Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Football and Foliage

Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems like there are a whole lot more football specific candy/baked goods than ever before.  Have you seen these babies?  Football Oreos:

Look at all the different designs!  Gotta love "lick the competition."  Do these do anything for me?  While I admire the different shapes and the many designs, I have to say - not really.  There seems to be more cookie and less cream and I am so NOT about that.  I was born for Double Stuff.

Little Debbie (LD) has some football shaped brownies (oddly these are the same shape as their Easter egg brownies, but the shape is better for footballs, so you go, LD!)  They taste pretty good - the same as all the other Little Debbie brownies I've reviewed.  A new shape is just a good excuse to buy more.  Cheap and pretty chocolately - while not a touch down, I'd say definitely a field goal.

Look pretty good, huh?  Always moist - Little Debbie has the cheap, mass produced brownie down cold.

And look at these!  Reese's Footballs!

These are totally the Reese's eggs repackaged as footballs.  But they are still that delicious Reese's peanut butter, so I'm not complainin'!  And the bag weighs like a ton!  (2 pounds!)

Since football is a fall sport, I'm going to include some other fall flavors.  (Yeah, yeah I know it's January - give a girl a break!  I've been busy!)  Harry and David has these Red Apple Caramel balls:

And while you guys know I love most of Harry and David's stuff, I did not love these.  They had some kind of funky aftertaste.  Boo!  If Hershey can get the exact taste of caramel apples in their Kisses (reviewed on September 5th), Harry and David can do better than this.  Flag on the play!

Godiva also has a caramel apple Gem:

Now it's just pathetic when Hershey does better than Godiva.  Once again I rant at how damn expensive Godiva is and how not so great.  (Just like some pro football players we could name.)

Not to be limited by football, LD also had these for the Fall and their usual brownie trees for Christmas:

A solid performer.

Marshmallow Treats again - this time for Fall.  Nothing wrong with them - they are basically second rate Rice Krispy treats in fall colors.  A little less crispy, a little less sweet, just not quite as good as the original. 

But you gotta give LD credit for those colors.  I like a little originality and flash.  (Just like some pro football players we could name.)

My favorite decorated sugar cookies from Harry and David:

Good tasting, not rock hard like some of these decorated cookies can be.  They are VERY hard to stop eating.  And they are in adorable little designs.  I'm glad to see they have remained politically correct and not included an Indian head dress.

These little marzipan works of art were in World Market:

You know they are from Europe when you see the toadstool.  We would have never included that in the good ol' US of A.  Leaves yes, fungi no.  They come from Germany.  Land of the fairy tale (and the fungi).

Really pretty, aren't they?
The taste isn't bad - they have a good, strong almond flavor.  I would like it if the chocolate coating was thicker.  Marzipan can be so sweet - I like it best with paired with heavy chocolate.  But I really like the artistry of these - very nice.

If you are intrigued by any of these - Harry and David stores are having a great sale right now.  I got the cookies for half price.  Little Debbie's never stay around for long - I have to grab them as soon as I see them.  The Reese's footballs I found in Wal-Mart.  But two pounds is a lot - be ready. 

Go Team Chocolate!!  Coming up next - my other beloved - pumpkin!!!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hell Has Frozen Over

Those of you who have followed my dating travails (endless dates, speed dating, horrifying singles events, etc.) are going to be shocked. After 13 years of seeking, I have finally found the ever-elusive good guy who is not a geek, boring or gay. This guy (Tim) rides a Harley, has a good job, is great with his kids (and sweet to his mom), is tall, handsome, smart, loves candy, and most importantly, likes me! We have a blast together and that is why I have been completely off the grid since my last post.

This is us at the Renaissance Faire (with his cute son Brett - good looks run in the family, he has a lovely daughter too):

But I have not been off the sugar train.  Tim was with me when I saw an add for Krispy Kreme's snowman donuts and I said how much I wanted to try them.  I think I licked the picture.  I knew he was the man for me when several days later, out of the blue, he suggested we go by Krispy Kreme and get the snowman donuts.  Clearly he is my soul mate.

