#MomsMeet: LightLife Plant-Based Burgers #Review #Sponsored

​​I received these product(s) free of charge from LightLife 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.

 

As many of us have seen an uptick on plant based meats, many companies have hit the market with their version of the burger.  Some have failed miserably in the past, rather others just keep adding more and more selections to their meatless options to broaden your weekly menu.  I am okay with a veggie burger as long as it tries not to pretend it is meat, so to me it is a veggie patty per say.  Now, when a company claims a burger substitute that is as good as the moo-ing thing, I definitely change my expectations.

In comes LightLife, with their new plant-based burger.  They start with 20 grams of protein per serving.  No fillers and it is 100% plant based.  This means no soy, gluten free, no GMOs, zero artificial flavors, and is even qualified to be a Kosher product.  You also get zero cholesterol and the saturated fat is just 2.5 grams in a 1/4 pound patty.  Lots of zeros where we want them but does that also go for taste?

LightLife was founded in 1979, so they have been part of the plant based foods before it became the “trending” thing to do.  I felt that was a good start and worth the leap to try and see for myself if LightLife burgers can actually deliver a good tasting burger that is not just okay for pretending.  We opted to treat the burgers like we would our predecessors, so we grilled it.  Let us give it the chance from the get go and I am not going to give this patty any special treatment.  The patty grilled and held up with zero issues.  Again, another zero that lands in the right category.   No sticking, did not fall apart and did not overly shrink up either.  I went with just a simple salt and pepper seasoning because I wanted to taste the patty as close to how it is.  LightLife burgers are seasoned and the pea protein gets mixed with coconut oil, sea salt, beet and garlic powder.  I went light on the salt but because I like a nice crust on my burger, I did give it a generous amount of freshly cracked pepper.  Went it came to dressing up my burger, I went with a smoked cheddar, which is thinly sliced and just a smidgen of mayonnaise and some pickles.  I even had my salad on the side, so no lettuce to drown my burger flavor.

Verdict:
Smells good and “burgery”.  Nice grill marks and it looks appetizing.  When making my burger, the patty was not flimsy or like cardboard, just like a regular beef patty.  It even has a meaty smell to it that quickly makes your mind think, “grilled beef…..mmmmmmm.”  First bite has a nice chew and I do not taste peas or anything vegetable like at all.  This patty does not taste 100% beef if we are using that as the marker (makes sense right), but it tastes like a patty that is mixed with beef and pork.  I kind of like that because I add pork to meatloaf and other applications, even when beef is the majority in the mix.  I actually see myself buying LightLife and making it part of my weekly meals.  Yeah, I liked it that much.  It may not taste 100% cow but that is what drew me in the most.  They definitely hit the mark in the meat notes and if you want a plant based patty (hard to believe with how good it tastes) that does not taste or have an odd and off texture, I seriously recommend you give LightLife a try.  My only complaint is that finding the burger patty is a bit hard as it sells out and I tried two Sprout’s and a Albertsons, but call ahead and ask and most stores are kind enough to hold how many containers you want.  I did try the “ground beef” and made that into a taco salad because hey, I enjoy LightLife and wanted to see how the texture was if I was cooking it like I do ground beef.  Again, it succeeded but I recommend a nonstick surface, as it allows the plant based mince to get a crust and brown like you expect beef to do so.  I did use a stainless steel pan the first time but found I needed more oils/fats to get the desired texture.  A ceramic coated cast iron or a nonstick pan gave me the results in the same amount of time (about 6 to 8 minutes) to get the browning I was looking for.

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LG Watch W7 SmartWatch Powered by Google WearOS #Ad

Hubby is a “Watch Guy”. We all know them, some of us love them. They like and collect watches. Sometimes to an unhealthy degree. And I’ll be honest, while I’ve picked up some of the nomenclature and in’s and out’s of watches, I’ll never be a “Watch Gal”. So I’ll abdicate the bulk of this review to him, because he’ll be able to touch on things that I might miss. So, since we’re a team, here we go…

