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Friday, March 23, 2018

Trader Joe's Cranberry & Herb Supplement Drops

Now here's an exciting product for a Friday: cough drops. If you're disappointed, blame Trader Joe. He's the one that prominently displayed these on the New Items shelf during our last TJ's run. Hold on to your seats for a riveting "food" review.

First off, we've checked out at least one other product that's arguably more "personal care" than "pantry." But one might point out that these could be consumed like candy, just as the Vitamin C Drink Mix could serve as a traditional beverage.

Before you scold me for advocating the recreational use of medicinal substances, I'd like to mention that it's really darn difficult to overdose on water-soluble vitamin C, even with drops like these, which each contain 33mg of the substance. It's over a third of your recommended daily allowance, but in my estimation, one's body could glean more useful vitamin C by glancing in the general direction of an orange—but of course, the "dietary supplement" facet of these drops isn't the only reason to consume them.

There's also the soothing menthol cough suppressant effect going on here. Miraculously, neither Sonia nor I are sick <knocks on wood> after battling the Four'Easter, like many of our readers in the eastern half of the country. Still, we can tell there's a nice moderate sinus-clearing, throat-calming quality in these drops. They would most definitely come in handy during cold and flu season, which I'm hoping, at least, is nearly over for this year.

The flavor is distinctly tart, sweet, and berry-esque, and there is, in fact, cranberry juice present in the drops. I'm not sure what "herbs" we're supposed to detect here. There's nothing specific listed in the ingredients in that category other than "natural flavor." Menthol seems to dominate any non-berry aspect of the taste if you ask me. It's still a pleasant fruity flavor with minimal medicinal taste—along the lines of Ricola brand cough drops. 

The bag is only 99 cents for 15 drops. Oddly, they contain wheat. Sorry, gluten-free folks. Three and a half stars a piece here.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Truffles

As you may recall, ice cream is a certain kind of currency in our family, good for all kinds of bribery...

Well, what about candy?

Candy is an oddball in our family. There's two main divergent views. The one I employ is, eat it all right away. Candy rarely lasts long around me. It's...kinda a bad thing. I've learned that, by in large, I need to avoid buying it or it will go down the hatch way too quick.

But candy around my wife or daughters? My goodness, explain to me what is wrong with them! They never eat it. Well, that's not exactly true...but almost. Sandy has candy leftover from last Easter that's still in her designated treat box that I am strictly forbidden from touching. Our girls have candy leftover from two Halloweens ago, I swear. We end up routinely tossing it out.

But somehow, if I were to consume it, even if we've had it for six plus months, they'd all know within 14 hours of its sugary demise and I'd be in the doghouse. Personal experience. Been there, done that.

So what's the ultimate fate of Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Truffles?

Not sure. They're pretty decent candies overall. Sandy says they're pretty close to Lindt Truffles overall, which somehow I recognize but am not familiar with their overall quality. Around Easter, I'm more into jellybeans and Reese eggs than anything else. But I guess pretty similar to those aforemntioned Lindt balls, with a milk chocolate shell surrounding a rich, creamy interior. At about the size of a large marble, they go down pretty easily. One or two go a long ways, too.

I'm not completely in love with them. Nothing wrong, per se, but just a preference. But they're just a little basic and plain. With the different foil wrapper colors, it'd be cool if they contained different flavor creams, but nah, all the same. For me, they'll make an adequate occasional sugary treat, so I won't be surprised if I peck at them here or there, but if there's other candy around up for grabs, I'd go for them first.

If Sandy winds up stashing them in her box, though? They'll probably become family heirlooms. "Wait 'til you can savor them," she'll tell our great-grand kids.

Neither of us are big on them. Kinda meh. Kinda basic. Nothing too wrong, nothing too right. Going right down the middle here in all fairness.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Milk Chocolate Truffles: 5.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trader Joe's Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto

I've never been a huge fan of pesto. I was never sure why. Something about the flavor just kinda rubbed me the wrong way. And I've often been told by readers that I'm not allowed to review foods that I don't already appreciate because my score will be unfairly biased against the product.

But this product is a prime example of why I still try foods that I "know" I don't like. In this case, like so many others, the devil was in the details. I never bothered looking at the ingredients of traditional pesto. Usually, there are pine nuts. And I hate pine nuts. To be fair, if Trader Joe's ever offers a bag of plain pine nuts, I'll refrain from reviewing those—unless it's some new species of pine nuts or ones coated in wasabi or cookie butter or something crazy like that. 

Cue the reader comments that tell me TJ's does offer a bag of plain pine nuts. And a version where they're covered in wasabi. Wouldn't surprise me. Readers, we love your comments. But anyway, I digress.

The point is that this product employs cashews instead of pine nuts. And I like cashews. And that makes all the difference in the world to me. I mean, the product doesn't taste a lot like cashews per se—I just prefer them as an ingredient to pine nuts. Also, I'm not sure that most pesto contains kale...and I like kale, too. The texture is like a mushy vegetable puree. It's thick, soft, and spreadable.

I'd eat this stuff on pasta, potatoes, sandwiches, crackers, pita, or even as a chip dip. Sonia liked it enough that it inspired another short video review. $3.69 for the tub. Four stars a piece.


Bottom line: 8 out of 10.