Skittles Riddles

skittles, skittle, skittles commercial, candy, snickers


The new Skittles product is really changing things up. Now you can taste the rainbow without knowing exactly what you’re putting in your mouth.

Honestly, this share size is heavy on the sugar and calories – not all of us are fans of sharing candy, so I take every package as a personal serving. The bag is a nice color, but aside from very distinct flavors, Skittle flavors aren’t really that distinct. They all taste like super sweet candy to me. I just bought Skittles Riddles candy to do this:

skittles, skittle, skittles commercial, snickers, candy



The 220-Calorie Challenge: Ranch Flavored Corn Nuts and Crunch Multi-Grain Marathon Bar

corn nuts, pine nuts, snickers, snicker, calories

Here in Southern California, summer is slowly turning into fall. Humid days and tepid nights are transitioning into breezier times, and this brings other changes as well.

For some, this means bikini season is officially over, while there exists a select few who watch what they eat year-round. I mean, after all the corn dogs and nachos I’ve documented, you can’t be surprised that I need to  pay attention to labels every now and then. Indeed, part of my mission is spreading awareness, not only of the types of foods at the gas station, but also their history and contents.

Enough preaching – you totally get me and, at some time or another, have probably made a decision with your waistlines instead of your taste buds. I originally pick up a bag of Ranch Flavored Corn Nuts because of the new packaging (please tell me in the Comments section if you think it’s “improved”). Then, I stare wistfully at the power bar / energy bar / Cliff bar section.

cliff  bar, power bar, snickers, snicker, energy, snack

Get out of the gas station! I don’t want to eat you!

Personal preference: I don’t like bars. I don’t find them filling. I especially don’t find them a fully healthy meal substitute. For an indifferent number of additional calories I could have a protein-style burger or a whole bag of popcorn. I. don’t. like. bars.

But then, the Snickers logo catches my eye. Snickers is marketing Marathon Bars as a completely separate entity, as they are not under “Products” on the Snickers site, but rather have their own Marathon Bar page. I picked up the first one I saw, and looked at the nutrition label. Here is my internal monologue:

“220 calories? Wait, didn’t I just read that exact same figure! Hmm …”

Cut to me checking the Corn Nuts bag. Cut back to me checking the Marathon Bar. Cut to the light bulb over my head. Here’s the comparison:

Nutrition Facts Ranch Flavored Corn Nuts Crunchy Multi-Grain Marathon Energy Bar
Total Fat 8g, 12% DV 7g, 11% DV
Sodium 300mg, 13% DV 210mg, 9% DV
Total Carb 34g, 11% DV 31g, 10% DV
Protein 4g 10g

The Marathon Bar is clearly made with health in mind: more than double the protein plus vitamins and minerals (Vitamin C, Potassium, etc) abound in this bar. So, if you take a regular vitamin, aren’t running a marathon or didn’t just eat a greasy breakfast burrito and need to make up for it with some added health perks, I’d say Ranch Flavored Corn Nuts are fair game. This being said, the Crunchy Multi-Gran Marathon Energy Bar is delicious. It really is reminiscent of a Snickers bar.

But please, somebody tell me how you feel about this bag!

corn nuts, pine nuts, energy bar, snicker, snickers

I’m not comfortable with change.


My Love Letter to Chocolate Zico

coconut juice, coconut milk, coconut water chocolate, chocolate zico, zico

It’s here. The time has arrived. Public, you are getting what you’ve been waiting for.

Ok, this may not make sense without a little bit of back story. For almost a year now (oh jeez, has it been that long?) I have been a head-over-heels fanatic for chocolate Zico. So, if you don’t mind  a completely biased, totally gushing “review” of this product, then read on.

To further understand where  I’m coming from, let me guess where you may be coming from. You’ve tried coconut water. This is a hip trend and it just may be here to stay, with supposed health benefits and new brands popping up every week. You’ve tried enjoying it … but you just can’t. It’s sour, it has a weird aftertaste or it plain tastes like vomit. Well, my friends, I’ve been there.