A watch is an important tool. Anyone with an affinity for them has heard the two stand-by gags of “I have a phone that tells time” and the ever hilarious “A $8 Timex would be the same”, especially if you can appreciate and own a fine Swiss timepiece. But today we’re going abruptly change gears and talk about neither an low-end digital quartz watch or an expensive automatic 23-jewel Swiss investment. This unit falls somewhere in the grey area between those worlds, neither fully digital, and certainly not fully mechanical, despite sporting a Swiss-made gearbox for the analog hands. The LG Watch W7, a Smartwatch powered by Google’s Wear OS, seeks to bridge the gap between a techie with bleeding edge gear and those of us with one foot firmly in a simpler time who still need to wind our watches. The LG W7 can help keep you on-task (with proactive help from the Google Assistant), and keep you a touch healthier with smarter health coaching from Google Fit. And look good doing it.
With that established, I’ve resisted the Smartwatch craze because I have a plethora of watches of all makes and models and, to turn the gag back on the techies, I had a phone and didn’t need another on my wrist. I can now safely say, I definitely see the appeal of something like the LG W7 because it’s pretty handy to not have to dig your phone out with every buzz and beep. And, to put a finer point on it, today’s phones with 6″ screens (and larger!) can not be checked too discretely anymore, whereas a watch can be as under the radar as it gets. I deliberately stayed away from the instruction manual to see if the watch controls were intuitive, and the are. I had the majority of features figured out in a matter of minutes. It’s on the larger side for a watch, but not quite like, say, a massive Invicta or the larger 50mm Casio G-Shock watches. It’s certainly not heavy, but it’s not light either, it feels significant on the wrist and you’ll not forget it’s there. With the right watch face (because they’re infinitely swappable!!) it can look sporty, dressy, or can mimic a classic chronograph with ease. The 1.2″ edge-to-edge screen sports 360X360 resolution (is easy to read at any angle, and the traditional analog hands are a bright silver that can tell the time at a glance without the need for the screens bright backlight. The pull-out crown serves as the main control button, but the capacitive touchscreen makes analog buttons almost an afterthought beyond initial setup and programming. Battery life for the 240 mAh lithium-polymer battery could be better, but unless you’re quite the social butterfly, with the right settings it’ll easily last you all day before needing a charge. A few hours tops it off and you’re set to seize the next day again. In fact, you could select the “Watch Only” mode and LG claims you can get 100 days wear out of this watch. Nice. The 44.5 mm (?) case is right in the sweet spot for a men’s watch, neither too small or too large before needing a recharge. Nice. The fixed matte-black bezel means the gloss silver indices are easily read as well. The 22mm rubber strap is soft and pliable, and a joy to wear. In fact, it has a feature that I would appreciate on some of my nicer Seikos, a simple nub for the push bar that negates the need for a lug tool to change your strap. Anyone who’d ever had to fumble with one of those tools knows it can be a real pain sometimes. The brushed stainless steel case means this watch looks as nice as any I own. It’s fully compatible with both Android and Apple OS’s, so no matter your preferred smartphone, LG has you covered. It has all the features of a full-fledged digital ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), plus a stopwatch and timer like the finest chronometer. I have yet to master the touch-free gesture controls, but I do appreciate their necessity for some folks and like that the option is there. Full product specs can be found here and here.
It’s not all wine and roses. I have hit wrong keys on the unit a couple of times, hitting the wrong key. I have given up ever using it for all but the briefest of 1- or 2-word replies for a text. The keyboard is just too small for me to use. Being that it’s a touchscreen, I have to go against everything I’ve ever held true about my watches, as touching the crystal all the time is antithesis to what I’ve known. I’m fully aware that some people have made quite a bit of fuss over the analog hands blocking important notifications. While I can appreciate that some would want a clear, uncluttered face, I myself found no issues reading the notifications behind the hands. I would very much like to have had GPS and heartrate monitor functionality, and I’m unsure if it can be added later via an OTA firmware update, but I’m happy with the features included thus far and unless those are “deal-breaker” features for you you’ll not miss them, in my opinion. I wish the water resistance was a little better, because I do tend to treat my watches like tools and water…water sometimes happens. It’ll be fine with a light splash or a little dust, but don’t dunk it in the pool or wear it in the desert or heavy rain. NFC and fitness tracking would be nice as well, but since I don’t use either I’m not feeling the pain of their absence, but I could certainly understand folks being a little peeved at these fairly common features being excluded.
In the end, I have very little about this watch I don’t like, despite my initial resistance to this hybrid device. I like that it doesn’t scream “TECH!!” on my wrist, and could easily pass for a normal fine timepiece at a glance, but still sports most the high-tech features people have come to expect from a smartwatch. I like that it can be easily customized to fit any occasion or style of dress with a few touches or swipes. It feels substantial without being obnoxious. I would recommend it for a watch person who’s looking to dip their toes in this particular pool, and stay ahead of the curve. It’s got enough bells and whistles to satisfy just about anyone. Grab one right here: http://bby.me/8yqyj , if you’re so inclined.
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product.

