REVIEW: General Mills Elf Cereal

General Mills Elf Cereal Box

I vividly remember the first time I saw “Elf.” I drove two hours to meet an old friend at a Harkins Theater so we could take in the merriment together. Ever since, “Elf” has been a holiday staple of mine. It is the second-most quoted holiday film in my family. So, naturally, when General Mills launched its Elf Cereal, I wanted it in my life.

General Mills Elf Cereal Box Back

The packaging is fun, comforting, and makes ample “Elf” references. The back of the box implores everyone to help Buddy the Elf fill the Clausometer. I know it is just marketing for children, but it warms my heart. The box states that the cereal consists of sweetened corn puffs with holiday tree marshmallows, flavored with maple syrup.

Upon opening the box, a potent maple aroma punched me in the nose. This was momentarily concerning. I pulled the box closer and the smell had already settled. It was not overbearing at all.

General Mills Elf Cereal Bag

The quantity of marshmallows sitting on top was striking. It seemed to be more marshmallow-heavy than some similar cereals. I tried a handful dry and was underwhelmed. The maple syrup flavor was almost indiscernible. The corn puffs were slightly sweet, but not nearly as sugary as I expected for a cereal based on “Elf.” After all, Buddy subsists almost entirely on sugar.

General Mills Elf Cereal Bowled

Once milk is added, the cereal moved closer to my expectations. The maple syrup taste is more evident, but still very restrained. It has been many years, but I used to eat Waffle Crisp regularly when I was younger. I was expecting Elf Cereal to have a maple flavor like Waffle Crisp, but it did not.

General Mills Elf Cereal Spooned

The sweetness really comes out with the milk also. It was not as saccharine as I anticipated, but it was pleasant. If you were to mix marbits with Kix and put a few drops of maple syrup in the milk, you could emulate the flavor profile here relatively closely.

In the spirit of Buddy, I contemplated dousing the cereal in maple syrup, but could not bring myself to do it.

General Mills’ Elf Cereal is a fun, festively themed holiday offering, but it may fall short for some. More maple syrup flavoring could have elevated it to North Pole levels.

At the very least, this cereal makes me smile, and smiling’s my favorite.

Purchased Price: $3.64
Size: 18.6 oz box
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 140 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 0.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 180 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 2 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Frankford Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar

Frankford Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar Wrapper

What is the Frankford Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar

The oldest surviving cereal based on a TV show gets a modern portable makeover from the leader of branded candy. It features Frankford’s white creme packed with Fruity Pebbles.

How is it?

Frankford Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar Top

This bar is simple and absolutely excels in its simplicity. Fruity Pebbles have an extremely unique and sharply fun flavor and aroma that erupts when opening the package. That familiar zing of lemon-lime-citrus with a heavy dose of sugary sweetness translates perfectly from the scent to the taste, with an excellent crunch to boot.

Frankford Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar Bottom

The white creme foundation is an impeccable support system for the technicolor cereal pieces. It brings the creaminess of milk and a huge flourish of extra sugar that makes this taste like the sweetest bowl of cereal you’ll ever have.

Anything else you need to know?

Personally, Fruity Pebbles has always been the best fruity cereal, but its only weakness has been getting soggy quickly. This bar alleviates that problem and then some. Never gets soggy!? Am I dreaming?

Conclusion:

Frankford’s Fruity Pebbles Candy Bar is straight forward and straight fire. If you’re a fan of the #1 cereal during the prehistoric age and aren’t afraid of a little sugar rush, you need to get to Walmart and buy this immediately.

Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2.75 ounces
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1/3 bar) 140 calories, 7 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 30 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 17 gram of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend Bottle

What is Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend?

I can’t be the only cereal lover to receive a face full of debris as I tip nearly empty bags of Cinnamon Toast Crunch into my maw, attempting to extract the pure, concentrated essence of deliciousness found at the bottom of every bag. To save us from ourselves, there’s now Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend.

How is it?

Call me cynical, but I was half expecting this seasoning blend to consist solely of sugar and cinnamon. A look at the ingredient statement assures me that there’s more going on here than what a 7-year-old can throw together while running late for school.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend Closeup

I pour a generous mound on a plate, lick my finger, and dig in. I’m surprised by the quick, sharp spice flavor given how mild the cinnamon is in the namesake cereal. This doesn’t taste much like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but offers a greater depth and variety of flavors.

