Posts Tagged ‘ chocolate ’

Kroger Private Selection Upside Down Cakes

Instant gratification – it’s so American. When I joined the Private Selection Upside Down Cakes campaign through BzzAgent.com, I didn’t have to wait for a BzzKit to arrive – I was able to load a coupon for a free PS Upside Down Cake onto my Kroger card instantly! And speaking of instant gratification, these cakes are the next best thing to homemade desserts – 12 minutes in the oven (or 3 in the microwave!) and you have a warm, melty confection fit to serve company!

I had a hard time choosing a flavor when I went to pick up my free cake. There are three available: German Chocolate Fudge, Double Chocolate Molten, and Amber Honey Apple Spice. Part of my decision was made for me when there were none of the Apple variety in stock.  I decided to try the German Chocolate since that’s not something I have very often (or ever.) As a side note, these cakes are available in the bakery section, not the frozen foods like I expected.

My husband was actually more excited to try the cake than I was, which is pretty crazy because I have the sweet tooth in this house. He preheated the oven and took the cake out of the wrapper. All he had to do was put the cake on a baking sheet, warm it for a bit, and then flip it onto a plate. It all came out in one fell swoop, thanks to a sheet of parchment on the bottom of the “pan.” So easy!

There was a good amount of the coconut/nut frosting although it didn’t drip down the sides much like in the pictures. The cake was very dense and moist (thanks to a a number of delicious-but-terrible-for-you ingredients like real butter, cream, and sugar) and a small slice goes a long way. Seriously though, do yourself a favor and skip reading the nutritional values. You are better off in denial. That said, the ingredient list only includes things you would use in your own kitchen, so I can appreciate that.

The cake isn’t as good leftover as it is the first night, but that’s to be expected. It also isn’t as good cold, obviously. The only real problem I had with this product was the price. $10 seems a little steep – for $10 I want something I couldn’t do myself, like a well-decorated bakery cake or ice cream cake, not something that is “like homemade.” If this cake were closer to the $7-8 range, I might purchase it for a special occasion.

If you’re interested in purchasing one of these Private Selection Upside Down Cakes, they are available at your local Kroger store. You might be able to find a digital coupon online, as I have been told they exist, but at the time of writing this I don’t see them available.

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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.

Unreal™ Candy

CAAANNNDYYY!!!!

*Ahem*

Sorry, I did get a little excited about this campaign. As a self-admitted junk-oholic, I was thrilled to be invited. The BzzKit consisted of an envelope with some BOGO Free coupons, and as with most campaigns, a coupon for a free Unreal item to try so I can give my honest feedback. LET ME CLARIFY, I AM A BZZAGENT AND I GOT THIS PRODUCT FREE THROUGH THEM.!!!!!!!

Anyway, this campaign was the first time I’d heard of Unreal Candy. Their schtick is “unjunking” candy by getting rid of artificial stuff like high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients, preservatives, and the like. This is something I can definitely get behind! Yeah, I love my chocolate, but I’m also a Mom and the primary shopper and chef for my family, so I care about what goes into our bodies.

It took a little effort to find somewhere that sold the Unreal brand, and I couldn’t find it at either of my normal groceries, but it was at the candy counter in CVS. I picked up Unreal 8 (their version of Snickers) and Unreal 77 (peanut butter cups.) The packaging is a little confusing and takes some effort to find out what exactly you’re buying. I suppose once you’ve bought it a few times you’d recognize the color, but for a new customer, I had to read all the packages for a minute (crouched down on the store floor.)

The sizes of the candies were slightly smaller than, but still comparable to, their popular name brand counterparts. I didn’t miss the extra few grams. As far as taste? I thought they were about what I would expect. They were a little less sweet (just fine by me!) I tried the 77 first and found the peanut butter to be thicker, smoother, and less gritty than a Reese’s cup. It had more of a real peanut butter taste. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was definitely something I would eat again. The 8 was much the same – better texture, still a similar flavor to the Snickers. I wouldn’t mind trying them at the same time to see what the real difference is – it’s been some time since I’ve eaten a Snickers.

Of course, candy still isn’t healthy, but if I’m going to eat it (and I’m not making it myself,) any of the Unreal varieties would be a fine choice. I look forward to seeing some of their future offerings – I’m looking at you, Butterfinger!