Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deer Park Tavern

This place is pretty great! I came for the trivia, but I'll stay for the food. They always have a really good deal/special on weeknights, like huge 4 dollars pizzas or nachos or something. I'm not too clear on their allergen policy overall, but whenever I ask about a particular dish, they check on the ingredients for me and assure me it's safe. No trouble so far!

California Cobb Salad: This sucker is huge and it comes with a lot of meat. It's really good though. Bacon and cheese I could do without. And the weird green olives. But it's a lot of meat. You can't dislike a lot of meat!!

Sweet Potato Fries: These are always really good! Yum!

Greek Pizza: Eh. It's really cheesy and it has brocco, which is nice, but it also has stupid olives.

Margarita Pizza: Really varies. When the cheese is fresh, then it's a decent eat. Just cheese and sauce!

Side of broccoli: I get this because it's the only vegetable available. Sadly it's not very good, just a small dish of plain broccoli (no butter or seasonings). A good snack to feel like you're eating but not killing your heart though. And there's pepper and salt on the table.

Overall:
Taste: 8/10
Cost: 7/10

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lean Cuisine - Herb Roasted Chicken



This was surprisingly good! Allergy warning- it did make me a little itchy afterwards though. Something about processed chicken, I guess. But even still, I'll probably end up buying this again. It just feels like a good, healthy meal. The broccoli and potatoes are crisp and fresh, the chicken is obviously processed but it still tastes good with the mushrooms and sauce, and it's only 170 calories! (OK I don't really pay attention to calories usually but that seems a very small number for the amount of enjoyment I get out of this meal). So yeah, it's a good one!

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 7/10

Lean Cuisine - Three Meat Pizza



I know what you're thinking -- THREE meat? I'm thinking that too, because I certainly didn't taste any ground beef, and I'm glad! I hate ground beef! Anyway, the sausage and ronis were fine, and the cheese and sauce were average, but the crust is really buttery and nice. Maybe I was just in a lean-cuisine-pizza mood, but this hit the spot. Yum.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 8/10

Lean Cuisine - Glazed Turkey Tenderloins



I like turkey, so I thought this would be a clear winner, but unfortunately it wasn't. First, the sweet potatoes are really good. I like that part a lot. The turkey/gravy/stuffing is not so hot though. Sure, it's OK, but the overall taste wasn't appealing. It was kind of like a bad mix of things. Maybe if the celery and cranberries weren't there and there was a little less gravy then that would be good, I don't know. Not the tops is what I'm saying.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 6/10

Lean Cuisine - Beef Pot Roast



This is a nice little meal! The sauce/gravy is good, the beef is good and tender, the potatoes and veggies are all pretty good. It's not very much food, but because it's beef pot roast, it's a bit more filling than your average pasta-y lean cuisines. I like this one pretty well; I might buy it again.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 7/10

Lean Cuisine - Chicken Florentine



This is a "dinnertime selects", so it's a bit bigger and more filling than a typical lean cuisine, which is nice. This meal is a lot of noodles and carrots with a few chunks of chicken in a "cheese sauce". The sauce isn't really cheesy tasting, but it's alright. The chicken is good. The noodles are noodles and the carrots are carrots. There isn't really much flavor or anything to recommend this meal, but it doesn't have any major flaws!

Cost: 7/10
Taste: 6/10

Michelina's Zap'Ems Gourmet Rigatoni in Sauce with Broccoli and White Chicken


Woah. All right, the picture on the cover with carrots and broccolis and chicken? No. That's not what you're gonna find inside this (admittedly 99 cent ) meal. It is literally just Rigatoni in Sauce. I thought it was a mistake or something, but no, it's just "flavored" with broccoli and white chicken. Anyway, despite the misleading cover, the noodles and sauce are pretty good. It's kind of like a generic frozen mac and cheese, with alfredoy cheese. Not too shabby, but not very filling or exciting or healthy. On the plus side, their website has excellent nutrition & allergen info!

Cost: 9/10
Taste: 7/10

yoplait light peach yogurt with granola



I don't know if it's just that the granola is much sweeter than the yogurt is, but this yogurt is really unsweet. the peach stuff is on the bottom, but even if you mix it in, it isn't very sweet. anyway, overall, i like the granola a lot and i think it might be OK in a different flavor. or a non-light version, perhaps.


cost: 6/10
taste: 6/10

lean cuisine - beef and broccoli



I can't really review this accurately because it has a ton of sesame seeds in it, which I hate!! The broccoli and beef strips were really tasty though, but because of all the seeds the rice just tasted like a big clump of seeds.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 3/10

Peace a Pizza


If you have a tree nut allergy, this isn't the first place I'd go for pizza, that's for sure. They have a ton of pesto and pecan ingredients floating around. Anyway, I tried to order a stromboli but they said it would take 30 minutes to make, so I got a slice of white pizza instead. It was OK, but the ricotta "sauce" wasn't very saucey or good.

eggplant parmesan: this one is pretty good! It's plain cheese with pieces of fried eggplant. OK! 7/10

Overall:
cost: 6/10
taste: 5/10

California Tortilla

CalTort is a pretty nice place to go -- especially if you have nut allergies, since the only nuts they have are some "may contain" prepackaged desserts. They have super cool soda machines and hot sauces, and the employees at mine are super nice and spunky, so I like the atmosphere itself. As for the food, it's not bad.


