LifeWell Technologies Aluminum Garden Trowel

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Going back to the garden, I like hand tools best. Not only are they easier for me to use and control but they are a little more intimate than Hubby’s larger, more rugged tools. And when LifeWell Technologies offered me their aluminum Garden Trowel, I was thrilled. I’ve had a few different garden trowels, of various materials and build qualities, and almost all were found to be lacking. They’d bend, break, rust, or just plain fall apart and fail me. Usually mid-job, and nothing will frustrate a gal more. LifeWell Technologies claims this is “The Best Trowel You’ll Ever Buy”. Bold words. Let’s see if they live up to them.

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LifeWell Technologies Garden trowel looks to solve all of those previously mentioned issues. Rust? Pffft. It’s made of aircraft grade aluminum, polished to a flawless chrome-like finish. The edge is sharp enough to dig clean through rocky, uneven ground with no issue. Bending? A thing of the past, what with the thick, robust neck and full tang handle. Break? Did I mention that it’s made of aircraft-grade aluminum? This LifeWell Technologies trowel shouldn’t break even under heavy loads and stresses. So now that we’ve established that this trowel is better than all my past trowels, lets get into how it’s been so overbuilt that it became my favorite.

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A lot of trowels I’ve owned have been just a straight wooden handle, with little thought given to ergonomics or comfort. This LifeWell Technologies Garden Trowel has a handle clearly made by someone who has used the before and knows exactly when one puts their fingers and thumb. It has a rubberized non-slip coating too, that not only reduces hand strain my being slightly padded, but means your damp or wet hand won’t go sliding down the handle and crash painfully into the spade. It even has a slightly elongated tip if you need to pound the trowel past a tough root or two. It’s even a bright and attractive neon green that means your not going to lose it in the grass or tall shrubs. It’s not so heavy that you get hand fatigue but not so light that you think it’ll break on the first rock it hit. “Built like a brick ‘out’house” Hubby would say, although not so politely. I think I’ve found the garden tool I won’t be sharing with Hubby. This green beauty is all mine. As for LifeWell Technologies boast of this being the best trowel I’ll ever buy, it might well be, as well as the last  trowel I’ll ever need to buy. Well done, LifeWell Technologies.

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Connect with LifeWell Technologies:

I received the above product(s) free of charge from LifeWell Technologies.  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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Brillante: G40 Clear Globe String Lights #Review #BrillanteLights

Not all light is created equal. Florescent light feels like the workplace. LED’s feel like a showroom. Soft white feels like grandma’s house. But some lights just feel fancy. Like the clear G40(C7) sting of lights from Brillante. Smaller than the regular fixture lights, larger than the mini lights you use for the holidays, these clear mini globes give enough light to illuminate beautifully without blinding everyone.

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With a sturdy, green 25ft. long cord, and 25 lights to a string, you can safely run two strings end to end, so it gives you plenty of length to surround your party, your patio, or spa. The soft ambient glow is that “just right” level of light to make everything bright, but not washed out.

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I’ve used these lights around the pool and spa, and on a clear cool night, nothing beats a meal under the stars with these Brillante lights. With bulbs rated for 3,000 hours, these are made to last. And G40 (C7) bulbs are affordable to replace and easy to find. I would recommend them highly.

Retail Price Point: $29.99 per strand via Amazon

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Connect with Brillante:

 

I received the above product(s) free of charge from Brillante.  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 Sugar Lab: Key West Lime Strawberry Shortcakes, a all-in-one bowl #recipe

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I made an awesome Apple Cheesecake fusion pie on Sunday and then realized that it needed to cool, and then be placed in the fridge.  I was minus having any sweet tooth treats for after dinner! I needed something new to make but also not time consuming…..it’s Key Limes to the rescue!

Let’s Begin…..

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup of Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Salt
  • Zest from 2 Key Limes
  • 3 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (cold)
  • 1/2 cup of Buttermilk (you can just use milk too or an Almond/Coconut milk will do too)
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 teaspoons of Key Lime Juice
  • 1 tablespoon of Key West Lime Sugar from The Sugar Lab
  • 1 Key Lime thinly sliced (you will need about 5 very thin slices)

Makes about 5 shortcakes in 10 to 15 minutes time!

Set the oven to 400 degrees

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This one is super easy and can be made all in one bowl. You take all your dry ingredients, including the zest and combine them in the bowl.

