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 ūüôā 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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Connect with FreshJax at:

 

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.

Kiva Health Food: Hot Smoked Paprika and Sweet Smoked Paprika #Review #SmokedPaprika

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When I first began to cook, I started with blended spices and herbs. Such blends are easy to use and take the guess work out of finding a balanced flavor, however you usually are charged for fillers like with most products of this kind. If the flavor notes are savory, you get salt and if you get sweet, you get a plethora of sugars to choose from and making up 50% of the product you just purchased. After a year of trial and error, I finally learned to purchase individual ingredients and let me be the one in control of flavor!

Kiva offers you with pure products and what you see, is what you get. Sounds so simple but in a world where sodium and sugars are not the only fillers, you get products that are made with higher standards from Kiva:

  • All Kiva products are non-GMO certified.
  • Kiva uses a third-party testing facility to ensure purity and safety.
  • Eco-friendly methods are used by Kiva from Sustainable Farming to cultivating in smaller batches.
  • Kiva also minimally processes everything from their Superfoods to their spices.

The food word has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and we now know more about food processing to ingredients that sound healthy-ish but are not. There is no excuse when it comes to not knowing where to buy from because there are still good companies that take pride in what they make like Kiva. My first products to try from Kiva, is their paprika and they sent me two kinds to review.

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  • Kiva Sweet Smoked Spanish Paprika-

With my father originating from Spain, paprika was highly used at our home. We made on a weekly basis a Paprika chicken dish, which was braised chicken thighs and are paired it a simple vegetable (whatever was in season) saffron rice. I am very familiar with this pepper spice that is usually made by air drying the chili peppers, however smoked versions use a fire to add flavor, and the woods will enhance and even add to the taste. Kiva’s sweet version is made in the La Vera region of Spain. Their peppers are hand harvested and are dried by using Holm oak. The oak toasts the peppers nicely and adds a nice true smoked flavor. No fake liquid smoke used here! You don’t get a sugary sweetness but a mild pepper flavor, which differs from the hot version. The sweet version also usually has the seeds removed to decrease any bitterness, which you usually find in the “bittersweet” Agridulce version. This sweet version plays well with seafood, rices to even spreads. I also used the Kiva sweet version over avocados that I added to a simple salad and the flavor complemented the simple vinaigrette I made very well. You will use less dressing when using Kiva’s sweet smoked paprika because flavor is there and it did not need sugars to notice it!

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Sweet Paprika & Chives Shrimps. The shrimps were grilled on skewers!

 

 

  • Kiva Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika-

Like it’s counterpart, the Hot version of Kiva’s paprika is smoked for 14 days to increase intensity and richness. You get chili peppers that have been ground to produce a light powder that delivers those smoky notes, which derive from the Holm oak. Holm oak trees is the only wood used if you are making true Pimenton from the La Vera region of Spain, so think of it like Champagne, you can only call it that if comes from the grapes that came from that region of France. The Holm oak also produces acorns, which is a food source for Iberico pigs of this region. I like to pair the smoked hot version with pork tenderloins to create a nice rub and it gives roasted potatoes a beautiful hue and peppery taste, that you can only find in paprika from this region. Kiva’s paprika is milled perfectly and no bitterness or fillers are ever detected. You get true spice from the peppers without the high price tag! ¬†I also halved potatoes and we grilled them over charcoal, added sour cream and a touch of butter with a nice sprinkle from the hot smoky paprika. ¬†It’s a tater you cut to eat and enjoy every bite!

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Retail Price Point: The duo costs $10.99 via Amazon or $11.80 from Kiva’s website

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Connect with Kiva and their other Superfoods at:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Kiva Health Foods.  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.

 

Influenster: Products that go beyond the Winter Season #Influenster #FrostyVoxBox

 

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I was very excited again to get a VoxBox from Influenster. There is never a box that does not contain a new item to new brands I have never tried. This box was a beauty and food themed box, which really sums up the holiday season. The Frosty Vox Box really brought a little bit of everything from several very know brands:

 

  • Rimmel London

Was very generous and gave us two products to try out that go hand-in-hand, the Gentle Eye Make-up Remover and the ScandalEyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal eyeliner.  Both products are reasonably priced and that is welcomed after the holiday splurges.  What I like about the line is that their beauty items always exceed expectations and they allow me to keep up with whatever new fashion trend and/or look is in, but still be able to keep the lights on!

