A “Department” Dedicated to Cookies

Back in May, Akiva from The Cookie Department contacted me to review his cookies. After browsing the companies website I was more than happy to take some cookies off his hands. A company dedicated to cookies the size of your face is kinda epic in my opinion. The flavors all sounded dreamy and happily awaited the arrival. Akiva was more than generous in the supply he gave me. I had plenty to give to friends who gave me their feedback on the taste of the cookies

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Tough Cookie: I had high hopes for this one. It is the peanut butter lover in me, but I was not a huge fan of this one. I don’t know if it was the addition of whey, but this cookie was too dry and crunchy for me. I am not a huge fan of crunchy cookies – I much prefer softer, chewy ones so that could be a reason why. I also found the peanut butter flavor to be off. However, the guys loved the sound of this cookie because of the added protein in cookie form.

Chocolate Chip Nookie: Do you all remember the really amazing subway cookies a few (okay 8-10ish) years back? The really really good ones? I am convinced they used the old recipe to make this cookie because it tasted exactly like those delicious treats. Crunchy on the outside, but soft and doughy on the inside. The chocolate chips were amazing. This cookie was the perfect balance of sweet and chocolatey.

Great Full: This was the only one I didn’t try. Not that I don’t like sweet potatoes or oatmeal (because I do), but rather because I have a thing against dried fruit, especially cranberries and raisins. I just don’t like them so I would already have a biased opinion. My co-worker tried it and reported that the flavors were spot on. The sweet potato flavor was very prominent and paired well with the cranberries. The only thing she complained about was the texture. She said it was a mix between soft and crunchy which was weird to her.

Awaken Baked: A sweet cookie and a cup of coffee? Yeah, winning. Like the Chocolate Chip Nookie, this one was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. I was pleasantly surprised that the rich coffee taste was not bitter at all. In fact, it was pretty sweet. The coffee lover in me loved the bold taste.

Snap Back: This was hands down my favorite of them all. So soft, so moist and very reminiscent of my Aunts epic gingerbread cookies. The strong molasses taste combined with the sugar crystals on top was an epic duo. There was a lot of spice to this one, which I adored. Paired with some vanilla yogurt and I was one happy camper :)

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Sadly these cookies are mainly available in California, but check out there website to see if there are any locations near you!

Another epic thing that came out of this contact? I am now the Nutrition Blogger for the company! Major wins.

Check out my latest post about protein!

http://thecookiedepartment.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/why-protein-is-so-important/

Alright, I am off to a mini vacation with my roommate for the weekend!

Surprisingly Special

Now, I am not one for diets.

In fact, I think the whole “diet craze” is one of the reasons for our obesity epidemic but that is a story for another time. Sure, Special K is a diet brand, but they do make some pretty fantastic foods. Case in point: Chocolate Caramel & Cookies n Creme Pastry Crisps. Yes, my heart may have skipped a beat when spotting these gems at Walmart.

Special K Chocolate Cookies & Creme

cookiescream These delightful pastry crisps come in a pack of 2. Each pack is only 100 calories – which is perfect for yogurt mix-ins. specialkbarsRight off the bat, these babies smell amazing. Special K captured the cookies & creme essence and infused it into the wrapping. The pastry shell does have a rich chocolate flavor very reminiscent of the Chocolate Fudge Poptart crust ;) My one complaint is the filling, or lack there of.

