April 2012

Doritos Jacked: Smoky Chipotle BBQ


As much as I love miniature versions of regular food, I love giant versions better. Like those giant Cheetos puffs and curls they released a while back. Or the giant M&Ms spring to memory. I'm also still hunting down the legendary 5lb Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. I once gave my friend a giant Rice Krispy Brand Treat for her birthday, and she was as tickled by it as I was.
So as soon as I saw the first ad for the Doritos Jacked line, I made a mental note to keep an eye out for them in the store. I live in a rural area that usually doesn't get special promotional items until months (sometimes years) after the rest of the country. But I tell you what, I found Doritos Jacked just one week after the first time I saw the commercial. I suppose that speaks to the insane marketing effort behind this particular Dorito product.

Combos Baked Snacks

I assume you know the deal with Combos. There is a thing, and it is hollow, and they put something else inside that thing. e

I know you probably won't believe me, since I'm such a fiend for snacks in general. But trust me when I say that before today, I had only eaten Combos once. Back in the 1980s when they first became popular. I didn't like them (I think I tried some kind of Ranch flavor?) and I never tried them again.
Aren't our food beliefs and pretensions and fussinesses funny? 
The other day at the grocery store when I was picking up bologna to try for the first time in at least 35 years, I passed a big display of Combos on sale. And I thought, "Aw, what the heck." In for a penny, in for a pound, right? As long as we're trying new stuff, let's go all out!

Oh, Bologna!

I tried it... and I still don't like it.

Bologna, or its Americanized name "baloney," recently had a star appearance on The Colbert Report. I was stunned as I watched the story on how bologna's prices have risen so fast, and the meat is in such high demand that it has created an opportunity for smuggling black market bologna across the border from Mexico. 
I don't like bologna. But as I watched kids on The Colbert Report tuck into their bologna slices with delight, I realized that I literally could not remember the last time I ate some. My earliest bologna-related memory is just a vague feeling of dread at kindergarten that I would get to the lunch table late and have to get stuck with a bologna sandwich. Clearly my opinion had been solidified before the time I was five or six. But at this point, as I near 40, "I hate bologna" was basically just received wisdom.

Side salads for spring

Although salads are delicious all year long, I find myself making more of them during the spring months. There are so many different options and combinations that you never have to create the same salad twice.

First, I usually start with a pasta. The type of pasta I use depends on the rest of the ingredients I intend to add. Sometimes I'll use elbows, while other times rotini fits better. Of course, if I need to add color to the salad, I'll use tri-colored pasta.

Second, I decide if I am going to add a protein, or just veggies. Whether I use protein or not, I always add vegetables. Celery, onions, carrots, green peppers and olives often make their way into my side salads. Options for protein include chicken, tuna, kielbasa, turkey, ham, bacon and egg slices.

Homemade Pink Lemonade

I don't know what it is about pink lemonade that attracts children, but mine prefer it over traditional lemonade. Although using the powder lemonade drink mix is convenient, it doesn't have the flavor that we crave on a hot summer day. That is why we make our own pink lemonade.

You will need the following ingredients to make your own pink lemonade:

  • 1 cup cold water
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. grenadine syrup
  • 1 cherry
  • 2 ice cubes

I can't get enough of Chopped

Chopped is a unique cooking show that airs on the Food Network. The show begins with four contestants, who must cook an appetizer from several mystery ingredients that are brought out of a picnic basket at the beginning of the challenge. The chef with the worst appetizer is then chopped, or eliminated from the show.

Next, the three remaining contestants are issued a new challenge with new ingredients. They must prepare a dinner for each of the three judges. Once again, the chef with the least appealing dinner is chopped.

Add flavor to your next cup of coffee

Purchasing flavored coffees and creamers can become quite expensive, especially if you like more than one flavor. Fortunately, you can add flavor to your coffee naturally at home with ingredients you most likely already own.

I've been drinking coffee since the age of 14. My 12-year-old also loves coffee, although at this age I only allow her to have a cup maybe once every other week. I believe we get our love of this hot beverage from my mom, who drinks about eight cups of coffee a day. Too much caffeine gives me the shakes, so I stick with one cup a day. Every once in awhile, I get the urge to add some flavor to my coffee. I found out that it is quite easy to do.

Autofood: The Self-Service Trend

"Self-check-out also puts grocery store clerks out of work, which makes me feel a little bad."
Back in the 1940s, the Automat ruled the land. You know those vending machines where you push the button to rotate your food choices past, then slide a plastic door aside to get your (e.g.) tuna salad sandwich? Imagine that, but a whole entire cafeteria.
I wonder if we aren't heading back in that direction. It seems like self-service is creeping into many areas of our food service industries. The benefit to the companies is obvious: you can hire one teller to work one register, or one teller to cover six self-serve registers. The benefit to consumers is… somewhat less obvious.
Example One: Grocery store self-check-out
At first, I loved this idea. No longer would I be trapped in line behind a dozen people with tons of food piled atop their carts! I could just breeze through self-check-out! I am reasonably tech-savvy, and not easily cowed by machinery and computers and things that go "beep." I took to the registers easily. I am proud to say, I can look up produce and use coupons without a hitch.

Are You Eating Food Colored With Crushed Bugs?

Spoiler alert: Almost certainly!
Of course, as we all know, all of our food contains crushed bugs by accident. The FDA has very strict guidelines for how many insect parts are allowed per unit for every food sold in the United States. Bugs are in our food, and there is nothing we can do about it.
But Starbucks recently made a change to their menu that, while positive from a rational point of view, has a lot of people squicked out. They recently announced that their Strawberries and Creme Frappuccinos will not be colored pink using artificial dyes like Red 40, which has developed a bad reputation in health food circles. Instead, these Frappuccinos will receive their perky shade of pink thanks to cochineal, which is an all-natural dye. 

Try the new Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal

I recently had the privilege to join a BzzCampain (I’m a BzzAgent) for the new Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal. Since I love oatmeal, I was extremely excited to try this cereal. In fact, my kids and I often eat cereal for dinner when we have those busy on-the-go days when you get home and just can’t muster enough energy to cook a full meal.

What first caught my eye was the statement that Quaker Oatmeal Squares “fuels you up to conquer the morning and take on the day.” So many cereals I’ve tried in the past left me feeling hungry an hour after I consumed them. I don’t have to time to stop and eat in between meals, so this statement immediately attracted me to the cereal.