The Subtle Bliss of Maple Bacon

Some of the best bacon I have sampled has been Oscar Meyer’s thick-cut maple bacon. I picked up a pack while going grocery shopping, fried it up and ate it on a hogie. The balance of sweet maple syrup is a delicate balance of flavor when paired up to with the salty and appetizing bacon flavor. The smell is fantastic; sweet maple, smokey bacon and a full-bodied finish on the nose.

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The bacon would be an amazing  to incorporate into sweet dishes (cakes, cupcakes, muffins, ice cream) and treats. Add spicy mayo, lettuce and tomatoes to make a unique BLT, or add it to a salad featuring fruit (mango, pineapples and nuts) for a fresh twist. Maple bacon can, of course, become a separate cooking venture constructed in any kitchen. Here is a link.

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Must Try Foods: Super Target’s Limited Time S’mores Cupcake.

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S’mores perfection, but bite sized.

In honor of summer (which is nearly done)  Target has released their delicious s’mores cupcakes. I have been meaning to do a blog on these delights a few months ago, but was to busy cramming my face with these to blog about them. 😀 These mini desserts are made with a chocolate cake base and a divide of marshmallow creme icing, and chocolate icing. To top it all off you also receive a dash of crumbled graham crackers to add texture, and the authenticity of the classic s’mores flavor.

I have to say I have enjoyed snacking on these because I love s’mores. The marshmallow icing is delicious, and I can’t resist these. Another benefit is the size as you can control how many calories you intake and control the amount of sugar you consume. The serving size is 3 mini cupcakes, which total out to 330 calories, individually  110 per cupcake. If you are watching your sugar, or trying to practice self-discipline while you snack on sweets, you may like the portion control. As for the rest of us who gobble up things without regards to self-discipline, 3 may not suffice! These are delicious, and the flavors are a fun, well balanced treat perfect not only for summer, but for the entire year. Too bad they won’t be available for that long!

You get 12 in a pack for $2.50 or $2.99. Yes, I know it’s pretty bad I can’t remember the price, and I cannot find my receipt at the moment :-/ Either way, try them if you can. You won’t be sorry, unless sugar scares you.

S’mores cupcake Yumfactor: 4 tongues and a taste bud. It’s just really good. Only thing is, they may go fast if you love them as much as I do. And I don’t even share these.

Must Try Food: Honey BBQ Cheeto Puffs.

These Cheetos are the best things I have found in a long time. At first, I thought cheese, honey and bbq would be gross as a cheeto, but once I tasted a few, these were all I wanted.

Honey BBQ Cheeto Puffs

It appears they came out about a month or so ago (or rather that’s when I first discovered them), and shortly after I tried them, I thought they were discontinued.  I just recently found them at Kroger grocery stores.  I find that the cheese is not at all overbearing in contrast to the honey, and the tangy BBQ ties everything together. Most people I know love these puffs just as much as I do, so hopefully, you will enjoy them as well.  These are absolutely perfect! 5 stars, easily!

Tell me what you think if/once you have tried them!

Peach Mangosteen Snapple Review

Pretty good stuff.

I have not sen a new flavor from Snapple in a while, and while I was grocery shopping, spotted this Peach Mangosten flavor., While I didn’t see the “new” tagged anywhere on this beverage, I decided to give it a try. I love peach, and have had mangosteen and peach flavored teas (a green tea base) so somewhat knew what to expect. For those who do not know what mangosteen is, it is NOT to be confused with mangoes.  Firstly, the flavor is more subtle, and has a tanginess with a slight sweetness in flavor. I have never has it on its own, but I can detect it in the drink.  I also have never seen it paired up with another tangy type of flavor, therefore leaving me to believe it’s pretty tangy on its own.

Mangosteen

Also, it is purple on the outside, and white on the inside-more specifically, bears a resemblance to white grapefruit or orange slices. Mangosteen, like mango is also a superfruit,tropical in origin, and known for its anti inflammatory properties and ability to assist in immunity. You can read more on mangosteen and its health benefits Here: http://bit.ly/hxItvn (please copy and paste to access the site)

Now, on to the drink. I taste top notes of peach and possibly carrot (which makes sense, because there is carrot juice in this drink as well as peach juice), and the peach flavor tastes like a peach Jolly Rancher- complete with a ripe, candy taste, that isn’t overpowering.  Then comes the depth from the mangosteen, which surfaces as a tangy bite that ones in after you swallow. Very exotic, as I am reminded of peach and grapefruit (with less tangy and more sweetness), that makes one’s mouth-water.  Both flavors feed off each other pretty well, and create a delicate drink. This stands out on it’s own by infusing a familiar sweet, ripe peach with the bold, and tangy mangosteen that boosts the body’s immunity,and promotes anti-inflammation.