You may also be the type who only swears by one brand, or worse yet, one packaging. “No I understand, I don’t even like any other kind of coconut water, it has to be Vita Co Co, and it has to be in a pouch.” Well, I have yet to sample Chocolate Zico in the new one-liter carton (it’s not on the Zico site, but I am an avid Facebook and Twitter follower and keep up on new products*) but I am pretty certain I’ll love it.

*Full Disclosure: I am in no way affiliated with Zico, other than I really enjoy the beverage and once even won a free case through a social media site. That case is long gone and I am not sponsored by Zico. In fact, I have gotten full-on hippie and have stopped buying the bottles because I’m trying to mitigate my plastic footprint. Disclosure over.

coconut juice, coconut milk, coconut water chocolate, chocolate zico, zico

True beauty lies within.

To stop gushing and start telling you about this Chocolate Zico: Drink it cold. It’s amazingly refreshing , very chocolatey and “tastes like pudding” as a friend of mine remarked at first sip. It definitely still has the little bit of sourness from coconut water, but I think the dark chocolate works well with it.

In my mind there are three categories of food: healthy food, unhealthy food and healthy-adjacent food. Water is healthy; Dr. Pepper is unhealthy; Chocolate flavored Zico is healthy adjacent. Sure there’s sugar in it and 120 calories, but how many of you lardasses out there spend 120 calories as wisely as this? Potassium, magnesium, all natural ingredients.

I highly recommend Chocolate Zico as a healthy-adjacent indulgence. And I’m so glad my gas station now carries it.


TGI Friday’s Potato Skins Snack Chips Face Off

tgifridays, tgifriday, potato recipes, tgi fridays menu, loaded potato skins

I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud. I feel guilty – like I”m letting you down. But, at the same time I’m conducting thorough research and furthering my knowledge of the gas station’s offerings.

As I walk into the gas station, I have no clue what I want today. I get stuck in the salty snack aisle and cave completely. The red-and-white-striped TGI Friday’s bags stimulate my oculars like never before. I check out the options and go for the two cheesy potato skin varieties. Never mind that I tried out Ruffles Max Loaded Bacon & Cheddar Potato Skins less than a month ago.

Jalepeño Cheddar

There is definite zest at first bite. Cheddar and jalapeño toppings alone are rare for a potato skin, especially at TGI Friday’s, so I’m guessing you pay for the fun bag and the potato texture. The more you eat, the greater the zest builds up. It’s flavorful.

Cheddar & Bacon

This flavor is muted and smokey. Cheddar hits hard and the bacon immediately follows. With the texture of the thick chip, flavoring and even the shape these chips are in (reminiscent of the shape of the beloved appetizer) the Cheddar & Bacon flavor does a great job of imitating the inspirational dish.

Both chips are very filling  Cheddar & Bacon is better at imitating and, it’s even heavy tasting and hearty.  The Jalpeño Cheddar is lighter and I prefer the zest of it. However, TGI Friday’s Cheddar & Bacon Potato Skins chips win, if only for the $10 coupon to TGI Friday’s on the back!

tgifridays, tgifriday, potato recipes, tgi fridays menu, loaded potato skins

It’s like free money! Free, bacon & cheddar-flavored money!

Jalapeño Cheddar Nutrition Info (per bag)

Calories 420
Total Fat 24g, 38% DV
Sodium 510mg, 21% DV

Cheddar & Bacon Nutrition Info (per bag)

Calories 420
Total Fat 24g, 38% DV
Sodium 930mg, 39% DV

*These calculations are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which is indulgent and wholly unrealistic.


The Breakfast Cereal Bar Gauntlet

rice krispies, cinnamon toast, lucky charms, lucky charm, golden graham

Rice Krispies Treats – This is the original. Savory, light and delicious. Rice Krispies Treats have an unparalleled texture compared to the other three.

