Since I am a huge football fan, I look forward to the Super Bowl every year to see big men crash into each other as they shuttle a ball from one end of a field to the other. Nothing thrills me more than yelling about unfair penalties and bad calls while trash-talking with fans of the opposite team.
Yeah, I'm totally lying - I haven't cared about football since graduating college (and I didn't even care that much about it then) but I do love using the big game as an excuse to get together with friends and consume large amounts of dip, pizza, and wings. Oh, and the commercials are fun to watch, too.
Pirate Brands ask me to help promote some healthier snacking choices, especially for the little ones, when the typical Super Bowl snack fare consists of not-so-awesome-for-your-body options. I want to raise our son, Jasper, to learn how to make healthy food choices on his own while still enjoying a treat every now and then, so incorporating a Super Bowl snack that's a step up from your typical greasy potato chip is a great way to start. I've never tried Pirate Brands products before, so I readily agreed to give 'em a go!
Before we get to the munching and crunching, let's talk about these cute paper snack cones that you can use to display Pirate's Booty, baked puffed rice and corn snacks that are perfect for little fingers to grab off of a snack table.
Aren't they cute? They are so easy to make, too! Just cut them out, twist into a cone shape and secure with some clear tape. I just used regular printer paper for mine. I would recommend filling them with a snack that's not very greasy, like Pirate's Booty, and you shouldn't have trouble with grease spots leaking through the paper. They aren't too large so it's perfect for little hands to hold onto while they plunder their Booty!
FREE FOOTBALL SNACK CONE PRINTABLES
Here are the links to download the two football patterns. I'm also including a blank template in case you want to use some patterned paper instead of plain paper - that'll save your printer ink!
Football Field Snack Cone Template - click to download PDF
Football Snack Cone Template - click to download PDF
Blank Template - click to download PDF
Now to get to the fun part of these food reviews... EATING THE FOOD. I tried three varieties of Pirate's Booty - Aged White Cheddar, Fruity Booty, and Treasures. Treasures is a crunchier version of the Aged White Cheddar puffs and comes in fun pirate-themed shapes.
I started off with the good ole original. The packaging promises that thar be good! I grew up with separate loves of white cheddar popcorn and Cheetos Puffs and classic cheese balls, so marrying the texture of Puffs with white cheddar was likely to be right up my alley.
I've mentioned before that I love packaging. I'm a sucker for marketing tactics and I just think it's fun to give the packaging a good once over and see if there's anything interesting. I wasn't disappointed when I read the back of the bag and found that I wouldn't have to "snackrifice" taste for simple ingredients. Snackrifice... I now have a new word in my vocabulary. Now to try to use it in a sentence today.
Here's the nutrition label and ingredients list so you can see how this fits into your nutrition goals. Even though the serving size is "only" 1 ounce, that'll get you quite a bit of Booty (uh, that didn't come out right...) since this stuff doesn't weigh much at all.
Tearing into my bag I found little elbow shaped puff pieces dusted with the white cheddar flavoring. I took a whiff and got a mild and pleasant aroma of white cheddar. Squeezing a piece between my fingers I found them to be light but firm and not overly greasy. A little bit came off on my fingers but nothing like the nostalgic nacho cheese dust that left your fingers orange-tinted for days.
I crunched into one and got a sharp, pure bite of white cheddar. The puff was light and airy and what I would expect from a fresh puffed snack - not chewy or soggy. The cheese coating didn't leave any kind of residue in my mouth, the power of the flavor was spot on and heck, I just loved it. I really did. I could put away an entire bag of these in no time flat.
Next I stuck with the white cheddar flavor and opened up my bag of Treasures.
The package proclaims that these Treasures are extra crunchy. Before tasting them I kind of figured that if the original Booty has the texture of Cheetos Puffs, then Pirate's Booty Treasures will have the crunchier texture of Cheetos.
Here be the Treasures nutrition info. The crunchier version has a little more calories and fat per 1 ounce serving, which is to be expected with the denser pieces.
I once again read everything on the packaging and on the back I was told that there is no tastier reward on sea or land. Mighty big promises, me hearties! I poured out some of the Treasures into a little dish and at first glance thought the shapes were totally fun. I recognized the texture difference immediately and after popping one into my mouth I got a nice solid crunch. Less airy and puffy than the puffs, which was expected, with the same pleasant sharp white cheddar bite.
I did a little digging to pick out the three shapes listed on the package. This one is "X" Marks The Spot.
This here be a ship's steering wheel.
The package tells me that the third shape should be Crunchy the Parrot, but at first glance I thought this was an anchor! When comparing to the pictures on the bag I saw that there is indeed a little birdy beak at the top there, as well as a parrot's tail, but it looks like my pieces had an extra "tail" out front. This piece pulls double pirate-themed duty! Bite off that extra piece and you've got yourself a parrot, leave it as is and you've got yourself an anchor.
Overall I really enjoyed this crunchier version as well. Since I am more of a fan of puffed snacks I do prefer the texture of the original, but going back to my earlier Cheetos analogy - if you liked original Cheetos, you will like probably like Treasures the most. If you're like me and go for the Puffs? Stick with the original.
Last but certainly not least is Fruity Booty. This variety uses the same puffy texture as the original Booty but in a sweet version! I was most excited to try this one because I don't think I've had a sweet or fruity snack puff before (are there others? Let me know in the comments, dear readers!) The front of the bag has a prominent label that proclaims that the puffs are flavored with real fruit.
The bag promises that I will find Fruity Booty fruitastic and berry good! Well shiver me timbers, I sure hope so!
I took a peek at the ingredients and found actual dried raspberries, which told me that's the fruity flavor I should be looking for once I began to nosh my Booty. Hm, that didn't sound quite right either...
Berried treasure! I'm having way too much fun with all of these plays on words. And there's that "snackrifice" word again. Arr, time to dig in! When I poured out some of the pieces I was right that it has the same original Pirate's Booty base with a pinkish raspberry coating. Taking a sniff, I noticed that the fruity smell was indeed the smell of actual dehydrated raspberries without any chemical or artificial undertones.
When I popped a few into my mouth I was surprised by how powerful the raspberry flavor was. Seriously, this stuff is a ker-POW of fruit flavor. It tasted like exactly like dried raspberries with no odd undertones or aftertastes. It was a really interesting combination of the puff texture with the sweet fruit flavor - kind of like a grown-up version of those flavored puff snacks for toddlers when they're first learning how to eat solids.
I thought I'd really put these to the test and held out a small handful to my picky husband while hiding the package and not telling him exactly what they were. As he chewed his eyebrows raised and he said, "Huh, that's actually pretty good! What is it?" Regular readers know that my husband is much pickier about food and snacks than I am and so when I really need a back-up to my opinion, I make sure to get his take on things. If he gives Fruity Booty a thumbs up, then it's a thumbs up!
I enjoyed all three varieties of Fruity Booty and found myself browsing through the natural foods section in my grocery store the next week to make sure that they carried them for future purchases. My favorite was the original Aged White Cheddar and I'll be buying another bag as soon as we run out.
Disclosure: Pirate Brands sent me a variety of Pirate's Booty to review and help promote healthier snacking choices during the Super Bowl. As always, all opinions are my own and we do not accept free product or compensation in return for a fully positive review. Remember our motto: if it sucks, I'll tell y'all!