Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chocolate Cream Eggs

Ah - the cream egg in all its variations! We have to start with the most beloved, classic Cadbury Egg - first in its standard size:

And then in the mini size:

I swear I thought the "yolks" used to be more yellow, but that might just be a childhood memory/delusion:

What can I say?  These are awesome - the chocolate is that delicious, creamy Cadbury chocolate.  The filling is a little bit rich for me, but they are good.  I find the little ones are a lot easier to eat - the big one is just too much.  But, hey - they rule the creme egg category rule and I don't think Cadbury should change a thing!

Russell Stover continues to suck.  The chocolate can't even come close to Cadbury's and this strawberry cream has little strawberry taste - just sweet and fluffy rather than creamy (like Cadbury).  Kinda gross:

The raspberry - in dark chocolate rather than milk, but still in that thin, crummy RS chocolate was better:

Better because the dark chocolate offsets the super sweetness of the "whip" and the raspberry taste was stronger than the strawberry.  But not something very good.

This was the worst of the three - just way too sweet (and the chocolate is not so good):

Of course, RS is better than Palmer because while their chocolate can't hold a candle to Cadbury's, it's way better than Palmer's.  I didn't even try these - the chocolate is so thick and so bad, no filling can save it:

But the flower is cute!

Sorry, Palmer.

These Kisses are special for Easter/spring and are buttercreme:

You all know I tend to really like Hershey's Kisses. But these I do not like. I do not like them, when I dream, I do not like the buttercreme. They have a kind of weird flavor to me - I guess I don't like buttercreme. The chocolate overpowers the weird taste after a minute, but why go there at all? I wouldn't waste my time with these if I were you. Sooooo many better options.

See's has a ton of eggs at Easter (last year they sent me some to review).  I wanted to try some I hadn't so I got this little egg assortment:

This one is chocolate butter:

I thought it was kind of dry.  Basically this is chocolate fudge covered in chocolate.  It really didn't do much for me.

This one is vanilla chip:

I thought this one was kind of dry too.  The filling was like vanilla fudge with some chocolate chips (which I thought would be good) but it wasn't.  Think dried out fudge - not so good.

This is Bordeaux:

This was the best of the three and Bordeaux is kind of like a brown sugar fudge coated in chocolate. 

See's has tons of larger eggs - these are sightly less than twice the size of a real egg.  The chocolate butter in the larger egg has walnuts:

And while I MUCH prefer this egg with the walnuts, it just doesn't blow me away.  For some reason all these eggs were kind of dry - dried out fudge is just no good.  The Bordeaux eggs were not dry, though.  Another mystery.

This is the big version of Bordeaux:

I like the addition of the sprinkles:

But, at the end of the day, this just doesn't do it for me.  Butter cream and brown sugar is too rich and sweet, I'd rather have peanut butter or caramel.

I haven't had great luck with Sanders in the past, but this egg surprised me:

I like maple and this had a great maple flavor with little bits of pecan coated in dark chocolate.  It's VERY rich though - like maple pecan fudge. 

As usual, this sucked:

Fluffy, sugary, vaguely mapley stuff inside a thin layer of crappy chocolate.  Glack!

Sanders also had a dark chocolate cherry egg:

But it wasn't very good - not much cherry taste.  The dark chocolate overpowered what little cherry flavor there was.  Not so good.

This is my favorite of all the creme eggs - See's Mayfair:

Hunks of cherry and pecans and wrapped in dark chocolate - I love this egg!  For me, all these flavors and textures work wonderfully together.  It is really delicious!!

I have to confess, after this, I'm just not buying anymore butter cream eggs.  They are too rich and kind of creep me out.  I do not like them in a box, I do not like them in my socks, I do not like them in a jar, I do not like them in my car, I'd rather have a chocolate bar.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Men are from Mars, Shortbread is from Heaven

You know, some days are great and some days are not so great. Today was going pretty good until I spoke with a guy from Yep, I'm still on (and off) It seems to be the only way I ever meet any men, so I just can't seem to tear myself away.  But (as many of you know) my results have been far less than stellar. Obviously I am insane and keep doing the same thing expecting a different result. Am I any less insane if I realize it?

Anyway, the guy today wanted me to drop all my plans so I could have dinner with him tonight - I told him I was booked up until the weekend, why didn't we plan something for then? He said he didn't plan that far in advance. That I should cancel my plans to hit the gym - after all, he might be the man of my dreams. I said the man of my dreams wouldn't expect me to drop my plans at the last minute and would want to date a woman who actually had a life.

