Review(s): Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice belVita Breakfast Biscuits, Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes, Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice CupCakes, Nosh Show Ep.63, 2015-2016 NFL Predictions
JFG Nation, Happy Labor Day! Lots to talk about, so let’s lay this puppy out in three parts: PART 1: The Nosh Show! PART 2: Three pumpkin-spice-filled junk food reviews. And PART 3: My 2015 NFL Predictions. Ok? We all in the boat? Hands inside the windows? Good. LET’S GO.
PART 1: EPISODE 63 OF THE NOSH SHOW IS HERE!
For you new arrivals, The Nosh Show is a podcast started by Marvo from The Impulsive Buy, featuring Ryan from GrubGrade, Dubba from On Second Scoop, and, of course, me, your friendly neighborhood JFG. Today marks the release of The Nosh Show, Episode 63: Shut Up, You’re McDonald’s!
This week, “we reveal a new Oreo flavor. We also talk about the McWhopper, Taco Bell using a crispy chicken as a taco shell, a new (but old) Snickers, and more.” You can listen embedded here:
PART 2: TODAY’S JUNK FOOD(s): Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice belVita Breakfast Biscuits, Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes, and Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice CupCakes!!
Here’s the thing about pumpkin spice junk food, snacks, varieties, etc. – THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. I mean, these products are exploding on social media, they’re littering our food aisles, they are being mentioned on the news. It was mid-August and things were starting to trickle in. Now that it’s Labor Day? Expect to be deluged!
In past years I would’ve reviewed everything I could – there are PLENTY of pumpkin-related reviews on this website. But this year, with a lot of stuff going on in my personal life, I decided to ONLY pick things I REALLY wanted to try. So, for now, Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice belVita Breakfast Biscuits, Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes, and Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice CupCakes – you’re it. I hope you’re worth my time…
First up: Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice belVita Breakfast Biscuits!
You know, I don’t know why it took me so long to get on the Breakfast Biscuit game. Sure they look like big cookies, but I always loved oatmeal cookies, so what was the problem? I had my first belVita Breakfast Biscuit last year and never looked back. And now Nabisco makes Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice belVita Breakfast Biscuits?? Dude. Gimme.
I opened up the package of four biscuits, and the aroma that filled the air was distinct – pumpkin spice and cinnamon. More cinnamon than anything else. Each biscuit was typical belVita – light, flaky, crispy/crunchy. I chewed one up and immediately smiled. These were super tasty – but that isn’t surprising because belVita Breakfast Biscuits are ALWAYS tasty.
No, these worked because the pumpkin spice wasn’t overwhelming. The cinnamon and pumpkin spice flavor was present but definitely hidden in the layers of oats in the biscuit. The flavor was well balanced with the biscuit itself, never overtaking the oat flavor. belVita biscuits aren’t super sweet, so the pumpkin spice flavor wasn’t punched up with a bunch of sugar.
Simply put, these were a nice oat biscuit with a moderate flavor of pumpkin spice. Nothing too crazy, but because the underlying product is so solid, I’d eat it every time. If you’re looking for SUPER pumpkin flavor, go elsewhere. But if you like belVita, you’ll like this variation.
PURCHASED AT: Wegmans, Germantown, MD
Next up: Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes!!
OH HERE WE GO. You want pumpkin spice flavor pumped up with sugar? Well then look no further than these Keebler Limited Batch Pumpkin Spice Fudge Stripes. Hoooo baby.
I opened THIS package up and could IMMEDIATELY smell the pumpkin aroma, AND a strong cream cheese icing smell. The picture on the front, I think, were a little misleading – these smelled more like a pumpkin cake, or pumpkin bread, or pumpkin muffin, with cream cheese icing on top – not so much pumpkin pie. Anyways, each cookie was like other Fudge Stripes – light and super crispy.
Chewing into one, the pumpkin flavor was strong and the cookie was REALLY sweet – the white icing definitely had a slight tang like a cream cheese icing that paired really well with the pumpkin-y cookie. Coming off of the belVita biscuit, I will admit, these definitely FELT more artificial, but there was no denying the perfectly constructed sweet pumpkin-y flavor that was executed here. I munched my way through three more cookies. SUPER easy to eat. Nice pumpkin flavor. A winner in my book. Buy these.
PURCHASED AT: Giant, Van Ness, DC
COST: $2.50 on sale
LAST UP: Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice CupCakes!!
I found these Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice CupCakes in Target near the Candy Corn CupCakes I was seeing on everyone’s Twitter. I REALLY didn’t want to buy both, so I had to choose. Which one to buy? I was leaning Pumpkin Spice CupCakes, and finally decided to pull the trigger because upon closer viewing of the Candy Corn CupCakes….
