27 December, 2007

Nestle Christmas Tree Cookies

While Christmas has passed us by, I couldn't help noticing this package of Nestle Christmas Tree Cookies.

Nestle Christmas Tree Cookies
Doesn't the font in the words "Christmas Trees" look strangely similar to a Dr. Seuss book?

I'm guessing someone at Nestle's package design department is on to something.
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25 December, 2007

Falafel Chips

A company called Flamous Brands, Inc., based out of Pasadena, CA, is now marketing Falafel Chips, claiming to be the first chips made from falafel.

Falafel is made from chickpeas (garbanzo beans), combined with spices and grains, and then fried as patties, balls, sticks, or whatever your imagination comes up with. Finally, it's topped with hummus, or eggplant, or spicy sauces. People have been eating falafel for thousands of years.

Falafel ChipsThe company sent me a couple of bags of Falafel Chips for me to sample, hence this review.

I notice there is a "Since 1959" stamped on the bag, next to the name "Falafel Chips", so I'm guessing that while these are the first falafel-based chips, they've also been around for long time.

I have to say that Falafel Chips actually taste great. I didn't know what to expect, considering they're made from chickpeas, but when I ate one they taste very much like Doritos tortilla chips. That might be because Falafel Chips do include ground corn as an ingredient. But they do include chickpeas as an ingredient too, and there is a subtle difference in texture from Doritos chips. I don't think real falafel includes ground corn, but whether or not Falafel Chips is supposed to be real falafel is probably not the point. It's a chip that's meant to resemble falafel.

Falafel Chips are lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, cumin, and herbs; the seasoning is not overpowering. The cumin seasoning creates a taste and aroma that reminds me of walking into a Middle Eastern restaurant. They taste like they'd go well with a creamy dill dip. The company recommends a hummus dip, or a "babaghanogue", a roasted eggplant dip.

The chips are stamped as "USDA Organic", 100% vegan, and Kosher Parve. The company claims they're low in sodium, high in protein, and contains no trans fat, gluten, cholesterol, MSG, hydrogenated oil, GMO, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors.

Overall, Falafel Chips are a welcome change from the onslaught of tortilla chips. Even though they taste similar to tortilla chips, they still have a subtle difference in texture, and the seasoning has a Middle Eastern flavor.

I don't know what stores you can buy these from, all I can do is direct you to Flamous Brands' website...

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24 December, 2007

Yow - Sports Almonds

Yow AlmondsYow is a new brand of foods that takes natural snacks, like blueberries and nuts, and packages them in drink bottles.

I kinda like the image of a runner "drinking" this bottle of roasted salted almonds.

The product labels actually touts almonds as a "health food", claiming that it's a great source of monounsaturated fats, which lowers bad cholesterol, and raises good cholesterol. It also lists out several vitamins.

The combination of the sports style drink bottle and the claim to be heart-healthy, is a way to position salted nuts as some kind of muscle-building product.

Visit Yow Snacks online at...
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Sweet Potato Hoe Cakes

Sweet Potato Hoe CakesI wasn't aware of "hoe cakes", until I saw this Sweet Potato Hoe Cake under the "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" brand.

According to the product's page, hoe cakes are flat bread pancakes that were baked over an open fire on the blade of a hoe. They were cooked and eaten by railroad workers.

This particular brand of hoe cakes uses a cinnamon flat bread with sweet potato topping.

It also claims to be an original product of Lloyd Price. Price is the guy who owns the Lawdy Miss Clawdy brand, and he was known for his television appearances on some variety shows and dramas.

The Lawdy Miss Clawdy brand includes several varieties of sweet potato-based products. Check out their Sweet Potato Cheesecake.

Visit Lawdy Miss Clawdy online...
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King Cheese - Spicy Sopresatta

For lunch today I decided to eat this spicy sopresatta wrapped in mozzarella cheese. It's sold under the King Cheese brand, and I found it today in the international deli section of my local Albertsons.

It just looked so appetizing, most likely because it was 1:00pm, and I hadn't eaten anything yet.

King Cheese Spicy Sopresatta

It comes in a log, which you're supposed to cut into slices. I thought about sticking to my junk food tradition by just grabbing the whole thing and eating it like a Snickers bar, but it's rather greasy.

The mozzarella is very soft and has a smooth creamy texture in my mouth.

The spicy sopresatta is medium in spiciness, very thinly sliced, and gives off a subtle flavor. It's probably more oily than anything, but then again, I'm not an expert in spicy sopresatta.

The cheese itself has a spiciness to it also because its topped with red peppers.

Together it's absolutely delish.

But it's not something you'd eat like a snack, nor eat whole the way I did. You'd probably eat just a couple of slices and share with friends.

In terms of fat, cholesterol, sodium, and carbs, it's not that bad actually. The entire roll is..

560 calories
32gm fat
20mg cholesterol
1,360mg sodium
16gm carbohydrates

There are 8 servings per roll.

I guess I'd call this junk food since I ate the whole roll. But if you eat just one serving you can feel better by calling it an "appetizer".

I paid $6.99 for this at Albertsons. Add a Dr Pepper to wash it down, and it's not too bad of a price for lunch.

Visit King Cheese online at...
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23 December, 2007

Does Sauerkraut Bring Good Luck?

sauerkrautThe Great Lakes Kraut Company of Shortsville, NY, issued a press release today reminding everyone of a "long-held Pennsylvania Dutch tradition" of eating sauerkraut on New Year's Day to bring good luck for the rest of the new year.

I've never heard of such "tradition", though I'm not Pennsylvania Dutch. But I do like sauerkraut though...