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  • NYC New York Cosmetics

Even with the nude colors being in, we still need lipstick and sometimes things get too pale or plain. ¬†NYC fixes that by adding a touch of color with their Expert Last Lip line in Sugar Plum. The Sugar Plum color is rosy but also sheer, with a hint of shine but thankfully not super glossy. ¬†The last thing you want to do is look back at every picture you took in Winter and your lips are blinding everyone. ¬†With Valentine’s Day approaching, this color again fits perfectly with the season……so not just a one holiday and done product.

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  • EcoTools Hair Brush

This is my first time using this line and I was happy that the brush kept my locks nice and smooth, did not create static and was gentle enough to not break or stress my hair.  The brush has a nice handle for easy hold and also is nicely balanced, which is appreciated when I do a ponytail look.  What I like is how easy it is to clean because even though I use a low amount of leave-in products, the oils I do use can cause our hair tools to create build-up.  Dirty bristles is not an issue with this brush!

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  • No7 Protect and Perfect Intense Advanced Sachet¬†

I was so happy when I saw this brand included and before the box arrived. ¬†My happiness sort of faded when I noticed this was not even a deluxe sample, but more of a packet with maybe 2 uses if I am lucky. ¬†Two uses does not mean I can be fair or even really know about performance. ¬†I may be able to share my opinion about the texture, and this product does have a light feel and quickly absorbs. ¬†Unfortunately, that is all I can share because results take work and time, plus I’m always willing to give it to a beauty product but that also means I need a little more than 2 applications. ūüôā

 

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  • Celestial Seasonings Candy Cane Lane Decaf Green Tea

Just when I thought I was peppermint and pumpkin out with the holidays, this shows me that a tea can make the difference. ¬†This tastes like true peppermint with it’s subtle and refreshing notes, that not only soothe but also calm me perfectly before bedtime. ¬†Being decaffeinated allows me to enjoy this selection of herbal tea anytime I want and still get a good snooze in.

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  • McCormick Gourmet Thyme

I grow our own thyme but sometimes the cold snap we get decides I did not need that plant, so I always have thyme in dry form. ¬†I also like to add dry ingredients with fresh ones because the flavor profile does change and even sometimes is preferred over the fresh (i.e. oregano) kind. ¬†This jar arrived and I was happy to have more thyme and then looked at my thyme and even though it was not an aged bottle, my thyme was lacking that nice color, aroma and started to feel ashamed about how pretty the McCormick Gourmet one looked so I set it free and left this new bottle in it’s stead.

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  • Fruit Vines Bites

Not all can be winners and this was one again taught me all because it says cherry, it does not mean even 1% of a real cherry is in it. ¬†Not the juice, I would have even been happy with cherry skin at this point but these vines are fruit lacking and sugar is all they bring. ¬†I even chuckled when it came to vitamins and everything was 0%. ¬†I know it’s candy and even for some a snack, but let me sin with something at least partially real. ¬†I think the cherry needs an asterisk or maybe it should be called wanna-be cherry or sugar vines. ¬†It has no preservatives but then again there is nothing real to preserve!

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Final Verdict-

Influenster always delivers an array of products that make me re-look at what I buy, own or even want. ¬†I brought economical beauty brands back into the mix and just like my clothes, my fashion looks now are like my beauty products……in all price ranges! ¬†I’m happier this way and that is really what matters. ¬†These Vox Boxes are always a hit even when I get some so-so products because trying is really the only way to know and share with others! ¬†Thank you again Influenster for another Vox Box experience!

 

  • #FrostyVoxBox
  • #GetAdvanced
  • #Rimmel
  • #SugarPlum
  • #CelestialTea
  • #LoveMyECOhairbrush
  • #McCormickGourmet
  • #SweetSide

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Influenster. 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.

 

Smiley360: Boursin¬ģ Cheese #Review #BoursinCheese

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Who doesn’t love cheese? I think everyone at least likes one type. In my house when we go grocery shopping, we need to narrow down what we have from the cheese aisle! We bake with cream cheeses, enjoy spreads on crackers, to just munching on them as they are. Goat cheeses to raw milk cheeses, we have tried and/or been gifted most. I was so thrilled when Smiley had the Boursin Cheese campaign because it was a perfect fit.

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Boursin Cheese has been making cheeses and spreads since 1957. Francois Boursin, created the first variety (fromage frais/fresh cheese), which was a cheese base that guests then customized by adding their own seasonings and herbs. You can imagine the varieties and blends created and why Boursin still continues to delight us with their cheeses. Boursin has now made things easier by pre-blending their herbs, spices, and seasonings for easier enjoyment.

