Low Budget Gourmet: Boston Cream Pie Coffee? Home Goods Raid..Sorta

Today a friend and I went to Home Goods, which is a store that offers gourmet food/coffee, furniture, and bath goods for discount prices.  Think Marshall’s, Ross or TJ Maxx, but without the clothes. I love this place, because it’s easy to access quaint adorable tea pots, funky, vintage “distressed” mirrors and desks, and features the best flavored coffees available- all at a bargain, or a decent price. I appreciate the variety. I went straight to the gourmet foods section, passed the strawberry flavored balsamic vinegar, and the garlic olive oils, to the fun flavored coffees.  What caught my attention first was the flavored coffee syrups (for about $5.99 for a 25.4 fl oz bottle).  There were sugar-free vanillas, to classic hazelnut and regular vanilla, and even Kahlua all manufactured by Monin and Davinci brands, who seem too be the to leading suppliers of coffee syrups. What I appreciate is the lack of corn syrup Monin and Davinci brands offer, and the attention to the importance of making pure, and natural, Organic syrups if you will. And you should. 😀

 

Lovely...

Tangent: I prefer Monin over Davinci just because they offer a wider variety, and it just tastes better.  It does, however contain a little bit more sugar. I love getting the Vanilla syrups because they are a versatile item that can go well with milkshakes, in milk alone,cocktails, sodas (Vanilla Coke, anyone?) in smoothies, and of course in coffees and teas, not to mention a flavor enhancer for baking items. (I will post both websites below just in case you are curious about the flavors they carry.)  Monin has over 100 flavors, also, many which are fruit based like (Mango,Passion Fruit, Strawberry) to other types. Their Vanilla syrup uses pure Madagascar Vanilla. Fancy!

I moseyed over to the coffee, my eyes shifting quickly from the standard “French Vanilla” to “Kahlua” when it hit me- “Boston Cream Pie” flavored coffee. I literally squeaked because there is nothing more exciting than interesting flavors of food or beverages, and this was one flavor I was not going to find everywhere. Then it hit me again…. “Pralines and Cream”. I had a dilemma here, folks. The Pralines and Cream smelled rich and had caramelized nutty and vanilla notes that were enticing, but the Boston Cream Pie- that indulgent cakey base, with deep chocolate and buttery, creamy custard seemed to beckon me as well. I was afraid that the chocolate would override what vanilla custard was there, although I smelled creamy notes through the bag (it has a scent hole). I figured since it’s not a layered edible item, all the flavors would run together, and the chocolate may even be a tad bit muted by the vanilla. Plus, if you have chocolate syrup and vanilla creamer at home, you could probably duplicate this! Especially with a creamier vanilla based creamer, such as Vanila Latte (Coffee Mate) or Sweet Cream (Int’l Delights Coffee) or perhaps “Italian Sweet Cream” (Coffee Mate) Both bags were $4.99 for 12oz Arabia coffee. I will do a review on these items in the future.

monin carries a wide variety of flavors, offers free monthly recipes on their site and even has flavors like “Apple Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie and Blueberry Pie” to florals like”Lavender, Rose and Hibiscus” and your standards fruits, exotic fruits (Chipotle Pineapple) and dessert type of flavors. How innovative is that? o.O You can buy Monin’s syrups here baristaproshop. As for davinci  they offer Buttered Run which Monin didn’t have, and Zabaglione (Italian egg nog with Marsala wine) but has a smaller variety. You can shop on their site.

What interesting coffee flavors have you tried? Interesting cocktails or sodas that featured unique syrups? Please share and of course let us know if you’d recommend them to anyone else! Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to comment/rate/subscribe! 

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Money-Saving Tip- Going Generic

One can save loads of money by bulking up on generic brands. I frequent Publix, and they aren’t quite cheap, but offer competitive generic products. For example, I just bought a pack of butter (the normal 4 sticks) for $.99! I was glad about that(considering the other prices were nearing the $3 range.) Target and Wal-Mart also offer great deals on generic produts. I will post them shortly.

Coffee Mate’s White Chocolate Caramel Creamer (Review)

Coffee Mate's 3 new flavors (1st on the left is the one being reviewed.)

