Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Toys R Us, Part 2: Girl Gourmet Refill Pack

Continued from Review # 1

Girl Gourmet Ultimate Deco and Sprinkler Refill Kit. It included 3 frosting packs: chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Just add water to the mix for frosting. Can I say how cute that cartoon baker is ? I would use that for my icon here if it wasn't trademarked.

This kit had 6 sprinkle packs. I'm saving those for another day.

Each pack made 1 shot glass of frosting.

The chocolate frosting smelled and tasted like a thinned Duncan Hines frosting. It tasted good, except for a mysterious metallic taste.

The vanilla frosting had a metallic taste and smell. It was sickly sweet. The second scent this frosting had was similar to the honey flavoring you find on granola bars.

The strawberry frosting had a very nice smell. Not artificial like I expected. Unfortunately, the strawberry frosting tasted like strawberry medicine laced with metal. Yuck!

I do not recommend purchasing the Girl Gourmet Ultimate Deco and Sprinkler Refill Kit. It tastes metallic and is a waste of money.

Toys R Us, Part 1: Easy Bake Super Pack

When life hands you a Toys R Us gift card, you do what ? Buy toys for the godkids ? Get something sensible for yourself ? Heck no. You grab an Easy Bake 12 Mix Super Pack and the Girl Gourmet Ultimate Deco & Sprinkler Refill.

The Easy Bake Super Pack had 3 packs of yellow cake flavored mix, 3 packs of chocolate chip cookie flavored mix, 3 packs of sugar cookie flavored mix and 3 packs of chocolate frosting flavored mix. Each mix required a dash of water. If you're wondered why I said "flavored" four times, that's Hasbro's wording, not mine.

Left to right: Chocolate frosting, yellow cake batter, sugar cookie mix and chocolate chip cookie mix. Each shot glasses holds three packets worth of mix or frosting. Yep, you're not getting a lot.

The chocolate frosting tasted & smelled like chocolate cake batter. The only reason it was better than Girl Gourmet (see review #2) is because Girl Gourmet frosting had a metallic taste.

The yellow cake batter had a sweet, buttery, pudding scent, just like other yellow cake mixes.

The sugar cookie mix smelled like Yogi Fresh Strawberry Crunch. I have no idea why.

The chocolate chip cookie mix smelled like a less buttery yellow cake mix. The chocolate chips were not solid. They were those little soft pieces that are precariously close to being labeled "chocolatey chips."

7 Chocolate chip cookies & 6 yellow cakes in a small muffin tin.

6 Sugar cookies in a small muffin tin

Yeah, I used a normal oven. I know you're supposed to buy the actual Easy Bake Oven. I couldn't justify buying it for a one time taste test.

I started off baking the treats for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the cake tops and the cookies were both fluffy, but not done. So I put the tray back in for 20 more minutes. The cakes unfortunately started to get crisp, but again, still not done. I scooped the cookies and cakes out of the muffin tin, put them on a sheet of foil and baked for another 20 minutes. That only helped partially. I gave up after that. The comment over here was "Well, duh, of course they're not coming out right. They're supposed to cook under a light bulb, not in a regular oven."

I give this product a B for taste and a C- for over all usefulness. Unless you're a big fan of Easy Bake and definitely plan to buy the refills, this is not a great value for your money.

Monday, February 15, 2010

POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

One of my favorite drinks is fruit juice. The caveat is that many brands of juice either have unhealthy, unpronounceable ingredients or are made with imported juice from other parts of the world. Which left me with two options: (1) buy an expensive at home juicer or (2) give up fruit juice altogether. Yeah, I didn't love those two options. When the folks at POM Wonderful sent me samples recently, I found my tasty, healthy third option: POM Wonderful 100 % pomegranate juice. POM Wondeful's pomegranates are grown in the USA in orchards in California, not overseas. And there's no fillers or extra sugars. After learning that, it was goodbye to the juicer catalogues & the monotony of tap water for me.

Here are some easy recipes you can make at home, using POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and a few simple ingredients:

Pineapple, Onion & POM Burgers

4 vegan meatless burger patties, thawed
1 cup POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
1/2 cup chopped white onions
1/2 cup pineapple chunks

In a medium mixing bowl, combine vegan patties, POM, onions and pineapple. Marinate for 10 minutes. Grill for 5-7 minutes. This is one burger recipe where buns aren't really necessary, since the POM juice adds such a great flavor to the food.

POM And Buttermilk Biscuits

My biscuits were inspired by Vaish Ali's recipe for vegan buttermilk biscuits. Instead of 1 cup of buttermilk, I went with 2/3 cup buttermilk + 1/3 cup POM juice. Also, I used heart shaped muffin tins. These were the lightest, fluffiest biscuits I've ever made. The next time I make this recipe, I think I'll add in pomegranate seeds.

Buttermilk And POM Pie

The filling of this pie is Emeril Lagasse's recipe combined with 1/2 cup of POM juice. The POM replaced the lemon called for in the pie.

The crust was 2 1/4 cups of crushed sandwich cookies, 5 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of POM juice.

The buttermilk pie took about 45 minutes to bake. It was definitely worth making, though. You won't believe your mouth when you taste the filling of POM and buttermilk. It is out of this world good!

POM Rock Candy
My yummy homemade candy started with wikihow's rock candy recipe. I replaced the flavored food coloring with 1/4 cup POM juice. I'm normally not big on hard candy, but I was very impressed with how the rock candy turned out. I also liked the kick of natural flavor from the POM juice. This recipe is great for holiday gifts and wedding favors.