in the official name.

Starbucks Almond Protein Blended Cold Brew 2

Here’s the low-down: Almond was not overly sweet, and the cold brew coffee flavor came in the aftertaste. I could definitely taste the banana date blend, which I enjoyed. It took me a while to finish this one, as it was more of a sipping beverage.

Starbucks Cacao Protein Blended Cold Brew 2

Cacao was more chocolate and less coffee, and a little bit smoother of a consistency. Almost tasted like a healthy dessert! (#notcomplaining) The cacao powder masked the banana date blend.

Is there anything else I need to know?

I tried each of these on separate mornings and replaced my typical oatmeal and coffee with this all-in-one drink. I thought it would be weird to essentially drink my breakfast, but I loved how I was getting both my breakfast and coffee together – so productive. And, even with running a couple of miles one of the days, the drinks still held me over until lunchtime. Yay protein! They also kept me properly caffeinated, thanks to the cold brew.

Conclusion:

Great move, Starbucks. In the future, I see this for me as either a breakfast on the go or an afternoon pick-up/snack to get me through the rest of the day. I wonder if Starbucks can come up with any more flavor options?

Purchased Price: $5.95 each
Size: Grande
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Almond)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Cacao)
Nutrition Facts: (16 oz) Almond – 270 calories, 12 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugars, and 12 grams of protein. Cacao – 250 calories, 9 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 26 grams of sugars, and 10 grams of protein.

QUICK REVIEW: Starbucks Caramel Brulee Iced Coffee Straw and Pineapple Iced Tea Straw

Starbucks Pineapple Iced Tea and Caramel Brulee Coffee Straws

What is it?

Starbucks recently debuted these straws – but unlike the Frappucino Cookie Straw of 2015, these are not entirely edible. The Caramel Brulee (made for iced coffee) and Pineapple (made for iced tea) are paper straws with the bottoms dipped in a hard candy-like shell.

How is it?

Well, folks, this is a lesson in asking questions and not making assumptions. I assumed that the flavored end of the straw would go inside the drink to add a little something special. Well, after checking with my friendly barista, I learned it actually goes OUTSIDE the drink – as in, you drink through the candy end. That way, you get the flavor right at your lips as you sip the drink.

Starbucks Caramel Brulee Iced Coffee Straw

I favored the Pineapple over the Caramel Brulee. While the Caramel Brulee was good, it didn’t add to my coffee experience and was slightly artificial in taste. The candy itself tasted like a Werther’s Original hard candy that your grandpa used to slip in your pocket.

Starbucks Pineapple Iced Tea Straw 3

Pineapple had just the right amount of sweetness to flavor my iced green tea and had a more natural taste. The Pineapple also gets bonus points for the adorable pineapple design on the straw itself.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Starbucks Caramel Brulee Iced Coffee Straw 2

Be aware that you might have to bite or suck some of the candy to get your beverage through the straw. The hard candy may cover the opening when you first open the package. And if you want to enjoy the whole straw, you’ll have to work your way down it as you drink.

Conclusion:

These are a fun concept, but now that I’ve used them once, I probably won’t again. There’s something about walking into my office with my coffee and a candy straw that doesn’t seem right in corporate America! But if you’re up for fun, I say go for it.

Purchased Price: $1.75 each (Although when I purchased, they were running a Buy One Get One Free deal, so I got both for $1.75)
Size: N/A
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Caramel Brulee)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Pineapple)
Nutrition Facts: Caramel Brulee – 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein. Pineapple – 20 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein..

QUICK REVIEW: Starbucks Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew

Starbucks Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew

What is it?

Starbucks is continuing down its cold foam path with a new summery iced beverage, the Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew. It’s description says it best – it’s the “signature, super smooth Cold Brew. sweetened with a touch of caramel and topped with a salted, rich cold foam.”

How is it?

I liked this drink, but I didn’t love it. My friendly barista, who knows me by name (being a Starbucks regular was on my bucket list, so I’m living the dream), likened it to the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew but with caramel.

Let me give you this warning: If you don’t like the idea of salt in your coffee, do NOT try this drink. My first sip was very salty, and I wasn’t sure how the rest of the experience would go.

Starbucks Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew 2

Fortunately, it did look up: The Cold Brew itself was very smooth and subtly sweet. I didn’t taste too much caramel, but the salt could have overpowered that. Once the salt and the cold foam settled, I enjoyed the way it dispersed into the cold brew. That part did remind me of the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew – it became a creamier drink, in a good way.

Is there anything else I need to know?

This was the first time I tried one of the cold foam lids and sipped straight out of it, and I give it two thumbs up. Don’t throw your coffee grounds at me, but I was one of those people still sticking a straw in when I would order the cold foam cappuccinos Starbucks released earlier this year. But now that I’ve gone strawless, I won’t look back.

Conclusion:

The Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew is most definitely worth a try. But if you don’t like a salty-and-sweet combo, it may not be for you.

Purchased Price: $4.45
Size: Tall
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Tall) – 160 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 240 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 17 grams of sugars, 1 grams of protein, and 140 milligrams of caffeine.

QUICK REVIEW: Starbucks Mango Dragonfruit Refreshers Beverage

Starbucks Mango Dragonfruit Refreshers Beverage

What is it?

Get excited, Starbucks Refreshers fans! There’s a new kid in town, and it’s Mango Dragonfruit. With its pretty purple-pink hue and real dragonfruit pieces, it’s a fun drink that certainly refreshes and lives up to its name.

How is it?

I wouldn’t have thought to put mango and dragonfruit (dragonfruit, for those unfamiliar, is a tropical fruit with a kiwi-like inside) together, but the results are a super smooth, easy-to-drink beverage.

