Snack Review: ‘Fattening’ the curve with Nutter Butter Fudge Covered

In these sad, frightening times, I am hoping for a bit of levity. We can all use some personal reflections…And in all honesty, I bought these (and two other of Nabisco’s finest, Chips Ahoy Soft-bakes and Peanut Butter Pie Oreos) in a hunger-filled haze where all I wanted was ridiculous junk food. You should have seen what I bought in that shopping order…It was pretty gratuitous. (Including pickled herring, a 1kg bag of fruit juice gummies, sparkling water, peanut butter, snack crackers, party mix, chips, popcorn, peanuts…)

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But these did pique my interest, so much so that I tore into the box like some sort of insane wolverine (my box not pictured because I still have SOME dignity).

So how are they then?

In a word- fine. My other word would be ‘disappointing’ but I do feel like that is a bit unfair for these snack cookies. They don’t claim to be anything better than they are, which is exactly like what Oreos and Chips Ahoy are. Cheap midrange mass produced snack cookies. Nothing more, nothing less. However I do get to rag on them a bit because ‘fudge covered’ is laughable. Fudge what? Have these people met fudge and did it slap them or something? The cookie is covered in the thinnest, stingiest layer of WTF not chocolate but something that looks and smells like chocolate. Not fudge, a poor excuse for chocolate, really.

Cookie itself? Like a bland peanut butter Oreo. The ‘made with real peanut butter’ makes me laugh. Like, really? Sure doesn’t taste like it! I can’t go above and beyond that. Just really ‘eh’ for something that has a laughably absurd number of calories. I actually liked the Peanut Butter Pie Oreo better, even if it did have a weird smell that reminded me of my long-time smoker grandmother’s house.

It reminded me of my similar complaints about Nature Valley’s peanut butter granola cups. Really cool in concept, execution is the cheapest, wimpiest, lamest thing ever. Light, cheap and tastes cheap (both for Nature Valley and Nutter Butter Fudge Covered). If I may make a leap here, I would say this type of cookie is perfectly acceptable for a party where nobody is expecting anything better than Oreos, I guess. Certainly not good junk food, but you know, you can dumpster-dive a little on a special occasion, eh? I actually put peanut butter on mine to make it more interesting, and likely triple the calories. Oh well, I never claimed that I wanted to live forever!

These were purchased for $2 on sale at Canadian Club Warehouse, and I wouldn’t pay more for them. Or buy them again, probably.

Fake it ’til you take it: Port Alberni 15K Paper Chase Race Recap!

In the midst of this madness…We actually had a fun Sunday! We hoofed it up (of course on Daylight Savings minus 1 hour of desperately needed sleep) to race in Port Alberni. This is the fourth race in the VIRA race series, and it is relatively new- only a few years in existence. You should have seen the sweet-ass medals we had at the first one, niiice!

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Trotting through the Mill site. Photo courtesy of the Port Alberni Chamber of Commerce.

It is a challenging course, and each year I remember getting a 15k ass-kicking. Was this year any different? Ha, not really! I felt horrible all week (thanks, severe asthma and allergies), and was just generally feeling miserable. I did not have high expectations for this race. It was really chilly when we got up at the crack of dawn to drive out there, and the beginning of the race was super cold too, but it cleared up and was pretty darn nice after!

The race is a smaller one- the drive is pretty long for folks- but it has a very generous start line, not congested at all. The vibe was pretty cheerful! 😉 Love the run community.

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Trying to get more air by like, craning my neck?? UGH! Photo courtesy of Lyndon Cassels.

It also starts going up hill, and boy…By KM 3 I was like, is this some sort of sick joke? Jesus. I was gasping, coughing up tons of phlegm and just…Kind of struggling. Like I have been every day, ha. It’s a race that has quite a few rolling hills, and then the turnaround is good, and then into the McLean Mill! You run for just over 1 KM I believe, and it’s through the woods, mud puddles (wasn’t too slippy though), and then back to the road.

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I call this one- faces of pain. Photo is courtesy of Lois D’Ell.

I struggle-ran the entire way out, and through the Mill, and then was like, hey you know what? I CAN turn it on! I am running this race, it isn’t running me! And I could pick it up. I was still gasping for breath, and in the photos you can see my neck straining mightily to breathe. That’s just my life right now, breathless, constantly. It sucks.

I felt ok though, and picked it up until the last oh, 2km? We then hit more hills that slowly dragged out my will to live… I needed some go-button help here. My husband helped me finish pretty strong though. I was happy with that! (we still got passed at the finish like we were standing still, ha.). My time was fine, good even for how shitty the week was/breathing/sickness- a 1:07:31.

