REVIEW: Kellogg’s Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes Cereal

Kellogg s Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes

I am a grump during the summer, so I generally welcome any hint that fall is around the corner. I was excited to try the Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Frosted Flakes, especially since it was 90 degrees out and I. Am. So. Done. With. Summer.

I opened the box eagerly, hoping for the essence of autumn to wrap me in its crisp coziness. Whoa. The scent was artificial and strong — pumpkin spice wool sweater, pumpkin spice window cleaner, pumpkin spice plastic wrap, but definitely not anything edible.

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Before pouring in the milk, I tasted a few of the dry cereal pieces. Less sugary than regular Frosted Flakes, it was more like corn flakes with a dusting of nutmeg. Unfortunately, I couldn’t imagine eating these dry no matter how desperately I wanted to move on to autumn.

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I was nearing the point of resigning myself to more days of summer by the time I poured the milk. Lo and behold, visions of campfires, football games, and open windows slowly emerged. Faint notes of pumpkin pie were in each spoonful, though the “spice” was a hit or miss in each bite. Some bites were more nutmeg forward, while others were more cinnamon-y. It was hard to detect any pumpkin, leading me to wonder if there was any in there at all, because it was definitely more spice than pumpkin.

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Not wanting to give up on this fall flavor quite yet, I prepared myself another bowl. It was better than the first, tasting more and more like pumpkin pie with each bite. I was pouring even more cereal into the bowl before I knew it, perhaps distracted by the artwork on the back of the box touting “Tony’s Pumpkin Up the Jams Festival.” I used to have a pair of Jams (as did any other hip kid in the 80s) and the idea of having gourds up in them did not sound comfortable. Soon I was daydreaming of fall music festivals, the state fair, hot chocolate, and PSLs.

Aha! Now I know why I was enjoying each bowl of this cereal more than the previous one! The left-behind milk increasingly tasted more and more like the creamy Thanksgiving pie as more spice infused it as I ate. The spice in the milk was balanced and a faint pumpkin flavor peeked through. I almost enjoyed drinking the milk as much as I enjoy a pumpkin spice latte.

Almost.

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Unfortunately, this was a lot of mediocre cereal to endure for a small amount of goodness. Next time, I’ll get my pumpkin spice fix elsewhere. If I want it on my cereal, I’ll sprinkle some on regular Frosted Flakes instead.

(Why haven’t I thought of that before???)

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup – 110 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of sugars, and 1 gram of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.69
Size: 10 oz. box
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 5 out of 10
Pros: Not overly sweet. Mild flavors were not cloying and tasted natural.
Cons: Strong plastic smell. Minimal pumpkin flavor. Needs to soak up milk before best flavors come out.

REVIEW: Skippy P.B. Fruit Bites (Strawberry and Grape)

Skippy P B Fruit Bites  Strawberry and Grape

“Mommy, I want a snack!” “Mommy, I need a snack!” “Mommy, can I have a snack, please?” “I’m soooooo hungry, mommy!”

If you saw us out in public, you might believe that I never feed my kids by the way they are always asking for food. But, if you have young kids, or if you haven’t yet fully repressed the less-endearing memories from when your children were preschoolers, you know that snack management is at least 50 percent of your parenting responsibility at that age.

Snacks are essential to mom life. Bonus if the snacks are quick and relatively healthy. But, just like adults, kids get bored with the usual options, which is why finding something new is exciting for all of us. Enter the new Skippy P.B. Fruit Bites.

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Skippy P.B. Fruit Bites are available in two varieties, grape and strawberry. They feature fruit-flavored centers with a Skippy peanut butter-flavored coating and are advertised as “portable, pop-able snacks.” They resemble yogurt or chocolate covered raisins in size and texture.

Skippy P B Fruit Bites Grape

We tried the Grape bites first as I was curious to know how a “dried grape center” would differ from a raisin center. The answer is that it tasted like dried grape flavored bubble gum. I think a full raisin, and not a manufactured dried grape, would have resulted in a snack that more closely resembled a peanut butter & grape jelly sandwich.

