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Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Good & Gather Organic Strawberry Banana Instant Oatmeal

This is some good oatmeal overall, but it needs more of the fruit flavors—especially strawberry. Fortunately, we had some freeze dried strawberries on hand, which improved the taste significantly. It's organic, which is good. No pesticides used on these oats.

There are teeny tiny little bits of dried bananas and dried strawberries in the mix. There's also "strawberry juice" listed, but both of the strawberry elements appear in the "2% or less" part of the ingredients list. In my humble opinion, sweeteners don't get better than "organic cane sugar," which is what we're looking at here. Also, it's the second ingredient rather than the first, falling just after "organic whole grain rolled oats." So...pretty darn healthy by my standards.

I'm starting to wonder if Favorite Day is replacing Archer Farms and if Good & Gather (GAG) is replacing Simply Balanced. The beautiful wifey pointed out the other day that most of GAG's oatmeals are certified organic and have pretty healthy ingredients, while Favorite Day is specializing in things like "indulgent trail mixes" that are loaded with calories and sugar and generally aren't organic.

$2.99 for 8 packs of instant oatmeal. The wife likes it more than I do, and she's made repeat purchases of this product. I'd probably steer the score toward 6 or so, but she'd definitely put it in 8 or 8.5 territory. For her sake, I'll split the difference and throw out 7 stars.

I give this organic oatmeal 7 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Favorite Day Valentine Crunchy Clusters

Dental warning! If you have dental work or any kind of fixtures in your mouth that you want to keep in place, you might want to sit this one out. The caramel in between these pretzels feels like semi-dried super glue. To say it's hard to chew or that it's "sticky" are both understatements. I'd recommend just sucking on them, but that doesn't really work with the pretzels here.

That said, Favorite Day Valentine Crunchy Clusters are quite tasty. The saltiness from the pretzels balances out the sweetness from the white chocolate and caramel, otherwise it might be too far in the direction of SUGAR OVERLOAD​​. But pretzels are the number one ingredient, and there's a fair amount of sodium—maybe even a bit too much sodium if you're watching out for high blood pressure or anything like that.

Some of the pieces are way too big to be bite-sized, and if you try to bite them in half, the pretzel and white drizzle crumble everywhere while the thick, stiff caramel fights against your teeth and tries desperately to hold everything together. It gets messy and uncomfortable.

The clusters are slightly more agreeable texture-wise when warmed. It has been very cold here in the upper midwest and that might account for some of the firmness of the caramel. I don't mean put them in the microwave, although, you never know, that might work. I put my bag of Valentine Crunchy Clusters in front of a space heater for 5 or 10 minutes and that seems to help. The candy is still absurdly hard to chew, but at least I was able to keep my dental crowns intact.

The wifey agrees with my assessment. We definitely won't purchase this product again because of the unyielding caramel mass at the center of each cluster, but if something similar came along that was easier to chew, I'd certainly check it out.

I give these crunchy clusters 5 out of 10 stars.

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