Category Archives : Reviews


Using Nutritional Yeast in Allergen-Free Cooking

You may remember that last summer I did a complete overhaul on my diet, due to some health complications I’d been dealing with.  Along with an overhaul, I had a lot of blood work and testing done, and discovered that in addition to my intolerance to gluten, I also have a sensitivity to dairy.  Because of that, dairy has now been cut out of my diet permanently.  One of the new foods I’ve tried and learned more about during this process is nutritional yeast.

 

Now, a lot of nutritional yeasts are fortified – which sounds good, but usually means there are synthesized ingredients, which of course equals processed, or not natural.  Part of my overhaul was cutting out as much processed food as possible, and I’ve seen the positive difference it has made in my health.

 

 

Sari Foods has 100% natural and non-fortified nutritional yeast flakes.  It tastes pretty good and is dairy free, gluten free, extremely low and fat and sodium and is loaded with vitamins and nutrients.  I received some and have been having a lot of fun experimenting with different recipes and ideas for how to use it.  People say that it provides a cheesy flavor, and I haven’t yet decided if I agree.  I suppose it can give a hint of cheese flavor, but I don’t think it’ll ever replace the true flavor of cheese.  Still, I like the extra something something that it gives to foods.  My two favorite ways to eat it are in scrambled eggs and on top of air popped popcorn.  IMG_7367

One things I appreciated specifically about this particular brand was that after purchasing the Sari Foods Nutritional Yeast on Amazon.com, the company sent me an email with recipes that I could try out!  I thought that was a really nice gesture, and I’ve already tried two of the recipes so far.  That in and of itself has created a loyalty for me.  I love when a company will do a little extra, a little more, just to help complete the experience!

 

The bag I purchased is 8 oz, and I believe it’ll last me a good, long time, especially since I like it best in small amounts as a mini flavor enhancer.  Seriously, I’ve used this in soups, on eggs, on potatoes, and more.  I really can’t say anything bad about it.  To learn more about nutritional yeast and Sari Foods, you can visit them on Facebook and/or on Twitter.

 

*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are mine alone, and no monetary compensation was provided.

 


Influenster Froxy Vox Box – Samples and Goodies Review 2 comments   Recently updated !

I got a surprise in the mail about a month ago…a box full of samples and goodies!  I don’t know why Influenster was so generous, but I was definitely happy about it and willing to enjoy. :)

 

 

Let me tell you what we got, and how it all worked out:

 

10896835_10204637238904178_4723866509288499684_nThe Rimmel London Eyeliner

This black eyeliner is really soft, and goes on so easily. We were definitely impressed with it.

 

 

Fruit Vines Bites

I didn’t even get a picture of the Fruit Vines that came in the package. That’s how fast they were eaten. I couldn’t have any, because they have gluten, but Munchkin and my husband tried them and really liked them. Munchkin tells me they taste like a licorice stick with a huge pop of flavor.

The NYC New York Color Expert Lipstick

This Sugar Plum lipstick is nice as well. The color is very soft, and unimposing. If you’re going for bold, this isn’t your color, but for me, who tends to prefer subtle, it’s perfect.  You can see it on Munchkin in this picture. —–>

 

McCormick Gourmet Thyme

My personal favorite item was the McCormickThyme.  I’ve been using on my chicken, potatoes, rice, and other main dishes.  Just tonight we had baked chicken thighs, massaged with sea salt and olive oil, and sprinkled with thyme.

 

The Celestial Seasonings Tea

This Candy Cane-flavored tea was pretty good too.  I don’t normally drink a lot of tea, unless it’s herbal, but I still enjoyed it.  The flavor is really good, and filled with holiday cheer!  It’s nice on a cold day.

 

celestialteaEco Tools Sleek + Shine Volumizing Hairbrush

This is a really nice brush.  We don’t really need extra volume in our house, lol, but we can attest to the fact that it does work!  It’s a pretty brush, with soft and hard bristles.  I really like how good it is at de-tangling.

