Category Archives: Reviews

Review: Trader Joe’s Tart Cherry, Chia and Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal

Trader Joe's Cherry, Chia and Pumpkin Seed Oatmeal Cup

Consider the humble cherry.

Long-overshadowed by strawberry, the people’s champion, and grape, its cheaper taste analogue, cherry has been trapped in a breakfast aisle pitfall for decades. Sure, there’s Frute Brute, who’s currently trapped in General Mills’s monster mausoleum  for…well…ever, probably. And there are Cherry Pop-Tarts, who go unnoticed like the rosy-cheeked nerd girl in every teen movie whose sweetness is only revealed to the one boy brave enough to give her a chance (my Pop-Tart metaphors are complex).

But other than those two and a few obscure health cereals, cherry is very rarely seen as breakfast fare. Which is unfair, because any fruit that tops sundaes and acts as the Kool-Aid Man’s lifeblood deserves a spot at my table.

Thankfully, Trader Joe—a longtime liberator of unsung and under-appreciated flavors—is giving cherry a shot in his latest instant oatmeal cup. This is the same Joseph who once one-upped Pop-Tarts by cramming both cherry and pomegranate into a single toaster pastry,  a mad feat I haven’t seen since 1998, when The Undertaker threw Mankind off Hell In A Cell, sending him plummeting 16ft through an announcer’s table.

Staying true to his squirrelly status as “the Uncle Joey of grocery stores,” Trader Joe also stuffed chia and pumpkin seeds into this plastic oat cylinder. Let’s celebrate the dawn of spring by watching this one blossom in the microwave. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+

Review: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Granola Snack

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Granola Snack Bag

Take that, Canada!

You may get exclusive, drool-worthy Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch Oatmeals, but we here in the States are getting our own cereal-oat hybrid with new Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Toast Crunch granolas! In fact, this stuff is actually better than granola, because it’s a “Granola Snack!”

Just why is a Granola Snack better than plain ol’ oat clusters? Because with the word “Snack” in the name, I’m justified in munching through a whole bag anywhere, at any time, no matter how ridiculous I look.

Stuck in rush hour traffic and every radio station is playing commercials at the same time? Keep a Granola Snack in your cupholder.

Halfway through a stationary bicycle workout and need something to do with your hands? Double fist two Granola Snacks.

Grocery store ran out of stuffing mix and the turkey’s already in the oven? Spice up your bird with some cornbread and a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Granola Snack.

But okay, okay, I shouldn’t propose ruining Thanksgiving until I know this stuff’s actually good. Let’s go find a spin class and test it out. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+

Review: St. Patrick’s Day Edition Lucky Charms with Green Clovers Cereal

St. Patrick's Day Lucky Charms with Green Clovers All Shamrocks Box

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Or as it’s known in the cereal community, “Unofficial But Pretty Much Official Lucky Charms Day!”

Because let’s be real here: if there were ever a thematically appropriate day to suck down leprechaun-endorsed oats and marshmallows by the beer stein-full, it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

As they always do, General Mills and Lucky Charms themselves have acknowledged the iconic cereal’s spiritual tie to this day of green by releasing an especially enviable Lucky Charms with Green Clovers! This cereal has been released before in a number of forms: 2017’s two-toned, minty fresh and earthen pine green shamrock marshmallows aren’t new, but previous years have also seen our four-leaved friends paired with sugary pots o’ gold and gold coins.

Who knows: maybe next year Lucky Charms will “Mix Up” these marshmallows like they did with the others, and we’ll finally get the black and neon pink marbits my edgy high school self always dreamt of.  Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+

Review: Bear Naked Chocolate Almond Clusters Cereal

Bear Naked Chocolate Almond Clusters Cereal Box

According to the box, Bear Naked Cereal’s new Chocolate Almond Clusters are “APPROVED BY BEARS.”

Personally, I’d like to see the National Bear Advisory Board’s citations on this, because like many mammals, bears can’t eat chocolate! The stuff contains theobromine, a chemical that’s toxic to our furry friends. So why, then, would the entire bear population sign off—in all capital letters, no less—on a cereal that contains enough cocoa to have them growling “oh no” as they cartoonishly grip their stomachs like Yogi Bear after stealing a picnic basket full of potato salad that’s been in the sun too long?

