Friday, July 12, 2013

Brandy, not for frost bitten noses- great for a summer quench too!!

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Well I had been given this assignment from Bzz Agent for  E&J XO Brandy a little while back and it has taken me some time to compose my thoughts, but most importantly try some summertime recipes using brandy.

In full Disclosure, I have received rebate coupons for some of the retail price of the brandy in turn for trying it and reporting on it.

I was brought up the daughter of an off the boat Irish Mother, who had some home remedy for everything, usually involving alcohol.  In her defense (god rest her soul) she was the daughter of the town doctor, so she grew up around "practical medicine". 

I heard the stories of what they did when I was teething, Brandy (Whiskey was too strong for an infant)

You had a cold- a snifter of warm brandy and a spoon full of sugar...

You get the idea,

I have always enjoyed the turning of fall into winter with the eggnog flavored Brandy as I tend to make it.

But here we are in the middle of a huge heat wave and I am supposed to blog about Brandy?

Well I went to our local liquor store and picked up my bottle of E&J XO Brandy.  Then simply I googled summer brandy recipes.

I found some gems. 

2 oz of E&J XO Brandy
2 oz Pineapple Martini Flavor
1oz Pureed Strawberries
Over Crushed Iced

Lest we forget one of the most important ingredients in a Sangria is what else... Brandy
1 bottle red wine
1/2 cup Brandy
1/2 Cup Triple Sec
4 bls Sugar
1 Orange
1 Lemon

Pour into tall glass of crushed ice and top with seltzer....

The E&J XO Brandy is very smooth, very tasty neat in a crystal glass after a hard day of work or beach with the kids.

Just because you are reading a recipe and brandy may be a only a small part of a recipe, quality drinks come from quality ingredients.  You wouldn't cook a prime rib and top it with cream of mushroom soup from a can for the a jus.

When a recipe calls for brandy make sure you are treating you and your guests o a quality drink.

Take it from the only 45 year old blogger than has been a Brandy drinker for 45 years.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Too much fun talking about washing hands (sounds dirty but completly G rated)

In full disclosure I received a sample of Lysol Touch of Foam from Bzz Agent to test and review.  I also have coupons I can give out to my friends and family that are interested in this product.

I love going into all the chic little boutiques and trying the latest and greatest in hand care.  Let's face it other than.... well our face, our hands and out there for the world to study and judge us.  Think about it, you see someone with dirt under their nails or between their fingers, you ain't eating nothin from the bowl that they are.  Or if you see someone who had clean hands,clean nails you make a judgement.
So it always makes me laugh when going into this little boutiques or even pop ups in retail space a company selling their hand soap.  They have you wet you CLEAN HANDS (unless your at the mall right after making meatballs by hand and didn't bother to wash your hands) otherwise, if your in the mall chances are your not sporting alot of hand grime.  Where was I, yes, so you wet your hands they pump a bit of soap in your hands and you lather and rinse them.  Pat them with the provided beautiful cotton hand towel.  You are to stand their amazed that they have washed your clean hands and now they are clean and may even have a pear scent to them.  All you hand to do was wet your hands hand the beautiful lady pump the soap for you and you to dry them in hand towels of the Gods.

Well I would be pretty pissed off if the results were anything but.  Can you imagine getting your hands washed and they smell worse after, or you feel some tacky residue.

How do you properly test a hand soap?   Well with dirty smelly hands of course, you have to be in your kitchen, bath or other washing area with hands caked with meatball, moss, loam from planting, some smells that come with motherhood or pet ownership.  And by the way there isn't a nice lady to pump the soap on for you, it's all you baby, and I wouldn't be on an Egyptian Cotton hand towel waiting to dry you off.  If lucky you get a clean facecloth, last sheet of the paper towel roll or just air dry.

After than then smell and feel your hands and see how they do that is the only way to test hand soap.