 

Rimmel Eye Makeup Remover

We also received some eye makeup remover.  Honestly, we didn’t like it at all.  It didn’t remove our makeup well at all, and we ended up scrubbing, which obviously didn’t feel too good.  That’s the only product from the box that we wouldn’t recommend.

 

Boots No 7 Protect & Perfect Serum

This was a teeny tiny package, and I enjoyed the feel of it on my skin, but I honestly don’t think I could give much of an opinion based on the one-time experience.  That’s all I can really say about that product!  It seemed high quality, but again, I received enough for one use, and that’s it.

 

*I received all products for free from Influenster, in exchange for my honest opinions.


23 Blast DVD Review and Giveaway! 7 comments   Recently updated !

23 BlastBased on true story:

 

As a typical teenager, Travis Freeman (Mark Hapka) is a local hero both on and off the high-school football field in his small Kentucky town, but in 1997, Travis contracts an infection that destroys his optic nerve and renders him blind overnight. With the loving help and concern of his parents, physical therapist, coach and best friend, Travis demonstrates what true bravery is: He continues to compete on the gridiron and helps his team advance to the state finals.

 

 

 

 

 

Holy cow, I love this movie.  I was a little concerned about letting my 12-year old watch it with me the first time (because of the PG-13 rating), but I needn’t have worried.  There was mild drinking of alcohol, which gave it the rating, but which was a poignant lesson shared in the film.  I felt fully engaged as I watched, and I actually cried at two different points.  During the movie, I tried putting myself in this young man’s shoes, and simply couldn’t come to imagine it.  I found myself thinking about my challenges, and realizing that, like Travis, I can move on and keep living.  I’m grateful for his inspirational example, and will share this movie with my son and other family members as one that is definitely worth watching!  After watching, I found myself wanting to know more, and so I spent time watching the bonus features.  Wow, what an incredible story, and what a great young man!  I’m so glad I had the chance to see 23 Blast; it’s a film I’ll watch again when I need motivation. I’m giving it 5 stars.

 

 
Here’s the trailer:

 

As thrilled as I was to watch this film, I’m even more excited to give one of my lucky readers their very own DVD copy!  Enter below, using any/all of the options listed. You won’t regret seeing this film. and good luck.  You can also enter the 23 Blast Bowl, where a grand prize winner will receive 5 copies of the DVD, an autographed football from Tony Dungy, and a pizza party for 8-10 guests.  GO HERE to enter the bowl.

23 Blast DVD Giveaway

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 
 
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

 

 


Petunia Skincare’s Professional Make Up Brush Set Review

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Petunia Skincare’s Professional 12 make up brush set is so cute.  It comes in a super handy bag that folds over for easy storage.  I got this product for Munchkin, my 12-year old daughter to review. Munchkin feels like they are extra soft, and likes them better than any of the make up brushes we already own. In fact, she won’t share. :)  I suppose that’s actually a good thing, though.  One thing Munchkin noticed is that the brushes are better able to hold and then transfer the colors onto her face.  We compared using the brushes I already have, and she’s right…these brushes transfer that color WAY better, which I love, so we won’t have to go through our make up so quickly with these better brushes.

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The brushes included in the complete Set of 12 are:
Powder brush
Blush brush
Foundation brush
Eyeshadow brush
Smudge brush
Fan brush
Concealer brush
Eyebrow blush
Eyeliner blush
Sponge applicator
Lip brush
Spoolie brush

 

These are really easy to clean – just rinse in warm water and clean with a gentle shampoo.  Rinse thoroughly and then let air dry, and they’re good to go!  It sure is fun having a pre-teen.  Lots of spa nights and fun with makeup! :)

Retailing at $89, they are currently on sale at Amazon.com for 47% off, if you are interested!

 

Like this gorgeous girl needs makeup anyway!