Sony – WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Canceling Over-the-Ear Headphones

Sometimes, you just want the music. Or the movie. Or the video. Nothing else, just tune the world out for a spell.

There’s a lot of headphones out there. In the ear. Over the ear. Tinny. To much bass. Too little clarity, too much noise. From a few dollars to over a thousand, there’s something out there fro every listener, for the casual listener to the most hardcore audiophile. I can tell you I’ve sampled more than a few with lofty promises and just about every one fails to deliver in the long run. There’s a name, though, that usually means “quality”. They’ve been around a while, you may have heard of them: Sony. And they’ve come out with a top-notch set of earphones that provide all the high-end sound you could hope for and more.

Gone are the days of paper cones and hair-thin wires with tinny sound that distorts and buzzes. These fantastic Sony headphones sport 40mm liquid crystal polymer diaphragms for drivers. That means fuller, richer sound reproduction, with no distortion, and tinny highs and drowned out lows, and they can handle the full range of frequencies up to 40 kHz. Made sturdy and strong, you don’t have to worry about them cracking over your head but not so heavy as to feel like a workout. Wired or wireless (with bluetooth or NFC) you’ll get your sound from your laptop, your phone, your tablet, or just about any pairable device. And with up to 30 hours of battery life, you can listen or groove all day and night on a single charge!

With advanced noise-cancelling technology (Sony’s “SENSE ENGINE” with their exclusive HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1), the headphones “sense” your activity and adjust your level of noise-cancelling accordingly. No more having your fingers camped out over the volume rocker! Nice. And with an included mic, you can take that call, and get back to your tunes a s soon as you hit “end”. And seeing as how these Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are compatible with Google Assistant, you might not take them off all day. And with up to 30 hours of battery life, you can listen or groove all day and night on a single charge! Not to worry, though, you can get a good amount of juice quickly with the quick-charging technology.

 

The controls are intuitive, and well placed. The build quality is top-notch. The sound quality and noise cancelling are fantastic. The padded cups cuddle up right against your ears and sit snugly. If I were forced to find one nitpick, it would be the USB-c connection. Micro USB still rules the day in my house, so I always have a handy supply. I know the future is USB-c, but I’m still holding tightly to my micro-USB’s. And that’s the only single negative I could possibly think of, and that’s a real stretch. Sony has a history of quality, and with the Sony WH-1000XM3, I feel they have another winner on their hands.

If you want to experience these for yourself, feel free to try them out for yourself here:

http://bby.me/3etee

 

I am not obligated to provide a positive or favorable review, just my honest opinion about this product. I received compensation in exchange for my review. My review is based on my experience with the product and/or brand, which may differ from yours.

#BestBuy : LG TWINWash Laundry System and Savings Package #ad

When we purchased our washer and dryer over 13 years ago, we made sure to research everything from reviews, durability and features. Sadly, our washer and dryer set has seen better days and with deals and sales landing at Best Buy right now, there is no better time to buy. Start 2018 with new appliances and laundry package deals that will save you a bundle no matter if you need gas or electric units.

