Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Your guide to eating cheap including tips, recipes and techniques

Archives for Beverages


6/2/09 | Yoo-Hoo


[ Currently Eating: Bánh Cuốn ]

Yoo-Hoo - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

Oh, wonderful innocence and naivete for consumables. You have been lost in the hallowed halls of time. It pains me to say this, but Yoo-Hoo is not really chocolate milk. ‘Tis a chocolate drink.

Boo-hoo.

Well, actually it’s been awhile since I realized that not all “chocolate milk” is really chocolate milk. I would say that it occured somewhere between the time I found out Santa Claus was not REALLY a jolly red and white, coke-gulping senior citizen with a facial hair problem, and the time I discovered that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express tag team were not in fact double-dropkicking their opponents fo’ reals.

Yes, Virginia – wrestling is fake.

In any case, it’s not like they say anywhere on the box that Yoo-hoo is actually chocolate milk. And it does contain non-fat dry milk. And it has whey – uh, better known as milk plasma. You know, little Miss Muffett sat on her tuffett eating her curds and milk plasma.

Tee-hee.

Still, I have good interesting memories with the Yoo-hoo drink. I remember having them at baseball games. Yes, we were the team that always won the championships. However, I was not the player who always hit or caught the ball. In fact, I think I was more concerned with the quality and quantity of the refreshments that parents bought to the games. Oh Kevin’s mom – you think you can get away bringing that fake Pic’n’Save Kool-aid crap to the game?

Hell-no.

There were a few parents who insisted on bringing Yoo-hoo to the game. When I first tried it, I thought it tasted like Chocolate Spit. I dunno, something to do with the amount of HFCS, xanthum gum or corn syrup solids, but it had a really gummy taste to it. Not to mention the fakey chocolate milk taste. Eventually, I grew to learn to drink it, but I was never a big fan. Then again, I never really liked pre-mixed chocolate milk. It had to be the kind you poured and mixed yourself. Nestlé Quik rabbit coming at ya full force.

Boo-yah!

Yoo-Hoo - Cheap Eats at Bloglander

If you fast-forward, I hadn’t probably had a sip of Yoo-hoo in 25 years. So when I saw this 3 pack at the store I had to pick it up for a buck. These seemed to be seriously small containers at 6.5 ounces each. But I guess it’s about half a can of soda or so. Maybe it’s better it’s such a small package, considering the waist sizes of Americans today.

With my new adult taste buds, I was a little more forgiving of the flavor. In addition, it could be my imagination, but it seems to feel less mucous-like than before. (Side Note: someone needs to make a product called Mucilage Milk. I would try it.) I did make the mistake of drinking this at room temperature first. The flavor improved greatly when I chilled it. Speaking of drinking it at room temperature – apparently Yoo-hoo is known to have a (and I quote from Wikipedia) “famously open-ended shelf life” for a milk product. Mine actually did have “best if used by” dates of April 25, 2010. Actually when I first read the date, I thought it said April 2510! That would be some really old milk product.

Moo-cow.

I’m also rather glad that they haven’t gone the “sugar-free” route. I can’t stand the mouthfeel that fakey sugar substitute drinks of any kind inflict on your tongue. Yes, yes Diet Dr. Pepper is still fake Dr. Pepper to me. Yoo-hoo does have a little bit of an aftertaste, but I don’t think that’s due to the sweetener. Especially seeing as how real honest to goodness delicious High Fructose Corn Syrup is the second ingredient on the box list.

I guess I wasn’t terribly disappointed with Yoo-hoo after so many years. If anything, my impression of this faux chocolate milk has improved slightly. However, my baseball skills have not. In fact, I am currently being chosen next to last whenever the guys get together for softball games during the holidays. This is OK with me since I have gained the secret knowledge that prowess with the bat occurs as a semi-compensation for personal “bat-length”.

Po-Tweet.

Price: $1.00 for 3 boxes (6.5 oz ea)
Found At: Dollar Store
Cheap Eats Score: 5/10

[Editor's Note: Man, I was trying to work in some Imperial Teen into this article, but then I realized no one would no what I was talking about... ... ... ... see what I mean?]


[ Currently Eating: Egg Battered Fish w/ Corn Sauce ]

I had been planning on posting this during the week to coincide with the upcoming Halloween candy-fest. Things have a way of popping up to spoil all my well laid Cheap Eats plans. Like my car zonking out – long story; we’ll stick to reviewing instead…

Anyhow, I received some samples of Slammers Ultimate Milk by Bravo! Foods Int’l Corp in the mail from Matt the other day. What they’ve done here is packaged up fairly standard chocolate and strawberry flavored milk with some very popular candy brands. Supposedly, these milk drinks are supposed to be shelf stable for 6 months, more healthy than other milk drinks and fairly decent in price.

But the big sell is definitely going to be the candy names. I got Milky Way, 3 Musketeers and Starburst Slammer drinks. Those are three names that most people know about. The actual Slammers logo on the package is quite small, which is probably a smart thing for them… they want to push the big brands.

