Saturday, May 26, 2012

Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Grahams

Graham crackers evoke some nostalgia for me. They're something my mom always kept in our pantry; they were a snack I nibbled on throughout my childhood. (Ever had a bowl of graham crackers and milk? We did that pretty frequently in my house growing up.)
So I have a fondness for graham crackers, which is why I was eager to try TJ's Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Grahams the first time I spotted them among the crackers and cookies on the shelves over the freezer case. (So glad someone thoughtfully and accurately placed that hyphen between "old" and "fashioned," btw.)
My assessment of these graham crackers can be summed up this way: If you were to make a homemade graham cracker, from scratch, this is how it would taste, and this is what the texture would be like.
They are really a far cry from anything produced by Nabisco or Keebler. For starters, they are thick and substantial, and much more filling than a traditional grocery-store graham cracker. They're more hearty, which I think must be a result of the whole wheat flour used to make them, and they have a very distinct molasses flavor, which I LOVE.
And---my kids' favorite part---the grahams are covered on one side in a thick layer of cinnamon sugar. Delicious!
These make a great snack just eaten on their own. I haven't actually tried them in milk, I think because they are so rich and flavorful, they just don't need anything extra.
I bet these would be reeeeally great substituted for regular graham crackers in pie crust; however, since I am, so far, too lazy to make pie, I'm not likely to test this hypothesis anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wasabi, Wow!

Last week my coworker and fellow Joe lover, Jamie, essentially dared me to eat this stuff. "My husband and I have found the one single disgusting thing Trader Joe's sells," she said (I'm paraphrasing), and then presented me with this bag of Wasabi, Wow! trailmix that the two of them had tried and hated during a car trip.
I accepted the challenge after conceding that the components of the mix---wasabi peas, peanuts, almonds, golden raisins, and dried cranberries---did seem a little strange put together. It was the fruits, specifically, that seemed to me not to fit. I'd eaten wasabi peas on their own and in rice-cracker mixes, but never with anything sweet.
Anyway, my interest was piqued and I gave Wasabi, Wow! a go, right there in my cubicle, fully expecting the worst.
But...I loved it! The cranberries and raisins lend just enough sweetness and a nice chewy texture to counter the crunchy ingredients. And the key, I believe, is that the fruit and other ingredients are proportioned correctly. In other words, there isn't too much fruit---just enough. It's actually a pretty addicting mix in that it's salty and sweet, with a pleasant little burn from the wasabi peas. It's also hearty, so a little goes a long way (if, unlike me, you have good self-control where tasty snacks are concerned).
My only, tiny little complaint is that the wasabi peas aren't the best I've ever had. They lack that fake-looking bright-green color many wasabi peas have, which is encouraging, but they also lack some zip. I like a wasabi pea to make my eyes water and my sinuses clear, and these don't quite get there.
All in all, though, I have to say woo-hoo to Wasabi, Wow!---with apologies to Jamie and Mr. Jamie.