NEWS: Kraft Jet-Puffed StackerMallows To Make It Easier To Build A S’more Big Mac

If I learned anything during my time in the Boy Scouts it’s that camping sucks, latrines smell, mosquitos love my blood, and I’ll probably be killed by a baby deer if I’m ever lost in the wilderness. But not everything I learned in Boy Scouts was negative, I also learned how to make mean s’mores. If there was a s’more making merit badge, I would’ve earned it.

Although, my days of three finger salutes, square knots, and roasting marshmallows over a campfire using a stick are behind me, it’s good to hear s’more technology has advanced with the new Kraft Jet-Puffed StackerMallows, which are flat, thin rectangular marshmallows that can be placed into s’mores like a slice of cheese.

Actually, now that I think about it, perhaps StackerMallows, which comes in 8-ounces packages, aren’t ideal for making s’mores next to the campfire. Regular marshmallows have a cylindrical shape, which makes it easy to poke a stick through, so that it can be toasted over a campfire. On the other hand, the flat, thin shape of the StackerMallows might make that hard to do, unless you earned your sewing merit badge that gave you the skills to thread through things.

REVIEW: Jamba Juice Fruit & Veggie Smoothies (Orange Carrot Karma, Apple ‘n Greens and Berry UpBEET)

Jamba Juice Fruit & Veggie Smoothies

Fruits are sexy. Vegetables are not.

Think about it. Large breasts on a woman’s chest are also called melons, not cabbages; sex education teachers don’t use carrots or cucumbers to show students how to put on condoms, they usually use bananas; Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover their naughty bits; and a peach looks like a round, sexy ass in tight red and yellow Spandex.

Since vegetable aren’t sexy, I became concerned when I heard about Jamba Juice combining them with fruits to create their new line of Fruit & Veggie Smoothies. I thought it would make the fruits in them less sexy. Sure, combining the two could be like the pretty girl who surrounds herself with less attractive friends to make her look prettier, but if you think about it, those less attractive friends could also bring her down.

Jamba Juice’s Fruit & Veggie Smoothies come in three flavors. Berry UpBEET combines strawberries and blueberries with the juices from carrots, beets, broccoli and lettuce. Apple ‘n Green brings together apple-strawberry juice with the juice from dark leafy green vegetables, carrots, and lettuce. It also includes spirulina, peaches, mangos and bananas. Finally, Orange Carrot Karma blends carrot juice, orange juice, mangos, bananas and ice.

The Orange Carrot Karma is my least favorite of the three because it doesn’t do a good job of hiding the carrot flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy carrots and beta-carotene as much as the next rabbit, but I wish it wasn’t the most noticeable flavor. The citrus and banana are there, but they’re both too light to make the smoothie taste less carrot-y. Perhaps it’s called Orange Carrot Karma because it’s getting back at me for not eating more vegetables.

If you’ve had Odwalla’s Original Superfood Smoothie, the green one that looks like algae, you’ll be familiar with how Jamba’s Apple ‘n Greens smoothie tastes. The similarity isn’t surprising, since the types of fruits both contain are identical, and both also have the nutrient-rich spirulina. However, Jamba’s Apple ‘n Greens smoothie is lighter in color, which makes it look more like zombie blood. I personally think it tastes better than it looks. The Apple ‘n Green smoothie has an unusual fruity flavor at the beginning, mostly the apple-strawberry juice and banana, and then a sweet leafy vegetable flavor at the back end. The aftertaste might be a little weird for some, but just like the Odwalla Original Superfood Smoothie, I really enjoyed the Apple ‘n Greens smoothie.

Berry UpBEET is the least veggie tasting of the three. However, it doesn’t taste like any of the two berries added to it, blueberry and strawberry. Strangely, the combination of ingredients make it taste like pomegranate. It’s a little tart and there’s not a hint of vegetables, although I don’t think beets have a very strong flavor. It’s my favorite of the three Fruit & Veggie Smoothies, but not by much over the Apple ‘n Greens.

If your doctor says you need to eat more veggies, then these Jamba Juice Fruit & Veggie Smoothies might get you a serving or two, since a 16-ounce serving contains three servings of fruit and vegetables. Since I really enjoyed two out of the three flavors, I guess sexy fruits and not-so-sexy vegetables can go together, sort of like Ralph and Alice, Doug and Carrie, Peter and Lois, Jim and Cheryl, Homer and Marge, and other mismatched sitcom couples.

