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Go “Green” With Your Morning Coffee

 

Are you a coffee drinker? Does someone in your household drink coffee? I can honestly say that I rarely come across someone who doesn’t drink coffee. Some people I know just have one cup in the morning. Other people I know drink several cups throughout the day. Personally, I tend to drink one in the morning and one after work (I can drink caffeine before bed with no problem). Sometimes, like today, I feel like I need an extra cup.

We have three different brewers in our home – a stove top espresso maker, my son’s traditional coffee maker (the kind that uses filters) and my E-Brewer, which is similar to a Keurig (I don’t think they make them anymore).

I have been using a Keurig (and currently E-Brewer) for as long as I can remember (maybe 10+ years). Drinking 1-2 cups per day means that I have contributed A LOT of K-cups in the landfills. Sigh… I feel bad about that (I honestly do), but I like my brewer because I’m usually the only one who drinks coffee in my home on a regular basis (my son makes coffee very now and then). I can’t justify making a whole pot of coffee if I only want one cup. It seems like a waste of coffee, water and a filter. Using the K-cups are so much more convenient. I can pop in my coffee, tea or hot chocolate and in about a minute I have my hot beverage ready to enjoy.

Using K-cups (or similar shaped brands) are very wasteful. The cups cannot be recycled so they end up polluting our landfills. The Atlantic published an article a few years ago that said if all the K-cups used were placed end to end they would circle the globe 10.5 times. WOW!!! When you see it put that way it really makes you think. Suddenly that convenient way to make coffee seems horrible.

There IS a way to continue to enjoy the convenience of your single serve K-Cup (or similar pod) with the ECO-Flow Stainless Steel K-Cup by Perfect Pod.

The Eco-Flow K-cup works with Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 brewers, Breville, Mr. Coffee and Cuisinart without requiring any adapters.

Because it’s made out of stainless steel, this K-cup will last for many years to come. Best of all it’s reusable and eliminates those wasteful disposable K-Cups/pods.

Check out this brief video.

 

I was sent one to review. I was also sent disposable filters to use with it, however, you don’t need to use the filters if you don’t want to. I have tried the Perfect Pod both ways and I didn’t really notice too much of a difference except for an occasional ground when not using the filter. The filters are around $5 for a package of 50, so they are budget friendly.

I also received one of the scoops seen in the video. It is very handy, but you can use your own scoop if you want. There is no need to make that extra purchase. I would, however, recommend picking one up because it makes filling the pod quick and easy.

I’ve been using the Perfect Pod for a little while now. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like making my own pod of coffee for my brewer. I’m the type of person who rolls out of bed in the morning and needs her coffee ASAP. I thought it was going to be too much of an effort to fill the coffee pod to make my coffee. It’s not! I’m not exaggering when I say it takes seconds to scoop out the coffee, fill the pod, close the lid and pop it in my brewer. It doesn’t take that much longer than it does for me to open the pantry, grab a K-cup and pop it in my brewer. I think our environment is worth a few extra seconds of my time.

My stainless steel pod and handy coffee scoop.

You can even fill the Perfect Pod the night before so that it’s ready to go in the morning. You can fill it with your favorite coffee.

Making your own coffee pod is a lot cheaper than purchasing pre-made pods. That is another thing to take into consideration. For a one time purchase of $12.99 for the ECO-Flow Stainless Steel K-Cup from Perfect Pod (the Amazon price), you can save A LOT of money in the long run.

Cleaning is super easy. Simply toss out the coffee grounds and rinse out the pod and let it dry. You can also re-purpose the grounds, such as make your own scrub (Google uses for coffee grounds).

Disposible, biodegradable filters.

When I think about it, each year I was contributing probably around 1,000 K-cups into our landfill. That makes me sick to my stomach when I think about that. Now with the ECO-Flow Stainless Steel K-Cup I can stop all that unnecessary waste.

The ECO-Flow Stainless Steel K-Cup is available on Amazon (the link is above – it is NOT an affiliate link). You can also check out the brand’s website at PerfectPod.com. The brand can also be found on social media. Their links are found on their website.

This would make a great gift for the coffee lover in your life (or even for yourself). With Father’s Day fast approaching, this would make a great gift for dad too.

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Cask Cartel

 

Father’s Day is not that far off (June 16, 2019). In a blink of an eye that day will be here. Do you already have a gift for that special man in your life?