I, of course, grouched that my time last year was over a minute better, but I checked again and I was wrong- my time last year was like 30 seconds better. So, fine  with all things considering. I need to be friendlier to myself and my efforts, sheesh. I finished second in my AG and 9th woman.

We had excellent chili for post-race refreshments, and everyone was in a good mood~ The sun was out, so we decided to also cruise to the Quay and check things out in good ol’ Port Alberni. We got doughnuts – they were GREAT! So fresh, great flavours and selections, and the price was right- $6 for 6, even. Steal, right??

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Maybe a silver, but I got excellent doughnuts, so who’s the real winner here??

We wrapped up the lovely day by going to a new brewery, and they had patio seating open. Sunshine, a few beers, a 15k race. What more could a girl ask for?

(ok, well a sound horse, no allergies, no injuries, a non-pandemic…but this isn’t reality).

 

Music for the long emergency

Sooooooooo…Work is crazy right now, and that is due to the emerging coronavirus. I am assisting on the file (it’s an ‘all hands on deck’ thing right now), and making life extremely difficult for many, and in some cases, deadly. It’s a real challenge, and while I don’t want to dismiss fears, the risk we have here on the Island is very low. I do accept that the impact will eventually come here- like the flu, like H1N1, it will spread and sort of becoming ‘the norm’ but right now? Yeesh. Also I can be a bit paranoid, so having this be my ‘all day everyday’ existence is difficult.

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Bright side to the weekend: Doughnuts and sunshine!! 

But anyways, my normal life is fine actually, with a few dramas. Oats got out of his pen twice this weekend- 1 time on Friday night after I rode, where I SWEAR TO GOD I double checked his latch. I have never, ever left it open.

The other boarder suggested his horse might have opened it by playing with the gate. I thought that might be it, but my trainer said it’s really unlikely, but that I probably forgot to do up the gate. Ok, but yeah…

Until Sunday night it happened AGAIN! And I was not at the barn on Sunday- at all! And even worse- he got out past the external fencing, that leads to a MAJOR ROAD. WTF?

I was pissed. And it’s definitely the new horse neighbour messing with his gate that caused it to open both nights. So, there is a new chain, and mercifully Oats is ok. Phew!

And in other annoying news…Oats was stiff, balky and shitty on THur/Fri, and I found out why- and it’s twofold- 1. He needed his feet done like, 2 weeks ago. Bad me. I thought he was fine, and he just…Wasn’t. This is entirely on me.

2. He was playing too hard with his horse friend, and was sore. He felt prettttty terrible on Thur/Fri. Thursday I chalked it up to him just being stiff, but on Friday he felt awful- moving laterally, balking, stiff, stopping. It took about 45 minutes of riding to warm him up enough to feel ‘ok’ but not great.

The farrier came out on Saturday and trimmed him up, and then I rode. He was definitely improved from Friday (no tripping!) but his left lead canter still felt like a bag of crap. His trot work was almost back to 100%. He then had Sunday off (to escape…) and then I am riding tonight. Fingers crossed that he is back to his old form by now!

Man, Life. Just…ah.

My reviews: Reese’s Outrageous, and it is outrageous because this is the world we live in.

Not going to lie, I was drooling when I saw this beauty on my desk thanks to Jess, my gym sister!

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My absolute favourite chocolate ever is the Reese’s with mini Reese’s pieces embedded in it. AMAZING. Any shape- Xmas trees, the flying saucer, whatever. The best. Man. Ever eaten something that was so good, it felt like you were breathing for the first time? THAT.

But then every month (week, or hell, day…) I get in this weird existential crisis. A new day or month or whatever is a chance for a fresh start. Part of me wants to be ‘good’ and eat like, vegetables, fruit, water…And the other part of me is like, ha, no. Pass me the Reese’s! (Or Mars, or Snickers, or whatever. I don’t discriminate!). So, as I eat this fabulous bar, studded with mini Reese’s, draped with caramel…I think. How long do you really want to live? Plus, since I can’t really eat French fries, or apparently home-fried doughnuts anymore without puking…I figure I am falling deeper and deeper into the clutches of Big Sugar. And I like the sweet embrace. (my teeth however beg to differ).

So anyways, in the daily battle between ‘good’ me and ‘bad’ me…This bar is worth it! Is it better than the original Reese’s big cup with mini Reese’s pieces? No! Blasphemy! Nothing will match it. It is peerless! I think the caramel kind of ‘muddies’ the water a bit here, so to me, a low-quality chocolate purist (hah), it is delicious and worthy of being eaten, but NOT better than the originals. Not to be confused with Reese’s ‘Nutrageous’ which is…something different I guess?