Eating Sauerkraut on New Year's Day is a long-held Pennsylvania Dutch tradition that's believed to bring good luck throughout the upcoming year. The traditional meal usually also includes pork to represent rooting into the New Year. "This year we're ready. We've produced more than 130,000 tons of Sauerkraut to meet the demand. And we provide Sauerkraut connoisseurs plenty of ideas for preparing Sauerkraut recipes at our web site, sauerkrautnews.com," added Downs.

The company also mentions recent studies showing that chemical compounds in sauerkraut and cruciferous vegetables offer the body improved cancer-fighting abilities.

So does this mean sauerkraut is a health food? Sauerkraut also contains a lot of sodium, so would that make it a junk food? Or, is it somewhere in between?
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22 December, 2007

Coca-Cola 1899 Hutchinson Bottles are Back

Coca-Cola is releasing a series of limited edition bottles filled with the famous soft drink.

Coca-Cola Hutchinson Bottle
First up in the series is the first ever bottle used by drink's first bottler, Joseph A. Biedenharn, the 9.3oz "Hutchinson Bottle", of 1899.

The Christmas-themed six-pack is making its way to retail outlets all over the country, priced around $4.99.
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21 December, 2007

Soda Splash - Soda Flavoring Spray

Soda SplashFigueroa Brothers, Inc. of Dallas, TX has an answer to all these odd-ball soda-flavor combinations coming out these days: sell bottles of flavoring.

Soda Splash is a pressurized can of flavoring that you can spray (or spritz) into a glass of soda, allowing you to create flavor combinations.

They come in three flavors, Cherry, Lime, and Vanilla.

So, you can create a Cherry Lime Rickey by shooting in some Cherry and Lime into a glass of 7-Up. Or, you can make your own Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper. Or how about a Lime Vanilla Rootbeer?

The company says it contains no sweetener, and adds no calories.

I don't know where or when Soda Splash is available, but you can keep track of it on its own website...

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Altoids Monopoly Game Piece

Altoids Monopoly Game PieceHasbro launched a new edition of its Monopoly board game called, "MONOPOLY: Electronic Banking Edition", which includes all new game pieces, among them a tin of Altoids.

The new Monopoly game edition is supposed to be the modern-day antithesis to the old world of the standard edition. It embraces pop culture, and so, the toy company needed game pieces that encapsulates an entirely new world. And so, Altoids made the cut.

I'm sure it's great advertising assuming the new board game can catch on. I wonder if Wrigley had to buy its way into the board game.
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19 December, 2007

Yucca Fries

Hemisphere Foods LLC, of North Miami Beach, FL, is offering these "Yucca Fries" and "Yucca Bites" in your grocer's freezer.

Yucca fries
Yucca is quickly gaining a following as a food source in the USA. It's already a staple food in Latin American countries. It's also known as "Cassava", and we've seen cassava chips being sold under several brands.

This is the first time I've seen it positioned as an alternative to french fries. Yucca-based foods are typically made from the root.

Marketed under their "Latin Fiesta" brand, the company packages these in pre-cooked form. They suggest using them to accompany other foods, just like real french fries.

Read more about it on the company's website...
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18 December, 2007

Miguel's Salted Plantain Strips

Miguel's Salted Plantain ChipsThe Miguel's brand of chips now includes these new Salted Plantain Chips.

Plantains are similar to bananas, but not as sweet or soft.

The concept of plantain chips are not new at all, being a favorite snack food in Caribbean cultures. My step-mother is Puerto Rican, and she's been known to slice up some plantains, fry them, and salt them. You can also find these in most Cuban and Puerto Rican cuisines.

Miguel's is just mass producing it for retail. I imagine other brands sell plantain chips, but out here in Southern California, I haven't seen them.

Plantains are kinda bland. I imagine people from the Caribbean love to eat them plain, but for me, they're like potatoes, where you need to spice them up, top them up, or use them as an ingredient.
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Hot Pockets Twisted Stix

I just noticed this new variety in the line of Hot Pockets microwavable pizza snacks, called "Twisted Stix".

Hot Pockets Twisted Stix
It's basically a pizza bread stick with a pizza inside.

It's perhaps a commentary on how Americans have a love affair with food stuffed inside of food. It's like being able to eat a more complete meal in a smaller, compact size. Or maybe, people just love the idea of finding something pleasant hiding inside of something else.

I suppose what's next is for Pizza Hut to replace it's cheese-filled pizza crust with a pizza-filled pizza crust.
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Wendy's New Stack Attack

Wendy's Stack AttackWendy's today announced the launch of their newest hamburger, the "Stack Attack", which puts an aggressive name on what's otherwise a diminuitive burger.

It's basically a double cheeseburger, with no added rabbit food, which could be a good thing for some people.

It's primary purpose for existence is its low price point, at just 99 cents, putting it squarely within Wendy's "Super Value Meal", for those consumers that want the same artergy-clogging performance as a full-blown Wendy's Hot-n-Juicy, but are trying to curb their appetite.
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17 December, 2007

Orville Redenbacher and ACT II Popcorn - Diacetyl Free

ConAgra Foods today announced that it has reformulated its Orville Redenbacher's and ACT II microwave popcorn brands with a new butter flavoring that has no added diacetyl. These newly reformulated products are arriving on store shelves now.

Orville Redenbacher
Diacetyl has been under scrutiny because of its ability to cause lung cancer. The chemical is added to microwave popcorn because it provides the buttery taste. Both factory workers and popcorn eaters are said to be at risk just by smelling the aroma.

