NEWS: Get 50 Percent Less Sugar Brain Freezes With New Slurpee Lite

Lost Slurpee

Have you ever regretted drinking a 40-ounce Slurpee?

I have. But only because of the excessive amounts of sugar I consumed and brain freezes, and not because a man of my age shouldn’t be drinking something called a Slurpee. Thankfully, there’s now Slurpee Lite, which is sugar free and has 50 percent fewer calories than some regular Slurpee flavors.

The first Slurpee Lite flavor is Fanta Sugar-Free Mango.

In order to be sugar free, the frozen beverage has to contain an artificial sweetener, and Fanta chose sucralose.

This isn’t the first time Slurpee has come out with a sugar-free version. There have been several sugar-free Slurpees in the past, like their Sugar Free Blueberry Splash and the Crystal Light flavors, but this is the first to be under the new Slurpee Lite label.

According to the Slurpee website, there are plans to introduce more Slurpee Lite flavors throughout the year.

Update: We’re received information about upcoming Slurpee Lite flavors. In July, Slurpee Lite Strawberry Banana will be released. And, in August, Slurpee Lite Cherry Limeade will become available.

A 12-ounce serving has 30 calories, 0 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 6.5 grams of fiber. Yes, I did just type 6.5 grams of fiber, which is more than 20 percent of your daily recommended intake for fiber.

NEWS: Starbucks Introduces Mocha Cookie Crumble and Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme Frappuccino Beverages

Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Closeup-WM

Update: Click here to read our Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino review

This week, Starbucks released two new Frappuccino flavors for you to get brain freezes with, the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino and Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme Frappuccino.

The Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino brings together a mocha sauce, vanilla syrup, Frappuccino chips, Starbucks signature Frappuccino Roast coffee, and milk blended with ice and topped with a chocolaty whipped cream and chocolate cookie crumbles. Yup, it totally sounds like a nice summer beverage that will help you not look good in your bathing suit. A 16-ounce serving with 2% milk has 470 calories, 18 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 260 milligrams of sodium, 76 grams of carbohydrates, 69 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 105 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine.

If you want a slightly better for you option, there’s the new Chocolate Cookie Crumble Creme Frappuccino, which has everything the Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino has, except the Starbucks signature Frappuccino Roast coffee. A 16-ounce serving of the coffee-less beverage with 2% milk has 440 calories, 19 grams of fat, 12 grams of saturated fat, 280 milligrams of sodium, 66 grams of carbohydrates, 60 grams of sugar, 2 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein, but only has 15 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine.

Both varieties are available at Starbucks locations for a limited time. Starbucks is also bringing back for a limited time the Mocha Coconut Frappuccino and the Coconut Creme Frappuccino blended beverages.

But some of you might be asking your computer monitor in hopes of talking to me, “But what if I want to enjoy the flavor of a Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino without having to put on pants?” Well, Starbucks has you covered there because they’re also offering this summer at grocery stores a Limited Edition Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino Ice Cream and a Cookies & Cream Frappuccino bottled coffee drink.

A 1/2 cup serving of the ice cream has 250 calories, 12 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat, 60 milligrams of sodium, 21 grams of sugar, 1 gram of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. A 9.5-ounce bottle of the Cookies & Cream Frappuccino has 190 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 105 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 32 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.

Both items should be popping up in stores soon.

REVIEW: McDonald’s McCafe Cherry Berry Chiller

McDonald's Cherry Berry Chiller

McDonald’s has always helped customers beat the heat during the summer months. For example, they’ve always filled three-fourths of their soft drink cups with ice before they add any beverage. If that’s not the definition of generous, then I don’t know what is.

This time last year McDonald’s rolled out their frozen strawberry lemonade to help cool us down. This year, the Golden Arches have a new frozen beverage, the Cherry Berry Chiller.

Rhyming AND alliteration? That’s a good start in my book.

The Cherry Berry Chiller, which sounds like something Care Bears would drink to keep cool in Care-a-lot and the Forest of Feelings, is made by blending ice with 100 percent fruit juice. Think of it as a 7-Eleven Slurpee for adults. Oh wait, I forgot, margaritas are Slurpees for adults. Okay, think of it as a better-for-you Slurpee.