My reviews: Brio hard soda in ‘Chinotto’ flavour! In honour of B.C.’s newest tax on sugary drinks…

So, what would be the taxes on this guy?

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Ian bought me this a few weeks ago, and I was intrigued. It’s alcoholic, an Italian soda, but what on earth is it? What is it flavoured with?

Take this journey with me…

“Brio hard soda vodka flavoured with Chinotto”

Yes, I was puzzled. But ready to tackle this flavour! (though at this point, I kind of wonder if my teeth are)

A few months ago I had an epic tooth chip thanks to a freaking stealth piece of olive pit – I had discarded the actual pit, and then broke a chunk off a molar with the leftover shrapnel, and I had to get a filling to cap the broken section off. FML.

THIS weekend I chipped off a corner of my left front bottom canine eating popcorn. No major repairs needed but another filing down, but WTF>>

But I digress. This chinotto flavour was in an eye-catching tall boy can, and Ian got it from Cascadia Liquor store. It’s a super dark, almost murky beverage. You would mistake it for coke for sure. The flavour though? Undeniably NOT coke. Herby, with a subtle wintergreen tang or burn, or whatever makes root beer or sarsaparilla a thing… Makes this a thing also. It’s sweet- very sweet- and the vodka completely hidden within. It’s still fairly low alcohol and very much reminds me of an old-timey soda jerk (why did they call it that? Who is the jerk? I even went down the rabbit hole a few days ago of what an ‘egg cream’ was for a soda fountain and I was grossed out by it…), but anyways, this is pretty good!

It’s not great- funny enough I found myself missing the ‘sharpness’ and carbonation of cokes or maybe root beer, but this was worth a try for sure. It really isn’t highly carbonated, and I feel like that was really missing for me. I coincidentally have been drinking a lot of Bubly/carbonated water drinks..so…. Are those bad for teeth? Asking for a friend?!

And for those wondering what chinotto is? Well, it’s apparently a carbonated soft drink produced from the juice of the fruit of the myrtle-leaved orange tree. You would think it would taste like orange, but it doesn’t. Apparently the Italians also add quinine to their cocktails to achieve that ‘bitter’ flavour. I would say that piece was missing from this beverage as it was very sweet with only a minimal ‘otherness’ bite. I also learned that this drink was served as an alternative to orange juice (for people who got tired of only using the oranges off the myrtle-leaved orange tree???).

Interestingly, this brand – Brio- is actually known for being too sweet. Lesson learned! It is still miles ahead of the horrendous Pop Shoppe alcoholic drinks. I’m looking at you, disgusting swamp-thing nuclear waste green Lime Rickey!! GAG

It’s only a matter of time before I ruin his life: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ha, the title seems grim but totally isn’t- I found it and found it amusing! I don’t think I am out to ruin anyone’s life, unless they are really not into horses, rabbits, dogs or running. Then maybe I would be ruining their life!

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My friend Sarah made cupcakes- she is a professional eh?? 

Anyways, this Valentine’s Day sees me taking the day off the barn, to enjoy a movie with my husband. I was treated to a LOVELY Valentine’s day cupcake at work (yesss!). We had protestors outside this morning, which was fine. I respect the right to representation, and they were polite and calm.

Though it may not seem like it, I have also been doing a TON of riding. The vibe is still…Challenging…right now, and I was in full rant mode about some things I learned about my fellow riders (not my stablemates, other folks who I know), and the theme for this week is twofold:

  1. People do not learn.
  2. People do not change.

At least four people I know this week (god, if not MORE), are stuck in this weird hamster-wheel of logic. If you do the same thing all the time with the same people who are treating you badly, or it’s a negative environment, or whatever…You are going get the same results. Over and over. Rinse, repeat. And then complain/whine/etc loudly and repeatedly how you are the wronged party. HAH!

I would honestly laugh if I wasn’t also concerned about the animals involved. Jeesus.

Otherwise? Oats has been good, if a bit unremarkable this week. Last week felt pretty good, accomplished, this week…not so much. Not bad, he’s still my best baby, but just kind of lacklustre. His jumps last night- we moved our jump lesson to next Wed as my trainer was sick- was just ‘eh’ all around. Obviously I need lessons! Stat!!

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A red velvet cupcake at work. YUMMM

Long weekend coming up, and boy, I think I need it, and a lot of others too!

