Archive for January, 2013

Post Alpha-Bits Cereal

After joining this BzzCampaign, I received in the mail a free full-size box of Post Alpha-Bits cereal as well as some coupons. Super WHY! is my son’s favorite TV show, so he was thrilled to see Whyatt on the front of the cereal box. Then he realized there was food in the box, and forgot all about what was on it.

Cold cereal is a favorite snack in our house (and often one of two or three courses in my son’s breakfast – he can never have just one thing.) I tend to stay away from the super-sugary breakfast cereals (though I admit a weak spot for Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and usually purchase Cinnamon Life or Honey Nut Cheerios. I remember eating Alpha-Bits as a kid when my mom bought it on occasion, and I guess I sort of lumped it in with the sugary frosted cereal category in my head. I never really considered purchasing it for my family. Imagine my surprise when I found out that Alpha-Bits have less sugar than the cereals I usually buy, and a similar amount of whole grains.

And of course they are delicious! They stay crunchy in milk longer than the average cereal, and are not too sweet. Everyone in our house enjoyed them. My son is starting to learn to read and liked putting the letters together and asking me what they spelled. Some of them are a bit hard to recognize, although I suppose that’s to be expected when you’re making letters out of food.

Now here’s the problem – they don’t seem to be sold in any grocery store in my area, only at Target. I wonder why? I would probably buy them on occasion if they were found where I usually shop, but I don’ t find myself at Target very often, and when I do, I’m almost never purchasing food.

COVERGIRL blastflipstick

While I’m more of an eye girl myself, I like to experiment with different looks on occasion. I was looking forward to trying the Covergirl BlastFlipstick campaign – after all, who doesn’t love getting three free fullsize lipsticks (and two colors each – 6 new colors!) and a SLEW of coupons? Thanks BzzAgent! Well, they send me these things so I can tell you about them – so here goes.

Out of the three lipsticks I got, only one of them really worked for me. Covergirl has a neat colormatch quiz that helps suggest colors according to your personal coloring. I’m very pale with dark hair and rosy undertones to my skin. The “Vixen” shade is very similar to what I currently wear – a rose pink with a lighter pink shimmer. That one was suggested to me on their website, as well as “Stunner,” an orangey-red with gold shimmer. That one felt too bright for me, although it was a little better after blending with the shimmery side. “Minx” is an intense brownish-berry color with a gold shimmer, and made me look like a silent movie starlet. It’s an interesting look, but not one I’d really feel comfortable braving the public with.

I have very dry lips and ALWAYS need to use a lip balm before lipstick. Unfortunately, BlastFlipstick isn’t really doing wonders for the delicate skin of my lips. It feels very grainy going on, even the “creamy” matte color. It is difficult to blend with the shimmery side. That said, it doesn’t seem to dry my lips out much WORSE, but it isn’t really helping them.

I think the idea of this product is fantastic. I like that you can change the placement of the shimmer for different effect. (PROTIP: Use a dab of the shimmer side in the very center of your lower and upper lip for an instantly plump pout!) I also think the shade selection is good. I’d like to try one of the more neutral shades in the future.

Private Selection Holiday

Two reviews in one day! Woohoo! (Ok, well, a review and a half, but who’s counting?)

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a big fan of Private Selection products in general. I usually find that they are at least comparable in quality to name brand items, with a much better price. And in fact, I’d like to start this post off by mentioning two PS products I enjoyed this holiday season that were not part of this bzzCampaign – their premium hot cocoa mixes, and the spiral sliced glazed ham. The cocoa mixes come in four flavors – double chocolate, mint, caramel sea salt, and cherry cordial -and they are all delicious. I recommend the variety pack, though if I had to pick a favorite, I’d go with mint. I will be drinking a lot more of this winter staple in the next few months. As for the ham, I enjoyed it at my Mom’s house on Thanksgiving. It was juicy and delicious, and didn’t feel cheap or fatty like a lot of hams do. My Mom commented that it was one of the best hams she’s prepared, and was even better than the Honeyglazed she usually gets.

