Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archive for October, 2007

10/30/07 | Stride Gum

[ Currently Eating: Fried Chicken and Potato Salad ]

Stride Gum on Cheap Eats

(Edit: If you came here from Consumerist… welcome!)

You know, when I really think about it Stride Gum should have been reviewed long, long ago here on Cheap Eats. I mean, their whole raisin de la existanz (pardon me, Sarkozy) is that the gum lasts a heck of a long time and therefore you’ll spend less money on buying it – therefore shutting the company down. No really, I didn’t make that up. This is the main focus of nearly every commercial they’ve done. In each commercial we witness the demise or partial shutdown of the company factory due to the fact that the gum they’ve created just lasts too long for customers to buy enough of it.

Stride Gum on Cheap Eats

Self-aggrandizing commercials for gum like this are much easier to swallow (no, don’t swallow your gum please). The commercials are 10 Million Billion TRILLION times better than the bloated, sci-fi Matrix-inspired commercials for 5 Gum. I mean you’re selling GUM, not Axe deodorant…

Anyhow, it’s funny, but I actually think the long lasting chew of Stride Gum causes uncontrollable Heroes-like, Philip K Dickian psi-effects . The reason I say so is that I’d never tried any before, but the day that I did I got an email from a Stride Gum rep telling about some new contest to win a Dodge filled with Stride gum they’re having. That’s too much of a coincidence. Paranoia. I strongly believe that the repetitive, jaw movement unlocks some primoridal, deeply buried ESP and they’ve got receivers up at HQ set to the formant frequency of my brain so they HEARD my thoughts. Or rather, they heard my jaw working.

Stride Gum on Cheap Eats

Blah, blah, sci-fi blah… I know, I’m bored too. Which is why today’s review is going to be a mini timeline. I know they have a “Chew Timer” section on the site already, but I decided to do my own research – because chewing gum doesn’t actually exacerbate my repetitive-motion shoulder / back injury which has flared up in the past few weeks. Ouchity. Anyhow, here you go. Timeline starts on the next page:

Continue reading “Stride Gum” …

[ Currently Eating: Habanero Turkey Jerky ]

Just wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be taking a short break from posting. It should be no more than 2-3 weeks and then we’ll return with food reviews and recipes. Thanks for standing by.

[ Currently Eating: Goldfish Crackers ]

Glory Red Beans And Rice on Cheap EatsAwhile ago, a friend of my wife’s had given her this can of Glory Foods Seasoned New Orleans Style Red Beans And Rice, so I decided to get it into the review queue. I have to say that I’ve never heard of this brand before so I just assumed it was another forsaken waif relegated to the shelves of the dollar store. According to the friend, however, it’s a standard item you can get at any grocery store.

I’m also not sure if this isn’t going to turn into one of those reviews like the one on my namesake Bryan’s Tamales where my regional culinary ignorance is once again put on display. Seriously, I had no idea about the MS Delta Tamale Trail until I saw it on Food Network. So people DO eat those tiny wax paper wrapped tamale things on a regular basis…

This 15 oz can of Red Beans and Rice says “New Orleans Style” on the front. Although I’ve been to New Orleans earlier for a few days, I’ve never had red beans and rice at a restaurant over there. So I have no idea if this is a popular regional thing or not – but I’m assuming it is. Hopping onto their website, I saw that Glory Foods makes a ton of different types of canned, frozen and fresh food. In particular, they do a ton of different types of southern style canned beans, peas and veggies which somewhat reassured me this might be a halfway decent brand of Cheap Eats.

Anyhow, I dumped the can of rice and beans into a pot and settled in to wait for it to boil up. My first impression of the mix is that it is actually had much more liquid than I thought it was going to have. I had pictured it being drier but it actually looked sort of like bean soup with rice. It was very viscuous as well – in a way the consistency of the sauce reminded me of when you dump a can of kidney beans out and there’s all that red-brown liquid left over. Reading the label, I saw that a main ingredient was red bean flour so perhaps that’s where it’s coming from.

Glory Red Beans And Rice on Cheap Eats

The red beans and rice warmed up quickly, about the same time it takes for a similar sized can of chili. I dumped it into a dish and took up a spoon.

