REVIEW: 3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Minis

3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Minis

Lethargy and laze with a high chance of napping.

These are the symptoms of the post-Thanksgiving coma.

Despite my foreknowledge of said tryptophan comatose, I remained surprised when I awoke last Friday with enough mental fog to cause a Los Angeles brownout. In a moment of clarity, I thumped down to the forgiving lights of the local Kmart in search of a cure.

Thankfully, the shelves were stocked to the brim with an abundance of seasonal sucrose offerings promising the sugar rush needed to counteract my case of the Thanksgiving Sleepies. Seeing as this is the time of year I find new ways to sneak a mug of hot chocolate into my daily schedule, it seemed fitting to initiate my cure with a shiny new bag of 3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa Minis.

3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Minis Bag

Nothing like a bag of sugary polyhedra to snap me wide awake.

Each mini comes in the form of a little 25-calorie cube, which, in my mind, makes them multi-taskers. They’re just the right size for snacking, sharing, or plopping between graham crackers. They would also make perfect checker/chess pieces. That way, when you whoop your opponent, you can also eat his/her pieces.

I could also see them serving as excellent Lincoln Logs.

3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Minis Lincoln Logs

3 Musketeers: fueling the minds for a new generation of architects.

The outer shell of milk chocolate here seems a bit thinner than the ol’ regular bar, but it adds the appropriate sweet snap before arriving at the nougat core.

3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Minis Nougat

Oh, nougat, what a legacy you have in the world of chocolate bars.

The poof of nougat within a 3 Musketeers is stuck in an existential void between goo and fluff, and, by gum, it’s a tasty existential void. The nougat here is chocolate and seems quite similar to the original…almost too similar. However, if you close your eyes and use your imagination, you may detect a certain toasty-powdery-ness, which I suspect is meant to mimic powdered hot chocolate. Peculiar for my taste, but I admired it for what it hoped to achieve.

The one biggie that left me broken-hearted was the absence of the marshmallow. Perhaps the nougat itself was meant to represent said fluff? Or perhaps the marshmallow melted in the cooking process? I was unsure and semi-suspicious.

Nonetheless, I wanted to make sure I followed through with the “hot” part of the “hot cocoa” theme, so I crammed seven of the cubes in a mug and zapped them in the microwave for 5 seconds. Oh buddy, was that worth it. At first glance it looked like nothing had changed, but, upon whipping out a spoon and digging in, the cubes smooshed together to form a gooey, cake batter-like substance [fair warning: if you microwave, it gets a little messy, so consider microwaving in something you’d be willing to throw away].

Lots of beautiful things are small. Paperclips. Tangerines. Travel shampoo bottles. While it’s hard to beat travel shampoo bottles, I’d give these 3 Musketeers the thumbs-up to join the group. They’re convenient little packages of chocolate-y joy that taste at least 15 times better than a jungle of tropical poinsettias. At the same time, they feel dangerously close to the original, giving them broad possibilities to grow. Keep growing, 3 Musketeers, keep growing.

(Nutrition Facts – 7 pieces – 180 calories, 45 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 3.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 31 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Item: 3 Musketeers Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Minis
Purchased Price: $3.49
Size: 10 oz. bag
Purchased at: Kmart
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Snappy milk chocolate coating. Nice size. Nougat legacy. Lincoln Logs. Gooey cake batter. Travel shampoo bottles.
Cons: Peculiar toasty-powdery taste. A bit too close to the original. Absence of marshmallows. Nougat in an existential void. Thanksgiving comas. Eating tropical poinsettias.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel

Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel

“Limited Edition.”

The mere phrase has the power to transform, taking common fare and turning it into a full-on, hands-down life experience so that, 50-or-so years from now, you can sit on your porch and bang a cane on the ground as you tell some young band of whipper-snappers, “I remember, when I was your age, we used to have good ol’ fashioned Limited Edition French Vanilla Milky Ways!” Oh, the fulfillment that will come from such a pronouncement.