All packages with the new taste formula will have "No Added Diacetyl" printed near the date code. Additionally, ConAgra Foods is introducing a new packaging design for all of its reformulated microwave popcorn products that will state "New Great Tasting Butter Flavor".

ConAgra has been trying to position its popcorn brands as health food, by touting the puffy white snack as a source of whole grains, fiber, with zero trans fat and zero cholesterol. But instead, the snack food was hit with a black eye as being a cancer food.
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13 December, 2007

Easy Open Sardines in a Can

Season Canned SardinesIt's been a long time since I've eaten sardines from a can, so I'm totally out of the loop of sardine can technology.

This new pull-tab design seems like a great way pull open a can without fussing with a key.

The new pull-tab can is available from the Season brand of sardines.

Visit Season online...
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Peeps Peppermint Stars

The Peeps line of sugar-sprinkled marshmallow candies has gone peppermint for the first time with the introduction of its new Peeps Peppermint Stars.

Peeps Peppermint Stars
The full Peeps Christmas lineup includes:

  • PEEPS Trees

  • PEEPS Snowmen

  • PEEPS Cutouts (Cookie Flavored)

  • PEEPS Decorating Kits

Just Born Inc., the company behind the Peeps, says that 30% of their popular marshmallow confection is used in crafting, hence their push towards the decorating kits.

Visit Peeps online at...
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12 December, 2007

Guacamole Grinch Sandwich

Guacamole Grinch SandwichWholly Guacamole, a maker of guacamole, tells us all that its green chip dip is the best material for making a Grinch...

To make this tasty version in your kitchen, cut your favorite sandwich into a triangle, cut off the points to make a pear shape. Top with Wholly Guacamole classic, smooth and etch Grinch brows and cheeks. For eyes, use yellow pepper circles topped with pimento stuffed olives. Cut an olive for the nose and add a sprig of celery greens for hair.

There you go. All you have to do is make of bunch of these, and you'll be the biggest hit at the Christmas Party.

Leave this open-face sandwich sitting on the table and watch the Grinch turn into an ugly gray-brown.

Visit Wholly Guacamole online...
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Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burrito - Carl's Jr.

Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burrito Carl's Jr.Carl's Jr. today announced their newest burrito, the Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burrito. It's available beginning today.

The Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burrito contains refried beans, scrambled eggs, shredded jack and cheddar cheeses, and Carl's own Ranchero sauce, topped with corn tortilla strips.

The company states that they wanted to take the traditional Mexican breakfast of Huevos Rancheros and put it into a portable form.

Being that Carl's Jr. is a prominent fast-food restaurant in south western states, where Mexican immigrants have high concentration, it makes sense for the company to better position itself for America's future voters.

The Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Burrito sells for $2.39, or $3.89 as part of a breakfast combo meal.

Visit Carl's Jr. online at...
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10 December, 2007

Coconut Curry Ice Cream

Luxlait Coconut Curry Ice CeamA Luxembourg-based frozen confection maker, Luxlait, offers some really strange flavors of ice cream and sorbet.

Among them is "Coconut Curry. And by all accounts, it seems like it actually contains indian curry seasoning. It actually sounds like it could be tasty. I love Indian cuisine, and have tried some of popular Indian style desserts, and something like this seems curiously palatable.

The company also offers some other eye openers...

  • Olive Sorbet

  • Wasabi Sorbet

  • Roquefort (cheese) Ice Cream

  • Lavendar Ice Cream

Check out all of their flavors...
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06 December, 2007

The Whopper Gets Waxed

The WhopperBurger King's famous offering, The Whopper, is 50 years old this year (as of March 4, 1957).

And if you thought it tasted kinda stale the last time you bit into one, now you know why.

But to celebrate a piece of American fast-food folklore, The Whopper was immotalized in wax at Madame Tussauds wax attraction in New York City's Times Square. Also getting waxed is the "King" character of famous chain.

The Whopper becomes the first food product to have its likeness honored by Madame Tussauds.

Source: Burger King
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04 December, 2007

YoPRO - Frozen Yogurt for Body Builders

YoPRO Frozen YogurtYoPRO Treats Inc. of Burlington, Ontario, recently launched a new variety of frozen yogurt called, "YoPRO".

It's marketed as a low fat, high protein, frozen yogurt, and claims to be the only one of its kind. The product's website depicts photos of sports enthusiasts, fitness gurus, and mentions its review in Maximum Fitness magazine, billing it as a fitness product in the form of frozen confection.

Do fitness fanatics really want to gain muscle mass through frozen yogurt?

What happened to the old school body builders that started their day with a glass of raw eggs? It took a "real man" to swallow something like that. How come we never had companies that sold frozen raw eggs on a popsicle?

YoPRO is currently only shipping to stores throughout Ontario, Canada. But if successful, I'm sure we'll see it here in the States. As the old saying goes, "if Canadians will eat it, then Americans will eat it."

Visit YoPRO online...
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03 December, 2007

Awake - The Morning Energy Drink

Awake Energy DrinkApple & Eve, LLC, of Port Washington, NY, recently launched a new energy drink called, "Awake", billed as "the only energy juice specially formulated for morning consumption".

It's basically 100% juice, though I don't know from what fruits, but it has an orange/tangerine flavor. Except, it's spiked with enough caffeine as a tall cup of coffee, and includes an energy enhancer called, "Essentra", dubbed as a patented restorative and rejuvenating extract derived from a natural botanical.

It's like blending coffee and orange juice together, and then sprinkling in some magical herbs.

Awake also comes in a light variety, and is currently only available Northeast, with plans to roll out nationally.

