Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Best of 2013

Before we say goodbye to 2013 I thought I should pick out some of my favorite foodie items from the last 12 months.

What makes these items the best? These were products that not only got a good review, but I repurchased them. I'm no fancy food blogger, I don't get this stuff for free, so if I go and re-buy a product that means I really liked it.

So let's get started. I'm going to try and pick one item for each month, so let's kick things off with January 2013!

  JANUARY 2013

Ling Ling Potstickers

I know that you can buy this brand at a lot of normal grocery stores, but I get it from a whole sale club (BJ's), so this bag is freaking HUGE and I still go through them fairly quickly. I have bought these not once, not twice, but 3 times since I originally reviewed them! These little frozen potstickers are super simple to cook up and they are well priced, so this is a great appetizer to serve at a party. I highly recommend these potstickers, and I have a 4th bag unopened in my freezer at this very moment.


Gobstoppers HeartBreakers 

This is a seasonal candy, but it is one of my absolute favorite candies ever. I try to stock up on them every year but I never seem to have enough! These little candies are flavor changing jawbreakers, just like normal Gobstoppers, but the thin heart shape is as cute as it is tasty. These are the perfect size and shape to fit in your mouth. (Which is super creepy to type but I really couldn't think of any other way to put it.) Valentine's Day is right around the corner and I plan on grabbing as many bags as I can. (Target usually offers a coupon for those of you that are interested.) 

MARCH 2013

Lay's Sriracha Chips

Sadly, this was one of my favorite items and it was discontinued. (If you didn't know, Cheesy Garlic Bread won the Do Us A Flavor contest.) I know these chips tasted NOTHING like their namesake, these were way too sweet to be sriracha, but I was addicted. The sweet build-able heat reminded me of honey hot buffalo wings, which are my favorite, so I was really sad to see these go. While they were available I stocked up and eventually went through 3 bags. Farewell my beloved chips, you will be forever missed. (Anyone know of a similar product to fill the void in my snacking life?)

APRIL 2013

Herr's Kettle Cooked Boardwalk Salt & Vinegar Chips

More delicious chips, but this time they have a super long name! This is another one of my snacking favorites, and thankfully this one is still with us. These chips are deliciously crisp and intensely flavored. If you have chapped lips, these are NOT the chips for you, but if you love salt and vinegar chips, I honestly think these are the best ones out there. (At the very least, this is the best commercially available brand.)

MAY 2013

Wegman's Banan-a-Peel'n' Premium Ice Cream

May was a tricky month, because it featured a couple items that I have re-bought. When it came down to it, I picked the item I was craving right now, and that was the premium banana ice cream from Wegman's. Similar to Trader Joe's, Wegman's has a cult following, and although I really enjoy this store, I don't think I'm drinking the Kool-Aid just yet. I will say that their store-brand ice cream pints are delicious, affordable, and addicting. This ice cream is packed with tons of mix-ins and banana sundae flavor. If you like banana ice cream you'll love this stuff! Even though it's cold outside and the forecast is calling for snow, I wish I had a pint in my hand right now.

JUNE 2013

Chocolove XOXOX Almonds & Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate

May may have been a tricky month, but June was even trickier! I didn't notice it at the time, but I haven't really re-bought anything I reviewed that month. I ended up picking this Chocolove candy-bar because I have repurchased this brand several times, but not this specific flavor. This company has beautiful, well thought out, packaging and I absolutely love the concept of adding something artistic and (somewhat) educational to the snacking experience. Plus, as I mentioned in previous posts, I am dating an English Major who is seeking his Master's degree. This candy is something that he really seems to get a kick out of, and we have fun reading the poems and eating the chocolate together. I'm not sure if every flavor has a standard poem that is always inside the wrapper, so I'll have to repurchase a few flavors to find out. If you have any writers, literati, or book enthusiasts in your lives, this might make a really cute Valentine's Day gift.

JULY 2013

Fit & Active Apple Turnover Yogurt

I may not be a member of the Trader Joe's or Wegman's cults, but I can't deny my love for Aldi. I can go in one day and buy delicious yogurt, and a power-washer the next. Oh Aldi, what would I do without you? I have always been a fan of Aldi's Fit and Active yogurt flavors, but this one is the best of the best. This yogurt is sweet, spiced, and there are tiny bits of freeze-dried apple speckled throughout. Texturally, the apples add something really nice to the yogurt, but the spiced flavoring is the star of the show. Chop up some bananas, or strawberries, and mix them in for a deliciously filling (and healthy) dessert. As far as availability, this is tricky to find. I can't tell if this has been added to their normal yogurt line up or if this is a seasonal flavor. It comes and goes seemingly at random, but if you do happen to see this flavor at your local store I recommend giving it a try. (I try to stock up whenever I see it.) 


Meiji Banana Choco

Admittedly, I bought this candy because the packaging was freaking adorable. I have been burned by adorable packaging, and banana flavored candy, in the past, so I thought that this would taste awful, but these are absolutley delicious! I liked these so much that, not only did I buy several boxes, but I used them in a frozen yogurt recipe. These little chocolates have a crisp outer shell, similar to m&m's, and a deliciously creamy chocolate banana flavored center. The only downside to this candy is that they are a bit hard to find in my area. I originally bought these in Philadelphia's Chinatown, but the store never restocked, so unless I want to shell out the big bucks for online shipping, I shall be Banana Choco-less.


Peanut Butter Pop-Tarts Gone Nutty

I typically don't buy Pop-Tarts, I'm more of bowl of cereal kind of girl, but this is a really impressive product. Instead of the typical, dry, pastry crust that Pop-Tart's have been known for, the outer portion of this pastry is a sweet, buttery, shortbread. Similar to the milkshake and hot fudge varieties, this Pop-Tart is dense and chewy right out of the package. When toasted, it's like having the best peanut butter cookie ever, and it's straight out of the oven! I'm surprised that this combination took the company so long to perfect, but they really hit the ball of out the park. (That is one of the VERY few sports terms I know.) I haven't had the chocolate peanut butter version yet, but it seems like that flavor also got really great reviews.


Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Seed Granola Bars

You all knew that something pumpkin-y was bound to show up on this countdown, and these Kashi bars were (arguably) the best pumpkin item from 2013. As a "healthy" food item with flax seed, I thought that this product was going to be a bust, but it wasn't. These had a lovely, satisfying, crunch and a well balanced blend of the pumpkin pie spices. My only complaint is that these have the "crumbs f*cking everywhere" problem that most granola bars have. Take one bite and your lap is covered in a light dusting of oats and crumbs, but they are delicious crumbs, so that makes it okay.


Pumpkin Macarons

These macarons were so impressive, I just had to pick them as one of the best items for 2013. This is a frozen product, and freezing a delicate cookie like a macaron is a tricky thing to pull off, but Trader Joe's did it! What's even better is that Trader Joe's didn't make this product to reel in pumpkin-addicts like me, because I have tried the other frozen macarons that are available from the same company, and these seasonal ones are significantly better! Deliciously light almond meringue cookies sandwich a rich pumpkin pie ganache. What's not to love? This is a really delicious product, and I wish it could be available year round.


Crunch 'Mallows

These reviews are pretty recent, so I haven't had the time, or the stomach capacity, to eat any of these items more than once. So I picked the food item that made me the happiest. How can a bag of freeze-dried marshmallows NOT make the list? As yummy as it is nostalgic, these little marshmallows didn't last more than 2 days in my snack drawer. I loved them so much I thought about buying the huge bag off Amazon, but I feel like my dentist would hate me forever. (Although I swear I have paid for almost all of their kid's college tuition by now.)

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