I find buying gifts for men difficult. I think buying for women is so much easier because there seems to be a plethora of products you can buy for a woman (beauty, fashion, jewelry, flowers, perfume, home decor…). For men, all I can usually come up with is cologne, clothing and tools. There is simply so much cologne you can buy for a man, and if your special man is not into fixing things around the home, tools are just a waste of space and money. Don’t get me started on mugs! We have an entire shelf in our cabinet overflowing with mugs for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Sigh…

If you are looking for a different kind of gift idea for Father’s Day, you should check out the assortment of premium spirits available at Cask Cartel.

Normally I’m not one to talk about alcoholic beverages, but I know many people enjoy them. My dad loved drinking the cocktail “screwdriver” as well as gin and tonic. He wasn’t really into rum and bourbon, but he would drink it if it was offered to him at a family get together.

Cask Cartel carries whisky, rum, tequila, gin, vodka and other spirits. What I find interesting at Cask Cartel is the cool variety of products. I especially like some of the really unique bottles, as well as celebrity spirits. Take for example Blackened whiskey by the band Metallica. I’m a fan of the band (I love their music. Yes, I’m a “metal head” of sorts). I never knew they had their own beverage.

Hotties like Ryan Reynolds and Matthew McConaughey, and George Clooeny have their own brand of spirits, as do singers Jay-Z, Ludacris, Pit Bull, Justin Timberlake, and Kenny Chesney. Even porn star Ron Jeremy has their own brand of spirits. How crazy is that? I guess celebrities are really into having their own brand of fine alcohol.

As impressive as I find the huge assortment of celebrity spirits sold at Cask Cartel, is their unique bottles that I find most interesting.

I am a fan of the horror genre. I collect horror themed items. One of my favorite pieces is a bottle of dark red wine in a bottle that is labeled “Blood” and features the mouth of a female vampire with blood streaming down the sides. I’ve had it for many years and I have no interest in opening it up (doing so would compromise the look if it). It’s certainly a conversation piece. I even found a zombie wine bottle holder. It looks like he’s drinking from the bottle of “blood.”

Cask Cartel has more than just macabre bottles. They have many uniquely shaped bottles. Check out a few examples.

Not only that, Cask Cartel even has FOODS marinated in spirits such as pickles and cherries. Those sound really interesting. I would be tempted to try the cherries, but spiked pickles sound a bit odd.

Cask Cartel was kind enough to send me one of their awesome bottles of tequila. Its one of the Skelly branded bottles available on their website. The ones I see on the site are all wearing hats (one is actually a bandanna). Mine didn’t come with anything on his head, but that is OK. He’s still super cool to look at.

How cool is he? He makes a perfect addition to my collection.

I haven’t had the opportunity to try out the tequila it’s self yet. Currently I’m on medication that I can’t drink alcohol while I’m taking it. As soon as I’m off that medication I’ll be sampling the tequila for sure.

Now that I know about the Skelly brand I’m going to want to add to my collection too. Cask Cartel as three different versions on their website.

If the special man in your life enjoys an after dinner cocktail, or a little something to unwind with on the weekends, you should check out the extensive variety of premium spirits available at Cask Cartel. Their website is CaskCartel.com and the brand can be found on social media as well. Their links are found on the bottom right of their website.

A gift from Cask Cartel would also be great if the man in your life likes to collect interesting bottles. There are certainly a lot to choose from on their website as well.

What do you think of the products available at Cask Cartel? Do you think the special man in your life would enjoy a gift from their website? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Last minute Easter basket goodies & more!

 

Can you believe that EASTER is this Sunday? Wow! It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating Valentine’s Day. Before you know it, it will be Memorial Day weekend.

I miss the day when my kids were little and looked forward to the Easter Bunny coming and leaving them baskets of goodies, not only at our home, but also at both sets of grandparents homes AND their great-grandparents home. Needless to say, my kids received A LOT of candy for Easter. For that reason we (my husband and I) used to gift the kids a lot of non-candy options for Easter, and let the grandparents and great-grandparents give them their “sugar rush” with a lot of candy.

We did gift our kids candy in their Easter baskets too. After all, kids come to expect that in their baskets.

Jelly beans are a MUST in Easter baskets. Seriously, what is Easter without those sweet, flavorful, little egg shaped balls of goodness.

One of my favorite brand of jelly beans are Brach’s Classic Jelly Bird Eggs. I’ve been buying that brand of jelly beans for as long as I can remember. I like them because their jelly beans have the most flavor. I especially LOVE their black jelly beans (licorice). Not too many people like the black ones, so there is more for me.

Sorry… we refer to them as “jelly beans” even though technically they are “jelly bird eggs.”