He was pretty put off by this and couldn't believe I would choose to go to the gym over having dinner with him. I said, "I don't even know you - why should I change my plans? I'll be glad to meet you this weekend or some other time that works for you." Nope, he couldn't make a plan that far in advance and somehow after we hung up, I felt like the inflexible, problematic one.

Then the UPS man came and the heavens opened:

Walker's Shortbread sent me a box of products to review!  Do you hear the angels singing?  I LOVE Walker's Shortbread!  My day is sooooo much better now!  And I can't wait to try these flavors!

These cookies brought me back to myself and reminded me that giving up what's important to you for anybody else is crazy.  And anybody who wants you to is not worth getting to know - they've already shown you who they are.  Maybe I'm not so insane after all.

Yay for Walker's!!  Yay for cookies!!  Boo for jerks!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Chocolate and the Bathing Suit Body

Everywhere I look I see some weight loss ad encouraging us all to get our fat, pale winter bodies in shape for the beach. Apparently after living under a rock for the last 8 months we are all going to spend our summer romping in the waves half naked.

And to be ready, we have to be so weak from hunger that romping will be impossible. But what the hell, I'll go with the fantasy. Have you seen any of the marketing for these? I wonder what took them so long? Of course, if these are a hit, we'll probably start seeing Cheerios in every flavor under the sun:

Love the "may reduce the risk of heart disease" message. The FDA is soooo going to pull the plug on that BS. I have to confess, I've always thought Cheerios were the most boring cereal on the face of the Earth. Their best use seems to be to give to small children who leave a trail of them in their grubby little wakes. So small children of the world - rejoice! These are WAY better than regular Cheerios! Yay!

But if you are an adult and you are eating cereal to be healthy - step away from the Cheerios and get thee some cereal with fiber! I'm not kidding - to me the whole point of eating cereal is to incorporate some fiber into my diet and Cheerios ain't doing it. They have 1 gram of fiber. Slap yourself if you are wasting your cereal quotient with this. I'd recommend Fiber One's frosted shredded wheat if you want something sweet (9 grams of fiber) or Fiber One's raisin bran clusters (11 grams of fiber). And I actually like both of these better than boring Cheerios - even the chocolate ones. zzzzzzzzz

And how about this? Chocolatey delight Special K:

And check this out - take the Special K Challenge (pretty much eating nothing but their products) and lose 6 pounds in two weeks! Please.

The first scoop I pulled out had zero chocolate chunks in it - and I did shake the box before scooping. I had to fish out some chocolate for the photo:

That's what the chunks look like - pretty big, huh?

Well - if you carefully divide up the chocolate chunks to make sure you get some in every bite, this is pretty good. It ads some zip to the second most bring cereal on the face of the earth. But again, I say - get some damn fiber! This also has 1 gram of fiber.

So bottom line - if you like really boring cereal made slightly less boring by the addition of some chocolate, these are for you! And while a better health choice than eating a sugary kid's cereal, I think you should eat a better tasting and better for you adult cereal if your top concern is your health. Also fiber is more filling if you're trying to lose weight.

Now here's something I was delighted to see! Chocolate Greek yogurt! Greek yogurt is even better for you than regular yogurt - it has more protein. For 110 calories, this little yogurt has 10 grams of protein:

And the best part? It tastes GREAT! Most chocolate yogurts I've had were either high in calories or not that great, but this one is perfect when you want a creamy chocolate fix. Now don't get me wrong, if you don't like yogurt, you won't like this - it's still yogurt. But it's a great chocolate yogurt - healthy AND good! Yay!

It also came in caramel:

I didn't like this one as much - I've found that caramel doesn't seem to translate so well into dairy treats. I don't like Skinny Cow's caramel ice cream bar either - they just taste kinda weird. Now I'm not talking about ice cream with a real caramel ribbon - that's a whole different matter! But these low fat caramel things aren't as good as you would expect. And I love caramel and yogurt (and ice cream - there isn't much I wouldn't do for ice cream), so you can take my word for it on this one.

See how creamy and chocolaty? Caramel on the left, chocolate on the right.

The takeaway? It's great to see some healthy food incorporating chocolate, but just know your goal. If you're eating cereal to be healthier - take a look at the nutrition panel and look for something with some fiber. If you just want something that tastes good - try some different things and see what you like best. Same for yogurt - if you don't like it, don't eat it. But if you're trying to be healthier or lose weight, finding a low-fat, low calorie alternative to ice cream is a must. Or just don't eat the whole carton! But who can do that? Gandhi?

And, what is probably the most important - don't worry about having the perfect bathing suit body - please. The most beautiful people at the beach are those who are having fun and are filled with joy and laughter. (And just maybe, chocolate!)