And, indeed, this was the thought that graced my mind as I perused the aisles of my friendly 24-hour pharmacy, searching in vain for those Halloween white chocolate M&M’s only to find the shelves empty as the Arizona duck ponds in the middle of July. As I felt myself drowning in a candy-induced crisis, a single wrapper reached out its hand. It was my rock. My salvation. And it came in the form of a 1.72-ounce bar.

Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel Pre-Consumption

(Cue the angelic chorus from above!)

The wrapper is nothing short of mind-controlling genius. Did you see that caramel curl? The swirly background? The thick design of chocolate enveloped by vanilla flora? That’s how you do mind control, people.

The Milky Way and I have had a fond affair over the past years, spending many-a-summer’s day in its various deliciously sweet forms (half-melted, frozen, in ice cream, in cookies, and so forth), thus made it the perfect companion for my pillow-fort-and-mid-90s-movie marathon this past weekend.

In many ways, this Milky Way harkens back to the classic. The milk chocolate coating is still the thick shell it’s always been and caramel is still that welcoming stretchy goo of sweetness. The marked difference in this limited fare is in the vanilla nougat.

Just upon opening the bar, the smell of vanilla poofs into the air. After taking a bite, I wouldn’t describe it so much as a “French Vanilla” as I would a “Vanilla Flavoring” (think along the lines of vanilla pudding or Vanilla Coffee-mate Creamer), and is it just me or is the texture fluffier than usual? Yes, yes indeed. Pleasantly reminiscent of a marshmallow, too.

This sweet-on-sweet-on-sweet is something I happen to enjoy. However, I have a certain resilience that transcends the average sweet tooth, so this may be too sweet for some. If you need a little bitter to accompany your sweet, I could see this making for a stellar coffee stirrer (or, in honor of its francophone title, perhaps dip it in a little espresso cup while dining at a petite café). Of course, you could also whip out some graham crackers, toss the bar in the microwave for a few seconds, and boom! You have insta-s’more.

Glancing over the ingredients, I would recommend suppressing the whole “hydrogenated oils” and “30 percent of your recommended intake of saturated fat” jibber jabber. What really matters is hidden…

Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel Ingredients

Do you see it?

Indeed! That’s skim milk! And egg whites! And more skim milk! These are the essential ingredients in a balanced breakfast! Watch out Wheaties. Milky Way is on your tail.

Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel Goo

(The perfect way to start the day)

This Milky Way may not have sparks and whistles and buzzes. Heck, it doesn’t even have sea salt, but it does have yumminess, and maybe that’s why this Limited Edition Milky Way was put on this Earth: to remind us that it’s okay to not be revolutionary. Yummy is just fine.

(Nutrition Facts – 220 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 30 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel reviews:
Mmm…Deliciousness

Item: Limited Edition Milky Way French Vanilla and Caramel
Purchased Price: $1.49
Size: 1.72 ounces
Purchased at: Walgreens
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Marshmallow-like nougat. Sweet. Mixing of old and new. Milky Way for breakfast. Pillow forts. S’more-related experiments.
Cons: Sweetness may be too much for some. Not very good for you. The unknown origins of “Vanilla Flavoring.” Mind control. Dried up duck ponds.

REVIEW: Peanut Butter Strawberry Luna Fiber Bar

Peanut Butter Strawberry Luna FIber Bars

Finding a delicious snack bar is about as likely as digging under your doorstep and unearthing a magical Viking helmet that summons world peace, eliminates grocery carts with one bad wheel, and resurrects Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy. It’d be unexpected, unlikely, and near impossible, but somewhere in all that nagging doubt rests the hope that said magical Viking helmet/delicious snack bar exists, and it is this slim probability that sustains a blind faith that you may stumble upon such an impossibility.

It is with this hope that I grabbed the Luna Peanut Butter and Strawberry Fiber Bar box as it proclaimed the “soft baked, fruit filled” contents within.

“Hmmm…” I said to myself. “Soft-baked? That sounds an awful lot like a cookie.”

Time to bring in the professional.

Peanut Butter Strawberry Luna FIber Bars Cookie Monster

So, equipped with Cookie Monster himself, I sat down to my soft-baked wrapper.

