REVIEW: Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal

Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal Box

I don’t know about you, but the name “honey vanilla” instantly calls to my mind some kind of skincare product; something sweet but not syrupy, understated and tasteful but with a hint of sumptuousness. The back of this Cheerios box, with its posh descriptors “rich,” “delightfully tempting,” and “O so joyful,” only made me more confident in this association.

Gingerly plucking a single glossy “O” before preparing my bowl (I may or may not have even felt elegant enough to do this with my pinky finger raised), the first thing I noticed was its sticky texture. Crisp and firm on the outside, this cereal glistened with a vanilla-glazed gleam. Upon my taste test, the solid interior gave way to its airy inside with a satisfying crunch. Eaten dry, the cereal tasted pleasant but not overly flavorful. It struck me as more or less just a milder version of the ubiquitous Honey Nut Cheerios, and I’m not sure I could have pinpointed which ingredients made it unique without the box’s helpful visual cues of a vanilla flower and generous honey swirl adorning the iconic heart-shaped bowl. It had a faint sweetness, but the foremost flavor was oat-y; it didn’t surprise me when I noticed the box also bore a proud (but perhaps unnecessarily capitalized) proclamation of “first ingredient WHOLE GRAIN OATS.”

Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal Bowl

Pouring milk over the cereal coaxed out more notes of both honey and vanilla, but it remained alluringly demure. Another word that kept springing to my mind was “mature.” I was introduced to a measured, subtle wave of sweetness, not the punch to the face of sugariness that I frankly often look for in my cereal choices. These Cheerios were also pretty quick to become mushy in the milk, and while I know that can be a controversial quality, I was personally a fan.

Honey Vanilla Cheerios Cereal Back

I’m a strong believer that the back of a cereal box should be given just as much consideration as the taste, and this one certainly fits the product’s “refined but slightly saccharine” aesthetic with its honey-and-vanilla-themed sudoku-esque visual puzzle. A high school classmate of mine infamous for his elaborate and uncomfortable outfits used to live by the motto “aesthetics over practicality,” and while our gym teachers disagreed, I think Honey Vanilla Cheerios would. This charming puzzle seemed kind of impossible to actually fill out since the six icons you’re tasked with drawing in the correct order are mostly differentiated by color, and I’m guessing most people don’t eat their cereal with neutral-toned crayons at the ready. But hey, still cute and classy!

Overall, Honey Vanilla Cheerios are plain but pleasing, an ideal breakfast for a day filled with agreeable-but-not-too-spirited activities like gracefully smelling a moderately-scented flower or playing a prim game of checkers where, win or lose, you’d never dare get in your opponent’s face about it. If the prospect of purchasing a cereal with a name that sounds straight out of Bath & Body Works excites you, these should suit you just fine.

Purchased Price: $3.00
Size: 14.3 oz box (“Large Size”)
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup – cereal only) 140 calories (180 with 1/2 cup skim milk), 2 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 170 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Plentifull Peanut Butter Cereal

Plentifull Peanut Butter Cereal Cluster Box

Plentifull Peanut Butter Cereal looks like it’s for grown-ups.

No puffs. No rings. No marshmallows. No cartoon mascots. No toys. No puzzles on the back of the box. But its name does have a misspelling that’s the equivalent of replacing plural S’s with a Z or chopping off the E in the word “extreme” that you might find on products meant for younger palates.

This mature-looking cereal has flakes that seem as if they are plentiful with fiber and whole grains, which they are. It also comes with nut and seed clusters, which sound like stuff doctors recommend adults eat more of.

While Plentifull Peanut Butter Cereal appears to be a product for those whose ages are well into the double digits, it tastes like a product that would appeal to those who watch PAW Patrol or PJ Masks. It’s wonderfull.

From the moment I opened its bag to the last sip of milk at the bottom of my bowl, I got a nutty experience I was not expecting. It does peanut butter better than most cereals with cartoon mascots on them. Is it the reincarnation of Post’s discontinued Nutter Butter Cereal? It could be. I don’t know how transmigrations work, so I don’t know if a cereal from one company can be reborn into one from another company. I should ask Buddha, I guess.

Plentifull Peanut Butter Cereal Cluster Bowl

Its potent peanut butter punch comes from the coated flakes, which not only provides flavor but also help prevent the rice and corn flakes from getting soggy quickly. I was surprised by the coating’s slight saltiness when I first tried the cereal, but after the second spoonful, I was more enthralled by its nutty knock. The layer on these flakes does a better job at presenting flavor than what Kellogg’s did with Frosted Flakes. But, oddly, the milk at the bottom of the bowl didn’t have much of a nuttiness.

Plentifull Peanut Butter Cereal Cluster

As for the nut and seed clusters, which are made of oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, they provide a Honey Bunches of Oats cluster-like crunch that’s slightly different from the flakes’ crunch. The seeds’ flavors are noticeable among the peanut butter, but if I happen to buy a box that didn’t have them due to a production error, I’d be happy with that flawed box because it’s the coated flakes that make this so great.

