REVIEW: Cap’n Crunch’s Cinnamon Roll Crunch

Cap'n Crunch's Cinnamon Roll Crunch

There’s something a bit surreal about eating breakfast food patterned after an entirely different breakfast food, isn’t there? I don’t want to get overly zen, but it’s like saying, “I enjoy this food enough to want to duplicate its taste, but do you have a slower, less convenient way of eating it?”

We all know cereal is awesome, but you can’t eat it one handed while changing lanes, shifting gears, adjusting the radio, balancing coffee in your lap, and flipping off some moron who’s trying to do too many things at once. And if you can, please cease driving along the PA/NJ border between the hours of 8:30-9:00 every morning.

Nonetheless, Her Majesty’s honorable Captain Horatio Soggybane Crunchley has decided to give it a go, so here we are. If you’re like me, your first thought was, “Did they try to make the pieces look like mini cinnamon rolls? Or will they resemble the jagged Cap’n Crunch bits we all know and some of us love?” The surprising answer is “neither” — these are just little asymmetrical balls, about the size of a Cocoa Puff. No biggie, but it’s slightly puzzling why they didn’t just use the standard CC shape (and for that matter, why they don’t do the same for Peanut Butter Crunch). Either way, it doesn’t impact the taste, and I suppose these are less likely to irritate those with more sensitive palates.

The packaging is fairly typical fare, with the Cap’n holding up a cinnamon roll with wisps of aroma lines that let us know, damn, this fictional drawing of a breakfast pastry smells good. In keeping with the theme, the back has two pictures of a bakery scene, inviting you to find ten differences between them. (I got nine without checking the answers — let me just offer that two of them are such incredibly subtle differences, they make Where’s Waldo look like a child’s search n’ find.) The answer key is on the bottom of the box, though this isn’t clarified anywhere on the package. I guess they figure anyone not smart enough to figure it out isn’t going to be wasting their time with the puzzle anyway.

Continuing on, one side panel boasts the standard nutritional information, the other links to the Cap’n’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Maybe I’m just an old fuddy duddy, but I’m not sure I really want to know that the Cap’n’s current relationship status is “My life, my love and my lady is the Sea” or what he’s hashtagging these days. Although if Quaker Oats just turns the Twitter feed over to some wiseass intern and lets him run with it, I can see the potential for comedic goodness. “Hey, remember when I met Spider-Man? How freaking stoned was whoever dreamed that up? #FourTwenty” or “Avast, y u no like crunchness, Soggmeister? 🙁 ”

Cap'n Crunch's Cinnamon Roll Crunch Closeup

I’m realizing we’re four paragraphs in and I haven’t touched on the flavor, so let’s fix that. As you’d expect, these don’t taste exactly like cinnamon rolls, or much like them at all really. In the movie version, the most they’ll be legally allowed to put on screen will be “loosely inspired by.” But they still taste quite good, as I sit here eating dry pieces out of the box, unable to stop myself from reaching for more. There’s a definite cinnamon flavor, though far subtler than you’d find in an actual cinnamon roll. They’re crunchy but not nearly as much so as regular Cap’n Crunch, possibly due to the shape. And if you were hoping for any kind of a frosting drizzle, keep looking. But the smell, while understated, is sugary and appealing.

You know what cereal they vaguely remind me of? The late, much lamented (by me) Waffle Crisp. The texture is a little different, not quite as hard, but they have the same initial burst of sweetness with a maple syrup-y taste. The major difference is that these (obviously) also feature cinnamon, but again, it’s a lot less intense than you’d expect, nowhere near what you’d get from, say, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Which, since we’re addressing the elephant in the room, is still the preferred cinnamon-based breakfast cereal, due to being far more aggressive and flakier. In this case at least, baker comes out on top of seaman. And alas, the good captain’s boast that his cereal doesn’t get soggy in milk is about as credible as his tale of once making it with a mermaid.

But don’t let that steer you away from trying Cap’n Crunch’s Cinnamon Roll Crunch. It’s still a good-tasting cereal that’s worth trying at least once. And since it’s almost certainly for a limited time only, once might be all you get, so hoist the mizzenmast and make for the nearest port immediately.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 110 calories, 15 calories from fat, 1.5 grams of total fat, 1 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat 0 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 170 milligrams of sodium, 50 milligrams of potassium, 23 grams of total carbohydrates 1 gram of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugars, 10 grams of other carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein)

Item: Cap’n Crunch’s Cinnamon Roll Crunch
Purchased Price: $3.79
Size: 10.3 ounces
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes kind of like Waffle Crisp. Back-of-the-box activities that actually make you work. Crunchy, and sweet but not overly so. Successfully resisting a poop deck joke. Good for dry snacking. What I imagine the Cap’n’s Twitter feed to be like.
Cons: Less interesting shape than normal CC. Cinnamon taste a little subtle. Gets soggy. Makes you crave an actual cinnamon roll. What the Cap’n’s Twitter feed is probably actually like.