Happy V-Day 🙂

My reviews: Dolfin Pink Peppercorn Chocolate

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That’s right, thanks to my dear friend Sarah, I was able to try this unique chocolate last week. The packaging is a very attractive rose-pink, in kind of a laminated ‘pocket’, where the chocolate is also wrapped in a plastic sheeting with what I can only guess is ‘chocolate-making supplies’ dotted across it. It’s all very seasonal and Valentine-y looking.

I think Sarah said she got it at Quality Foods, so I can’t comment on price but I do know that dark chocolate is expensive. The scent off the top is intriguing- kind of a chili-forward smell, with a cocoa under layer. It’s not offensive at all, and it goes one really wondering what exactly peppercorn chocolate tastes like??

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I’m here to tell you…Eh.

Like, I am a person who does not discriminate on chocolate. Milk, dark, cheap, expensive, I like all of them! (obviously). But I have a real fondness for what I describe as ‘volume eating’ and dark chocolate…Not a good volume eat, at all. Trust me on this. So this chocolate bar, upon first bite, tasted lightly smoky, with a very subtle peppery nose – like wine! However my gripes with this bar that led to my rating of ‘eh’ were as follows: Smells better than it tastes, the peppercorn flavour is more crunch and textural than flavour, and the dark chocolate itself had a weak mouthfeel with none of the richness of say, the Lindt bar that Melissa got me at Christmas.

To sum up, it looks good, smells lovely, and tastes flat. More crunch than flavour. If you are a heathen that likes eating chocolate cold or frozen (I know, I was gasping in horror when I learned that people do that!), then this might be the chocolate for you. For everyone else? Pick a different bar, this one has flash and style but no substance. It kind of reminds me of an item being ‘soulless’- usually described as evil people, bad music, or bad corporations, but in this way, I mean that it lacks depth, integrity and interest.

(or don’t listen to me, I also dropped a piece of a fabulous chocolate chip cookie on the carpet at work this morning, which I KNOW does not get cleaned, and I still ate it…)

 

I luv the valley, oh!

Finally I had a fun weekend!! After the hassle, stress, drama and fear of last weekend I had one that I truly deserved. It was an extremely challenging week- health issues, a snow storm with ice, plunging temperatures, family drama, and oh, we can’t forget work, now can we?

And then I drifted happily into a lovely weekend, I am happy to say! I had a ride on Friday night (it was FREEZING), and then a lesson on Saturday morning (went well! funny enough we were working on ‘wide hands’ because I was bracing my chicken-wing elbows against his neck, and my shoulders hurt the next day!), and then shopping and dinner at Fiamo for ‘Dine Around Victoria’ celebrations.

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I bought a bunch of stuff from the GAP that is closing out downtown, and then my friend Jess and I enjoyed an excellent seafood-based menu at Fiamo. We chose the $30 menu, and had a warm ‘salad’ that was more of a soup based meal that had char-grilled

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Seafood antipasti platter

squid, kale, feta and olives in broth, and a seafood antipasti consisting of grilled octopus, salmon, tuna tataki and vegetables. It was delicious! I had a glass of prosecco, and for dessert we had the chocolate ‘salami’ which was unusual but very tasty.

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Dessert: Chocolate salami

The next day I got up and went for a quick jog, because it was time for Sea Cider’s annual Wassail event! They did not have it last year, but I’m glad they brought it back for this year. The ticket prices did go up- $3, from $2, but you don’t pay for entrance fees (which are a TOTAL MONEY GRAB and I HATE THEM). So, it’s a win!

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Raise a glass!

We enjoyed a new cider- the Cherry!! I loved it! And the food was excellent. I had the chicken/cashew curry, the cornmeal-spiced apple cake/muffin thing with whipped cream topping, and the maple bread pudding with whip cream. Delicious! A great day with good company.

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Cornmeal muffin things. Good!

I then rode Oats, and headed home (at like 4:30. Whoops long day!).

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Sausage rolls- I didn’t try these but I heard they were good!

And best of all- good times with good friends, and the weather improved! It was like close to 10 deg yesterday! We’re back, baby!

Pour yourself a big bowl of Timbits!

And settle down to read my newest review: Tim Horton’s Timbits Birthday Cake Cereal!

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Now let me say that I am a BIG fan of enterprising companies that seek to innovate, with ‘synergies’ yeah I hate that word too with Post Cereal, ‘Beyond Meat’ burgers and the like- we all learn by trial and error. And while I really did enjoy the sugary goodness of the most ridiculous cereal product I have tried since Count Chocula, it also led me with the feeling of ‘we can do it, but should we?’