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You have Boursin Cheeses and Boursin Gourmet Spreads made with a French-style cream cheeses to choose from:

Boursin Cheeses-

  • Original
  • Pepper
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Garlic and Fine Herbs
  • Shallot and Chive
  • Boursin Light
  • Cranberry & Spice (Seasonal flavor)
  • and many from fruit blends to savory ones too!

 

Boursin Gourmet Spreadable-

  • Garlic & Fine Herbs
  • Light Garlic & Fine Herbs
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Spinach & Artichoke
  • Sundried Tomato & Basil
  • Creamy Asiago & Roasted Red Pepper
  • Vermont White Cheddar & Sage
  • and many more with seasonal flavors too!

 

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There is something for everyone and one is sure to make your cheese platter pop. What I like best is that you don’t need a special occasion to enjoy Boursin cheeses, as we many times pick-up one or two versions to just enjoy before meals. ¬†Boursin cheeses are also made with simple ingredients and look for yourself at their ingredients list, you will be pleasantly surprised. ¬†Their new Creamy Asiago and Roasted Red Pepper spread captures that red bell pepper sweetness and spice, which goes so well with the nuttier notes from the Asiago cheese. ¬†The french style cream cheese base has a nice tang that just makes everything meld together perfectly. I will hunt to find this new version alone!

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Find your favorite(s) with Boursin because you don’t need a holiday to celebrate when it comes to enjoying Cheese:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Simley(360) and Boursin Cheeses.  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.

 

HouseParty: Mixing it up with Mezzetta Party #MezzettaMixer

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Mezzetta has been a brand we have used in our home for decades. From the roasted peppers that go great on a pizza, blended to add to a sauce to the Peperoncini that I slice up for sandwiches or eat whole with a salad. I have started baking our own breads because finding a bread with “friendly ingredients” is possible but at a hefty price point. I don’t believe you should pay more when you want less chemicals! When HouseParty announced they had openings for a Mezzetta Party, you bet I signed up.

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Mezzetta Party Kit contained:

  • (1) Apron with a cute Mezzetta logo that has an Olive and finally an apron with 2 large pockets. Those that give you one pocket don’t realize that I have 2 hands and usually I act like I have three by grabbing more utensils that I can hold.
  • (1) Visa Card for the Host to purchase products/ingredients for the event.
  • (1) One of the cutest Slotted Spoon that is perfect for draining the brine/liquid but still getting the olive and/or pepper you seek. No need to attempt to “harpoon” a pepper with a fork or pretend I can balance an olive out of a jar like Houdini.
  • (16) Coupon Booklets that included Mezzetta inspired recipes.
  • (16) Reusable Mezzetta branded Tote Bags that were very welcomed by my guests, due to the new state law, which will make California the first state to pass a state wide law of banning shopping bags.

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I have been doing really good with puff pastry and just like that, you can make the dishes savory or sweet. Easy to use and a great way to showcase what is in season. I found the most beautiful baby heirloom tomatoes, so they were a must mixed with a ricotta and Mezzetta’s Sun Dried Tomatoes “bedding” for them to rest on. I allowed guests to make their own dish by pre-chopping veggies they could add to their tart. Easy and almost mess free (well, bunching up the used parchment paper can be labor intensive ūüôā ).

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Combined with an Italian braised pork that I used Mezzetta’s Sweet Cherry Peppers and also paired with fresh Italian (Cubanelle) Green peppers, and doused in Pinot Grigio wine. You simply brown the seasoned pork first, brown the veggies and then add the peppers with a nice healthy wine bath. I add a bouquet of Lavender and Herbs, and just stick in the oven (covered in a braiser) at 350 degrees for a couple hours. Easy and tastes like you took all day to make when it was the oven that did all the work. I also love the all in one pot cooking method!

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The Olive bread was a cinch too. I use my “lazy girl” method, which can be used with any combination of Mezzetta’s Olives and most of their peppers.

Mezzetta’s Olive Blend Bread:

  • 1 3/4 cups of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/2 to 3/4 of warm water (105 degrees)
  • Olive Oil to baste bowl and bread

I put the above in my mixer (with dough hook) and make a well with the flour. I add the yeast and the warm water and allow it to “bloom” (bubble a bit) for about 5 to 8 minutes. I add my salt and then mix. If it needs more water to allow for a dough that is supple, I add by the teaspoon. I knead (well, the mixer does it) for about 7 to 10 minutes. I then get a bowl and add some Olive Oil to allow the bread to proof in the oven (105 degrees) for an hour (cover lightly with plastic wrap). Once the dough is proofed, I then put it in the fridge (do not punch the dough down).

