REVIEW: Hostess Limited Edition Birthday CupCakes

Hostess Limited Edition Birthday CupCakes

What are Hostess Birthday CupCakes?

Hostess celebrates its centennial with a limited edition themed version of its iconic cupcake in a birthday variety. It’s a frosted speckled yellow cake with creamy filling complete with Hostess’ signature squiggle and tons of rainbow colored sprinkles.

How are they?

In some of my past reviews I have sometimes decreed something as a sugar bomb, but I need to rethink my definition because these things take the cake (and yes pun intended, of course). Between the squiggle, the sprinkles, the icing, and the cream on the inside, these were hard to eat and to be honest I had trouble finishing just one.

Hostess Limited Edition Birthday CupCakes Innards

If there was more cake a la a regular Twinkie or a different flavor going on to break it all up, it wouldn’t be so bad. But sadly it’s just sugar on top of sugar on top of more sugar filled with sugar that overall tastes like sugar.

To be fair, I guess that’s what a tried a true birthday cake is but again with not enough of the cake part and in such a compact form it comes together as disappointing. The biggest offender though is the icing which has a little bit of vanilla flavor but is on the harder side and overall seems sort of stale. It reminds me of fondant which isn’t known to be delicious, but it makes up for it because it’s used to create insanely decorated cake masterpieces, of which these are not.

Is there anything else you need to know?

Hostess Limited Edition Birthday CupCakes Icing

It’s not all birthday tears as there are some positives since the cake is sufficiently moist and Hostess didn’t skimp on the sprinkles, which are full size and represent every color of the rainbow.

Also, here’s some fun history about Hostess: Did you know the its cupcake was the first commercially produced one and it may have been the first snack cake ever introduced to the market? Although, rival Tastykake refutes this.

Conclusion:

I love snack cakes, birthday things, and all things Hostess, but these are not that good unless you have an extreme sweet tooth as they’re pretty one-note taste-wise. They’re festive with the colorful adornments, but it’s nothing mind-blowing (hello, Funfetti) that you need to see in person like those cool slime Ghostbusters Twinkies from years’ past.

If you want to celebrate Hostess’ birthday, pick up the O.G. chocolate ones and hum happy birthday as you indulge. There’s a reason they’ve lasted a century.

Purchased Price: $2.97
Size: 13.1 oz. box/8 count
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 3 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cake) 190 calories, 9 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of dietary fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Internationally Inspired Peanut M&M’s (Flavor Vote 2019)

M M s 2019 Internationally Inspired Flavors

The flavor vote is back!

Not the O.G. one for Lay’s Potato Chips but for M&M’s, and it’s the third go round. Peanut M&M’s were a part of the first one where Chili Nut reigned supreme and last year for the Crunchy rendition where Mint came out on top.

This year, the vote has an international theme with the flavors associated with specific countries around the world. They are Mexican Jalapeno, English Toffee, and Thai Coconut.

Mexican Jalapeno

Mexican Jalapeno Peanut M M s

Let’s first go south of the border for Mexican Jalapeno where Yellow is decked out in an ornate sombrero, and the colors correspond to, uh, the Flag of Ethiopia?

I guess they match the red and green of the actual peppers with yellow for the quintessential peanut M&M of course. The flavor of this is pretty much non-existent except for a burning sensation that hits the back of my throat after swallowing.

Oddly enough it’s very variable as well. I had a handful that tasted like regular peanut M&M’s, but then a singular one gave me an intense burn. I didn’t notice any spices that would add another layer above the heat, and I feel like these are just repurposed Chili Nut ones. Kinda disappointing.

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 4 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of Share Size Bag) 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

English Toffee

English Toffee Peanut M M s

Now we jump over the pond to England for some toffee.

For these Yellow is wearing some sort of flag endorsed bowler hat but since it is Great Britain, let’s say it is a fancy fascinator so we can elevate this entire experience. These are a step above the jalapeno ones as I really get an intense kick of flavor upon the first bite.

It has a burnt caramel-y roasted sensation that reminds me of toffee. These are nice because the toffee hits, but then the milk chocolate and peanut shine through towards the end. However, the colors are probably the least exciting of the bunch – brown, yellow, and tan.

Again though I am tempted to cycle through past flavors, and I can’t help but think of Peanut Brrr..ittle. If you’re not sure what the difference is, don’t be alarmed as that is the first question that pops up when doing some internet sleuthing. There isn’t much as one seems to be just a harder crunch. So this might be another past flavor profile in shiny new packaging. Good, but nothing new here.

