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31 Days of Junk: Pumpkin Spice Jell-O Pudding (#31)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Well, I really screwed the pooch on this final entry, ladies and germs.

While digging through my cabinets last month, I discovered a box of Pumpkin Spice Jell-O Pudding I totally forgot I had, though I remember purchasing it a few years back while in a pumpkin spice frenzy at the grocery store. Such a frenzy, in fact, that when I brought it home and put it up on the shelf, I completely forgot about it until now.

This pudding expired last month, after a year or two of sitting in the cabinet. But I thought, what the hell. This is for science. I’m eating this slop! That was strike one.

Strike two was the milk I used. On the side of the box it states: “this will not work with soy milk”. Hey, no problemo! I don’t drink soy milk. I drink almond milk. Should work fine, right? Wrong. Apparently, they need clarify their warning a bit more to the point: “this will only work with whole milk”. But since only complete savages drink whole milk, it just wasn’t in the cards for me. That was strike two.

The final blow was delivered when it came time to mix the batter. Forgetting that I’d thrown out our whisk for being too rusty (seriously, whisk, what the fuck, man), I poured the powdery contents and the almond milk into a mixing bowl, only to discover I had nothing to mix it with. I opted for a fork, but that proved to be a futile move, as I was unable to whisk fast enough. So I poured everything into a blender and hit 3.

I let the speckled, burnt orange liquid spin for awhile, until I thought “okay, I’ve definitely over blended this”, which is when I hit the off switch. Strike three.

I poured the silky liquid out into a bowl, which I then placed in the fridge to set. “Five minute pudding”, the box promised.

Over 12 hours later, I checked on the “pudding”, which was in the same state as it was when I transferred it from the blender to the bowl. Like slightly thick water. Incredibly runny. Totally not set in the least. This was not pudding; it was Pumpkin Spice Almond Milk. But it smelled great!

Oh, and there’s a fourth strike. I brushed my teeth right before deciding to finally try this pumpkiny goop. That was a really dumb idea.

I spooned some of the liquid out of the bowl and into my mouth. I kid you not that I ran over to the sink and immediately spat it out. It was not good. It tasted like a mix between the cinnamon toothpaste Aim, and an actual gourd. Super cinnamony and super earthy. No nuance. Just blech.

Was this because the pudding had expired? Because I used the wrong milk? Because I blended instead of whisked? Because I brushed my teeth right before sampling? Or a mix of two or all of those variables? Who knows, man! But what a bummer.

Well, this concludes my #31DaysOfJunk. I can’t believe I survived gorging on this crapola for a month straight, and I appreciate all of you who stuck along for the ride or just popped in to say hello. I gotta say: I liked last year’s #31FallBeers challenge much more.

Now to start planning what I should consume next October…

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31 Days of Junk: Skeleton Bones Cheese Curls (#30)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

While these particular treats weren’t the inspiration for this whole crazy “31 Days of Junk” odyssey I’ve been on, they were the first snack I bought after deciding I was gonna take the dive and gorge myself on shit for a month.

I picked them up at World Market, amongst an arrangement of other freshly displayed Halloween treats and decorations. I bought the wax fangs and Pop Rocks I reviewed earlier from this very same section, on the very same day!

I’m not necessarily a baked cheese snack person. Goldfish, Cheez-Its, Cheese Nips, Cheetos, and Cheese Puffs all get a big no from me. Even Planters Cheez Balls and Cheez Curls (though beautifully packaged) do nothing for me. I will occasionally indulge in Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Limon, but that’s just ‘cuz I’m a sucker for zesty flavored snacks.

This is all a roundabout way of saying these Skeleton Bone Cheese Curls are not within my wheelhouse of preferred snack. But, they’re still surprisingly tasty. The first whiff of the opened bag is pretty gnarly; pure dog breath. But the curls themselves are more of a gourmet matter. Well, as gourmet as you can get for a cheese curl. They’re made of the same shit Cheetos are (cornmeal), but these have a decidedly heartier crunch to them, and a bit more heft, too. Definitely bigger in size, in general, too.

The white cheddar is an obvious choice (white, like bones!) but also delivers on the gourmet angle. After all, who would make a WHITE CHEDDAR cheese curl? Oh right, the execs at World Market who know their demographic.

