Thursday, June 30, 2016

Awesome Life Friday #70

6 comments:
Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

Happy Independence Day to those who celebrate!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's what some of us have been up to this past week:


We hope you'll check them out if you haven't already!  Don't forget to peek at the sidebar and check out what other giveaways we currently have going.

~~~

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES!  We missed the party last week, so these are from two weeks ago.  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!





The Boondocks Blog // Seaside Art From a Hidden Treasure in a Dresser




The Woolly Homestead // Do-It-Yourself Laundry Detergent




The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl // Bratwurst Pot Pie





Grandma's House DIY // Dresser Refinish: The Ancient Dresser From Nowhere




Something Sweet: Winnie's Blog // Dried Apricot Bars




Olives & Okra // Green Beans in Potato Salad




If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!





Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!


Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:





Here we go!


Review: PetGiftbox May Subscription Box

8 comments:

For those who have followed us for a while, you are familiar with the PetGiftbox subscription box and how much Gregor and I love them. Each month, a box full of goodies that coincide with the month's theme for your pet is delivered to your mailbox.

May's box came as a surprise gift to our mailbox, and what a happy surprise it was! Gregor instantly recognized the box as his and was even more excited than I was to open it. The box's theme was military for Memorial Day. Inside the box was a cute little camo bandanna, a black and pink tug rope toy, a camo dog shaped toy, an eagle toy, and a bag of Troop Treats dog treats.



The Troop Treats are dog treats that are made in the USA, and smell vaguely minty, to keep your dog's breath fresh. These green man-shaped treats are eaten by the Muttface, but really aren't his favorite things. Gregor is somewhat picky about what he decides to eat sometimes (seriously, he ate all of his dog food once, and refused to eat the pb&j sandwich), so I'm not really surprised that he was a little finicky about them.

While I would love to say that the stuffed eagle and dog toys were Gregor's new favorites, I cannot. The football from January's box is still dearest to him.  Certainly, he plays with them, but only when my daughter allows him to!

Both toys are stuffed with polyfill and have squeakers in the main body. The eagle is more firmly stuffed and has stitching on its camouflaged body that suggests that it would hold up better to a heavier chewer, but my dog is not one of those.

The dog with its exaggerated limbs and neck of crinkly digital camo fabric is a great little tossing and tugging toy, if your pup is into that kind of thing.

The toy that gets the most use is actually the tug rope, which was not anticipated. Gregor will actually lay down and chew on it, unlike most toys of his. I was honestly expecting the black, gray, and pink rope to be left to gather dust. As usual, when I try to guess what my dog will like, I was mistaken.

That's the cool thing about subscription boxes - it lets Gregor discover toys and treats I might never buy, thinking he wouldn't be interested.

The last item was a cute little green camouflaged bandanna for him to wear. He doesn't care about whether he has it on or not, but I think it's an adorable summer accessory! It's not a full square bandanna, just a triangular bit of fabric, but it's the perfect size for Gregor.

The May PetGiftbox did not disappoint me at all, and I love being able to surprise my sweet doggie with treats and toys!



If you also want to get your pup a gift in the mail, you can order your own subscription starting at $18.99/month (if you select their 12 month subscription) or $28.99/month if you should choose to only do month to month.



https://petgiftbox.com/
https://www.facebook.com/PetGiftBox




Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Party in Your PJs #112

4 comments:
Welcome to Party in Your PJs!

Happy Tuesday!  Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.   In addition to Kim from The Cookie Puzzle, you'll also find Party in Your PJs every Tuesday evening at Grandma IdeasWood of Bell Trees and... here!

You'll still find the Awesome Life Friday link up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.


Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!



Kim ~ The Cookie Puzzle | Facebook | Pinterest 
Nina ~ Grandma Ideas | Pinterest | Twitter
Lynda ~ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos | Facebook | Pinterest