REVIEW: Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal

Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal

Oatmeal is healthy and wholesome.

Well, at least that’s what Wilfred Brimley and the guy who yells at fat people on NBC tell me. But just like wholesome Amish kids during rumspringa, oatmeal can get wild, crazy, and do unhealthy things as well.

For example, instead of using skim milk or water to make my oatmeal, I use melted ice cream and then top that with crushed Heath candy bar pieces, Hershey chocolate syrup. a small bag of M&M’s, and half a container of Cool Whip.

That sounds totally diabeteeriffic!

I can corrupt oatmeal to the point where you would have to start calling it ho-meal. But it appears Quaker has done the corrupting for me with their new chocolate chip instant oatmeal.

Okay, they haven’t really done any corrupting because there aren’t many semisweet chocolate chips in each instant oatmeal packet.

If you’d like to teach your child how to count using the chocolate chips in each packet, you’re going to have to open a number of packets to equal the level of learning your child will get from watching an episode of Sesame Street, because each one contains four or five chocolate chips. And they’re not big chocolate chips. They make the oats in each packet look bigger than they really are.

Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal Closeup

I made a bowl of Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal using vanilla soy milk and another using filtered water. Using filtered water is healthier, but using vanilla soy milk makes it taste better. But if you read on, that’s not saying much.

The chocolate chips take awhile to melt, and after they do, the oatmeal looks chocolatey. As you can see above, the liquid looks like the milk at the bottom of the bowl after eating Cocoa Puffs, but that liquid is a liar.

A dirty stinkin’ liar!

The chocolate flavor is almost non-existent. It has less flavor than the other Quaker flavored instant oatmeal varieties I’ve had. I wish Quaker had put a little hot cocoa powder in their Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal to make things tolerable. So it looks like, in order to get through the rest of the box, I’m going to have to make this oatmeal tolerable on my own with some cocoa power, semisweet chocolate chips, M&M’s, crushed Oreo cookies, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, chocolate sprinkles, crushed Butterfinger candy pieces, Hershey’s Kisses, and melted Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 packet – 130 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 150 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 16 grams of other carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein.)

Item: Quaker Chocolate Chip Instant Oatmeal
Price: $3.29
Size: 10 packets/1.23 ounces each
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Quick to make. Good source of whole grains. Rumspringa. Sesame Street. Decent source of fiber. Low in fat.
Cons: Really faint chocolate flavor. Really small chocolate chips. Not many chocolate chips in each packet. The liquid in the oatmeal is a liar, a dirty stinkin’ liar! Using the chocolate chips to teach your child to count won’t get him or her very far unless you open several packets.

REVIEW: Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults (Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan & Banana Walnut Bread)

Oh, I wish I knew where Mikey was now. I want to know so that I can find out what he thinks of the Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults.

He’d be the perfect person to ask because he likes Life Cereal and he’s now an adult. But he’s probably too busy with real life, which may include a wife, and maybe a young Mikey Jr. or a daughter he wanted to name Mikey, but the wife shot him down. He probably works in insurance sales or is a financial planner and drives an 2001 white Toyota Camry nearing 100,000 miles with the vanity license plate ILIKEIT.

For many years, the license plate was probably one of the few reminders of his past celebrity, because the VHS tape recordings of his commercials were eaten up by a VCR with heads that were never cleaned. Fortunately, YouTube was invented and someone posted his Life Cereal commercials online. He is probably responsible for half of the 450,000+ views of his most popular commercial on YouTube.

Mikey probably doesn’t eat Life Cereal anymore because he’s become lactose intolerant and it’s hard to eat the cereal without milk. If he has a wife, he loves her, but feels she only married him because he was “the guy from the Life commercials.” He feels this way because she introduces him to people as, “My husband, the boy from the Life commercials.” He thinks his wife is cheating on him, because she bought a lot of lingerie from Victoria’s Secret that he’s never seen her wear. But he also has a mistress, who has no idea Mikey has a place in pop culture, because she was born many years after the commercials stopped airing.

