Halloween with Kroger

IMG_2083

Kroger’s MyMagazine Sharing Network sent me a box of Halloween-themed goodies to try out.  I was particularly happy to participate in this mission as I am a biiiiiig candy eater.  They sent me a bag of Kroger Brand Gummi Worms, Kroger Mini Twist Pretzels and a coupon for a free bag of Kroger Mini Baking Chips.  They also included a reusable orange Halloween shopping bag and stencils for carving pumpkins.

Kroger Brand Gummi Worms

I was really excited to receive a free bag of Kroger Gummi Worms.  You can buy a 9 oz bag at Kroger for $1.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a massive gummi candy addict.  I can easily polish off a bag of Haribo Gummi Bears in one night!  I really enjoyed these Kroger Gummi Worms.  They were easy to bite into and not so chewy that they are rough on  your teeth.  They had a nice variety of delicious flavors and they really tasted good.  I find that gummi candies often have a powdery residue which provides a strange mouth-feel and these did not have that.  I give them two thumbs up!

Kroger Mini Twist Pretzels

IMG_2056 I really enjoy pretzels. My family has always liked to dip them in ranch dip and that makes a perfect snack. We have long been a fan of the Kroger Brand pretzels as you can buy a bag of these for $.99 and they taste just as good as the big name brand that costs closer to $4 for a bag! I think we will continue using the Kroger Brand! My toddler really enjoys snacking on these.

 

Kroger Brand Semi-Sweet Mini Baking Chips

A major component of this Halloween Kroger Brand Mission was to make a spooky creation or a candy bark.  We opted to make a candy bark as we weren’t feeling particularly creative.  We melted the semi-sweet chocolate chips and swirled some Kroger Brand Peanut Butter into the chocolate and poured it out on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  While the mixture was still melted we topped the chocolate with some Kroger Mini Twist Pretzels.  We put the cookie sheet in the fridge overnight and by the next day had a wonderful salty and sweet candy treat.  It was the perfect treat to eat on Halloween!

Thanks again, Kroger.  We loved this mission!

Forever Your Furbaby

IMG_2037

Kroger’s MyMagazine Sharing Network has once again sent me free goodies for my dogs to try.  This time around I got a box of Milk Bones, a package of Nudges Jerky Cuts, and another container of Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food.  I won’t review the Nature’s Recipe here as I have already reviewed it in a previous post.

Milk Bone Dog Biscuits

I think everyone is aware of Milk Bone and their classic dog biscuits.  They’re that hard dog treat shaped like a bone.  I received a 24 ounce package of Medium size Milk Bones (Find them at Kroger for $3.29) which is a really nice amount of treats.  My dogs never turn up their noses as these!  What I like about them is they are a quick treat to grab and toss to the dogs.  As I have three dogs I could go through a box of these pretty quickly.  Fortunately these Milk Bones are very easy to break in half which I frequently do.  This is a product I will continue to buy as my “go-to” treat for the dogs.

Nudges Jerky Cuts

I received a 10 ounce package of these Nudges Jerky Cuts (buy them at Kroger for $8.79) in chicken flavor.  These treats are just what they sound like–jerky.  Now, they aren’t just plain ol’ meat.  They are mixed with glucosamine and chondroitin to promote joint health.  This is especially important as my dog Jasper (pictured above) is getting pretty old and he’s getting a little slower.  Nudges also boasts that they are “all natural” and made in the USA.  I like to support US companies where I can.  These Jerky Cuts are about six inches in length and very easy to tear apart so that I can feed them to all three dogs.  Or if I am feeling particularly generous I will give each dog an entire Jerky Cut of their own.  I do wish that they took longer for the dogs to eat, they gobble them up just like any other treat.  At $8.79 a box, that’s a lot to pay for something the dogs can eat so swiftly.  I will likely continue buying these for the dogs but only give them to them as a special treat.

 

Trail Mix

IMG_9101

Recently Kroger’s MyMagazine Sharing Network invited me to participate in a challenge called the Kroger Trail Mix Face-off.  They sent me a free bag of Kroger Mini Twist Pretzels and a nice size bag of Kroger Almonds as well.  The challenge was to come up with the ultimate trail mix and to decide based on what you mixed together if you were Team Sweet or Team Savory.  On their website they even gave idea of possible sweet and savory combinations.