Continue reading “Glory Red Beans And Rice” …

[ Currently Eating: Coffee ]

Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch on Cheap Eats

I usually post up Cheap Eats reviews on Tuesdays. But you know that saying, “Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t?” (Please, don’t make me sing the farking jingle.) Well, yesterday I just really, really, REALLY didn’t feel like a nut. So I figured I’d better hold off on reviewing these new Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch bars. Because these bars are so unbelivably nut-filled (nutsy?) that I wouldn’t do them justice if I wasn’t in a nutty type of mood.

Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch on Cheap Eats

I got two boxes of these nut energy bars – Almond Crunch and Peanut Crunch. They’re almost identical, except that the first has whole almonds in it (interestingly, the Peanut one contains almond flour in it). There are six bars per box and each bar is about 1.2 ounces and measures about 3.5 inches long. This seems a bit short actually, but maybe it’s just the ever-shrinking size of prepared foods like this today. I really used to think it was me just growing up so the sizes of candy bars getting smaller and smaller. No, it IS them getting smaller. I’m nut crazy. Sorry, I mean I’m not crazy.

Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch on Cheap Eats

Well, perhaps it’s also smaller because unlike other nut-based energy bars there are a LOT of nuts in it – so the price consequently goes up. I have to say that I was really surprised at the quantity of nuts – if you look at the ingredients (for the Almond ones) they contain: Almonds, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Sugar, Corn Syrup, and Salt. That’s all, which is pretty amazing considering a lot of the chewier bars’ ingredient lists threaten to take over the entire side of the box.

Oh, did I mention that this is NOT a chewy type of bar? In fact, it’s one of the crunchiest I’ve ever had. A downside is that it’s actually very, very messy. I learned early on not to take the entire bar out of the package and just push it up slightly to take a careful bite. This is not something you want to eat while driving. Because it’s basically nuts held together with corn syrup, there’s no way to avoid having them fall in your lap. (Ah.. but if I was a funnier reviewer I would have a sweet time with making a joke about nuts in your lap). If you take too big of a bite it just shatters all over the place.

Nature Valley Roasted Nut Crunch on Cheap Eats

That said, the taste is pretty great – roasted nuts is what you get. There are no “fake” nuts here made out of compressed powdered nuts. I like the trend toward less ingredients that they’ve made with these bars.

The roasted nut flavor is excellent – I was expecting nuts that were over or under roasted, but I didn’t detect any. The balance of salty and sweet is pretty good. It’s a bit heavy for me, but I suspect that it’s just right for almost everyone else. It’s a bit like eating caramel corn or cracker jack if you substituted the popcorn with nuts. Actually, it’s even more like peanut or almond brittle minus most of the brittle. Basically, if you don’t like nuts (or are allergic in any way to them) you want to avoid this bar at all costs. If you like nuts, this is going to make you pretty satisfied.

At about 57 cents a piece retail, it’s about the same price as a candy bar though probably better for you (well, it does say 22% of Total Fat – 14g so I guess it’s not something to eat if you’re trying to lose weight? Don’t ask me, I’m not a dietitian or nutritionist). I would probably buy these again, especially if they were on sale.

However, while you’re eating this you’re probably going to have this thought: Couldn’t I just buy some trail mix and get basically the same ingredients without the fancy packaging for cheaper? Sure, it’s individually packed and convenient to just grab and go – but the mess it makes while consuming it sort of negates the convenience. Also, I’m sure you could cut out some of the sugar and salt from this by just eating unadorned trail mix. I’ve also wondered if you could just pour some trail mix into a cupcake pan and drizzle that with some sort of melted sugar (or corn syrup) mixture in order to make the exact same thing.

I dunno, maybe I’m being too hard on them. It’s a decent snack, especially when you compare it to a lot of the other energy bars out there that contain a lot of junk. I like the transparency in the ingredients and they’re certainly tasty, but I wonder if at some point a bag of mixed nuts will provide exactly the same result.

Price: Free (MSRP: $3.39 for 6 1.2 oz bars)
Found At: Sent in for review
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10



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