Like this gorgeous girl needs makeup anyway!

*I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  ALL opinions are mine.

 

 


Vitamin C Serum and Vitamin C Lotion 6 comments



 

With all the cold, dry air hanging around this time of year, it’s important to protect your skin.  Instead of simply using a moisturizer, it’s probably a good idea to use moisturizer along with other products to give you the maximum protection.

 

vitamincserumThis Vitamin C Serum from Bella Naturals is so refreshing.  I put this on first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night.  It feels good, and is best followed by a moisturizer, from my experience.  Having it in the beautiful glass bottle makes me feel fancy, too. :) Bella Naturals creates a very high quality serum – with pure 98% natural and 72% organic ingredients.

More about the Serum:

Our combination vitamin C and hyaluronic acid serum simultaneously addresses existing damage while providing potent antioxidant protection from oxidative damage. While vitamin C brightens the skin and stimulates the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid binds moisture to the skin, keeping it properly hydrated and making fine lines and wrinkles less deep. You can even tackle those unsightly age spots with the brightening power of our anti aging serum. Rigorously tested, our face serum truly lives up to its promise and can make a difference in the firmness, radiance and youthfulness of your skin.

 

 

 

 

Along with the serum I enjoy using a high quality moisturizer.  Foxbrim makes a Vitamin C Lotion/Moisturizer.  This is a much thicker moisturizer than I’m used to, and initially it made me nervous.  Using the serum first and then putting this on immediately afterwards is very helpful.  After the first 3 days of resize_624c64bb75994efa27b509d4da179bc70ea68999fee879fd5510d28e9c47b573aa164b40128128using this, I got a zit and thought, “Oh no!  I’m gonna break out with this new product!”  Fortunately, I didn’t (that was the only pimple I got, and I definitely get ‘em once in a while).  In fact, I feel like it’s starting to help even my skin tone, which is something I’ve had a hard time with in the past.  I’m really excited to continue using these two products together and to see how much more my skin tone improves!

Key Ingredients of the moisturizer include:
+ Vitamin C (15%)
+ Aloe Vera
+ MSM
+ Shea Butter
+ Jojoba Oil
+ Green Tea

 

So, would I recommend them?  They definitely cost more than the cheap stuff you can get at your local drug store.  The quality is much higher, of course.  The list price on Amazon.com for the serum is $85, and for the moisturizer it’s $45.99.  However, right now they are both on sale for a great price ($18.88 for the serum and $16.99 for the moisturizer), and at those prices, I definitely recommend them.  As always, you’ve got to prioritize and decide if it’s something that will work for YOUR budget.

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*I received both items in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions are mine alone.  I’ll NEVER recommend products that I don’t think are good for my readers.



The Identical DVD – Review and Giveaway! 34 comments

the-identical-dvd-cover-83

 

The Identical, starring Ray Liotta, Ashley Judd, Seth Green, and Blake Rayne is a redemptive movie about a young man, the son of a preacher, who rejects his father’s desire for him to join the ministry and instead embarks on a career as a rock singer. As he struggles to pursue his dream and rise to stardom, he finds love, pain, success, failure and ultimately uncovers a hidden family secret that reveals who he really us. The Identical is a captivating story about a family restored and a life discovered that lifts your soul and warms your heart.

 

The story starts out extremely engaging.  It’s a sweet, tender story about a young man finding his way in life, and I enjoyed the storyline.  After a while, it seemed to drag on for me…the same story being played over and over.  The music is fun, and I especially like the song “Angel of Mine” that is played when he’s on his first date with a young woman.  I love the moral to the story; that we need to follow OUR OWN path, not the path that others have chosen for us.  I appreciated that it was a movie I could let my kids watch with me, and I didn’t have to worry that there would be scenes that were inappropriate.  We need more family friendly films in the world!