In my concoction I added basically everything but the kitchen sink.  I started with a ton of the Kroger mini pretzels, added some honey-flavored Teddy Grahams, Kroger Cheese Nips, caramel Crunch ‘n Munch, plain chocolate M&M’s, and wheat Chex.  I decided that in my opinion trail mix needs to be both sweet and savory.  I can’t imagine just choosing one or the other.  I think my trail mix turned out ok–my husband sure ate enough of it.  But I think it wasn’t the best trail mix ever.  I think that what it could have done without were the Teddy Grahams and the Chex.  While I enjoy both of these products on their own I feel like they just didn’t add anything to the mix to make it stand out.  The pretzels and cheese nips added a nice saltiness and the M&M’s and Crunch n’ Munch added the perfect amount of sweetness.  All ingredients were perfectly crunchy!

Again, I refused to declare myself “Team Sweet” or “Team Savory”.  I think instead I should make my own team called “Team Delicious” and I would happily be a taste-tester for any people who would like to join my team!

IMG_2107

Kroger Mini Twist Pretzels

I have always been a fan of Kroger pretzels.  Growing up we would eat Kroger brand food over name-brand most of the time.  A bag of these will run you just over $1 which is quite the deal.  In contrast the name brand pretzels of similar quantity run anywhere fro $2.50 a bag to $3.50.  I will choose $.99 every time as I do not believe that the name brand are substantially better if better at all.

Kroger Salted and Roasted Almonds

Kroger sent me a free 10 oz package of these almonds.  I couldn’t find the 10 oz packages in store but a 24 oz package will cost you just shy of $10–yeah I know, nuts are expensive!  But, in contrast a Blue Diamond 16 oz package costs $9.  So, the Kroger brand is by far the better value.  Unfortunately I cannot attest to the flavor difference in the Kroger vs the Blue Diamond as I do not eat nuts.  At all.  Ever.  I know I am weird.  I brought the bag of nuts to a party and I will say they definitely got eaten.  So–they must have been good.

This was yet another fun challenge given to me by Kroger’s MyMagazine Sharing Network.  I can hardly wait to be assigned a new mission with more great products to try!

Anything For Your Pet

I recently was assigned a really valuable mission by the MyMagazine Sharing Network.  This mission was called “Anything for your Pet” and they sent me a whole bunch of awesome dog treats and foods to try for free!  IMG_1338I received:

  • ONE (1) Free Nature’s Recipe® Wet Dog Food, 2.75 oz.
  • ONE (1) Free Pup-Peroni® Dog Snacks, 5.6 oz.
  • ONE (1) Free Blue Buffalo® Chicken & Brown Rice, 4 oz. or ONE (1) Free Blue Buffalo Puppy Chicken & Brown Rice, 4 oz.
  • ONE (1) Free Coupon for Purina ONE® True Instinct Trios Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Free Coupon for Purina® Beneful® Grain Free or Select 10™ Premium Dog Food
  • ONE (1) Free Coupon for Nudges® Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $2 Coupon for Nudges Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Pass-along 75¢ Coupon for Pup-Peroni Dog Snacks, 5.6 oz.
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $2 Coupon for Purina Beneful Grain Free or Select 10™ Premium Dog Food
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $1 Coupon for Purina ONE True Instinct Trios Dog Treats
  • ONE (1) Pass-along $4 Coupon for Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food, 15 lbs. or larger
  • ONE (1) Pass-along 50¢ Coupon for Nature’s Recipe Wet Dog Food, 2.75 oz.

IMG_1456Nature’s Recipe Grain Free Wet Dog Food

It seems like “grain free” dog food is all the rage these days.  I myself have not tried grain-free for my dogs.  A lot of people swear by it and say it really has helped their pet’s digestion.  This product received really great reviews online.

A container of this wet dog food costs about $1 at Kroger and it is 2.75 ounces.  On the container it says to feed an adult dog 2-3 2.75 oz cups of this food per 5 pounds of body weight daily.  So, I have three dogs whose combined weight would equal 84 pounds.  So if I followed their feeding instructions that would be almost 17 packages of this food a day and at $1 a pop we’re talking $17 a day for dog food!  Yikes!

The high price tag was an instant turn-off for me.  Not only that, I cannot stand the way canned meat smells when I open it–it absolutely turns my stomach.  So, I probably won’t be feeding this to my dogs.  I think I will stick to kibble.  I do believe if one of my dogs were really sick and not wanting to eat that the smell of wet dog food would really motivate them to eat.  So maybe I will hang on to it just in case one of my dogs is ever sick and refusing food.