The new LG models offer appliances to fit any budget and needs. Getting your clothes and linens cleaned will be a cinch and you no longer have to worry about waiting to gather enough articles to do one big load. The new LG Twin Wash system offers sidekick pedestal washers able to accommodate smaller loads. The pedestal no longer just hold things, it is a mini system all to itself! Think about it: No need to wait for the cycle to finish to do that small load of delicates or that tiny load of off colors. You can accomplish twice as much in the same time only with LG’s Twin Wash System. For me? That sold me instantly. Need to use steam? LG has you covered. And all LG appliances are energy efficient, so you continue to save even after purchase! You can choose between front or top load, side-by-side or stacked! LG has so many models that you surely will find the one to make your laundering experience no hassle at all! I love the idea of being able to mix and match, so I can have a pedestal just for mini loads and the other one just for storage. Some of the systems come with Wi-Fi connectivity and that means I can multi-task by just using my smart phone and as new and special cycles become available, I can download them using the Smart ThinQ technology by LG.

 

With Best Buy being an LG authorized retailer, you can count on knowledgeable staff when you visit any Best Buy store. It certainly beats buying sight-unseen and one touch and you’ll want to take them home with you. Most importantly is the abundance of savings that is only being offered at Best Buy. Spend a little or if you are creating the laundry suite of your dreams, the savings may be up to $500!! http://bby.me/m3qxa

You have until April 25th to save, so start Spring with a new LG Laundry Package today!

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

Luvs Ultra Leakguard Diapers with NightLock Plus™ and Coupon Offer #ShareTheLuv #Sponsored

Luvs Box Product Shot

Pro Parents know what’s up, and Pro Moms and Pro Dads use Luvs. Luvs diapers not only provide overnight protection for your little one, but they also have easy to use large sized tabs, which stretch to allow your baby to stay leak free when moving!  You can expect comfort and dependability from Luvs, with a money back guarantee to ensure not only a happy baby, but also a dry one! (That makes for a happy parent too!) Visit www.luvsdiapers.com for full details and to see all the products Luvs has to offer.  Luvs offers sizes from newborns through 6 and they come in fun designs, but they remain soft and comfortable on your baby’s skin.  Stop chasing after leaks and now only worry about chasing after savings!

 

 

Start Summer with a blast by saving $2.00 from home.  No need to hunt for newspaper coupons, or apps because you can simply print from the comfort of your couch:

 

 

  • Your coupon is good for 30 days from the date you printed your savings, so no need to hurry out in the heat because Luvs was kind enough to give you time to shop and start racking in the savings.
  • You can use this coupon at any mass, discount or grocery stores where Luvs Diapers are being sold. All Luvs Diapers are included in this particular offer, except any trial/travel sized diaper packs.  That is one awesome coupon!

 

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Being a parent and budgeting when kids are off of school can get costly, but that does not mean you have to cut back on quality products.  Saving, is what we are all after because it allows us a break in our budget to spend towards Summertime goodies and Summertime fun for and with our kids.

Connect with Luvs at:

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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.  This review was made possible by iConnect and Luvs.  I was provided compensation to facilitate this post, but all opinions stated are 100% mine. 

 

BzzAgent: ClariSpray from Claritin Nasal Spray for Allergies #Review #Sponsored

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Most people only associate Spring as the worse allergy time since everything is blooming. Allergens differ with everyone and I myself suffer worsening of symptoms in Fall and late Spring, with Summer and then Winter a close second. Yup, I am a sneezy mess all year around and even though I take Claritin already for seasonal allergies, I need a boost when I am at my worst, so you bet I was eager to try an OTC allergy product and see how well it performs.

ClariSpray is made by Claritin but it does replace/substitute the use of the pill itself. The nasal spray should not been seen as being the same medication. ClariSpray, is a non-drowsy allergy medication geared towards combating outside allergens and directly with what affects the nasal passages. The spray in addition helps with pet allergies caused by exposure to cats and dogs, and indoor ones like Dust, Mold and Dust Mites. Being able to use another medication to fight inflammation and congestion, is what can give the user more relief. I take a decongestant and an allergy pill, but there are times that pills alone do not provide relief and this is why I started using a nasal spray and I went through many to find the one that worked for me.