Southwest Salad w/ grilled chicken, honey lime dressing.
This is a great salad. The chicken tastes great, the corn and tortilla strips taste great, and it's not TOO unhealthy. The guacamole I don't like, but that's OK. :D

Blackened Chicken Taco: Not too shabby! The salsa (really pico de gallo) really pulls the whole thing together. The chicken is good, but it's really blackened/seasoned. I like it though, it's a nice little lunch.

Pork Taco: Like Chicken taco, but perhaps better! Moister, at least.

Taco Beef Taco: Awfully boring, but tastes just like tacos made at home, so good for that nostalgia.

Steak Taco: This is worth the 40 cent upcharge if you get it on Taco Tuesday! The steak is marinated in some unique sauce, so it's nice and moist and tastes good. A little chewy but in a fun way.

Fajita Burrito (with chicken): Hmm. This would be really good if it didn't have so much freakin' sour cream and guacamole in it! Maybe I'll try a different burrito next time.

Taco Salad (with grilled chicken or pork): This is very tasty! It's probably not very healthy though, heh heh. Comes with a ton of sour cream and guac, which I just spoon off. Also a buttery taco shell, a lot of cheese, some lettuce, meat, and salsa. It's a good size and good flavor though.

Street Tacos: glad i tried these, mostly so i know not to get them again! these are smaller than regular tacos, but not too small -- a great size for a 3 taco meal. however, they are also on corn tortillas and not flour -- which i definitely dislike! update: the changed some of the flavors and now use 2 corn tortillas, which is somehow an improvement!
Carnitas -- basically like a regular pork taco....so, it was good.
Havana Chicken -- ok - probably my favorite - pretty much a BBQ chicken taco and they stuck an avocado and lime slice in it.
Korean BBQ: very spicy!! almost too spicy to ascertain any flavor -- the steak meat was good as usual, but the saucy tomato/onion bits were too overwhelming and not tasty.
California Sunset - this was OK, but not great. the corn tortillas have grown on me, but the only real flavor is bland chicken cube, unappealing "onion relish", and spicy sauce (just generic spicy sauce). a real middle of the road pick. If you like that relish-y onion crap, this might work for you, though. I do like that there's a random avocado slice in here (I like avocado now, unlike the Katilina of 6 years ago) 5/10
Chicken Club - this was way better than I expected. definitely my favorite street taco experience. the tortillas were soft yet firm, the sauce was just moist without any gross ranch flavor, the bacon wasn't too strong, there was a lot of good lettuce, it really did taste like a good club sandwich. nice work, caltort. 8/10
Screamin': a lot like the california screamin' burrito, but with those tasty corn tortillas! this is spicy, which is kind of nice, and it was loaded with blackened chicken (which I like). the fajita veg and cheese sauce I wasn't wild about, but as a package this is solidly average. i think it is the spiciest one, and the most meat-y one (at least in this case), so if you like that then give it a shot! 5/10


Chicken Tortilla Soup: Warm, cheesy, and comforting. Good on a cold night when you're up working. 



Overall
cost: 5/10
taste: 7/10

--

Laura says: I like this place a lot. I mean, I naturally like any place that has tacos and chips & salsa, but this place feels so familiar and the name is endearing. The drink machines are so futuristic and impressive to me still, and full of drinks that I want to drink! The taco combo is a good deal but also is like just a little bit too much food because their tacos are stuffed full of stuff. They were super slow when we went, but that's ok with me because I'm rarely in a hurry and I felt like I had all the time in the world to look at the menu and figure things out. I also liked the queso a lot more than I like most quesos. Is there an upstairs? I'd like to find out. 9/10



Kids Cuisine Fried Chicken


OK I wish this wasn't the case, but whatever addictive compounds Swanson puts in this meal totally worked on me. It's pretty darn good, and it was pretty filling too (or at least compared to all those lean cuisines, it was). The 2 chicken drumsticks have a good flavor, and good meat under the breading. True, they are a little soggy with grease on the bottom, but that's almost part of the appeal for me. The pudding is good too, and the little sprinkles are adorable. The corn is disappointingly average (no butter or salt added, I guess). Anyway, if you want to give your kids (or youself, c'mon) a tasty meal for once, pick this one!

Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 8/10

Lean Cuisine - Beef Portabello

This meal was alright. The potatoes were quite good, they weren't just a pile of mush but instead had some redskin skin and a good flavor. The beef pieces and mushrooms were OK, but the gravy didn't taste that good to me. Something was a little "off" about it, but not TOO "off". I ate it all, is what I'm saying here.

Cost: 6/10
Taste: 6/10

Lean Cuisine - Angel Hair Pomodoro


To be fair, I only got this because it was on sale and I never had it before. Nonetheless, it wasn't really my thing. It's basically pasta and some runny sauce with parmesan cheese, which I wouldn't like even if it weren't in the form of a frozen meal. In fact, I like it better without the sauce. This reminded me a little bit of spaghetti-os or a chef boyardee canned spaghetti thing, but perhaps a little better. So, I won't get this one again, since there isn't much to enjoy here (as opposed to the one with meat sauce, which has tasty sauce and mushrooms and which I do like).

Overall
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 4/10

Sun Bird Beef & Broccoli Seasoning Mix

hmm. i ate the whole thing so I guess it must have been alright. My biggest issues were 1. the beef was too tough, which had nothing to do with the seasoning packet and all to do with my buying cheap beef and then possibly overcooking it, and 2. it was very sweet and gingery and liquidy. I did follow the instructions to a T - I used .75 lbs of meat, some broccoli and onions (I actually threw in some mushrooms and carrots too, but I don't think that affected my feelings much) and the precise amount of water and soy sauce. I also made some rice to go along with it. Anyway, at first taste I thought "ugh! this is way too cloying (gingery?) and saucy!" But I let it sit and cool and thicken up for a few minutes and then I started to get into it. The sauce/broccoli combo was OK, but I still think there was too much sauce and it was too...sugary. Nonetheless I might make this again, because it was a pretty simple yet satisfying meal.

Cost: 8/10
Taste: 6/10

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lean Cuisine Roasted Vegetable Pizza

This pizza is all right. Actually, it was better than I expected. Obviously it doesn't taste like a stereotypical pizza, more like a small healthy circle with a bit of low-fat cheese on top and some tomato pieces, but all together it's not bad. The crust is thick, soft, and almost buttery, and the flavor overall is pleasant. It's not very big, but it's filling enough to be a quick dinner (or lunch). It's easy to make and it's a good deal if it's on sale.



Overall
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 6/10

Guest Post: Biscoff Spread


This stuff is not a peanut butter substitute. Ok, yes, it's the same color and comes in a jar and you can eat it on bread with jelly, but Biscoff spread is now in my mind a completely different concept. I want everyone in the world to try Biscoff spread and then really evaluate if we ever need to eat peanut butter again as a society. Seriously. It's not the same. Don't go into it thinking that it'll smell or feel like peanut butter. It's not nearly as sticky as peanut butter or as thick. There's this picture on the top of the jar of a Biscoff cookie being crumbled up into the jar to form this spread, and that's as accurate of an understanding of the taste as I can give you using words. It's like cookies. You can just eat it by the spoonful. Or put it on toast or a cracker or scoop it up with a piece of chocolate and then just renounce peanut butter for the rest of your life. It's even a dollar cheaper than the I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter (without a coupon)! I haven't tried cooking with it because I honestly don't want to waste a spoonful of it just in case it doesn't turn out well. It has an allergen warning for wheat and soy, so it's another great alternative to peanut butter if you want a jelly and something sandwich. Also, if you're a life-long peanut-allergy-haver, this would be the PB-alternative you should try first if you feel left out of the PB&J world.

Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 10/10 (yes, it's that good!)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maruchan Chicken Yakisoba Noodles


Since this is so cheap, I had to try it! This particular brand/flavor has NO PEAS! Which is great. It is a may contain for seafood, but not for nuts, so I considered it safe. I followed the directions precisely but it came out pretty watery. Luckily, that really doesn't affect the flavor at all when it comes to something like this. The noodles are pretty much standard chicken ramen noodles. The veggies are all right - pretty much what you'd expect, a few limp corn and cabbage pieces. The flavor is all right, and it is pretty filling, especially for the price. Ultimately I don't like the taste very much, but it's cool to have the option to buy something like this anyway!

Overall
Cost: 9/10
Taste: 6/10

Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia

Looks good, doesn't it?! This is one of the better ice cream flavors I've tried, but actually, it isn't quite as good as I remembered/hoped. I recall a Healthy Choice Cherry Chocolate Chunk ice cream (that they don't make any more, of course) which I liked way better. Anyway, enough memories!
This ice cream is good. It has a decent amount of semisweet chocolate bits, and large cherry halves. The chunks are great. The ice cream itself is vanilla, I think (perhaps cherry-vanilla, but in reality it tastes like vanilla) and it's pretty standard. So in sum, I like it, but I don't love it. It's a basic, solid flavor for me.