(Nutrition Facts – 16 ounces – Orange Carrot Karma – 180 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 90 milligrams of sodium, 43 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 430% vitamin A, 6% calcium, 90% vitamin C and 6% iron. Apple ‘n Greens – 220 calories, 1 gram of fat, 115 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 40 grams of sugar, 5 grams of protein, 240% vitamin A, 15% calcium, 90% vitamin C and 25% iron. Berry UpBEET – 230 calories, 1 gram of fat, 140 milligrams of sodium, 50 grams of carbohydrates, 8 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, 120% vitamin A, 10% calcium, 100% vitamin C, and 10% iron.)

Other Jamba Juice Fruit & Veggie Smoothie reviews:
Brand Eating

Item: Jamba Juice Fruit & Veggie Smoothies (Orange Carrot Karma, Apple ‘n Greens and Berry UpBEET)
Price: $5.00
Size: Original (24 ounces)
Purchased at: Jamba Juice
Rating: 5 out of 10 (Orange Carrot Karma)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Apple ‘n Greens)
Rating: 8 out of 10 (Berry UpBEET)
Pros: Beautiful colors. Good source of vitamins A & C. 3 servings of fruit and vegetables. Berry UpBEET tastes like pomegranate. Apple ‘n Greens tastes like Odwalla’s Original Superfood smoothie. Eating vegetables. Fruits are sexy.
Cons: Orange Carrot Karma was a little too carrot-y. Apple ‘n Greens’ flavor might not appeal to some and it looks like zombie blood. Orange Carrot Karma might be getting back at me for not eating more vegetables. Vegetables aren’t sexy.

REVIEW: Häagen-Dazs Limited Edition Sweet Chai Latte

Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte Ice Cream

OMG! Slumber party time, you guys!

So I was thinking we’d get together, maybe start the evening with the 3½ J’s of awesomeness: Jammies, Jock Jams, and Justin Timberlake pictures ripped from last month’s Tiger Beat! After that we can break out Häagen-Dazs’ Limited Edition Sweet Chai Latte ice cream and re-watch 2ge+ther! Quinn’s not invited. She knows why.

This is going to be absosmurfly fabtacular!

Heather, you’re in charge of scrunchies and also ranch dip for the pizza. Rizzo, we’ll be using your yearbook this time to add commentary and mustaches to the people we currently hate. Tiffany, this is your last chance with the nail polish selection. Orange and coral are not “sort of” the same thing. Veronica, you can bring the TP for Quinn’s house. And Buffy, you bring the funk.

The highlight of the evening is, totally, this chai ice cream I found. That’s really the whole reason I’m inviting you all over. That, and, I need help getting back at Quinn. Did I mention how awesomely sophisticated this ice cream tastes? It’s literally just like that stuff at Starbucks we drink to look mature without having to endure the redonkulous awfulness of coffee, except they turned it into a dessert. If we all share, that’s only like… well it’s not that many calories per person. And we’ll probably get our exercise running away from Quinn’s house afterward anyway. Everybody remember to pack your dark colored clothing but don’t wear it over here because my parents will get suspicious. ‘Kay?

Oh, sorry, wait…

What year is it?

No, I didn’t hit my head, or at least I don’t think I did. I got in this fight with an upside-down garbage can this morning and, well, it’s all a little blurry.

The point here is that Häagen-Dazs Sweet Chai Latte ice cream takes me way back to the days of my youth and the discovery of coffee houses amongst my group of budding intellectual friends who still worshipped boy bands.

We had a new favorite drink every week back then. Mondo always tasted like fruity plastic packaging. Orbitz was creepily chewy. But chai, that was the good stuff, an accessible beverage both imbibed and endorsed by adults, something with real staying power and just as much sugar as the crap we were already drinking.

We were Southern Illinois girls. Most of us had never experienced what Häagen-Dazs refers to as the “distinctive tastes of India”. World Market was still our idea of “exotic”. Tea for us came from little bags marked “Lipton” and was immediately sweetened to within in an inch of its life. Chai lattes felt so familiar and yet so new. The good ones bore definite black tea undertones with the spice range of a good Germanic Christmas cookie and enough milk and sugar to make one wonder if the barista didn’t accidentally dump in heavy cream. I latched onto the stuff and stuck with it through college.