I used about 1/2 a cup of mixed Mezzetta Olives, you can use peppers of your liking as long as the seeds are removed and they are chopped. Same goes for the olives, no stones or anything. Once I chopped what I want, I then take the dough out and start kneading my ingredients in. I sometimes add cheeses and a mix of dry and fresh herbs. Try to not over knead when incorporating your olives/pepper mixes. This can produce a rough dough. I will then shape the loaf into a desired shape and I then put the dough on a baking stone (a pan is fine with parchment or at least oiled to reduce sticking). Cover with a light towel and allow the dough to proof again for about 40 minutes to an hour. I sometimes baste mine with more Olive Oil or you use Warm Water to create a nice crust. I have sprinkled Parmesan to even Maldon (flake) Salt on mine before putting it in the oven. Add a couple slashes to allow the bread to breathe (steam escape) and bake at 450 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes (depending on size/shape) or until done. Allow to completely cool before slicing! You can also make the dough ahead and leave it in the fridge for up to a week after the first proof (the dough gets a richer flavor if you at least leave it overnight in the fridge)…….told you it was a friendly
recipe ūüôā

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Mezzetta allows us to make dishes that look beautiful, taste great, but took only a few minutes to make. I like that! The less time I spend in the kitchen, the more time I can spend with Family & Friends!

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Get you Mezzetta Fix and Make it betta’ at:

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

Rumiano Cheese: Organic Sharp Cheddar #Review and #Recipe; Mezzi Rigatoni with Pancetta and Peas

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This is a cheesy house. Wait, let me clarify that. We love cheese here. Good cheese. Made with good things. By people who know cheese. So it’s with great pride I introduce The Rumiano Cheese family, who has been making cheeses since 1921. I decided to pitch this family-owned company not only because we love cheese, but they are also in my home state of California, but because we love, love and love cheese ūüôā . ¬†Did I mention we love cheese? We have a drawer in the fridge that easily carries 15 different cheese varieties at any given time. I believe there is a cheese for every occasion and even cheese to celebrate with when you find a new cheese. See, I can make any excuse to have cheese. I love it but you would think I consume large quantities of cheese because of the large selection we have, I personally don’t. I found that a good cheese will satisfy you in small doses . It’s quality versus quantity.

Rumiano’s Organic line is:

  • Non-GMO verified
  • USDA Organic
  • Cows that are grass fed
  • Global Culture certified Organic
  • Made in Northern California using the finest ingredients and are also American Humane Association certified

 

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In comes the Rumiano cheeses. I hunted for their smoked mozzarella and wanted to share a recipe that featured two of their cheeses but it’s currently on order with the dairy guy at my local Sprout’s market. I decided to just jump in and make a dish using just one cheese, their Organic Sharp Cheddar. I went in thinking the dish will need some pizzazz, since using just one variety is so not me but…….this is the best sharp cheddar I have tasted! It tastes clean and it’s not just because it’s Organic, but the recipe and aging it’s in a class all it’s own. You get that bite that sharp cheddar has but this one is smooth til the end with no sour tang left behind. A cheese that can stand on it’s own. I proceeded with the dish that I decided to make on Easter Sunday. I do this quite often, where I come up with an idea and attempt to make¬†it on the day of and try not to stress. The only thing that saves my hide is using quality products and I can say that Rumiano will be my go to for Sharp Cheddar as of now. No oily residue when I was making a bechamel sauce, a sauce that tells on you if used poor ingredients. I can easily say this is the best 1-cheese sauce I have made and I thank the Rumiano family for helping me come through for mine.

Get your apron and even a chef hat on but don’t get comfortable because this is a quick and easy recipe. This is a recipe that yields¬†2 ramekin servings, can be used as a appetizer or a side dish. ¬†Double it or quadruple it if needed.

Let’s Begin…….

Mezzi Rigatoni with Pancetta and Peas, in a Rumiano Sharp Cheddar Cheese sauce

  • 2 Ramekins (single serving) and greased (I went with butter but a spray oil is fine)
  • 20 to 22 Mezzi Rigatoni pasta shells
  • 20 to 22 Frozen Peas
  • 3/4 to 1 ounce of Pancetta (small cubes)
  • 1/4 ounce of Yellow Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 ounce of Salted Butter
  • 1/2 cup of Milk
  • 2 teaspoons of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 ounce of Rumiano’s Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded), plus a little more for topping
  • 1 Slice of White Bread
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • Dash of Nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Begin by filling your ramekins with the dry (uncooked) Mezzi Rigatoni pasta shells. I fit approximately 10 to 12 (allow for expansion) to each ramekin. I boil 24 shells just in case one wants to be naughty and split. Cook pasta about 1/2 way through, drain, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

Grease ramekins and stand your shells, so they may each be filled with one frozen pea.

