Hunt’s Snack Packs Triples Brownie Mix Pudding

Pudding flavors. We’ve all experienced that brilliant, futuristic epiphany when we’ve thought, “I bet it would be awesome if I could ingest all my food through a pill or through liquid alone.” And by gum, it’s been done in so many sci-fi movies about the millennium and the future, where we’re all wearing latex outfits like disgruntled dominatrices, popping pill food, pretending to be like the Na’vi while playing WoW with our Omegle pals and wandering around on our retarded hovercrafts.
Well, Hunt’s has done exactly what our fanciest wet dreams have entailed, and they’ve embarked on the liquid food formation with this Snack Packs Triples Brownie Mix. The idea itself is so enticing. Take everything great about brownie mix- the texture, the chunks, the chocolate chocolate, the fudge, the awesome, and take out the bad stuff, like salmonella, everlasting guilt from your slim and attractive mother and her slim and attractive jeans when you’re hiding a bowl and smearing it all over your face, and the endless preparation, and you have this pudding, right?
Needless to say, I was intrigued. So when I opened this and smelled a faint whiff of dairy and then, vaguely chocolate, I was a little confused. We tasted it. Gloppy, yes. Milky, yes. Chocolatey…not really. It was an extremely bland and chalky tasting pudding.

There were supposed to be three “layers,” too, for the triples part. Layers of what, you say? Chocolate? Brownie? Heartache? There’s a sweet tasting chocolate flavor, yes. It’s made with milk. But overall, this has no more resemblance to brownies than John Mayer does, even with his affinity for pot-laced confections.
Note: No mothers were harmed in the consumption of this confection.

God of War Kratos Fury Blackberry Lime

Here I am, with another Slurpee review! I’m working hard on getting the Slurpees back to the lightbox and am considering playing around with them in it, but that’s a damned hard task when the 7-11 is 20 minutes away. I’m trying, I’m trying!

However, here it is. Soooooo, in Greek mythology, Cratos, or Kratos, as all the kool kids are doing nowadays, was the personification of strength and manliness and apparently now, he’s the meaning of purple and mild-mannered wimpiness. I mean, really, now, Slurpee. As wonderful and intense as “blackberry lime” may seem, it doesn’t really give a punch to the face at all. And I ain’t getting any of the fury that I’m supposed to be getting at all.
The drink is mild. I mean, just look at the color! It’s a beautiful lavender. If this drink were marketing Katamari, I’d understand. If it were advertising daisies and puppies and sunshine, I’d feel all right. But the taste is just bleh. I took a sip. It was very generic. I got a hint of lime at first, and then, not much else. The “blackberry” flavor, I’m sure you know, isn’t anything like your grandma Annie used to pick off the bushes. It’s a careful composite of Blue Lake 132 and looooooove.

The flavor was a little bitter, which took some getting used to, and finally, after a few tried and true sips and tongue smacks, I decided I had no interest in getting used to it at all, and I gave it to Erik. He dumped the rest of his Peace Tea in it, which, strangely enough, improved the overall taste.

Kratos is crying. Are you listening?

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Samosas

I love Indian food. Some future Shameless Foodette posts focus on some Indian food exploits that Erik and I made for Sherlock. So when we saw that we had these in the freezer, we thawed them out to try. (Oh, and these were pre-lightbox, so sorry!)

Erik had had them before, and didn’t want me to have a biased review, but all he said was, “I think you’ll see what I mean when I say that they’re interesting.” So already, my interest was piqued. An interesting flavor. They’re cute little dumplings, much smaller than the traditional anvil of a samosa that I’m used to in a restaurant, but not so dauntingly big that I wouldn’t feel comfortable serving them to guests without whacking them up first.
The box said to cook them for ten minutes in a 350 degree oven, but when I went to eat one, it was still cold and stiff, and sparkly inside, much like a vampire’s member. Gross, Edward Cullen! Disappointed, I put them back in for another five, and they were fine.