And I think it might work for a lot of people. The biggest question for me was: do these drinks actually TASTE anything like the candies in question?

I have to admit that my expectations were way too high. After all, it’s a DRINK. Mr. Unreasonable Cheap Eats editor was planning on having a Violet Beauregarde (from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory) gum chewing experience. You know, the one where she chews a piece of gum an experiences a full turkey dinner (? can’t remember if that’s correct).

I was fully expecting to take a swig of Slammers and suddenly have the sensation of actually eating a Milk Way, 3 Musketeers or Starburst. Yeah, I know. Delusional.

I started out with the Milky Way Slammers. These bottles are the larger ones, by the way, at 14 ounces. They also carry a smaller 8 ounce size. The Milky Way one is actually supposed to be reduced fat chocolate milk.

Continue reading “Slammers Ultimate Milk” …


[ Currently Eating: Goldfish Crackers ]

[Edit: If you came here from Digg, hello. Once again, this is NOT my own recipe] I’m not sure about you, but when I was a kid I absolutely delighted in creating strange and inedible food concoctions. These early period “food pastiches” inevitably included ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, mayonaise and salad dressing. The trick then was to try to make it an inviting color (usually through liberal dashes of food coloring) so that an unexpecting parent would try and drink it.

I didn’t have much success back then, but those memories are part of the reason I still enjoy messing with food today. So, a combination of the hot weather blasting us, my need for something to drink at rollerhockey and money being short as usual, I decided to see if I couldn’t mix me up a batch of Homemade Gatorade. I mean, how hard could it be to make salty flavored water?

A plethora of Gatorade recipes exist, and though some of them rely on things like Potassium Chloride (salt substitute branded as Nu-Salt?), fructose and Kool-Aid mix, the basic ingredients are pretty much water, salt, sugar and some flavoring. I decided to have a shoot-out of Homemade Gatorade versus the real stuff since I had a couple bottles of Gatorade leftover.

Here’s the basic recipe I picked, I went with one that featured OJ because that’s what I had (apparently you can get some potassium from the OJ?)

Homemade Gatorade Recipe

1/2 cup orange juice — $0.15
9 tbs. Sugar — $0.03
3/8 tsp Salt – negligible
2 liters (approx) water – negligible

Total: $0.18

Using boiling or hot water can make things go faster, but you’ll need to chill it down somehow before fridging it. So just mix everything together and see if it tastes like Gatorade. Does it? Read on…



Continue reading “Making Homemade Gatorade” …


[ Currently Eating: Toast, toast, and toast ]

Welch's Strawberry SodaIn the days of yore, back when normal sized candy bars were 25 cents a piece, I used to drink a lot of soda. Generally, we didn’t get a whole lot of name brands like Coke, Pepsi, and 7-up at home. We used to get cans of “fake” soda like Shasta.

Actually, there wasn’t a whole lot of soda drinking at home. It was mostly on camping trips when we got soda.

These were usually syrupy sweet carbonated concoctions that would melt teeth outright if you kept it too long in your mouth. It was best to gulp these down. My favorites were the articifical grape, black cherry and strawberry sodas. Only kids could love this stuff.

Flash forward to the present, and we happened to pick up some Welch’s Strawberry Soda which came in the ubiquitous fridge pack. I know it’s not a generic brand soda, but it was as cheap as one: $1.99 for a fridge pack. Difficult to pass up, seeing as we needed to re-fill our soda stock.

Let me just say that this soda is so sweet that I felt like I was going to go blind or something from drinking it. I bet if you let all the carbonation escape it might make a nice strawberry topping for shave ice.

Nevertheless, it brings back some good memories of Shasta soda when I was young (I know they still have this on the market). Little kids love sweet drinks – it fuels their inexhaustable energy reserves. I remember recently trying to drink one of those “Hi-C” type box drinks and I just couldn’t believe how sweet it was.

Continue reading “Welch’s Strawberry Soda” …


[ Currently Eating: Vanilla Cokes, Of Course ]

Black Cherry Vanilla Coke vs. Vanilla Coke… Annnd in the challenger’s corner, recent fruity upstart made real by a secret cabal of Coke marketeers: Black Cherry Vanilla Coke. Now make way for the reigning champion, the sweet but burp-inducing beverage, the one and only Pepsi-killer: Vanilla Coke. Now let’s get ready to rumble!

Well, truthfully the fight’s been fixed. Black Cherry Vanilla Coke has already won in a forfeit. Good ‘ol plain Vanilla was put out to pasture at the start of this year for reasons yet unknown except to Coke insiders. It had a good run. It was delicious. And now it’s gone.

I’d been waiting for the “replacement” ever since reading the press release about Vanilla’s demise. Sure enough, last week during a Target Xmas Gift Card shopping spree I saw the fridge packs of Black Cherry Vanilla Coke and picked one up to review.

