Thursday, January 28, 2016

Junk Fud News, The Latest Episode of the Junk Fud Podcast is Online

At the end of every month we'll be posting a podcast called Junk Fud News that looks back at what's happened over the last month in the world of candy, snacks and junk food.  If you want to read any of the articles we reference on Junk Fud News, you can find them on our Twitter feed and Facebook page.  Click here to listen to the latest episode.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Origins Of Lucky Charms or Circus Peanuts Cereal

A few months ago I was doing research for Snack Facts (our Instagram feed). I was researching sugary cereals, in particular I was reading about Lucky Charms. Lucky Charms are the king of sugar cereals, and in my house were always the example of a cereal that isn't healthy. I'm pretty sure my mother never once bought us a box. Fortunately my grandfather had a different perspective and when we would visit him there would always be a box waiting for us.

While researching the cereal that proves grandparent’s love their children more than their parents, I came across an interesting fact. When the creator of Lucky Charms wanted to find out if marshmallows would work in a cereal, he took a bowl of Cheerios, cut up Circus Peanuts, mixed them together, and added his milk.  So that means technically if someone asks what was the original marshmallow in Lucky Charms, you could say chopped up Circus Peanuts.

Seeing as I am still not allowed to have Lucky Charms in my house (I'm sure it's some kind of wife/mother conspiracy), I decided to take matters into my own hands.  You see, Cheerios are perfectly acceptable in my house, and I managed to acquire a large amount of Circus Peanuts.  So I decided that it would make perfect sense to make my own, old school, Luck Charms.  Although I don't know if you can really call them "Lucky Charms" since I don't believed sliced bright orange peanut can be found in any leprechaun fables.
The first thing I did for this experiment, after photographing Circus Peanuts in various set-ups with Cheerios, is slice up the Circus Peanuts.  When I read this history there weren't any specifications as to how the Circus Peanuts should be included with the Cheerios.  My best guess was to slice them up to roughly the same thickness as I remember the Lucky Charms Marshmallows.  This was a little difficult because I did not have any Lucky Charms as reference because as mentioned before, my wife cares a great deal about my health.

I was also unsure about how many Circus Peanuts to chop up.  The bowl I was using is rather large, it holds about two servings of cereal, and it looks really cool.  I have a long story about why this is the best cereal bowl in the world, but I'll get into that on another blog post sometime.  For two portions of cereal, I started with four Circus Peanuts, it seemed like it needed a few more, so I added three more Circus Peanuts to a total of seven.  I stirred the cereal and Circus Peanuts together before adding the milk.  If not all of the "marshmallows" would have floated to the surface, and what fun would that be.

After mixing them up, I loaded up an old episode of one of my favourite Super Hero cartoons (Super Friends), sat in the living room, and prepared to be brought back to days at my grandfather’s house.  The cartoon was awesome, but the cereal was the real surprise.
My thoughts before doing this was that the "marshmallow" Circus Peanuts might just melt into oblivion the minute the milk hit them.  I assumed this because they kind of melt on your tong when you're eating them.  I wasn't sure if that was because of the heat of my mouth or the saliva.  If these were in fact quickly water soluble, I was expecting a bowl of Cheerios in orange coloured overly sweet milk.  Fortunately I was wrong, as it turns out Circus Peanuts are not really water-soluble. In fact they stayed fairly dry for a long time while floating in my milk.  That information was both pleasant and disturbing.

Flavour wise I was a little worried about how well the orange, yet banana flavoured, Circus Peanuts might go with the Cheerios.  Surprisingly again, it was actually very pleasant.  The milk and cereal really watered down the banana flavour of the Circus Peanuts.  Instantly I was surprised at how similar this combination was to regular Lucky Charms.
After my first bowl, I have to say there was only one "gross" part of this experience.  The milk afterwards had gone fairly orange, and it was super sweet.  Some people like the sweet milk left after a bowl of sugary cereal, but I really don't like it at all.  I actually dislike it so much that I will often eat my sugar cereals with no milk in the bowl, just a glass on the side.