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In a separate pot, heat the milk until just warm (do not boil)

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I use a frying pan and cook the pancetta and onion.

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I do not drain the oil when it’s done because I then add the butter. Once the butter melts, add the flour to create a roux.

The roux takes less than a 1 minute to make. You will smell the nutty tones the flour gives when cooking and bubbling. You will then notice a color change and we are going for golden in color and not too deep in tone. Then slowly pour in the milk. I usually get a whisk and begin pouring the milk, whisking and then pouring the rest. This helps temper the milk and you will get no flash heat or mess.

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Continue whisking until the bechamel sauce is made. You test this by using a spoon and dipping it into the sauce. If the coat left is thin, continue whisking until it thickens but never allow the sauce to boil.

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Take the pan away from the heat and add your seasonings. You can change to fresh herbs but I like the Herbes the Provence mix because I feel the lavender gives the sauce a beautiful taste. Add the cheese and stir.

Pour the sauce over your pasta.

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Take a cookie/biscuit cutter and one slice of bread should be enough to yield two circles for toppers. Add the bread toppers and sprinkle some more of the shredded Rumiano Sharp Cheddar cheese.

 

I then give each ramekin a dash of freshly grated nutmeg and into the oven it goes.

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Baking takes a total of 15 to 20 minutes and you cover with foil for the first half.

Take the ramekins out and serve with dinner or you can serve these as appetizers.

You can make everything the evening ahead and then just bake when needed the following day, just adjust the time as the ramekins will be cold from the fridge.

Great tasting and perfectly creamy! Enjoy!

Find all the cheese and butters Rumiano carries at:

  • On-line–¬†http://www.rumianocheese.com/
  • Facebook–¬†https://www.facebook.com/rumianocheese
  • Twitter–¬†https://twitter.com/RumianoCheese
  • Pinterest–¬†http://www.pinterest.com/rumianocheese/
  • YouTube–¬†http://www.youtube.com/user/RumianoCheese

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I received the above product free of charge from Rumiano.  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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REBOOTizer: My 30-Day #Review and my #Results

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I did a review of REBOOTizer at the end of December 2013 (located here http://wp.me/p2B5Rd-Aw) and touched bases with the company because I wanted to try it for a longer period for better results. Fast forward to April 2014, this girl has been on it for 30 days!

Quick recap- Rebootizer is a drink that is packed with ingredients that aid in eliminating free radicals and toxins. Known as the Anti-Aging Antioxdant drink.  This is what you get with some of the REBOOTizer ingredients:

  • Dandelion– A diuretic and antioxidant. I have taken teas in the past that contain this “weed” and I’m familiar with it’s benefits. Dandelion has many health benefits from being a digestive aid to removing toxins. It’s classified as a “super-food” and studies have shown improvements with liver and kidney function to boosting the immune system.
  • Licorice– Helps with protecting the liver and also classified as an antioxidant. Licorice is used for many ailments from digestive issues, sore throats, to eczema.
  • Angelica– A plant that has been used in the past from the roots, to the leaves and the stem, to the fruit. The plant has been proven to help with arthritis to the digestive system. Classified as a anti-spasmodic and a gastric stimulant.
  • Artichoke– More than just a dip, the artichoke has many health benefits and is also filled with antioxidants, so much so that it ranks on the top 10 foods to eat if you seek such benefit. Artichoke is also good for your liver and encouraged for those that suffer from irritable bowel to gallbladder conditions.
  • Lemon– With the lemon infused water craze, we are all very familiar with the power this citrus provides. Helps the immune system, antioxidants, to aiding with weight loss and clearing up your skin.
  • Lemon Balm– Considered to belong to the mint family, Lemon balm is a calming herb. You will see benefits with insomnia, anxiety to being used as a digestive aid.
  • Acerola– Is rich in Vitamin C and many times sold in powder form. Also, another antioxidant and has been used for it’s medicinal properties, like preventing hardening of the arteries to blood clots. Athletes have also used Acerola to increase endurance.