So I did a head to head comparison with your Lysol Touch of Foam Antibacterial Wash in the Creamy Vanilla Orchid scent.  I matched it with a popular hand soap sold in most malls and is usually part of a buy 5 for 20 deal. 

To begin with I did some cleaning, then had to take out my dogs, and scooped with a plastic glove.  At this point I decided to put all my plantings together in containers.  I abide garden gloves, I have large hands so the only size that fits is the Men's which is too big to let me work in them, so I for go garden gloves.  Then I take out some soil and make some small planters for herbs.  At this point I need to go to the bathroom.  Well I must wash my hands first I'm gross.  So my instinct is not to touch anything with  my hands, so I apply a pump on the Lysol handle with my forearm, the foam piles nicely on my hands, I work my hands into a real lather hear, the soap is all but gone, then I rinse again and apply another pump, and I lather them up and dry them with a paper towel and my hands smell amazing.  In fact I sitting at my keyboard can still smell the slight yet pleasant scent of my hands.  My verdict, if this soap can cut through the run through I gave it it is a must have at each sink in my house.   I am the firmest of believers that frequent hand washing is better than any flu shot ( my opinion and mine alone). My hands are soft enough to rub the belly of an old dog, and the softest of arms of my child, and able to hold my hubby's hands as I slip him a quick hug when he comes home from work. 

Now in all fairness there was another product to compare it to, so I waited for another dog walk, did another day's worth of gardening, and they also at one point threw out food in the garbage.  Well the first test that didn't compare was the arm pump.  Instead of the pile of lather I got a stream that went from my hand to the back of my cabinet wall.  I lathered, and repeated, just not that same thick feeling as I got with the Lysol, it seemed a watered down version.  I did get my hands clean but the Pear scent that attracted to me to the soap was gone within 3 minutes.

The winner is clear, I whole heartily recommend the Lysol Touch of Foam hand wash.  I would advice them to rethink the packaging that someone it's much cleaner and is more decorative, something you pull away when you open the soap to use.  It's a beautiful soap as well as a 99.9% germ killer than we have come to know Lysol for, now let us know the gal has gams as well and time to show them off.

The above piece was written by me for my review of this soap, I was reading it and was pretty pleased with the facts and comparisions of soaps, but there were a couple of things I didn't get to.  This soap comes in two other scents, Cherry in Bliss, and Wild Berry Bliss (yum o).  Also the pump itself is built using antimicrvial properties that help deter germs from living on the pump of the soap.  Talk about thinking of it all.

I wouldn't mind seeing packaged with these a small sample of hand sanitizer, as a way to jump inot that market.  Again I love love love this and now I'm obsessed with trying the Cherry Bliss.

---Peas Out

Monday, March 18, 2013

Garnier Dark Spot Peel

I was asked a few weeks ago to try and review  Garnier Dark pot Peel, by Bzz Agent.  In full Disclosure
 I received a free bottle from Garnier Dark Spot Peel from Garnier.  This was for review and trial purposes.