…I realized these were just Twinkies in a different shape. I’d be writing a review about how my mind was trying to trick myself into thinking the whole thing tasted like Candy Corn. There probably isn’t ANY candy corn flavor in those cupcakes, and it’s really just a cruel hoax played on all of us by Hostess. So….no.
I smartly went with the Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice CupCakes:
See? Not just normal yellow cake and you tried to make the filling taste like candy corn. No, these Hostess Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice CupCakes actually have a DIFFERENT cake: pumpkin spice cake. That ALONE made it worth buying over the Candy Corn version.
Opening the package, I sniffed, and……huh. Well, it actually sort of smelled like a Twinkie. These was a little bit of spice aroma but the main thing I sniffed was that super sharp sweet smell of the cream inside. So…that was interesting. I took a big bite, chewed, and swallowed. I have to admit – out of the three products, this was probably third place, BUT NOT because it was bad – but because it was probably the least balanced.
Unlike the other two products, the pumpkin flavor here was barely pronounced. Now, the SPICE profile was there – I got a bit of cinnamon, ginger, etc…but that was it. I got SPICE cake, not PUMPKIN SPICE cake. That said, the spice cake was super tasty for those who enjoy Hostess products. It was definitely a warmer, more complex-flavored cake than a Twinkie, and had that nice squeeze that you’d find with a homemade cupcake. The frosting on top and the cream inside made it SUPER sweet – and while it trended toward cream cheese icing more than vanilla frosting, it was still so cloyingly sweet that it was sort of hard to tell. However, added to the spice cake? It was a nice punch of sugar to take this snack over the top.
So, I liked it – waaaay better than a normal Hostess cupcake or Twinkie. But best pumpkin spice product of the three? No.
PURCHASED AT: Target, Germantown, MD
Conclusion? Go buy those Fudge Stripes.
PART 3: THE JFG’s 2015 NFL PREDICTIONS!
Hey, you made it this far? Good on ya, my sports-loving portion of the JFG Nation. Let’s talk some pigskin.
The NFL season is finally here, set to kick off this Thursday with an opening tip between the Patriots and the Steelers. And, per tradition, it’s time for me to lay out my 2015 NFL season predictions! Last year in 2014, my friend the Backup QB and I made season predictions, guessing not only the division winners, but also the two wildcards in each conference. At seasons end, in the NFC, I predicted 2 divisional winners correct, with 2 NFC playoff teams correct overall. In the AFC, I picked 3 divisional winners correct with a whopping 5 AFC playoff teams correct overall. BOOM. Quick sports nerddom: early in the 2014 season, the BQB made the point that the median number of divisional repeat champions since 2003 was 3…with an aberration of 6 in 2012. But in 2014, there were 6 repeat champions as well, with Carolina clumsily stumbling into the division champ slot with a 7-8-1 record. GROSS, Carolina. You go away.
So, this year, will the median trend back to 3 repeat teams? Or will history repeat with 6, or even more? I guess we’ll find out. Some changes this year: the Backup QB and I won’t be making competing weekly picks this year – he’s super busy and so am I. Maybe we’ll rejoin things in 2016. Instead, I’ll be flying solo this year with my picks, but I’d love to challenge some of you in week-to-week picks. Mulling how this would work. In the meantime:
AFC North Champ: Last year I chose Cincy, which wasn’t a horrible choice, since the Bengals still finished 10-5. Wait, 10-5-1. A tie, Cincy? Lame. Anyways, this is a tough division that faces an also-tough NFC West this year. If Maurkice Pouncey wasn’t injured, I’d tab Pittsburgh with 12 wins. With their star center on IR, however, it’ll affect that high power Steelers offense. I think Pitt still finishes with 10 wins, but I like the balance of CINCY once again.
AFC East Champ: NEW ENGLAND. Their schedule is still ridiculously soft even with Miami and Buffalo getting better. This is even before Goodell effed with Brady – but now, Belichick is going to go all HULKSMASH on the rest of the league. It took Brady four games last year to find his moxie, but I think Tommy will find his groove pretty quickly this year to prove a point. Fireworks, sir. Fireworks.
AFC South Champ: INDY. Andrew Luck is a crazy caveman football machine full of TDs and win sauce. The other QBs in the division are Brian Hoyer, Marcus Mariotta, and Blake Bortles. Exactly.