Although doing those Life Cereal commercials brought him some fame, when he looks at where his life has gone, he probably sometimes wishes his parents never forced him into auditioning for those commercials. If he didn’t, he probably wouldn’t be Mikey, he would be just Mike, or perhaps Michael.

If Mikey were here and tried the Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults, I think he would like them, even though there’s nothing that resembles Life Cereal in them. The chewy adult bars come in two varieties: Banana Walnut Bread and Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan.

The Banana Walnut Bread flavor actually smells like banana bread. The banana flavor is noticeable, and thankfully isn’t artificial tasting. However, it tastes more like banana chips, which have a slight greasy flavor to them. The chopped walnuts yield little flavor and they seem like they’re mostly there to provide vitamins, minerals and to compliment the crunch of the whole grain oats and rice crisps in the bar.

The Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bars have a sweet cinnamon aroma. The cinnamon and frosting drizzle on top overpower the rest of the ingredients, which might make this bar too sweet for some. Even the chopped raisins got lost in the sweetness. Perhaps using whole raisins might’ve helped. As for the pecans, they play the same role the walnuts do in the other flavor, provide some nutritional value and add some crunch, but not deliver much flavor.

The folks at Quaker suggest warming up their Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults by sticking them in the microwave for 10 seconds, which seems to soften them. Does warming them up make them better? No. Is warming them up worth the 10 second wait? No. If you were immortal, would you wait the 10 seconds? Maybe. It would depend on how hungry I am.

Overall, the Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults are decent tasting, a good source of B vitamins and provides 5 grams of fiber per bar. But I’m not sure why they’re under the Life Cereal brand, since they’re not made with Life Cereal, and why they’re labeled “For Adults.” Because unlike other things I’ve bought that were “For Adults,” I didn’t have to pull out my driver’s license to prove my age when I bought them.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan – 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Banana Walnut Bread – 150 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 140 milligrams of sodium, 26 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar and 6 grams of protein.)

Item: Quaker Life Soft Baked Nutrition Bars For Adults (Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan & Banana Walnut Bread)
Price: $3.00 (on sale)
Size: 5 bars
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Banana Walnut Bread)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan)
Pros: Both flavors were good. Banana Walnut Bread smells like banana bread. Banana isn’t artificial tasting. Contains 5 grams of fiber. Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bar have a sweet pleasant cinnamon scent. Good source of B vitamins. Full of other nutrients. Didn’t have to pull out my driver’s license to buy these adult bars.
Cons: No Life Cereal in them. Don’t know what Mikey thinks of them. Nuts don’t provide much flavor. Raisins got lost in the sweetness of the Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bars. Cinnamon Roll Raisin Pecan bar might be too sweet for some. The sad world I imagine Mikey lives in.

REVIEW: Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Granola Bars

I could call many things in life delightful, but then I would sound like a snooty woman who comes from old money and has never worked a damn day in her life A crisp autumn breeze is delightful. A properly poured pint of Guinness is delightful. The chance for a certain baseball team to bring home the bacon two years in a row is delightful. But to call a granola bar delightful, that’s just pushing it.

I feel bad for granola bars, even though they’re the whores of the snack food world. All they want is to be loved and enjoyed; instead they’re used as substitutes for what we really want. People, including myself, generally have an “Eh, I guess I’ll have a granola bar to tie me over until I have REAL food” attitude when it comes to the slutty snack that prostitutes its way from children’s lunch bags to the desk drawers of CEOs who had to abandon their three martini lunches because of the economy.

The Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Granola Bar is trying to be the Pretty Woman of the snack bar world. Dressed in its sexy black wrapper (a.k.a little black dress), it appears to be better than your run-of-the-mill granola bar that you can find slutting it up everywhere. My mother (and every “Very Special Episode” 1980’s sitcom) told me that the inside of a person, or in this case, a granola bar is what matters.

Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the inside is just like any other granola bar. However, I wouldn’t totally dismiss it. This classy beauty wasn’t like her co-worker, Quaker Chewy bar, because she didn’t skimp on the good stuff like chocolate and nuts. In fact, she was chock full of nice semi-sweet dark chocolate chunks and crunchy almonds. Of course, the raspberry flavoring wasn’t that strong, but if you’ve read any of my reviews that include pseudo raspberry flavoring, I’m always bitching about that.