Starbucks Mango Dragonfruit Refreshers Beverage 2

I loved how the sweetness was subtle – more on that below – and it has a nice aftertaste that doesn’t leave your mouth sour (which some of the other Refreshers have been known to do, at least for me).

Is there anything else I need to know?

The biggest thing that struck me about the Mango Dragonfruit Refresher is that it isn’s as sweet as the others I’ve tried – in a good way. I’m also a big fan of the Strawberry Acai Refresher, but I sometimes feel as though it’s a little too sweet for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Even though there’s only one gram of sugar difference between the two (Mango Dragonfruit has 19 grams for a grande, Strawberry Acai has 20 grams for the same size), I would have put my money on Mango Dragonfruit having much less. I loved not feeling like I was drinking a sugar bomb.

Conclusion:

Highly recommend. I now deem this my new favorite Refresher! Just don’t tell Strawberry Acai. We’ll keep it our little secret.

Purchased Price: $3.75
Size: Grande
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Grande 16 fl. oz.) 90 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of carbohydrates, 19 grams of sugars, 0 grams of protein and 44-55 milligrams of caffeine.

QUICK REVIEW: Pillsbury Grands! Limited Edition Cinnamon Rolls with Strawberry & Cream Flavored Icing

Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls Strawberry Cream

What is it?

Pillsbury has released Limited Edition Grands! Cinnamon Rolls that are essentially regular cinnamon rolls with a specialty icing. The strawberry & cream flavored icing comes in a generous tub. Don’t be intimidated by the Pepto-Bismol coloring.

Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls Strawberry Cream 2

How is it?

If you’re a fan of Pillsbury’s normal cinnamon rolls, there’s nothing disappointing about these. The cinnamon flavor was on par, and I loved the icing. The fact it was a little difficult to scoop out of the tub was negated by the epic melting capabilities on a warm roll. The strawberry flavor is pretty authentic – it’s not too sweet or artificial – and it pairs extremely well with the cinnamon. Not sure why Pillsbury didn’t put this combo together sooner.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls Strawberry Cream 3

The tube comes with five cinnamon rolls, and although they are “pre-cut” in the dough, it was a slight challenge to pull them apart and separate. Since they’re pretty large, one is satisfying. My cinnamon roll baking method is to lay them out on a pizza pan instead of a round cake pan (for easier grab-and-go access), and I’m glad I did since these were pretty big once baked and ready. Oh, your hands WILL get pretty messy, but it’s definitely worth it.

Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon Rolls Strawberry Cream 4

Conclusion:

Looking to switch up your Sunday brunch routine? If so, these are a must-purchase. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual offerings. Good work, Pillsbury!

Purchased Price: $3.50
Size: 17.5 oz. tube
Purchased at: Meijer
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 roll) 300 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 520 milligrams of sodium, 56 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 24 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Cool Whip Mix-Ins Oreo and Double Chocolate Brownie

Cool Whip Mix Ins Oreo

I’m not exactly sure whose daughter I am, because my mom doesn’t like Cool Whip and my dad barely eats dessert.

But since my sweet tooth is always raging (well, that and the fact I gave up sweets at my office for Lent so anything at home was still fair game), I was super excited to find these new Cool Whip Mix-Ins at the grocery store. I’ve always been a fan of frozen section whipped topping, not the stuff that sprays out of the can, so I got some vanilla ice cream and put the Mix-Ins to the test.

We’ll start with the Oreo, which set the bar super high. I first tried each straight from the container before adding them to the ice cream. Oreo had an extremely authentic Oreo flavor – it didn’t taste artificial at all. When I gave my husband a taste, he likened it to an “Oreo without all the cavities” since the Cool Whip is super light. You definitely get a taste of cookie chunks in there.

Cool Whip Mix Ins Oreo 2

This was a new concept to me, since I’m normally not used to something IN my Cool Whip, but on top of it (i.e. sprinkles or chocolate sauce). I really liked the added texture, and the cookie chunks brought the chocolate flavor of the Oreo. It almost tasted like a mousse that I would eat by itself, without adding it to anything. Don’t be surprised if you find me alone with a spoon and this container…that’s how much I enjoyed it.

Cool Whip Mix Ins Double Chocolate Brownie

Double Chocolate Brownie was good, don’t get me wrong, but it just wasn’t as delightful as the Oreo. The best part of this flavor was the brownie bites — so soft, chewy, rich and chocolate-y. But the Cool Whip itself was lackluster — just a simple chocolate with an artificial taste.

Cool Whip Mix Ins Double Chocolate Brownie 2

You know when you crack open a peanut shell only to find a mediocre-sized peanut inside? That’s the way I felt with the Double Chocolate Brownie. I was hoping for the whole package, but only got the chunks. It was because of the brownie chunks that I gave it as high of a rating as I did, because they were so good. I would have liked the Cool Whip itself to be that great, not just the mix-in.

Cool Whip Mix Ins Double Chocolate Brownie 3

On top of ice cream, both flavors added a nice touch. But I’m standing by my proclamation that I rather just eat this straight from the container. I’m not much of a cook in the kitchen, but I think an icebox cake with the Oreo Cool Whip is in my future.

(Nutrition Facts – 2 Tbsp – Oreo – 35 calories, 2 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein. Double Chocolate Brownie – 40 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 10 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.19 each
Size: 8 oz. tubs
Purchased at: Giant Eagle
Rating: 10 out of 10 (Oreo)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Double Chocolate Brownie)
Pros: Good enough to eat on its own or on top of another dessert. Authentic Oreo flavor, epic brownie chunks.
Cons: Artificial chocolate whip.