Seasonal Candy Review: M&Ms and Twix

Twix Gingerbread (New for 2013):

The package says the gingerbread flavoring lies in the caramel.  I’m not sure why they couldn’t just bake gingerbread cookies instead of the usual shortbread cookies, but that’s modern packaged food for ya.  At first, the flavor was a bit like graham crackers.  As I chewed through, the ginger flavor hit somewhere in the back of my mouth.  There’s a weird flavor at play somewhere in the mix, a bit like eating a piece of gingerbread that’s been sitting in the sun on cardboard.  It’s not bad, it’s just a lingering funk.  I’m a big fan of ginger snaps and gingerbread, so the flavor of these appeals to me, but I couldn’t imagine wanting to eat more than one in a sitting.

Overall, I’d say that a fan of gingerbread will probably enjoy eating one of these.  It’d be a fun inclusion in a big bowl of chocolate candies at a party or a fun stocking treat.  These are fun sized. (Note: I picked these up at Wal-mart, but their website doesn’t seem to know these exist yet.)

M&Ms Cherry Cordial (Debuted last year, I think):

I like these.  I don’t think they taste like cherry cordials at all and I don’t think the cherry flavor is necessarily good.  Everyone I know who’s tried them agrees.  But these M&Ms are a funny thing; I left them out on the counter at my parents’ house and now there’s just about a handful left in the bag.

I feel like the taste borders on Robitussin–it’s just a little fake, a little harsh.  But I eat ’em, and I really like ’em.  They’re about the size of Peanut Butter M&Ms, perhaps a hair smaller.  And they come in two festive shades of red.

M&Ms Gingerbread (New for 2013):

These taste like Indian food to me.  These definitely have a strong kick of ginger, but the other spices backing it up reads Vindaloo across my tongue.  I read several reviews of these that called the flavor “subtle” and I just need you guys to know that it’s anything but subtle.  I hated these and advise strongly against purchasing them, even for big fans of ginger.

They’re about the size of Peanut Butter M&Ms, perhaps a hair smaller.  And they come in red, green and brown.  But they taste like Indian food, in case you’d forgotten.  Bleck.  (I bought these at Wal-Mart, as well.)

Holly Holiday: Thanksgiving Menu Thoughts

I live one to two holidays in the future at any given time.  I’ve always been pining away for future holiday fun, but at my job, it’s just gotten worse.  I did a Black Friday ad a couple weeks ago.  I’m scrounging together November-December events for a calendar for our next pub.

So of course I’m thinking turkey.

I was Pinning some stuff this morning and I came across this link to 60 Thanksgiving side dishes.  It got me wondering…

If you cook a big Thanksgiving feast, or other BIG holiday meal, what are your essential side dishes?

For Thanksgiving, I absolutely must have turkey gravy, cornbread dressing (our’s is made pretty simply), cooked cranberry sauce, canned cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans and those cheapie brown n’ serve rolls.  It does feel a little odd without some sort of sweet potato dish, but I honestly don’t care for them too much.  Our Thanksgiving is pretty basic, but we take a few detours off of PURE simple once in a while for surprises.

Holly Holiday: Transitional Halloween at Work

I freakin’ love holidays.  Just ask mah Pinterest.

I really want to decorate my office a bit for the upcoming holidays.  I tend to focus on what I call transitional decor–stuff that can last from Halloween to Christmas without looking too out of place, or stuff that can easily be converted with just a quick bit of DIY.

Of course, I’ll throw in a few impracticalities.

To see what I’m pinning and planning, follow the jump!

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Five Things I Don’t “Get” About Christmas

I’m getting in the pre-holiday spirit already.  I keep cruising Pinterest, staring at the holiday section.  I want to DIY everything and set up the tree and start baking.  And it’s August.

But the more I search, the more I realize there are a lot of things about Christmas that just don’t make sense to me or totally confuse me.

1.) Elf on the Shelf (and other forced traditions)

Elf on the Shelf is a little toy elf with some sort of clever little story that you’re supposed to read every year to give your children warm, fuzzy memories.  There are all sorts of Elf on the Shelf activity ideas on Pinterest to ensure that your kids get maximum exposure to this weird little doll.

Rules of the Holiday: you can’t force a meme tradition.  You might be lucky with a tradition you want to start; it might just take off and go.  But if you have to stick a doll in a sink full of shaving cream or fill your toilet with goldfish crackers to get someone to notice the “tradition”, it ain’t a tradition.  It’s like a weird prank gift that keeps on giving.

2.) “Keep the Christ in Christmas”/”Jesus is the Reason for the Season”

Look, it’s called Christmas.  You’re going to read excerpts from Luke all season long.  There are carols.  You’ve got a nativity in your living room, on your drive to work, at your church.  There are Christmas plays, church services, birthday cakes for Jesus (one of our family traditions.)  Christ is pretty IN Christmas.  If you’re feeling a lack of Christ in your Christmas, I seriously suspect there’s a lack of Christ in your daily life, as well.  If you’re feeling a lack of Christ in other people’s Christmases (or winter holidays,) you’re everything that’s wrong with your religion.  Relax, and let it go.

PS? X-mas is actually a MORE Christian way to write it, not less.

3.) “Perfect” Christmas

You know the pictures.  Christmas trees with perfectly-coordinated ornaments, each branch laden with some little sparkling treasure. The perfectly-frosted cookies, the perfect dinner spread, the perfect dusting of snow outside.  It looks like something out of a magazine, modeled perfectly after a picture in a magazine.  I’ve been in these houses, so heavily, flawlessly decorated that they feel like some sort of freakish museum.  Seeking perfection in anything is ridiculous, but seeking perfection in a holiday strips it of any meaning or purpose in your life.

4.) The Friggin’ Cookies/The Santa Lie

Some things really just burn your ass in retrospect.  Did my parents seriously get me to leave out cookies and milk every Christmas Eve so they could have a snack while they brought out the garbage bag full of presents?  I mean, I guess being Santa shouldn’t be a thankless job.  But seriously?  Parents, man.

And when you finally figure out that Santa isn’t real, you’re just supposed to be okay with the fact that your parents lied to you.  While still believing everything they say to you from then on.

5.) Holiday Anxiety/Apathy

Look, I get that the holidays can be stressful.  But it’s not my problem that your in-laws are crazy or you’re “not a holiday person.”  So don’t try to get me down with your Grinchface and don’t get weird on me because I want to celebrate.  I’ll leave you to your misery if you’ll just ignore my glee.