At this point, I would like to say I really love the blenders at McDonald’s. They do an awesome job of crushing ice into fine crystals that I enjoy crushing even more between my teeth. I wish my $30 off-the-shelf blender from Target could do a comparable job.

The Cherry Berry Chiller uses cherry and raspberry juice, but I could taste other fruits, like a little bit of grape. (The ingredients list also includes apple juice concentrate.) Thanks to my stereotype of cherries, my mouth expected a very tart beverage, but instead it had a very mild tartness. The cherry stands out at the beginning of each slurp and the raspberry becomes more noticeable towards the end, but in between, there’s a good balance of cherry and raspberry. The combination tastes like a slightly watered down POM Wonderful pomegranate juice. While I have enjoyed McDonald’s other fruity blended beverages, I have to say that the Cherry Berry Chiller is the best tasting of the bunch.

McDonald's Cherry Berry Chiller Closeup

However, all is not perfect with it. Because it’s pretty much just fruit juice and ice, I noticed it tends to melt a bit faster than McDonald’s smoothies, which has yogurt to help prevent it from turning into liquid. Also, it’s a horrible source of vitamin C. Actually, according to the McDonald’s website, it has no vitamin C, which is strange because cherries and raspberries are good sources of the vitamin that prevents scurvy.

Overall, I have mixed feeling about McDonald’s Cherry Berry Chiller. It’s sweet, damn tasty, and refreshing, but by saying it’s made with 100 percent fruit juice, McDonald’s is giving me the impression that there’s some nutritional benefit from drinking it. But it turns out that’s not really the case since it doesn’t provide any vitamins, which is, you know, one of the benefits of consuming fruits.

(Nutrition Facts – 22 ounces – 330 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 40 milligrams of sodium, 81 grams of carbohydrates, 81 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 4% calcium, and 2% iron.)

Item: McDonald’s McCafe Cherry Berry Chiller
Price: $3.99
Size: Large
Purchased at: McDonald’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Sweet, Damn tasty. Refreshing. Pleasant tartness. Made with 100 percent fruit juice. McDonald’s blenders. Rhyming. Alliteration.
Cons: Provides no vitamin C. My Care Bears knowledge. Appears to melt faster than McDonald’s smoothies. Drinking too many Slurpees for adults. McDonald’s being generous with the ice in their soft drink cups.

VIDEO: Eating Japanese Snacks With Melissa and Mari From Nonstop Honolulu

Remember several months ago when I shared a Candwich with Melissa and Mari from Nonstop Honolulu, a local lifestyle/nightlife blog. You don’t? Well then, click the link above, watch the video, and then come back here. I’ll wait.

Now that you’re up to speed and know who Melissa and Mari are, the three of us did another taste test, but this time we tried a bunch of Japanese snacks Melissa brought back from Fukuoka.

We shot over 15 minutes of footage, but the final version was edited down to about five minutes. So you won’t see my unsuccessful attempts to rip open the bags of chips we tried…or the impromptu sumo match…or me solving a Rubik’s Cube in 20 seconds.

Oh well.

REVIEW: Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Breaded Mozzarella Sticks

Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Breaded Mozzarella Sticks

Believe it or not, Manfred von Richthofen — AKA the Red Baron, the most famous flying ace in history, with 80 confirmed kills — was by his own admission not a great pilot. He was decent, but his younger brother Lothar (with “only” 40 kills) was a much better pilot, though Manfred worried about him because he was reckless and took too many risks. Yes, that’s right: the von Richthofen family produced both a Maverick and an Iceman in the same generation.

If you’re thinking none of that has anything to do with the product we’re reviewing today, well, that’s true; but hell, neither does the Red Baron. I would wager money von Richthofen never ate a slice of pizza in his life. Still, I find this kind of stuff cool, and our review today is of frozen pizza. Let us be perfectly frank and honest with ourselves: that is not the most exciting of food products.