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of Share Size Bag) 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Thai Coconut

Thai Coconut Peanut M M s

Finally, let’s travel halfway around the world to Thailand for some coconutty goodness.

Yellow is drinking out of a coconut and sporting a lovely pink flower above where his ear would be if he had one. The best costume offsets the most confusing colors, though, as they are blue, lime green, and off-white that don’t match the country or the flavor. They do give off a tropical vibe and maybe are meant to mimic the leaves, water, and sand? That literally just came to me, and I have been staring at the packages for at least an hour now. Way too much brainpower on this one!

The coconut flavor comes through slowly on these and builds. But it doesn’t get too lost with the chocolate and peanut components. I’m not the biggest fan of coconut-flavored things especially when it’s artificial as I think it tastes like sunscreen. However, these were pleasant to me. It was not strong enough to reach Banana Boat status, thankfully.

The combination is the most unique out of the bunch. Just ignore the Thai part of it as it again doesn’t make a lick of sense. Thai coconuts seem to be sweeter than regular ones, but this is a candy whose first ingredient is sugar soooo… it’s a reach for sure. Anyway, there have been coconut M&M’s before, but I couldn’t find any mention of a peanut version. Score, something new for once!

Purchased Price: $1.50
Size: 3.27 oz. bag
Purchased at: Wegmans
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 of Share Size Bag) 160 calories, 8 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 19 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.

Other Things

  • These are available in both the signature check-out lane smaller packs and also the resealable larger ones depending on if you have self-control or not with your sweets.
  • You can vote on which flavor is your favorite, and the winner will stick around in stores. Participating can potentially get you a trip around the world (code for the three countries showcased).
  • If this is the second time this promotion features Peanut M&M’s, when is almond gonna get some love?
  • Overall this flavor vote seems to be more of a clever marketing effort with repurposed flavors using a trendy international approach. I wish they would have really gone for it, though. I’m talking American Bacon, Belgian Waffle, and Chinese Red Bean.

REVIEW: Jello Play Monster Slime and Unicorn Slime

Jello Play Monster Slime and Unicorn Slime

I remember slime back in the ’90s when every kid’s dream was to be covered in it on national television or when you had it at home and it was called GAK.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that slime has made a comeback in a big way. So big it’s even jumping to entirely different parts of the store. Forget the toy aisle and please welcome slime to the food aisle! It’s 100 percent edible and from Jello Play the makers of, well, Jello.

There are two versions available. There is the Monster version that is neon green and lime flavored. And, Jello managed to loop in another trend with a unicorn version that is bright pink and strawberry flavored.

Jello Play Monster Slime and Unicorn Slime 2

The super fine powders are white with just the slightest tinge of green and pink and have a noticeable smell of their associated flavor. However, as the canister alludes to the creation will be neither solid nor liquid as it shifts back and forth between the two.

Jello Play Monster Slime 1

Jello Play Unicorn Slime 1

For example “Its firm if you squeeze it, but it can also pour and drip like a liquid!” My thoughts are similarly on different sides of the spectrum in that I was both wowed with this product but also horribly disappointed. Let inner child Leonard and current adult Leonard share more about how this went down:

Inner child Leonard: “Ooooh, monsters and unicorns, so fun!! Look it comes with its own scoop and you just add water. WOW, this is SO EASY to make. It’s turning a bright green and pretty pink, how cool!!! OMG MOM, look at THIS. It breaks apart when you pull on it, OMG!!!!!!!!! It’s melting and dripping!!! Now, it’s tough and firm as I’m pushing on it. MOM, feel it, this is SO NEAT. OMG, WOW, SO FREAKING COOL!!!!!!!! And you can eat it. I can’t wait to TRY IT!!!!!”

(Plays with it for another hour)

Jello Play Monster Slime 2

Current adult Leonard: “Wow, this is incredibly messy. The powder is getting everywhere. Let’s try the directions. It seems to be too thick, let’s add more water. Now it’s too runny, add some more powder. This is kind of more like oobleck, that stuff they make for science experiments, rather than slime. I wish it was more translucent and slimy. Now I have to eat it when my hands have been literally all over it? Oh boy.”

Jello Play Unicorn Slime 2

“Yikes, this is disgusting, like pretty gross. It does have a faint lime (or strawberry) flavor, but I thought it would taste better coming from Jello. It tastes like crushed up chalk or a pastry where I hit a large pocket of nothing but unbleached flour. The sweetness of the strawberry definitely fares better than the sourness of the lime with the starchy vehicle. What do I do with it now?”