 Pup-Peroni Original Beef Flavor Dog Snack

I received a 5.6 oz package of these treats to try–a $2.99 value.  Our new dog absolutely loves the Pup-peroni Original Flavor. I rescued this pup off the street and at first he was very nervous in my house. I was able to easily win him over with some Pup-peroni. He will get into his crate without complaint and no-hassle whatsoever as long as he is lured with some Pup-peroni. I also like the way these smell–it reminds of of beef jerky so it’s not at all gross to smell when I am giving it to my dogs!  This is a brand I already used prior to getting a sample from Kroger, but it is also a brand I will continue to use!

Nudges Natural Dog Treats Soft BakesFullSizeRender 2

A 10 oz. package of these treats will cost you $5.99 at Kroger and can be found in two varieties there: Chicken, sweet potato, and carrots, and chicken and blueberry.  My dogs love these Nudges Natural Dog Treats Soft Bakes in the chicken, sweet potato, and carrots variety. The treats themselves smell like oatmeal cookies to me so they don’t leave an unpleasant odor on my fingers after I have given them to my dogs. The treats are very soft like a cookie and bread apart very easily so I can split the treat into halves or fourths for my doggies. They love them so much that one of my dogs keeps trying to get on top of the cabinet where I store them! I am glad to have discovered this brand through the MyMagazineSharing Network!

My new foster dog absolutely loves the Pup-peroni Original Flavor. I rescued this pup off the street and at first he was very nervous in my house. I was able to easily win him over with some Pup-peroni. He will get into his crate without complaint and no-hassle whatsoever as long as he is lured with some Pup-peroni. I also like the way these smell–it reminds of of beef jerky so it’s not at all gross to smell when I am giving it to my dogs!

Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe

I received a 4 oz package of the Blue Buffalo Chicken and Brown Rice Recipe kibble for puppies to try.  We have a new dog who is about a year old so not quite a puppy but closer to a puppy than my other two knuckle-headed dogs.  A 3 lb. bag of this dog food is $7.99 at Kroger so certainly a better value than the Nature’ Recipe wet dog food, although I believe kibble is generally more affordable than wet dog food anyhow.  Blue Buffalo has a reputation for high-quality.  This formula boasts protein-rich chicken with no poultry byproducts.  It also claims to be corn, wheat, and soy free and also claims to only have whole grains.  This is a pretty big deal in the dog food world as many dog food’s primary ingredient is corn and chicken byproducts.  I think if you really value your pet’s health and can afford it than this dog food is a good choice.  My dog ate it right up and didn’t have any noticeable stomach issues.

IMG_1457

Purina One True Instinct Trios

I received a 5 oz package of these Purina One True Instinct Trios to give to my dogs.  The Trio I received was Chicken, Turkey, and Duck but it also comes in a trio of Chicken, Beef, and Lamb.  It sells for about $4.49 at Kroger.  The treats are about 1.5″ long and are soft enough to break apart.  They are a nice protein-rich treat and as a bonus–they are made in the USA!  My dogs definitely liked these.  As you can see, my package is empty, they didn’t last long!

Purina Beneful Select 10

IMG_1458
I received a 4.5 lb bag of this Purina Beneful Select 10 dog food with farm-raised beef, a $7.99 value.  I like this price point the best of all of the dog foods that I was given to try.  This particular brand claims that “every ingredient has a purpose” and boasts that it does not contain corn, potatoes, wheat, or animal byproducts.  So, again that is a pretty big deal for dog food.  My dogs are still working on this bag of food.  I am currently mixing it in with my dog’s other dog food as it is not healthy to switch completely to a new food quickly.  So far they seem to be enjoying it.  I think it’s worth keeping up with once their current dog food runs out to see how well they like this one in comparison.

 

All in all this was a pretty amazing mission that I did.  I received almost $20 worth of free products to try and tons of coupons to use in the future.  I also passed along extra coupons to my aunt who volunteers with a rescue group.  I am pretty sure those coupons will come in handy for them!

Have any of you all tried these products?  Let me know what you think!

The Fresh Side of Private Selection

As part of the MyMagazine Sharing Network I was invited to participate in “The Fresh Side of Private Selection” mission.  Private Selection is Kroger’s high-end store brand products.  They include such things as produce, frozen foods, meats, and other artisan-inspired products.  I have always found Private Selection products to be of good quality and it’s a brand I frequently buy.  This particular mission focused on trying out Private Selection produce items.

My mission kit included Private Selection Swag (vegetable ribbon slices, an apron and four recipe cards).  It also included a coupon for a free Private Selection produce product to try, six discount coupons for Private Selection produce like mushrooms, petite potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce for me to try and 12 coupons for the same type of products to pass along to friends.  Here are my thoughts on each of the Private Selection items I chose.