It’s more smell than taste in my mind. Americans are so fond of their ‘funfetti’ (sprinkles, also known as Hundreds and Thousands in AUS), and that is all that came to mind when I sniffed the mega-Costco box that Brent so generously procured. Straight up fakey birthday cake. If you, like me, enjoy eating frosting out of a can then this is the cereal for you! However strongly the sugary notes that wildly assault your nosebuds, they really don’t translate that much to the mouth. The top notes of the cereal, eaten by hand like any purist, are birthday-cake Timbits. The aftertaste? None. Like a ghost in your mouth. We are left with a vague sensation of eating a crunchy, light as air corn puff. Corn also features prominently.

I actually went down a weird rabbit hole about this in my mind- do flavour scientists do this one purpose, so one eats more of a hyper-palatable food? Is this better with milk?

Maybe?

But, like the peanut- butter flavoured whiskey that I just learned about online (it’s called Skrewball…???), maybe this one isn’t really meant for our world anymore. I might change my mind if I tried the chocolate Timmie’s timbits cereal, but maybe not. I still think the peanut butter Cheerios are better. Also the sheer size of the box is insane. Nobody really needs that much of this cereal! I would rather eat a doughnut. And let’s face it, calories for calories….I think the doughnut wins.

All chocolate MEGA food reviews! Featuring chocolate you have never heard of!

That’s right people, buckle up because I have a mega-review coming down the pipes!

We start with a tour of Europe, where my dear friend Melissa generously procured for me an excellent variety of chocolate from both Romania (I know, I didn’t see that coming either!) and from Switzerland (a classic!!).

We will start with Romania. Melissa bought two bars for me, and I forgot to take photos of them and greatly regret it, but picture this below:

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It looked sort of like this?

And two flavours: Coffee, and Cherry. The nougat in the bars was very reminiscent of the nougat in a Snickers or something like a flatter, denser 3- Musketeers type of bar. The flavours were also much stronger- the cherry bar immediately had a marzipan-esque flavour to it, and I really liked it! It had an almond aftertaste (an aftertaste of which it shares with arsenic, if Forensic Files has taught me anything), and a bright, cheery-cherry top note. Tasty!

The coffee-nougat one was very in-your-face. I almost left it for Ian to eat, but remembered that I don’t share chocolate with someone who doesn’t appreciate it! It’s almost like espresso flavoured, and as someone with chronic insomnia, I had a moment of worry- would this chocolate bar keep me up at night? It’s so strong! (It didn’t, and I actually read the other day that sugar can cause insomnia or contribute to it, but whatever I plan on living my life as a normal human, soooo not giving that up!). It was great but I didn’t love it as much as the cherry bar. Go Romania!

I tried to find images of these bars, but all I got was a Ganong ‘Roma nougat’ bar instead. ??

Now we drift on to Switzerland, where Melissa picked up the most excellent Lindt bar du jour: The Lindt Creations melting chocolate cake bar. Think ‘lava-cake’ in bar form. Did it deliver? oh BOY did it! Mouth feel of a much more expensive bar, it was just delicious. Did I get a lava-cake taste? Hard to say- it was excellent all around, so that wasn’t really the sticking point for me. Think about those St. Moritz ‘Icy Squares’ but like…a million times better.

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Now we move on to Ottawa, where another lovely friend mailed me a CHOCOLATE POSTCARD!! Yes we are in 2020 people and this is a THING! I immediately checked out the chocolatier, Alicja’s Confections, and was blown away. Really sharp, classy packaging, unique and very out of the box flavours and a fun, novelty idea that got chocolate from my friend into my mailbox! What’s not to like? The flavour was peanut butter mixed with high quality milk chocolate- 33% chocolate, according to the packaging. The melt/mouthfeel was really high quality- smooth, flavourful and you can tell it is top-notch! The only quibble I had was for this to be a true ‘Tiger Butter’ bar, it has to have more peanut butter- as a PB aficionado, I need to be able to taste the impact of the peanut butter. People who are more chocoholics than PB-lovers will love this! On the whole, an excellent effort and a new chocolatier to keep an eye out for! Thanks Caitlin 🙂

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And now we go closer to home, I guess? Brent at work brought in a new After Eight offering: Limited Edition Chocolate Mint with Orange! Now I was puzzled by this- everyone knows about the dreaded ‘orange juice & toothpaste’ combo, sooooo how was this going to taste? The good news is that it tastes like 100% orange- not a hint of mint! So that’s good? But I kind of wanted to taste more subtlety, not just chocolate-orange (Terry’s does that one well already). It is also incredibly sweet, sort of mouth-burny sweet. Now, I like that but I also fully realize a lot of people don’t. So, this is is kind of a miss if you like the traditional After Eights (I certainly do!!), but also a fun novelty. Heavy on the orange, light on the mint.

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