Kuuk Salad Spinner Review

It’s no secret that many heads of lettuce have met their demise here in our home. In fact, a great many type of produce have, and the one thing they all had in common was being washed and spun dry. I’ve put many a miles on my old OXO salad and herb spinner. So many that the brake no longer worked, and the top started falling apart. Shortly after replacing it, I got an offer to try a version from Kuuk, and boy was I jazzed. Two is always better than one and imagine how much produce could be run through our little cleaning assembly line with 2 spinners going at once!

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Sadly, it was not meant to be. While this Kuuk spinner really tries to look like many of the leading brands available in stores, it falls way, way short in design, quality and function. For starters, it’s made quite cheaply. It’s priced competitively, at only $19.95, but it just isn’t made with materials that will last a long time. The major pluses for this are it’s price point and large size. It goes quickly downhill from there.

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The design, though, is really where things fell apart for us. From the “latching” lid, to the spinning crank, to the entire unit being unbalanced, it’s just awkward and difficult to use effectively. While most of us have, at one time or another, pressed down the plunger on a spinner, the Kuuk spinner uses a crank lever to spin the mesh strainer inside. And heaven help you if you don’t hold the container firmly on the counter, because it’ll wobble like an unbalanced washing machine and fly right off the counter. And the latch on the side that is supposed to keep the lid on is difficult to line up if only because the plastic the lid is made from has so much flex in it.

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In the end, I was disappointed in this product. I wanted to like it, and wanted to really be able to use it more often, but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t meant to be. Also, my experience with the company with another of their products left much to be desired, and I’d be lying if I told you that that didn’t factor in more than a bit when it came to how I felt about this product. Nobody wants to buy products from a company that won’t stand behind them.

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I received the above product(s) free of charge from iHeadphones. 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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Gourmet Living: Balsamic Vinegar of Modena Review #IGPInitialPromo #GourmetLivingBalsamic

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Some things are beautiful and I always admire a gorgeous looking bottle. Presentation matters and especially when purchasing a product that retails higher than it’s counterparts but that is if you look at vinegar as plainly an acid, disregarding origin, grape used in production, to aging. This can get blurred and sometimes on purpose by the manufacture. We all want what we pay for and that is something I was critical of when I had the opportunity to review Gourmet Living’s Balsamic Vinegar of Modena. I love Balsamic and use it almost on a daily basis in it’s “raw form” or to enhance the taste of sauces to meats. Nothing tastes like it and it may look like wine but a good tasting Balsamic will make you forget about wine all together.

When I received the parcel from Gourmet Living, the box was beautiful with gold colored foil highlights and it almost felt like suede when touched. I open it and I see a beautiful red wax seal on top, and the bottle is as noteworthy as the rest. Every detail has been thought of but in the end I seek what is inside the bottle. Does the vinegar have a pleasant taste and will it play well with the others, meaning I don’t want an acidic pungent base that overpowers all the other flavor notes and even the smallest drop makes me just taste vinegar.

I figured the best test was trying it as-is and making a simple at home Vinaigrette. I never buy dressings and just make my own because as much as I want the dressing in the bottle to last, everything a manufacture adds to make it long living also makes it poor tasting. I save money and fridge space, plus I can adjust my dressings by the meals I am serving that day. A Vinaigrette made at home will always be friendly to a waist-line too.

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Retail Price Point: $36.95 for a 8.5 fluid ounce bottle via Amazon

You will look and notice years and size of bottles fluctuate drastically when it comes to Balsamic. I thought the more the ounces combined with greater years, makes the price tag higher, but that did not remain factual. Some expensive brands had poor ratings along with the low quantity of ounces they gave. I get it that aging takes storing, time and care. This is not even what it takes to make the initial fluid in the first place. Boiling a product down reduces the quantity and intensifies the flavor but it depends on the cook and the “starter product”, if even the final product will be worthy. Balsamic may look thick and smell sometimes strong but it delivers sweet notes when done well. As it ages the flavor matures and the wood that is used for storage will also affect the vinegar. The Balsamic from Gourmet Living also has an IGP certification that has certain criteria that must be met for a bottle to pass and reach the seal. Think of it like a diamond and how certain outside agencies will only certify if certain standards are met, down to origin of the stone. The vinegar from Gourmet Living is from Modena and had the proper labeling I have seen with products of this kind, so they passed the visual test and now to how it tastes.

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Taste Test:
I made my dressing and I always taste before adding salt. The Balsamic had a pleasant sweet taste without bitter after notes. You could pick up what the wood had added a distinct flavor to the vinegar, and it just intensifies that aroma you get when using the product and tasting it. I actually found this vinegar very pleasant and for the price, it was a fair price point. I have only been able to get a better price point at Whole Foods on 2 bottles that were being cleared out and that was a once in a lifetime opportunity. A bottle of Balsamic lasts because you use a small amount. Think of when you use demi glace and how a little goes a long way. The same applies here and that makes it a worthy purchase in my book!

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

BzzAgent: Kroger/ Ralph’s Meals Fresh House Salad with Bacon Kit

Located with the bagged salads at your local Ralph’s, you will find a variety available from Caesar’s Salad both “lite’ and original but I went for the one with Bacon. The salad kit comes with everything you need except a fork! You get a generous ranch dressing packet, a shredded cheddar cheese packet and bacon. They even included little croutons to compliment the side or you can make this a meal.

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Overall Taste and Texture:
I was at the store when the salads were being stocked and all that was available was the Caesar Lite version and the House Salad with Bacon. Even though a brand-new box with the salad kits were being stocked, you could see that the kits experienced some temperature fluctuations because the lettuce and greens were sweaty and even limp. I picked the best bag I could find to go with my dinner. The employee was very nice and even went to check for “better bags” and other kits but this was all that was available.

Upon opening the salad kit at home, I noticed my fears were confirmed because the lettuce had an off smell so I washed it even though the bag stated triple washed on it. Once washed, the greens came back to life in the cold water and I then used a salad spinner to make sure everything was dry enough for assembly. A few leaves did have to go in the trash because they just had gone bad. Not exactly open, mix and serve but worth the process to make sure I got the crispest and cleanest lettuce. The cheese had a little too much corn/potato starch, which is used to keep the shreds separate so I skipped on adding it and left it for Hubby’s baked potato. The bacon was not crisp but I placed it in a cup and gave it a 10 second zap in the microwave, that fixed that right up and it smelled delicious. The dressing is a little on the sweet side so I went light with it and also added sliced cucumbers and tomatoes to my salad.

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The overall taste and serving portion is great if you are in a hurry but I would not consider this a prime quality product. I think it’ may be my not so local Ralph’s store that may not be keeping things as they should because the salad’s greens could have been much better. I get better quality from a cheaper head of lettuce and the price tag does not justify the not convenient process I got out of this bag. In theory, the product should have been easier and better than the final results. I can say the croutons were crisp and more flavorful in taste than the dressing. Again when it comes to bread, Ralph’s does very well!

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I received the above product free of charge from BzzAgent and Ralph’s. I am not obligated in providing a positive/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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