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Then take the butter and I used a Pastry Cutter to combine the butter with the dry ingredients.  You are aiming for pea sized pieces when it comes to the cold butter.

Combine the Buttermilk, Vanilla Extract and Key Lime juice and then pour it into the bowl.  Using a spatula, just fold all the ingredients together but do not over stir.

 

Once everything is combined, I use an ice cream scooper and just scoop and evenly place the batter on parchment paper.

I then top each shortcake with a thin slice of Key Lime and shake the Key West Lime sugar on top, but also making sure the Key Lime slice gets a hefty amount, so it can get a candy effect 🙂

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Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, you will see the shortcakes brown a little.  Allow the shortcakes to cool about 15 to 20 minutes and then slice in half.

 

I served mine with fresh Strawberries and freshly whipped cream.  Enjoy!

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Get your Sugar and Spices Fix at:

  • The Spice Lab on-line– http://shop.thespicelab.com/index.php/peppers-spices/sugars/gourmet-sugar.html
  • Facebook– https://www.facebook.com/TheSpiceLabInc
  • Twitter– https://twitter.com/TheSpiceLab

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I received the above product 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.

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Strawberries~N~Cream Squares

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Strawberries~N~Cream Squares

Being that Easter is approaching and we are embracing Spring, I wanted something light that would showcase the fruit.  I also wanted something that was quick because I again purchased strawberries and picked for the perfect case, to then just forget them in fridge for 3 days!

My crust is identical to the one I made for the Key Lemon bars and since it was a hit, not changing it!  It’s a shortbread crust and please view that recipe here https://samplesandfreebiesgallery.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/welcome-the-first-day-of-spring-with-key-lemon-cream-bars/ for details on preparation but I will note the ingredients needed.
Crust: 
1 stick of Salted Butter (softened)
1 stick of Unsalted Butter (softened)
110 grams of Powder Sugar
2 teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
3 drops of Almond Extract
300 grams of All-Purpose Flour
Vanilla Bean Cream Filling:
3 5/8 ounces of Mascarpone cheese (softened)
8 ounces of Cream Cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons of White Sugar
3/4 ounces of Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
1/4 Vanilla Bean
2 tablespoons of All-Purpose Flour
You soften both cheeses by leaving out until soft or like me, I use the microwave in the defrost setting.
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With a mixer or by hand with a whisk, you blend until combined.  You add the white sugar and sweetened condensed milk and again whip, making sure you are mostly lump free.  Then you add both the vanilla extract, and 1/4 of the scrapings from a Vanilla Bean.
Again, whisk until combined.  Last comes the flour and I usually do one tablespoon at a time in order to keep everything nice and smooth.
Fruit Filling:
5 1/2 ounces of Strawberry preserves
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I made my own using the strawberries I purchased before they went bad.  I just cook them down on the stove with some water, a teaspoon of sugar (more or less depending how sweet the berries are), and a teaspoon of fruit pectin.  I add a used Vanilla Bean and cook about 15 minutes or when the product reached the thickness I desire.
Topping:
2/3 cup of All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon of ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon
A couple gratings of fresh Nutmeg
1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon of White Sugar
3 tablespoons of Unsalted Butter (cold)
To make topping, you combine all the dry ingredients and when incorporated, you then start to add the cold butter until you get crumbles.  Very easy to do by hand or even with a fork….whatever works best for you.  You can also add less or more of the spices to fit your taste.
Once you have pre-baked the crust, you allow for it to cool down just a bit (10 minutes).
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You add the Vanilla Bean cream filling and just spread out evenly.
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I then add the Strawberry Filling and make swirls so everyone gets a good helping of fruit and cream filling, it also looks pretty.  Short on time….you can stop here and bake and still have a great final product!
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If you have a little time, you then make your topping and sprinkle over before baking.
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Once everything is assembled, you simply put it in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes and then at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  Test for doneness by simply measuring the jiggle but keep in mind like brownies, you do not want to wait until firm.  This is sort of like a cheesecake and will continue to cook when you take it out.  I cooled it down 2 hours outside and 2 hours in the fridge.
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I then cut different sized squares because sometimes we want to eat more or less.
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You can serve as-is or with vanilla bean ice cream.  Enjoy!
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Crowdtap: Woolite Washed In-Home Boutique!