The textures of the peanut butter coating and the fruit center did not blend well and were distinctly obvious in each bite. The grape-flavored center was artificial and not fruity tasting at all. Each bite tasted like a piece of cheap, old grape-flavored candy and oily peanut butter powder. I did not feel compelled to eat more than a few and couldn’t even pawn them off on my hungry, snack-loving kiddos.

Skippy P B Fruit Bites Strawberry

The strawberry P.B. Fruit Bites were a different story, though. The Skippy Peanut Butter coating had the iconic Skippy flavor, slightly sweet with a smooth and creamy peanut flavor. The coating melded well with the fruit center and did not disintegrate into separate pieces like its grape counterpart.

The fruit center tasted more authentic than the grape one, with natural strawberry flavor (in the form of a cranberry). It was more convincingly fruit than just “fruit flavored.” This matters when you’re trying to convince yourself, as a parent, that your kids’ snacks have some value other than to buy a few minutes of peace and quiet.

Overall, I liked the strawberry P.B. Fruit Bites enough to add them into the snack rotation, but not as a regular addition. At over $3 for a small bag of bites, they are too pricey for an everyday snack but will be an occasional sweet treat.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 oz. – Grape – 140 calories, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein. Strawberry – 150 calories, 8 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 5 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 15 grams of carbohydrates, 11 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.29 each
Size: 4 oz. bag
Purchased at: Food Lion
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Grape)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Strawberry)
Pros: Quick snack with some nutritional value. Strawberry one tasted more authentic than grape. Didn’t melt in summer heat. Real fruit in centers.
Cons: Grape one tasted like a piece of cheap, old grape-flavored candy and oily peanut butter powder. Expensive as an everyday snack. Choking hazard warning on front of package suggests that these are not for kids under 3.

QUICK REVIEW: Limited Edition Summer Splash Skittles

Limited Edition Summer Splash Skittles

What is it?

Summer Splash is a limited edition Skittles variety, sold exclusively at Dollar General. The bag includes Blue Raspberry, Orange, Kiwi Banana, Strawberry, and Watermelon.

Limited Edition Summer Splash Skittles 2

How is it?

Before I tried this, I thought about what a “summer splash” might taste like in candy form. Tropical flavors like piña colada, tropical punch, mango, and key lime first came to mind. I was somewhat surprised that they were not the typical beach-y varieties after all.

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After I tried my first handful, it hit me…Summer Splash Skittles have just a “splash” of flavor! D’oh. The orange one was the most muted of the mix. It vaguely reminded me of a Creamsicle with its subtle orange notes. The yellow kiwi banana was also mild, with an inconspicuous banana taste and only a slight kiwi taste. I would not have guessed either of them in a blind taste test.

The pink strawberry piece tastes just like a pink Starburst, only crunchier. Blue raspberry was the tartest in this exclusive collection with crisper fruit flavors than the others. The strongest was the green watermelon one, though it was still notably less pucker-inducing than its other watermelon Skittle predecessors.

A bonus was that the “splash” of flavor in each piece allowed for combinations of different Skittles to be nuanced without being overpowering. Overall, these were quite enjoyable.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Summer Splash Skittles are only available at Dollar General (where everything is not a dollar) and for a limited time, so if you like these, I’d recommend stocking up on them while you can. Also, pairing them with other Skittles varieties would be fun.

Conclusion:

With a splash of subtle fruit flavors, Summer Splash Skittles are a lighter tasting candy treat when you need a sugar fix while you’re enjoying the other splashes of summer from the pool or beach.

Purchased Price: 85 cents
Size: 2 oz. bag
Purchased at: Dollar General (Exclusive)
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2 oz. bag) 230 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of sodium, 52 grams of carbohydrates, 42 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Post Peanut Butter & Cocoa Pebbles Cereal

Post Peanut Butter  Cocoa Pebbles Cereal

Conclusion: Post’s Peanut Butter & Cocoa Pebbles could be your new favorite cereal. In law school, I was taught a way of legal writing that begins with the conclusion, follows with supporting evidence, and then restates the conclusion.