 

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Verdict:
Having a new puppy is great and especially after we lost our dog to cancer in September. What is not so great about puppies in general, is they love to get into EVERYTHING! I may be hearing my own voice in nightmares saying “NO” because that is how I spend most of my day. I add some “stop it and drop that”, but pretty much trying to get the pup to stop playing with yard stuff. We have palms and they bloom beautiful smelling flowers that produce the most beautifully stuffed noses. Well, the pup loves those flowers, the grass, bougainvillea flowers and leaves are the biggest hit. Why buy toys when yard waste is the greatest puppy toy ever! Then puppy comes in and brings all the outside in with her and we are now bathing her every 3 to 4 days and usually until our noses and throats can’t take the garden the puppy seems to keep on bringing in with her. You bet I would try anything and even a nasal spray if it means I can get at least some rest from sneezing and blowing my nose countless times a day.

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ClariSpray contains fluticasone propionate and this medication helps to give quick relief and especially administered directly via a nasal spray. I tried the spray and the mist it delivers is not overwhelming or even too hard that it causes discomfort when used. Within 5 minutes, I felt less congested and within 15 minutes, I could actually think and start being productive. Yeah, that means a lot to anyone who suffers greatly from allergies. You can’t think clearly and just moving and bending hurts when your congested but at the same time miraculously trying to control a forever flow of mucus that seems to keep tissue companies in business. How I can be stuffed up but still have a runny nose is just one of my amazing qualities! The spray works and no prescription is needed. Being able to get medication that provides actual relief and not needing to make a doctor appointment to then go visit a pharmacy is a double plus for me. The holidays are approaching and a leaky nose is the last thing I want preventing me from actually enjoying them. Oh and what makes this even better…..24 hours relief!

 

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Makes us sneeze but we keep her because she is cute!

 

Connect with Claritin and check out the new ClariSpray at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from ClariSpray and BzzAgent. 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.

 

 

Pampers: New Easy Ups Review, Coupon and Gift Card #Giveaway #PampersEasyUps #Sponsored

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As a parent, you don’t want to follow the easy way, that is not always the best when it comes to what your child needs. You need products that work because your child is in constant transitioning and learning. Like adults, you do your best when you are not limited by the products you selected. Pampers offers both protection with ease of use, for parents and their toddlers . Call it a 2-in-1!

Pampers Easy Ups make the period of change from diapers to underwear simple, so you need a product you and your child can depend on. Having a product that already offers the comfort of underwear but also the protection for those “oops moments”. Training pants need to be able to put up with a child on the move! No discomfort while your toddler is walking, running and exploring to even those unplanned adventures, a parent needs to be able to know their kids can have a positive potty training experience. It’s what makes potty training not seem like a mountain you need to trek with an impossible peak you can’t even see.

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Easy Ups by Pampers has thought of it all to make it a welcoming experience for the parent and their child:

  • Parents can depend on the 360 degree of stretchy waistband that easily can be pulled up or down by your toddler.
  • The inside is soft and just like normal underwear but with Pampers patent “Extra Absorbing Channels”, which provide protection against leaks when your kid is on the move. The Dual Leak Guard Barriers keeps the legs dry and leak free.
  • Parents also can easily remove Easy Ups when needed because Pampers thought of everything, so Easy Ups tear at the sides for easy removal.
  • You have 24/7 protection while they sleep comfortably because potty training should not be a battle, it should be just another adventure. You want your toddler to be able to get a goodnight’s rest and not be kept up by discomfort even when their dry and accident free.
  • Pampers Easy Ups come in several sizes from 2T-3T, 3T-4T, and 4T-5T.
  • Your toddler can also choose from popular character from Thomas the Engine to Dora the Explorer. You also have the brand-new Hello Kitty prints!

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What’s best is you can save by printing the coupon below from Coupons.com, to easily save $2.00 off one pack of Pampers Easy Ups in any print. Simply visit:

If you don’t have an account already, it is simple to open one up and start printing and saving.

Pampers also offers a Pampers Reward Program where you can get the latest information on current and upcoming products, savings and more. Let Pampers Easy Ups make the most of everyday for you and your child.  Make sure to connect with Pampers below via all the social links provided.  *Hint this will also get you ready and set for the giveaway!