Wooliteers – Hosted Party

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Being part of Crowdtap, I was invited to host a Woolite Sampling party. The objective is to introduce friends and family to the Woolite family. Being that I use both the Everyday and Dark formulas, I am very familiar with what the brand has done,or in some ways prevented to be done to my clothing. I love the Dark Woolite for jeans and I use the formula with my $10 pairs to my “I feel guilty buying jeans at this price” pairs of jeans. Woolite protects my jeans from fading and keeps their color and hues true. Their texture remains just like the day I bought them. I admit it, I like the feel of N-E-W! I also wash any shirts or blouses that lean more towards the darker tones than the lights with the Dark formula.

Woolite’s Everyday formula is perfect for everything else and even when I run out of the Dark formula, I prefer to wash what I care for in Woolite versus another detergent. I no longer just separate by delicate and non-delicate, I separate by what I want to last longer no matter how little or how much I paid for it. If I want it to last, I put it in Woolite’s care.

Crowdtap sent me 10 sample sized packets for my guests and I to use. Each packet contained enough for one full load, so very generous. I kindly asked guests to bring their most loved articles of clothing from sweaters, blouses, jeans to even vintage shirts. Each guest brought between 3 to 5 garments. As guests arrived, I used our prettier wicker hampers and separated by like colors. Some guests brought clean clothing that they had washed with their own detergent, while others wanted to also see how clean Woolite can get their clothes. I invited 10 guests and had 12 arrive, so those hampers filled quickly!

I wanted everyone to have fun while everything washed and we did good separating everything into 3 full loads. It was fun seeing how some of my friends seem to be color blind because they swore something was dark when it was not. We resorted to voting to squash that debate! That resulted into many giggling moments while we made piles and redid others. The first load goes in and being that at this point we lost the guys to outside, we washed the pinks first and figured they get that for abandoning us 🙂 Below is a cute shirt I received for my birthday and it was it’s first wash. Just like new and you can see the black lace remained dark while the pink was perfectly clean. I love how it retained it’s shape because some fabrics tend to lose it quickly. Love that Vintage look and even though it cost $8.00, I still want it in my closet making me smile :), versus frowning 😦 because it aged so quickly.

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Another shirt from a guest in the pink colored load is the shirt below. Not only does the wrap have lace, but there are small intricate beads sewn within the laced pattern.  No job is too hard for Woolite’s Everyday detergent!

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The next colors were the blues and below is a silk shirt that has long sleeves and ruffles at the end. Perfect for Spring and this was a shirt that was clean already but after hanging it in the closet for a couple seasons, it needed a refresh wash. We washed these articles of clothing under the “quick wash” setting and Woolite Everyday did not miss a beat! Everything smelled clean and once this shirt air dried, you could not tell it is over a decade old! That is a decade of only being washed with Woolite from when it was just the “Original” formula to now the “Everyday”, I do not trust it with any other brand.

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The jeans below are from a guest named Mary and you can see the pockets are ornate and you have to be careful on how you wash these. We flipped all the jeans inside out and this preserves their color but also keeps those embellishments on the pockets from banging in the wash. They could break, crack or just come off, so taking those two extra seconds to turn them inside out is really worth it! These jeans I was told the fabric tends to lose it’s shape with wear but after Mary wore them for 14 hours, the waist remained intact and she did not get that bunching effect like with her former detergent. Mary has purchased a Woolite bottle at Costco, so she went for the warehouse sized bottle and is not messing around!  Great tip I shared with guests, I use hangers for baby clothes to hang my jeans with.  They are perfect in size and compact!  I rewarded my guests each with a pack to take home, along with their Woolite packet.

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Being that Winter has left us, many of us in California have been experiencing a mix of weather with April showers arriving in March to windy afternoons. This wet and cold weather makes it hard to put the sweaters away for good but here we are trying to hopefully give them the final wash so maybe…just maybe we can see them until Autumn. I love my sweaters but I dislike a cold and chilly morning to then be regretting by the sunny afternoon on why I wore a sweater. Below are two sweaters we washed and they are wool blends. Just like new and still nice and soft. I love how Woolite Everyday smells, the scent is just so clean and the colors even if they are dark, they still remain vibrant!