The sweetness follows, but there’s also vanilla, caramel, and salt. Yes, salt. It’s the third ingredient on the ingredient statement, so salted caramel fans will find a lot to like. It’s salty enough that I imagine there are some savory applications. Cinnamon Toast Crunch sweet potato, anyone? Popcorn? Maybe even dipping some breakfast sausage? There are lots of possibilities for this seasoning blend.

Anything else you need to know?

Readers may be shocked to hear that I’ve never had a Complete Breakfast™ before today. I’ve had a Full English Breakfast, stacks of pancakes bigger than the platter they were served on, and Moons Over My Hammies aplenty. Yet, a Complete Breakfast™ is something that only existed in the cereal commercials that interrupted the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles every Saturday morning when I was a kid.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend Complete Breakfast

Even back then, I knew that cereal was the fastest, lowest effort breakfast option, so the idea of serving it with sides of buttered toast, fruit, juice, and another glass of milk always seems ridiculous. Yet, the Complete Breakfast™ has remained an aspirational ideal for decades now, so I knew I had to take this opportunity to assemble one and try Cinnadust on various items.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend Cereal

I know I’m not alone in shoveling sugar on top of already sugar-loaded cereal, so it doesn’t seem outrageous to sprinkle Cinnadust on my bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch to create Super Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Since it doesn’t exactly replicate the namesake cereal’s powdery coating, it adds some interesting flavors. But the cereal is too sweet for much nuance to come through.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend Toast

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend Fruits

On the other hand, it is a fantastic topping for buttered toast, apples, and bananas. Cinnadust toast is like cinnamon sugar toast, but better, with the salted caramel flavor accentuating the golden brown bread. Likewise, the less sweet fruit allows the spicy cinnamon notes to come through, and the light saltiness offers a flavor boost.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend Milk

The only failure here was adding Cinnadust to milk. This isn’t a drink mix, so it is not surprising it didn’t work, but I was hoping for some instant cereal milk. Instead, it only made slightly sweet milk with floating cinnamon clumps.

Conclusion:

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cinnadust Seasoning Blend doesn’t precisely replicate the flavor of the cereal. But it still tastes great and complements a wide variety of sweet treats.

Purchased Price: $5.48
Size: 13.75 OZ (282g)
Purchased at: Sam’s Club
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts (1 tsp) 15 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 45 milligrams of sodium, 4 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar including 4 grams added sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Quaker Chocolate Life Cereal

Quaker Chocolate Life Cereal Box

What is Quaker Chocolate Life Cereal?

It’s the newest variety in the Quaker Life Cereal line that also includes (say it with me because I know you all know it by heart), original, cinnamon, vanilla, and strawberry. It gets its chocolatiness from cocoa that’s been processed with alkali and other natural flavors.

How is it?

First off, a disclosure. I’m not a regular Life Cereal eater. Oh wait, let me rephrase that. I’m not a Life Cereal Lifer. (That’s better, maybe.) I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve consumed any Life variety, and I had to look up what they were for the list above. With that said, I did enjoy eating Chocolate Life Cereal in milk or dry.

Quaker Chocolate Life Cereal Dry

Its flavor is mild, and there’s enough of it to recognize it’s chocolate. It’s not overly sweet and doesn’t reach the same cocoa level as Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Pebbles, or any other choco-heavy cereal with a cartoon mascot. Also, the chocolatiness tastes darker than the others. I find it tasty enough that it’s got me thinking I should try the other varieties so that it’ll take three hands to count the number of times I’ve had Life Cereal.

Quaker Chocolate Life Cereal Wet

Unfortunately, unlike many of the cereals I mentioned above, it doesn’t make excellent cereal milk. Speaking of milk, this Life variety is okay at maintaining its crunchiness while sitting in the liquid.

Anything else you need to know?

Some of you might be wondering what those white crystal thingies are in the second photo above. I want to say cereal dandruff, but I’m absolutely sure that’s wrong and that Quaker doesn’t want me to describe them that way.