Overall
Cost: 5/10
Taste: 7/10

Pasta & Vegetables in Creamy Cheese Sauce

Pasta & Vegetables, yum. Birds eye makes a couple of these pasta/sauce/veggie box combos, and they're all pretty good. (Aside: my favorite, radiatore pasta, doesn't exist any more :()
This side dish IS a side dish, so it isn't super filling. But it's pretty healthy for what's basically glorified mac and cheese, and the veggies (corn, broccoli, carrot) all are very good and enhance the cheese sauce (which is very nondescript on its own) and the pasta well. I like this! It makes a great snack/mini-meal.

Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 8/10

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guest Post: I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter




Hello, Peanut Free Food Reviews! I'm the infamous Laura from "Laura says yum yum yum!" and other great hits! Now that we're no longer roommates, Katilina and I still want to share our food experiences, so she let me come guest-blog here for a while. So lately I've been picking up peanut-butter substitutes and things from companies that focus on allergen-free foods. I'll be starting off with the peanut-butter replacements, and the first is this one: original I.M. Healthy SoyNut Butter!

This is the first peanut butter substitute I ever tried! For me, this is the perfect peanut butter replacement if you're looking for something that tastes and feels like real peanut butter, but isn't. It's pretty expensive (at $6.29 a jar!) but if you give them feedback on their website, they'll send you coupons! A lot of coupons. They sent me ten coupons. This stuff is made of soy nuts, but you honestly can't tell the difference. It's just as sticky and works great on faux PB&J sandwiches. It also bakes well! I made three-ingredient peanut butter cookies with, of course, this soynut butter instead and they turned out great. Overall, I'd really recommend this for people who are related to people who have allergies and get the urge for peanut butter or who developed allergies later in life and have been missing peanut butter. Katilina says all peanut-butter replacement things would be way too real for her, and I think this one especially is just too peanut-buttery for those of you who are understandably peanut-phobic.

Overall
Cost: 4/10
Taste: 7/10

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pepperidge Farm Brussels Cookies

Pepperidge Farm always makes me a little anxious because their ingredient statements don't contain an allergen statement or any bolding or anything like that. However, after reading the ingredients carefully, I've never had a problem with any of their cookies or crackers (and I've had quiiite a few of them). These Brussels cookies are 2 crispy cookie pieces encasing a thin layer of chocolate. This sounds a lot like Milano, but it's different! First of all, they're circular! The cookie pieces are a totally different texture - thinner, crispier, and they have a hint of coconut. (warning: don't eat if you're allergic to coconut). I like these a lot.

Overall
Cost: 4/10
Taste: 9/10

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stewart's Root Beer

So, this is a great root beer! I'm not a huge soda pop fan, but I really like soda in a glass bottle and this is one of my favorite root beer varieties. It's got a good creamy flavor and a good spicy flavor and it doesn't have a bad aftertaste like some mainstream brands do. Plus, the bottle makes it so darn fun to drink!

Overall
Cost: 4/10
Taste: 9/10

Prego Garlic & Herb Sauce

OK, I don't really like this flavor either! Maybe I'll never find the perfect sauce. I mean, it's all right, it's just -- plain. Tastes like garlic and oregano, I guess. No chunks of anything. Doesn't really add anything to a pasta dish, it's just kind of there. So if you want to play it safe with some picky eaters, maybe this is the sauce for you!

Overall
Cost: 5/10
Taste: 5/10

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Prego Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Sauce



Man, I'm really striking out this week! This sauce isn't my favorite. I like Prego Sauces overall, so I'm trying to find the most delicious one, but this isn't it. I don't know what I was expecting, but this tastes a lot like red pepper. I guess I would prefer more garlic flavor, or more tomato, or more chunks, or more SOMETHING else. But if you like red pepper, by all means, get this sauce! Personally, I like Mushroom and Garlic much better (so far).





Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 5/10 (for me)

Kid Cuisine Flip n' Dip Pancakes


First, word to the allergy-wise: there's almond extract in this, but it's not listed on the allergen statement, so if you've got almond issues, be careful! Second, yes, I know this is for children, but it was on sale. No, really. Anyway, this consists of two pancakes with a strange mapley flavor that even syrup (not included) can't mask, one sausage link that was good despite being not at all warm when cooked as directed, some tasty tater tot circles, and some Very Sweet but OK "fruit compote". I probably will not get this again, even if it IS one dollar. The food amount is OK, especially for kids, and it's much healthier than I expected (things have certainly changed at Kid Cuisine over the last 10 years I guess) but it just doesn't taste very good.