In comparing Coffee Mate’s creamers to International Delights, I usually prefer International Delights, however there are exceptions in a few cases-Coffee Mate’s Latte Creamers. Firstly, the velvety, smooth, creamy texture provides the taster with the feel of latte goodness.  Not overly rich, nor too thick (unlike International Delight’s Breve Cream in my opinion) I get a pretty even taste of caramel, but a slightly less white chocolate undertone. I had thought that the white chocolate would overpower the subtle buttery caramel, however one taste’s the opposite.

I’d have to say that overall, I really enjoy this creamer flavor, and appreciate the smooth latte texture that makes me feel as though I have an authentic latte in my cup, although the white chocolate is subtle.

*TIP:* Also try coffee creamers in various teas (like Vanilla based teas, or even Chai teas) to experience a unique creamer experience. Sometimes, flavors that do not come through strongly in coffee make their entrance through teas.

Coffee Mate’s White Chocolate Caramel Creamer Yumfactor: 4 tongues. (4 out of 5)  With a rich texture and yummy taste, that doesn’t prove to be too fattening, you can be sure to enjoy this amidst the hassle and stress of your crazy mornings.

 

Don’t forget to Rate, Comment and Subsacribe!!

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle

The Chocolate Drizzle; a perfect example of epic sultriness. But it gets better.

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle is a sexy as it sounds.Oh my goodness. The dark chocolate bars are Golden, literally. Godiva’s dark chocolate bar, packaged in a sexy gold and cream wrapping makes one think of luxury. This item is part of their “Ice Cream Parlour” collection that showcases their rich, decadent chocolate with fresh mint,velvety vanilla,toasted hazelnut and bright orange (to name a few). I saw this item at Target for $2.99 and decided on trying this. WINNING!

Although I am not the biggest dark chocolate fan, I can appreciate it when it is thoughtfully paired with a lighter, or more sweet flavor, or an exotic, spicy infusion. The first thing you will notice are the inscribed “G”‘s on each bar, which must stand for “Gold” or “God” of chocolate, as this item is as precious as it in my opinion. Biting into it, there will be a sharp note  of bittersweet, rich dark chocolate, followed by a  delicate vanilla taste with a creamy, buttery undertone. Its texture mirrors caramel (though it is cream in color), and though no vanilla beans are absent, there is a complexity of the satiny vanilla that stems from the product’s quality ingredients; White chocolate, vanilla powder, and vanilla work hand in hand to stand out on their own, but bow down humbly to the dark chocolate’s authority, both harmoniously defining each other’s tastes. It’s limited time, so act fast!

"G" must for "The God of Chocolate" or "Gold". Whichever works for you.

I could see myself feeding this to a special someone on Valentine’s Day, as it is as sultry as a romantic evening, and is sure to be treasured as a luxurious indulgence. (Sorry mom and dad O_0) Now I get what all this Godiva fuss is about (although I have had some of their other chocolates and had a “meh” reaction) TRY IT PEOPLE!!!! 🙂

Pros– Sexy, sensual and succulent. Beautiful vanilla dances with rich chocolate, working together to tame each other. Dark cocoa is a natural mood booster and contains antioxidants. It’s also Kosher.

Cons– Huh? Ah..Not being able to taste this because living under a rock functions to perpetuate eternal lack of exposure.Being allergic to chocolate/being a hater of dark chocolate, and allowing your hatred of it to close your mind to the finer things in life (a.k.a. this product). Shame on you.

Godiva’s Vanilla Sundae Dark Chocolate Truffle Yumfactor– 5 tongues. (5 out of 5)

Think I’m weird because I called out people who live under rocks? Think I got a little too into this candy? Rate. Comment.  Subscribe.

International Delights Cinnabon Coffee Creamer Review

{UPDATE/ Possiblly TMI}-Hi everyone! I apologize for a slight delay in my postings! Here I return with *another* coffee creamer review! I promise I’ll switch it up nest time. I’m actually contemplating including another copycat recipe, and then a produce review (of a non coffee product) and a health tip.

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Int’l Delights Cinnabon Creamer Yumfactor- 2.5 tongues (3 out of 5 stars) (Coupon link below.)

In their inclusion of new  flavors such as Chai Latte, and their Coffee House varieties, International Delights decided to ante up the fun by including 2 new limited edition creamers:Almond Joy (in which I have reviewed ina previous post: please click link below to read) and Cinnabon Creamer. As a fan of variety and all things new, I decided to give both a shot. I’ll have to start by saying that I’d prefer the Almond Joy to the Cinnabon, but there’s more.