Visit Awake online...
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Chocolate Flavored Imitation Crab

Chocolate flavored surimiA Lithuanian food maker named Viciunai, has launched a new treat called, "Sweets del Mare - Chocolate Flavoured Surimi".

Surimi is just a general term used to describe a wide assortment of fish cake products, most popular of which is imitation crab.

Note that this is not chocolate covered, just chocolate flavored. I'm not sure I can imagine the taste of imitation crab with chocolate. The next time I order a salad buffet at Sizzler's, I'll have to get some imitation crab, and douse it with fudge from their dessert bar.

Sweets del Mar is not available in the USA, and probably for good reason. Lithuanians, and other folks who live around the Baltic Sea, however, must really love their seafood.

Viciunai doesn't yet have this product on their website.
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02 December, 2007

Cactus Omelettes

Christian posted a review of Lucia's Tacos y Mulitas, a mexican joint in Huntington Beach, CA, and he snapped a photo of their menu board, showing "Cactus Omelette"...

Cactus omelettes
I did some growing up in San Diego between 1971-1978, and I had mexican friends across the street. Their mom frequently used cactus in her cooking. I was suprised at the time to see cactus being used, but later on in life I came to understand it was quite common in Mexican cuisine. They called them "Nopales", or "Nopalitos" for the softer baby leaves.

They kept a rabbit pen and a chicken coop, and on Sundays, would pull out a rabbit or chicken, kill it, clean it, and tossed it on this large brick grill they had in their backyard. Their mom would make the corn tortillas and salsa, and she'd pull out a jar of nopalitos, to garnish the tacos. Then we'd sit underneath this old pepper tree (or willow tree) and have rabbit tacos.

And quite good they were. The nopalitos added some "texture" to the tacos, and a bit of taste.

Cactus wasn't bad, but not necessarily what I'd call "good". It's something you'd have to grow up eating to enjoy.

I'll have to stop by at this Lucia's Tacos y Mulitas the next time I'm in that area, and try the omelette.

I also mentioned, "Cactus flavored chewing gum", awhile back on Strange New Products.
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30 November, 2007

Filthy Food Company - Sexy Chocolate Confections

Filthy Food, Kinky Creme BruleeOne of the newest chocolatiers to enter the market is Filthy Food Company, a UK-based confectioner, that's playing up the sexiness of eating in sin.

The company has crafted some saucy little chocolate dessert bites to tempt and tease your palate in a new kind of way.

Filthy's new chocolate desserts takes burlesque glamour run amok, and packs it into a bite-sized piece of sweet decadence, intended to heighten your pleasure and senses. It's belgian chocolate encasements feature a melting sensation said to burst its payload into your mouth, oozing and dribbling down your throat.

Pictured here are the "Kinky Creme Brulee Bites", which combine "creamy" Madagascan vanilla with "sensuous" smooth brulee, inside a "hard" belgian chocolate shell.

Other varieties include their "Cheeky Chocolate Bites", "Seductive Strawberry Creme Bites", and "Captivating Caramel Bites".

However, Filth Food's sexually appealing chocolates are only available in the UK at this time, and only at Sainsbury's. Perhaps they'll offer online ordering soon.

Visit Filthy Food Company online at...
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Eat'n Park - Black Angus Superburger

Eat'n Park Black Angus SuperburgerEat'n Park Restaurants today announced their newest burger, the Black Angus Superburger. The burger actually appeared on menus earlier this month.

It's comparable to their basic Cheeseburger, except this one has two 6oz black angus patties, instead of one.

It's also listed at 800 calories, which is "good", as most burgers of this size, with cheese, range between 800-1200 calories.

Eat'n Park is a family-style restaurant, with 77 locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.

Visit Eat'n Park online at...
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29 November, 2007

Tay Zonday - Cherry Chocolate Rain

The folks behind the new Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper, stepped forward and released a new video on You Tube featuring pop music star, Tay Zonday, dubbed, "Cherry Chocolate Rain".

The music video is a satire on Zonday's hit song, "Chocolate Rain".

(I'm so out of touch on the pop music scene, sorry! That's what happens when you download too many MP3s.)

Anyways, without further adieu, Tay Zonday and "Cherry Chocolate Rain"...

Thanks Jon Eick (So Good Blog)
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28 November, 2007

Krispy Kreme Snowman Doughnuts Are Back!

Krispy Kreme Snowman DoughnutsKrispy Kreme announced today that its famous Snowman Doughnuts are back, available now until December 31.

Snowman doughnuts can be filled with any one of Krispy Kreme's signature fillings for an additional $1.00 per dozen. Orders for doughnuts with fillings must be placed in advance.

For orders of three dozen or more, customers need to call their local Krispy Kreme store 48-hours in advance.

Visit Krispy Kreme online...
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McDonald's McSkillet Burrito - Now Nationwide

McDonald's today formally announced the nationwide launch of its new breakfast burrito, the McSkillet Burrito.

McDonald's McSkillet Burrito
While it's been selling in various markets across the country for the past year-and-a-half, it's never been "rolled" out nationwide.

McDonald's describes it as follows...

The McSkillet Burrito combines scrambled eggs, sausage and skillet potatoes with savory flavors and ingredients including a medley of cheeses, red and green bell peppers, onions and salsa roja. Available today for $2.49 each.