Private Selection Navel Oranges
Private Selection Navel Oranges

Private Selection Navel Oranges: $4.99 (free with my coupon)

For the last few years I have had a hard time finding good oranges. They have been not very juicy, the pulp has been pale and they have just lacked flavor all-around. Not so with these Private Selection Navel Oranges! As you can see from my picture they have a vibrant orange pulp, are ultra juicy and they are also bursting with flavor. My only complaint is they are more of a sweet flavor with very little tang which I prefer in my oranges. That being said, these are heads and shoulders above what I have been finding in the store these last few years.

Private Selection Purple Potatoes: $2.50

I love that Kroger has these 1.5 pound bags of petite potatoes–they are the perfect size for a side dish for dinner for four people. Purple potatoes are hard to find but now that Private Selection has them I get to make them more often! The purple potatoes have such a nutty and rich flavor. They are perfect roasted with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.IMG_1408

Private Selection Gourmet Blend Mushrooms: $3.99

This is a blend of shitake, crimini, and oyster mushrooms which comes sliced in a 4 oz. package.  We used these mushrooms in a chicken marsala dish that we made and I highly recommend them.  They cooked down nicely without getting squishy.

IMG_1382Private Selection Artisan Lettuce: $2.99

This is a 17 ounce package of four heads of artisan lettuce.  The varieties it includes are Sweet Gem, Tango, and Oak.  This package of lettuce was excellent as it offered a variety–you can use just one type at a time or if you are making a mixed salad you can blend all three varieties.  All varieties were nice and crisp and what is especially nice about this package of Artisan Lettuce is that it lasted several days without wilting a bit.  That is something that I frequently struggle with.  I will definitely buy this lettuce again.

IMG_1381Private Selection Mini Seedless Cucumbers: $2.49

This package of mini seedless cucumbers was great.  The cucumbers are so small, roughly the size of a whole Clausen pickle.  We used these sliced and put into a garden salad.  The slices were the perfect size, about the diameter of a quarter which didn’t require any additional cutting while in the salad itself.  We also used these little guys in our water infusers to make cucumber water.  I love cucumber and these were no exception.  I will likely purchase them again due to their manageable size and freshness.

Private Selection Campari Tomatoes: $3.99

I had not tried these Campari tomatoes before.  It came in a one pound package and the tomatoes are still on the vine.  I thought these tomatoes had exception flavor and color.  They were very red and you could tell they were picked at the peak of their perfection instead of picking too early and waiting for them to ripen.  Not only that, they have continued to hold up in my refrigerator as I didn’t use them all at one time.  The flavor of the tomatoes is great and was ideal for salad as well as making pico de gallo out of.

All in all I would say I am very pleased with all of these Private Selection produce items.  I can’t even find one complaint.  I will certainly continue to purchase all of these products!

 

Ripple Nutritious Pea Milk

IMG_1386

I received an interesting mission from the MyMagazine Sharing Network the other day.  They asked if any milk-drinkers would be interested in trying a new non-dairy milk product called Ripple.  It is a Pea Protein Milk which I had actually never heard of before.  I have tried soy milk and I have tried almond milk, so why not try this?  I am a big animal rights supporter and it would be nice if I could find a good alternative to cow’s milk so that I can eliminate it from my diet–or at least eliminate it as much as possible.

I received a coupon to try a free 48 ounce container of Ripple Nutritious Pea Milk and two pass-along coupons to give to friends.  At Kroger the varieties they had were the Unsweetened Original and Chocolate milk.  It comes in a Sweetened Original, a Sweetened Vanilla, and an Unsweetened Vanilla variety as well, but Kroger did not have those in store at the time of this post.  We chose to try the Unsweetened Original flavor.

Let me first say that I have never been much of a milk drinker.  I don’t really like the way it tastes–unless I drink it while I am eating chocolate! After a few days of the milk being opened it starts to get a scent which turns my stomach.

Because I don’t drink milk straight up I got this Ripple to try in my cereal and in smoothies.  When I opened it I gave it a sniff and it smelled like nothing.  I gave it a taste which also tasted like nothing.  So far so good.  I put it in my Cinnamon Toast Crunch and it got my cereal wet without adding any flavor which I appreciated it.  My husband added a cup to his fruit smoothie and declared it also had no taste–so it was a good thing to have in his smoothie if you are looking for protein without the flavor.

So let’s break down the nutrition versus 2% milk.