Overall
Cost: 5/10
Taste: 4/10

Stouffer's Steak & Swiss Stuffed Melt with Broccoli Cheddar Soup


This just wasn't very good. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't good. The soup tasted extremely processed, not at all like real cheese, and it only had a few big chunks of broccoli. The panini was fairly tasteless, slightly soggy, and contained only a few highly processed bits of 'steak' meat. The amount of food was good, although the panini was a little small for the soup size. The cooking was easy. I just wouldn't recommend this, because it really has no outstanding qualities.

Overall
Cost: 5/10
Taste: 5/10

Stouffer's Chicken Alfredo Flatbread Melt


So this tasted a lot better than the previous few meals I had eaten, and I realise now that it's probably because the fat content is 3 times higher. However, this flatbread melt WAS pretty good. It cooks like a pizza, and even once you fold it over, it basically tastes like a (frozen) white pizza with thick crust. Pretty good, though. The bread isn't too chewy and the inside (cheese, broccoli, chicken, black pepper) is very tasty. If you like "alfredo pizza" you'll probably like this.





Overall:
Cost 7/10
Taste 7/10

Healthy Choice Pineapple Chicken


This pineapple chicken, consisting of a few pieces of tempura-battered chicken, carrots, pineapple, red pepper, grainy rice, and mild sauce, is like a poor man's version of sweet and sour chicken. Everything is OK, I guess, but it kind of tastes like a Banquet frozen meal (i.e. bad quality stuff) even though it is of a higher caliber, supposedly. The rice is the exception; it's clearly a healthy, whole-grain type rice and it tastes fine, although it is a bit crunchy which is almost offputting after eating a bunch of typical soggy white rice in other frozen meals. The flavor is OK, not great, and the chicken is pretty good. I prefer the sweet and sour chicken, though, so I'll probably just get that next time. The sauces in the two are almost identical, after all.

Overall
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 5/10

Lean Cuisine Chicken Marsala


There are worse things than lacklustre frozen meals, I know, but even so I was kind of disappointed with this. I like "regular" chicken marsala a lot, but this meal tastes nothing like that. The sauce is very different - not very mushroomy or marsala-y, instead it kind of just tastes like brown gravy. The copious noodles/random green beans are pretty flavorless, and the two chicken patties are OK but rather thin and highly processed. There are also some bread crumbs throughout the meal -- I'm not sure what that's about. I won't buy this one again!

Overall:
Cost 6/10
Taste 4/10

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Yoplait Light Apple Turnover Yogurt


For some reason, this flavor doesn't come in a non-light version, so it's the only "light" yogurt I buy. I buy it because it's very good! It's my favorite yogurt, I think. It's a vanilla-y yogurt with a slight cinnamony-spiced-apple taste and occasional chunks of apple mixed in. I couldn't eat a bunch of these at once or anything, but when I'm in the mood for yogurt, this is great. It's not too "yogurty" tasting, and it's not too "sweet fruitlike goo" tasting, so I highly recommend it if you like apple.



Overall
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 7/10

Stouffer's Meat & Sauce Lasagna (made with whole grain pasta)


When I think of frozen lasagna, this is what I think of! And it's...all right. I vastly prefer the veggie version, but this is OK too. My main issue with it is the "meat", which is a bit sausagey for my taste and kind of makes my mouth itch to boot. The sauce is good pasta sauce, there's a good amount of cheese (i.e. not too much) and the noodles aren't cold or burnt. It's well-made, I guess I just don't really like meat lasagna very much. Also it takes almost 10 minutes to cook! I'm hungry NOW! :P

Overall
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 5/10

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Kroger Jelly Beans

I want to make note of these jelly beans because peanut-free standard jelly beans aren't easy to find. These are the big ones that you see around easter time, not the small, chewier, strongly flavored jelly belly type. (The only other 'regular' ones I've seen that are safe are from K-Mart, and those are good too!)
Anyway, this has a good color assortment - grape, licorice, coconut, lime, cherry, lemon, strawberry. I think. They're all pretty tasty and I can definitely eat a ton of these things at once. At 2 bags for 3 dollars, I'd probably buy these up fairly often if I lived near a Kroger(s). So check it out if you can! Yum.

Overall
Cost: 8/10
Taste: 8/10

Lean Cuisine Chicken Enchilada Suiza


Overall, this is one of my favorite Lean Cuisines, although I have to admit it's mainly because of the sauce. The rice and enchilada themselves are both pretty good, but not great, and pretty dry. Luckily, there is a good amount of "sour cream sauce" which is nice and spicy/cheesy and makes everything taste great. I really like it. The chicken inside the enchilada isn't fresh, chunky chicken, it's quite smooshy and processed, but that's fairly typical for this kind of enchilada. Honestly it doesn't have much flavor on its own, and even the rice is fairly bland despite the corn and peppers in it. The sauce is really good though!
Oh, and allergy tip - there's a very similar Smart Ones frozen meal called chicken enchiladas suiza, and it has a nut allergy warning, so don't buy that one!!!

Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 8/10

Friday, August 26, 2011

Stouffer's Macaroni & Beef

Apparently, this is a frozen food classic. Well, I'm sorry, America, but this is absolutely disgusting. It's not the quality that's the problem - the noodles are cooked fine, the portion size is fine - but the flavor is, in my opinion, 100% terrible. The sauce and the beef have a strange flavor: it isn't tomato sauce, it isn't cheese sauce, and it isn't a mixture. It's a bit like canned ravioli mixed with ketchup and chili sauce and some chunks of tomato. I won't be getting this again - but hey, some people like it!



Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 3/10

Lenders Cinnamon Raisin Bagels

First and foremost: these bagels have a "made in a nut free facility" notice printed on the bag, which is just delightful!

Anyway, I'm not sure if it's just childhood nostalgia talking, but these are my favorite store-bought bagel. They're frozen, which means they last way longer than fresh ones, and they're much smaller as well. I never manage to enjoy an entire fresh bagel without getting bored, so these are the perfect size. They're very fast to cook - either 25 seconds in the microwave or a minute or two of toasting. Chewy on the inside, crispy on the outside. They're good with butter or alone. These are great bagels! They have a decent amount of raisins and a good cinnamon flavor. (I also like the 'onion' and 'egg' flavors, if you're wondering).

Overall
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 8/10

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail with Lime


I know that pretty much all drinks are peanut free, but I just bought this cranberry lime cocktail and thought it was surprisingly good, so I wanted to make a note of it. I really like cranberry juice straight, but sometimes it's a little too strong to guzzle down, and I'm not a big grape juice fan, which is basically in every cranberry juice cocktail no matter what. So this one is a great option for me. It's got a great lime flavor, quite strong but not overpowering the cranberry. It tastes like a flavorful limeade! I will definitely buy this again if I can find it.



Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 8/10

Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

Ben and Jerry's ice cream is one of my more trusted ice cream brands, as far as allergies go. They have good labelling, and I've never had any issues with the hundreds of ice creams from them I've probably eaten! Other ice cream brands (Dreyers/Edys, Breyers, Klondike) don't fare nearly as well in that area.
So anyway, this is a classic flavor! It's vanilla ice cream with gobs of chocolate chip cookie dough mixed in, as well as some semisweet chocolate chunks thrown in for variety. The cookie parts are the real treat for me (and for most humans, I'd assume), but the vanilla ice cream is quite good as well. And it's certified fair trade, if you care about that. This flavor is also available as a frozen yogurt version, which is much healthier and still quite good! When I want to buy a flavor I've already tried, it's either this or cherry garcia. My top two!

Overall
Cost: 5/10
Taste: 8/10

Laura says: "I like it! 8/10"

Hungry Man Popcorn Chicken and Honey Rum BBQ Sauce


First thought: Wow, these Hungry Man dinners sure are bigger than lean cuisines! At roughly the same price when not on sale, it makes me feel like I'm wasting serious money on buying lean cuisines and the like. But for some reason, I keep doing it, possibly because Hungry-Mans (Hungry-Men?) don't leave me feeling too great afterwards. Anyway, on to the review.
The popcorn chicken here is fairly tasty and fairly large. They're basically 6 round chicken nuggets with a bit flakier of a coating than normal. Fun fact: after eating most chicken nuggets, I have an slight allergic reaction and get all itchy - I have no idea what it is, but kid's cuisine, banquet, swanson - all their chicken is right out. These chicken didn't cause any reaction, though, which I thought was cool. Maybe they don't use as many preservatives or something. (As you can see, my specific allergies are a mystery even to me.) But so the chicken is pretty good! It doesn't even require sauce, which is good, because the "spiced rum bbq sauce" isn't my favorite. It's got a strong flavor, and it's kind of sweet and - spiced, I guess? So a little goes a long way, and I didn't really use it much. The green beans have tiny onions mixed in, and they're just average. Not too crispy, but not inedible or anything. Same for the mashed potatoes - they're OK, I ate them all, but they could have used a bit more flavor.

Overall
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 5/10

Laura says "Chicken nuggets and potatoes, yum yum! I like the sauce but not the beans. 7/10"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lean Cuisine Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

This is a classic lean cuisine! It's pretty good - it doesn't taste like a "healthy meal" or anything, and it's pretty filling. The downsides: the noodles are kind of limp and soggy sometimes, or, alternately, crispy. They also clump together! But the flavor is pretty dead-on and there's a good sauce distribution. I like the inclusion of mushrooms very much, and there isn't much else in there - noodles, sauce, mushrooms, and a few tiny meat clumps. When I don't know what to buy, I usually end up grabbing one of these!