And these donuts are amazing - no filling, but sooooo good with the frosting.  Can anything really be better than a warm, frosted, glazed donut on a cold morning?  And how cute are they?

These didn't last long.  But any man who shares my love of lard and sugar is a keeper!

Remember the Grove Park Inn's national gingerbread competition from last year?  Well this year I took Tim (another bonus, a man who will go to a gingerbread house competition).  He is the best!

Here's the first prize ribbon:

And here's the first prize gingerbread creation:

Gorgeous Christmas nesting dolls made out of gingerbread.  So perfect!  There were plenty more fantastic creations - a rocking horse that looked as if it were made out of wood, not gingerbread; several amazingly detailed houses - so much fun!  And we got to drink hot chocolate, eat gingerbread and watch it snow.  Finally a romantic Christmas!!  Usually I'm off on a solo trip somewhere - it's so much better to have someone to celebrate the season with.

I don't want to be one of those sappy people who go on and on about their good fortune, but I do want to share some tips for those of you who may not yet have the relationship you dream of:

1.) Don't give up.  I've been single since my divorce 13 years ago.  I've been on more bad dates than anyone should have to endure.  But every single one of them was worth it - they make me really appreciate the man I've finally found.  And all that BS about stop looking and then it will happen?  Well, if I had taken my profile down, we would have never found each other.  Keep doing something!  The UPS person is not your only option!

2.) Don't settle.  You'll meet plenty of people who just don't want to be alone.  They just want to be with someone, anyone.  You don't want that - you want to hold out for the one who wants to be with you.  Someone who loves you with all your crazy quirks - hell, someone who loves you because of all your crazy quirks.

3.) When it's right, you'll know it.  There's no drama.  There's trust and openness, and in this case, a whole lot of laughter.  Angst, worry, doubt - those are all signals that it's not right.  It was weird, but the feeling I had on our first date was that I had come home.

4.) Being alone is better than being with the wrong person.  I've been with the wrong person, with several wrong people and it's awful.  Broken promises, lack of trust, no real talk of the future, secrets, lies - all of it makes you feel bad, makes you doubt yourself.  A good relationship makes you feel better about yourself.  You feel like you're part of a team.  It's full of openness and light. You can be lonelier with the wrong person than you will ever be by yourself.  If you can learn to walk alone, you can hold out for all the love you deserve.

5.) The Universe doesn't work on our time table.  Thirteen years was a long, long time to me.  I went through my mother's death alone, I went through hip surgery with no one to hold my hand.  There were so many times when I would be the only one at a function without a date.  Just because you want something doesn't mean you'll get it when you want it.  Try hard, treat others as you would like to be treated, and keep holding your hand out.  Someday the right person will take it.

6.) Choose your associates wisely.  The people you let share your life will have a huge impact on it, for better or worse.  Don't be afraid to walk away from those who cause you pain.  You'll free up time and space for those who can bring you joy.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bakers Bring It for Halloween

I hope everyone had a great Halloween!  I wound up spending it at a friend's house, so I still have tons of candy I didn't give out.  Dear God.  What about you all?  Any good stories??  Share, share!!!

Okay - this is the last Halloween post.  (If there was election candy, I'd be all over that, but alas, no such luck.) 

Most of the candy makers just repackaged their candy in Halloween wrappers - something you all know bugs the heck out of me and seems like a cop out.  I found these in TJ Maxx:

Halloween packaging and colors, but no real flavor - just sugar coated almonds.  I love their butter pecan and toasted coconut flavored Jordan Almonds, but these were just boring.  Not worth the calories.

Chips Ahoy brought out some new Halloween cookies!  Yay!

I like the new wrapper and the festive orange chips, but they pretty much are the same old cheap chocolate chip cookies.  Big points if you love Chips Ahoy, but nothing to go crazy about.

These, however, are delish:

See all that great orange filling?  These are double stuff thickness - love them!!  And look at the cute designs:

Clockwise from upper left - witch on her broomstick, black cat, ghost, jack-o-lanterns, bats.  I like the creativity, love the color of the filling (and the quantity - yay!), the packaging and the designs.  Woohoo - thank you Oreo!