Quaker Chocolate Life Cereal Crystals

There was a bunch collected at the bag’s bottom of the, so I tried them. They look like salt but taste as if they’ve absorbed the cereal’s flavor. If you know what it is, let me know in the comments. If you don’t know what it is but have an absurd and incorrect idea of what it could be, share it in the comments.

A one-cup serving has 24 grams of whole grains, is an excellent source of five B vitamins, and is a good calcium source. Wait…is the cereal dandruff the source of the good source of calcium?

Conclusion:

Quaker Chocolate Life Cereal is a tasty addition to the Life Cereal line that also includes (say it with me again), original, cinnamon, vanilla, and strawberry.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free sample of the product. Thanks, Quaker! Doing so did not influence my review.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 13 oz box
Purchased at: Received from Quaker
Rating: 6 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup) 160 calories, 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 190 milligrams of sodium, 33 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows

Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows Pouch

The cereal aisle provides us with MANY choices. But the ONLY one I want to try with Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows is Kellogg’s Raisin Bran.

Whyyyy?

Maybe I want to taint the wholesomeness of a healthy cereal pillar with marshmallows. Maybe because most of the cereals I’ve wanted to try with marbits already have them, like Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, and Cocoa Puffs. Or perhaps I want to add some vibrant colors to one of the most depressing cereals to look at.

Yes, I could’ve tried this years ago because dehydrated marshmallows have been available on Amazon for years. But I’m not going to trust no-name, boring-shaped marbits. I also could’ve transplanted the mallows from Lucky Charms into another cereal, but then I’m stuck with the sweetened oat pieces. Blech!

So I’m glad we now can purchase Lucky Charms cereal marshmallows sans-cereal in pouches for $3.99. Although, I’m not glad they’re only available at select retailers for a limited time.

Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows Bowl

The marshmallows are what you’d get in regular and special edition Lucky Charms – red balloons, blue moons, green clovers, purple horseshoes, pink hearts, yellow stars, rainbows, and unicorns. They’re sweet, and, not surprisingly, have the same flavor as what’s in the cereal. Because they have a satisfying crunch and taste like I’m eating pure sugar, I’ve been enjoying the handfuls I’ve been shoving into my mouth. Although that could be the sugar talking.

So how are Lucky Charms marshmallows with Kellogg’s Raisin Bran?

Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows Raisin Bran

The combo tastes naughty like I’m adding tater tots to a salad to be the croutons. They add crunchiness when the flakes’ somewhat crispy texture reliably flakes out within 30 seconds of sitting in milk. But, more importantly, the amped sugariness blocks out most of the bran flavor, which is what I hoped. It’s wonderful.

Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows Raw

Because my snacking and cereal mashup-ing didn’t put much of a dent into the six ounces of magical goodness each pouch contains, I decided to create some General Mills synergy by smooshing some into Pillsbury’s Safe to Eat Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and baking them. Unfortunately, the batch I made didn’t taste or feel as if there was synergy. All the marbits added was a bit of color, no crunch or amped up sugariness.

Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows Baked

I didn’t let my imagination run wild with these Limited Edition Lucky Charms Just Magical Marshmallows, but it’s a product with many possibilities. It also easily adds some color to any drab-looking food, like Kellogg’s Raisin Bran.

DISCLOSURE: I received free samples of the product. Thanks, General Mills! Doing so did not influence my review. Also, sorry, General Mills, for mentioning a competitor’s product and not adding these to your Total Raisin Bran.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 6 oz pouch
Purchased at: Received from General Mills
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (3/4 cup) 120 calories 0gfa 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, and less than 1 gram of protein.

REVIEW: KIND Cereal

KIND Cereal Boxes

2020 is the year of many firsts, including what I’m calling “fancy cereal.” Starting with General Mills’ $13 Morning Summit cereal that made headlines earlier this year to KIND’s newest $6.98 box of cereal. We’re on a new level of bougie cereal, y’all.

Best known for its fruit and nut bars, KIND has quadrupled down with four new cereal flavors – Apple Cinnamon, Cranberry Almond, Dark Chocolate Almond, and Honey Almond.

These sound like standard, well-known flavors, but they’ve been amped with super grains (sorry Paleo-ers, they’re full of sorghum, quinoa, and amaranth). Two of the four flavors – Dark Chocolate Almond and Cranberry Almond – are also bar flavors, so there’s added familiarity.