Overall
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 7/10

Laura says "I love it, the sauce! Yum yum. 8/10"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Celeste Pizza for One, Deluxe


Well, this definitely isn't healthy, but it is tasty! Although I think the recipe has changed a little bit for the worse over the last year, it's still good. This pizza is fairly small compared to the typical frozen pizzas, but it is "for one", after all. It has a much different taste than other frozen pizzas - less crust, different sauce and seasonings, a bit more soggy. The sausages are good, as is the cheese. It's super easy to cook and it's usually only a dollar! I will probably will buy this again when I need a pick-me-up.



Overall
Cost: 8/10
Taste: 8/10

Laura says "Yum, pizza! 7/10"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Lean Cuisine Garlic Chicken

This Lean Cuisine is one of my favorites - in fact, it's one of my favorite frozen meals! That it's healthy is a bonus. It steams in a bag in the microwave and then you just pour it into a bowl, and it's always cooked just right. The meal consists of bow-tie pasta, chicken, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and maybe some other veggies that don't stand out all in a tasty cheesy-garlic sauce. The veggies are good quality and the pasta is too. I will admit that the chicken isn't the best quality chicken - it's a little "processed"/cardboardy, but the sauce usually masks this deficiency. The portion size is decent, especially for a lean cuisine, and I'm usually satisfied afterwards. I will definitely buy this one again!




Overall
Cost: 5/10 (But if it's on sale, 7/10)
Taste: 8/10

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Special K Raspberry Cheesecake Bars


I like granola bars, especially these special K brand ones, and I like raspberry cheesecake, so I thought these would be great! Unfortunately they didn't really live up to my expectations. Of course, they're only 90 calories each, so maybe I should be impressed! Basically they taste very fake and cloying, especially the "cheesecake" coating on the bottom. They aren't terrible, but I prefer the non-dessert flavors to these.




Overall
Cost 6/10
Taste 4/10


Monday, June 20, 2011

Lean Cuisine Pepperoni French Bread Pizza

Hmm. This pizza was OK, but the flavor wasn't really very good to me. The texture was great, and the portion was fairly good. I just didn't like the taste of the sauce or pepperonis very much, and of course, the cheese has that "low fat cheese" style going on. Nevertheless I did eat it all happily, so I might buy this again if I were desperate for pizza or something. It's very easy and fast to cook, and the crust was quite good.



Overall:
Taste: 5/10
Cost: 6/10

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Lean Cuisine Spinch & Mushroom Pizza


They say it's healthy, so OK! This pizza is pretty good, for a healthy pizza. It's got alfredo sauce instead of regular sauce and plenty of cheese. The crust is also soft and tasty, though not buttery. I don't actually like spinach, so the spinach is kind of "yuck" for me, but not enough to stop me from buying this pizza even though there's quite a bit of it. The sauce and bread is really good, and there's only a few mushroom, but they're good as well. So overall I would mildly recommend this! (If you like white sauce, anyway).

Overall:
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 7/10

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Ben & Jerrys - Magic Brownies Ice Cream

Yum! So, this DMB inspired ice cream is nut free AND delicious! IT's raspberry and creamy sweet vanilla ice creams swirled together, along with generous fudge brownie streaks. It's really good, because the raspberry is tasty but kept in check by the other flavors. I highly recommend this -- even if it's not very healthy.

Overall:
Cost: 5/10
Taste: 8/10

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tai Pei Beef & Broccoli +EDITED


Yum! This is one of my favorite frozen meals, after the (possibly discontinued) chicken and broccoli one. It doesn't have any nuts, peas, or seafood in it! Perfect for allergy-havers. It's also fairly healthy and fairly delicious! You can get these at Wal-Mart and apparently also at local grocery stores sometimes. The container is about half full, but it makes a decent quantity - about one normal bowl full. Lots of rice, but plenty of beef and broccoli as well. Good flavor. Sometimes I need to cook it a bit extra if it's frozen in the middle, but otherwise good texture. I really love the broccolis and the sauce. It's the closest to genuine chinese food I've found without allergens! :)


Overall:
Cost: 7/10
Taste: 8/10

UPDATE: "new and improved recipe"???? more like "new and bland and watery recipe". ugh. so disappointing. maybe if I had this for the first time I'd think "it's ok", but after the great thing it once was, this meal is now almost inedible. I don't think I'll buy it anymore. It tastes like nothing at all. It rice is spongy. The meal is watery. Boo.
taste: 4/10

Lean Cuisine Fajita-style Chicken Spring Rolls

Sorry for the long gap in posts! I hadn't eaten much new stuff anyway.

So, lean cuisine spring rolls. It comes with 6 rolls, aka 2 servings, which is pretty cool. They have a very strong smell, but it's not too unpleasant - kind of like a movie theater or taco bell. Anyway, they are fairly crunchy, a little soft on the inside though. The taste is just average. There's black beans, which I don't like much, but otherwise tastes kind of like a spicier version of a hot pocket/lean pocket's insides. Nothing amazing, in other words.