AFC West Champ: I know the safe bet is Denver here, but I’m not so certain. Never bet against Peyton, but Kubiak is new, CJ Anderson is good (or is he?), and they lost Julius Thomas. Peyton can’t feel his fingertips, and that defense wasn’t great last year. This is a team with serious weaknesses. I’m actually gonna pick KANSAS CITY here, yes the team that had something ridiculous like no passing TDs to WRs last year. They will this year with Dwayne Bowe gone (FINALLY). Plus, Travis Kelce and Jamaal Charles are no joke…KC will get 10 wins quietly and win the division.
AFC Wild Cards: PITTSBURGH and MIAMI. Damnit, I really wanted to put the Bills here. CMON TYROD TAYLOR BLOW PEOPLE AWAY. Anyways, I count at least 10 wins on Pitt’s schedule, and I AM a believer int he Tannehill hype. Plus, that Miami D is sick. Sick sick sick.
(So far, I only have two division winners repeating – NE and INDY. Moving on…)
NFC North Champ: GREEN BAY. “But Jordy Nelson is injured!” Doesn’t matter – last year I thought GB would have a tough time with their division, and all the Packers did was score more points than everyone. EVERYONE. Uh, check please.
NFC East Champ: Ugh, who even knows. Well, it won’t be the Skins – I live in DC, and am acutely aware of this team’s flaws. The Cowboys? Yes, they have weapons, and an amazing offensive line, but is that enough? RunDMC and Joe Randle ain’t Demarco Murray. The Eagles? Yeah, they’ll score tons of points until Sam Bradford and Demarco Murray get injured. And the Giants…well, who the hell knows. In years that I thought they were putrid they went on to win the Super Bowl. They have no running game consistency, but they do have Odell Beckham. Is that enough? I really don’t think so. EAGLES, I’ll say, but this is a crapshoot. Chip Kelly will be vindicated.
NFC South Champ: THIS IS YOUR UPSET SPECIAL: TAMPA. EFFING. BAY. I can’t remember where I read it, or if I just made it up, but it seems like every year there is SOME TEAM that goes from worst to first. Let’s be clear – this was an AWFUL division last year, where no one finished with a winning record. NO ONE. So to me, it’s the division with the greatest possibility of variation – so WHY NOT Tampa Bay? Jameis will have some growing pains, but I think his poise in the pocket shows maturity beyond his age. Better schemes. Doug Martin (I HATE YOU MUSCLE HAMSTER YOU SUBMARINED TWO FANTASY TEAMS) is actually looking decent this year, and Mike Evans is a beeeeaaaast. I know this is a long shot. I don’t care. Tennessee and Carolina blow, and I think Tampa Bay can edge New Orleans.
NFC West Champ: SEATTLE. WOW, San Fran was bad last year. And they got even worse in the offseason. Oooof. STL got better, but the run game is still suspect. And Arizona I like – if Carson Palmer can stay healthy. Still, Seattle got a little weaker on defense with Byron Maxwell leaving, and a little better on offense with Jimmy Graham arriving. What if Russell Wilson had been passing to Graham in the end zone during the Super Bowl? (IT STILL WOULD’VE BEEN INTERCEPTED YOU RUN MARSHAWN ALL DAY LONG IDIOT).
NFC Wild Cards: MINNESOTA and DALLAS. Dallas only because I do think they have enough firepower, even without a settled run game, to mow down folks. And the Vikings because with AP back and Mike Wallace added, Teddy Bridgewater has a full compliment of weapons. Arizona was close…but I think Palmer gets injured again (sorry!)
(If you’re keeping score, which I know you’re not, I only picked two more teams to repeat as divisional winners. So, only four repeats this year, according to me.)
Wild Card Round: Pittsburgh over Kansas City, Miami over Cincy (sorry, Dalton), Seattle over Minnesota, Dallas over Tampa Bay.
Division Round: New England over Miami, Pittsburgh over Indy, Green Bay over Dallas, Seattle over Philly. (Ugh, did I really just pick NE, PITT, GB, and SEA??? Gross.)
Championship Round: Pittsburgh over NE, GB over Seattle (DON’T JUMP FOR THAT ONSIDE KICK).
Super Bowl 50: GREEN BAY over Pittsburgh. This Super Bowl XLV rematch AGAIN results in a GB win! Packers redeem themselves for 2014 chokejob. Aaron Rodgers films even more annoying State Farm commercials, poses in SI mag with Olivia Munn as Psylocke. Wisconsin folk finally forget about March Madness loss to Duke. Jordy Nelson awarded Super Bowl ring despite never playing in regular season.
Of course, if Randall Cobb gets hurt….
Alright, I’m out. Catch you on the flip side, JFG Nation. Hit me on social media if you wanna discuss some football…I’ll be watching Thursday night.
Junk Food Guy