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Hungry for life with an appetite for good food.

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Foodtastic Finds: Cookie Butter

Today’s foodtastic find hails from Trader Joe’s. This, my friends, is cookie butter. It is like peanut butter, but derived from cookies and biscuits.

I first heard about this from a friend and it sparked my curiosity. I’m a sucker for peanut butter-type products because I practically live off of them as a college student.

Cookie butter retails for $3.69. As a comparison, another specialty peanut butter, the Peanut Butter & Co. White Chocolate Wonderful (which is still on my ‘to try’ list), costs $3.74 at Target.

I noticed this little tidbit on the jar and decided to try some combinations on waffles and bread (two of my dorm room staples). Here are my reactions:

First impressions: it looks exactly like peanut butter. But it has a very distinct smell of spices such as gingerbread and cinnamon. Later on I figured out that it reminded me of the Biscoff cookies that were given on airplanes. It definitely has a peanut butter quality in that it is more of a nutty and smooth flavor. It’s not necessarily sweet.

I first spread it on waffles.

Usually, I spread Nutella on my waffles. These are the Van’s Wheat-Gluten Free Waffles (I buy mine from Target).

First impressions of the waffles with cookie butter alone: it tasted bland. Like if you were to spread peanut butter on waffles. If you like that taste, definitely do this. If you need something sweet, this next combination is surely for you.

ADD NUTELLA TO THE COOKIE BUTTER. Nutella just automatically makes everything taste better, in my opinion. This combination is simply amazing! You can definitely pick up the cookie/biscuit flavors (mainly like gingerbread and nutmeg). When this mixes with the hazelnut and cocoa from the Nutella, it’s just heaven.

After my taste buds did their happy dance, I experimented with bread.

On the left is peanut butter with cookie butter, on the right is Nutella with cookie butter.

The jar said to try peanut butter cookie sandwiches, and it just didn’t cut it for me. I felt like I was layering two different varieties of peanut butter. I’m not one to eat peanut butter on toast with nothing else. If you have a knack for that, try this combination because it adds an unexpected hint of spice.

The side with Nutella, however, was brilliant. I have had one too many peanut butter and Nutella sandwiches in my college career, so substituting peanut butter with cookie butter definitely made my taste buds sing. Again, the mix of the gingerbread-biscuit flavors with hazelnut is excellent.

Verdict: Cookie butter serves as a great replacement for peanut butter if you are willing to try something new. Add cookie butter to what you would usually put peanut butter on. And adding Nutella is an extra bonus. Definitely a great buy for autumn and the upcoming holiday season!

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UPDATE: The jar says cookie butter is 57% “Speculoos.” After some research, I learned that Speculoos is a type of biscuit from the Netherlands/Belgium. The jar also notes that it is a “Product of The Netherlands.” According to this website, “the name of the cookie comes from the Latin derivite ‘species’, which means ‘spices’.” They look almost identical to the Biscoff cookies, and I would not be surprised if they both originate from the same cookie family. Incredible!


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Food for Thought: Food Regulations

With elections coming up, voters have a lot on their plates to mull over. One of the issues is of the recent approval of banning sugary drinks over 16 ounces in New York state to reduce obesity rates.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York believes that there is a correlation between sugary drinks and obesity. While this is true, obesity is not just caused by soft drinks. It is based on the intake of everything else we feed our bodies.

The root of the problem, in my opinion, is what is placed in our foods.

Food these days are heavily processed, especially fast food. Fast food is cheap and convenient because we are a society that is always on the go.

This Business Insider map shows how many fast food restaurants there are in all 50 states. In New York, there are 17,461. That is a major contradiction for a nation that is trying to reduce obesity.

Fast foods are not the only culprits of unhealthy eating. There are many other foods that are marketed to be “good” for us and evidently cause more harm.

It is unreal how many unpronounceable words there are on ingredients lists and how many chemicals are placed in our foods.

For example, the drink Sunny Delight is marketed as a drink that “gives you a kick of Vitamins C and B1. And it’s good for you…” according to the Sunny D website. That’s nice, but what is actually in a bottle of Sunny D?

Water, High Fructose, Corn Syrup and 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Concentrated Juices (Orange, Tangerine, Apple, Lime, Grapefruit). Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene, Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Natural Flavors, Food Starch-Modified, Canola Oil, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Benzoate To Protect Flavor, Yellow #5, Yellow #6

This isn’t even a soft drink and it does not take a large amount of it to be deemed as unhealthy. Sure, there are vitamins listed. But, there are other ways to receive them than to drink a juice with high fructose corn syrup and canola oil.

While we’re on the subject of high fructose corn syrup, contrary to what the Corn Refiner’s Association says about it, sugar is NOT sugar. High fructose corn syrup is not healthier just because it is made out of corn.

According to a Princeton University Research team, high fructose corn syrup leads to considerably more weight gain. The 2010 study was conducted on rats. One group received rat chow with HFCS and another without. The study found that the rats gained a significant amount of weight to the point that they were obese.

This study explains the differences between HFCS and sucrose. Sucrose is half fructose and half glucose. HFCS has a higher content of fructose, hence its name. The fructose molecule in HFCS is unbound and absorbs in the body faster, whereas the fructose in sucrose is bound and requires an extra step to be metabolized. Faster absorption leads to greater body fat.

HFCS is found in sugary beverages and all sorts of everyday foods such as certain cereal, ketchup, yogurt, and bread.

There is still a prevalent issue of unhealthy foods out there that can lead to obesity. It is not just in large beverages. Foods marketed as “healthy” are sometimes not.

The government should not regulate what we are allowed eat. Rather, it should regulate what is added into our foods and cut back on unhealthy influences, such as fast foods restaurants.

If only there was a way to shut down all of these big corporations that add junk into our everyday foods and start over completely fresh. No pesticides, no chemicals, no big words in the ingredients. Just back to the basics of plain, raw, and simple. We may think we are eating healthy, but the proof is in the HFCS-filled pudding.

So, how can we regulate our own food?

  • Check the ingredients list of whatever you buy. If you can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not good for you.
  • Try to eat as much raw, unprocessed food as you can.
  • Buy organic and/or local.
  • Don’t count calories. Instead, take note of the ingredients.
  • Enjoy everything in moderation. I know I run a food blog and it may look like I am eating my words (almost literally), but indulge within reason.

Disclaimer: I am by no means a health food expert or nutritionist. Everything stated is based on research and all opinions are my own.