The bar was tasty, but you can find heartier granola bars, like the Nature Valley Trail Mix for less cash. Paying $3.49 for a box of five bars that each weigh a slim 1.2 ounces isn’t worth it. It’s pretty bad when the picture on the box says “enlarged illustration” and even that isn’t big. (Good thing they don’t show “enlarged illustrations” on bottles of Viagra)

These petite bars are good, but one won’t even satisfy mediocre hunger pains that always hit at around three in the afternoon. So what’s the point of getting a high class hooker granola bar that’s more expensive when it won’t even curb your need for something to keep your stomach from growling to the beat of the next annoying Black Eyed Peas single?

Where’s the delight in that?

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 140 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 65 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 8 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 2% vitamin C and 4% iron.)

Item: Quaker True Delights Dark Chocolate Raspberry Almond Granola Bars
Price: $3.49
Size: Box of 5
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 4 out of 10
Pros: Black wrapper adds a classy touch to a whorey snack. Dark chocolate tastes good. A lot of almonds. Adds more variety to the granola bar category. The Phillies.
Cons: Having to settle for a granola bar. Small size. Lack of a strong raspberry taste. Using the word “delight” inappropriately.

Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go

There’s the Antichrist and then there’s the Anti-Rice Krispies Treat, which I consider the Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go Bar to be. Instead of giving me a moment of crunchy, marshmallowy bliss like I would receive with a wonderful Rice Krispies Treat, these fiber bricks bring despair. It’s not its taste that saddens me, although I’ll get to that in a moment, it’s the fact that I now have to change my diet to make up for my years of poor dietary choices by eating the recommended daily amount of fiber. If I could get 25 grams of fiber from energy drinks, potato chips, cocaine, and anything I can heat up in a microwave, I’d be set and regular.

Like Cliff Notes and Kim Kardashian trying to put on a pair of jeans, the Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go Bar crams a lot into a small package. How high in fiber are these bricks of oatmeal? One bar has 10 grams of dietary fiber and six grams of soluble fiber, which is more than twice the amounts found in a 1/2 cup serving of plain Wilford Brimley-promoted Quaker Oats. Eating just one of these high fiber breakfast bars provides 40 percent of a person’s recommended daily amount of fiber. Consuming two of these high fiber bars at one time provides 80 percent. Devouring three of these bars in one sitting provides a good reason to stay close to a toilet.

The Quaker High Fiber Oatmeal to Go Bar is a dense, moist oatmeal cookie with a grainy and chewy texture that lets you know you’re getting 10 grams of dietary fiber and six grams of soluble fiber whether you like it or not. I enjoyed this big bar of fiber because it’s much sweeter and tastier than regular Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar instant oatmeal and you don’t need a spoon to eat it. Despite how sweet it was, the frosting drizzle on top seemed to be more for aesthetics than anything else. What does make them better, besides eating them nyotaimori-style, is warming them in the microwave for 10 seconds, which the packaging recommended.

However, not everything was so sweet with these Oatmeal to Go Bars. Two things that really freaked me out was the use of high fructose corn syrup, which is fine in moderation (but seems to be in everything), and the extremely long ingredients list, which had more items than a My Super Sweet 16 birthday party wish list. But overall it’s nice to be able to eat something that has almost half of my recommended daily intake of fiber, even if it does bring me to a state of despair.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 bar – 210 calories, 1 gram saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 1 gram polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram monounsaturated fat, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 230 milligrams sodium, 150 milligrams potassium, 43 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams dietary fiber, 6 grams soluble fiber, 13 grams sugar, 4 grams protein, 20% vitamin A, 0% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 25% iron, 20% thiamin, 20% riboflavin, 20% niacin, 20% vitamin B6, 20% folic acid, 10% phosphorus, 10% magnesium, and 5 minutes spent with your favorite toilet)

Item: Quaker Maple Brown Sugar High Fiber Oatmeal to Go
Price: FREE
Size: 6 pack
Purchased at: Given by nice PR people, who continue to amaze me because they keep sending us stuff.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Sweeter and tastier than regular maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal. High fiber. Provides 40% of daily value of fiber. Convenient. Vitamins and minerals. Rice Krispies Treats. Eating these nyotaimori-style.
Cons: Grainy and chewy texture that lets you know you’re getting 10 grams of dietary fiber and six grams of soluble fiber whether you like it or not. Very long ingredients list. Brings me to a state of despair. Contains high fructose corn syrup. A My Super Sweet 16 wish list. Eating three of these in one sitting.