Not that they haven’t tried to sexy it up, though, with the addition of mozzarella sticks. In general I think the majority of frozen pizzas are exactly as good as every other one, but in looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, I’d say the Rittmeister is off to a good start. Pizza and mozzarella sticks are two foods I don’t normally associate with each other, but if your main philosophy in life is that the heart is evil and must be punished, it’s hard to imagine a better one-two punch. (Bacon cheeseburgers and waffles?) The box promises 11-13 mozzarella sticks, which I find hilarious. I’ve seen other boxes for the same product that simply promise 12, so I’m guessing someone raised a big enough stink about how there wasn’t no 12 mozzarella sticks in their dang package that the good folks at Red Baron decided to be on the safe side. (I received an even dozen, in case you were wondering.)

Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Breaded Mozzarella Sticks Pepperoni Distribution

Pre-cooking, the pizza looked exactly like any frozen pizza would, although as you can see from the picture, the pepperoni distribution was by Picasso. I don’t recall getting into any ’70s cop film-esque car chases on the way home from the grocery store, so I’m going to assume that’s how it was constructed. No problem, redistributing it was easy and the pepperoni was plentiful.

Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Breaded Mozzarella Sticks Closeup

As for the taste? Well, you’ve all heard the cliche that sex is like pizza: even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. That’s pretty accurate in that it’s hard to make bad pizza (not impossible, sadly), and this particular one is certainly not bad. Actually, that’s underselling things — it’s honestly pretty good. The cheese was relatively plentiful, the sauce had some decent spices, and the crust was pretty firm. I can’t say it tasted substantially different from almost every other frozen pizza ever, but perhaps a little better. The overall size of the pie was more than plentiful — between this and the sticks, you’re set for at least two meals, maybe even three.

Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Breaded Mozzarella Sticks Closeup 2

To be honest I was more curious about the mozzarella sticks, since I very rarely prepare frozen ones myself. It’s not exactly a very complex dish, but for my money the easiest way to ruin sticks is to under-spice them. I was worried that would be the case here, but they hit the balance pretty well. On the other hand, the amount of cheese within them was slightly lacking, especially when some of it ran out during the baking process. More cheese would’ve taken them from good to great; Baron, I want you to pretend the mozzarella is machine gun bullets and the sticks are enemy Sopwith Camels. Really pepper it in there.

I’m happy my initial fear about the Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Mozzarella Sticks — that the Avengers ad would be the most exciting thing about it — was proved wrong. It’s not going to be mistaken for fresh out of a pizzeria’s oven at any point, but for a quick meal that will last for a day or two, it does the trick. (Note, however, that any time you save in food preparation will be more than negated by the extra time you’ll need to spend in the gym working off this gargantuan calorie bomb.) There’s also another entry in the “Pizza & Sides” line that comes with 7-9 Buffalo Wyngs. However, the deliberate misspelling of “wings” means you have only yourself to blame if it turns out you’re actually eating processed chicken anus. Enjoy!

(Nutrition Facts — 1/4 pizza — 370 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 35 milligrams of cholesterol, 790 milligrams of sodium, 250 milligrams of potassium, 43 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 9 grams of sugars, 15 grams of protein. 4 Mozzarella pieces — 250 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 560 milligrams of sodium, 40 milligrams of potassium, 16 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 10 grams of protein.)

Item: Red Baron Pizza & Sides Pepperoni Pizza & Breaded Mozzarella Sticks
Price: $8.99
Size: 1 pizza and 11-13 mozzarella sticks
Purchased at: Giant
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Maverick and Iceman in the same family. Large serving. Did indeed fulfill “11-13 sticks” vow. Pretty tasty pizza. Well-spiced mozzarella sticks. Artistic pepperoni distribution. Hulk looking like he’s about to punch Captain America.
Cons: Slightly odd combo. Actually may be worse for you than a bacon cheeseburger & waffles. Not enough cheese in the mozzarella sticks. Even good frozen pizza can’t hold a candle to fresh-made slices from a pizzeria. Losing dogfights to a beagle.