There’s my conclusion. Now, here’s my supporting evidence…

Over the past few months, I transitioned to a vegan diet for various reasons. Many assume that a vegan diet is a “healthy” one, but those of us who enjoy junk food know there’s a lot of food that people think is “healthy,” but isn’t.

Potato chips, hard candy, popsicles, soda, beer…often, these are vegan. One of my thrills of eating junk food, however, is finding that stereotypical “junk food” that is closer to “healthy” than many of its so-called “healthy” competitors. Turns out Post’s Peanut Butter & Cocoa Pebbles is a boxful of vegan joy and it’s actually not too bad for you either. Vegans don’t have to be stuck with granola unless they want to be.

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Right out of the box, the Pebbles smelled like cocoa butter with a hint of nuts, not clearly peanuts, but nutty. I snacked on a handful while I waited for my unsweetened almond milk to soak into the pebbles. In their dry state, they are crispy and taste like what I imagine a freeze-dried Reese’s Cup Rice Krispie treat would taste like. After waiting about 30 seconds, I dug in.

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Each spoonful was a delight. The peanut butter and cocoa flavors were balanced, but notable, in each bite. The peanut butter flavor was authentic, not artificial tasting. The cocoa flavor was light and reminiscent of chocolate milk. I poured myself another bowl. Bowl 2 was equally as satisfying as Bowl 1. Rinse and repeat.

The next morning, I tried the cereal with unsweetened oat milk to test whether the nuttiness of the almond milk made a difference in the overall flavor. There was little difference between the cereal with the almond milk and the cereal with the oat milk. The cereal held up well in both and I suspect it would do equally well in any milk. It also held up well after three minutes of unintentional soak time, only slightly less crispy, but definitely not soggy.

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I’m not a fan of drinking milk, so I rarely drink the leftover milk from cereal. With this cereal, I just kept adding more cereal to my milk until there was no more milk left. However, the last sip of milk remaining was slurp-worthy, not too sweet, nor with too much disintegrated cereal debris.

Conclusion: Go ahead, eat five bowlsful while watching cartoons on Netflix (Inspector Gadget, anyone?) Or, try topping your (vegan) yogurt or ice cream with the leftover cereal that always manages to end up at the bottom of the box. Any way you eat this, I’m sure you will enjoy it.

(Editor’s Note: A Post Cereals representative tells me that this currently is not gluten-free.)

(Nutrition Facts – 3/4 cup serving – 120 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 24 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugars, and 2 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $3.48
Size: 20 oz. box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Vegan. Low sugar for a “sugary” cereal. Versatile snack. Real peanut butter and cocoa ingredients.
Cons: Cartoons aren’t the same as they used to be.

QUICK REVIEW: M&M’s Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

M M s Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches

What is it?

M&M’s Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches are a new alternative to the M&M’s Vanilla Ice Cream Sandwiches already on shelves. They feature chocolate cookies sprinkled with mini M&M’s and a chocolate ice cream middle.

How is it?

M M s Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches 2

The chocolate ice cream reminded me of a Wendy’s Frosty and was quite creamy, despite its reduced-fat status. It was dense enough to hold up in the sandwich, but also airy enough to melt easily with each bite. The brownie-like chocolate cookies were perfectly chewy and a solid support for the ice cream filling, which is a challenge for some ice cream sandwiches. The goal is delicate firmness, not so hard as to break a tooth but not so soft that it falls apart after a minute of being out of the freezer.

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The cookie had a nice butter note which lends them a homemade taste. Sadly, there were only a few M&M’s on each side of the cookie and they were overpowered by the chocolatey-ness of the cookie and ice cream. The candies were a nice addition, though not elemental as one might expect, so the parse spattering will likely be a disappointment for those choosing this product to get an M&M’s fix.

Is there anything else I need to know?

These look to be a permanent addition in the ice cream section soon. The vanilla version has a shortbread cookie and a vanilla ice cream middle.

Conclusion:

Get the six pack if you like chocolate ice cream, ice cream sandwiches, and/or chocolate cookies, but one sandwich is probably plenty if you’re looking for some M&M’s action.

Purchased Price: $6.19
Size: 6 sandwich/box
Purchased at: Lowes Foods
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 sandwich) 240 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 200 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 24 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.