The world's largest fast-food burger chain says it's been seeing a 42% increase in breakfast sales since 2002, a statistic that seems to be driving new breakfast concoctions across all fast-food chains.
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27 November, 2007

Brawndo The Thirst Mutilator - Energy Drink

Brawndo The Thirst MutilatorThe fictional, but humorous energy drink, "Brawndo the Thirst Mutilator", made famous by the 2006 cult movie, "Idiocracy", is no longer fictional.

The new energy drink, which made the top-10 list of "Movie Products We Wish We Had" by Maxim magazine, will be hitting stores shelves on December 15, 2007.

It's even going to have the same catchphrase from the movie, "It's got what plants crave".

Brawndo is described as a "lemon-lime endurance supplement beverage", in a bright green color reminiscent of anti-freeze. Marketing literature says it has a smooth tangy flavor, and energizes you with 200mg of caffeine, electrolytes, inositol and guarana.

The new beverage will be produced by Redux Beverages, the same company that brought us Cocaine Energy Drink.

Visit Brawndo The Thirst Mutilator online at...
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21 November, 2007

Kellogg's Pop Tarts Gingerbread

Kellogg's Pop Tarts GingerbreadKellogg's has a new "limited edition" variety of Pop Tarts called, Pop Tarts Soft & Chewy Gingerbread.

The gingerbread edition is supposed to be pitched as a Christmas variety. Reviews posted on some other blogs says that the gingerbread is pretty bad.

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Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper Soda

Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper SodaCadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages made the official announcement of their new Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper soda today, claiming it to be only the third flavor variety in the brand's history.

The new "limited edition" flavor is supposed to combine the taste of Dr. Pepper with sweet cherries dipped in chocolate. Makes you wonder if someone dropped a chocolated-dipped cherry in his cup of Dr. Pepper, and decided there needed to be a new soda flavor.

"Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper is the perfect indulgence for the holidays ... zero calories, zero carbs, zero guilt, and all the flavor of Dr Pepper," said Andrew Springate, vice president of marketing for CSAB. "Based on consumer response, we expect Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr Pepper will have a strong and devoted following."

The consumer response that Springate was talking about was the fact that Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper has been shipping out to stores the past month.
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20 November, 2007

Pizza Hut - Double Deep Pizza

Pizza Hut announced today a new limited edition pizza, "Double Deep Pizza".

Described as "the most incredibly topped pizza in America", it's basic premise is having double the toppings and 50% more cheese.

Pizza Hut Double Deep Pizza
The world's largest pizza chain actually said that this new pizza has so many toppings, they had to utilize the "folded crust" design to help corral them all in.

"As we head into the holiday season, we know families will be busy entertaining, so our pizza chefs have cooked up a new delicious, flavorful pizza that's sure to please a crowd," said Brian Niccol, Pizza Hut CMO.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And if you thought it couldn't get any better, they're bringing in the Bee Gees to sing their hit song, "How Deep is Your Love" on the company's television commercials.

The new Double Deep Pizza will be available for a limited time beginning November 18 at a price of $12.99 with three recipes: Supreme, Meaty and Veggie.
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Autism-Friendly Snack Foods

It looks like the allergen-friendly snack food market is eyeing a new marketing strategy: autism-friendly foods.

There is a belief growing among austistic people and parents of autistic children, that eating a gluten-free, and casein-free diet actually improves the management of symptoms. The belief stems from someone named Dr. FC Dohan, who in the 1960's hypothesized that gluten and dairy foods might worsen the behaviors of people stricken with schizophrenia and behavioral disorders.

With the age of the Internet, more people are learning about this, and hence the movement is growing.

Enjoy Life Natural Brands, LLC, the company behind the Enjoy Life brand of allergen-free foods, jumped on this new marketing strategy. Today the company issued a press release touting its products, such as the Soft Baked Snickerdoodle Cookies, actually help austistic children get through their daily lives.

It's just what the Autism Network for Dietary Intervention (ANDI) needed. They need food makers like Enjoy Life to issue such announcements in hopes of altering public perception.

In fact, ANDI actually sells its own line of "autism-friendly" candy bars, the "ANDI Bar".

What they need to do now is come up with an official stamp identifying an item as autism-friendly.

And the autism industry is a market that appears to be gaining in numbers, with 1.5 million Americans currently affected with some form, and growing by 10-17 percent each year, according to the Autism Society of America. It's a market that allergen-free food makers can exploit.
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Funky Chunky Candy Cane Popcorn

Funky Chunky Candy Cane PopcornFunky Chunky, a brand of popcorn confectionery based out of Edina, MN, announced a new limited edition variety for the Christmas season, "Candy Cane Popcorn".

It's described as rich, buttery caramel popcorn with glazed macadamia nuts, smothered in smooth white peppermint drizzle and sprinkled with crushed candy cane.

All Funky Chunky products can be purchased for snacking enjoyment, or the company will gift them for others.

Visit Funky Chunky online...
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Fast Food for Thought

60 minutes fast food for thoughtLast Sunday, 60 Minutes decided to take on the Fast Food industry by going back and forth between two bitter rivals: New York's health commissioner, Thomas Frieden, and Wendy's spokesperson Denny Lynch.

You can watch the full 12 minute video report here...

In between the arguments, reporter Leslie Stahl takes Subway to task, by showing all of America just how fattening their sub-sandwiches truly are.

What was not mentioned in this report, is that Americans have a choice: don't eat fast food.

Instead, Leslie Stahl made it appear as if Americans don't have a choice. Instead of saying that Americans can buy fresh food from the grocery store, she made it appear that we're forced to buy meals from fast-food.

And in fact, that's the basis of Thomas Frieden's crusade, the health commissioner from New York. He's pushing for a law that requires fast-food restaurants to show the caloric content of every possible food combination and customization that you might conceive of, and post it in the restaurant, on the actual Menu.