 

See the trailer:

Do you want a copy of this DVD to add to your family’s collection?  You can purchase it at a special discounted price from Family Christian.  Of course, you can also enter to win a copy as well :)

 

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

 

 


It’s Goal Setting Time! Planner Review 2 comments


It’s my 2nd favorite part of winter time:  Goal Setting Time!  (1st place goes to Christmas.)  I’m a total sucker for goals.  Every year I get so excited, and so motivated.  Honestly, even if I only accomplish half of the goals I set, I end up accomplishing more than I would have with no goals, right?

 

goals

 

My biggest problem is probably getting organized enough to keep track of what I set out to do in the first place.  I work, blog, raise kids (one of whom has special needs), and I have a hard time remembering things.  It seems that I have to have a notebook with me everywhere I go lately, so I can write down things as they pop into my head, because they may not pop back again!  Maybe I’m just getting old. :)

 

planningAnyway, I got this planner from Tools4Wisdom for the upcoming year.  I love it because it’s a goal planner and tracker along with a regular calendar planner.  I also like that it’s standard notebook size so I’m less likely to lose it, ha ha.  It’s a simple design, clear cut and precise, and because it looks simple, it FEELS simple to me, and calm somehow.  I know, I’m weird.

 

The planners allow you to lay out your week on each double page, with space to list the MAJOR outcomes you want, simple steps to achieve those outcomes and ideas to enhance your life, along with your appointments and reminders.

The Weekly Planner asks questions on every page.  Writing down your thoughts in the planner helps boost creativity: Scientific studies have proven that the act of writing by hand actually inspires new ideas! So the more you write, the more ideas will flow from your pen.  Did you know that??

 

Here’s what some of the pages look like:

planner

I’m really excited to start the new year with another organizing tool in my corner.  Now to start filling it up! ;)  The Tools4Wisdom planner can be purchased here at Amazon.

You can also see my review on my new blog, Munchkin and Mom Reviews!

*I received no monetary compensation.  I received the product in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions are mine, and mine alone.


BakeItFun Baking Mat Review/Roasted Chickpeas Recipe 3 comments

I am in a war with my debt. I’m focusing all my efforts on getting my family completely out of debt. 2014 was very unkind to us, financially, and I plan on doing whatever it takes to remedy that! I’ve shared a lot of different things I do, particularly in the kitchen, to save money, but this is a new and unexpected one (at least unexpected for me). resize_8e962b06c4b02396b38bca3d0f57c6fc32a18e18caa1c8b978a48f0937dc768b4dda6dd2256256 I go through parchment paper like crazy. Ever since going gluten free, I’ve used it a lot, and I’m so sick of the expense! I heard about this BakeItFun silicone baking mat and the claims that it can eliminate my need for parchment paper or foil. I decided it was worth trying out, you know, see if it would actually work well and save me some money.

 

I’m thrilled to say that it works really well.  It’s been SO easy to clean off and reuse, and I’ve made several different “batches” of food with it.  I started with my roasted chickpeas, and it worked beautifully.  One thing I like about it is that it has measurements on the sides.  I tend to just eyeball things when I’m baking and spacing, but it’s nice to have measurements if I’m wanting a cookie or something to turn out just right, and I don’t want pieces of dough to cook together.  It also provides a visual (as you can see in the above picture) that you can use if you want perfect spacing!  Right now it’s on sale for 73% off at Amazon.com, so it may be worth looking into.  I don’t know how long the discount will last.

 

More about the mat:

 

1. STOP WASTING MONEY Buy your BakeitFun Premium silicone baking mat Now And Eliminate the Need for Parchment Paper or Aluminum Foil. Re-use it up to 2000, think about how much less trash you’ll make.

2. DURABLE AND RESISTANT Multipurpose uses, perfect for cooking anything, Sugar Candy, Melted Cheese, Garlic and Cookies. Stop being afraid of buying cheap smelly silicone baking mats. Oven, Dishwasher and Microwave safe.