As you see, the REBOOTizer is a complete system that helps eliminate the “bad stuff” and encourages the “better stuff” to stay, plus adds more “good stuff” to your body. Think of it as a system restart after hitting +Ctrl+Alt+Delete. I did see improvements in my skin and sleep after week three and the latter helped with waking up and finally feeling clear headed. My endurance did increase and I just felt overall better. I see it as a daily maintenance drink that helps eliminate the bad things I can’t always avoid, like free-radicals. I love that it is filled with antioxidants and that helps with inflammation, something that in the past has effected me.

If you want a boost or just a way to help your system with the everyday stress, I recommend REBOOTizer. The company changed the delivery system (improved), so I thankfully did not get bathed by the drink even though I’m sure my skin benefited from it. Every package opened as it should with no surprises!

Get your own REBOOTizer at:

  • On-line–¬†http://rebootizer.com/
  • Facebook–¬†https://www.facebook.com/RebootizerUSA
  • Twitter–¬†https://twitter.com/rebootizerusa
  • Instagram–¬†http://instagram.com/rebootizerusa
  • Pinterest–¬†http://www.pinterest.com/rebootizerusa/

I received the above product free of charge from REBOOTizer.  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.

The Spice Lab: Ghost Pepper Crispy Oven Fries

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The myth. The legend. The Ghost Pepper.

I have heard about the Ghost Pepper and even seen people taste it but their reaction was always to the intense heat with very little to report on taste. Scary stuff. I’m a girl that loves heat and spice but I want flavor too. My best description is that this pepper tastes like a non-latin red pepper, but with attitude. The notes are actually good and intense but end with a touch of smokiness. Not like a chipotle or a poblano, so there is where I come off with the “non-latin” description. It’s good……like, really good. After I tasted the salt as-is, I not only respected Mr. Ghost Pepper but could not wait to try it in a recipe. But wait for me to get some more water ūüôā

Potatoes are usually bland so I felt they were the perfect pairing, plus I am always in that race to use up every Russet potato I purchased in the bag because then what I paid is not a super bargain. These fries are simple to make and only take 25-30 minutes to cook. You are left with crispy and I mean extra crispy fries from the oven. I am not overstating that here, because I have tried so many oven fries recipes and ended up with floppy sticks….no flop here.

Let’s get started…..

  • 3 to 4 Russet Potatoes (washed but with peel….I said this was easy)
  • 1/8 cup of Pecorino & Romano cheese blend (grated and if you just have Parm, that will do)
  • 1/8 cup of All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup of White Rice Flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Onion Powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Granulated Garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Oregano (dry)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Parsley (dry)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Dill Weed (dry)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of The Spice Labs Ghost Pepper Infused Salt (or more if you dare ūüôā )
  • Smoked Salt (to taste) and I used The Spice Labs Applewood Smoked Salt
  • Black Pepper (to taste)

 

  • Baste- 1/4 cup of Buttermilk and 1 tablespoon of Peanut Oil (or a oil with a high heat point of your choosing). I find Peanut Oil gives me the perfect crisp!

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Cut your potatoes into fries and soak them in cold water for an hour, just make sure to change the water about 3 times. Removing the starch helps aid with the crisp factor.

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Take a bowl and just add all the above dry ingredients and mix, then set aside.

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Once the hour passes of your fries swimming in water, I spin them in a salad spinner to dry them. Patting them with paper-towels until completely dry works too.

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Place the fries in a bowl and allow them to bathe in the 1/4 cup of Buttermilk. You will think a 1/4 cup is too little but as long as you come by and give them a stir, you will see that it covers nicely without waste. If you feel your bowl needs more Buttermilk, feel free to add more because this is just for the fries to soak in it for 30 minutes. Once the fries have been basting in the Buttermilk for 30 minutes or so, add the Peanut Oil and toss making sure to coat the potatoes well.

Turn on oven to 425 degrees. I used the convection setting.

Then comes the dunk! I take the fries by the handful (leaving whatever Buttermilk/Peanut Oil that did not soak up behind) and dump them in the batter. I make sure each fry gets a nice crust adhered to it and then place it on parchment paper.

It took me two pizza pans (the ones with holes) to get all my 3 potatoes to fit. I spaced them enough and in the oven they went for 25 to 30 minutes. At the half-way point, I made sure to get them out and give each fry a flip, so it would cook evenly. If you cut your fries bigger, they may need a little more time to finish but always taste-test to know if they are done.

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These fries are crisp and have heat, so I paired them with a dip and chose a Caesar dressing! It’s yogurt based and went really well with them, plus saves you from the heat when needed.