Brachs also offers consumers my husband and kid’s favorite jelly bean – Brach’s Sweetarts Sour Jelly Beans. If you love Sweetarts, you MUST try these jelly beans. You’ll think you are eating a mouthful of Sweetarts! No kidding!

I do enjoy these jelly beans, but they are too tart/sour for my tastes. However, my husband and both of my kids LOVE these. They love the sourness.

Something new from Brach’s that I have never seen or heard of before is their Purple Rain Jelly Beans.

The Purple Rain jelly beans come with four fruity flavors – Grape, Berry, Blueberry and Blue Raspberry. These are SO GOOD! I especially love the Grape flavored jelly beans.

This bag of jelly beans was devoured by my family in a matter of two days, that is how much we loved them. I’ll have to make sure to pick up another bag next Easter.

Another yummy Bachs treat for Easter is their specially packaged box of Sweetarts Ropes. This adorable little box comes two packages of Cherry Punch flavored ropes. Ropes are licorice-like treats with a creamy center. They are a bit tart, but in a good way.

The great things about Brach’s is that their Easter candies are readily available at many retailer locations across the country. I’ve seen them at the grocery store, drug store and even places like Walmart and Target. Brach’s also offers a wide variety of goodies to fill your Easter baskets.

Brach’s candies are also budget friendly.

If you are interested in learning more about Brach’s candies, visit their official website at Brachs.com. Their website also features recipes for the various holidays (Easter, Christmas, Halloween and Valentines Day) that are worth checking out.

The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on the top right of their website.

In addition to great tasting candy your family is sure to enjoy, another great idea when it comes to filling Easter baskets is Oriental Trading Company. They carry a lot of great non-candy options to fill up your child’s Easter baskets.

Oriental Trading Company surprised me with an Easter package featuring adorable little Easter buckets shaped like rabbits, as well as a big bag filled with various Easter toys such as blow up plastic bunnies, Easter rubber duckies, Easter carrot vehicles, plastic eggs filled with adorable plush toys, paddle board and more.

I wish I had received these sooner. I would have given them out to my “work kids” at a special Easter treat. That’s OK. I’ll pack them away with our Easter decorations so I can give them to my “work kids” next Easter. They’ll love them. I especially love the cute little plush toys that come in the plastic eggs.

Oriental Trading Company things need to be ordered (they are not found in stores), but you could have them express shipped to you if need be.

Oriental Trading Company carries toys, candies, goodies and more for all the major holidays. Next up is Memorial Day weekend, graduations and the Fourth of July. Oriental Trading Company has plenty of goodies to help you celebrate in style, including party ware, decorations and so much more! They even carry crafts, which is something I love to purchase to use with my “work kids.”

To see what Oriental Trading Company has to offer, visit OrientalTrading.com. The brand can also be found on social media. All of their links are found on the bottom right of their website.

What is your favorite Brach’s candy (any holiday)?

Have you ever shopped at Oriental Trading Company?

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples from both brands to review, however, I DO purchase their products on my own as well. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Introducing the NEW! Reese’s Thins

 

If I was stranded on a deserted island, and I could only have five foods/beverages for the rest of my life, my list would be the following;

  • Water
  • Coffee
  • Pizza
  • OREOS
  • Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups

I love Reese’s. I could eat them every single day if I could. Chocolate and peanut butter – what’s not to love about them?

I work with upper elementary school children. One of my kids has a severe peanut allergy. I jokingly said to her on Halloween to save me all her Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It was all in jest, but to my surprise, she brought me all of her Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that she got for Halloween – a whole bag full. I was in heaven!

I would have to say on average I enjoy a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup at least once a week. They are one of my favorite indulgences.

One day I received a package from Reese’s. Inside was their latest product – NEW! Reece’s Thins.

Inside the box I found two bags of the new Reese’s Thins chocolate peanut butter cups.

As you can probably guess, the new Reese’s Thins are thinner than the regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Each bag comes with 18 individually wrapped thins. They are meant for sharing, but let’s face it, I share my Reese’s with no one (ha ha – just kidding).

A serving size is 3 individually wrapped Thins, with six servings per bag. Of course, you can eat as many as you want. I was trying (TRYING!) to be a “good girl” and eat only one, rather than the three per serving size. That way they would last longer (it wasn’t easy – I wanted to eat MORE than three each time).

Reese’s Thins look and taste just like regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, with the exception being that they are thinner than regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

I went out and purchased regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to see how the Thins compared to them.