Yesterday, I found myself milling around the freezer section at Ralph’s, amped up on fair trade Tanzanian Jubilee coffee, when suddenly, the ice cream in question practically leapt out at me. There it sat, perched just above my eye level and slightly off-kilter, a cozy mug of freshly blended chai emblazoned across the front. The package was strikingly soft and pretty, with a purple cap instead of the typical Häagen-Dazs red. Next to the ingredients, Häagen-Dazs helpfully included a guide to the tastes I would be experiencing as I ate their product, divided nicely into “top notes” and “finish notes” as if this were a fine wine instead of an ice cream. The absurd, transparent attempt at classiness charmed me even as it harkened back to the darker side of middle school. I had to take it home. It needed a mentor and a hug.

Haagen Dazs Sweet Chai Latte Ice Cream Bowl

The “top” notes? Basically a spice list: anise, cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves. And the “finish”? “Cream and lingering spice”. Oh Häagen-Dazs, you had me there until “lingering”. Why dance around the term “aftertaste” if you’re going to leave in “lingering”?

In reality, all those flavors combine into one sweet, and yes, creamy layer that isn’t super licorice-like or pumpkin pie spicy or like anything you may be grasping at to complete your analogy, and the aftertaste is kind of just a complex back-porch sun-brewed sweet tea. It’s distinctively chai. If you like your tea with milk, provided your tea isn’t green or fermented, you will probably enjoy both chai lattes and this ice cream approximation. And if you’re drinking non-traditional teas to begin with, you’re probably adventurous enough to try this anyway, unless you’re lactose intolerant in which case I’m sorry I bothered you. You can go back to your Kombucha now.

Eating this ice cream made me realize just how deeply being an adult has managed to crush my once free spirit. I seriously forgot how utterly devoted I once was to this beverage. On winter evenings, chai thawed me out, perked me up, and made Bleak House and the political parts of Anna Karenina bearable.

Yet, somehow, I let that love fade away. Thanks to the cruelties of the real world, coffee’s insidious and unshakable grip has taken over my life. This ice cream, though, threatens to break that stranglehold and lead me back to my old standard. It’s very creamy, very indulgent, very pretty-pretty princess turned haggard queen watching romantic comedies from 1998 with a guinea pig as her only companion. It’s the kind of comfort food people on TLC bizarre-mega-weight-loss-o-rama night specials would refer to as a true friend.

If you’re able to find a pint in your area, I highly recommend diving into it, maybe even stockpiling a few just in the case they mean business with the “limited edition” label. This might finally be the ice cream we’ve all been looking for that turns regrets into happiness. Maybe. Shut up. IT COULD HAPPEN.

(Nutrition Facts – ½ cup – 250 calories, 140 calories from fat, 16 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 80 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 21 grams of sugar, 4 grams of protein, 10% calcium, 10% Vitamin A, 0% Vitamin C and 0% iron.)

Item: Häagen-Dazs Limited Edition Sweet Chai Latte
Price: $3.99
Size: 14 ounces
Purchased at: Ralph’s Fresh Fare
Rating: 10 out of 10
Pros: Ranch dip. 2ge+ther. Revenge. Mom’s sweet tea. Package tries adorably hard to appear mature. Ice cream made of real, identifiable ingredients. German Christmas cookie spices. Creaminess. My pet guinea pig.
Cons: Junior high. Time travel tangents. Evil trash cans blocking garage doors I want to open. The cruel realities of adulthood. Contains many more calories than an iced chai latte while accomplishing the same goals. Lactose intolerant sector once again snubbed. Nightmares caused by TLC specials.

NEWS: Nabisco Introduces Newtons Fruit Thins, Not To Be Confused With Newtons Fruit Crisps or Nabisco Wheat Thins

Update: Scroll down to the comments section to read what people think of the Newtons Fruit Thins

Coming soon to stores (or maybe they’re already in stores) are the Nabisco Newtons Fruit Thins, which sound like the result of Newtons Fruit Crisps and Nabisco Wheat Thins hooking up. However, unlike the Newtons Fruit Crisps, which contain a thin layer of fruit filling, these Newton Fruit Thins have their fruit baked in. These crispy cookies are made with real fruit and come in four varieties:

Fig and Honey

Blueberry Brown Sugar

Cranberry Citrus Oat

Raspberry Chocolate

A serving of Newtons Fruit Thins has 140 calories, 5 grams of fat, 1-1.5 gram of saturated fat, 95 milligrams of sodium, 21-22 grams of carbohydrates, 1-2 grams of fiber, 7-8 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

Newtons Fruit Thins come in 10.5 ounces packages.