He's only requiring this of fast-food restaurants.

You can still order that full-rack of baby-back ribs, with a loaded baked potato, and cheese-bread, and not have to know how many years you've trimmed from your life span.

I guess it's ok if the rich die young.
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19 November, 2007

Kellogg's Crunchmania

Kellogg's CrunchmaniaKellogg's has a product out called "Crunchmania" that's been selling at school vending machines and snackbars the past several months, and more recently selling in stores.

They're bite-sized graham crackers meant to mimic popular breakfast foods. Varieties include...

  • Blueberry Muffin (bite-size blueberry muffin-flavored graham breakfast snacks)

  • Strawberry Waffle (waffle-flavored)

  • Cinnamon Bun (made with whole-grain wheat)

  • French Toast (made with whole-grain wheat)

  • Vanilla Mini Grahams (naturally and artificially flavored)

While the company is emphasizing its Crunchmania as breakfast snacks, it obviously comes with a snackability factor making it great for television chow, party snacks, or blogging fuel.

And then there's the name itself, "Crunchmania". Doesn't it sound as if you should expect to see a professional wrestler pitching this product?
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On the Border - Cantina Thins

On the Border Cantina ThinsDallas, TX-based Truco Enterprises, Inc., which makes the retail line of On The Border branded foods, has come out with a new variety of tortilla chip called, "Cantina Thins".

According to the company, the Cantina Thins involves a process of choosing select, whole-kernel white corn, and then cooking it in large kettles until tender. The softened corn is then stone ground into a fine proprietary blended masa, which is pressed into ultra-thin white corn tortillas. It's then lightly baked, and hand-cut into irregular triangles.

The whole concept of having "ultra thin" tortilla chips wasn't exactly explained to me. I tend to think that it's way to reduce fat and carbs while still maintaining the same shape and size of a standard chip.

I don't think it lends itself well to scooping out salsa and dip, however.

Visit Truco Enterprises Online at...
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Pistachios May Lower Blood Pressure

pistachio nutsThe Western Pistachio Association released the results of a study (that it paid for), showing that eating pistachio nuts may help lower blood pressure, and increase the body's ability to react to stress...

According to groundbreaking results of a study conducted by nutrition researchers at Penn State University and released earlier this year, eating pistachios may reduce your body's response to the stresses of everyday life.

Pistachios, when eaten in both 3 ounce and 1.5 ounce servings, resulted in study participants experiencing a significant reduction of the biological effects of acute stress. During the diets supplemented with pistachios, subjects had lower blood pressure during stress.

Read the full announcement here...

Of course, eating pistachios can also increase your stress and blood pressure when trying to crack open a nut that doesn't want to open up.

That's one reason why I like sunflower seeds.
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Joseph Schmidt Confections Debuts 2007 Holiday Truffle Collection

Joseph Schmidt Holiday TrufflesJoseph Schmidt Confections announced their new 2007 Holiday Truffle Collection.

The indulgent new truffles feature exotic new flavors including: Sea Salt Caramel, Mexican Chocolate, Mandarin Zest, Vanilla Cognac, Meyer Lemon and Pomegranate. The truffles are attractively decorated and come in an impressive looking package.

The 2007 flavors include:

  • Sea Salt Caramel. Premium milk chocolate and organic caramel are contrasted with a hint of sea salt to create a sumptuous balance of flavors.

  • Mexican Chocolate. The perfect marriage of Joseph Schmidt’s rich dark chocolate ganache with Mexican cinnamon, allspice and a hint of habanero.

  • Mandarin Zest. A bittersweet combination of sweet and tart tangerine zest and intense dark chocolate.

  • Vanilla Cognac. Real vanilla and cognac combine to create a smooth and decadent dark chocolate center surrounded by a milk chocolate shell.

  • Meyer Lemon. A dark chocolate ganache is paired with the sweet citrus flavor of Meyer lemon and surrounded in premium dark chocolate.

  • Pomegranate. The refreshingly tart flavor of pomegranate blends with a dark chocolate ganache and a rich dark chocolate shell.

The 2007 line of Joseph Schmidt "Christmas" truffles (note that I added the word "Christmas") are available nationwide at Joseph Schmidt boutiques, specialty grocers, fine department stores and online at www.jsc.com.
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Will McDonald's Add Dental Floss to its Happy Meals?

McDonald's dental flossThe National Flossing Council apparently fired off an appeal to Don Thompson, President of McDonald's USA, to include a packet of dental floss with each happy meal.

The trade industry wants to promote the Friday after Thanksgiving as "National Flossing Day", and is trying to piggy-back on Mickey D's powerful brand...

The request to Thompson notes that McDonald's has had great success with its Healthy Options menu and proposes that offering floss will expand their efforts to include the dental health of McDonald's customers.

It's a bad idea. Think of what this suggests. If you buy a happy meal, or a Healthy Options item, you'll need dental floss because this food is really bad for your teeth.

Read their press release...
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Ideas for Leftover Turkey

Enchiladas with chocolate mole sauceWhat do you do with all that leftover turkey you're gonna end up with this Friday?

Why, turn it into chocolate mole enchiladas of course!

AllChocolate.com has a recipe for enchiladas with chocolate mole sauce. They warn you that it's not as chocolately-tomatoey as you might imagine. It's more mole and just enough chocolate...

You know, leftover turkey is actually great with flour tortillas and cheese, either rolled up like a burrito, or just folded up into a soft taco. Toss in some turkey pieces, add some shredded cheese, and nuke for 20-30 seconds.