Bars fortified with vitamins and minerals have the taste reliability of the ten-day forecast. All those vitamins and minerals can either come through or, more often than not, sweep away anything reminiscent of flavor and leave you nostalgic for something that tastes better than tree bark. Not so here. One bite of these puppies and my taste buds were lit like a dance floor at a European discotheque from the 70s. Every element of this bar has its place. A thin strawberry layer for sweetness, a peanut butter cookie for roasty-toasty-saltiness, a sandy sugar coating (yes, I said sandy sugar coating) for a crackle. Oh, and are those peanut butter chips so generously sprinkled on top? Yes, yes they are.

And, indeed, this one’s for the peanut butter lovers. The peanut-butter-based cookie exterior takes up a good 83 percent of the bar according to my not-so-mathematical guess and is moister than the average Nutri-Grain. The thin strawberry filling is just enough goo without stretching into the forbidden realm of “goopy,” and the hint of salt functions like the bartender of the party, shaking up the flavor and allowing everyone to come out of their shells.

Peanut Butter Strawberry Luna FIber Bars Closeup

Look at that. Beautiful as the layered sands of the Grand Canyon only not as dry and much more tasty.

I’m fond of fitting into my pants. If you, too, are fond of fitting into your pants, these Luna bars can help you achieve/maintain that as they have a mere 120 calories, 4 grams of fat, and a whopping 7 grams of fiber. Just think of all the adventures that could arise out of the whole-grain energy you acquire: ice sculpting, pickle making, bull riding, treasure hunting, snake charming…the list goes on. Don’t be afraid. Get out there and have fun.

These may be targeted to women, but don’t let this piddly-posh marketing pull the wool over your eyes, gentlemen. I gave one to a man in my life, who claimed that all that peanut butter make these as man-friendly as an open grill and a lawn mower. Plus, they have Vitamin D and Vitamin D is downright sexy, so be a man! Eat a Luna fiber bar!

Overall, these make me want to whip out maracas and dance in my kitchen (which I may or may not have done). Having a cookie in the middle of the day is good. Having a cookie in the middle of the day with vitamins and minerals is even better. It is with this in mind that the C-monster himself hath blessed these bars with incantations of magical proportions. I came into this anticipating a vitamin-flavored, semi-stale fruit bar and I got a soft-baked rectangle of a portable joy.

Thank you, Luna, for completely defying my expectations.

Peanut Butter Strawberry Luna FIber Bars Cookie Monster 2

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 120 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 95 milligrams of potassium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 7 gram of dietary fiber, 11 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Other Peanut Butter Strawberry Luna Fiber Bar reviews:
Running Foodie
One Step at a Time

Item: Peanut Butter Strawberry Luna Fiber Bar
Purchased Price: $5.99
Size: 6 bars
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: Cookie-like. Peanut butter chips. Salty-sweet. Whole grains. Magical Viking helmets. Fitting into your pants. Pickle making. Vitamin D is sexy.
Cons: Over the everyday snack-bar-budget margin. Things that taste like tree bark. Grocery carts with one bad wheel. European discotheques from the 70s. The death of Ben and Jerry’s Wavy Gravy.

REVIEW: Stride iD Spearmint Gum

Stride iD Spearmint

Superego. Ego. Id.

According to the haunting wisps of memory remaining from that Psych. 101 class, a punk named Sigmund Freud proposed that these were the three basic levels of consciousness. The ego and superego were said to be little filters for our subconscious, making logical boundaries around impulses and memories, which is dandy if you want to live a safe, secure life, but, really, where’s the fun in logic?

That’s where the id comes in. The id is like the Elmo that walks around Times Square: it doesn’t make much sense, but it doesn’t have to. That’s why we love it. Theoretically, it exists solely on the drive of spontaneity, impulse, and creativity, and, now Stride’s encouraging us to dance about with that kooky subconscious through “iD,” a gum aimed to encourage folks to embrace their identity. Curious of how this might be achieved through a piece of gum, I sought it out.

First off, this packaging harkens recognition. The container itself is ever-so-slightly thinner than regular Stride gum, which gives it that “We just upgraded your iPod” feel. Despite this trim-n-slim package, you still get the same whopping 14 pieces of gum you would in regular Stride.