The ingredients listed said that there were the traditional potatoes and peas with the mix of spices- curry, turmeric, cumin, etc, but also had carrots, and that was just strange. Moving on, though, I bit into it, expecting the restaurant quality flavor I got in the normal ones, and got…an Asian inspired amalgam? It was overly spicy, had way too much shredded carrot in it, tons of peas, and only the tiniest speck of potato. What gives, Trader Joe’s?
Honestly, they never specified, and maybe I’m egregious in my assumption that “samosas” are traditionally South Asian and mainly Indian, but if I hadn’t known that, I would have pegged these for wonton like or Chinese inspired dumplings. Lame, Trader Joe’s. Lame, lame, lame. Too spicy, crappy cooking instructions, and crappy vegetable distribution. I spit them out and gave them to Erik, and he threw them out. Inedible is inedible is inedible. It’s the first Trader Joe’s product that I’ve been less than satisfied with.

Chocri: Foodette’s Breakfast Bar

My Chocri bars are here, and I am very excited to try them! Carmen from Chocri was very generous in letting me create and go nuts with all my lovely chocolate bars. This particular bar is a white chocolate bar, Foodette’s Breakfast Bar, with cinnamon rice cereal, honey roasted peanuts, chocolate covered rice krispies, dried strawberries, and bourbon vanilla.
I thought there was a really great and even distribution of toppings on this. I hate how on some chocolate bars, the toppings aren’t even or the chunks are sized badly, but on this, it was pretty much perfect. The peanuts were very large, but broke down well in my mouth, and the honey coating was the perfect sweetness for the nuts themselves.
The chocolate was a little bland, it coated my mouth a little too much, but had a nice honeyed flavor from the nuts and a fantastic extra pop from the cinnamon of the cereal, which provided a great base with white chocolate, whereas with milk or dark, would have definitely been overpowered. The strawberries added a fantastic element of tartness that made the cinnamon come out with a warm flavor, too, and the combination of the two was easily my favorite flavor profile of the entire bar.I didn’t taste the rice krispies very much, because the chocolate coverings might have blended in a little too much amidst the chocolate bar itself, but they provided a little crunch. They didn’t stand up to the big crunchers of the show, however, so they weren’t very noticeable, and if I had eaten this blindfolded, I might not have noticed their presence at all. And the bourbon vanilla wasn’t detectable unless I bit parts that weren’t covered by any other topping, or licked the bar where the vanilla was scattered. It illicits romantic undertones. Lick bourbon vanilla off your partner! You’ll taste it. I promise. Just…not with anything else.
Overall, though, this was a great bar. Pair it with some orange juice, Nutella, and cardiac arrest, and it’s part of a nutritious breakfast!

Cheetos Cheddar Jalapeño

Cheetos are the a quintessential lunchbox snack, and they’re always churning out new flavors. However, all the flavors are generally those that are congruent with cheesiness. Doritos corners the strangeness market, with the sour cream and the sweet and spicy chili, but Cheetos tends to stick to flavors that go well with cheese.
When I saw these in my local 7-11, I was immediately intrigued. I saw these along with the white cheddar flavor that Junk Food Betty had also recently reviewed and I had to try them. Along with the recent failure of the Tim McGraw’s Fritos, also vaguely jalapeño tasting, I wanted to see if these set the bar and made an accurate realization of jalapeño flavoring.
They weren’t too bad. Aside from the fact that they’re blindingly orange, they aren’t awful. The jalapeño is different from the hot flavoring in that it’s a fresher, more peppery taste instead of just the spicy flavoring that I’m used to with the other chips. This is definitely more zoned in on the actual pepper itself. However, I really don’t know if the bold and audacious Cheeto can call itself “cheddar” with this snack. I don’t taste the bite or tang of cheddar cheese. Call it a really jerky accusation, but I definitely didn’t taste anything really cheddary about these snacks. If anything, it was more of a creamy, subtle flavoring, in the cheesiness category of a jalapeño popper, like a cream cheese. And that makes no freaking sense! If you have the prefix “chee-” or whatever, in your damned name, shouldn’t you have a little more cheese flavor?!
Chester Cheetah scores well with this one, though, aside from the egregious Schrodinger’s cheese. The peppery taste makes you think about water a little harder than the average weak hot chip, and consider going out for Mexican food, and the little crunchy kibbles, or whatever they are, are always fun to munch on, but jalapeño cheddar? Foolish mortals! The big cat always wins.