With a flavor and aroma that would appeal to kids, a decent amount of protein, and a whole lot of fiber and whole grains, Plentifull Peanut Butter Cereal is a product this adult recommends.

DISCLOSURE: I received a free product sample from General Mills. Doing so did not influence my review at all.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 15.7 oz box
Purchased at: Received from General Mills
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup without milk) 270 calories, 8 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 4 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 310 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fiber, 16 grams of sugar (including 15 grams of added sugar), and 6 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Nestle Coffee mate Golden Graham and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats Creamer

Nestle Coffee mate Golden Grahams Creamer Bottles

It’s fascinating that cereals from competing companies are two of Coffee mate’s new creamer flavors — General Mills’ Golden Grahams and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats.

I don’t know if the behind the scenes there were awkward moments where the Coffee mate person who makes these deals had to explain to the cereal people that Coffee mate is also going to offer at the same time a creamer that’s flavored like a competitor’s cereal. I also don’t know if those moments were followed with an “Oops. Tee hee hee. No backsies.”

The cereal choices are also fascinating. One has marshmallow flavor and the other has graham flavor, and if you’re doing the snack math in your head, we’re some chocolate away from s’mores.

I’ll get back to that creamer mixology in a moment, but let’s talk about them individually.

It’s been a year or two since I’ve last had Golden Grahams cereal, but the moment I put my nose above the creamer’s spout, it immediately registered as the classic cereal. When I sampled it sans coffee, it hit my taste buds with a Golden Grahams flavor that’s stronger than the cereal itself. It would make the Golden Grahams mascot proud, whatever it is. Has there ever been one? Anyhoo, in my cold brew coffee, that flavor is still noticeable, but obviously milder because it’s competing with the coffee’s flavor.

Nestle Coffee mate Rice Krispies Treats Creamer Bottle

As for the Rice Krispies Treats one, it smells exactly like the marshmallow and rice cereal treat, but I can’t say the same about its taste. In coffee, it gives my daily cold brew a marshmallow flavor that pops, but there’s no Snap, Crackle, or Pop. Though, it’s not surprising since I couldn’t taste any cereal when I drank it straight out of the bottle like a good product reviewer should. With just a marshmallow flavor, it reminds me of another coffee creamer I’ve had, but I’m not sure which one. I’ve had a lot. Maybe I’m thinking of the s’mores-flavored creamer or the Peeps one I had a few years ago.

Nestle Coffee mate S mores Mashup

Speaking of s’mores, let’s now find out how combining the two with a bit of chocolate will turn out. Fortunately, I had some Hershey’s syrup sitting in my fridge like a good product reviewer should. After some trial and error, mixing two tablespoons of each creamer with one tablespoon of Hershey’s syrup got me a balanced s’mores flavor in my coffee and a lot of sugar. It was definitely better tasting than the s’more-flavored creamer I mentioned earlier that lacked a graham flavor.

Now I don’t know if Coffee mate decided to release these two flavors at the same time to encourage shoppers to buy both so that they can make s’mores-flavored coffee, but I’ll just make the folks there look good by saying they did. After trying them separately and together (with chocolate) in several cups of coffee, I’ve enjoyed these creamers either way and I recommend giving them a try.

DISCLOSURE: I received free product samples from Coffee mate. Doing so did not influence my review. I know it totally reads like it did, but I assure you it did not.

Purchased Price: FREE
Size: 32 fl oz bottles
Purchased at: Received from Coffee mate
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Golden Grahams), 7 out of 10 (Rice Krispies Treats)
Nutrition Facts: (1 tbsp) 35 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 15 milligrams of sodium, 5 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of sugar, 5 grams of added sugar, and 0 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Reese’s Puffs Cluster Crunch Cereal

Reese s Puffs Cluster Crunch Cereal Box

Hmm. Where do I start? I want to be excited about a new Reese’s Puffs cereal, especially one that switches up the shape and doesn’t just supersize it for reasons I don’t fully understand (Big Puffs) or have box art featuring a musician I’ve only vaguely heard of (no offense, Lil Yachty, that remote control cereal boat was pretty cool). I like when the spheres are seasonally swapped for bunny and bat shapes. Those both take a classically good cereal like Puffs and change it up in a fun way.

When I first saw the box of Reese’s Puffs Cluster Crunch, I couldn’t help but approach it with a bit of trepidation. The shapes looked familiar like the berry pieces in Trix or, more inauspiciously, the “clusters” in the largely disappointing Lucky Charms Marshmallow Clusters. I think I see where you’re going with this one, General Mills. We’re looking at Clusters Plan B, and it’s still not exactly working.

There’s definitely nothing wrong with this cereal in terms of taste. It’s actually quite good, assuming you’re a fan of Reese’s Puffs to begin with. The same strong Reese’s peanut butter smell is present when you open the bag, and as usual, there isn’t as much of a chocolate component as you might hope for, but I’d be lying if I said I’d ever really docked Puffs for lacking this. The peanut butter-colored and chocolate-colored pieces are interchangeably flavored as usual. The issue here is the wording.