Stride iD Spearmint Dancers

And just look at that post-unwrapped cover. It makes me wanna embrace my identity. If a two-dimensional man with a fuzzy hat on his head can embrace his creativity, why shouldn’t I? It made me laugh, and, in a world filled with bats and taxes and canned green beans, more laughter is not only called for, but much needed. Supposedly, each package is equipped with a different little work of art, all depicting equally peculiar, quirky scenarios, so laugh on, gum-chewers.

And, just when you think they’ve thrown in every bit of packaging confetti possible, they throw in a pair of magnets.

Yes, folks, magnets.

Stride on Refrigerator!

This means you could stick your pack of gum to your refrigerator (and I know you’ve always wanted to do that…). But what these magnets do best is keep your little 14 sticks nice and snug as a bug in a rug, snapping the package shut so your gum stays buckled in for the long haul. It baffles me in both its simplicity and its brilliance. I call forth a Nobel Prize nomination for the individual responsible for this.

Stride iD Spearmint Closeup

Upon opening a piece, it seems even the gum embraces its own identity as each piece is equipped with a swirly little design to flash about in its big debut.

Having been predisposed to all of this packaging brilliance, my hopes stood on the Mount Kilimanjaro of peaks with anticipatory delight for the chewing to come, so I unwrapped my minty rectangle and gave it a try and…well…

Meh.

It started off with a spearmint fling, and then traversed into a peculiar fruity realm that didn’t suit well for my taste buds. No doubt, the flavor lasted for a long time, but the tropical aftertaste didn’t sit well with me. I tried everything to like it.

Chewing it walking.

Chewing it upside-down.

Chewing it before I brushed my teeth.

Chewing it after I brushed my teeth.

I even chewed it while doing deep-breathing yoga exercises in which I visualized myself enjoying the gum, but, alas, I couldn’t get past that peculiar aftertaste.

Then, I read the ingredient list and there it was:

Partially Hydrogenated Coconut Oil.

(Cue the tuba: Bwa, bwa, bwaaaa)

They say the sound of a crumbling heart is soft and slow, and I swear I heard my own shoved into the mortar and pestle as I read that line. While I don’t see it being particularly necessary, I didn’t mind the, “partially hydrogenated,” part too much. No doubt some of my sturdy lifetime favorites involve it (Pop Tarts, Oreos, Pillsbury biscuits, etc.), but I must confess I’m not aboard the coconut-flavored train. I suspect this may be the very culprit foiling my taste buds.

While I didn’t particularly dig the taste tunes played by this Stride, I appreciate what’s going on with the gum as a whole. It’s got a soft chew, lasts for a good 10-15 minutes, and has the coolest packaging this side of Jupiter.

Plus, at the end of the day, my taste buds are driven by my impulses, which are part of my id. In this, I felt this gum accomplished what it set out to do: celebrate the creative elements of the id, and that, to me, calls forth an above-average rating for the new gum.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 piece – less than 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar alcohol, and less than 0 grams of protein.)

Other Stride iD Spearmint Gum reviews:
Gum Connoisseur

Item: Stride iD Spearmint Gum
Purchased Price: $1.29
Size: 14 pieces
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Long chewing time. Strong flavor. Swirly designs. Magnets. Laughter. Mount Kilimanjaro. Elmo in Times Square. Tubas.
Cons: Not the best if you don’t like coconut. Partially hydrogenated oil. Haunting memories of Psych. 101. Canned green beans.

REVIEW: Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips

Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips

The Egyptians loved triangles.

I mean, they preserved their dead leaders in them, trusting that this big 5.9-million-ton, three-dimensional triangle would protect the soul of their worldly demi-gods and unleash curses onto unsuspecting grave robbers. That’s faith, people.

Call me a sucker for massive archaeological structures, but I think those ancient Egyptians had something going with their devoted adoration of triangles. Triangles do great things for the world. They inspired cinnamon scones and chiming musical instruments and, now, these Ranch Tortilla Popchips.

Without question, I dig these modest little chips. Crispy and a tad crunchy. The texture’s slightly less dense than a Dorito, but definitely more dense than a Cheeto (a Chorito??).