 

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Pampers Easy Ups work and I can depend on knowing they are soft and comfortable for your toddler but at the same time when accidents happen, I can quickly remedy the situation and get back to potty training.  It’s from the elastic to the absorbing pads that make you and your toddler not be discouraged by an oops and a child can easily take control of their potty training by being able to easily pull down and up the training pants.  There is the reason why certain brands like Pampers becomes the go-to brand for many parents.

 

 

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Training Tips by Dr. Tanya Altman, a 14 year Pediatrics doctor with a busy practice in Calabasas, California:

Remember to make it fun to remain it being a positive experience.  Encouragement can come in many ways from placing the Pampers Easy Ups in their own drawer, as you would do with normal underwear.  This gets your toddler excited on the changes taking place.  Patience is key and that means for both the parent and the child.  Rushing potty training when the experience is still new and unfamiliar, is not best. Not all kids are ready at the same age but usually you start training between the age of 2 and 3.  Some kids may even show signs they are ready to begin, which is always a plus!  This can come in wanting to go potty like the bigger kids to how parents do.  This is where having a training pants like Easy Ups from Pampers helps.  A toddler can easily pull off and on Easy Ups, just like real underwear.  This helps in also alerting an adult a child needs to use the restroom. Being able to communicate is key and that means each child will have a way to inform a parent they need to go, so see what signs your kid gives.  Teaching them how to use the potty themselves is again another milestone they can achieve as they train.  Reward systems help, from a sticker, a song to a dance.  This lets your child know they are doing well and remember accidents happen.  You begin again and it is not something you discipline over because again potty training should be kept positive!

 

 

*****Giveaway Details*****:

Giveaway for a #PampersEasyUps prize package, which will include:

  • $50 AMEX Card
  • Pampers Easy Ups
  • Ilana Wile’s book, “The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting”

All you have to do to enter is-

  1. Please comment on this Blog post and share this blog post via Twitter (retweet)
  2. Follow Pampers via Facebook and Twitter.  
  3. That is all!

 

I even make it easy and you can use the Twitter button below that automatically completes the tweet, just add @Pampers.

Or copy and paste this- @Pampers : New Easy Ups Review, Coupon and Gift Card #Giveaway #PampersEasyUps #Sponsored http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-2k7

Giveaway ends on October 4th and winner will be notified that same day.  I will need the winner’s contact information by October 6th to provide to the sponsors.  Winner’s full name, address (no PO Boxes), Pampers Easy Ups size/gender, and a phone number for shipping purposes will be needed. Only one unique giveaway winner per giveaway allowed.  Thank you and good luck!!

 

Connect with Pampers at:

 

This post and giveaway were made possible by iConnect and Pampers Easy Ups. I was compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are 100% mine.  #Sponsored

 

Best Buy Experience BlogHer Summit Booth Visit

We all have our mobile devices attached to our hip, and rarely do we review what we’re paying every month for to make sure what we have meets our needs. Best Buy pointed out a new (to me) feature, their “Mobile Plan and Compare tool”. Does your carrier still cover you well? Do you have access to the 4g LTE bands you need to make the most of your phone? What category and speeds do you get? What speeds and data do you need? Did you know something like 50% of all cell phone users are overpaying for features and data they don’t use? I found out I was! You can head in to any Best Buy store for a free, no-obligation evaluation today, no appointment needed. If you haven’t ever thought about these things, then the Best Buy Mobile Plan and Compare tool is totally for you.

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And I just happened to see a new bauble that really caught my eye, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Hubby’s been saying for months we need a new phone, and despite it being much more phone than I would need, it have the power and features that put a lot of those so-called “flagship” phones to shame. I love the camera, quick shutter, excellent low-light photos, the in-camera HDR and high resolution, DSLR quality photos…And that screen! Sharp, crisp, with a pixel density that makes my current phone look downright fuzzy! This is a phone to aspire to!

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I’ m really thankful for these opportunities from BlogHer and Best Buy, because being an LG gal, I might not have looked Samsung’s way, but man am I glad I did.

 

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free

HouseParty: Bertolli® Al Fresco Taste of Tuscany Party with Creamy Basil Alfredo #BertolliAlFrescoTasteOfTuscany

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As Summer approaches, I tend to get as busy as I do when it’s holiday time (November and December). It’s that six month mark I call, when changes start taking place, projects get started and making dinner needs simplification. The barbecues start getting prepped early in Spring here in Southern California because we have pleasant weather most time of the year. This means I so welcome kitchen help. I still want a meal that is healthy and leaves my family and friends full and happy.

