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Archive for August, 2010

Send a Candy College Care Package To The Sweetest Smartie You Know!

As August comes to an all-too-soon end, students across the country are breaking in new backpacks while they sharpen their minds and their pencils! And if they’re freshmen, fall finds them not only up against new courses, but a whole new life. There are friends to be made, surroundings to familiarize themselves with, perhaps even a new climate to adjust to. It’s truly one of the most insane times in ones life, full of more excitement, change, and stress than can possibly be captured in a blog post! Of course, the good almost always outweighs the bad, and by far. There’s a reason people get all nostalgic about their college years; there’s nothing quite like them. But just like the times before college and after, there are days that simply require some candy. Some things don’t change! Whether it’s a bad day that needs a bright spot, or an awesome day that demands a little sugary celebration, candy has a way of being exactly what you need it to be when you need it to be.

For all the stereotypes about college students that miss the mark, there is one that sticks out as a near universal truth – that of ‘the poor college student’. Luckily, in my own college years, eating noodles was not a necessity, but I was doing little more than barely getting by. It’s an expensive time of life with little income. I had more pocket money in high school than I did in college! And when you’re paying for coffee with quarters you found under the car seat, you don’t always have the means to make Marshmallow Ice Cream Cones happen. There’s not enough change for Charleston Chew – not enough nickels for Nik-L-Nips – not enough real dollars for Red Gummy Dollars – not enough, well, you get the point. There’s zero spare cash for Zero Bars! (Sorry, I had to sneak one more in!) So you cross fingers that a care package is on its way. A care package full of all the things you need and want. A care package that reminds you that for as much as you miss home, someone at home misses you, too.

Think of the candy favorites the sweetest student you know would enjoy eagerly opening a box to find. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy – you can send a smile for very little! And if you aren’t sure what candy the kids are eating these days (hint: a lot of it is the same candy you were eating at their age), feel free to ask us for ideas on Twitter or Facebook. We can even help you put together a care package for a specific price point, based on favorite flavors or colors, whatever you’d like. Because…well…we care! :)

Back to School Sweets: Add a Little Fun Flavor to the Lunchbox!

A turkey sandwich with mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, on white bread. A small bag of barbeque chips. A can of Pepsi. Every day. Without fail. For years. This is what my lunch contained. How I didn’t have a full-blown meltdown in the lunch room, throwing my turkey sandwich dramatically into the air while the world went all slow-motion-y I’ll never know. The lunchbox was not designed for these sorts of Groundhog Day events to occur. It’s practically a present! Every day for 180 days a year, millions of children across the country sit down at a table and slowly open their lunchbox or lunch bag, hoping that something amazing is inside. Fingers cross quietly as their lunch loot for the day is revealed. And while they may each have their own ideas about lunch bliss, there’s a common trait they all share. Each of them is hoping there’s not a soggy turkey sandwich inside.

In my mother’s defense, I never complained about my lunch. I’m not sure it occurred to me I could ask for something different. I accepted the turkey sandwich as my destiny. And to be fair, it did keep me full through the school day, and was fairly nutritious, two important things to consider when packing a lunch for your kids. But it did not make me smile. I did not regard it as a welcome treat after a long morning of advanced math classes and an overly environmentally-conscious science teacher who showered just once a week, rather noticeably mind you! My eyes did not light up the way they might have were there Gummy Butterflies flitting about my lunchbox when I opened it (use your imagination, people!).

As with everything, enjoying candy as part of a balanced diet is about just that – balance. In our recent Candy vs. Cola post we highlighted how much less sugar is in one serving of several popular candies compared to one serving of a handful of soda favorites. We aren’t suggesting that you replace a real slice of pizza with Gummy Pizza for lunch, rather that a small and sweet something waiting in the bottom of the bag can be a bright spot.

Not sure which candies to include? We’ve put together a list of delicious ideas that will also help you to keep it cheap!


  • Nik-L-Nip Wax Bottles – This classic candy comes with the best directions for enjoyment right on the bag – Bite ‘em, Drink ‘em, Chew ‘em! Some schools don’t allow gum on school grounds, so this can be something flavorful for your kids to chew for a few minutes following lunch without risking detention! And with an 18 pack bag, with 5 wax bottles in each pack, costing just $14.40, you can give them 2 Nik-L-Nips a day for just about a quarter.

  • Tootsie Pop Drops – Never had the patience to count the licks to the center? Forego the game altogether with Tootsie Pop Drops! While the name alone is cool enough – reminds me of some dance the kids might’ve been doing in the 50s – the candy is even better. Tiny tootsies going sans stick are tucked inside a pouch ready to be savored. At 80 cents a pack these may not make their way into every lunch, but as a once-or-twice-a-week treat will give your kid something tasty to enjoy while having enough to share with a friend. (By the way…we did have the patience to take the Tootsie Pop Challenge!)