I like my flavored chips with lots of flavor dust on each chip and those Popchip folk made sure they didn’t skimp on this bag. If this chip were a geological formation, the ranch dusting on these suckers forms the entire crust while the stone-ground corn base serves as the tortilla planet’s core. (Wouldn’t that be cool: if the world’s core was made of tortilla chips?)

Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips Cavern

Just imagine: all that ranch-y, tortilla goodness in the Earth’s core…

The corn is a great foundation, tossing around texture and a dash of sweetness all willy-nilly. And, just when you think you’re done, you get that little nostalgic hint of ranch dust that gets left on your fingers, which is perfect for consumption upon your completion of said crunchy snack.

Plus, they’re ranch! Ranch is the culinary embodiment of fun. It calls forth hammocks and lemonade and trampolines. Alchemists accidentally discovered it in their search for gold and uncovered that it made broccoli especially tasty. Without question, ranch, done well, is great, and it’s definitely been treated with the love and care it deserves here.

Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips Closeup

With only 4 grams of fat and 120 calories for sixteen chips, these are pretty dad-gum good for you. They’re trans-fat free, void of red dye #5, and have 10% of your daily needs for calcium. If King Tut had been buried with a stash of these babies, I’ve no doubt his calcium-fortified spirit would’ve punched out the Egyptians’ half-jackal, half-human god of Death (that’s Anubis, for all you Jeopardy fans out there…).

The biggest conundrum? These buggers are hard to find. I discovered these sitting between the Flintstone vitamins and overpriced nail polish while I was pandering about at a Duane Reade pharmacy, but have yet to witness them appearing in the groceries. Perhaps it’s because they’re in the test-market phase of their life or perhaps it is because I live on a sinking rock in the Atlantic Ocean, but, either way, they’re so good that I hold on with hope that they will appear more often in the future.

Triangles are simple, which is beautiful, for it is with this simplicity that triangles create especially cool things. There’s the Flatiron building, cherry turnovers, mysterious voids in Bermuda and, now, Popchips in Tortilla form. No question. The ancient Egyptians had it right all along: triangles are amazing.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 chips per serving/28 grams – 120 calories, 35 calories from fat, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 20 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.)

Item: Popchips Ranch Tortilla Chips
Purchased Price: $2.99
Size: 3.5 ounce bag
Purchased at: Duane Reade
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Crunchy. Low fat. No artificial dyes. Ranch dust. Calcium. Triangles. Trampolines. King Tut’s mummy punching the Ancient Egyptian god of Death in the nose.
Cons: Difficult to find. Not yet available in plain. Kooky grave robbers. Overpriced nail polish. The world’s core is not made of tortilla chips.

REVIEW: Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt

Winter is coming.

And now is the time to prepare.

Because, alongside the vanishing flip-flops, shorter days, and temporary extinction of Super Soakers comes the Annual Freezer Hibernation, that distressing time of year when the ice cream companies swipe the shelves of their limited-time summer bounties, taking with them their Samoas and S’mores as the Good Humor Trucks mosey out into the weary horizon with the anticipation of a predicted dip in ice cream consumption.

However, I also know that, within this magnificent world, there exists a league of talented individuals: the few, the proud, the bat-crazy, dairy-lovin’, cream-o-vore daredevils who dive into the comforting frozen dairy treat smack in the middle of a snowstorm February.

If you happen to look like a forlorn bulldog on the night of the winter solstice as you press your face to the glass in the frozen dessert aisle, fear not, oh wonderful cream-lovin’ crazy! Hope may just be on the horizon! For it seems that those Healthy Choice humans are setting aside their microwave ways and diving into the world of frozen yogurt.

In my domineering obsessions for chocolate and peanut butter, seldom do I gush about the glories of vanilla, and yet vanilla has a certain flexibility and persistence that allows it to transcend the average, holding strong as the backdrop to a barrage of toppings. Fudge, fruit, cones, cups, cookies, and cravings of all sorts can meander their way into vanilla and create a brand new concoction and transform the simple, delicate flavor of vanilla into a new creation.

