#pureleafhomebrew

“Received these products coutesy of Pure Leaf and Influenster for sampling purposes”.  The green tea with citrus is fabulous!  I have never liked the taste of green tea but I first tried this hot and loved the taste.  I have since made the iced tea version and it is just as refreshing.  The hint of citrus really just bumps the flavor up a notch.  These come in little triangle shaped bags that makes steeping quick and easy.  If you have been wanting to try these go for it.  The black tea with vanilla is also just as tasty and refreshing.  I’m not a big vanilla fan so I probably would choose another flavor but I did combine this bag with an oolong tea bag and the combo was very pleasing as a hot tea!  

Puppy Love And Cookies

I LOVE dogs!  Big dogs, small dogs, medium dogs, shaggy dogs, short-haired dogs, loud dogs, quiet dogs, I love them all!  I must say though that one particular breed has won my heart.  I have owned rat terriers for the past 30 years.  I just adore their quirky, jovial spirits and their fiesty big attitudes.  This past year, I adopted a precious miniature lady that I named Ellory.  She has the biggest personality and loves everyone….that is after she gets a good sniff and is confident you are not there to hurt her humans!  img_5926

This post however, is about cookies and cake pops!  My love of rat terriers led me to join a group of like minded rat terrier lovers to share all our wonderful rattie stories.  I also have a passion to assist rescue organizations and Rat Terrier  ResQ is one of my favorites.  This lead me to this recent project.  I wanted to share my love of making sweets with the group and be able to give back to Rat Terrier ResQ.

About a year ago, I worked with a designer to make a cookie cutter in the unique shape of a rat terriers head.  For inspiration, I used a the ears of a friend’s dog and the face of my older rattie.  Here is what we came up with.  Pretty cool and so much fun working with the designer.

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This is a 4 inch cookie cutter and it makes a perfect mailing size.  I must say, I am still quite the beginner when it comes to working with royal icing.  I have problems with consistency, correct coloring and a steady hand when applying it to the cookie.  Once I had practiced on a few cookies looking at pictures of actual dogs, I felt like I just wanted to free form create my own designs.  This led to a simpler, faster approach and I feel made the cookie look better.

IMG_5668.JPGThis is what they look like as they dry.  I then packaged them individually and sent them off to those who wanted to try them or give them as Christmas gifts.

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If you read my posts on sweets, you know I didn’t stop with just making cookies.  No, I made doggie cake pops too!  Most of them rat terriers but a few golden doodles, labradoodles, and poodles for a few special requests.  Here are some pictures of the cake pops!

img_5827img_5829IMG_5816.JPGAnd then, just to make certain the spirit of Christmas was also represented, I made a few holiday pops.

img_5812And there must be Santa!img_5810

So as children dream of sugarplums and toys and puppies dream of tasty treats and human kisses, I hope the spirit of giving has a huge place in your hearts.  Please remember animal rescue organizations as they rely solely on the generosity of all of us.  Merry Christmas!

Easy Peasy Spuds

I tried a product last night that I received complimentary for testing purposes.  The product is made by Idahoan at http://idahoan.com/product-category/idahoan-signature-russets/

Instant potatoes are usually not very tasty but I have to say, these are very different and very delicious.  These fluffed up nicely. I added butter and a pinch of salt and they were as good as if I had peeled them and made them from scratch.   The family loved them and asked me to purchase some on our next grocery shopping trip.  So, we have a winner!img_4241

#ItsYourThing SlimFast

Recently, I received this box of goodies from @SlimFast and @Influenster.  I have to say, most products promoting weight loss taste really bad.  I was happy to try #ItsYourThing campaign though.  Surprise to me!  I really have loved everything!  While I have always liked the shakes, they are now improved with more protein and very little sugar.

The sour cream and onion chips were so tasty!  This will make an excellent swap out for potato chips lovers.  They are crisp and crunchy and you will love them.  The same is true for the sweeter version chips/crisps.  I also ate the protein bar as a meal replacement.  It was excellent and filled me up just fine.  So, the verdict is…all systems GO for trying these new weight loss products!

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Ponds Rejuveness

I recently received Ponds Rejuveness cream to complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.  I am always a bit skeptical with everything because I have skin sensitivities.  I have been using this product twice daily for about 3 weeks now.  After about 10 days, I started to notice improvement with the fine lines under my eyes and on my forehead.  I have continued to use it and it seems to be improving even more each day.  I highly recommend that you give it a try.  If you have sensitive skin, this one might work for you too!11203534_10206350555943647_6264884371196124313_o

Thank You @Ponds and @Influenster #seeforyourself #contest

Gluten Free Can Be Amazing!

Bloomfield Farms Gluten Free Mixes

Bloomfield Farms Gluten Free Mixes

A little over two years ago, my family made a decision to eat a gluten-free diet. Our daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and was having an extremely difficult time adjusting to the medications. After a lot of research, it seemed worth a try to assist her in healing by adjusting her diet. This included eliminating several foods, one of which, is wheat gluten.

It may seem like an easy task to accomplish but we discovered it is so much more difficult then one can imagine. Wheat gluten is an additive in so many everyday foods that you may purchase in the grocery store or at a restaurant. Even simple items like french fries, soy sauce, breakfast cereals contain wheat gluten. So, the mission before us was two-fold, we had to check labels and ingredients on everything purchased and we had to find workable alternatives to use in recipes for cooking and baking.

Checking ingredient lists and menu options in restaurants is a never ending task. The safest way to eat in restaurants is to select green salad options and grilled meats. The home baking and cooking, however, became very challenging quickly. There are quite a few packaged options for breads, cookies, cake, pancakes, biscuits, cereal, muffins, and pizza crust on the market shelves. The problem with many of those items for us was that they tasted very bland, dry, gritty and just plain awful!!! They are also pricey and the packages contain less amount of product. I was a bit vocal about my frustration and a local friend sent me an email about Bloomfield Farms.

I quickly found the All Purpose Baking Mix in my local Kroger. I tried it out making pancakes (which were very good), cookies (chocolate chip was relish), and a yellow cake
(which I made into a strawberry poke cake…where you poke holes in the baked cake and pour in jello). All of these baked goods were very good and you could not tell they were gluten free. This made me very curious about other Bloomfield Farms offerings.

A quick visit to their website and I discovered many gluten free products. I could not wait to place an order and try out more products. On my first order, I purchased a muffin mix, pizza crust, bread mix and pancake and waffle mix.

Pictured above is the Muffin Mix. First of all, the mix will make one dozen muffins. That is twice as many as any other mix I have tried. The mix comes plain and we wanted to test out a variety, so I added frozen blueberries, peanut butter and chocolate chips, chocolate chips, and finally cocoa and chocolate chips. I also added a little applesauce to the ones I added cocoa powder to. This was to add moisture and some needed sweetness. Each and every flavor is wonderful! My favorite is the blueberry and my daughter’s favorite is the peanut butter chocolate chip.

If you are already gluten free or just want to try out gluten free, go to http://www.thebloomfieldfarms.com and place your order. You can probably find the All Purpose Baking Mix and possibly the Brownie Mix in your local Kroger. I have requested to have more Bloomfield Farms items in my local store but for now, I have to order online. We are looking forward to trying out the other three mixes and I will certainly be letting you know how they taste! I love the convenience of purchased mixes and I am optimistic that the other mixes will by just as fantastic as those I have already tried. Happy Gluten Free eating!

This is an independent product review. I am not affiliated with or compensated by Bloomfield Farms. I just love their products!