(Proceeds to dispose of it in the trash can.)

Jello Play Monster Slime 3

I had a lot of fun with these as it’s not every day you get to play with your food and even if you are not a kid the kid in you will surely get immense pleasure out of it. The execution, though, isn’t 100 percent there and don’t expect your guests to fill up on it as your next party’s DIY dessert.

Purchased Price: $5.49 each
Size: 14.8 oz. canister
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/2 cup prepared) Monster – 290 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 115 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein. Unicorn – 290 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 105 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein

REVIEW: Sour Patch Kids Cereal

Sour Patch Kids Cereal

I’m calling it now.

2019 is The Year of the Cereal!

But not just any cereal, the crazy mashup or off the wall flavors that will hopefully debut to push aside the bajillionth Oreo flavor. We are off to a good start with one of the wackiest debuts in a while. Who knew the candy you sometimes get at the movie theater and when you do you end up eating very slowly so as not to get a mouth ulcer (true story!) would be the way to start your day off right?

As I break open the bag of Sour Patch Kids Cereal, I get a whiff of fruitiness very similar to the other many fruity breakfast cereals – Fruity Pebbles, Trix, Froot Loops, etc. However, there is that tinge of sour that’s always present in sour candy. They do smell like Sour Patch Kids. I can feel my lips puckering already!

Sour Patch Kids Cereal 2

There are five colors (blue, green, orange, yellow, and red) that appear subdued a bit as the pieces all have a whitish powdery coating. The shape is close enough to the candy that it works although they are smaller and skinnier and the tops of their heads sometimes skew more towards pointy than rounded. Here’s what they look like in a friendlier breakfast type of way – the kids of Count Chocula while they are still sleeping.

Sour Patch Kids Cereal 3

I take a heaping handful and chomp down on the colorful corpses. The sour comes in strong right out of the gate but fades quickly as it seems to be powder based and certainly not as strong as the large granules on the real thing. Post nailed the intensity as it is just right. Any more would have been pretty off-putting, and any less would have made the whole concept pointless.

However, after it wears off, these devolve to (Insert here any generic fruity cereal). In a gummy shell, these taste like slightly sour fruit loops. As with Froot Loops, the colors all taste the same as each one is a fruity mix of flavors.

Sour Patch Kids Cereal 4

I inhaled a good number of handfuls of these before having the kids take a trip to the milky swimming pool. I wasn’t really shocked to find out that the milk washes away nearly all of the sour powder. With the coating gone, the sweetness of the pieces gets heightened. What did shock me was that the dairy at the end had no sourness whatsoever. It was like a magic trick. Sourness? Poof! Gone with a spoonful of milk. They did stay crunchy, though.

Sour Patch Kids slogan is “Sour. Sweet. Gone.” For this cereal, it should be “Slightly sour. A little too sweet. Kinda feel nauseous now.” This isn’t going to become a staple in your pantry anytime soon, but it sure is a fun novelty that I hope opens the door to more.

Long live The Year of the Cereal!

Purchased Price: $3.89
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 140 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Creamy Snickers Bars

Creamy Snickers Bars

After its three “intense flavors” last summer Snickers is back with three more enticing new candy bars to satisfy your sweet tooth. This time it’s jumping on the nut butter bandwagon and replacing its signature full-size crunchy nuts with smooth and creamy butters.

Creamy Snickers Bars 6

They are available in multiple sizes, but for this review, I went with the sharing pouches that contain 11 individually wrapped squares. The flavors are creamy peanut butter, creamy almond butter, and creamy maple almond butter.

Creamy Snickers Peanut Butter

Creamy Snickers Peanut Butter Bars

The peanut butter was the first one I tried, and I immediately thought I got a dud of a bar. Where are the nuts? This isn’t a Snickers! Then I realized that the point of these bars was that the usual very noticeable nuts are now in the form of creamy butters. This one contains a layer of freshly ground peanut butter on top of caramel and ground peanuts all enrobed in milk chocolate.

This one reminded me of something, obviously relating to the king of the peanut butter/chocolate throne – Reese’s. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it as I was indulging so I went to enlist Mr. Google’s help, and it soon dawned on me.

