Category Archives: Food

Reese’s Dessert Bar Mix – Stick with the Cups

Reese's no bake mix, box
Reese’s no bake mix box. I didn’t notice the print under the “no bake” words . . . my bad.

My husband LOVES Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, as do many others, apparently, since they are number two in overall candy sales in the US.   So when I saw Reese’s Dessert Bar (no bake) Mix on an end cap in Target recently, I decided to try it.  My husband was quite excited about it too, but after having made the mix, and after all of us have tasted these bars, two out of three of us agree that Reese’s Peanut Butter cups are simply better (in more ways than one).  More on that later.

Value?

But what of the value?  The mix I bought is made in a very small card-stock “pan” that is provided in the box (see the above photo).  I didn’t realize this when I bought it, simply thinking that–like all other box mixes I’ve experienced–it was to be made in an 8″x8″ pan.*

Continue reading Reese’s Dessert Bar Mix – Stick with the Cups

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Warning! Labels, menus, and other ESL hilarity

Maybe you don’t buy many products that are made overseas so you don’t know the delights of “English as a second language” labeling.  But for me, I love reading them to see what unintentional humor crops up.  It’s like watching Jay Leno’s “Headlines,” but without having to stay up so late.

For instance, I received a Hello Kitty travel mug recently for my birthday, and this was on the warning label:  “WARNING!  After filling hot liquid into the mug, please avoid to cover the lid immediately and avoid to shake the mug in order to prevent hot liquid spitting out via the drink hole.”  The other side of the label, providing tips for use, was written better, although it had the same silly warnings that so many products seem to need these days (“Do not microwave . . . do not carry mug into bag when its filled with liquid . . . Always check to make sure your lid is secured before drinking . . . “).

There’s a site where you can read all kinds of “English as a second language” labels, signs, menus, writing on clothing, etc., that people submit.  It is always fun, and I often find things that made me laugh harder than I had in a week or so.  It’s Engrish.com.  Here are some examples – enjoy!

german-type-sexual-harassment10054-Slip-And-Fall_largebeware-of-missing-footbacteria-pot-monstersvirtual-boringgod-jesus japan robot toyGod-Jesus robot toy sold in Japan in the 1980s.  The toy gave a yes or no answer to any of your questions!  So, while Jesus isn’t given a bad name, it seems like our God is viewed as some kind of psychic talisman . . .

Why, Oh WHY, do Asian noodles have so many calories?

Chow Mein pack with hand to show scale (it's not a big pack).
Chow Mein pack with hand to show scale. It’s not a large pack, but bigger than the Indo Mie brand.
This article was updated on May 14, 2014.

One thing I love (one of the only things I love) about living in Southern California is that there are many Asian stores around (restaurants, too, of course).  They are the best places for buying fresh fish, and usually for fresh produce, too (by “best” I mean they have both good selections and good prices).  I recently made a clear broth-based soup with fresh salmon in it after visiting a new Asian market, and it was awesome; good nutritionally and inexpensive (the store I had visited sold bags of salmon “scraps” that yielded a whole plate of salmon after I deboned and skinned it).

IndoMie brand noodle, this one Mi Goreng (there are other yummy flavors, too).
IndoMie brand noodle, this one Mi Goreng (there are other yummy flavors, too).

Besides all the fresh produce, the Asian stores also sell a great array of sauces and cooking aids, teas, and instant foods – like instant noodles – and these can be purchased by the box (if desired).  I don’t mean the cheap cup-o-noodles that can be found anywhere, but more substantial fare.  Some of these instant noodles can be quite expensive, too, but I just leave those on the shelf.  One of my favorites, and my family’s favorites, is Sapporo Ichiban Chow Mein noodles.  They’re not expensive (usually $.68 – $.98 each), but they’re good!  IndoMei varieties, like Goreng, are excellent (and pretty cheap).  Maruchan (and Nissin) instant Yakisoba’s are easily found now in many stores and are pretty good too, and since they don’t require a pan to prepare them they are tempting to us instant-fix sort of people (they range in price a lot, from $.78 [interestingly, at Target] – to twice that much, depending on the store).

Instant (microwavable) Yakisoba.
Instant (microwavable) Yakisoba.

So now to the point.  My son and I are looking to lose some weight and so started investigating calorie counts and all that, and what I’ve discovered surprised even me (I used to do all that diet stuff a lot when I was younger).  The surprising thing I found was that there are fewer calories in many Hungry Man frozen meals than in many instant noodle packs.  Eating a Hungry Man frozen meal also provides more variety of food types, so more nutrients (but, on the down side, more cholesterol, too).  And what’s actually quite annoying is that the manufacturers of the the noodle packs will not admit that one pack is one serving.  The Sapporo Chow Mein, for instance, actually claims to have three servings in it!  When it is cooked it fits in a small bowl . . . yet when you go to an Asian restaurant, you will be served far more than that with an individual order of chow mein.

So why, really, do instant noodles have so many calories?  Well, because they’re FRIED into that brick or cup shape.  They don’t look like they’re fried, to me, so all the more shocking to find that that is where many of the calories come from.  Nippon actually has a page on the process – how it’s done and why.  Nongshim, a Korean manufacturer, claims to produce healthier, non-fried instant noodles.

I hope the table below—providing a comparison of noodle meals with some Hungry Man frozen entrees—helps you out.

Instant Noodles vs Hungry Man.  Chart by author.
Instant Noodles vs Hungry Man. Chart by author.

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If you’re into noodles . . . and seasonings, check out this blog (if you haven’t already):  How I Eat My Noodles.  If you would like more information on real ramen, see Kobi’s Kitchen: Types of Ramen, Styles of Ramen.