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I actually was in the hospital when I got this, my husband brought it in, unfortunately I couldn’t take a picture of myself because the camera was not allowed.  I will say I found my Moby Dick that I was hunting on my face.  I have Dark Spots, but the real issue for me was a black head that despite how many facials I had it would just reappear, (I actually think it knows when I go to the anesthetic and hides out, then after pops back up.  I know that sounds a bit crazy but I did just compare a black head to one of the most iconic figures in classic literature.  When I was in the hospital, I had little to do other  than listening to bad cable from a tin box near my ear, or I could I play with all my grooming stuff.   I loved that this peel  you can leave on overnight.
In my real life Mommy world, I basically get up with enough time to to barely drink a cup of coffee, then I  bleary eyed drive her a mile away to school.  (I think my mother would kick my ass if I asked her to to interrupt her morning to drive me one mile to go to school.).  When I get home I am usually staring at sink of pans and dishes used to hurriedly cook various breakfasts, and the enviable last night’s dinner pan that I didn’t want to deal with, and apparently no on else in my family didn’t either. But I digress- So I have come home from driving my daughter to school, trying to drink my coffee before it gets that certain level of cold that it is suddenly undrinkable.  Now I do the dishes, dry, and put them away as I have no interest in looking at them all day long.  Now this is the point that I usually forget to eat breakfast but I do fix up something for myself in the caffeine family.  Now after I am leaving the kitchen the next stop is the computer in the living room.  Here is wear I start to read 89 email, (dude I’m a housewife).  So now I’ve finished that and finally make my way upstairs to start thinking about self grooming.  Now I go the the mirror to face my Moby Dick of a black head, I’ve been using the Garnier Dark Spot Peel faithfully for weeks keeping up my routine from the hospital.  So I wash my face and look up and notice Moby Dick looks different.  I take my wash cloth and wipe it and it comes off.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME.   This blackhead that has cursed me forever has become a memory after 3.5 weeks of using the Garnier Dark Spot Peel.  Now that I am not noticing just Moby Dick, I see a softness to my skin, the ruddy Irish complexion that gets destroyed during the winter, has disappeared.  I look like like a WASP from Greenwich CT. 

Now you may ask why I make you read about my completely ridiculous morning, well it’s because the peel can stay on overnight into the next day.  I am not a slave to my house and have to take some peel off my skin within a certain time frame in case it starts to eat my flesh (for real). 

Garnier is really stepping up their game with the amount of styling, hair, and skin care line.  I have very sensitive skin and experienced zero blotching or itching. 

I really from the bottom of my heart recommend this for those issues that seem like they won’t go away, Garneir Dark Spot Peel is affordable and goes head to head with the high end department store lines.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shave Time, ugh

Schick Hydro Silk® razor,
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Ok Ladies, and some Gentlemen, summer will be hear before you know it and all of a sudden tank tops, Capri’s, shorts, and Gasp even swimsuits will be tried on in changing rooms and everyone will go through last years’ pile to see it still works.  Well how many of you in previous years dreaded this or insisted on doing it solo, even if you had a BF shopping with you?  I’ll hazard a guess and say some or most of it had to do with winterized hairy areas.  I will confess come late September that Razor just kind of hangs out in my shower.  I hated getting nicks and a cut on my legs or worse during the winter, when my skin was already so dry, it just was unbearable.
Disclosure I am a Bzz Agent and I received a free product and coupons for review and passing out purposes by Schick. 
Well I got my razor and immediately liked the feel in my hand, the handle is chunky but rubberized so it doesn’t grapple with gravity much.  Although you see Moisture strips on the razor you should still use a nice shave cream to enhance your shave.  You will also notice quite a few blades, this move in a manner that you can actually shave your knees and other curvy areas and you should be nic free.
I have found this priced very well at local drug stores and many times you get some money back for purchasing it, so it is worth keeping an eye on it. 
Mine has a mini clear adhesive hook that discreetly holds my razor high on the tile line, as not to obstruct the view of by shower area.
In case you’re wondering I have extremely sensitive skin and this when used with a shave cream that was also ok for sensitive skin, I had zero problems.
Go for it, and next time you’re in the store with your girl friends be the first to head to the dressing room.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coffee and Dessert, Hold the Dessert