Cadbury Creme Egg

A while back, I reviewed the Cadbury Twisted Creme Bar, and though this isn’t traditional Valentine’s fare, actually, more Easter fare, I had to show you my new photo equipment! I built a lightbox last night and tried it out today, so from now on, all photos you’ll see on Foodette will be a product of this little toy! Very cheap and easy to make!
So the Cadbury egg is a quintessential treat around springtime. The stores are rolling them out now, even before Valentine’s Day, along with the Cadbury mini eggs, to ensure that we’re all aware that April is coming, and SOON.
The egg’s shell and fondant were a lot thicker than I thought. They’re actually a lot thicker than the bar’s were, too, come to think of it. It’s more of a creme than a liquidy goo, which is nice, and the creme isn’t grainy or sticky to the touch. It’s not fluffy like a buttercreme, though. It’s very smooth and flavorful, a light vanilla taste and aroma that blends with and doesn’t detract from the chocolate itself, which is standard Cadbury fare- a rich and creamy, slightly sour, dairy heavy milk chocolate. A very good treat, but so sugary. I love them so, but once a year is fine enough for me. There’s a reason why these are seasonal, and it’s because it’s easier to eat frosting out of the can or inject it intravenously.
Thr egg is also extremely substantial and can be lobbed like a small grenade. I think that the chocolate to fondant ratio is fine for the egg. You’ll see in one of the photos, the shell was rather tough to cut through to expose the fondant inside. And, as always, the yolk is ever so lovely and yellow.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Eggrolls

A foray into some Asian cooking the other night. Erik and I made a whole slew of egg rolls, including a very successful experiment with harissa and chicken and pesto and mozzarella, but the most successful egg rolls were the chicken, bacon, and ranch ones. They were much easier than we thought they’d be and were really tasty! For dessert, we made banana, walnut, and Nutella.

Ingredients (serves 2)
3 slices of thick cut bacon
1 chicken breast
1/2 cup ranch dressing
6 egg roll wrappers
corn oil

1. Fill a pot with the corn oil, a few cups. Let it heat on your stove’s highest setting and work on the filling.
2. In a pan. start your bacon. Let it fry until very crispy. While that’s frying, thaw your chicken by whatever means you like to thaw it, and when the bacon is finished, drain most of the extra grease, cut the chicken up into little pieces, and pop it into the pan, too. Let it cook and crisp up, season it with salt and pepper, and then take it out and put it into a food processor or a Slap Chop. Or use a knife. Whatever.
3. In any case, shred it up and make it pretty small and put it into a bowl along with the ranch sauce. Break the bacon into tiny pieces and mix it into the same bowl.
4. Assemble the eggrolls. It’s very easy. Take each piece of dough and turn it so that it looks like a diamond, and then spoon a bit of filling in. Take the bottom corner and fold it up, and then the sides, so it looks like an envelope, and then roll the whole thing up. Seal the top corner with water, and fold it down. There you have it! An egg roll. Repeat with the rest.
5. Now that the oil is heated, you can fry the rolls. Using a slotted spoon, dunk the eggrolls in, being careful not to splatter the hot oil all over the stove and yourself. They will float and bob to the top. When they are brown and crispy, they’re done! Cut in half and garnish with cheese and ranch, or your dipping sauce of choice.


3 Musketeers Truffle Crisp Bar

I tried this at the urging of two factors; the convenience store’s sign, proclaiming “NEW!!!” in bolded, highlighted lettering at the front of the desk, and the clerk at the desk herself, telling me how tasty they were.

Intrigued, I scurried back to my room, candy bar in hand. As soon as I unwrapped this, a wonderful and rich chocolatey smell entered my confused nostrils. This was…rich. Hrm. So I cracked open the bar, and to my surprise, it was extremely succulent. The chocolate on the outside was rich and milky, and on the inside, the bar snapped with an airy crunch like a malted milk ball and melted with a similarly airy feel to a malted milk ball, too. The truffle layer is really tasty, and very rich. It’s a lot creamier than a lot of the standard chocolate bars that Mars and Hershey put out.

The truffle layer was also very fluffy, but substantial enough to give me the feeling of eating an entire chocolate bar, and there was enough difference in each layer- the outside, the truffle, and the crispy bottom, that I didn’t get bored or bothered that there wasn’t a different flavor instead of just chocolate, and the flavors also maintained the integrity of the 3 Musketeers bar that it had deviated from in the first place. I’ll definitely go to this over another chocolate bar in the future, because it gave me a more gourmet feel of a truffle, but without the “gourmet” prices.