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Get Your Ghost Pepper kick and many others at:

  • The Spice Lab On-line–¬†http://shop.thespicelab.com/
  • Via Facebook–¬†https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiceLabInc
  • Twitter–¬†https://twitter.com/TheSpiceLab

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Don’t forget to pick-up their wonderful Applewood Smoked Salt too and they carry so much, you will get lost in Spice Lab’s World!

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I received the above products free of charge from The Spice Lab.  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.

 

 

Bob’s Red Mill: Herby Cheese Crackers made with Rice Flour, Gluten Free #MeatlessMonday

DSCN4421 Going with my Meatless-Monday dish, I decided to pair up my soup with a nice Gluten Free option, Herby Cheese Crackers. I used a mix of Gouda and Parmesan, however I have made these with a white cheddar cheese and plain sharp cheddar varieties. The cracker’s texture will vary by the cheese you use! I make sure to stick to a good quality cheese because the recipe only requires 2 ounces and I have had unpleasant experiences when a cheap cheese (this is not always connected by what you pay) that has oozed tons of oils and fats. No one wants an oily cracker….I want flaky with a nice crumble. Let’s Begin!

Dough:

  • 2 Ounces of grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese or a cheese that has a close enough moisture content. You can use a semi-soft and pair it with a freshly grated harder cheese too. Allow the cheese to come to room temperature (after you grated).
  • 2 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup of Bob’s Red Mill Rice Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon of herbs (I mixed dried herbs with fresh)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste (taste your cheese to measure saltiness before adding salt)
  • *Optional- You can add Red Pepper Flakes, Smoked Paprika even a dash of Cayenne Pepper. You can also crumble pre-cooked bacon or pancetta to change the flavors.

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the Rice Flour, baking soda and herbs. I used dried parsley, thyme, tarragon and oregano. My plants have been blooming well in this mild Winter we have been having in California, so I used some fresh sage and thyme to make a 1 teaspoon’s worth with the dried herbs. Add your salt and pepper. I used a smoked salt for additional flavor and a pepper medley variety. I also included (optional) a dash of smoked paprika, a dash of red pepper flakes and also a small dash of cayenne to give the crackers some kick.

In another bowl, grate your cheese. I used a semi-soft gouda and a grated hard cheese variety of mixed parmesan and romano. DSCN4382 Add the cheese to your flour mixture and then incorporate the softened unsalted butter to the mix. I do not want to smell crackers on my hands all day so I use a glove to pretty much make a ball. Want a different way? Cream the butter and cheese in your with your mixer and add the flour mixture after. If the mix seems dry, add a 1/2 teaspoon of water. You do not want a super moist dough as this dough will rest and re hydrate in the fridge, plus we are making crackers and not bread. I usually rarely add water and just keep gathering the crumbs around until they play nice ūüôā DSCN4383 DSCN4388 Using plastic wrap, create a log that is almost 11 inches long. You can decide how large you want the crackers but since I want to have mine swim in my soup, I always go small. DSCN4390 The log can be shaped and in this case I used the assistance of a wooden chopstick to make a crease, which will then help me work these into a heart shape. You can just go square or even round….or we can also have fun and create and abstract shape!

Allow the dough to rest in the fridge 20-30 minutes if you need to shape after, or 40 minutes if you will be just slicing and baking. Heat your oven 350 degrees. Take the dough out and you can I usually slice half a log and return the other half to the fridge while the first batch bakes.  I used the chop-stick to help refine the heart shape too.

Bake the crackers for about 10 minutes and then cool. DSCN4409   You then bake the other half and these go great with soup, salads, or just by themselves. Enjoy!

Find out more about Bob’s Red Mill products at:

  • On-line–¬†http://www.bobsredmill.com/
  • Twitter–¬†https://twitter.com/BobsRedMill
  • Facebook–¬†https://www.facebook.com/BobsRedMillNaturalFoods
  • Pinterest–¬†http://www.pinterest.com/bobsredmill/
  • Save with a $1.00 off coupon–¬†http://www.bobsredmill.com/get-a-coupon.html

DSCN4154 I received the above product free of charge from Bob’s Red Mill. ¬†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.