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Special K Chocolate Caramel Pastry Crisps

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Like the Cookies & Creme pastry crisps, a huge whiff of chocolatey goodness comes from the packaging. These bars are identical in appearance to the Cookies & Creme pastries. The chocolate pastry part is similar to the Cookies & Creme but are slightly richer. Again, the inside is really really lackluster.

insidecaramel  Overall these are REALLY delicious just don’t except a large amount of filling

Rating: 4 Coffee Beans

Doing What I Do Best

& that would be finding new products on the grocery store shelves! After all, I really want to work for a food company so it is best I keep up to date with new trends ;) I’ll keep this short & sweet with just the name and my rating. Want more details? Just ask and I could talk your ear off about any of ‘em. I wish I was kidding…

Campbell’s Chunky Kickin’ Buffalo-Style Chicken SoupsoupRating: 4 Coffee Beans

The Simply Bar – Cinnamon Pecancinnamonpecan Rating: 1 Coffee Bean

Kashi’s Garlic Pesto Pita Crispsgarlic Rating: 5 Coffee Beans

Special K Brownie Bites – Blondieblondie Rating: 2 Coffee Beans

Any good products I should know about?

Pure Pleasure

I feel like I haven’t really done a product review in a while. This might be due to the fact that school work is crazy and I just don’t have the time to whip out a my camera every time I eat a new food. Sure, I’ve had epic products as of late, some just okay and some I never want to eat again, but when it comes to yogurt, Okios has never let me down.

My roommate can tell you that I love pudding. I have it almost every night. Not only does the pudding provide me with some extra sugar for my morning run, but it just taste delicous. The added calcium doesn’t hurt either ;) However, I have yet to find a good caramel pudding. The ones I’ve tried just taste awful. However, I spotted this baby at Walmart and knew I had to try it.

I can honestly say this yogurt is crazy good & addicting. If it weren’t for the $4.00 price tag, I’d buy this just as much as my pudding, but I am a cheap college student so my $1.00 pudding usually wins. However, the Okios Caramel is super thick, as Greek yogurt should be. The tangy Greek yogurt flavor is muted only to be overtaken by the silky smooth caramel swirl at the bottom of the container. The flavor isn’t in your face, but it sure is sweet enough to squash my sugar cravings.

However, I can’t just eat yogurt plain and need some crunch. Enter dark chocolate chips & pecans. Turtle sundae-esque with lunch? I’ll take it :)

Rating: 4 Coffee Beans; I’d give it 5 but its rather pricy.

Luna Bar Fiber – Vanilla Blueberry

Did you think I would really leave you all hanging after my last post with the blueberry bar?

Luna Bar Fiber – Vanilla Blueberry

While the Chocolate Raspberry Fiber bar was a wee bit lack luster, I still wanted to give the other flavors a try! Generally, I love blueberry flavored products – blueberry muffins, cereal bars, yogurt, jams/jellies, etc but blueberries themself? well, not so much. I tried not to have high hopes but I’ll be honest. I did. I was super excited to give these a try.

Plus, this bar has the core 4 – obviously I don’t need blueberries when this is so heavily fortified – nevermind the antioxidants that berries bring ;)

Upon unwrapping the sleek packaging I was hit with a blueberry wiff. Not going to lie when I tell you all that I was majorly disappointed to see my enemies show up on this bar too – those annoying wheat germ sprinklings at the bottom. Compared to the Chocolate Raspberry bar, the Vanilla Blueberry seemed to have more sugar crystals and less of my enemies so all was okay.

As for the taste, it was very very reminiscent of the blueberry nutrigrain bar, which I adore. Nothing artificial about this blueberry flavor at all. In fact, the blueberry fruit on the inside was very natural and smooth. The filling complimented the vanilla crust beautifully. Lets talk about the crust for a minute. It is nothing short of fantastic. Instead of a graham crust, it was straight up vanilla. Loooved it. Reminded me of pit crust.

Nutrition & Ingredients found here.

Rating: 4 Coffee Beans!

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Alternative Bakery Company

I don’t think it is a secret that I have a sweet tooth. Ice cream & cookies just happen to be two of my favorites. I would rather have a huge waffle cone or a cookie the size of my face over a slice of cake. As long as you don’t give me a cupcake – we will get along just fine. Needless to say, when I spotted these massive cookies at my local health store, I kind of did a happy dance. Not only are these cookies vegan, but the ingredients are pretty darn wholesome for a commercial cookie. I am pleased to present Alternative Bakery Company. Seriously, these cookies are ridiculous.