This is a shout out to all the Mom’s and Dad’s out there, who will peek into the pantry to have a treat, that you made sure it made it into the Sunday shopping card, now on a Wednesday night your feeling for a taste of that treat: if you live in my house you will find out it was quickly consumed earlier after LAX practice while the girls (only one of them actually belonged to you)  were waiting for PLL to come on.
Ok we were back at the pantry and you just discovered that little treat you set aside for yourself to enjoy was inhaled by a bunch of teenagers that couldn’t take the time to enjoy each sip and the flavor profiles.  This is usually the part of the evening I will swipe a bunch of cookies my daughter “had to have”, not sure it’s “swiping” when I actually did the paying for said product.
So with this review comes this advice, hide these, put them behind the green tea bags that have been in your pantry for a year.  These are yours, they are your little reward for putting up with ever flowing inboxes, emails that act like a pack of rabbits, the driveway that probably needs to be shoveled..  I will review each one of these separately, as I think each blend has its own place in your coffee repitroe.
This is one where you may be standing in the grocery aisle and you’re looking at pack of K-cup and then a familiar cardboard box of cocoa and wondering why spend the extra money.  I’ll answer that for you with a few points.  1.  The generous serving of the cocoa in the kcup gives this a varied cocoa experience depending on your water choice.  For the record I brew for myself all of these on 6 oz.  I like to have my sweetened cocoa almost like an espresso shot.  You don’t have to be a Doctorate in Food Sciences to figure out the more water you add the flavor and intensity of the cocoa will be impacted..  When I have mine the froth that comes at the last 10 seconds of the brew is like a gift.  I tend to drink all my coffee strong so that holds true with the sweetened cocoa drinks.  Now my daughter (when allowed to touch my stash) brews at an 8oz.  Also when you have the kcups you tend to be much more selective about how often you brew and do you have the time to really enjoy that cup, vs. the cardboard box filled with packets that are made mindlessly. 
The flavor itself of the Milk Chocolate is a hearty milk chocolate feel.  The experience starts just as it hits your lips you feel like you’re a little kid again safe and warm at home.  This is just a great cup of cocoa.  Rating: Family Freindly
Now this was an absolute pleasure for me to drink.  Again I brewed on a 6 oz.  I didn’t bother sharing with my teenager, as I didn’t think she would apprieate the almost smoky flavor of the dark chocolate.  I think she would enjoy the milkier flavor more.  This was like have a molten lava cake in a cup, I think it would be worthy of a dollop of fresh whipped cream.  This is truly a grown up hot cocoa, where you can taste the slight bitterness of the dark chocolate and how it blends with the milk so nicely.  Again I love the last few seconds of the brew cycle when the frothy good stuff comes out.  Rating- Adults only, or very experienced pallet of younger.
Café Vanilla
Again brewed at a 6 oz.  This is a nice sweet treat; I used it as a substitute for dessert last night after dinner.  It was sweet, aromatic, sensory speaking it was a total pleasure.  Note- drink this hot to warm, as it cool tastes turns a bit flavored milk.   I enjoyed this and would buy it if it were part of a pack of kcups that were flavored, I don’t know if I would buy a whole box of this.. ***With one exception:  My daughter is now in High School and your allowed to bring in your coffee and drink it in class, well the  local coffee bar charges so much that a week’s worth of her coffee drinks rival a week’s worth of my gas in the car.  But I got the to go thermal cups with the raised coffee shop quality lids and she brought in an 8 oz and loved it.  It was a win win, I looked like good mom, she was happy, and my wallet was as well, plus we didn’t have to get up and fight with the entire freshman to senior class.  Rating: Family Friendly.

Chai Latte
Making a decent Chai has been an ongoing battle for me for years.  Many of my friends would bring in samples of the latest and greatest Chai, and I just can’t seem to do anything with it.  I’m always convinced that I make it too light, so next times I over compensate and it over chai’d.  So I brewed it at my usual 6 oz., and it came out lovely.  I see the attraction to having this as an alternative in your coffee, tea reptiore, I wouldn’t replace my coffee with it, but certainly would enjoy this.  Now I let my daughter try it and she really enjoyed it.  So maybe it is like a gateway drink to stronger coffee.  Rating: Very Family Friendly, (must like cinnamon)

Café Caramel
This is definitely another drink I would offer up as a lighter alternative to dessert.  It is delicious, the experience starts before the cup hits your lips you can smell the caramel, and then while you drink it it just is so yummy.  This is another one that you will want to drink on the warmer side; I find the taste is a bit boring when it is not warm enough.  I think the tempeture being at that just the right high brings out the taste of the caramel, but also the Café, (coffee).  It is easy to forget you are drinking a coffee product, but that is what we are doing, and I am assuming because we enjoy our coffee.  I brewed this at no surprise 6 oz.  I made some for my daughter at 8 oz. and it was another hit to bring to school.  I don’t know if I would hit this with whipped cream, maybe some biscotti instead.  Rating: Family Friendly.