Heather ~ Woods of Bell Trees | Facebook | Instagram

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Kim @ The Cookie Puzzle 

Kim is a small town girl who love simple things. Simple cookies, simple crafts and simple people. She is a wife, mother to one son and two adorable fur babies. Slightly addicted to reality TV and sitcoms, but she loves curling up with a good book or a good walk while listening to podcasts. You can find her at The Cookie Puzzle, where she shares her love for cookies and crafting. 

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

How is this: Nina is wildly in love with her grandchildren. She delights in doing activities with them that strengthen their relationship –- playing games, doing crafts, snuggling, reading stories to them, and cooking together. She enjoys reading, technology, and traveling. (Tahiti is her most favorite place on earth!)

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Lynda lives outside DC with her husband Michael and elderly beagle, Sadie. She and her daughter Jackie started RCHReviews as a way to spend time together in spite of living across country, and along the way they've added several friends as regular contributors. Between them all, they bring together many different perspectives and lifestyles with one common philosophy - try new things, have fun, and remember you are awesome!

 Heather @ Wood of Bell Trees

Heather is a wife of a peanut butter fanatic and mom of one silly human and one furry canine, wrangling life on 2nd shift and glitterizing everything as she goes!






The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Want to be added to the group board?  Follow our Party in Your PJs board and email Kim at thecookiepuzzle@gmail.com

Features from Last Weeks Party!

Make sure you head over to the other member of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!

Were you Featured? Grab a button!


All links are pinned to a Party Board...you can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiration to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules
-Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment, we all love comments
-If you were featured, grab a"Featured" button, found below.
-Consider adding our Party button to your Party Page or Post.



Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: The Real McCoy Rum

13 comments:


The Real McCoy Rum is named in honor of Bill McCoy, a rum runner in the Prohibition era. According to the story the company tells, McCoy would buy the alcohol in the Caribbean, sail it to New York City, and sell it from his vessel anchored far enough offshore to be in international waters, not subject to U.S. alcohol laws.

While other rum runners during Prohibition diluted their wares with other substances — such as turpentine, wood alcohol and prune juice — McCoy sold his completely unadulterated, and they gained the reputation of being the “real McCoy.”

Much of this story is true, according to other historical sources.

The phrase “the real McCoy” signifying that something is the genuine article, however, predates Bill McCoy by decades if not longer.

That doesn’t really matter for its significance in the story of The Real McCoy Rum, though. The company prides itself on using only blackstrap molasses and spring water in its classic Barbados-style rum — no additives.

The rum is then aged for three years, five years or twelve years before being bottled for sale.

The company was founded by filmmaker Bailey Pryor, who had the inspiration while producing a documentary film about Bill McCoy. The film went on to win five Emmy awards. The rum is award-winning too, and deservedly so.

For this review, the company sent me a bottle of the 5-Year Rum. I tried it straight and in three different types of cocktails, and was very impressed by it's smoothness and ability to play well with a variety of mixers.

Straight:
The rum is smooth and flavorful. Because it’s not a spiced rum, the flavor profile is not overly complex, but it has a subtle sweetness from the molasses without being overpowering.

Dark & Stormy:
This is the rum-based version of the currently trendy Moscow Mule. Make it with an ounce to 1 ½ ounces of rum in a cold copper mug (ideally) or a glass of ice, a splash of fresh lime juice and top off with ginger beer.

The Real McCoy blended well with the spiciness of the ginger, maintaining a discernible flavor without dominating. In the past, I’ve usually used Kraken spiced rum for this drink, and its flavor can overpower the mixer if not kept in check. The Real McCoy 5 Year is a better choice for more equitable blend of flavors.



Cuba Libre:
