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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Trader Joe's Organic Lemonade

Please excuse the slightly disheveled shape the box of Trader Joe's Organic Lemonade pouches is up top of this review. I salvaged it as best I could. You see, my kids drink pretty much only water and milk, with the occasional hot chocolate or fizzy water. Oh, and my four year old likes the last sip of my coffee too...even though I drink it black...weird.

Point is, drinks like this are a downright treat. And when playing in a creek at a picnic with a bunch of friends, when these punchy pouches get busted out, there were shrieks of joy. 

Personally, I've never liked the idea of beverages in pouches. I get it from the ecological standpoint but there's too many bad memories of stained and ruined, CapriSun-soaked Champion shorts from my youth. Seriously, I know of no kid who can do these themselves. I just turned 37 and can barely manage it, can anyone really expect the under-10 crowd to?

But anyways, for what it is, this TJ's lemonade is decent. It's not awesome but not awful either. The comparative competition isn't really all the delicious fresh squeezed juices out there, or those you can make for yourself...I mean, this is from concentrate and all that. It's all the other juice boxes on the shelf, with which I'm not well acquainted with current offerings.

The lemonade itself is pretty well balanced. There's plenty of citric lemonosity but enough sugar to keep it all in check without being overly tart. And there's not that much added sugar, I don't think, for being what it is. It's smooth, pulp free, and can definitely be a touch refreshing. There's no sticky sweetness or odd aftertaste or anything. It works.

I'd prefer lemonade more on the tart side, with the pulp and what not, but something tells me as the middle aged guy in this conversation that I'm not the target audience here. Yeah, at the aforementioned picnic, I was more after the adult beverages while trying to ensure no one was in danger of drowning. I'm not 100% sure of the price on these, as a friend of ours brought them in, but probably in the $4ish range for eight pouches. Correct me if I'm wrong please. All the kids at the picnic liked them enough for me to give 'em a score higher than I would otherwise.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Organic Lemonade: 7.5 out of 10 Golden Spoons

Friday, September 6, 2019

Trader Joe's Chocolate Peanut Butter Light Ice Cream

After posting our review of the Light Cookies & Cream ice cream flavor, a number of readers asserted that this Peanut Butter Chocolate version was even better. So, naturally, we had to check it out ourselves.

I'll give you the TL;DR up front—I agree with those readers, Sonia does not. 

I've always had an affinity for peanut butter, most peanut butter flavored products, and definitely any ice cream that can work the luscious, protein and good-fat-rich, creamy, buttery, legumey goodness of peanut butter into its mix in any sort of competent manner. Sonia likes peanut butter okay, but isn't particularly fond of peanut butter in her ice cream. Fair enough.

I also think peanut butter lends itself to this "protein shake in my ice cream" vibe that these light ice creams are throwing our way, or at least it works better with peanut butter than it does with sandwich cookies. I will never in a million years make the assertion that ANY of these diet ice creams even come close to the real thing, but I must admit the calorie count is dramatically lower than a pint of the full-calorie stuff.

This ice cream flaunts a rich chocolate look to it—it's a deep brown, nearly appearing like brownie batter. Each bite has plenty of chocolate flavor, and to a lesser extent, peanut butter. But there are ribbons of actual peanut butter throughout. Those bites are my favorite. There's a huge amount of peanut butter taste when you find those hidden caches of cold, stiff peanut butter that rapidly soften and melt in your mouth. My only complaint with this flavor is that there's not quite enough peanut butter. Sonia disagrees.

I'd put this very high in the running for best light ice cream flavor I've ever had, and if you're an ice cream hog like I am, you're only looking at 370 calories for the entire container. On the other hand, if I were seriously counting calories, I'd probably just get a pint of Chubby Hubby and eat it in two sittings instead of one. Still this gets a big thumbs up from me. Four stars.

Three from Sonia, who insists the Cookies & Cream one is better.

Bottom line: 7 out of 10.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Trader Joe's Soy Slices Cheese Alternative

As a general rule, my lovely bride Sandy and I don't talk about or share pictures of our kids on social media too often, if ever. Yeah, it is kinda fun and occasionally therapeutic to make those kinda posts, but we kinda want a little privacy for them. If my folks were to make a digital diary of everything I ever did as a kid....*shudder*. I mean, even some of the stuff I wore  - fashionable at the time, now cringe worthy. If my grandma were still with us, she'd be sure to read this then find a picture of me in my old super baggy hooded t shirt with the the vertical thick purple and white stripes and matching purple shorts as I looked "so handsome in my purple suit."

But I will share this: *one* of our kiddos who shall remain nameless online has a dairy issue. Too much milk and this particular rugrat has some digestive issues the next day where this kiddo cannot, well, go. It stops 'em up. But of course like any youngyin, this kiddo loves cheese. So whatcha gonna do?

Check out Trader Joy's Soy Slices Cheese Alternative, that's what.

I'll never personally like any alternative cheese product as much as the real thing, but for what they are, these slices aren't too bad. Think Kraft Single, and that's a decent approximation. Is a Kraft Single necessarily good cheese? Nah. Are they good compared to some? Sure.

And does it melt? Like Velveeta.

Interestingly, these soy boys refused to melt atop the burgers I made the other night. Flat out wouldn't. But when Sandy made both grilled cheese and quesadillas with them, they turned into practical pools of oozing yellow.

In any event, the cheez is what it is: mild,a touch salty, soft, cheddar-like enough. Not super high quality but not awful either. Our kids like 'em enough. I will say if packing for a snack or on the go and they get a little warm, these slices do tend to sweat quite a bit and get a little slimy, so there's that.

It is worth it to note that while being 99% lactose free (and therefore neutral to our kiddo's digestive tract), there is casein as an ingredient, so these would be worth avoiding still if an issue for you. And they are not vegan or vegetarian either.

For about $3 it's a fair price and given the needs of our kids, I'm sure we'll buy these often. It is kinda nice to have a dairy/lactose almost-free cheese option that's a veritable slice and not just shreds. In short, these slices suit us just fine. Double threes.

Bottom line: Trader Joe's Soy Slices Cheese Alternative: 6 out of 10 Golden Spoons

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