3. SAVE TIME Get your food from freezer to the oven. Then rinse it off and forget about scrubbing sheets.

4. SAFE MATERIALS Made from fiberglass coated with food grade silicone, this non-stick silicone baking mat offers multipurpose uses for preparing, cooking, and heating up food. FDA and LFGB approved. It’s 100% BPA free.

5. BAKE WITH YOUR KIDS BakeitFun makes cooking fun for all ages! Turn a simple task in the kitchen into a fun and exciting moment with your kids – they’ll be thankful later!

 

 

I’ve loved using it and am very happy to be able to save money and not buy that dang parchment paper anymore.  I am also thrilled to have a huge batch of roasted chickpeas ready and available for my snacking pleasure now. :)

 

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Roasted Chickpeas

  • 3 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp sweetener (I use stevia or nectresse)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin

Mix the ingredients together and store in a small jar or bowl.  To roast the chickpeas, either open a can of chickpeas or cook some from scratch in your slow cooker.  Drain the chickpeas well and pat dry with a clean towel.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  In a bowl, combine the chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil (about 1 Tbsp per 2 cups of beans).  Mix well and spread out onto a baking sheet.  Sprinkle generously with the seasoning mix to taste.  Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes.  After the first 30 minutes in the oven, check on them and stir.  Roast until they are crunchy.  So good!

**No monetary compensation was received. I received the product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine alone.

Roasted Chickpeas

 

 


Hera Prime Colon Cleanse – Product Review

 

0b4672ede48e6846becfd7248c0004c439c23c87_1Hera Prime is dedicated to making sure you look the best you can, on the inside and outside. They have a commitment to creating the finest formulations, products and methodologies to enable our consumers to reach their goals and live a beautiful, healthy lifestyle.

 

A little more info about the Colon Cleanse:

  • Eliminates toxins from your body naturally, and speeds recovery from refined and over-processed foods.
  • Fights intestinal congestion so that your digestive system powers on; allows you to have more energy.Made with a natural blend of 9 herbs, fiber and nutrients.
  • Does not contain the dangerous chromium.
  • Free from dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

 

The first time I tried this I got a stomach ache.  I was really nervous to take it again, but I get stomach aches so often from all sorts of things, and I knew it may be a coincidence.  I decided to give it another shot, and I’m glad I did.  The cleanse was very effective for me, but without causing cramping like so many other cleanses do.  The product is organic, and made right here in the U.S.A.  (Draper, Utah, I believe).  If you’re planning to eat a lot of junk food this holiday season, you may want to be prepared with this all natural cleanse.  A lot of people may use this for the weight loss potential, but for me it works perfectly as a gentle cleanse for the occasional detox.  I’m definitely a fan.

 

Right now you can get 20% off when you order the Hera Prime Colon Cleanse on Amazon.com.  I’m not sure how long the discount is good for since the holidays are practically here!
*No monetary compensation was received. I received the product in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are mine alone.


Watch For The Light Book Review

watchFrom Johann Christoph Arnold to Dorothy Day, from Madeline L’Engle to Karl Barth, from Saint Thomas Aquinas to Meister Eckhart, this unparalleled anthology offers wisdom beauty and spiritual nourishment from a wide spectrum of classic and contemporary sources.

Containing a selection for each day of the Christmas season, from the last week of November through the first week of January, Watch for the Light can be read through times of leisure or as a guide to daily devotions. Either way it will give new meaning to the phrase “holiday preparations.”

 

I like the book.  I thought the readings each day would be smaller and quicker, perhaps even geared more toward children, but that’s okay.  I find that during the holiday season I am so busy that I don’t have a lot of time to sit down and read, but I would love a quick 2-3 minute read to uplift and motivate me.  If you’ve got 5-10 minutes to read, you’d be good.  Some of the readings are quite short, and others take a little more time to read.  Many different authors/speakers stories are included, and there is a nice variety.

 

*I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are mine alone.