Make it even better, get some canned green chiles, and a bottle of Tapatio or Cholula sauce. Toss that on there, it'll even better than the actual turkey dinner.

Also good are turkey stuffing omelettes. My mom used to make these during post-T-Day. Just add a couple spoonfuls of leftover stuffing, and some turkey pieces, cheese, and you've got yourself an omelette.
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18 November, 2007

What is Junk Food Anyways?

eating celeryNow and then, someone sends me an e-mail, arguing that "such and such" is not junk food, and is actually healthy. This communication often comes from a manufacturer who's product I blogged about.

Other times I call the marketing people at a manufacturer because I want them to send me a digital image of their new product. They tell me that they don't want me to blog about their product because they're trying to bill it as being healthy.

My definition of junk food

ANYTHING and EVERYTHING is junk food, depending on how much you consume, and depending on your current state of health and lifestyle.

I've said before that a celery stick is junk food, mainly because celery contains very little nutritional value, and because celery is largely eaten as a snack, or h'orderve. If all you ate was celery you'd die for lack of nutrition. It's not what you eat, but how much.

And while fruits like oranges, bananas, and apples are high in vitamins and nutrients, they're also high in carbohydrates. If that's all you ate, and didn't exercise, you'd be as fat as a hamburger whore. You could get fat eating burgers, or you could get fat eating bananas.

Is a hamburger junk food? No. If you look at what a hamburger is, it's made up of components that people would consider to be healthy: bread, beef, lettuce, tomato. But when those components are put together, it becomes demonized. You could add more stuff like cheese, bacon, mayonnaise, pickles, etc, and you'd increase your intake of fat, sodium, and cholesterol. But it's only bad if your body can't tolerate it.

Your State of Health Makes a Difference

Junk food can only be bad for you, if your current state of health is susceptible to it.

For example, a bar of chocolate might be unhealthy to a diabetic, but perfectly fine for an athlete like Lance Armstrong. Sucking down a bag of salted-sunflower seeds is bad for someone with high blood pressure, but perfectly fine for someone without.

Moreover, chocolate is said to have positive health benefits in the form of antioxidants. Meanwhile, sunflower seeds is said to be rich in Vitamin E. Depending on your state of health, they can be good for you, or bad for you.

Politics of Junk Food

Opponents of junk food, such as those seeking laws to ban sodas and candies from school vending machines, are pulling out all the stops.

A couple of years ago I posted a review of a novel entitled, "War on Junk", which I felt was reality in the making. It takes the alcohol prohibition of the 1920s, and turns it into a junk food prohibition of the near future. The fact is that we're headed there. I think you know it.

Earlier this year, I contacted a well-known pickle manufacturer because I wanted a digital image of their newest variety. They refused, arguing that they didn't want me blogging their product because they trying promote pickles as a "health food".

If you can imagine our country actually entering into a "junk food prohibition", thousands of food-makers would twist the public's perception into thinking their products are "healthy alternatives". I wonder how many of them see such a prohibition on the horizon, and are spending some money on this right now?
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17 November, 2007

Guacamole Pepperoncini Burger Patties

Today I discovered a new way to kill off some old food laying around in the refrigerator. And it tastes pretty damn good too. Guacamole Pepperoncini Burger Patties (Guacacini Patties)...

guacamole pepperoncici burger patties

The story goes...

This afternoon I wandered down to the kitchen to find something to eat. I opened up the freezer and noticed this package of hamburger patties that we had for about a year. So, I decided to grill them all up on my BBQ (eight of them). I found a package of guacamole that my wife bought a couple weeks ago, and a jar of pepperoncinis that we've also had for about a year.

After grilling the patties, I cut one of them up into bite-sized pieces. Then I slathered on some guacamole. Then I pulled out a pepperoncini and laid it on top. I forked the thing into my mouth and knocked myself out. This is freakin' good!

First, I love hamburger meat. Two, the guacamole adds a layer of smoothness to the meat. The pepperoncini adds the bit of spicyness. I'd recommend using the smaller, softer ones.

In the end I ate three patties this way, and killed off about 12 pepperoncinis. I didn't use any buns. Now, I would not normally eat that many pepperoncinis because such a volume can have nasty after effects. But in this fashion, it couldn't keep my hands off of them. It's about five hours post-consumption, and my belly is still feeling the burn. My wife killed off a few patties, and I gave the other two to the dogs.

So there you go my fellow junk food junkies, a way to kill off some freezer-burnt patties, and eat like a gourmet.
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16 November, 2007

Ajitas Vege Chips

Ajitas Vege ChipsProduced in Australia by Vege Chip Co. and imported to the USA by Modern Marketing & Sales Group, the Ajitas Vege Chips tries to put a healthy new spin on old product.

The line of chips are actually made from the Cassava root, and Cassava chips are quite a staple in tropical regions of the world. Cassava is high in vitamin C, and the frying process of Ajitas chips make them low in fat and cholesterol.

What I'm particularly intrigued with is how they've leveraged the "healthy" factor by calling these "Vege Chips", as if potato chips and corn chips are not made from vegetables.

Varieties include...

Sweet & Sour
French Onion
Herb & Garlic
Lime Chilli
Tasty Cheese
Malt Vinegar

Visit Ajitas Vege Chips online...
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Official Pizza of Thanksgiving Eve

Domino's Pizza issued a bold promoclamation today, naming itself the "Official Pizza of Thanksgiving Eve".