Peach Mangosteen Snapple Yumfactor- 4 out of 5. It’s sweet at first, then takes a tangy twist after swallowing. It will make you pucker a bit, but I like complicated flavors. Unique. Exotic. Watch out for the sugar, as 8 oz has 20g. If you’re expecting the traditional sweet, syrupy drink, this may not be for you. If you’re expecting an extra sweet Snapple type of drink to compare to flavors like Strawberry Kiwi or Mango, you may not like the tartness of this flavor.

 

Jet Puffed Toasted Coconut Marshmallows Are Amazing.

Last night, I attended a bonfire, and I was informed we were going top make s’mores. The fun part was that there were toasted coconut marshmallows for us to use. I love anything coconut, and have experienced coconut and chocolate, so I figured it would be out of this world.

Upon tasting it, I was amazed with how much flavor of the coconut made for the best s’more I ever had. The coconut flavor is more on the outside, as toasted coconut flakes decorate the marshmallow. I even tried it on a Recees cup and it was divine. Try it, folks!!! I can’t speak for everyone when I say that they are delicious!

Jet Puffed Toasted Coconut Marshmallows Yumfactor- 4 tongues and a tastebud (4.5 out of 5)

Sonic’s All American Hot Dog/ New York Dog Review- A Must Try (even if it’s ONCE)

Just tried Sonic’s new hot dogs. Made with beef, these doggies come in 4 varieties and seem to be a very popular item among the tasters. I decided to try the New York Hot Dog (beef, a regular bun, onions, mustard, ketchup and sauerkraut) I usually don’t eat beef, but decided this beautifully decorated hot dog was worth the risk of tummy troubles for a few days. I will say that one is not enough, and Sonic knows that, which is why it’s only $1.99. I literally killed off the little doggie in 4 bites.

The New York one got eaten too fast, so I couldn't take my own photo. This is the All American.

Anyways, I noticed opinion first, which looked grilled, and has a nice caramelized flavor. Then came the saltiness from the sauerkraut, which I never had before. I always thought I wouldn’t like all of these types of toppings on my hot dog, but it is packed full of flavor and fun textures.

New York Dog Yumfactor- 4 tongues (4 out of 5). It’s cheap and yummy, but beware its junk food. Expect it to be full of fat and calories. They don’t call it junk food for nothing, folks. (I researched the calorie content, and for 1 hot dog alone, it contains about 350 calories per 1 serving of hot dog. I’m sure it’s a great source of protein, and you do get some veggies, though it’s soaked in grease)

Now, on to the All American. This is your typical hot dog with mustard, ketchup, onions and relish,on a plain bun (the other hot dogs come on either plain buns or poppy seed). This one to me tasted better than the New York. the saltiness was milder, and I ate this one in even less amounts of bites than the first. I was angry when I saw there was no more left to eat, and it kinda ruined my day 😦  All I have to say is awesome.

All American Hot Dog Yumfactor– 5 tongues. Love it. (About 385 calories/serving)

Three Earl Grey Teas and Cream.

Lately, I have been drinking more tea. I tend to notice an affinity to drink coffee in the colder months, and teas in the hotter months. I have also been leaning towards more teas because of their wonderful health benefits. I have challenged myself to drink a cup of green tea, and black tea per day to increase my body’s immunity, fighting free radicals, and indulging in something that can stimulate me without the aftertaste of coffee. I love the variety teas offer and have been more creative in selecting unusual flavors and twists on classics.

Earl Grey Tea #1-Art of Tea’s Earl Grey and Creme.

I was at a local shop with a friend of mine, and noticed a bag of Earl Grey Creme by “Art of Tea”. As a side note, I had previously purchased their Coconut Creme black tea and found it’s tropical, nutty aroma true to life, natural and the richness of the tea a pleasant experience.  This caught my attention because I never imagined Earl Grey, it’s light, subtly floral flavor with the refreshing bergamot quality fused with rich and creamy French Vanilla. And its organic.

Perfect for first time introduction to your tastebuds, this individually packaged tea may not be enough it's so good.. I wish I bought the entire tin!

I sniffed the package, and inhaled a wonderful, strong aroma of bergamot and an underlying French Vanilla-custardy delicate note that encouraged me to buy it.  I reflected briefly and remembered my mom making this tea- Earl Grey with a splash of mil and a Vanilla flavored creamer, and wondered why she was so hooked. One taste, and I understood completely.

