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.

Post Peanut Butter  Cocoa Pebbles Cereal 2

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.

M M s Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwiches 3

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.

REVIEW: Ben & Jerry’s Truffles Ice Cream

Ben  Jerry s Truffles Ice Cream

My relationship with Ben & Jerry’s goes way back. Our Facebook status would be “It’s Complicated” because of its on again/off again nature. While in college, a cone of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia was a splurge compared to the soft-serve offered on campus. While I lived in Mexico, I often longed for a scoop of Vermont gold instead of the frozen vegetable shortening offered by Nestle.

Our relationship back then was intense and passionate. These days, though, Ben & Jerry’s has taken a back seat to a more sultry suitor, Talenti.

Ice cream is my favorite food group and I’m not picky. If it’s cold, sweet, and creamy, I’m generally content. Until recently, Ben & Jerry’s distinguished itself from other brands for something I refer to as the “eat-in-one-sitting” factor. Their ice creams usually rate high on that factor and recently, when I’ve picked a pint of Pistachio Pistachio, I’m reminded of the steadfastness of my relationship with Ben & Jerry’s.

I was hoping that Ben & Jerry’s new Truffles line would woo me back to ice cream brand fidelity with the promise of a sweet lover’s whammy: ice cream and a decadent confection together. The Truffles line has three flavors: Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake, Chillin’ the Roast, and Chocolate Shake It! After trying these new flavors, our status is still “It’s Complicated.”

Chocolate Shake It Truffles

Ben  Jerry s Chocolate Shake It Truffles Ice Cream

I started with this one because I’m not a big fan of malt flavors (except in beer) so I had low expectations and wanted to get it out of the way. I was wrong. It turned out to be my favorite of the three and the only one I felt compelled to eat the whole pint in one sitting. The chocolate malt milkshake ice cream base was mildly malt flavored, more like milk chocolate with a hint of malt. The marshmallow ribbons were gooey but not sticky.

Ben  Jerry s Chocolate Shake It Truffles Ice Cream 2

The truffles had a dark chocolate cookie coating with a pronounced roasted (burnt?) flavor and were evenly balanced throughout the pint. Each spoonful of ice cream was more reminiscent of s’mores than Whopper malt balls. For someone like myself who doesn’t like malt, this was a plus. This was the most balanced flavor combination of the three.

Chillin’ the Roast Truffles

Ben  Jerry s Chillin the Roast Truffles Ice Cream

The coffee ice cream base had a distinct coffee flavor, not overpowering but definitely obvious. It reminded me of what my coffee tastes like when it has been sitting out for a few hours, half-and-half mildly soured.

Ben  Jerry s Chillin the Roast Truffles Ice Cream 2

The truffles had the same coating as Chocolate Shake It! but with a dense rum-laced liqueur core. The fudge swirls were unremarkable and did not seem elemental to this flavor mashup. The truffles were less evenly distributed in this flavor than in the other two flavors, though, overall, they were my favorite, especially when eaten separately from the ice cream base. This flavor was a nice change from plain ol’ coffee ice cream, but too intense for whole pint-bingeing.

Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles

Ben  Jerry s Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake Truffles Ice Cream

In theory, this one sounded amazing. In practice, it was very disappointing. I kept looking at the label to remind myself of what Ben & Jerry’s was trying to achieve. What flavor was the ice cream base? Oh. Caramel Cheesecake? Okaaay. The truffles? Cheesecake? Oh really?

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The graham cracker coating on these truffles disintegrated easily into the ice cream base, leaving a marble-sized pellet of frozen coconut oil. The “cheesecake” core tasted like coconut oil with lemon notes. The chocolate swirl didn’t meld well with rest of the flavor elements, perhaps because the flavor of the cheesecake truffle was so strong. Perhaps a caramel swirl would have been better suited? I tried this one last, fully expecting to eat it in one sitting. Alas, it’s one of a few ice creams I’ve ever tasted where I was not compelled to eat more than just the recommended serving. Ben & Jerry’s, you have betrayed me.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/2 cup – Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake – 300 calories, 19 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 65 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein. Chillin’ The Roast – 270 calories, 17 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 70 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of protein. Chocolate Shake It! – 260 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of saturated fat, 60 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 23 grams of sugars, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $4.69 each
Size: 1 pint
Purchased at: Food Lion
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Chocolate Shake It!)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Chillin’ the Roast)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake)
Pros: Ice cream and fancy candy together. Unique additions to otherwise common ice cream flavors.
Cons: Pronounced coconut oil flavor in some truffle bites. Ice cream base flavors that are just “meh.”

REVIEW: Yoplait Girl Scout Cookies Yogurt

Yoplait Girl Scout Cookies Yogurt jpg

Girl Scout Cookies come around each year just as some people are finally getting the hang of whatever diet they’ve decided to try out or just as they have given up on said diet.

Girl Scout Cookies are not permitted on most trendy diets, but Yoplait takes advantage of its “health food” reputation to offer a product to appease those who want to eat them on the 27th day of their diet.

Well, that’s what I tell myself because Yoplait surely can’t believe that someone would choose to eat a Girl Scout Cookie-flavored yogurt instead of a Girl Scout Cookie. Right? But, hey, maybe these flavors will prove themselves a good substitute for when you want some only to find that you’ve missed all the cookie sales.

For the purpose of this review, I procured some Thin Mints and Caramel Delites from a neighborhood Scout for comparison.