It goes on to explain that the evening before Thanksgiving is among its busiest days of the year. This Wednesday, they expect sales of the cheesy-round-baked-dough to spike up by 68 percent over a typical Wednesday. They're forecasting 1.1 million pizzas will be cooked up in their ovens and delivered to homes in the USA.

"It's one of those nights we highlight on the calendar and prepare for," said Domino's Pizza Chairman and CEO David A. Brandon. "Our stores stock up on fresh food. We increase our staffing levels, sometimes doubling them, to ensure we can meet the needs of hungry customers across the country."

Thanksgiving Pizza
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Wholly Guacamole Gridiron Game Time Dip

Wholly Guacamole Game Time DipGuacamole maker, Wholly Guacamole, of Fort Worth, TX, is offering up a special chip dip recipe for football fans to dip into while they watch their beloved football teams take the field.

Gridiron Game Time Dip looks about as good as any.

I absolutely cannot make guacamole, though I have tried many times. It always comes out tasting like mushed avocadoes instead of guacamole, if that makes any sense. That's why companies like Wholly Guacamole exist, so that culinary screw-ups like me can eat the green stuff too.

I may have to try this recipe (or get the wife to make it for me), and see if it makes watching a Chargers game anymore palatable...

Wholly Gridiron Game Time Dip

-- 1 Tbsp butter
-- 1/2 cup red bell pepper
-- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
-- 2, 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
-- 2 tsp fresh chopped jalapeno peppers
-- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
-- 1 cup salsa
-- 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
-- 14 oz Wholly Guacamole
-- 1/2 cup sour cream
-- 1 bag tortilla chips


1. Melt butter in skillet; add peppers and onion, Cook over medium heat until onion is softened. (4 minutes). Stir in beans, jalapenos and cumin. Cook until heated.

2. Transfer 1 cup of bean mixture to a food processor, cover and process until smooth. Return blended mixture to remaining mixture and stir to combine. Spread onto a 11x8 baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.

3. Just before serving, layer over the bean mixture, salsa, cheese and top with Wholly Guacamole.

4. Spoon sour cream into resealable plastic bag. Snip off corner and pipe sour cream over the guacamole to resemble yard lines on a football field.

Visit Wholly Guacamole online at...
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Extreme Food - Habanero Kettle Chips

Blair's Habanero ChipsExtreme Food of Highlands, NJ, took the top honors of the 2008 Scovie Awards for their "Habanero Kettle Chips", in the chips division.

The original Habanero chips are kettle-cooked chips said to be among the hottest potato chip around, and this distinction further solidifies that reputation.

The Scovie Awards is a promotion of the National Fiery Foods Show. It's named after James Scoville who devised a measuring system for registering how spicy-hot foods are.

The Original Habanero Chips can be purchased online from Extreme Food...
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Lillie Belle Farms - Cayenne Caramels

Lillie Belle Farms - Cayenne CaramelsLillie Belle Farms of Jacksonville, OR, took the top honors of the 2008 Scovie Awards for its "Cayenne Caramels", in the candy division.

Cayenne Caramels are described as a semi-liquid center packed with full cayenne pepper flavor and encased in a dark organic chocolate shell.

The Scovie Awards is a promotion of the National Fiery Foods Show. It's named after James Scoville who devised a measuring system for registering how spicy-hot foods are.

Cayenne Caramels can be purchased online from Lillie Belle Farms...
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15 November, 2007

Wendy's Philly Style Hoagie Burger

Wendy's LogoThe Wendy's chain of burger joints announced today the winner of its "Build Wendy’s New Burger" contest. And the winner is the Philly Style Hoagie Burger created by Ian Van Camp, a screenwriter from Moorpark, California.

The burger is essentially a double-patty burger with American cheese, but adds together sliced ham, Genoa salami, and creamy italian dressing.

Van Camp says he was inspired by his high school years in Philadelphia and a salami burger he used to order at a New York deli.

The guy wins $25,000 for his winning idea. He and eight other runners-up get free Wendy's hamburgers for a year.

The new Philly Style Hoagie Burger is supposed to appear on Wendy's menu sometime in 2008.

Learn more about the winning burger...
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Del Taco Doubles the Chicken in its Burrito

Del TacoThe Del Taco chain of fast food restaurants issued an announcement today promising that when you order their Spicy Chicken Burrito they'll put more chicken into it.

Better yet, the $1.99 price will remain as is.

The doubling of chicken meat in Del Taco's products have been met with approval of its client base, following the success of its relaunched Chicken Soft Taco.

To market their chicked-up Spicy Chicken Burrito, Del Taco is running a new ad depicting a mall-Santa feeding his hunger with a Spicy Chicken Burrito as he flirts with his attractive helper.
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Potbelly Sandwiches Offers Free Food with Gift Card Purchase

Potbelly Sandwich WorksIf you're stuck wondering what to buy for that guy who's got everything, give him something he can use: food.

Potbelly Sandwiches is a chain of submarine-style sandwich restaurants, with 170 locations across ten states: IL, IN, MD, MI, MN, OH, PA, TX, VA, WI.

For every $25.00 of gift cards you buy, you get a free sandwich or salad.

It only applies to gift cards purchased between November 23 and December 31, 2007. The free sandwich or salad card must be redeemed by February 29, 2008.

Visit Potbelly Sandwiches online at...

The Travelling Hungry Boy has a review of Potbelly's...
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About Steve

Affiliate marketer, blogger, website publisher, business owner, entrepreneur, motorcycle rider, living in sunny Southern California, who happens to love junk food, and makes money writing about it.

Favorite Quote:
"It's good enough for government work."
Favorite Drink:
India Pale Ale

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