Lemon Poppyseed

In terms of flavor – this cookie is spot on. Totally taste like a lemon poppy seed muffin (which just so happens to be my favorite flavor of muffin) The lemon flavor was more sweet – think lemon dessert, than an actual lemon you add to your water. It was not tangy or tart but refreshing. However, it wasn’t sickningly sweet. The poppy seeds were abundant in the whole cookie and left a few in my teeth. They really didn’t do much in terms of flavor. This cookie was “skinner” than the other ones I tried too. Overall, delicious flavor that is sweet without making you feel like you ingested a ton of sugar

Rating: 4 Coffee Beans

Snickerdoodle:

Hands down, snickerdoodles win in terms of my favorite cookie flavor. There is just something about the combination of the sweetness from the sugar and the spice from the cinnamon. This cookie does not disappoint. I loved how thick this cookie was – the middle was so dense. In terms of taste – it was spot on. Like the lemon poppy seed, it was sweet without being too sweet where you’ll feel sick. Instead there was more spice from the cinnamon but the sugar crystals on the top just enhanced that cinnamon flavor. I am sad to report that this cookie flavor is discontinuted. Alas, on their web page they have a new Cinnamon cookie so I would guess it is pretty similar.

Rating:4.5 Coffee Beans

Peanut Butter:

Normally I don’t gravitate towards peanut butter flavored goods. I would just rather have real peanut butter instead of peanut butter flavored ice cream or cookies. However, this was probably the best cookie I have had in a long time. Not to mention my favorite of the three that I tried, which surprised me. Not only was this cookie straight up peanut butter, it made perfect dough balls. Moist doesn’t even begin to describe how soft and chewy this cookie was. An added delight was the whole peanuts found throughout the cookie. Like the previous two cookies, it wasn’t overly sweet which I enjoyed. Instead it was more akin to a natural peanut butter in cookie form. Win win.

Rating: 5 Coffee Beans

Lean Cuisine – Mushroom Mezzaluna Ravioli

I like to run. Scratch that – I live to run. Alas, the only way to keep myself fueled through numerous miles is via carbs. I have experimented with my diet and found that carbs and fat fuel me best. Thus, now that I am home from college it is much easier for me to get more carbs into my diet without portion overload. One of my favorite forms is pasta (I am half Italian – both my mother and grandmother lived in Italy). However, I will preface this by saying I am extremely picky when it comes to pasta. Rarely do I order pasta dishes when ordering out because nothing compares to mamma’s homemade sauce and the perfection of her pasta. I was a little skeptical when buying this meal but it sounded waaaay too good to resist.

I guess  Lean Cuisine added a new culinary line – sounds a little like Healthy Choice, but you gotta keep up with the competition. Not going to lie – the promise of mushroom filled ravioli with ricotta cheese is what drew me in. Ricotta just has that melt in your mouth taste. I’ll preface this by saying I didn’t use the microwave – I had the pleasure of baking the meal in the oven. Even after the ravioli is done cooking – it looks very promising! I mean look at how huge those raviolis are. Granted there are only five, but I can’t complain. There was an abundance of spinach and red peppers. The orange peppers were few and far between. My one gripe with this meal (and all waistline friendly meals for that matter) is that the sauce is always super thin. This applies the the masala sauce too. No worries, like a good nutrition student I added a boatload of broccoli.

Et voila! Lunch is served.

Taste: Nothing short of fantastic! I was actually amazed by how much flavor this meal provided. Not only was the pasta al dente, but the sauce was very flavorful! Restaurant quality for sure. The spinach was tender and the red peppers were not soggy in the least. The flavors blended together perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised that inside the ravioli were whole mushrooms which only made me adore this meal even more. As for the ricotta cheese? Yeah – it was good.

4.5 Coffee Beans –> not a fan of a lot of sauce

Nutrition & Ingredients found here.