Burgers 101 at The Hatch, UMass Student Union, Amherst, MA

Hello, hello.

It’s been bitter and cold and disgusting in Western Massachusetts. I envy Gigi for scurrying back to sunny California! But I’m stuck here, so I decided to try Burgers 101 at The Hatch for a warm meal before classes.
Apologies, too, for the rotated photo. Image Preview and Blogger are NOT congruent, and when I upload the horizontal photo from IP to Blogger, it shows up vertical, and since you can’t, inexplicably, rotate photos in Blogger, there’s nothing I can do. Suggestions?

Burgers 101 is reasonably priced. With each burger, you can get as many toppings as you want, with either a single combo, small fries, for $6.75 total or a double combo, large fries, for $7.50, with any size fountain drink. I got a single combo with a turkey burger. I had my choice of beef, turkey, or garden burger. On the burger, I put bacon, white cheddar, and chipotle mayonnaise.

It came out pretty quickly, within a few minutes of my ordering it. The soft drink selection was nothing to shout about, but for the price, I had no complaints. The burger was decently sized, and very thick. The turkey was extremely tender and juicy, too. There was a light crisp on it, and it was crumbly just to the point of falling apart, but not in a bothersome way. It was really perfect. It was cooked all the way through and tasted fresh, and was perfect with a little extra salt and pepper. Unlike many turkey burgers that I’ve tried, I didn’t taste any bread crumbs or added fillers in this one to bulk it up. It was pure meat.

As for the toppings, the bacon was lean and very crispy, and was charred around the edges, just how I like it. It was a good thin cut and didn’t fall out all at once when I tried to take a bite. The chipotle mayo added a good bite to the burger, and gave the meat a creaminess that I thought went well with the crispiness of the meat’s outer edges and the bacon’s texture, as well. The toasted bun soaked up all the extra juices and was rather hearty. Nothing special to report.

The one main gripe I had about this burger was the cheese. Where was it? I was expecting the cheese to finish off this burger for the flavor, to give me a little tang with all the other flavors I had. And there was either no cheese at all, very little cheese, or a good amount of weak, weak white cheddar cheese. And neither of those options is pleasurable to me. This burger needed more cheese.
The fries were decent at first, when they came out of the fryer, but the ten seconds after they’d been sitting, they started to get flaccid, and although they were fresh cut and still had the skin on them, a flaccid fry is a flaccid fry. And nobody likes flaccid anything. Ever. But, again, with salt and pepper, they were tasty and had a good, natural flavor to them, not oily and tasted very fresh. Lovely. I just wish I could find a place that double fried, for that extra crunch.

Brownies and Beyond

This review is very close to my heart, but that in no way accounts for the rating. This woman knows her baked goods. For years, this woman has fed me, and she isn’t even my mother! She’s actually someone else’s mother, Dillinger’s mother, and surreptitiously runs a small baking business under her actual job.
When she contacted me about these magical brownies she baked for functions, I was immediately intrigued. I’d never heard of a red wine brownie, but with my knowledge of wine and its pairings, I’d imagine that the two would go together fabulously. So there she went, making me a batch. As it went, I showed up on the day I was to go back home, and she didn’t have enough time to freeze them, so it’s my fault entirely that the photos are ugly, but I think the brownies are gorgeous.

The brownies themselves were extremely rich, and I was content eating one or two. The glaze was beautiful and shiny, and for the record, both the glaze and brownies had Syrah in them that hadn’t been completely cooked down so that you could taste it. And the flavor was really prominent. The particular Syrah had a nice flavor of blackberries, primarily. It had some chalkiness, but that wasn’t prevalent in the brownies at all. It made the glaze amazingly moist, but not drippy at all, and it was very firm.
The brownies were a little chewy for my tastes. You all know that I like everything, desserts included, medium rare, but Lisa cut all the edges off and berated me for coming early. The wine soaked up into the brownies, which were very, very moist and had a deep, rich flavor. The wine brought out the dark chocolate, and it made the brownies pop. The brownies were very tiny, but once you eat them, you immediately understand why. It’s extremely hard to eat more than one or two in one setting because of how rich and buttery they are.

Lisa sells these on her website and around the Shoreline and at various functions. You can special order them if you ask her nicely!
Brownies and Beyond