Snacking on life, living off snacks.

Posts Tagged ‘snack’

Review: Pita Puffs

In review on 01/30/2010 at 4:46 am

Let us begin with a brief history of the store-shelf pita and its carby spawn.

In the beginning, there was pita bread. A staple of Mediterranean cuisine, one would use this thin, flat bread to complement the thick, savory goodness of hummus. Pita bread could be found on the bread shelves of Trader Joe’s for a minimal price.

Then there was the pita chip. Elevating the pita to crispy, salty new levels, the pita chip arguably usurped the position of the pita bread as it was eminently dippable and delicious by itself– sans hummus. One could not say the same about Trader Joe’s pita bread. Alone, it was rather dry and historical-tasting.

Then came the pita round cracker. A classier addition to the Pita portfolio, these crackers could also withstand the weight of cheese,  jam,  and other heartier fare. A delicious cracker, it would not buckle under the weight of artichoke dip, whereas the less-versatile, less-sturdy pita chip might. The pita round cracker also looked better on silver platters next to the olives, whereas the pita chip was only fit for party bowls and disposable trays.  One would bring pita round crackers to a wine-tasting, pita chips to a Super Bowl party.

Then there was the reduced-fat pita chip. An attempt to expand the pita bread fan base, this product reached out to health nuts who were previously unwilling to relinquish celery and carrots as hummus-dippers due to the fat content in pita chips. Sadly, the reduced fat pita chip under-performed, as the lack of fat was compensated by an overdose of salt.

For awhile it seemed that Trader Joe’s had exhausted all the potential from the humble pita. Until…

The pita puff arrived. I first was attracted to the large Roman figure on the packaging. A sucker for antiquities and other museum relics, I was intrigued by such a cultured piece of cellophane. I also happened to stumble upon some samples in the corner of the store. The pita puff is essentially a mini-pita round with a puff of air blown into it. It was light, airy, and crunchy with just the right amount of sea salt. I was hooked. I became a PitaPuffGirl (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

It captures all the flavorful goodness of pita without the heaviness that sometimes accompanied the chip or cracker. It also was a capable dipper– especially if you eat half of it first, you can use the other half to scoop the hummus!

Pita Puffs: 5/5 pelts

Yum. My only problem is with the packaging. As much as I love TJ’s quirkiness, I do wish they would take more care to write better copy on the back. Aside from the fact that I don’t actually know if Romans ate pita (their Greek counterparts did, however. I hope Athena is not turning in her grave…err….cloud), the rambling text on the back of the bag confused me completely. As long as they don’t start labeling their sushi with “Trader Ming,” however, I’ll be good to go.

But let it be said: Trader Joe’s, if you ever need someone to write the back of your packaging, I’m your lady.

Meanwhile, pass the bag of pita puffs.

Review: Whole grain hard pretzels

In Uncategorized on 10/08/2009 at 3:21 am

Pretzels are pretzels. There’s the oh-my-freaking-goodness-get-me-one-NOW kind at the mall, where I’m fully convinced they  station scent-amplifying fans next to the ovens to attract as many teenage mallrats as possible.

Then there are the hard, sturdy kind– so serious, so salty, so…. hard. Cover them with mustard (ew) or Nutella (yay!!) and you got yourself a serious snack.

I decided to buy the latter kind at Trader Joe’s, after realizing I should not exclusively snack on sweet things.

It’s tasty enough– you can’t taste the texture of the whole grain really, but it’s hearty and relatively filling for a stick of baked flour.

I had it for a snack today sans peanut butter or Nutella though, and it just came off as really dry. That’s not fair to the pretzel though. I just wish I could dip it in something.

4/5 pelts.

Reviews: Pumpkin pancake mix, soy nuggets, black bean enchiladas

In Uncategorized on 10/05/2009 at 4:55 am

Pumpkin Pancake/Waffle Mix:

I split the mix in half; pancakes were made twice. Thus, this eliminated some of the arbitrariness that might have been assigned to uneven portions of ingredients (here at TJJunkie, it is important to apply scientific rigor).

The first time I overdid it with the milk, leading to slightly limp pancakes that nonetheless “tastes just like pancakes that are supposed to taste like pumpkin pie!”” (said A.W.) About 5 people sampled them and concurred that the pumpkin flavor stood out but the texture was not ideal. The second time I made these, they turned out far fluffier because I stuck to the exact measurements. For me, the pumpkin flavor was pronounced but not overpowering, leading to a yummy carby treat that screams “Autumn!”

Pumpkin pancake/waffle mix: 4/5 pelts. (only accounting for pancakes)

Soy Nuggets

Before you judge me as some PETA- supporting, granola-chugging, hemp-sporting soy freak, I defend myself by saying 1) I was really hungry and wanted non-meat, non-tofu, non-peanut butter protein and 2) someone asked me to review them!

First, a thought on soy protein:

As an Asian person, I like soy milk and I adore tofu. Therefore, there was a natural skepticism that came when the Western world decided to co-opt soy and turn it into all things protein.  Tofu chili, soy crumbles, tofu hot dogs, soy burgers, etc. Over time, however, I admit that I’ve largely bought into the soy movement; mostly because there are days when I just don’t feel like meat and I need something filling. After sucking it up for so long, soy protein doesn’t taste weird to me anymore.

These frozen soy nuggets were crusted with whole wheat crumbs and fried in expeller-pressed oil (whatever that means); they are also low fat. I heated them in the oven and had them nice and toasty. I shared with a friend and we both agreed that it tasted way better than we expected, largely because of the crumbly, crunchy texture on the outside. The soy protein felt like the spongy insides of any nugget (let’s be honest: even chicken doesn’t feel like chicken in nuggets.) I also had them when they were cold and they didn’t taste bad either.

But dip them hot in ketchup and they are actually delicious! Soy nuggets: 4/5 pelts

Black bean enchilada

I’m not a huge fan of cheese and  wanted a Mexican frozen entree without it. Since every Mexican dish is smothered in cheese, I did not expect to find one. Lo and behold I stumble upon the frozen black bean enchilada, filled with zucchini, peppers, corn, and… small cubes of tofu.

My last experience with tofu as a meat in Western food was unpleasant: it was a chili consisting of cut-up cubes of soft tofu and tons of salsa and canned tomatoes. It made me realize that watery salsa and watery tofu, while holding similar liquid properties, are absolutely and completely not meant for each other.

Anyway. So I worried about this enchilada as I felt the tofu on my tongue (there is no indication on the packaging save for the ingredient list that tofu is in there; they probably understood that it would scare people off.). However… it was quite delicious! The smoky enchilada sauce somehow manages to complement the veggies and the tiny cubes of tofu. Maybe it’s because the whole melange of ingredients in between corn tortillas tastes heartily Southwestern.

Either way, I like it enough to have bought it now….10 times? for lunch. Maybe more. I’m only recently getting tired of it.

Frozen Black Bean Enchiladas: 4/5 pelts.

Keep the suggestions coming!

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