Are they trying to fatten us up with a calorie-dense breakfast so we taste better later? Are the bears just bad at reading contractual fine print? Or is this all just a pointlessly long-winded introduction I wrote to hide the fact that I spent $4 on this cereal?

The answer to all three is yes. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+

Review: Special K Caramel Nut Protein Bites

Kellogg's Special K Caramel Nut Protein Bites Pouch

Why am I reviewing a product that’s decidedly not cereal, a Pop-Tart, or oatmeal?

I’ll answer that question with a question: why am I getting defensive about hypothetical questions that no one’s actually asking? The real reason I’m giving Special K’s new(ish) Caramel Nut Protein Bites a spotlighted review is because, after January’s firestorm of new cereals—which featured adaptations of every doughy delicacy from cookies to pancakes and back to cookies again—I’m struggling to fresh and relevant new products to write 700 excessive words about. If you see me reviewing Rice Chex next week, you’ll know I’m really spooning the bottom of the barrel.

Besides, when I scanned my Protein Bites, the check-out machine called them “KLLGG CERL.” So take that, imaginary critics! Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+

Review: Welch’s Strawberry Oatmeal Bar Baking Mix, from Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker Welch's Strawberry Oatmeal Bars Baking Mix Box

I’ve reviewed oatmeal before.

I’ve reviewed cereal bars before.

But not until today have the two joined forces for a tasty crossover that’s more satisfying than The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo Meets the Harlem Globetrotters, and The Jimmy Timmy Power Hour combined. You’ll notice that I’ve never reviewed granola bars, either. That’s because raw oats are simply one step of effort too far away from pipin’ hot oatmeal or Cracklin’ Oat Bran. In my eyes, it takes a microwave or a mill press to turn plain grains into breakfast.

So it’s time to grow up, granola bars, because oatmeal bars have everything you do—just with a lot more gumption. Oh, and in this case: oodles of strawberry jelly, too. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+

Review: Reese’s Puffs Bunnies (Spring Edition)

General Mills Spring Edition Reese's Puffs Bunnies Cereal Box

Reese’s Puffs are a lot like Krave.

As I mentioned in my recent review, Krave is a cereal with nearly limitless potential for awesome flavor fillings, a potential that’s been largely (and tragically) unrealized in America while European Krave lets its freaky flavor flag fly.

General Mills’s iconic peanut butter puffs are the same way. As Reese’s candy division is stuffing Reese’s Pieces into Reese’s Cups, cramming peanuts into Reese’s Pieces, and (probably) distilling the ethereal essences of Mr. Peanut’s ghostly grandparents into Reese’s NutRageous bars, Reese’s Puffs cereal remains plain and unchanged. Outside of our sweetest nightly dreams, we’ve never seen Reese’s Puffs with Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s Puffs with Nougat & Nut Shavings, or even Chocolate PB&J Reese’s Puffs.

I’m not the only one who feels this way, either. One of my favorite YouTube gamers went on a recent Twitter tirade that inspired this intro:

No, instead of any of those great ideas, we get Reese’s Puffs Bunnies: the same cereal, now conveniently in the same bunny shape as Annie’s recent Bunnies cereals. My brain says, “Boo, that’s lazy!” but my inner child—whose heart is concentric with mine—says, “Ooh, I love cute lil rabbits!”

Fine, 8-year old Dan: let’s (begrudgingly) dig in. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+

Review: Krave Cereal (Now with More Chocolate!)

Kellogg's Krave Cereal Now with More Chocolate Box

Krave sounds like the perfect vehicle for exciting, limited edition cereal flavors. Its semi-hollow, chocolate-striped biscuits could be filled with any number of wacky tastes.

Krave could pair the chocolate with a peanut butter ribbon, pipette some strawberry filling in there for Valentine’s Day, layer on some banana for Elvis Presley’s birthday, or heck: just dip every pillowy rectangle in fudge and sprinkles. I like to imagine that all these ideas even got brought up at Kellogg’s last marketing meeting…but then that one guy in the back of the room—you know, that guy— shouted above everyone else with his mouth full of the break room’s last doughnut:

“Hey why don’t we just add more chocolate?”

And this new “Now More Chocolate!” Krave was born. Somewhere across the Atlantic, Europeans are snickering at us over their bowls of Hazelnut, White Chocolate Brownie, and Choco Roulette Krave. Continue reading

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+