Japanese Snack Reviews Contest!

Hey, guys!

Just a bit of PR and a heads up for a fellow blogger of mine, Japanese Snack Reviews. She’s running a contest on her blog to win a neat mug and Japanese Kit-Kat set and to enter the contest, I’m doing a little write-up to give a heads up!

I use JSR to decide which snacks to buy from J-List, and at their shipping rates, every penny counts! I like her site for the concise ratings and range of products reviewed. Plus, with the new semester coming, what self-respecting college student doesn’t need a mug and some chocolate, right?

So, go check it out! The contest runs until the 18th of January.



Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver Mix

I got this hefty pan and mix kit a while ago from Chad at Aunt Else’s Aebleskiver’s. Aebleskivers are a Danish spherical pancake, and this kit lets me make them at home. The nice thing about them is that they can be customized in so many different ways, and for the family and me, this was a fun breakfast treat.

Making these was a lot of fun. We found that it was actually a lot easier to use a butter knife to slide the aebleskivers around than to use the skewer. We made two flavors of the aebleskivers, the regular flavor, without any filling, and one with little pieces of chopped apple.

I’d like to try these with a savory flavor, like ham and egg, or pesto and mozzarella, at some point. They puffed up really well and were easy to pick up and handle, so I imagine these would be a lot of fun for an on-the-go snack, like a crepe or a slice of pizza. I just enjoyed them a lot. They were quite novel.

Pouring in the batter…

Twirling each one a quarter turn…

Nine perfect aebleskivers!

Enjoyable with any topping, like powdered sugar or maple syrup. Traditionally, though, the Danes do not eat these for breakfast.

These were fun to make, and really tasty. Sometimes the taste of the oil was a little overpowering, and the puffs were sometimes not as fluffy as I’d have liked, but that could have been with my technique. With practice makes perfect, and these are easy to master. I’ll definitely be trying this again!

Thanks to the folks at Aunt Else’s!

Velveeta Shells and Cheese

I consider myself a macaroni and cheese connoisseur. I mean, it’s hard to screw up. It’s a tasty food, it’s heartening, it’s delicious, and it’s easy to make and customize in many ways.

So why, Velveeta, have you managed to take one of the paragons of my childhood and turned it into such an awful food?

I brought this box with me from home, in August, like some sort of a latter-day Oregon Trail trek, carrying it with me in my box o’ stuff intending on saving it for a day when I absolutely could not stomach the dining hall fare any longer, and could not stand to leave the confines of my dorm room for takeout. And when I did make it, I took the utmost care and time to stir it and rinse it and make sure all the noodles were evenly boiled, and Velveeta defiled me.

The result, humans, is a salty, gluey mess, much like the ones the gigolos named Hans leave after hosting policeman-themed birthday parties. Vaguely cheesy tasting and the type of orange you could throw at people at a rave and watch glow in the dark, but with an overall flavor of salt, MSG, and dreams deferred, Velveeta just makes me sad. And just like those oysters that change gender when their shells clump together, all these shells are stuck in one giant clusterfuck.

Velveeta, you have broken my pathetic, college cooking heart. I’ll never be the same.

Vita Coco Waters

Is it cold where you are? Are you freezing your butt off, ringing in the New Year like we are in New England, doing all the delightfully quintessential New England activities, like snow shoveling, snow shoveling, or snow shoveling?

Well, I’m offering up a once-in-a-lifetime chance, with this drink. I tried it at a Stop and Shop. It’s a little like sticking a coconut up your bum, turning into Marvo for a day, or taking a Hawaiian patterned rubber tube, tying it around your arm to stop the blood flow, and injecting this into your veins.

So this is Vita Coco. Each variety of this is different, and yet, like a horrible episode of Pokemon, somehow, always the same. I tried four different flavors of this in little supermarket shot glasses, here for your enjoyment. First up, the original, Vita Coco pure coconut water. I don’t see the appeal in coconut water. In cartoons, it’s portrayed as coconut milk, and in real life, it tastes like dirty gourmet water. There’s no sweet flavor, just a vaguely milky aftertaste. It’s refreshing. It’s very refreshing. I’m sure there are nutrients, but I don’t see the point in drinking it if there’s not a taste that you can also enjoy.
The next flavor I tried was an acai and pomegranate juice. Again, this was very refreshing and quenching, even with the small shot glass/ramekin portion of juice I had, but there was that strange, milky and buttery aftertaste of coconut juice that I got that watered down the acai and pomegranate, which tasted more like a cheap off-brand wine than anything else, a really artificial flavor, like a strange grapey taste that added little else but that sugary flavor that I was looking for in the last one. I liked getting samples at Stop and Shop, though. Maybe I’ll wander by the dairy section more often.
The last two flavors weren’t as bad as the first two, thank goodness. The pineapple and coconut was refreshing and sweet. The creamy flavor wasn’t as strange this time and worked well with the sweet, but slightly bitter flavor of the pineapple, creating a piƱa colada style of drink that was refreshing but didn’t bog me down. I liked it a lot.
The last flavor was also pretty tasty, a peach mango. Unfortunately, it was just sweet. All the flavors seemed to get a little watered down in the process of juggling peach, mango, and coconut, but managed to get “sugar” down rather well. I got hints of each fruit in the drink, but overall, got a lot of sweetness with more coconut than anything else. Not to say that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t as vibrant as the pineapple, which was definitely my favorite of them all.