Yummy Cinnabonness, slathered in oooey-gooey nomnom.

The flavor description promises to include spicy cinnamon and tangy-sweet cream cheese, which are both highly detected in the tastebuds upon sipping.  Int’l Delights does a good job to replicating the cinnamon bun taste, as I have previously tasted Coffee Mate’s Cinnamon Bun creamer(which only tasted like cinnamon. No icing was detected.) Inl’t delights has done a great job in being detail oriented in terms of taste, considering that their audience would actually want a creamer that tasted authentically cinnaboney.

Although I liked their replication of the bun, I wouldn’t buy it again, because the inclusion of a cream cheese undertone in my coffee is just plain weird. I even considered that it would be when I was considering purchasing it, but I figured the cream cheese icing flavor would be obsolete. It’s not extremely strong, but the flavor does make its presence known. Probably a better Fall/Winter Creamer versus a summer flavor the warm cinnamon tastes like Autumn on my tongue, but it’s summer,so my mouth gets a little confused.You may, however,enjoy this flavor yourself, but my tastebuds, have moved on. One thing that I think makes it taste better is adding a teaspoon on French Vanilla/Sweet Italian Cream Coffee Creamer to tone down the cheesiness. You may like this if you have more than 1 creamer in your fridge at a time. 🙂 I have included a link for a printable coupon below. Hope it works!

Pros- Authentic Cinnabon taste, cream cheese and all. Spicy cinnamon goodness as opposed to your traditional sweet creamers. New!

Cons- Cream Cheese in my coffee is kind of awkward. *Better with the addition of a teaspoon of any Vanilla based creamer.

Where’d I buy this? Wal-Mart. I believe it was about $1.58-ish? There is a coupon on their website on the left bottom part of the screen. They will ask you to log in/register (lame) but if you have a facebook profile, you can use that.

Coupon Link: https://idregistration.icmodus.com/default.aspx?bhcp=1

Almond Joy Creamer Review: https://thetalkingspoon.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/coffee-creamer-review-new-international-delights-almond-joy/…)

Opa! My First Greek Yogurt! (Then my second one)+ A recipe!

So, I have heard some talk about the epicness of the Greek Yogurt. Yes, I said “The Greek Yogurt” because people have been making it out to be the God of all Yogurts. Not only can it be consumed out of a small yogurt cup, but I was required to use it when I baked a “Pink Grapefruit Yogurt Cake” (<– Which was amazing), and have seen it being used in various exotic dishes on adventurous cooking shows. Dannon has also released their own line of Greek Yogurts, which I had the pleasure of trying. Firstly, this yogurt is NOT cheap in comparison to other yogurts(I’m used to paying $.50 for my regular ones). At Wal-Mart, I purchased one Dannon Greek yogurt for $1.00, however, I have seen other yogurts, standard size for $1.50 to $1.75. May not be a big deal to some of you, but I certainty was not expecting to pay that much (remember, I am a broke college student, and I’m exceptionally frugal as well, lol.)

Dannon's version of "The Greek Yogurt"

The first thing I noticed was the overall texture of the Greek yogurt. It was very thick and creamy, as if someone had frozen regular yogurt, and added a touch of cream after it thawed slightly. I actually thought the texture itself was fun, and an obvious change from thinner yogurts. Then, I tasted one spoon on the creamy yogurt, and first noticed a tanginess that was a little more obvious that regular yogurt- then a nice sweet cushion of vanilla sweetness. Overall, Dannon’s vanilla flavored Greek yogurt was pretty good, but I had to use the rest to make my cake, so I couldn’t really enjoy the whole serving. I did have enough to get an idea of why some people do like Greek yogurt. It’s thick, creamy, chock full of protein (12 grams!) and does vary from your typical very sweet yogurts out there. It also taste a tad bit more natural than say some other yogurts that are just full of sugar. Dannon also sells various flavors like blueberry, strawberry honey flavored, plain and of course vanilla. Other flavors they make I am currently unaware of. Anyone care to fill me in? I’d appreciate that 🙂 Yoplait also makes Greek yogurt, which I have not yet seen at the moment except online. *shrugs*