My suggestion to any fan of Lucky Charms, or anybody who's not allowed to have sugary cereals, is to give this a try.  It's not that bad, and it's pretty close to the Lucky Charms experience. I would even say that this is probably the best experience I've ever had with Circus Peanuts.  I'm normally not a big fan, but the additional texture of the cereal, and the fact that this knocks the strong flavour of banana out of the Circus Peanuts, makes them fairly tasty.

I'm not saying that I'm a creative genius or anything, but I think if anybody making Circus Peanuts is listening, making a Circus Peanuts cereal might be something to look into.  And for those of us that aren't allowed to have sugar cereals, this might be a way to get around this rule.

Monday, January 25, 2016

This Week In Candy

I was at a bulk store that specializes in nuts and I came across these little nuggets (pictured above).  The package said "Chocolate Covered Peans", and I'm not really sure what a "Pean" is.  I can tell you that they're not peanuts, and I don't think they're peas either.  Covered in chocolate I would describe the taste as a cross between a dried pea, and a stale Count Chocula cereal bit.  If you happen to have any idea what I just ate, please let me know.

This week we'll be posting the first article we have planned on the subject of Circus Peanuts.  I got so many of them a few weeks ago that my mind has come up with hundreds of ideas for projects that I can do with them.  This week's article is going to look at the origins of Lucky Charms, and origin that is actually tied very closely to Circus Peanuts.  That article should be up later this week.  I'm also writing a future article that will probably go online in March all about the many flavours of Jelly Bellies.  Originally it was going to be just one article, but now I think it may turn into a five part series.

This week we're also posting another episode of the Junk Fud podacst, called Junk Fud in the News.  This is one of the more challenging episodes that we have to record, and we hope to record it tomorrow.  So far the new podcast has proven to be fairly successful, and it just keeps getting better.  So make sure to click here, and check out what we've been up to, and what we have coming up.

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're looking at whipped cream.  Probably the most decadent topping one can put on any cake or ice cream sundae.  This week we'll look at the science and history of this fluffy white whipped fat.  You can check out Snack Facts on our Instagram feed, Facebook page, or Twitter feed for a new whipped cream fact every day this week.

This week's new candy review is a Japanese snack that makes one of the worst flavoured Japanes drinks seem somewhat edible.  Matcha is a green tea that's often used in ceremonies, but also commonly found in many Japanese sweets.  Find out why Milky managed to make this work (sort of), but clicking here.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

The 3rd Episode of the Junk Fud podcast is Here!

The third episode of the Junk Fud podcast is here, and for this episode we're talking ingredients.  Since recording this episode several of the guests have complained to me that they've been suffering with post podcast confusion as to what exactly an "ingredient" might be.  So check out this fun episode of Junk Fud where me and my friends look at "what is an ingredient".

Click here to check it out.


Monday, January 18, 2016

This Week In Candy

For reasons I can't really get into, I have suddenly come across a large quantity of Circus Peanuts.  These "marshmallow" treats are often considered to be one of the most unpopular candies, yet for some reason they've been around for a very long time.  Seeing as I have so many, I've decided to not only review them, but also try out a few experiments as well.  The first experiment involves the most popular sugary cereal in the world, Lucky Charms.  I don't want to get into the details of this experiment now, but it involves Circus Peanuts and a little historical background.  The second experiment I'm planning is something that I need a little help with, I want to bake with Circus Peanuts.  The problem is, I'm not sure what I could possible bake using them as an ingredient.  The only thing that's come to mind is Rice Krispy Squares.  So if you've got any ideas send me a note.

On top of dealing with a strangely large number of Circus Peanuts, we're also planning our next travel adventure, this time to Thailand. Every time I plan a trip, I make sure to ask any of you foodies out there if there's something I shouldn't miss.  So I ask you again, is there anything in Thailand a sweet loving foodie has to try?

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're going to expand our minds about Circus Peanuts.  I figure since we just got so many of them around, why not learn a little something about the history of this "popular" snack.  Make sure to check out Instagram feed every day this week for a new fun fact about these soft orange peanuts.  If you don't use Instagram, you can also follow Snack Facts on our Facebook page and Twitter feed as well.