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I can’t have my guests starve and I bought meat to grind, so I could make burgers. Bought everything and even remembered the pickles! Guess, what I forgot? The hamburger buns but my “oops” will now be remembered because in a moment of desperation, I cut a Challah loaf into buns. Challah bread tends to be high so I cut the bread twice, reserving the middle portion for later use (croutons to even making french toast). We toasted the buns on the grill (experiencing light rain so we used a grill pan inside) and they are the best burger buns I have ever had! My oops means I no longer will be purchasing hamburger buns. As it is, I usually use Sourdough bread or even a French Bread (sliced) because I prefer buying a bread that can serve multiple uses…..sort of how Woolite Everyday does when it comes to clothing, no longer just for delicate. That said, I end this with go beyond the bun and use Woolite Everyday, well for your Everyday clothes 🙂

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Plates from guests and I also encouraged healthy eating by making a salad with pumpkin seeds, cranberries and a poppy seed dressing. The salad was mixed baby greens with spinach and avocado.  Some guests skipped on the salad and loaded their plates with more curly fries, which I baked in the oven.  Burgers had a New York White Cheddar cheese with Gorgonzola crumbles and bacon.

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Crowdtap and Woolite’s generosity allowed my guests to leave with samples to use at home, coupons, and they included a Visa pre-paid card to help the host with party costs. I am not obligated to provide a positive/favorable review, just my honest opinion. My opinion is based on my experiences with a brand and may differ from yours.  Want to throw a party like mine?  Join Crowdtap and become a member at no cost at http://www.crowdtap.com .  Also, don’t forget to check out Woolite at http://www.woolite.us/ ; on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WooliteUS ; Twitter: @WooliteUS or on Pinterest at: http://pinterest.com/wooliteus/.  You can great ideas from laundry care to the latest fashion trends!  Hope to see you there!

Welcome the First Day of Spring with Key Lemon Cream Bars

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With Spring right around the corner, I wanted something that would welcome the flavors. My creation, Key Lemon Cream Bars! You have a shortbread crust and a Key Lime, lemon, and cream cheese filling to wake up your taste buds! Very easy to make and I hope you enjoy them too.  These would also be great for St. Patrick’s day because they are quick to make.

Crust:
1 Salted stick of butter and 1 Unsalted stick of butter (softened)
110 grams of Powder Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
3 drops of Almond extract
300 grams of all-purpose Flour

I used a mixer and blended the butters, powder sugar, and extracts until smooth and creamy. I then incorporate the flour until just blended. I used a lasagna dish, sprayed with cooking spray (I use Pam with flour) and pressed the shortbread to create a crust. I then used a fork to dock before baking at 350 degrees.

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I pre-baked the crust for 20 minutes and then took the crust out. With a spoon, I then pressed down on the crust so it could retain it’s shape and baked an additional 10 minutes.

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I took the crust out and just to make sure things stayed flat as much as I wanted, I again smashed softly with a spoon. Just in case the crust tries to misbehave! While my crust slightly cooled, I started with the filling.

Cream Filling:
One 8 ounce bar of Cream Cheese (softened)
1 ounce of Nellie & Joe’s Key Lime juice
1 ounce of Condensed Milk
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla extract
5 teaspoons of Powdered Sugar
2 ounces of all-purpose Flour

Lemon Top: 4.5 ounces of Lemon Curd

I softened the cream cheese in the microwave on the defrost setting because this girl is short on time. I then blend in the Key lime juice. If you don’t have key lime juice, a good substitute is lemon juice and you can try anything from lime to even juice from a fresh Key Lime. You can even add zest from a citrus fruit, so do what you want to make it your own.

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1 ounce of Condensed Milk.

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I then add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

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5 teaspoons of powdered sugar and I moved up to a small whisk because I want to keep the batter smooth.  I blended a teaspoon at a time to make sure everything would incorporate easier.

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Next comes the 2 ounces of flour and I whisked until smooth.

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I put that aside and then in a small separate bowl, you add 4.5 ounces of Lemon Curd.

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Assembly is a cinch!

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I spread out the cream filling first as evenly as time can allow.  I was getting close to dinner time and knew these needed to be done and cooled within a couple hours.

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Next the 4.5 ounces of Lemon Curd and I tried to be cute and make swirls!

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I then just finish baking at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Mine were ready in 27 minutes and I did add foil on top for the last 10 minutes because I had to step outside and needed I prefer to be safe than sorry.

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I cooled for an hour outside the fridge and then for 45 minutes in the fridge.  I then set the pan outside for 10 minutes before cutting.  I did this because the butter in the shortbread is easier to cut when it comes down in temperature.  This avoids cracks and I can make nicer looking squares.

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The final product I dusted lightly with powdered sugar for presentation.  These taste great and what I like best, the Lemon and Key Lime is present but does not force you to engage your pucker power abilities.  I love lemon but my Hubby not as much so this satisfied both of us!

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