Reese s Puffs Cluster Crunch Cereal Bowl

Picture this. You’re at the breakfast table with your cereal bowl in front of you, spoon in hand (or if you’re me, at your desk at four p.m. with no spoon and your hand just shoved inside the box. Kidding, I don’t have a desk). You’re about to go fishing in your bowl for a nice crunchy cluster, something that stands out from the other bites. I bet you’re envisioning something like a gob of flakes and oats and maybe pieces of nuts, all different textures and clumped together with the power of something sugary. Instead, you get…a few little rafts of aerated puffs that seem kind of like Rice Krispies but aren’t?

Reese s Puffs Cluster Crunch Cereal Puffs

I can’t even tell if these are more aerated than usual, and I cut several pieces in half to check. Even if they were, this would be more of an “extra puffed” and not exactly my definition of crunchy. In milk, they fare the same as the regular ones do, and I know this because I ate them both side by side on a fruitless quest to discover the difference.

Reese s Puffs Cluster Crunch Cereal Spoon

Reese s Puffs Cluster Crunch Cereal Split

This cereal is identical to Reese’s Puffs in every way, except instead of regular round pieces, there are “clusters” of smaller balls. But they’re stuck together from the get-go, and this doesn’t produce any significant difference in crunch. They do have more flavor powder on them, thanks to the little bumps and crevices, and eating them feels a little different because they aren’t a shape that my tongue is totally used to when it thinks it’s getting Reese’s Puffs.

I consider the original Puffs to be an 8 out of 10, and it seems unfair to rank this any lower because it’s exactly the same, but I think the name Cluster Crunch evokes an idea that the product doesn’t deliver on. If you like Reese’s Puffs, you should be happy with this cereal. If you’re hoping for a new and crunchy twist, this underwhelms.

Purchased Price: $2.50
Size: 11.9 oz box
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup without milk) 160 calories, 4.5 grams of fat, 0.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 210 milligrams of sodium, 30 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of total sugars including 12 grams of added sugars), and 3 grams of protein.

REVIEW: CinnaGraham Toast Crunch Cereal

CinnaGraham Toast Crunch Cereal Box

Fresh off the success of Apple Pie Toast Crunch, General Mills brings us another variant in the TC family, CinnaGraham Toast Crunch.

Hang on, IS this in the Toast Crunch family?

According to the front of the box, yes. According to me and the ingredients section of the Nutrition Facts, this is Golden Grahams’ kin. I guess the inclusion of cinnamon and the extreme popularity of Cinnamon Toast Crunch make marketing this as a TC spinoff the right call but let’s give Golden Grahams some credit! It’s an excellent cereal and deserves to crawl out from beneath the rug it’s been swept under long enough to introduce its sibling, CinnaGraham. Hi CinnaGraham, the pleasure is all mine.

I’m a big fan of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Golden Grahams and vastly prefer cinnamon graham crackers to regular (unless I’m making s’mores, in which case I prefer the traditional route because some things shouldn’t be messed with – get your peanut butter cups away from my campfire) so the announcement of this variety had me pretty excited.

CinnaGraham Toast Crunch Cereal Closeup

Opening the bag, I noticed the traditional cinnamon swirl on each square. But there is a darker appearance to these pieces, and the aroma is surprisingly deep and rich, smelling a whole lot like a cinnamon bun. I’m not sure if this is because I was expecting the pieces to taste closer to regular Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I was bemused by how much these actually seemed texturally similar to graham crackers, both eaten plain and once doused in milk.

Comparing the ingredients, CinnaGraham uses corn meal where the original uses rice flour, and CG contains baking soda and brown sugar syrup. Golden Grahams also utilizes this corn meal, baking soda, and brown sugar syrup formula, which apparently does a great job mimicking graham crackers even though real graham crackers have no corn in them.

CinnaGraham Toast Crunch Cereal Dry

This cereal feels denser and richer than a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, even though the serving size and caloric content are the same. I think if I had any self-control, I’d be inclined to consume a smaller bowl of this just because it feels more indulgent and filling than the lighter rice flour type. It tastes like a bowl of dessert, and I could see that being too much for some people. Since I’ve already eaten half the box in the course of one session, I am clearly not one of those people.

The brown sugar/molasses notes really come through here and a hint of honey is present also, further reinforcing the graham cracker flavor. The cereal behaves in milk as your typical Toast Crunch or Golden Grahams would and it’s too tasty to eat slowly, so getting soggy isn’t an issue.

CinnaGraham Toast Crunch Cereal Milk

The milk left behind is a deeper shade than with your classic Cinnamon Toast Crunch and with a more intense flavor to match. I saw this as a positive and have really high praises for this cereal overall. I think General Mills aced both the texture and flavor profile, and I hope this stays on shelves because it’d definitely go into my regular rotation.

Purchased Price: $5.29 (This seems too expensive but is probably just because it’s new)
Size: 12 oz box
Purchased at: Jewel-Osco
Rating: 10 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (1 cup without milk) 170 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 230 milligrams of sodium, 32 grams of total carbohydrates, 2 grams of dietary fiber, 12 grams of sugar including 12 grams of added sugar, and 2 grams of protein.