Even Pop-Tarts came up with a Halloween design:

Although Choc-o-Lantern is a pretty lame name  (Palmer would have called these Bloody Pop Hearts and filled them with cherry.)  These look great on the package, but pretty grim in reality (pretty ugly and terrible actually):

But the flavor isn't bad - like chocolate cookie dough.  So appearance is bad, but taste is great!

I'm not sure if these are special for Halloween or not, but I've never seen them before and there is a mention of a Halloween promotion in the right hand corner:

Now look at them on the box - pretty cool.  Look at them in real life - ewww!

At least they are cream filled, right?  Um - no.  Not good.  Weird taste.  Boo.  (And not in a ghostly way.)

Harry and David comes through with these adorable mini iced cookies:

Aren't they the cutest?  And they taste great too.  Although they are the most expensive of the lot at $9.95 for a bag.

And is that the Salvador Dali pumpkin?  Must be a mustache.

These are in Target - witches' hats, pumpkins, and ghosts:

They are shortbread covered in white icing with orange and black sprinkles.  And they, too, are delicious.  And addictive.  I think they are laced with crack.

I found these in TJ Maxx too.  TJ Maxx has some cool treats, but you have to dig through the chaos.  These are Too Good Gourmet's Candy Shortbread Cookies:

Love the adorable witch and the pumpkin cut out window on the box.  And the cookies?

OMG!  They are GREAT!  Delicious shortbread cookies with loads of candy coated chocolate bits.

So, not only did I eat too much candy this Halloween season, I ate way too many cookies and Pop Tarts.  But what a great adventure!  I am proud of the bakers and candy companies who went to the trouble of bringing us something new - woohoo!  I am saddened by the apparent demise of the mini (70 calorie) Reese's Pumpkin.  But loved the new Hershey's caramel apples Kisses.  When one door closes, another opens.  ; )

Have a great week!! And don't forget to vote!

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Most Artistic Halloween Chocolates

The big night fast approaches!!!  And while I hate to have Palmer, Godiva and John & Kira's in the same blog - I gotta do what I gotta do.

Palmer is one of the few companies that actually came up with something NEW this Halloween.  Chocolate zombies:

Notice the coffin shaped base and the detailed creepy zombie!  For a buck you get a whole bag!  And there are multiple foil colors and designs - one zombie is actually holding a brain.  I give Palmer so much credit for crazy concepts and great execution (although it's damn hard to execute a zombie - bwah, ha, ha!).  The detail, the use of two colors of chocolate - bravo!  The taste - GROSS!  Can't have everything - cheap price, great design and great taste.  Two outta three ain't bad.

Palmer also has these screaming skullsl:

Look at the colors!  Look at the precision - green band-aid, creepy red eyeballs - still taste like Hell, but bravo, bravo for artistry!!!  And cheapness.

Godiva charges an arm and a leg (mention of severed limbs intentional) for its Halloween creations.  These cost $2.00 each:

This is a white chocolate tombstone with a caramel apple filling.  And it's only okay.  At some point I just need to give up on Godiva - overpriced, disappointing, so over rated.  Creative, yes.  Better than Palmer.  But not worth $2.00.

This is a Blood Orange Bat (bwah, ha, ha - BLOOD orange):

And as much as I hate to admit it, I like this one.  It has a rich, delicious orange taste - not that awful fake orange.  And the design and coloring is truly a work of art.  I have to say, this one is excellent.  Guess I won't be giving up on Godiva after all!

Now look at these beauties from John & Kira's:

Aren't they the cutest?  But they are small - about the size of a nickle.  And they are not cheap - about $3.00 each (yep the box is $36!)

Do you remember the Harry and David's pumpkin butter I reviewed?  These are filled with something very similar - it says it's pumpkin pie caramel, but it tastes just like pumpkin butter to me in a thin chocolate shell.  They are good, but I still think the best pumpkin chocolate confection is Knipschildt Chocolatier pumpkin truffles - sooo creamy and great.

Here's to the all the chocolate makers who take the time to design something fun and or beautiful!  And when it's delicious too - Happy Halloween to us!!