As far as the size is concerned, the new thins are the same size as a regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

As you can see, they look pretty much the same. It’s not until you look at them from the side do you notice the sizable difference.

So as you can see… it’s the exact same Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that you have come to know, except a bit thinner. In addition, the new thins come individually packaged so you can share them with family, friends and co-workers (and me!). Their individual packaging also means that you can enjoy the new Reese’s Thins on-the-go.

To be honest, I like the regular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and the new Thins equally. I don’t necessarily prefer one over the other. They are the SAME candy – just one is a bit thinner than the other.

Reese’s Thins are available in regular milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Milk chocolate will always be my favorite. The dark chocolate is good, but I prefer the milk chocolate more so.

Look for the new Thins where ever Reese’s are sold. You can also visit the official Reese’s website for more information.

Are you a fan of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Have you tried the new Thins yet?

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

NEW! Limited Edition Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Churro Muffins (Giveaway ends 2/14/19)

 

Churros

Like many people, I always start the new year with healthier goals for myself. I have learned never to label them as “resolutions,” because I feel like that sets me up to fail right away. I prefer to use the term “goals.”

When it comes to my health, I refrain from using the world “diet.” I hate that word. Whenever I would tell someone I was on a “diet” they would scrutinize every tiny morsel I would put in my mouth. I can’t live that way.

When I say I am making healthier choices for myself I mean that I am trying to control portion sizes, make better food choices (baked fries instead of fried fries, zucchini “zoodles” instead of pasta…), and cut down on snacking. I never said I was going to give up snacking all together. I just mean that I would find better options to snack on.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge in a sweet treat often. I do. If not, I would “snap” and eat everything I can find in my kitchen. I find that if I allow myself a treat everyday, I am more likely to stick to healthier eating throughout the day. This is why I love Entenmann’s® Little Bites® muffins. I love that they come in individual packages that are portioned controlled. That way I can enjoy something sweet and yummy without risking over indulging. I’m sure people can relate to that. How many times have you opened up a bag of chips and told yourself you’ll only take a handful or two and end up eating half the bag (if not more), or telling yourself you’ll take only two cookies, but end up taking six? This is why I appreciate snack size packages that are portioned controlled.

Entenmann’s® Little Bites® has a new, limited edition, flavor that is currently available – Churro Muffins!

I LOVE churros! I can never shop at COSTCO without stopping by their food section (where you buy ready to eat hot dogs, pizza and so forth) without getting a churro. I love cinnamon and sugar, and churros are oh-so-soft and chewy. Mmm… just thinking about them makes me want one right now.

Now, for a limited time, the same churro flavor you love can be found in new Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Churro Muffins. They are the newest flavor to be added to the Seasonal Favorites® line. Another favorite of mine from their seasonal flavors is pumpkin.

Churro Muffins are made with real cinnamon and sugar, with the sweet crunch you’d expect from a churro.

Entenmann’s® Little Bites® products are made using real ingredients. They have zero (0) trans fat per serving. They also don’t contain any high fructose corn syrup.

I was thrilled to find these at a local grocery store.

Each package (on serving size) of Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Churro Muffins contains 180 calories.  Just one milk chocolate bar has more calories, and a tremendous amount of fat grams, compared to a package of Entenmann’s® Little Bites®.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to find special and limit edition Entenmann’s® Little Bites® products in my local area (except the pumpkin muffins, when they are in season). I was pleasantly surprised to find the churro muffins. I’m glad I did. They are SO GOOD! They are sweetened perfectly with the cinnamon and sugar. They are not too sweet.

Each little muffin is the perfect mouthful, although I tend to bite them in half to savor the experience a bit longer. I could easily “inhale” these because they are so delicious.

I WISH Entenmann’s would consider offering these year round. I would buy these all the time.

Each individual package contains four yummy churro muffins.  I love how easy these packages are to take with you “on-the-go.” My husband tosses one in his lunch bag in the morning. I toss one in my tote that I take to work with me. I don’t eat lunch at work (I eat lunch at home), but I like having something to snack on while I’m at work. Especially because we serve snacks to our students, and sometimes I’m craving what they are being served. Knowing I have these sweet, tasty churros waiting for me in my tote back stops me from craving what the kids are having.

A typical snack for work – coffee, fruit and a “sweet treat,” like the new Churro Muffins.

My kids love the churros too. So much so I had to hide the box from them, otherwise they would eat them all up on me.

If you are a fan of churros, you are going to want to try the new limited edition Entenmann’s® Little Bites® Churro Muffins. Look for them where ever Entenmann’s® Little Bites® are sold.