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt Cup

As a result, I’m guilty of plundering the humble vanilla bean with an abundance of other toppings, mixing and melding and masking away at the taste of the gentle black flower. I decided last week that it has been for too long that I have swept vanilla into the passenger seat. For my first tasting, I am going to let the yogurt stand alone, void of decoration or ornaments.

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt Warning

Come with me, little non-microwavable vanilla ice cream cup, and let us see if the world will smile.

First off, my freezer is so cold it could freeze a bottle of vodka into a stone, so I’m going to set this first cup out for about 15 minutes so as to allow the ice cream melt into the “semi-melt” stage, which might be described as “gloopy” if gloopy were a word. But feel free to defrost to your own liking due to the strength of your freezer and the breadth of your inner ice cream patience (mine happens to be a very short).

(And she dives in with the multi-colored spoon)

Whoa.

My past experience with vanilla ice cream tends to put my taste buds into a state of melancholy despair, leaving my mouth coated in a film of milky vanilla water, but this! This tastes of hope! Hope with hints of honey and caramel! And it even holds a tang that tinges on…is that cheesecake?? Because, if it is, he’s welcome to the join the parade.

With the addition of Greek yogurt, I feared this tang would snake its way into the realm of sour, but I was pleasantly surprised to find it’s quite a diplomatic tang: neither too strong nor too soft. Thank you, dear vanilla bean, for resolving your flavor contrasts in such a peaceful and delicious manner.

A main kick that knocks me off the ice cream cart is the presence of freezer burn as it invades across the spine of an overly whipped and/or overly watery ice cream landscape. Not so for these little cups. They’re dad-gum creamy. Daisy, the happy Healthy Choice cow, should be pleased with her work here.

Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt Closeup

Look at that creamy goodness (yup, those are little bitty vanilla bean specks).

Some ice creams make you feel sad, frumpy, and powerless, but not these bounties. Standing at 100 calories per cup, each vanilla-studded miracle has four grams of protein, and even have 10 percent calcium, thus giving you the right to celebrate with flips on the monkey bars with your calcium-fortified bones. What’s more, you’re equipped with three bowls of that empowerment to charge you forth during the rest of your day, and, indeed, you should eat all three: recent studies show that eating Greek frozen yogurt will make you a movie star, which may or may not be something I just made up. I’ll let you decide…

One of the elements that distinguishes the human being from the platypus is the human’s ability to undergo the artist’s cycle of the creation and destruction, and, while I sometimes wish I were a semi-aquatic mammal, I could not be more grateful for this ability as I decided to exploit that human skill on a second tasting. I went with a cone option and melted a little chocolate inside the cone to create a candy shell. I then emptied out the Healthy choice ice cream on that sucker and crunched in. It was divine. Of course, the possibilities don’t stop at cones. You could add some toasted hazelnuts and fudge or strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Or make an ice cream sandwich. Or an affogato. Add ginger cookies. Rainbow chip cookies. Relish in your creative capacity! For three whole cups! Create! Destroy! Repeat!

Since it was hanging around before the Aztecs, I imagine the vanilla bean to be a flower of great wisdom, and the benevolence of the simple flavor present in this frozen yogurt spreads that wisdom, reminding me that nothing need be pushy or aggressive to be strong. With the outgoing supply of summer ice creams, I’m relieved to know that I don’t have to wait for vanilla to come into season as this curiously wonderful little cup, indeed, has crept its non-microwave-safe way into my life and made me smile. Keep up the good work, vanilla.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 100 calories, 15 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 2 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 135 milligrams of potassium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Item: Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean Greek Frozen Yogurt
Purchased Price: $2.99 (with a coupon)
Size: 3 4-ounce cups/box
Purchased at: Food Emporium
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Vanilla. Creamy. The taste of hope. Cheesecake. Calcium. Single-serving cups. Peaceful diplomacy. Multi-colored spoons. Gloopy. Bat-crazy cream-o-vores. Create! Destroy! Repeat!
Cons: Absence of chocolate option. Ice cream truck hibernation. Forlorn bulldogs. I’m not a platypus.