Herbs de Provence & Chives Rolls…. Cheddar Cheese, Poppy Seed, and Sesame Seed Versions

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I wanted to make a new¬†recipe¬†this last Easter when it came to rolls and I had planned to test several¬†recipes out but then the day came, and I needed something fast because I had no back-up plan. ¬†It is difficult to always know what guests like or dislike because some just go with it to be polite. ¬†I wanted a¬†recipe¬†that pleased all and on Easter morning this is what I made. ¬†Who said you can’t think on the fly on a holiday? ¬†I was also influenced by a bushy Chive plant I have in a pot, which was getting taller and fuller. ¬†I see it from my kitchen so it was sort of waving at me for attention ūüôā

Rolls:
1 cup of Whole Milk
2 1/2 teaspoons of Active Dry Yeast
2 tablespoons of White Sugar
1 tablespoon of Honey (I used a Orange Blossom variety)
1 Egg at room temperature (whisked)
6 1/2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter (melted), you will use about 1 stick in the end.
3 1/2 cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon of Herbs de Provence Herbs (dry)
Filling:
1/4 cup or to taste of fresh Chives
Basting:
1/2 teaspoon of Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Unsalted Butter (soften)
Toppers:
1/2 cup of Cheddar Cheese*
Sesame Seeds
Poppy Seeds
*Don’t have seeds or don’t like them, just up the cheese amount to 3/4 cup. ¬†You can even mix cheeses if Cheddar is not all you want.
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You begin by heating up the 1 cup of milk until warm. ¬†I tend to need to give my cup a quick 30 seconds in the microwave but I know some take more or less. ¬†I always shoot to aim between 105 to 110 degrees. ¬†I then add the yeast, sugar, and the honey. ¬†I mix the ingredients together with a spoon. ¬†My oven has a “proofing” mode so within 5 minutes at 105 degrees, the yeast is activated and foaming. ¬†You want it to expand and build a good amount of foam, so it may take about 10 minutes if it is cool and on the counter.
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I then empty the cup into my mixer’s bowl that has the dough hook attached. ¬†I add the egg and 6 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted melted butter.
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On low, I mix everything until it’s¬†incorporated, stopping a few times to scrape the bottom and edges.
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I add the salt and Herbs de Provence to the flour.
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In small increments, I add the flour mix, again stopping to scrape down with a spatula any ingredients that are trying to rebel :).  After I added all the flour, I mix on low for about 2 to 3 minutes.
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I then increase the speed to medium and knead until a soft and smooth dough forms.  This takes about 10 to 12 minutes.
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I transfer the dough to a floured surface and work it flat, to about a 10 to 12 inched square.
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You fold one third of the dough into the center and then the other third (from the top) over.
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It’s sort of like folding a letter in how you fold the flaps. ¬†Turn the dough and fold again until you are left with a square (small one). ¬†I take some of the butter and butter a large bowl. ¬†I place the dough square in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and then proof for 1 hour. ¬†You pretty much want it to double at least in size.
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I take more of the left-over butter and butter a lasagna dish (any baking pan) that is 9 x 13 inches in size.
Once the dough has proofed, I take it out of the bowl and dump it onto a floured surface.
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I roll out the dough to a 15 inch square and sprinkle on the fresh chives.
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Begin to roll tightly from the bottom up to make a log.  Just like you would cinnamon rolls.
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You then take a floured knife or a dough scraper and start slicing. ¬†I was able to yield 16 buns on my first take, but you will get between 14 to 15 if you measure right. ¬†I always make small ones that I call “taste testers” ūüôā and these are usually the two corners of the log.
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I placed the buns in the buttered lasagna dish and then covered it with plastic wrap, which I lightly rubbed with olive oil in case the wrap wants to stick to my buns when they are proofing.  You can use butter too if you desire.
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Allow the dough to proof for about an hour.  You are aiming for them to like like airy pillows.
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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Remove the plastic wrap and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
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Remove the buns from the oven and mix the basting ingredients of the olive oil and softened butter.  Baste the buns and then come the toppers.
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I opted for part cheddar cheese, a row of sesame and a row of poppy seeds.  The basting mix allows the seeds to stick but also adds a great flavor to the buns.
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Put the buns back in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  If you notice over browning, just cover with foil to prevent any burning.
Take the buns out and I noticed I had left-over baste, so I basted the cheesy ones so they would shine pretty. ¬†Allow to cool a bit in pan and then you start serving. ¬†They pull away from each other whole, so no¬†worries¬†there but you may also use a knife if you wish. ¬†Sometimes the cheese can make them unite but not enough that they can’t pull away.
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To store, I waited until they cooled completely and then wrapped them with plastic wrap and stored them in the fridge.  They last great and you just take them out when you want one and allow them to come down to room temperature or give them a warm up in the oven.  They go great with a simple salad to what we had for Easter, lamb with a Pomegranate glaze.
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Next week comes the sweet version I made of these with some tweaks.  I had left over Pomegranate glaze from the lamb that needed to be used plus I was craving pecans with maple, so I made two different sweet versions!
Enjoy!

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