Yoplait Original Caramel Coconut

Yoplait Original Caramel Coconut jpg

The latter are my favorite Girl Scout cookie so I decided to start with Yoplait Original Caramel Coconut flavored yogurt. Ahhhh, the first Caramel Delite of the cookie season…dry toasted coconut bits, crisp shortbread cookie, light milk chocolate flavor, chewy burnt caramel coating. Yum. I start to eat another and remind myself that I’m reviewing the yogurt, not the cookies.

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I wasn’t sure what Yoplait’s rendition of Caramel Coconut would look like, but I was surprised to see that it was so boring. The yogurt was a pale caramel color and peppered with salt-sized coconut bits. The taste was more disappointing than the appearance. I imagine this is what “caramel color” tastes like in its pure form, astringent and chemical-forward.

There was a tinge of coconut, but it was off-putting and overpowered by the caramel notes. Nary a hint of chocolate was detected, despite the chocolate stripes depicted on the cookie on the label. This knockoff flavor will leave you wanting to eat multiple Caramel Delites to cover up the cloying flavor that lingers long after the last spoonful of deception.

Yoplait Whips! Thin Mints

Yoplait Whips Thin Mints jpg

Next up, Yoplait Whips! Thin Mints. I spotted some chocolate ingredients on the label of this yogurt, so I had high hopes. It had a dark chocolate color and the usual spongy Whips! appearance. The chocolate flavor was quite strong and authentic. The mint flavor was good but more pronounced (and more artificial tasting) than in real Thin Mints.

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It’s hard for me to get past the texture of the Whips!, though. This probiotic-laced sugar bomb is not a bad choice if you’re in the mood for chocolate mint yogurt, but it’s not nearly as satisfying as a serving of Thin Mint cookies, if that’s what you’re hoping for.

Yoplait Whips! Peanut Butter Chocolate

Finally, I wish I could say that the Yoplait Whips! Peanut Butter Chocolate was more remarkable that its Thin Mints cousin, but it wasn’t. The chocolate flavor was milder and the peanut butter flavor was reminiscent of a scratch-and-sniff sticker and not of actual peanut butter. At least the mint in the Thin Mints one tasted like mint.

Yoplait Whips Peanut Butter Chocolate jpg

The Tagalongs that were the inspiration for this flavor feature a dime-sized nugget of peanut butter, so I was expecting this to be nuttier than it was. Another disappointment.

Bottom line: Eat these if you’re eager to try a new Yoplait flavor and you prefer some yogurt cultures with your 20+ grams of sugar. Otherwise, just eat the Girl Scout cookie you’re craving (or 2 or 4) and be happier.

(Nutrition Facts – Caramel Coconut – 160 calories, 3 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 110 milligrams of sodium, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 20 grams of sugars, and 6 grams of protein. Thin Mints – 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of protein. Peanut Butter Chocolate – 160 calories, 4 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 milligrams of cholesterol, 100 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 22 grams of sugars, and 5 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: 60 cents each
Size: 4 oz.
Purchased at: Food Lion and Walmart
Rating: 2 out of 10 (Caramel Coconut)
Rating: 4 out of 10 (Thin Mints)
Rating: 3 out of 10 (Peanut Butter Chocolate)
Pros: Probiotic yogurt cultures. Gluten-free if you’re into that.
Cons: Cloying flavors. 20+ grams of sugar per serving (twice as much as a serving either Girl Scout cookie). Lactic acid esters of mono and diglycerides, whatever the heck those are!

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Sarah

I love grocery shopping and grocery stores. When traveling, I always make an excuse to pop into a grocery store to see what’s on the shelves. Even with kids.

I’m a mom to two young kids and grocery delivery services are often hawked to my demographic as the magic remedy to make you forget the snotty noses, the whining, the sibling bickering, the “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” and all the other things that make grocery shopping with kids not so enjoyable. But, you know what my magic remedy is?

Junk food.

Nooooo, not for them. For me.

I love discovering new products and squirreling them away to enjoy later.

For the most part, I’m into healthy food and preparing nourishing food for my family. I cook most meals from scratch, making a roux for casseroles instead of using canned mushroom soup or my own pizza dough. We have a garden where we grow turmeric for our smoothies and shiitake mushrooms for our stir-fry.

Growing up, though, my parents didn’t cook meals from scratch or garden or do anything like that. They were masters of the microwave. But, while we always had food on the table, it’s never what I pine away for these days. Instead, it’s grocery store junk food that brings back all those warm and fuzzy childhood memories. It’s my comfort food.

So, tucked away on the top right corner shelf of my pantry, above the organic rye flour, local sorghum syrup, chia seeds, and the tub of organic cold-pressed coconut oil is my junk food stash. Sometimes the limited edition Oreo cookies don’t even make it inside, but rather stay under the front seat of the car, even though I’m the only one who eats them.

My husband is a food snob and most of my friends are the type who have barely finished their Halloween candy by the time Cadbury Creme Eggs come out. They don’t understand my affinity for odd flavor combinations nor my fascination with reading nutrition and ingredient labels (it’s my party trick — read me a label and I can tell you the product).

Thank goodness I found The Impulsive Buy and my tribe of fellow junk food lovers who are not turned off by Peach Cobbler or Brazilian steak-flavored potato chips, Gingerbread Spice M&M’s, and Cotton Candy Oreos.

So, if you’re ever at my house for a locally sourced dinner of pan-fried free-range rabbit, stone-ground polenta cakes, salad made with foraged greens, and bottle-conditioned craft beer, remember that the top right shelf in my pantry is where you can find the good stuff. Help yourself. 😉