Overall?
Cost: 6/10
Taste: 5/10

I might get them again, but just for convenience basically.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Seth Ellis Truffle Assortment


My greatest weakness, chocolate-wise, is definitely truffles. Yum. I was thrilled to get the chance to try these, especially since they're so hard to find. But they're delicious, and I love that this assortment has so many different flavored truffles/chocolate pieces in it. It comes in a nice, thick box too! Opening it was like opening a nice old book. The different chocos are:

Blueberry truffles: these look like little witches' hats, and they taste like little witches' truffles! Very liquidy cream filling (ok that sounds gross, but it's not. It's choco, but it's not thick or too dense inside. It's good!) and creamy chocolate exterior. Yum.

Dark chocolate truffles: These are dark chocolate squares with a white horizontal line across the top. Tastes like dark chocolate! (It was fun because I didn't know what flavor it would be, and I wasn't totally sure it WAS dark choco until I was done. I could imagine that it was milk choco, coffee, or even caramel. Shows what I know about taste, heh.) Anyway, yum again!

Raspberry Truffles: These are dark chocolate rectangles with a pretty dark red 'x' swirl. They have a very strong raspberry taste; you can tell it's real fruit because there are even little hard raspberry seed part things in the filling! It's sweet and delicious. Yum x3.

Coffee Truffles: So, I don't drink coffee, I don't like coffee ice cream (though I love the smell), but I'm a huge fan of these truffles (surprise surprise!). They're rectangles with one coffee bean on top, and they're very good. They taste like vacation in a hotel or staying up late to do homework (my only coffee experiences). Anyway: yum!

Ginger Truffles: Verrrry interesting. These look like pretty gumdrop shapes with yellow-orange splotches on top. They have a very strong ginger flavor with only a hit of dark chocolate, kind of like a ginger snap but without the snap and with more ginger. I think it's my one of my least favorites just because it's so very intense!

Lemon Truffles: Man, a lot of these truffles look like game pieces! Anyway, it's a dark chocolate square with a small yellow square of yellow fondant on top. It tastes like lemon inside, all right! It's sweet and lemony and refreshing. Yum! I will say that by this point, I started to wish more of the truffles were milk chocolate covered instead of dark chocolate, but I think that's just personal preference. Anyway, I repeat: Yum.

Mint Truffles: A rectangle with a green swirl and dot on top. Note that these are SPEARmint truffles, not peppermint. It tastes a lot like eating a mint leaf. If I were a cat, I'd love this -- but I'm not a cat. Way too "spearmint gum that's mixed with creamy chocolate" weird for me. No yums. :(

Caramel Snobinettes: A stout little chocolate circle with a spiral on top of choco. These are quite gingery!! They're like a less-intense ginger truffle with a bit of caramel sensibility. Much better than the ginger truffle for me, but also not as nice as I expected from a caramel. (Sorry to be a "snobinette" about it!) Ho ho ho.

Candied Lemons: This is a dried lemon piece with chocolate coating. I don't know if it's just me, but the dried lemon was very...dry. Hard to chew through and not pleasant. I request softer lemons!

Milk Chocolate Truffles: No complaints here. Just a good old fashioned milk chocolate truffle. It's a square with a dark brown line across the top.


Overall:
Cost: 4/10 (Truffles are expensive, but there's no avoiding that. It could be worse. Plus: organic!)
Rating: 7.5/10 (Good taste, great look. I'll be back, truffles!)

Laura says: "what?" because I ate them all myself. Sorry, Laura.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chewy Sweettarts

I went to Smart and Final the other day and was looking for a good allergen-safe candy I could treat myself to. I decided on a bag of chewy sweet tarts, since I couldn't remember how they tasted. Note to self: a lot like actual sweetarts, i.e., TART. Whoops. They're pretty good - sweet, too, I mean, and small and uniquely flavored to some extent. I ate quite a few, but then I developed a sore on my tongue from the sours! Yikes! OK, anyway, these aren't my favorite candy, but if you like sour stuff, I bet these are great for you.

At the same time, it's pretty rare to find allergen-free Wonka candy nowadays! So, if you want something different, maybe these are a good bet. You can get them for pretty cheap on Amazon.

Overall:
Taste: 6/10
Cost: 8/10

Laura says "Eek sour! Can I have a few more though?" aka 4/10

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vermont Nut Free School of (Chocolate) Fish

They swam into my heart, all right! These tasty chocolate fish are a little bigger than a Hershey's Kiss, in terms of cubic area, but way tastier! They're creamy and satisfying to bite into. Not much else to say, really. If you're looking for some smallish fish-shaped nut-free milk chocolates in a bag (and who isn't!) you should definitely check these out. Yum.



Cost: 6/10
Rating: 7/10

Laura says "yum! fish!" aka 7/10.