So…. I decided to buy another one, but only because I saw a coupon.  With the coupon and sale at Publix, I ended up paying $.75. That’s better. 🙂 I varied my brand, and purchased  Voskos Greek yogurt in exotic fig flavor.  The texture was a thick pile of yogurtness- so think that if you scoop some in a spoon and hold it upside down, it ain’t budging! As far as the fig flavor, it was not as sweet as the Dannon vanilla, and has more of a tartness to it. Quite honestly, it’s not my favorite flavor. I know that figs are not the sweetest fruit out there, but I have had figs where they were a tad bit sweeter. Sadly, this was the only flavor available for this brand at my local Publix, and although I so feel it is natural tasting and rich, I didn’t care for it by itself. However, I did add some Crunchy Nut cereal flakes to it,(I’ll review this later on) and WAO! it was better! 8) The hint of honey really danced delicately with the tart fig, and added a nice crunchiness to the yogurt. But eat it fast, for it gets soggy, and does NOT taste as magical! I’m pretty sure Greek Yogurts like these are ideal for mixing fruits and grains in them in you want, because the creamy texture I believe will accommodate any of the above additions and make for a yummy yogurt. Voskos also has other flavors available-honey, blueberry, strawberry and honey vanilla. I’m sure these probably have a higher chance of tasting better, and I may give it another try, because I truly think this yogurt brand has potential-just not in this fig flavor.

By the way, the nutrition facts for Voskos Yogurt is:

  • 0g of Total, Sat. and Trans fat, 0mg of cholesterol, 65g/3%  Sodium.
  • 170mg/ 5% of Potassium, Total Carbs. 28g/9%, 0g Fiber
  • 22g Sugars and 11g/22% Protein. <– My goodness! :O

The high protein content is perfect for those of you/us that work out regularly and seek healthy, low fat protein sources. That’s a plus.

Dannon’s Vanilla Greek Yogurt Yumfactor– 3 tongues and a tastebud (3.5 out of 5 stars) I bet this would be capable of getting a 5 if mixed with fresh, ripe berries or even mangoes. Yummy!

Vosko’s Exotic Fig Greek Yogurt Yumfactor– 2 tongues and a tastebud (2.5 out of 5) It was a bit too tangy for me, however bumped up to a 3.5, when I added the honey nut cereal. I would recommend trying it in another flavor perhaps.

Agree? Disagree? Think that Voskos is indeed amazing in fig? Upset that I tainted the figness by adding cereal? Agree that the cereal is great in it? Leave a comment/rate this post! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Here is the link to the Cake I made via Nutmeg Nanny originally By:

Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Grahams:Because Sprinkles Always =Cupcakes (Even if you can’t taste it)

See the sprinkles on the little fishies?

Cute little gold fishes are always a great snack, and stepped out of their signature cheese varieties into the land of graham. Strolling down the aisles, you may now see goldfishes in s’mores flavors, graham, and even vanilla cupcake. The reason why I got this is not just because it’s new, but because it’s cupcakey! Aww, Pepperidge Farms knows how to be cute!!!

I expected this to not taste that much like a vanilla cupcake considering it has a graham cracker base.  Upon opening the bag, you’ll notice that there are sprinkles on your goldfish grahams to imply that is it indeed a cupcake. (Nothing spells a cupcake like sprinkles, and don’t you forget it :)) With the first bite, I was only able to taste a graham cracker and maybe a bit more butter? Then when the crackers were 75% dissolved into soggy crumbles, I swore I was able to taste a drop of vanilla. As far as the cupcake flavor itself is concerned, the sprinkles were the only thing to remind me of a cupcake. (Even the little vanilla cupcake they have on their packaging

Nothing says cupcake like sprinkles, however, it doesn't equal cupcake flavor, P.Farms

has sprinkley goodness on it) So basically, I’d have to say these snacks are pretty good, and do slightly deviate from the usual graham cracker flavor, (and by this, I mean a little more vanillaey than the typical graham cracker flavor)but I can’t guarantee everyone will taste it. Give them a try, and let me know what you think!

Pros– Overall yummy, and made with whole grain! Yes!! *Doing the bent elbow, up and down yes gesture*. Cute sprinkles. Goldfish that aren’t cheese flavored=variety. A slight vanilla aftertaste,(more vanilla than cupcake) but only when the graham is a liquefied puddle of sogginess.

Cons– No cupcakeness aside the visual aspect of the sprinkles. *Crosses arms and pouts*

Vanilla Cupcake Goldfish Grahams Yumfactor: 3 tongues and a taste bud (3.5 out of 5 stars) Because they are good, even though they don’t taste like a cupcake.