On to the bzzCampaign.

As a part of this campaign, I received a bag of Costa Rican Tarrazu coffee and a box of Water Crackers in the mail, as well as coupons for a free jar of olives, a free package of sliced deli cheese, and a free jar of pasta sauce. I also got a coupon for $0.75 off three greek yogurt containers. The coffee was okay. It was a little darker than what I usually get and was pre-ground (I usually grind my own) but I do regularly buy and enjoy other PS coffee flavors. They have a very good selection. I don’t eat olives, but my husband does, so I picked up a jar of garlic-stuffed olives (mostly for my own amusement.) I can’t comment on them in detail, but he mentioned that they were generally good, but the garlic was a little powerful. I saw him use them in an omelet with picked green tomatoes this morning. The crackers were fine. That’s all you can really ask for from a cracker that’s meant to play second fiddle to whatever topping you’re using as an appetizer, so I guess it served its purpose. I had some at a Christmas party with a variety of toppings and it went well with all of them.

I picked up the Herb and Garlic cheese slices. I was hoping to try the Buffalo Monterrey Jack, but my store didn’t carry that variety. The cheese was good, but the herb flavor might have been just a smidge overpowering. I used it on some turkey burgers to help kick the flavor up a bit, and it was excellent. I also picked up the Roasted Garlic pasta sauce variety (can you tell I like garlic? So much so that I want everyone else to eat it, too!) but oddly enough, I found that it tasted and smelled kind of vinegary, even though that’s not listed as an ingredient. It is a thinner pasta sauce, so if you like your sauce chunky (like I do) you may find it a bit lacking.

I also picked up some of the yogurt while I was in the store – and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they package it the way they do, with the fruit partitioned off they way they do with crunchy toppings. It makes sense with crunchy things that you don’t want to get soggy, but it’s just annoying when you have to scrape the fruit into your yogurt, and then stir it in. Why not just put it on the bottom like everyone else? The flavor was fine, I tried Cranberry-Pomegranate and it was not too sweet or tart, but I just can’t get past that mind-boggling packaging.

All in all, I was mostly impressed with the offerings and will definitely be buying some of them again in the future.

Perdue Oven Ready Roasters

Well, sorry for the broken image link above, hoping they’ll fix that in the near future.

This was my most disappointing bzzCampaign yet. I was PSYCHED to try the Perdue Oven Ready Roasters, having seen them in the store and thinking that it was a good idea. But after that first sighting – nothing. Over the last two months, I’ve checked three different grocery stores, usually visiting the grocery twice a week or more, and have yet to see any of the Oven Ready products since. The coupon I received from bzzAgent for a hefty discount (I believe it was nearly $11?) expired with 2012, so maybe I’ll pick one up in the future (assuming they still exist) if they’re on sale. I don’t know if the cooler space was just crowded out by turkeys for Thanksgiving, hams for Christmas, and 40 pound bags of shrimp for New Year’s, or what. I even checked Perdue’s official webpage, which assured me that the products are sold at two of the stores I shop at, but had no luck.

I was really excited to try this product, because I do love roasting chickens at home, but I hate the mess associated with it. I usually roast a whole bird (salt, pepper, a little thyme, searingly high heat – gives a lovely crispy skin and super juicy meat.)  I boil the carcass with whatever veggies and herbs I have on hand to make my own stock. I shred the leftover meat and use it in barbecue chicken sandwiches (hubby’s fave) or pot pies. (Side note – did you know you can shred chicken with the paddle attachment on your stand mixer? This CHANGED MY LIFE.) And then I try to leave the house so I don’t have to deal with that messy roasting pan. That’s not the only annoyance, either – rinsing and drying the chicken? Finding something to do with the gizzards and stuff? I really wanted to try this product, which seems to take at least half of the problems out of roasting a whole bird. Oh well. Maybe someday.