Golden Graham Treats – Now I’m not exactly sure what Golden Grahams are, but these are very chocolatey and taste somewhat like the chocolate Fiber One bars.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Treats – Sky rockets in flight, cinnamon delight! Everybody loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch and with good reason. This bar does the original honor.

Lucky Charms Treats – Lucky Charms marshmallows have that unmistakable taste and texture, and it’s very present in this bar. I’m also a fan of the bright and colorful wrapper.

Nothing is more difficult than duking it out between items that evoke strong childhood memories and go straight to the heart (through the stomach, as the old adage goes). This is a toughie. I am going to first disqualify the Rice Krispies Treats. They are delicious and probably my favorite texture – the other three have that harder bottom  that’s trending in delicious bars.

The Winner

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Treats are delicious! It’s tricky trying to measure how close these are to the original without dunking them into some cold milk, but this treat takes the cake! I mean … it takes the cereal box! The cinnamon is on point and it stands on its own two feet as a sweet bar experience. Beware, these larger bars are in the 200+ calorie range! Happy snacking.



Very Inspiring Blogger Award Nominee

Turns out somebody out there isn’t just reading what I have to say, but has more than likely run to the store for a Mars bar after reading my blog. Thank you to Maddie Cochere over at Breezy Books for the nomination. Believe me when I tell you I would have been overwhelmed had I been nominated for a Barely Inspiring Award.

Tradition has you share 7 traits about yourself so readers can learn more about the mysterious being sitting at the keyboard  (look out for Trivial Pursuit: Gas Station Gastronomy Edition, coming to a Mobil near you!). However, today I choose to defy tradition because my blog is more about the food than about me. OK, that’s a lie, I’m just bashful. My nominees are:

Urban Beer Nerd

Snort Ramen

Dysfunctional Literacy


Select my Thirsty Thursday libation!

It’s that time of the week again. As I’m supposed to be working (I mean, totally working on this week’s status reports, coworkers and employers) all I can think about is what delicious drink I will …. drink tomorrow. However, I am no picky Mickey and will leave it up to you this time. Today you will only have two options. But, as always, voting ends at noon tomorrow!

Option 1: Blame it on the Juice

simple orange, simply juice, the grocery game, tropicana orange juice, cranberry juice

Option 2: I trust Arizona tea’s refreshing capabilities because I’ve been there. It’s hot.

arizona tea, arizona iced tea, arizona ice tea, arnold palmer, long island iced tea


Bon Appetit Banana Nut Muffin

banana nut muffin, banana nut muffins, banana nut bread, bon appetit pastries

Alright readers, I’m gonna give it to you straight today – it’s Monday and after being sick for days I have some catching up to do in all three major sectors of my life: work, home, online cat photos. Just kidding, looking at cat photos is easy to do, even for the infirm.

I buy this muffin and I’m excited. I’ve only had good experience with Bon Appetit baked goods. They are always fresh, moist and flavorful and today’s is no exception. However the banana nut muffin is extra crumbly, especially since it’s too large to place directly into your mouth. This means breaking off pieces is a must, which results in some sticky fingers! Oh no!

banana nut muffin, banana nut muffins, banana nut bread, bon appetit pastries, food

I am a trained stunt eater. Do not attempt such a bite at home.

Have you ever noticed that people call something banana bread or banana nut bread when it tastes almost exactly like a banana nut muffin? Why the misnomer? I have yet to see somebody make a sandwich with banana nut bread. Although, slapping some PB&J on that stuff doesn’t sound too bad …

Back to the Bon Appetit Banana Nut Muffin. This is somewhat of a letdown. Crumbly, messy and, most importantly, I am hard pressed to find nuts anywhere except the muffin top (omg, stop laughing).  Plus, one entire muffin has 600 calories and more than 50% of your daily allowance of fat, so only reach for this guy if you’re craving some of Mom’s banana nut dessert.