This is a classic, rum and cola with a touch of lime. I used Pepsi sweetened with natural sugar (not high fructose corn syrup) and the result was a refreshing, easily-drinkable cocktail. This one would be a good choice for a hot summer day by the pool.

ChaChaCha: Finally, I picked a recipe provided by The Real McCoy.  The ChaChaCha gets its name from horchata, a Latin American rice drink with strong notes of cinnamon. Blending the rum, a chocolate liqueur and horchata, the result is richly sweet dessert-type cocktail. While it’s good, it’s sweet to the point of cloying, and the flavor of the rum is swallowed up by the strong chocolate and cinnamon ingredients.  I look forward to trying a few of their other cocktail recipes.


In addition to the 5-Year, which is suitable for both cocktails and drinking neat, they also make a 3-Year, a clear rum intended for cocktails, and the 12-Year Super Premium Rum, with rich flavor notes intended to be savored on their own, either neat or on the rocks.

Overall, The Real McCoy 5-Year lives up to its story. If you’re looking for a straightforward rum without additional spices, consider trying it. You won’t be disappointed.

Be aware, though, that so far the product is in stores in only 15 states. There is a locator on the website that will tell you where you can buy it locally, if you can.  If it isn't currently available to you locally, click the search icon on the Locator page without putting in a zipcode, and you'll get a list of online stores that carry The Real McCoy.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Review: Jarware Mason Jar Accessories (and Greek Potatoes!)

18 comments:

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were visiting World Market specifically to pick up a few particular items, and - because we know ourselves well - we'd agreed with one another not to buy anything that wasn't on our list! No cool funky little storage bin, no 'I didn't know this existed but now I neeeeed it' household gadget, and most definitely, no amazing snack items we'd not seen in years.

So, when I tripped over a rack of Jarware accessories - BPA Free, recycled plastic inserts that turn your mason jars into everything from a tea infuser to a piggy bank - I was charmed but resolute to look into them later and not buy them.

I almost tried to talk him into one or two - these things are very inexpensive!  We both agreed that the juicer in particular was a very cool idea, but we had agreed, so no... not today...  We felt so virtuous, we took ourselves out to eat and spent a lot more than we would have if we'd just bought the juicer.

That's what we do.

A couple days later, I was given the opportunity to review a few of their items and, huzzah!  One of them was the juicer!  So the virtue really worked out for me this time!


Jarware sent me three items to try: the juicer, the tea infuser, and the travel cup lid.  I set about rounding up a couple jars to try them on, and happily got to work.

The infuser and travel cup lid both required a regular sized jar mouth, while the juicer goes onto a wide mouth lid.

The way each one of these works, the Jarware piece snaps into the ring of a canning jar lid of the correct size, and then screws onto the jar itself.

Some of their other products (such as the Coffee Spoon Clip) connect to the jar itself, rather than to a lid.

Unfortunately, I ran into problems with both the infuser and the travel cup lid.  With each, no matter how hard I tried, I could not get the insert to fit evenly into the ring of the lid, and as a result, it wouldn't screw evenly onto the jar.

Since each of them are intended to be tipped when in use (you'd turn the tea infuser jar upside down while steeping), a wrongly screwed on lid would be a significant problem!

I didn't want to give up easily, and fought with it off and on for a couple days.  Because I have arthritis, I assumed this might just be me, and asked my husband to give it a try.  And he has, several times, without success.

On their website, the FAQ mentions this issue, saying,

"WE KNOW INSTALLING YOUR JARWARE CAN BE A LITTLE TOUGH SOMETIMES, BUT DON’T FRET!
THE PLASTIC USED FOR OUR JARWARE ITEMS AND THE SIZE OF THE RIM CAN VARY EVER SO SLIGHTLY DURING PRODUCTION. THESE SMALL VARIATIONS CAN SOMETIMES COMPOUND AND MAKE CERTAIN ITEMS EASIER TO SNAP IN, OR VICE VERSA HARDER TO SNAP IN.  
IF YOU ARE HAVING DIFFICULTY, PLEASE RUN THE BAND OVER HOT WATER FOR 30-60 SECONDS AND THEN TRY TO SNAP IN THE JARWARE.
JARWARE LIQUID ITEMS (COCKTAIL SHAKER, TEA INFUSER) NEED TO HAVE A TIGHT FIT AND WILL REQUIRE SOME EXTRA FORCE. AS SUCH, THE PRODUCT WAS NEVER INTENDED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE RIM AND SHOULD BE CONSIDERED PERMANENT."  
They even include a video showing you how to do it!