REVIEW: Morningstar Farms Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuits

Morningstar Farms Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuits

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be a food scientist? I mean, somewhere in this country, right now, in any number of laboratories, there are chemists standing around in white lab coats, creating the next flavor sensation over a Bunsen burner and an Erlenmeyer flask. Do they have a list of objectives for each new invention? “Step 1: Create new convenience food. Step 2: Test flavor. Make improvements if necessary. Step 3: Collect paycheck. Buy Maserati.” Seriously, some of these folks earn up to six figures. When you throw in the added challenge of using meat substitutes for dishes traditionally reserved for the real thing, it makes that hefty paycheck seem all the more reasonable, especially if it turns out pretty well.

Morningstar Farms has a nice fake meat thing going on, and it appears their food technicians have mad skills in the stuffed sandwich science department. It’s like they took a look at the other smaller, less flavorful stuffed breakfast sandwich failures on the grocery shelves and said to themselves, “We can rebuild these. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world’s first frozen, vegetarian stuffed sandwich with fake sausage.” They vowed that the Morningstar Farms Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit would be that sandwich… A Six-Million Dollar Biscuit, sold for $6. Hot, buttery, and fluffy on the inside, crispy and flaky on the outside, and stuffed with delicious, low-fat ingredients that won’t slide out. And it would be huge for a frozen biscuit. Not teensy like some other brands. Better. Stronger. Tastier. And there’d be a fake bacon one, too.

I’m pleased to say that, on the whole, those crazy scientists have succeeded. The other frozen vegetarian sandwiches I’ve tried just don’t compare to the Morningstar Farms Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit. For one, the other sandwiches lack fake meat, opting for just eggs and cheese. I’ve always preferred breakfast sandwiches that combine the holy trinity of eggs, cheese and some type of meat, and having low-fat, vegetarian sausage crumbles in place of full-fat pork or turkey sausage makes the whole thing even more attractive. Sometimes you just crave that third flavor in a sandwich to kind of balance everything out. Three is the magic number, after all. It’s science.

Morningstar Farms Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuits Outters Innards

However, I discovered that the number three isn’t so wonderful. Startlingly, it took me three separate attempts to cook the Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit to an appropriate temperature and texture. It’s pretty strange, considering the warning on the box that the biscuit filling may be “EXTREMELY HOT” after cooking (presumably once), and that the biscuits themselves may be “too hot to handle.” It took a lot more time to get either of these advisories to come true. And even then, it was never too hot to handle.

The first time, I followed the package’s microwave instructions, and the result was just okay. The innards had been sufficiently cooked, but the biscuit itself was left a little bit spongy. On my second try, I used the conventional oven instructions and discovered to my horror, that the innards were still a bit cool, even after sitting in a 400-degree oven for 20 minutes. For my final attempt, I combined the two methods: I microwaved the biscuit for 15 seconds then placed it in the oven for the full amount of time. It came out perfectly: soft, warm, crispy-on-the-edges biscuit on the outside with a hot, sausage-egg-and-cheese mixture on the inside. The texture of the veggie sausage crumbles was exactly what I expected, but the cheese was a bit runny and may have gotten soaked up by the scrambled egg. It tasted much better than before, though. Good thing they sell these things in boxes of three.

The Morningstar Farms Sausage, Egg and Cheese Biscuit makes an excellent breakfast, but not if you’re in any particular hurry. The Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Biscuit is indeed state-of-the-art, but the Morningstar Farms scientists should have been a little more precise with their cooking instructions. Getting the temperature of my breakfast just right was a trial that brought me a little closer to the plight of a true food scientist… only the reward for my scientific experimentation had slightly less vrooom.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 biscuit (105g) – 270 calories, 80 calories from fat, 8 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 3.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 1.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 600 milligrams of sodium, 190 milligrams of potassium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 10 grams of protein. 4% vitamin A, 10% calcium, and 15% iron.)

Item: Morningstar Farms Sausage, Egg & Cheese Biscuits
Price: $3.99 (on sale; normally $5.99)
Size: 3 biscuits/11.1 ounces
Purchased at: Pavilions
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Buttery biscuit. Low-fat breakfast. Savory vegetarian sausage crumbles. “3” is the magic number. Bigger and denser than other stuffed breakfast sandwiches. Erlenmeyer flasks. Lee Majors.
Cons: Took three different attempts to get the right temperature and texture. Liquid cheese. Not for those in a rush. Less horsepower than a Maserati. $6 regular price tag.