In comes Bertolli, changing things up by adding more to their sauce line. Forget about the red and think about white base sauces that come with new flavors to welcome the new season. A white sauce is not something we enjoy (at least here) as I we usually make red based sauces. I am always looking for a way to use my overabundance of tomatoes, so that means I am always making tomato-y sauces! They are great but it can easily create a rut. I have come up with Greek style, South American to Italian “red sauces” that I think my family is on to me! When Bertolli came up with the Al Fresco Taste of Tuscany Party and I saw Basil…..well, say no more.

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Retail Price Point: $1.99 for a 15 ounce jar at Target. They are currently on sale at Target from the regular $2.25 price point. You can also find Bertolli and other selections at Von’s, Stater Bros., Albertson’s and other major stores.

Ingredients: Water, Cream, Butter (Cream, Salt), Soybean Oil, basil, Modified Corn Starch, Parmesan Cheese (Cultured Part-Skim Milk, Salt, Enzymes), Enzyme Modified Egg Yolk, Sherry Wine, Salt, Whey, Natural Flavors, Yeast Extract, Disodium Phosphate, Xanthan Gum, Garlic Powder.

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Verdict:
I like easy but I ask a lot from it. I also want a meal that is well liked and not filled with the bad ingredients. In other words, I don’t want my family picking up that I am using a jarred sauce. There is nothing wrong with sauces out of a jar and you can find brands that keep the sauce honest. In this home, jarred sauces are called “cheater sauces”. Okay, the family is a little spoiled but I prefer they welcome the better foods and if the sauce makes the cut, it also gets welcomed in the pantry. Bertolli’s Creamy Basil Alfredo is very simple to prepare. You just pour, reheat and serve. You can easily make it part of your meal or the meal itself by making it a main dish. For this occasion, I wanted to get maximum benefit out of the jar and the one jar needed to yield enough servings, so everyone could try it. I open the jar and the smell is pleasant and inviting. You have a nice milk and cream base that is followed up with the aroma of herbs, basil of course being the predominant one. Being that my basil plant was attacked by squirrels last year, my 5 year old plant never returned. I also welcomed the basil plant seeds that Houseparty and Bertolli included. I use to fear frost or excessive heat damaging my basil plant, never thinking a Squirrel with gourmet tastes would go nutty for an herb! With the amount of basil packed into this creamy Alfredo jar, my passion for basil and craving will definitely be satisfied. I opted for ricotta and spinach filled raviolis and made this my starter dish. I tend to now fry my raviolis in butter and olive oil.  This method not only gives the pasta a firmer texture but also that golden buttery taste that everyone seems to love. I warmed the sauce and other than adding some parm and a fresh slice of a baby heirloom tomato, the Bertolli Creamy Alfredo sauce was doing all the talking here.

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And, the talking it did. I never have enjoyed a jarred cream based sauce. They always broke when heated and/or had an off taste. This one does not! The Creamy Basil Alfredo from Bertolli stayed whole when heated and did not have an odd after taste. You just taste cream, butter, some cheesy notes and the basil. That is all. The sauce does not overwhelm what you are eating. The tomato gave the ravioli that fresh kick but because it’s mild in flavor, it played well with the sauce. The acidic properties played like a balsamic would, but mild enough to not just kill the entire plating. The spinach in the ricotta filling was made for a basil pairing, so Bertolli made a simple dish that much better. Some guests added a crack of pepper to top, so you can really make the Creamy Basil Alfredo sauce from Bertolli make any dish work and to your liking. No one even asked if the sauce was jarred any I was asked how I made it because so many tend to rush the process and end up with a broken sauce. I told them I would print out the recipe because it’s on-line. I shared a coupon after for my guests to use but I was not letting the cat out of the bag on this one from the start!  I also love that everyone was gifted a Basil plant to grow at home, just watch out for those squirrels who think basil flavored acorns are the it dish this season!

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from Bertolli and HouseParty.  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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