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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Giving Thanks

Way back a year and a half ago I began reading blogs. Just one at first, the blog of a friend I knew from another venue. It was pretty cool. He talked about food and how to prepare food and his trials at culinary school and he had such pretty pictures! Then on his blog I found links to other blogs, most all of them about food. These people talking about food with their pretty photos all making me drooly and tickling my urge to cook. And cook I did.

Then it hit me. "Hey!" I said to myself, "I cook. I like to talk about food. I can figure out this digital camera-upload thing." So I began to blog. Sometimes talking about food or joining in food-related gatherings like IMBB, other times talking about goings-on in the garden or strange dreams I wanted to share. Eventually coming to this gross candy thing I'm doing now.

The more I think about my previous blog posts the more disjointed it all seems. Sort of the ADHD of blogging. Or maybe it's because I'm just so darn interested that it's hard to write about everything in a cohesive way. Interested. That's right, I said interested. Not interesting because that sounds braggish and I try not to be quite so self-absorbed. But how unself-absorbed can one be while blogging?

I read on another blog that to be really successful, one should blog daily. Is that right? I see a lot of blogs out there that are updated once a week or less. Do I really need to pressure myself to blog? Blogging should be one of those fun hobbies I employ, not a chore to be muddled through because I may have readers who have expectations. Do you have expectations? If I simply stopped blogging would anyone miss me? Of course there are some who would miss me and that's why I continue to blog in my disjointed, incohesive way.

Now that I have my what's my place in the blog universe questions of humanity out of the way, let's get to the thankful part. I'm beginning my Thanks Giving early because one of the things I'll be giving thanks for is a vacation to Florida which will hopefully keep me away from the PC or at least the rigors of blogging for a few days.

A short list for that which I'm Thankful:
Vacations where I don't have to spend a lot of money. You think I'm joking but I'm quite serious.
My family for all their weirdness, quirkyness, food adoration, spontaneity, light-heartedness and their ability to put up with all of these traits in me.
Stacy for being my friend all those years, hopefully she'll come around again one day and "Young Frankenstein".
Food Network for feeding my desire to learn to cook in those early days.
Other Bloggers for feeding my desire to read about food adventures beyond just looking at recipes.
Spam for never apologizing for what it is and never trying to be something else.
Marshmallow Peeps for being so darn cute and fun.
Dr. Seuss, Chuck Jones, and Boris Karloff for making "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" what it is.
Cows for giving milk, cheese, yogurt, and a comfortable, homey feeling when they are outstanding in their fields.
Breakfast cereal and Saturday Morning cartoons for helping me become the demented adult that I am.
Halloween for giving me an outlet for this adult dementia.
Alex Anderson for giving me the courage to charge ahead and make quilts even when I don't know what I'm doing.
Chico's for making clothes in sizes women want to wear. (zero to four!)
Festal Foods for publishing the best Pumpkin Pie recipe, ever.

And finally, again I'm thankful for my Family. They are my everything. If I had no job, no hobbies, no books they would be it. My joy, my laughter, my annoyance, my hope, my grief. All of them.

Now that we have all the mushy-gushy stuff out of the way, let's get back to the gross-out because I am, of course, thankful for that too.

Witches Brew Foaming Gum

Oriental Trading described it as Magical Mouth Foaming bubble gum. It has three distinct layers, the first layer is flavoring. The Green ball is Green Apple flavor with a nice green apple scent. The dark Purple ball is Grape. Below the flavored coating is the gum layer which has no remarkable flavor aside from that of typical bubble gum. Inside the gum layer is the foaming powder center. It has quite a bang of tangy citrus flavor (my mouth is watering now just thinking of it) with the promised foaming action, which lasted quite a long time and was very enjoyable.

I'm not normally a gum-chewer and I don't allow CheesePuff to have gum (though I know her step-sister sometimes sneaks it to her) so I didn't get her input but I really liked this gum. It also provides a decent bubble.