Café Mocha:
Now this is my tied for second favorite, because it is where this idea of mixing coffee and chocolate began, Mocha.  This was always my favorite flavor in ice cream; early on I knew I would have two vices and friends Coffee and Chocolate.  I would like to tell you how my daughter liked it, but I didn’t share.   This one was all mine.  It was/is delicious, its old school and it would be worthy to finish off any meal on any day of the week, or to start off any cold morning.  Sometimes in the morning I don’t quite feel like making something, but I have to drive my daughter to school so I want something with some type of flavor and this is great.  Rating (Mommy’s and Daddy’s only, just kidding, Family Friendly, but you better have made that bed and fed that fish).

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Ok so for the record my official rating of the flavors

1.       Dark Chocolate Flavored Hot Cocoa
2.       Milk Chocolate Flavored Hot cocoa tied with Café Mocha
3.       Café Caramel
4.       Café Vanilla
5.       Chai Latte

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A meatless alternative

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*Disclaimer, I am a Bzz Agent, and I received a coupon to purchase this product for free from Morningstar, for trial and review purposes.
Ok, it’s that time of year when the practicing and non practicing Catholics (who live with practicing Catholics), give up meat for Fridays.  So often I’ll bite into something only to realize that it contains some type of meat product.  Then I immediately feel shamed then I have a split second decision to either say oh well I already broke my promise, I may as well just eat the rest.  Or the most unlikely is that you put down what you are eating and go and buy another meal.  For non Catholics out there this does not include the “thing” we “give up” during lent. 
So I picked up the MorningStar Grillers and was really unsure about this, I have had some veggie burgers in the past and there is no way you can pretend that they are anything other than a dried out veggie burger.  This time I took a different approach.  I bought some nice rolls a bit hardier than a hamburger bun.  Then I cut a nice piece of cheddar, a hearty slice of a tomato, some fresh lettuce leaves, a slight slather of mayo, a bit of mustard and ketchup, and if I am adventurous I’ll have some onion as well.   I made this with some homemade oven cooked fries with some seasoning on tem. 
I will happily brag that these were delicious.  The roll held up and the real fixings added to the taste of the burger.  Would I take a blind taste test and not be able to tell the difference between this and a whooper? ;  probably not.  But that is not what I believe the Morningstar is striving for.  A whopper is loaded with so much fat and things that are bad for your body to achieve that taste, which no company should be striving to taste like them.  Instead Morning Star is putting out an assortment of products that offer an alternative to the consumer who is making a committed descion to not eat meat for a meal or as a way of life.  There are hot dogs, corn dogs, buffalo flavored wings, many versions of the hamburger, and many more products offered. 

MorningStar Farms® Grillers® Original
Every bite of this meatless masterpiece is chock-full of classic burger flavor.
  • 130 calories, 15g protein, 57% less fat*
*MorningStar Farms® Grillers® Original (64g) contain 6g fat per serving, compared with regular ground beef (64g) containing 14g fat per serving.

Now I am on Weight Watcher so as you know they count your food in terms of points so in case you are curious this burger alone, not the fixings is 3pts.  This is giving me a lot of protein, and is low enough in points that I can spurge and make it into a nice sandwich without feeling deprived.  Again Morningstar has a great concept, offer non meat items to people who it’s a way of life for, but also for the person who on Friday’s can’t eat meat,  or something looking to eat healthier without feeling deprived.