Folks, ladies, and gentlemen, please move along — nothing to see (or taste) here. This is a Nutrageous bar in square form and 24 years after the fact. It’s good as you can’t go wrong with the combo of peanut butter and chocolate, but it’s nothing new and certainly not reminiscent of a Snickers.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) 110 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 55 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Creamy Snickers Almond Butter

Creamy Snickers Almond Butter Bars

After the disappointment of the peanut butter one, I had my expectations in check as I dove into bag number 2, but this is where things finally got interesting.

This one contains a layer of freshly ground almond butter on top of caramel and ground almonds all enrobed in milk chocolate. I was amazed as you can smell the nuttiness of the almonds before even biting in. With peanut butter, it always has to knock other flavors out of the way. The almond flavor here is more muted, but it allows all components to work together.

Snickers Almond Butter seems like it should be an oxymoron, but it works pretty well. The butter is a little grittier, but this adds to the joy as it really stands out to me that I’m eating a Snickers with freakin’ almond butter in it!

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) 110 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Creamy Snickers Maple Almond Butter

Creamy Snickers Maple Almond Butter Bars

Finally, the maple one that I saved for last. But as the old adage tells us (and it rings true this time), this was definitely the best of the bunch.

This one is identical to the almond butter one but contains maple-flavored caramel and boy is it intense! I love all things maple so it may be too much for those who aren’t a fan. However, out of all three, this one was the first one where I thought I was eating something delicious and different. The maple is a lot, but it is punctuated by the nutty almond butter, the chewy caramel, and of course the chocolate.

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 7.70 oz bag
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 bar) 110 calories, 6 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of fiber, 9 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Other Things:

  • For all three the milk chocolate is just your standard candy bar variety, nothing special. The ground nuts in the caramel in each one also add a little bit of crunchy texture but not much.
  • Creamy Snickers Bars 5

  • To go along with the trendy/elevated ingredients, the packaging seems to have gotten an upgrade too. I’m digging the silhouette peanut & almond graphics as they are minimalist but also eye-catching both at the same time. The material also has more of a matte finish and seems to be a bit thicker. It does elevate the experience. However, the Snickers people want to make sure that they don’t come across as too snooty. Look at the backs of each bag – these aren’t artisanal, they are artisanal-ish. Take that homemade chocolate!
  • With peanut butter and almond butter conquered, anybody excited for Snickers Cashew Butter, Snickers Sunflower Butter, or how about Snickers School Safe Peanut Free Soy Butter?

QUICK REVIEW: McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss

McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss

What is the McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss?

It’s another Mushroom & Swiss version. This time it comes with seasoned mushrooms, a creamy bistro aioli, Swiss cheese, and crispy onion strings on an artisan roll with a 100% fresh beef 1/4 lb. patty.

How is it?

Upon opening the signature crafted box, the artisan bun and its golden brown fluffy appearance excited me. Off to a good start!

McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss 2

After taking off the top to check out the toppings, I was immediately befuddled. There were multiple onion strings, some melted Swiss, a bit of the aioli, but the mushrooms? There were maybe two, three at most on my burger. My excitement sank again. I had reached mushroom patch rock bottom, so I decided to dig in and get it over with.

Chomping through, though? I was pleasantly surprised. All the components come together without one overpowering another. The bun is a tad buttery, the Swiss is sufficiently nutty, and while the drop of aioli tastes like a standard garlicky, peppery mayo, it does its job to add some creaminess to everything.

The standout though is the crispy onion strings. They were super crunchy and flavorful. Yum! I wasn’t wishing for more of the so-so mushrooms with the oniony topping present. They have a nice sweetness that comes through once you get through the coating.

Is there anything else you need to know?

McDonald’s Signature Crafted Mushroom & Swiss 3

I ordered my sandwich with one beef patty, but if you are extra hungry, you can get two of those fresh bad boys, if you like. And, if beef isn’t your thing, you can also get it with buttermilk crispy chicken or artisan grilled chicken.

Conclusion:

This is another decent entry in the Mushroom & Swiss category that you shouldn’t go out of your way for if you are expecting Mushroom heaven. For a crispy onion string & Swiss burger, though? It’s pretty good for a fast food joint. Check it out if you are hitting up the Golden Arches anytime soon. For me, I’m definitely going to go with the double next time.

Purchased Price: $5.29
Size: N/A
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (Single) 660 calories, 36 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 1.5 grams of trans fat, 90 milligrams of cholesterol, 920 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of dietary fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 33 grams of protein.