This week's new review is a bit of a surprise for me.  I wasn't planning on posting this review this week, but I just couldn't stop myself.  This Cadbury chocolate bar was so good that I just wanted to share it with the whole world.  As you can imagine it did fairly well, so click here and find out why.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Candy Critic Dessert Club – Our First Experiment - Apple Pie Pizza

Today represents our first ever experimental dessert. I have a few references for this creation (namely I've looked up a few apple pie filling recipes), but for the most part I'm winging this. The prep for this recipe is probably the most time consuming, and it should be done well ahead of time.

3 Apples (peeled and sliced into small pieces)
2 tables spoons lemon juice
2 cups of water
1 cup of brown sugar
1/8 cups of corn starch
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
Pizza dough (make your own or buy it, it's up to you)

For prep you have to make pie filling, and to make the apple pie filling you first have to prep your apples.  Peel your apples, take out the core, and quarter them.  Then slice your quarters into fairly thin slices.  As you cut your apples put them in a bowl with the lemon juice and mix them around.  This will keep your apples from going too brown. You can skip the lemon if you like, but it makes the apples more presentable.

When the apples are done, put your two cups of water on the stove and turn on the stove to start the boil.  Immediately (before the water boils), ad the brown sugar, corn starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt.  Stir this mixture together constantly over the heat.  It should boil fairly quickly and then immediately it should start to thicken up.  When it's just starting to thicken up, take it off the heat and ad the apples.  Put the pot back on the heat and stir it around until it warms up again. Then turn down the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes (or until the apples are just getting a little soft).
If you want you can cook these apples until they're completely soft, but for the pizza it's nice to have a little apple crunch.  Once the apple are done, remove them from the heat and pour them into a bowl. Let the apples cool a bit, and either store them for later, or use once cool.  While you're waiting for the apples to cool, you can grate your cheddar cheese, how much cheese you use depends on your taste.  Some people don't really like the idea of cheddar cheese on an apple pie, so you might even want to skip this step entirely.  If you love cheddar cheese on your apple pie, go for the whole cup, if not just lightly sprinkle it on.
Once your toppings are ready, you just have to choose how you want to bake it.  I suggest baking the crust slightly before putting on the ingredients.  In this case it was decided to bake the pizza on the BBQ (a great way to bake pizza I might ad).  Roll out the dough if need be, then put it in the oven or on the barbecue until it's fairly cooked.  Once after it's cooked, put on the apple pie filling, and sprinkle on the cheese. Return the pizza to the oven/BBQ until it's warmed up and the cheese has melted.  Since all the ingredients are cooked already, there's no need to worry about cooking anything you just have to warm things up.  Once the cheese is melted, remove from the over, cut and serve warm.

This recipe worked out fairly well.  I did however have to drain some of the juice from the pie filling before adding it to the pizza.  What I suggest, is put the filling on the pizza dough with a slotted spoon, then if the pizza seems dry, just poor on the extra liquid from the topping as needed.  The cheese was a pleasant surprise, I didn't know if it would work, but it did.  The cheese added just a nice amount of savory to the sweet pie filling. I went with a little less cheese, mostly because I was sharing this pizza with friends and some weren't adventurous foodies. The filling made enough for at least two pizzas, since it stores well, I froze the second half.  Dessert pizzas aren't a hit with everybody, but the group that ate this one seemed pretty pleased.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Junk Fud History Podcast is Online

We just posted the latest in the new and improved episodes of the Junk Fud podcast.  This week we're looking at Junk Fud History.  In particular we're looking at the history of Keebler, one of the most recognized cookie manufacturers in the world.  Each month we hope to have more episodes looking at the history of snacks, candy, and fast food companies and products.  If you've got a great idea for a product or company we should talk about on an episode, let us know in the comments.

Click here to learn all about Keebler.


Monday, January 11, 2016

This Week In Candy

Is it too early to think about Valentine's Day? I've started to think about Valentines Day a lot lately.  It's actually one of my favorite holidays of the year.  I like it because people rarely expect anything for this day, yet there's so much you can offer. Even as an adult I've been known to give all of my friends Valentines, in particular the cute ones they sell at drug stores for kids to give to their classmates.  I also really like the quality and variety of candy available on this holiday. Unlike Halloween and Christmas, where you often only get the same types of candy you see all year only themed for that holiday. Valentine's Day candy is associated with high quality chocolates, in decorative and classier packaging.  So I'm thinking about it now, and I'll be thinking about it till Valentine's Day is over.