Count Blacula Bubble Gum

Another Oriental Trading find. I really like the white vampire face on the dark black gum ball. Unfortunately, that is about all I like about it. Neither the coating or the gum itself has a particulary good flavor. It is too sweet with chemical overtones from the coloring (which did give me a nice black tongue). The ball started out very hard to chew and as it softened, it simply got sticky then broke down and was never good for bubble-blowing. Quite a disappointment after the Witches Brew gum.

Skull Pops

Oriental Trading has a hit with this. A skull shaped lollipop with delicious vanilla flavor and a large amount of grape flavor Pop Rocks-style candy inside the pouch to dip the sucker into. I think the photo only shows a small amount of the popping candy compared to the amount I actually had in my pack.

Monster Hand Pops, Monster Head Pops and Mummy Pops

Three more from Oriental Trading. These are all basically the same pop in different shapes. A nice variety of fruit flavors. (I didn't taste one of each once I realized they were similar.) They are not a typical hard lollipop. The texture reminded me of the coating on Skittles. Quite tasty and very fun shapes.

A final word of Thanks to you, dear readers. Without you, none of this candy-tasting, cupcake-making, and yammering-on incessantly about it would be any fun at all.

Happy Thanksgiving. Save me some stuffing.

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Graveyard Ghoulees

Graveyard Ghoulees Fruit Gummees by Juicee Gummee
That's a lot of 'ees.

These are nice soft gummies with a good chew and great flavors. Each spooky shape has its own flavor which I like a lot.
Bat - Strawberry
Skull - White Grape with Vanilla
Pumpkin - Orange
Spider - Purple Grape
Worm - Orange and Berry (or Watermelon?)

The large outer bag is much more fun than the individual bags, which was sort of a let-down. I visited the website and found a lot of fun gummy products (I'll be looking for the jelly-filled gummy cupcakes!) as well as a number of unusual food items. None of them had descriptions but I can guess that the items are marketed toward Hispanic folks.

This is a really good candy and I would definitely buy the smaller packs I found on the website but the giant Trick-orTreat pack wasn't as fun as I wanted it to be.

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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Jones Soda -- Halloween Style

Jones Soda, the company that brings us Thanksgiving in a bottle with flavors like Turkey & Gravy, Wild Herb Stuffing, and Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto has branched out to now include a few Halloween flavors. I haven't been brave enough to try the Thanksgiving flavors yet but the Halloween Flavors I found were not especially frightening.

My local Target carried 12-ounce bottles with various Halloween Theme photos on the label.
Monster Mojito was very sweet with a hint of mint.
Creepy Cranberry was really delicious. Slightly tangy cranberry flavor was very refreshing. CheesePuff thought it was sour but I didn't think so.
Lemon Drop Dead was much better over ice than straight out of the bottle. Out of the bottle I got a very odd lemon-rind flavor but this was reduced when I enjoyed it over ice. Slightly sour lemon flavor soda.

I received a few 8-ounce cans from Kadavar in Washington State. I don't think my Target carried these or they would have been in my stash.
Berried Alive was a sweet berry flavor that Puff & I both enjoyed (but neither of us enjoyed it enough to finish the can after tasting it).
Spider Cider tasted much like apple cider.
Candy Corn was the perfect Kid treat. Super sweet candy corn flavor that Puff loved. The soda was bright yellow in color and consequently, so were Puff's teeth afterward. A great addition to a frightful costume, if one desired.

I found out through the website that Jones makes a variety of other non-soda treats as well: Popsicles, Lip Balm and Carbonated Candy. The Carbonated Candy is a small disk, similar to a breath mint with freckles. It has a mild fizzy quality on the tongue that the label calls Tongue-Tingling Flavor Boosters and is slightly reminiscent of soda. The website says they can be dropped into Jones Soda so I tried a Fufu Berry candy in a small amount of my Lemon Drop Dead soda. It was an interesting change, but not enough to make me go out of my way to use up my candies this way and not enough to endure the length of time for the candy to dissolve in the soda.

We should expect to see the Thanksgiving Packs of Jones Soda out within the next week or so. Pick them up as soon as you see them. They are Limited Editions and only available for a short time during Thanksgiving.

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