The first thing I noticed was the fragrance. Uplifting to the senses and emotions, I detected a strong current of bergamot, that married perfectly with the smooth vanilla flavor. Not only was this tea smooth and full in body, but the French Vanilla had toned down the citrus, but didn’t hide it too much. This was a delectable, dessert like treat that had depth. I added 2 teaspoons of white sugar, a little milk, and a Vanilla creamer (Coffee Mate’s French Vanilla). I was also able to make 2 additional cups after my first one, and although the flavor dissipated slightly, it was still strong enough to go around 2 more times. (One who for my friend) Impressive. I literally milked this tea to death-no cheesey pun intended. I paid $2 for this 1 bag, however, it was well worth it. As far as caffeine content is concerned, this tea has a medium amount, perfect to awaken the mind, but not too much.

Art of Tea Earl Grey Creme Yumfactor– 4 tongues and a tastebud. (4.5 stars out of 5) It’s rich, fragrant, citrus and sweet, perfectly balanced by that creme, and the black tea base itself is nothing but quality. True indulgence. Here is the link to their site- http://www.artoftea.com/

Earl Grey #2Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea.

Since my first true experience with Earl Grey tea was nearly perfect, indulgent, and rich, I expected to have a similar one from here on out. I remembered my mother making Earl Grey Tea at home, and decided that all I had to do was to add French Vanilla, or regular Vanilla creamer to the tea, and I’d have a similar concoction as the prior. Boy, was I wrong. -_-

Bigelow’s tea to me is hit or miss. There are times I have had their tea and felt that the flavors weren’t strong enough. For instance, take their Vanilla Chai. Pretty packaging, however, too sweet. I have had other brands of Vanilla Chai and felt the Vanilla accented the Chai well, but still tasted the warm, earthy essences of the spiciness. The spices in chat make it chai! Now, I’m no Chai expert, however, I had the pleasure of tasting all types of chai, and even tasted Chai made from scratch by a native Indian on a regular basis in the past. I wasn’t expecting the same spice factor, but I wasn’t expecting to have a tea that was extremely sweet, either. I digress, though.

Earl Grey #2

So, upon making my Earl Grey with Vanilla creamer, milk and sugar, I noticed that the fragrance was lighter. Okay, not a big deal. I tasted it and compared to the first tea, noticed that the citrus undertones were a bit muted. The vanilla flavor was pleasant,(Coffee Mate’s Italian Sweet Cream Creamer) but the tea was overall not as strong and inviting as the other one. I realized  three things at this very moment: 1) Art of tea makes incredible teas. 2) I shouldn’t compare the two, because this tea doesn’t have the creme finish and it’s a different brand/quality. 3) According to my tastebuds, Bigelow teas are average in my opinion. Some flavors just won’t suffice for me because they are not full/strong. Then I stopped comparing, and realized that the tea itself wasn’t bad. It just won’t be one I drink on a regular basis.

Bigelow’s Earl Grey Tea Yumfactor– 3 tongues. (3 out of 5 stars) It’s not disgusting, but I was left searching for another brand. Specifically one with a stronger flavor of bergamot.

Earl Grey #3- Stash Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea.

I was at Target (which I love!!) and saw a tea sale, and went crazy and bought 3 different teas: Mango Coconut Oolong, Double Spice Chai, and Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea. I figured the Double Bergamot would suffice because Bigelow made me feel lie it didn’t have enough bergamot. Maybe the bergamot flavor in the Bigelow brand was a bit shy, and didn’t want to be noticed. I understand, bergamot, don’t worry *pats it on its shy back*.

First and foremost, Stash teas are often lovely, full of flavor and priced at reasonable prices with a variety that is hard to ignore. I have often found myself pleased with the variety of teas, and the flavors they offer. Now, on to the tea.

Good stuff, Stash, good stuff.

I brewed a cup, and took note of the strong presence of the bergamot. Ah ha! I figured going off of the scent alone I would have a great replacement for the other brand (I was not able to make it to the store and get another box/bag/tin because of a few reasons so I needed a replacement). I added the milk and Italian Sweet Cream creamer and was pleasantly surprised with the similarity in body, richness and fragrance this tea had compared to the first one. I bought it for about $2.15 (for a box of 20 bags, which was *much*cheaper than the A.O.T, which was  $12/6oz tin of loose leaf. There was also the individual bags, but, you get the picture.) When I added the Vanilla, it danced gracefully with the citrus overtones, and completed it effortlessly.

Stash’ Double Bergamot Earl Grey Tea Yumfactor– 4 tongues. (4 out of 5 stars) It’s inexpensive, rich, delicate and is satisfying.

*Remember, all of these tea do contain caffeine, so be aware. If I had to rate according to faves, I’d say Art of Tea ranks in 1st place for innovative taste and over all quality, but is pricey, in my opinion. Stash follows closely behind, because of quality and value, although Art of tea’s Earl Grey has a stronger dessert like creamy presence. Then last, comes Bigelow, because, apparently, the bergamot in that tea has an inferiority complex and doesn’t like much attention.

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