Ripple Pea Milk in Original Unsweetend contains 70 calories a cup while 2% milk contains 130 calories.  Ripple and 2% go head to head on grams of fat with Ripple containing 4.5 and 2% containing 5 grams.  Unsweetened Ripple contains 0 carbohydrates and 0 grams of sugar vs. 2% containing 11 grams of each.  As far as protein goes again Ripple and 2% are head to head with Ripple containing 8.5 grams and 2% containing 9 grams.  So as far as nutritional value goes, I would say Ripple has 2% beat.

Here’s the kicker though… a 48 ounce container of Ripple at Kroger costs $4.49 while a gallon (128 ounces!) of 2% milk at Kroger is only $.99!  So, cow’s milk is much more economical.  Now, I can stand the price point I suppose if I am only using a splash of it every morning in my cereal, but if you are talking about baking with it or drinking it straight up, you are going to go through that 48 ounces really quickly and then have to shell out another $4.49 which can really add up.

The only other drawback for me with Ripple was the texture.  It has a kind of syrupy consistency which reminds me of soy milk.  I do not like that consistency at all as it tends to stick to things more which I don’t like!  I basically just want my cereal to be wet but I want to be able to drain out the milk.  Lol.  So for me, I probably wouldn’t continue using Ripple on my cereal because it does not meet my most basic need.

But, if texture doesn’t bother you too much I recommend you give it a try at least.  Ripple boasts that it is high protein, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, lactose-free.  So if all of those things are a big deal to you then go for it!  Ripple also has a Greek Yogurt alternative…I wouldn’t mind trying that!

Dr. Praeger’s Fish Taco Bites

I was recently invited to be a part of a group of brand-influencers called the My Magazine Sharing Network.  My Magazine is a magazine put out by the Kroger company.  You create an account at https://mymagazinesharing.socialmedialink.com and from there you are assigned “missions” which you can choose to accept or not.  The missions usually involve them sending you a product to try or coupons to purchase a product at Kroger to try–as well as coupons to pass along to your friends and family.  Once you try the product you generally link to social media and post pictures and reviews which earns you points.  The more points you get the more likely you are to be selected for future mission.

I love free stuff so I figured why not?

Dr. Praeger's Fish Taco Bites
Dr. Praeger’s Fish Taco Bites

My first mission was “Diving into Dr. Praeger’s Seafood.”  MyMagazine Sharing Network sent me a box that had a mission description card, a Dr. Praeger’s elastic, a Dr. Praeger’s sticker, a coupon for a free Dr. Praeger’s product (the product I chose was $5.29 at Kroger) and several $1 off “pass-along” coupons to give to my friends and family so they can also try Dr. Praeger’s.

Dr. Praeger’s recently came out with a line of seafood products so my free coupon gave me the choice of Seafood Burgers, Fish Taco Bites or Lightly Breaded Fishies.  The first time I went to Kroger to look for it they didn’t have any–I think the product was just too new.  The next week I went and they had a few products to choose from.  I chose the Fish Taco bites because they remind me of chicken nuggets–a very kid-friendly food.  Since I have a one year old I wanted to give him something easy to pick up and also fairly healthy.  My husband and I are dieting so this was also a fairly healthy choice.

IMG_1198

The preparation couldn’t have been any easier.  I simply popped the fish taco bites into the toaster oven, turned them over after ten minutes and then after 20 minutes of total cooking time they were finished.

So how were they?  Well the fish taco bites are breaded with tortilla chips and they have a little jalapeno in them as other southwest flavors.  Biting into them was pleasant–they had a good crunch to them.  Upon biting into them I found that the fish inside was ground up and mixed with other ingredients.  I don’t know why but I expected these to be solid hunks of fish that were breaded.  The inside actually has a texture more consistent with a crab cake.

IMG_1199
I found the flavor itself to be good, not too spicy but also not boring. The texture for me was just so-so. Because of the “crab cake” consistency I found it to be a little mushy. Overall though I would say they were good. My baby had a few bites but didn’t seem to care for them. To be fair, he’s going through a phase where he only wants to eat goldfish and mac ‘n cheese.

So would I eat them again and recommend them to others?  Maybe.  The Fish Taco Bites for me seemed more like a snack food than an actual meal–but would probably make a good meal for a kid who likes fish sticks.  I think I would like to try the seafood burgers or the Fishies if they have them in stock before I would buy these again.

This was a fun “mission” and I am looking forward to completing upcoming missions and sharing them with all of you.

Have you tried any Dr. Praeger’s products?  Let me know what you think.

#MyMagazineSharing #FreeSamp