You can also locate your nearest store carrying this delicious flavor by clicking here.

For more information about Churro Muffins, or other Entenmann’s® Little Bites® products, visit LittleBites.com.

You can also find the brand on social media – FacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

Entenmann’s® Little Bites® would like to give a lucky reader a $25 Visa DIGITAL gift card and three (3) $5.00 off coupons to purchase the new Churro Muffins and/or your favorite Entenmann’s® Little Bites® product. 

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on February 14, 2019. The winner will be chosen at random, using a random number generator, from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via email and will have three (3) days to respond or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter, please comment on this post and tell me why you want to win this prize package and/or your favorite Entenmann’s® Little Bites® product.

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement or the additional entries won’t qualify.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Kimberly

*I received free product coupons in order to do this review, in addition to a gift card for my participation. Although compensated, the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. The sponsor will be providing the prize package. 

All hope is NOT lost…

 

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Do you have any special plans?

Right now my husband and I don’t have any plans. The anniversary of our first date is the 2nd of February, and we usually do something to celebrate that day instead of Valentine’s Day. After all, when you are happily married and/or in love, every day is Valentine’s Day, right?

We used to do that whole Valentines Day card, box of chocolates and dinner at a restaurant, but the past few years we’ve kind of skipped that stuff. It’s not because we don’t want to celebrate the day, it’s just that we have more important things to focus on. Besides, I prefer to surprise my husband with little goodies throughout the year. Of course, I’m not against getting flowers or a box of chocolate. I love chocolate!

Recently, in the news, there have been some articles about conversation hearts, and how they won’t be available this holiday season. After all, it’s not Valentine’s Day without those little boxes and bags of sweat tasting, colorful candy hearts that express little tidbits of endearment.

Fear not! There ARE conversation hearts readily available. There is more than one brand that offers consumers the iconic Valentine’s Day staple. Brachs offers several sweat treats to help you and your loved one celebrate the day.

I grew up on conversation hearts. Their taste brings back memories of my childhood. My classmates and I always exchanged conversation hearts.

Brachs has plenty of Conversation Hearts available, in a different sizes and even different flavors.

I honestly never knew that Brachs Conversation Hearts came in different flavors. In addition to the traditional Wintergreen, Banana, Orange, Lemon, Cherry and Grape flavors, Brachs Conversation Hearts are also available in…

  • Sweet & Sour mix (Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Lemon, Green Apple and Orange).
  • Tropical mix (Coconut, Mango, Banana, Pomegranate, and Pineapple)
  • Berry mix (Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Blackberry and Berry Punch)

I find the Sweet & Sour mix a tad bit too tangy/tart for me, but my husband and kids love them (I’ve never been a big fan of our things). Although I do like the Green Apple flavor heart.

The Tropical mix is good, but my favorite is the Berry mix. Yum! I could eat those all day.

Brachs Conversation Hearts are available in a variety of sizes, from the individual boxes (ideal for giving away with Valentine’s Day cards) to the giant 2 pound bag. Yes, that’s right – TWO POUNDS!

When my kids were in school I always sent them in with the small boxes of conversation hearts to pass out to friends and classmates. You can even personalize the boxes (there is a spot on the box to fill in to/from).

I thought I had a picture of cupcakes I made where I decorated them with conversation hearts, but I am unable to find the picture. These colorful conversation hearts make for great cake and cupcake decorations. You can also top off an ice cream sundae with them.

You can even use the conversation hearts as a decoration (scatter them around the table) or in crafts (little kids love using them in their crafts).

Conversation hearts are not  the only Valentine’s Day treat that Brachs offers. They also have Gummy Hearts (Cherry) and Gummy Lips (Cinnamon). Check out how cute they are.

I am “addicted” to the cinnamon lips. I love cinnamon candies, and these lips are certainly very tasty. So much so that I told my husband to hide the bag from me. LOL!

The gummy hearts and lips also make for fun and colorful decorations for your baked goods and other desserts. I wouldn’t recommend using them as a decoration because gummy candies can get sticky, especially around fluids and heat. I recommend eating them instead.

Brachs candies are available at many retail locations across the country, as well as online.

For more information about these and other Brachs candies, visit Brachs.com. You can also check out the brand on social medai – Facebook and Instagram.

Are you a fan of Brachs candies? If so, what is your favorite candy?

In what ways do you enjoy conversation hearts? Feel free to comment and share your ideas, suggestion and even conversation heart memories.

Kimberly

*I received samples of Brachs candies to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.