  • Laffy Taffy Ropes – Add an element of mystery to their mid-day meal by choosing the white mystery flavor of Laffy Taffy! I always adored the ‘mystery flavors’ of candy and gum as a kid, and still find them super fun now. The only time I won’t choose the mystery flavor when offered a Dum Dum Pop is when I see a butterscotch pop in the mix. They’re just too tasty! Laffy Taffy Ropes are a quarter apiece, and Dum Dum Pops are less than a nickel apiece! Looks like choosing yum yum Dum Dums is Smart Smart for your wallet. :)

Colorful and Creative Desserts: Pretty Please, With Candy On Top!

Most of us have enjoyed candy as dessert more than a few times in our lives. Sometimes the only appropriate end to a meal or the day is a rich, creamy chocolate bar or sinfully sweet handful of StrawMallows. Mmmm…StrawMallows! Sorry, what was I saying? Oh yes, candy as dessert. We’ve all done it. We’ve all loved it. We’ll all do it again. But what we may not have thought of is clever and fun-tastic ways to incorporate candy into other desserts, from cakes to Jello. And the only limitation to where candy can find itself looking as fantastic and delicious as it always does is your imagination!

We were most recently thinking of candy as a complement to cake when we saw the amazingly adorable cupcakes our friend Jessica was serving at a party. Her beach-y cupcakes absolutely screamed summer, and featured none other than a Nik-L-Nip bottle in the sand ‘served with’ Jelly Candy Gems for a most refreshing treat! Jessica shared that her friend Bridget O’Connor was behind these baked beauties, and that she happens to have a cupcake company, A Sweet Touch. We can’t think of a more appropriate name! If you love the cupcakes, pictured above, as much as we do, you can contact Bridget at sweettouchcupcakes@gmail.com and have her bake up something wonderful for you, too!

We’re excited to see what other tempting creations A Sweet Touch will be whipping up, and their thinking outside the (cake)box got our own creative gears turning. We asked around Blair Candy Headquarters to see what other fun ways to work candy into the recipe the Blair Candy Bunch could think of. Needless to say, by the time I asked the last person my sweet tooth was ready for some sweet relief. Let’s take a look at some sugary suggestions…

Pool Party Perfection: Start with a sheet cake of any flavor. Spread blue icing across the top (it’s OK if you don’t get it completely smooth, those ripples are just waves!). You can use blue icing on the sides as well, or really any color you’d like. Float a few ‘rafts’ on the surface of the water by horizontally lining up Tootsie Frooties. And to float on the rafts? Gummy Bears of course. Hot Cinnamon Gummy Bears if they weren’t wearing their sunscreen! Lay one bear on top of each raft, and revel in the cuteness for at least 30 seconds. This part is important.

Add a few Giant Jawbreakers to the pool as beach balls, and if you’d like the pull to perform double duty as a relaxing retreat as well as a lap pool, add lane dividers with Candy Necklaces. Now invite friends over to marvel at your brilliance and, well…let them eat cake!

Fun With Jello That’s Simple and Sweet: Jello is already fun to eat and delicious. But you can make it even more exciting by starting with blue Jello and adding a few Swedish Fish to the mix. Want to add a more diverse group to your Jellocean? Add starfish, seahorses, dolphins and more with the Aqua Life Gummy Sea Creatures mix. A great dessert for kids and adults alike, this can be a low calorie treat that brings satisfaction and a smile.

Make It Muddy: Mud dessert is a bit of a classic, but there’s a reason – it’s delectable, easy to make, and really cheap. Fill cups with chocolate pudding, add crushed Oreo cookies to the top, and finish it all off with some Gummy Worms peeking out and over. Mud hasn’t tasted this good since you were 3!

A Tasty Treasure: A sheet cake in your favorite flavor will serve as the foundation of your marvelous treasure map. Add tan icing to give a faded effect, and leave uneven edges with the icing to give the illusion of wear. Create dotted lines on the map with Shoestring Licorice cut into small, half-inch pieces. Your “X” to mark the spot can be almost any candy you can think of – Twizzlers cut in half and crossed into an X, 4 or 6 Tootsie Rolls formed into an X, Licorice Allsorts lined up to form an X – whatever your favorite. Just don’t forget the point of the treasure map – finding the booty! Add a pile of Chocolate Gold Coins near the X, or scatter them all over the top just for fun.

And that is just the beginning! We got so many great ideas we can’t possibly pack them all into one post. We’d also love to hear how you’re working candy into your creations. Please leave any inspiration you just can’t bear to not share in the comments below. And if you ever need taste testers, you know where to find us!

Candy vs. Cola – The Sweetest Showdown

The push for Americans to eat healthier and be happier with how we feel and look has possibly never been stronger than it is now. And with good reason. More than 2/3 of adults in America are overweight or obese, placing them at greater risk for a host of aches and illnesses that can be prevented or treated by a healthy diet and regular exercise. But the ‘healthy diet’ is where things get tricky for many of us, particularly those of us who lead busy lifestyles. And realistically, who doesn’t?

When it comes time to cut down the cupboards and the refrigerator to the healthiest picks, we make a lot of quick, ‘obvious’ choices. Yogurt in…ice cream out. Vegetables in…potato chips out. Grilled chicken in…pork sausage out. And so forth until we’re confident we’ve accomplished the purge of badness and the pounds will fall off like leaves on a tree. Until…they don’t. And we get frustrated and fill our faces with fries and enough chocolate to melt into a river and ride away on a big boat named ‘I Give Up!’. Yeah, you could say I’ve been there! So what gives? Oftentimes, it’s dietary missteps we didn’t even know we were making. Or in the case of what we’ll be discussing, dietary missteps we didn’t even know we were drinking.

You’d probably have a difficult time finding someone who doesn’t know there is sugar in candy. In fact, many candies are comprised almost entirely of sugar. With this in mind, many people who are changing their eating habits to be healthier completely cut candy out of the equation, removing it from their diet altogether. And while that is of course an option, we wanted to let you all know that candy need not be an all-or-nothing part of your life, and that it can be a very enjoyable part of a balanced diet. Also, it may not be the most sugary thing you’re consuming.

Most of us already recognize candy as a treat. We let in linger in our mouths, bringing with it fond memories of childhood or relaxation after a long day. Our brains already know, “This is a ‘sometimes food’, and ‘sometimes’ is now! Yay for ‘sometimes’!” And we enjoy it the way we enjoy hearing a favorite song, or soaking up the sun on a Saturday. Candy is, quite simply, fun! And since we don’t typically think of eating healthy as fun, we put a big scarlet letter on candy and run away. In the meantime, many of us keep slinging back soda can after can, week after week. After all, it’s just a beverage, and we’re cutting back on foods. How much sugar can be in one little can? Certainly not as much as there is in delicious candy! Right? Wrong.

We turned to our friends on Facebook and Twitter to see which candies they would like compared to soda on the sugar and calorie scale, and the results are in! We think you’ll be quite surprised by the tempting treats you can make room for in your diet by simply cutting back on soda, one can at a time. We have listed the nutritional information for 5 popular sodas in our comparisons, with nutritional information gathered from the company websites for each.

The Candy: Lemonheads

Serving Size: 10 pieces
Sugar Per Serving: 12g
Calories Per Serving: 60

The Soda: Coca-Cola

Serving Size: 12 ounces
Sugar Per Serving: 39g
Calories Per Serving: 140

The Verdict: You can enjoy 20 Lemonheads candies (2 servings!) and still walk away having consumed 20 less calories and 15 less grams of sugar than a 12 ounce can of Coca-Cola contains.

The Candy: Satellite Wafers

Serving Size: 30 pieces
Sugar Per Serving: 26g
Calories Per Serving: 158

The Soda: Mug Root Beer

Serving Size: 12 ounces
Sugar Per Serving: 43g
Calories Per Serving: 170

The Verdict: You can enjoy 30 Satellite Wafers (Yes, 30!) for 12 less calories and 17 less grams of sugar than a 12 ounce can of Mug Root Beer contains.

The Candy: Swedish Fish

Serving Size: 7 pieces
Sugar Per Serving: 30g
Calories Per Serving: 150

The Soda: Pepsi Cola

Serving Size: 12 ounces
Sugar Per Serving: 41g
Calories Per Serving: 150

The Verdict: For the same amount of calories, you can let 7 sweet fishes swim to your belly for 11 less grams of sugar than you’ll find in a 12 ounce can of Pepsi Cola.

The Candy: Marshmallow Ice Cream Cones

Serving Size: 1 cone
Sugar Per Serving: 3g
Calories Per Serving: 20

The Soda: Barq’s Root Beer

Serving Size: 12 ounces
Sugar Per Serving: 45g
Calories Per Serving: 160

The Verdict: OK, seriously. Is it just us, or are Marshmallow Ice Cream Cones practically a vegetable?! For the same calories you’ll find in a 12 ounce can of Barq’s Root Beer you can chomp away on 8 marshmallow cones and still walk away having consumed 21 less grams of sugar than you’ll find in the root beer – that’s approximately half!

The Candy: Twizzlers

Serving Size: 4 pieces
Sugar Per Serving: 17g
Calories Per Serving: 140

The Soda: Sprite

Serving Size: 12 ounces
Sugar Per Serving: 38g
Calories Per Serving: 140

The Verdict: For the same amount of calories, you can tempt your tastebuds with 4 Twizzlers and consume less than half the sugar you’ll find in a single 12 ounce can of Sprite.

Maybe candy isn’t as sweet as we thought it was after all! But on a serious note, we don’t mean to single out soda as the ‘big bad guy’. We just recognize it as one of the most common things we as a nation consume without much thought. What we hope is that if you are cutting back on sugar, you pay closer attention to the sugar that’s hiding in many places not so obvious as candy. From frozen coffee concoctions to lemonade, there’s a lot of sugar in our lives. And if we’re more mindful of it, ‘sometimes’ we can sip a glass of water while we let candy work its magic without compromising a lower number on the scale. Isn’t ‘sometimes’ sweet? :)

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