This week we have the second episode of our podcast Junk Fud going online.  This week's episode is the first in our series called Junk Fud History.  Inspired by a really disappointing cookie experience I had a while back, this episode looks at the history of Keebler.  This is one of those cookie companies that I can't say that I love, yet it's probably one of the most recognizable in the world.  It probably has something to do with those elves.

Today, right after writing this, I'm going to be taking a whole bunch of photographs (in association with our sister site  I've got all kinds of article ideas for this site, as well as ideas for Snack facts, and I need photographs.  Many of these photos are for articles that probably won't be going up for a while, months likely, but I like to be extra prepared.  You can see what we're shooting if you follow any of our social media sites, or just wait till the articles are online.

This week on Snack Facts, our Instagram feed, we're looking at corn chips.  Originally a Mexican creation, these chips are now available all over the world.  Make sure to check Snack Facts every day this week to learn something new about these crunchy chips. If you don't use Instagram, don't worry, you can also follow Snack Facts on our Facebook page and Twitter feed as well.

This week's review is a bar that I picked up in Africa earlier this year.  I was going to include it in our African candy review-a-thon, but I felt that it really needed to go up on it's own.  Probably one of the most unique chocolate bars I've tasted in a while, and well worth hunting down if you've never tried it.  Click here to read this latest cool review.


Thursday, January 07, 2016

First Episode of The Junk Fud Podcast!

Just letting you guys know that the first episode of the Junk Fud podcast is online.  It's a little shorter than the podcasts we did in the past, and there's a reason.  The idea is rather than giving you one long podcast a month, we're going to try and give you three or four shorter podcasts a month.  This first episode is from our series Junk Fud On The Road, where Allison and myself will talk about the kind of foods we've found on our journeys.  This first episode we talk about our "home and native land", Canada.

You can find this latest episode, as well as links to past and future episodes here.


Monday, January 04, 2016

This Week In Candy

It's a new day, a new month, and a new year, so there's lot to talk about.  First of all, this month we're celebrating two great things, cookies and retro cereal.  Every Wednesday this month we're posting a new cookie themed thing, because cookies are awesome, and there are so many cool cookie making tools out there to see.  Every Friday this month we're posting some classic retro cereal commercials.  While old cereal is stale and gross, looking back at old cereal and remembering how cool it was is not gross.

With the new year comes the first episode of the new and improved Junk Fud podcast.  Later this week we'll be posting the first episode, part one of our series called Junk Fud on the Road.  Next week we'll be posting our second episode, but first part in our series about junk food history.  In three week's we'll be posting the first episode of Junk Fud and You, our interview segment.  Finally, at the end of January we'll be posting the first in our end of the month candy round up podcasts called Junk Fud News.  Make sure to check back (or follow us on social media) to find out when the new episodes are released.

January is always a bit of a depression month for me, candy wise.  There's no holidays that celebrate sweet treats at all.  We have to wait till Valentine's Day before we can justifiably eat an entire box of chocolates.  Worse still, the store shelves are just full of rejected Christmas candy.  The selection of rejected Christmas candy just gets sadder and sadder as the days go by.  I know that New Years is technically in January, but I think another holiday is required.  Maybe some kind of escape from the cold winter days, or if you live in Australia an escape from the heat.

Snack Facts is back!  With the new year comes the return of Snack Facts, our Instagram feed.  Every day this week we'll be posting a fun fact about a particular snack, this week it's marshmallows.  We were inspired by a marshmallow roast we had recently.  Make sure to follow us on Instagram to get a daily Snack Fact (this week on the subject of marshmallows), if you don't use Instagram, you can also follow Snack Facts on our Twitter feed and Facebook page as well.

Today we post part 1 of our gummy review-a-thon.  It's been a while since we've done a review-a-thon, so we thought that gummies would be the perfect candy to focus on.  Today's gummy review is a little bit out of the box, or bag as would be more appropriate.  Make sure to check out our Facebook page, Twitter feed, Tumblr page, or any of our social media sites to keep up with this week's gummy review-a-thon.  You can also click here daily to read our latest review.


Friday, January 01, 2016