I was actually just going to review the new flavor, but since I had 2 cans of Vanilla Coke leftover, I decided to waste one of these potential Ebay hot OOP products (I’ve been wondering if we’ll see them being sold as the days go on) to do a comparison taste test side by side. So today, I lined them up and poured myself two glasses of the different soda flavors. Incidentally, I highly do not recommend drinking two cans of soda in the morning after a full cup of coffee. Buzz-city.

Hm… today I think I’ll actually divide up the review in sections, like a “real” reviewer would. Maybe this will attract more companies to send in freebees:

Packaging:

Let’s start with the can design first. Both use the signature Coke red, silver and white for the can, and both varieties have some “yellowish” streaks that I supposed stands for vanilla. Vanilla Coke included an abstract piece of art that I didn’t really like. But then again, how do you draw vanilla beans so that people will know what they are? I think people might think it’s peas in a pod or something.

Black Cherry Vanilla Coke has a picture of two cherries floating in water which is kind of cool. However, the writing “Black Cherry Vanilla” is actually quite small and is vertical on the can which makes it difficult to tell at a glance what it is. Vanilla Coke has the letters emblazoned diagonally across the can in much larger letters.

I think it’s a tie as far as packaging goes. I would like to see the “black cherry vanilla” in bigger letters on the can, but the older Vanilla Coke wasn’t so hot in the design. But hey, who really cares about this stuff right?

Continue reading “Black Cherry Vanilla Coke” …


[ Currently Eating: Patty Melt With Cheese ]

Vanilla Coke[Ed. Note: Earlier, someone created a petition to bring back vanilla coke. Well, yes it seems to have come back (no need to write in to tell me!)... I'm going to close comments on this post for now, unless they decide to take it away again. Remember, I wrote this post in 2005. Thank you all for commenting.] We now interrupt your regularly scheduled Cheap Eats candy birdwalk programming to bring you this news: the Coca-Cola company is planning on phasing out Vanilla Coke at the end of 2005.

This is sad! Vanilla Coke, I hardly knew ye. Coca-cola brought it to market in 2002 along with Diet Vanilla Coke a year later. They did this pretty good marketing push, I remember I was eager to try it even before it was out. But now they say the sales are slipping. So where did all the Vanilla fans go? Could they really have gone over to the “dark side” which is of course Pepsi (a much hated drink around Cheap Eats).

I always thought Pepsi was lame because they were asked what they thought of the new flavors (vanilla / lemon / lime) that Coke came out with, and I remember a marketing bigwig (now fired most likely) saying “Oh, that’s not going to have ANY affect on the market. No one’s going to buy THAT.” Then a few months later they came out with those flavors of Pepsi! Lame.

While we normally don’t give a dang about name brand soda at Cheap Eats, Vanilla Coke totally kicked ass. It wasn’t as cloyingly sweet as normal cream soda. For awhile there, it was actually somewhat difficult to find at stores, at least on sale. We contented ourselves with picking up Vanilla Coke Fridge Packs for $3 each at Target whenever it cycled around to being cheap. I didn’t stockpile any Vanilla Coke, though you can be sure that I’m going to go out soon and load up the SUV.

Continue reading “Vanilla Coke : You Will Be Missed” …


[ Currently Eating: Yep, Hawaiian Tea ]

Hawaiian Natural TeaI recently received this triple pack of so called Hawaiian Natural Tea from my parents so I decided to run it through the Cheap Eats ringer. Actually, it IS from Hawaii (company is from Honolulu). The flavors of the boxes were “Mango Peach”, “Pineapple Strawberry” and “Passionfruit Orange”. Sounds like typical flavors for Hawaii. I picked the Passionfruit Orange for a taste test.

First, I guess it is marketing, but what’s with the need to put “Natural” along with Hawaiian Tea? That makes me think there’s some Unnatural Hawaiian Tea which doesn’t sound very good indeed, especially since we are talking about leaves from a tree here. I guess they mean the other items in the tea are 100% natural, or perhaps that the tea is organically grown.

Speaking of that, the ancient persons (from China) who originally came up with marketing dried leaves in your hot water as a beverage is a genius. Yeah, I know there are tea-people (just as there are wine-people, coffee-people etc.) who only insist on the finest teas and can easily tell the origin and quality of a single tea leaf, but that’s not me. I will do Lipton as likely as I’ll do Oolong Tea grown from a single mountain in Taiwan (not kidding, we have some of this at home).

Anyhow, to the tea itself. There are 8 tea bags or packets in each box and they contain a mix of organic green and black tea. The side proudly proclaims “No Carbs, No GMO’s (genetically modified organisms, no kidding) and Rich in Antioxidants, Calories 1″.

Hawaiian Tea in a CupThat is a good start I guess, but for Cheap Eats we care about price. Tea is pretty expensive especially when you’re talking about dried up leaves. But if you go with either bulk bagged stuff or hand scooped leaves from specialty tea shops (there are many near me) instead of packets like this, I think it comes out much cheaper. I probably wouldn’t splurge on a 3 pack gift box like this one, which will run you about $8.00 or so for 24 packets.

Continue reading “Hawaiian Natural Tea” …




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