My final observance of these bony treats: the white cheddar powder which coats the pieces is just that—super powdery. But I dig it. It’s like someone rolled them around in the powder that comes in a mac and cheese packet. It’s got a little something for everyone—the hoity-toity and the blue collar blue boxers.

31 Days of Junk: Sour Patch Kids Zombie (#29)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I was going to start this by saying, “Sour Patch Kids have to be one of the best modern-day candies, right?”, assuming that SPKs were no older than the late-90s at most (that’s how it always seemed to me, at least). That is, until, I looked them up and found out they’ve actually been around since the late-70s(!) and took on their current form—one meant to capitalize off of Cabbage Patch Kids—in the mid-80s.

So allow me to start this by saying: “Sour Patch Kids have to be one of the best candies in general, right?”

They’re the perfect mix between sour and gummy, and they have a weird little mascot to boot. The closest competitor I can think of (in my book) is Zours. But SPK, man, they’re just the whole package, aren’t they?

These spooky SPKs (curiously surnamed the singular “Zombie”, as in “Sour Patch Kids Zombie”) are the exact same formula as regular ol’ SPKs. This box, however, is limited to orange and purple varieties. They feel extra soft to me—softer than I am used to—but maybe I just got a weird batch.

The day after I purchased these, I discovered Sour Patch Kids Candy Corn at the store. I thought doubling up on the SPKs might be overkill, so I decided to pass, regrettably. The candy corn shape would’ve been a nice variation on the candy, as these are identical to the usual SPKs you get any time of year.

In the end, they didn’t reinvent the wheel with these, but then again they didn’t have to.

31 Days of Junk: Peeps Marshmallow Monsters (#28)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I’m just gonna say it: I hate Peeps. Hate ’em. I shudder even typing the word. Who in their right mind can enjoy these overly soft, insanely sweet, decidedly un-marshmallow marshmallows covered in granulated sugar? Oof, horrifying. I’ve never liked the original chick Peeps, or the cute pink bunny head Peeps. I didn’t like the Peeps with the chocolate coating, and I certainly don’t like these green abominations.

Thankfully, the heads only come three to a pack, so they’re easy to get rid of by pawning off on two unsuspecting friends (though what friend would even offer these to their compadres?) or by simply dumping in the trash without feeling too wasteful.

However, these particular Peeps get some bonus points for unintentionally looking like Roger Klotz.

Peeps photo by ObsessiveSweets.com

31 Days of Junk: Brach’s Vampire Teeth (#27)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

This is the fifth candy corn related item I’ve eaten this month, and it will also be the last. It also happens to be pretty dang tasty!

These red-tipped “Vampire Teeth” are strawberry flavored-candy corn. Now, the sound of that doesn’t appeal me—perhaps its the OG candy corn’s yellow-orange-white color scheme that seems to stand at odds with a fruity berry flavor. But dammit, it works.

Really, the fondant flavor of the candy corn (the base flavor profile for all candy corns) mixed with the strawberry creates a kind-of strawberry shortcake flavor that is super yummy. Another thing I appreciate about this particular candy corn is that the flavor isn’t overpowering like original candy corn. The flavor here is subtle and floral, making it easy to jam them into your maw, one after another.

If the idea of candy corn appeals to you but you could never get into the taste, I think these would be a great alternative.

31 Days of Junk: Treat Street Gummy Zombie Hand (#26)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I can’t believe I made it almost 30 days in before hitting my first “dud”.

There’s really not much I can say about this treat because it was so void of flavor. The packaging simply says “fruit flavor”, but the aroma when I opened it was pure green apple. So I expected something apple-y, perhaps something with the familiar tang that accompanies green apple-flavored candies. But no, there was no flavor whatsoever. It was kinda weird. The candy was also greasy, as gummy candies often tend to be, but also plasticky in a way.

Overall, the two most important components of any food—the texture and the flavor—were kinda gross and nonexistent, respectively. Now that I’m thinking about it, it was what I imagine eating a zombie’s flesh would be like. So maybe they nailed it?

I bought it from Michaels, which is where you buy craft supplies—not candy.