The shiny, expensive-looking packaging helped a bit with my initial sticker shock. Perception is such a funny thing, but the cardboard’s heavier weight and beautiful food images were very appealing and helped me begin to rationalize the price.

After examining all four flavors, the concept seemed pretty formulaic: same base flake with fruit and nut inclusions. These base flakes looked like thicker, brown, and lumpy corn flakes. I guess that’s what happens when it’s made of super grains! They were generally plain tasting – lacking even the toasted fragrance found in usual cereal grains like corn and oat. But, it was a proper backdrop for all the added goodies as it has a non-intrusive, but unmistakable grain note.

But the Cranberry Almond and Dark Chocolate Almond included an accompanying colored flake – pink and brown, respectively. This plays an important role as you’ll read on later, but these did subtlety taste like their respective flavors.

But back to the formula. Inclusions aren’t game-changing as we’ve seen cereal jazzed up with marbits, two scoops of raisins, etc. for decades now. I find the fancy nut inclusions, like the pepitas in the Apple Cinnamon flavor, are more like something I’d find in muesli or granola.

But, what really stood out was the consistent delivery of each component with every pour. Usually, it’s a slim ratio of the expensive stuff to cereal bits, but there’s no skimping here. This is crucial because I found that the flavor comes from these inclusions — from the sweet pops of dried fruit to the rich, nutty almond notes.

With all the different textures from the dried fruit, nuts, and the super grain flakes themselves, it was quite crunchy. Even when I left it sitting just a bit longer, it didn’t turn immediately into mush. As an ice chewer, I personally enjoy texture over soggy cereal!

There was truly no bad egg of the four. However, the two that surprised and delighted me the most were Cranberry Almond and Dark Chocolate Almond.

KIND Cranberry Almond Cereal

KIND Dark Chocolate Almond Cereal

As I mentioned earlier, each of these included a different color flake and the plain base flake. The natural coloring washed into the milk and produced millennial pink-colored and chocolate-colored milk. So fun!

KIND Cranberry Almond Cereal Milk

KIND Dark Chocolate Almond Cereal Milk

The Cranberry Almond pink was purely visual as the subtle cranberry flavor was overpowered by the milk. The chocolate one seemed more indulgent as it did actually create chocolate cereal milk. The little, semi-sweet chocolate rectangles added a nice extra bit of choco-goodness as well.

KIND Honey Almond Cereal

Honey Almond, surprisingly, didn’t give me as much delight as the previous two. While it clearly listed toasted coconut as an ingredient on the box, I didn’t expect that to be the dominant flavor. I know they probably wanted to be consistent in saying that almonds are the number one ingredient across all four, but they should’ve at least named it Coconut Almond to reflect what it actually tastes like!

KIND Apple Cinnamon Cereal

Apple Cinnamon was more middle of the road for me – not offensive but didn’t surprise and delight like the others. The base flake did slightly deviate from the rest as it was the cinnamon flavor source, but it was very lightly flavored. So, it reminded me of good ol’ cinnamon Cheerios.

KIND Apple Cinnamon Cereal Red Puffed Rice

I didn’t think that I would like dried apple pieces in cereal, but I was proven wrong. Also, unlike the other varieties, there were some red puffed rice pieces. I was unclear what purpose they served as they didn’t really add any additional flavor or visual interest.

If I’m going to gripe about anything, it’s the prominent touting of 5-6 grams of protein per serving. Is that supposed to be a lot?! My usual nowadays, Special K Protein, is three times that! So, the nutrition isn’t quite there to replace my go-to, but a Dark Chocolate Almond bowl as a regular treat sounds like a great plan to me.

Purchased Price: $6.98 each
Size: 15 oz boxes
Purchased at: Walmart
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Apple Cinnamon), 8 out of 10 (Cranberry Almond), 9 out of 10 (Dark Chocolate Almond), 7 out of 10 (Honey Almond)
Nutrition Facts: (55 grams) Cranberry Almond – 230 calories, 8 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4.5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 37 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Dark Chocolate Almond – 240 calories, 10 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 5 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 75 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Apple Cinnamon – 220 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 1 gram of polyunsaturated fat, 1 gram of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 95 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 13 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein. Honey Almond – 250 calories, 11 grams of fat, 4 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 80 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, 10 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein.