MomsMeet: Organic Nutiva Hazelnut Spreads and Buttery Coconut Oil #Review #Nutiva

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Hazelnut spreads are my weakness and when I saw that Nutiva actually makes both a classic chocolate blend and a dark chocolate……I knew what I would be baking up storm with this season (and the next). Nutiva, took the (my) hazelnut spread addiction a step further, by providing us with an organic option. This is a game changer as finding just natural products is difficult with these spreads and most contain artificial ingredients to even nasty ones that take the enjoyment of indulging away. This is why I stopped eating what I enjoyed so much as a kid. Hazelnuts are my favorite and you combine chocolate with them, well it’s a perfect marriage. I always wished they made a dark chocolate variety but in the end, I just kept wishing they added less sugar and sweet syrups to the spreads! My hazelnut spread was slowly lost as time went by and when the company was sold to another food company, I lost any hazelnut or even chocolate flavors that remained. I started just calling it the brown spread. Sort of sounded gross but it summed up how I felt about what I had lost.

 

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Nutiva comes in and saves the day…..heck, my childhood memories. My mind is running with ideas from truffles to cakes made with their spread. I was worried that I was building up the idea and would open up the jar to just find sadness. Nutiva was very generous with the kit they sent and I received:

 

Verdict:

 

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When it comes time to purchase coconut oils, I always resort to Nutiva as my go-to brand. The brand has never failed me when it comes to quality ingredients and they are constantly innovating the brand with the new products they added. Everything is always a must buy after I have tried it once. You can’t say that about many brands out there. Nutiva’s selection may not be as grand as others but knowing that what you are buying is not only made with premium and clean ingredients, you also know that it will taste good. I am all about eating well and organic when possible, but the taste and texture has to be there for me. I don’t like the idea of “eating good” but not being happy about what I am eating in the first place. Nutiva has made me a fan of coconut oil to now being able to add their Organic Buttery one to the mix. I was already at times mixing unsalted butter with my coconut oil in the first place but now I won’t have to. The best part, you taste butter but it’s not there. Nutiva managed to use sunflower to create this genius concoction. I assumed the butter was there when I cooked and ate a pasta dish I made but while eating, I started reading the bottle and noticed this is a “butter alternative”, not actual dairy. It’s even Vegan friendly! Pure genius and I will definitely be purchasing this mix again.

 

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Next comes the Hazelnut spreads. Um, they are back and can I even admit to being better than before? I taste hazelnut again. That was gone after my third jar of trying and I bought the third bottle from another brand by telling myself maybe the other 2 jars were bad batches. You know, made on a Friday at the factory and everyone wanted to leave early kind of batch. Cocoa is the second ingredient followed by Palm and then the nut! No skimping here and I feel the spread is smoother not only in taste but texture. No grainy or oily feel when consumed. The quality of the chocolate is present and no rancid weird taste of what I call “fillers” when not only hazelnuts are used. There is a reason the hazelnut and chocolate combination has been a hit for generations. It works and Nutiva did not mess with that. I finally can have my spread and they listened to me even though I never said anything directly to them, but like some magic Nutiva lowered the sugar. Yup, by 40% less than the leading brand. This is why the power of the chocolate and hazelnut is what you get at every bite……finally, less freaking sugar. I am not anti-sugar but like salt, just a touch so you can still taste the actual ingredients you want. There is also many advantages buying Nutiva’s spread where you get Omega-3 (450 mg), Fair Trade Palm oil, to Organic and a Gluten Free product. Anyone can eat this because the goal was to make the best hazelnut spread with the best ingredients and this is why (and others) agree that so far Nutiva has beat the competition by a huge margin!

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Connect with Nutiva at:

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Nutiva and MomsMeet. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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MomsMeet: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups #Review #BobsRedMill

 

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As the days grow colder, like everyone, I tend to seek out warmer meals and this includes at breakfast time. I consume oatmeal through out the year and my way to change my selection, is by adding seasonal fruit to the cup. This way my cups change and I get to enjoy what the seasons have to offer. What can I say? Oatmeal can get boring as much as my granola does and let’s be honest, this is why I view granola as cold oatmeal! Adding dried fruits, nuts, seeds to even a dollop of yogurt can brighten up a cup on any day.

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I have been a fan of Bob’s Red Mill for years. They just never fail me. I started first by buying their flour decades ago and then as they released more and including meals (i.e. nut flours), I was happy to see them reach the west coast. It’s kind of nice not having to order online all the time and when places like Target started supported the brand….heck, I am thrilled.

 

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I was recently part of the Bob’s Red Mill Oatmeal Cups campaign from MomsMeet. They were kind and generous to send out samples to try and share and like the signature that runs so true to Bob’s Red Mill, they included additional products to share. Love them! Such a giving company and please take a moment to read about the company on their website, you will fall in love with how they treat their employees. There is true pride and respect for the products they make for us. The other part that I have enjoyed being a Bob’s Red Mill fanatic, is they eat like I do. This adding chia seeds to flax seeds to enhance not only your taste buds but your nutrition is something I learned from them. Yes, they taught me to care more about what I eat and always made it easy for me from offering flax seed both whole and in milled form. No excuses in being able to eat better!

 

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The Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Oatmeal Cups kit included:

 

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Verdict:
The Oatmeal cups are phenomenal. You can use the microwave direction or the add hot water to the cup one. I have been using a mix of nut milks and water to enhance the flavor and not that the cups lack taste, but I sometimes seek a richer background on those colder mornings. All the ingredients are real and clean, no fillers and even making sure to use gluten free oats. The Nutritional Boosters that you can also add are the protein powders to create a morning power meal. You can even go with the unflavored blend they offer online or why not start your morning with some chocolate. It’s is like having a hot cocoa and oatmeal in one cup and it is actually good for you. I make the “Choco-Monkey” blend with the classic oatmeal cup, a spoonful of Chocolate Protein powder, almond milk with water as the fluid, then after heating I add chopped bananas and walnuts with a spoonful of peanut butter in the center. It’s almost like a molten lava cake with that gooey peanut butter center and I feel sinful eating it because oatmeal never tasted this good. My guilt vanishes when I start adding up the protein and it turns out to be a cup filled with healthy nutrition. Eating well goes beyond opening a mealy tasting bar and going out the door in the mornings. The Bob’s Red Mill cups come with tops, so if you have time to pick up a latte, you have time (3 minutes) to give yourself a few microwave seconds to eat the cups as they come or enhance them to your liking. You are worth it and your family will join in because things that taste good don’t get questioned. They just make smiles 🙂

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Connect with the wonderful crew at Bob’s Red Mill at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill and MomsMeet. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

 

Luv Michael: Locally Sourced Organic Granola that Gives Back #Review #LuvMichael #LuvMichaelCo

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Being a yogurt lover sort of makes me a granola junkie. I love that crunch combined with nuts and fruits that tends to take the bore out of my geek yogurt. In other words, granola is what adds happiness to any cup of plain yogurt. As granola became more and more popular, many companies sort of got off the beaten path of just oats and sweeteners. Many add other ingredients like Chia seeds to Hemp and antioxidant rich berries like Acai to Cocoa nibs, plus your typical nut blends. Even the sweeteners have changed. Honey is no longer the only thing that bonds the clusters. I have seen from agave to rice derived sugars that really anymore we really have so many choices. Like with everything, being able to siphon out the fakers as I call them is really the only thing to watch out for.

 

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In comes Luv Michael granola, which took the approach of not only making a “cleaner” product but also took the challenge of making changes happen with the products they produce. They contribute back and not just to your taste buds. Luv Michael is a company that invests in people with Autism, just like it’s founder Michael Kessaris. They produce a gluten free product with natural derived ingredients. Foods that benefit many with autistic symptoms. Luv Michael then again took a step further and when the company started with aid from his parents, they employ from the community people with same challenges. Talk about giving back in every way possible and this is why I took interest in such a company. Many companies give back but very few really take their mission to heart like Luv Michael has. The company and it’s members went full circle in every way possible to create not only a welcoming environment for autistic adults but one where they can help contribute and distribute a product for everyone.

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Verdict:

Like I stated being a a self proclaimed granola junkie means I have tasted many combinations and overly elaborate mixes. Many have been great and others just stop being granola and more like trail mixes when you really look at the combos. Finding an original one or what I call plain variety is what is really hard to find. So many even add chocolates to their mixes that a snack turns into a dessert at one point or even an ice cream topper. My hunt for a good plain granola was starting to look murky until I found the company Luv Michael. First of all, finally a resealable package! Air is great for humans but very mean to granola. Some goes stale while other gets sticky when exposed to air for any amount of time. Mostly because of all the sugars and other non-granola ingredients making a simple thing not so simple. The granola from Luv Michael has even a cute name, Originola. Each packet is 2 ounces and masterfully done by not just chefs but Granologists. They use natural and organic ingredients and the end result is a not super sweet but plenty crunchy granola. The oat clusters are decent in size and not just what I call granola dust, when a product has been over processed or worse, those tooth breaking granola boulders. Each package contains perfectly sized chunks that you can enjoy as-is or pair it up with yogurt if you so desire. There is care in how everything is made at Luv Michael and that really is seen in the appearance of the product but more importantly, in the taste! Not super sugary but enough to add some brightness to a breakfast mix or snack. I really liked the oats used because they did not taste like they had been packaged on a shelf for months. There is freshness here and care. Luv Michael has captured what was lost and that is making one awesome plain granola mix that is rare to find anymore. A throwback to what use to be easily found before and from a girl that missed the plain original……she is very glad to count on Luv Michael to fill that knitch for her.

 

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Luv Michael Company. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

UpNature: 100% Natural Raw Almonds in a 2.5 lbs. Bag #Review #UpNatureRawAlmonds

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I usually admit that I buy many different types of nuts in whole form but always in bulk. Buying in bulk is great as you get a lower price per ounce/pound because you are buying more product at one time. The factor that can sometimes backfire on me comes to quality. Many producers yield great batches but as the year progresses, you start seeing some add less premium nuts to their batches but here you are paying the same price point or even higher if the weather was an issue. The bargain is lost when you buy less quality nuts in bulk. You are then sort of stuck trying to consume a product you may not be too fond of.

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Retail Price Point: $25.99 for a 2.5 pound bag via Amazon

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Verdict:
When UpNature had already surprised me in a favorable manner with their raw honey, I though why not when it came to trying their almonds. Again like their honey, this is another product that is left as natural as can be. Raw almonds that are not smoked and actually steamed pasteurized. I love roasted and/or smoked nuts but over time data has stated that the benefits are not the same and actually the oils in the nuts can be harmful, as oxidation and other changes are caused by the high heat they come in contact with. UpNature grows their almonds in California with minimal processing and each nut was flawless when I received it. They also bag their almonds in a brown bag versus a plastic bag, which can inhibit moisture and mold growth. The almonds are kosher certified and have never come in contact with pesticides, irradiation, or any chemicals. Just plain almonds with premium quality but wholesale pricing.  I found the nuts to be pleasant in texture, not mealy and fresh.  The taste I describe as a mild sweetness as the flavors are natural in their raw form.  No salts or anything to get in the way, so it really leaves it up to you and your imagination to enhance the almond, or like I enjoy them…….just as they are.

I received the above product(s) free of charge from UpNature. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

UpNature: Raw and Organic 100% Natural Honey #Review #UpNatureHoney

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Honey is one of nature’s most simplest products and the applications are endless. Now buying honey was very simple before. You usually picked a jar or a bear shaped bottle and you had honey ready to go. Then the industry decided to get funny but not in a very laughable kind of sense. We had companies add fillers and sell honeys from around the world that were high in price but not quality. You were paying pretty much for sugars and not even the good kind. Some even add enhancements and flavoring, which are not even naturally occurring. So finding a brand you can trust and sells true and honest honey can be a bit of a hunt but so worth it. You will even find if you use the real stuff, like with vanilla extracts, you end up needing less because of the purity.

 

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UpNature makes Raw and Organic Honey with zero surprises or fillers. You get the real stuff with zero processing. The good stuff is kept in and no bad stuff added! Simplicity and honesty at it’s finest. UpNature is USDA Organic Certified, Free of GMOs, and even Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) certified. Free from being heated and literally jarred in the same form it was gathered.

Price Point: $17.99 via Amazon or $19.99 via UpNature’s Website for a 400 gram jar

 

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Verdict:

The first thing I noticed was that the honey in the jar was not clear like many in the stores that have been processed via heat so other fillers can be added and combined. You have a semi-opaque liquid that tends to run slower than other honeys of like kind. It’s almost the texture of a maple syrup of high grade when you move it in the jar. The color is a brilliant amber! Just beautiful and UpNature gave the bottle a beautiful beehive design on the golden colored lid, so the little details were very much appreciated. The taste test is just amazing. There is thickness to the honey but it’s a creamy texture and very smooth. I tried it on bread first to see how it tasted and I had to stop myself. I had no idea I liked honey so much until I tried UpNature’s honey. The product is from the Ukraine and the bottle states the honey is cultivated from fields that are rich in minerals, so the bees create a honey that is really made from wildflowers. I tried it with tea the second time and just a 1/4 of a teaspoon was more than satisfying and enhanced the flavor of the tea, which was orange/citrus in taste. This honey just brightened that little tea cup and changed the flavor profile completely. I love using less because this means this jar shall last! I have a recipe for blonde brownies where honey is used as a sweetener and I will be using this one because it will definitely create a better texture (moist) to the brownies.

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from UPNature. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

VMI Sports Vasogen Xt Pump-Activating Vasodilator in Mali-Blueberry Breeze

 

Against my better judgement, Hubby wanted to try out a new supplement for pre-workouts, and while the ingredient list looked promising, the flavor was such that we might not know whether this mix is good or works well. So, here we go again with Hubby taking over the reins.

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When one goes into a new pre-workout mix, the very first thing you want to look at is the ingredient list and research if the ingredients they claim are in there work.  So after much Google-Fu, I found that most of the ingredients in VMI Sports’ Vasogen Xt looked promising. There’s some sucralose, maltodexterin, and artificial flavors, but most of your bigger supplement companies will include these now a days. The smell upon opening wasn’t too off-putting, but the flavor…that flavor. VMI Sports sent me “Mali-Blu Berry Breeze”, and as a general rule I tend to avoid “blu”‘s or “berry”‘s because they’re usually super sweet. This one is tooth-achingly sweet. I tried watering it down, but the last thing you want before a workout is pounding 18 ounces of water to be sloshing around in your gut. Okay, new product, maybe I just have to get used to it. The next day I’m dreading it. The day after, I can’t finish it. By day four, I’m back to my old pre-workout because I can’t stomach this stuff. I tried contacting VMI Sports to see if I could exchange the flavor they sent for one of the other two (Tiger’s Blood, Hawaiian Pump), but I got no response. I tried once more but was met with crickets, so I’m not sure if they don’t care or know and don’t want to hear it. Whatever the case is, I couldn’t use enough of the product for a long enough period to tell if it works well or not. It might be good, it might be a bunch of sugars and a pinch of their proprietary ingredients. But for $37.03 for 30 servings, I’ll stick to the companies that address a customer’s concern and don’t make me sick to my stomach with artificial sugars.

VMI Sports did include quite a few samples, including one each of the other flavors of the Vasogen XT, which to their credit were much better flavors, so it might have been the luck of the draw for me. But I can’t rate the one I got very highly, because frankly, the flavor is disgusting. There’s a lot to like about this product, and the company, like being made in the USA and using some quality ingredients that have proven research, but if the flavor is so off-putting you can’t drink it, and the lack of response from the company make me pass on this product.

Poor guy. He can’t win for losing. So while VMI Sports Vasogen XT seemed promising, the company’s handling of a customer concern and flavor issues is enough for me to knock a few stars off. Oh well.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from VMI Sports. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

FreshJax: Set of 5 Gourmet Handcrafted Spices (Grilling Spices) #Review #FreshJaxSpices

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One of the delights of Summer, is the grilling weather. Being in California, this means that we grill most parts of the year and even during Winter. If it’s raining we can easily bring the grill under the tall awning from the patio, so again no limitations. Finding spices and especially blends is something I must admit I do not usually purchase. I have a large array of individual spices, dried herbs, chilies, in powdered to granulated, and even whole form. I just avoid blends because I found early on, they were just mostly blended products with 75% being salts or sugars. Not my kind of thing, so when FreshJax reached out and I looked into the company…..well, I gave them a try.

FreshJax is a family owned company and they started their company in 2011. They advertised something I use commonly, being “clean” about what you make. This is not just limited to sanitary conditions, but to using real products, no fillers and having pride in what you make. You got to love cooking to a certain degree to make things work and one thing FreshJax loves, is their spice mixes!

 

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I selected the Grilling Spices because the selection looked like one I can actually use. Like all 5 bottles sounded like great mixes and close to ingredients we use on a weekly basis, but I am always looking how people add their own twist to ingredients I use. The grilling mix comes with:

  • GRILL MASTER: Think about an all purpose blend and this mix is it. It goes well with any protein to vegetables and seafood. Serves all well with herbs like organic fennel, garlic, rosemary and smoked black peppercorns. I use smoked salts on almost a daily basis but the smoked peppercorns really made this mix unique and addicting.
  • SMOKEY SOUTHWEST: Not just spice but flavor! This one was great to add to beans and even inside a quesadilla. It made every cheesy quesadilla amazing with just one sprinkle of this blend. You have smoked salts and pepper, to cumin to give it that recognizable Tex-Mex kick.
  • CITRUS PEPPER: I have a lemon pepper blend I use and it’s also made with organic herbs and spices. FreshJax, laughed at my lemon pepper blend! This bottle is a citrus bonanza when it comes to flavor. You have a blend here of lemon, orange, lime with a zest you get from white peppercorns. They also use a pepper medley blend, which means you get the red and even the green that tend to be milder in flavor. A great combination and perfect for vegetables and I made a Citrus Pepper compound butter for salmon that was grilled on planks and oh my, just delicious!
  • FRESH BAY: There is a reason the other is called “Old” Bay. This mix revamps the old by using organic mace, cardamon, mustard seeds to your familiar celery seed and bay leaves. I found even cinnamon in this blend but I could not taste it. Like not one ingredient fought with each other, so it’s a peaceful bay 🙂 that will play well with shrimps to even chicken.
  • PEPPERED HABANERO: I was afraid this one would just mimic the Smokey Southwest but thankfully this one was totally different. You get heat and I find habanero peppers not only provide heat but more flavor than a jalapeno. I don’t find the pepper to be crazy hot. This blend is peppery and you get a zing but again FreshJax delivers taste. They also blended in Bird’s Eye Chili, which is an Asian variety. I love that this one plays well with braised beef because you don’t have to always taco everything! When I braised the beef, it was ready in 1 hour and the tortillas were on the side to help scoop up the peppery sauce this blend created!

 

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Final Verdict:

I recall now what ease it is to pick-up a bottle and go! I kind of forgot that when I am so use to getting out the items I need to grind peppercorns, seeds, and pods, to then mixing in dry herbs, spices and salts. FreshJax, made this a positive experience just from one simple bottle with no clean-up needed. Easy and I was not cheating the dishes I made either. Flavor was present and I still had to salt some a little bit because these seasonings add taste, not just pickle the meats and vegetables you add them to. The herbs and spices are fresh and you not only see them on the meats you rubbed them on, marinated with but even the vegetables I used the spices on were well received.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from FreshJax. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. I received no other compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

Tryazon: Sterno S’mores Maker for Indoors and Outdoors Use #SmoresMaker

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I’m all for DIY cooking ways and what not better way to bring some fun, by being able to create S’mores at home. The weather is bad? No problem, as this Sterno S’mores Maker has no limitations. You can make S’mores it indoors, outdoors and at any hour. Yup, party any time and this is not just limited to giving kids smiles, you can even make “Gourmet S’mores” that are easy and even make it less messy. No longer do you have to try to hold the candy bar piece, you can literally make a chocolate bark topping that stays……yes, stays put on top of your graham piece.

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The S’mores Maker is brought to you by Sterno Products, the company that has been bringing heat to campers and the like for decades. They have created a nice line of products and kits, which make not only Summer funner, but you are not limited by the seasons when entertaining.

The kit includes:

  • 2 Roasting Forks
  • 1 Roasting Safety Screen for even roasting and protection from flame
  • 2 integrated S’mores Making Stations for an easy and clean way to make s’mores
  • Includes 1 can of Sterno S’mores Heat™ (also available for purchase separately)

I decided to make chocolate barks and all you do is make a ganache and/or melt chocolate and add toppings. Ganaches, use Heavy Cream and produce a more velvety texture and by using a 75% ratio of chocolate to 25% cream, the product firms up enough to not fall off the graham or cookie of your choice. You can also melt chocolate on low heat and then simply smear the chocolate on one part of the cookie, add your toppings and you are now pre-making S’mores!  When guests arrive, half the work is completed. I also find this controls messes. Nuts, coconut shavings and so forth can get sloppy when you are building the Ultimate S’mores sandwich. This way of building S’mores makes sure the tables and floors do not suffer from runaway toppings!

The toppings are endless and you can satisfy any picky eater by using these easy tricks:

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Now, this is how the set up looks and it took me an hour to pre-make all the cookies.  I had guests coming as I made them and my chocolate chip mini cookies were eaten up, but you can use more than just graham.  Even Shortbread minis!

 

The Sterno S’mores Maker heats evenly no matter the size of marshmallow.  Hey, I was worried the Giant ones (found at Aldi’s) would not heat up and melt in the center, they did and with ease.  The normal size ones that look like miniatures compared to the gigantic ones, those I purchased at Trader Joe’s.

 

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Verdict:

I was super excited and started purchasing ingredients before the maker even arrived.  Then it arrived!! It was beautiful and easy to assemble, meaning none was needed.  The red portion (holder) is dishwasher safe and because you can by the cans again and again, this means having a S’mores party is endless.  We will be trying more creations in the future and I can’t wait.  This is a must buy and at $35.16 currently at Amazon, it’s perfect for 4th of July or really anytime.  Make your own fun and creations.  The refill fuel cans retail for $6.99 and that is for two cans!  Each can lasts for about 45 minutes.  It’s a cinch to clean up and everyone had a blast.

 

Connect with Sterno and checkout the S’mores Maker at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Sterno and Tryazon. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Ozeri Green Earth Non-Stick 12″ Wok

We use dinner time here at my house to “travel the world” and eat foods that are inspired by many exotic ethnic dishes. One of the favorites, for Hubby at least, are our trips to “the Orient”, and thanks now to Ozeri, we have a new spin on our old classic with their fabulous Green Earth non-stick Wok.

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Ozeri’s smooth non-stick ceramic coating is is second to none, and where we’ve had issues within months with some of the larger company’s non-stick offering (Calphalon, I’m looking at you), we’re going on a year with some of our Ozeri Green Earth pans working like the day we got them. Wok cooking will also made a huge difference with our stir-fry dishes and got a nice sear on the veggies while leaving them crisp, and browned the meats very well while leaving them tender. And clean up was a cinch, I’m talking a rinse with hot water and this pan was nearly clean! The handle stayed cool even with medium-high heat, and there was enough real estate in the pan that I could feed us both of us with a single pan! Made from heavy die-cast aluminum, this pan is made to last and provide years of use. And Ozeri’s patented ceramic coating is 100% PTFE and PFOA free, so no harmful chemicals are going to be leaching into your food! And yes, for those of you wondering, it has a magnetized induction stove safe base.

If I had one thing that was a slight problem for me, it was storage. This is a big pan, bigger than the 12″ sizing would lead you to believe, and I had a hard time getting it in with my other pots and pans. It’s not heavy, it’s actually quite light for it’s size, it’s just so large I may need a shelf of it’s own. And because it’s Ozeri, you can be sure they only want 100% customer satisfaction and will go out of their way to get you there! If you enjoy cooking with an Asian flair, I can not recommend this pan highly enough! You simply must have one in you kitchen!

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Get in touch with Ozeri’s family of products:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Ozeri. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

Social Nature: Kim’s Simple Meals, Organic Macaroni Casserole #Review #TryNatural

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Next on the list, is Kim’s Simple Meals and this is their Organic Macaroni Casserole. The product again is easy to make and assemble. You simply boil the pasta, which is gluten free and made from organic brown rice. You then mix the contents with water, blend and add it to the cooked elbow shaped noodles. Mix and in the oven the casserole goes. The Mac is soy free and made with GMO free ingredients. Vegan friendly and Kosher too.

Ingredients: Gluten free brown rice elbow macaroni*, oat flour*, sea salt, sugar*, dehydrated vegetables* (onion*, garlic* & tomato*), yeast powder*, natural smoke Torula yeast, annatto powder* (annatto extract*, maltodextrin*), citric acid, lemon peel powder* and natural hickory smoke powder [potato maltodextrin, natural hickory smoke flavoring, hydrated silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent)]. *Organic

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Verdict:

The instructions were simple and because I tend to like more bite in my pastas, I did not boil the noodles as long as they suggested. When I blended the “cheese sauce”, it was very watery in texture and had an odd smell that was smoky. Kim suggests you can add your own meatless based meats, like a veggie based bacon. This time I decided to just go as it comes but I can see even adding vegetables. Once the pasta was partially cooked, I added the sauce and it did not thicken. It was more like the texture of a thin juice, versus any bechamel sauce I have made to make a typical Macaroni and Cheese dish. There is no real cheese here but I did notice this box is not labeled dairy free like the burger version. Why not add milk? I have no idea and it was not listed as a suggestion. Not even a nut milk that is unsweetened was not suggested, or even soy milk if you have no issues with it. The burger box had soy…..but I went forward and was thankful walnuts were not suggested like the video shared for the home-style burgers, and no oats! The house smells like something is cooking but it’s not like any Macaroni and Cheese I have had before. Maybe a pasta kind of dish but not Mac and Cheese. It comes out of the oven and it’s like one solid mass. I noticed this in the video also, when the serving was cut. The liquid was absorbed and you still smell something smoky-ish but I could not put my finger on it. Maybe fake bacon bits and along that area. I taste it and it’s not cheese and I have eaten many cheeses in my lifetime. This pretender is more like a rice dish, where the rice is shaped like elbow pasta and a yellow sauce. The sauce creates a pasta cake but no cheese and gooey texture you associate with the original. It was not awful but definitely not super delicious. The only thing that came to mind, is it tasted like that mystery dish where the label fell off the platter, which sat in a buffet/cafeteria line. Surprise-a-Dish! If you like surprises, this may be for you and adding vegetables or other items might spruce it up and make it less surprise-ish casserole.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kim’s Simple Meals and Social Nature. I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

 

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