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 🙂

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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Holiday candy review X 2!

That’s right, in honour of my rapidly approaching Xmas holidays (so long, suckers!!) I am gracing your inboxes with a two-pronged candy review. Lucky you!

This first bar is courtesy of my gym-sister Jessica! Thanks Jess for the opportunity to try something new. 😊

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First up, we have the very holiday-styled candy bar ‘Hershey’s Candy Cane’ featuring white chocolate with attractive crunchy red and white nonpareils embedded inside.

It’s a delightfully minty sensation, but not like brushing your teeth- it is much tastier than that. The crunch bits add some fun and texture to the bar, and the effect is quite pleasing. I don’t really love white chocolate -fake- but in this bar it is transformed into a nice holiday treat that is quite refreshing and unique to eat!

My biggest quibble/complaint: Hershey bars are SO THIN that there is barely any bar left anymore? I can practically see through it. Please, Hershey, I know you moved your factories to Mexico so you can’t be too hard up to make a bar that is slightly more substantial than a soda cracker. This bar, while very seasonally appropriate and quite tasty, is still a ripoff with how slim it is. You will have to pry Reese’s or O’Henry out of my cold, dead hands. Note: This complaint holds true to their other quite delicious and unique Hershey’s Gold Bar, which has pretzels! But crazy tiny. How do they have so many calories when it is this thin???

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Next up, this one I tried thanks to Carlene! Yeah! Thanks Carlene.

She found these at Winners, which is indeed a haven for interesting candy and gummies. I have enjoyed a great variety of fun gummies from the UK there in the past. So, how did Rosé and Prosecco Bears fare?

Really well! The smell is quite unusual- a dry, sort of wine scent that has a sort of winery or brewery tinge to it? Makes me feel like the bag is indeed promising some real booze flavours. The flavour? Good! But if you are expecting sweet, in-your-face flavour, it isn’t the right bear for you (try Haribo or Albanese). It is quite subtle, with an off-dry grape/must flavour. I liked it a lot! It’s definitely an ‘adult’ gummi bear, if there ever could be a thing- I would really expect children to hate these. They are a gummi bear for more refined palates, ones that appreciate a good ‘patio- pounder’ Rosé in the summer….Ah, take me back. I would definitely buy these. Note: I couldn’t actually taste the difference between Rose and Prosecco? My faulty tastebuds? Or asking too much of a gummi bear? Anyways, the texture was very pleasing, fresh with a good chew but nothing too tough.

We were wild

I had a really nice weekend, despite the fact that I am still sort of in the grips of the ‘death cold’ and Ian picked it up as well, UGH. My energy levels aren’t great still, I am coughing up grossness and blowing my nose every two seconds still. BUT I was able to get off the couch to do things, so that is a big win!

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And just in time too, because I had lots of plans for this weekend- I didn’t go ride on Friday, partly due to my extreme fatigue/sickness, but also I had to make approximately one million cookies to decorate as part of my holiday festivities for my friends on Saturday night. I had a few friends over and we had a blast! Cocktail hour with snacks/appetizers and mulled wine and mulled cider, which is my specialty, and then our activity- cookie decorating, and then dinner! It was such a lovely night.

I did get a lot of running and riding in, though my run on Saturday was short and miserable due to my endless coughing, nose blowing, and incredible fatigue. I only ran like 6k I think? And it felt tough.

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I wasn’t super happy with my ride on Oats on Sunday- I got way too wrapped up in angsty perfection-chasing, which is NOT normal for me. I had to take a break, re-set my brain and let things go. This includes me clenching my jaw and feeling tense…Sheesh. Every time I think I’m past that kind of tension, it comes roaring back. No fair!

Oh well, I am planning on a fun bareback ride today, and in reality, I had a GREAT ride on Saturday- he felt like riding a cloud! Smooth, effortless, easy. I loved it.

Plus the weather has been fantastic- warm, I was running in shorts, and not even that rainy! How amazing is this, compared with the awful deep freeze of a few weeks ago? Aren’t we so lucky? I love it!!

A two-time Nerds review!

I bought these at a small candy/ice cream shop in Cowichan Bay, so I am absolutely unsure of where you can find them anywhere else…But they sure are fun! They had such cute illustrations too, a Nerds tribute to the Mexican wrestlers ‘luchadores’ so maybe that’s where these were from??

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Approximately the size of a Halloween-sized package of Nerds, we picked up two flavours: Mango-Chile ‘El Mango Fuego’ and Guyaba (Guava) ‘Guyaba Solitaria’ Nerds. They were overpriced at .45 cents each but a novelty sooo…

So head-to-head, which ones were the best? Hands down the Mango-Chile Nerds. They were really good! The flavour was very close to the sweet, musky tang of a decent Ataulfo mango (get out of here with those Tommy or Fat Cats…I’m Ataulfo all the way!) and the chile was mild but enough of a zing to let you know it’s there and spicy! It was a bit spicier than the M&M Jalapeno, which I appreciated. And now that I think about it, spicy candy really was better suited to Nerds/sweet fruit than chocolate M&Ms.

And the Guayaba? Eh..It tasted like pink Nerds. You know what I mean, like how pink Starburst kind of taste like ‘pink’ but not really a remotely discernible flavour? That. I mean, it’s good but does it taste at all like guava? Nope!! And trust me, I have bought and eaten giant blocks of guava paste when we were on the San Blas Islands in Panama. The Nerds just tastes like a pink Nerds. Sweet, tangy and crunchy. I still enjoyed it but it doesn’t hold a candle to the vastly superior Mango-Chile. Yummm. Now I wish I had bought more, or I knew where to get them. I can’t be the only one concerned with the rapid lack of diversification in candy (I’m looking at you, Halloween!) that seems to be plaguing our store shelves these days. Where is the variety? Spice of life? Newness??

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Ah, the popcorn cake…

Also when I was looking at my food photos, I was reminded of a popcorn cake I made a few years ago. Man, that was great. I need to revisit this cake…

My reviews: Jalapeno M&Ms

Jalapeno M&Ms!!

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I know, weird eh? I found these at this nice candy/ice cream shop in Cowichan Bay last weekend when Ian and I stopped there for a treat after our hike up Mt. Tzhouhalem. We got some ice cream and spotted these. They were WAY overpriced at $3.60, but I couldn’t resist and apparently the bag is bigger than a regular bag of m&ms, called a ‘sharing bag’ and contained three servings (riiiiight). This is a product offering in a line of unique ‘International’ flavours- there is Thai coconut, British toffee flavour and Mexican jalapeno flavour.

Let’s get this one thing out of the way- m&ms are overpriced and overrated. Ok I said it.

But, I also like them and a lot of people do (peanut or peanut-butter only, please. Stay away with your Smarties type ones). So these ones, how did they fare? Pretty darn neat actually! The jalapeno kick is almost impossible to detect at first, and then with a subtle heat, it grows on you. Eat more, and it gets significantly spicier! What a cool concept for a pretty boring brand. I do recommend these, they’re not so hot, but they’re quite fun and a real novelty. Not a bargain buy at all, but unique and fun to eat.

Anyways, the jalapeno m&ms were more fun than the rest of my week, which included having a lawn chair collapse underneath me causing me to fall underneath my freaking horse on Monday, and then breaking a chunk off my back molar on Tuesday that means more fillings for me…yay. 

Stay tuned for my other candy purchase reviews from the same store… Mango-chile Nerds, Guava Nerds!