So, we tried it again, repeatedly, heating the ring band, and while it helped get the drink lid all the way in to look at it, the jar still leaked when tilted.

We had even less luck with the infuser lid - no matter what, it was just not going to go into that ring!

Sadface

 From the text I quoted, I am guessing that perhaps a different unit might work better (we did switch out rings about a half dozen times to make sure it wasn't that), and since they are very inexpensive ($3.99 for the drink lid and $9.99 for the tea infuser), I might be willing to try them again, however I think if enough people are having issues like this, maybe it'd be best to pre-insert them into a ring and sell them that way?

In spite of those two going awry, the the one I was most interested in, as I mentioned, was the juice extractor, and this one was a roaring success!


Now, we have a few juicer extractors already - a few, because they are never pleasant to use! Either you need to have very strong hands to get anywhere, or they're just a giant mess.

I found the Jarware Juicer ($5.99) to be very easy to assemble, use and clean.  It slipped easily and firmly into a widemouth jar ring, which was then readily screwed onto the jar.

I was able to make quick work of several lemons without getting tired - for me, it was much more gentle on my hands to be able to hold a jar than to use a similar variety that would sits inside a small dish.

I was able to juice each lemon thoroughly, with all seeds and pulp falling into the juicer crevice as they should, while the juice itself fell neatly into the jar - all ready to be used or stored away for later use!

Clean up was also a breeze - the juicer quickly comes off the ring and one firm shake got all of the pulp and seeds out of the crevice and into the trash or compost bin, so the juicer can be hand washed or tucked into the top rack of the dishwasher.

I have since used it several times, which alone tells me how much I like, it because over the years I have made all sorts of excuses to avoid having to squeeze fresh citrus in spite of having several tools to help me do it.

In my opinion, this one winner makes up for the two that didn't work out - I'll keep trying with them, but since I wasn't able to make them work, I can't recommend them.  If anyone's tried one of them and successfully gotten to to connect to the ring and attach to a jar without leaking, please share your tips in the comments!

The juicer, though?  Grab one the next time you come across them - or get a few and keep them on hand for stocking stuffers.

You can buy Jarware products  locally in select stores, or directly from their website, with free shipping for orders $29.99 or more.  Jarware products are also available on Amazon.



Now that I can quickly squeeze up some fresh juice, I celebrated by making one of my favorite potato dishes to go along with some Lemon-Garlic Chicken and Cucumber Salad:  Greek Potatoes!

Greek Potatoes are rich with broth and lemon - lots and lots of lemon.  They are great as a side, although our local Greek restaurant serves them as an appetizer because they are that good!

Greek Potatoes
(serves 4)

6-8 medium sized waxy potatoes
3/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp oregano (fresh if you've got it, but dry will do)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth

Traditionally, you should peel the potatoes but I don't - just scrub well and chop into 1" chunks.  If you think about it, stab the chunks with a fork a few times, the better to infuse them with the lemony marinade.

Combine everything in a container that can be turned upside down (or use a large ziploc bag), and let marinate at least 2 hours - longer is better!  Flip every so often to make sure every potato is able to soak up that lemony goodness.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Turn potatoes into a large casserole dish, marinade and all, and let them roast for about an hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to crisp on the outside (only a little!).  They will still be saucy.

Serve with sauce spooned over them - enjoy!




http://www.jarware.com/
https://www.facebook.com/masonjarware
https://twitter.com/masonjarware
https://www.pinterest.com/masonjarware/





Thursday, June 23, 2016

Awesome Life Friday #69

9 comments:
Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

Here's what some of us have been up to this past week:




We hope you'll check them out if you haven't already!  Don't forget to peek at the sidebar and check out what other giveaways we currently have going.

~~~

And now our favorite part - the FEATURES!  We missed the party last week, so these are from two weeks ago.  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!





The Boondocks Blog // How to Repurpose Cans Instead of Being Overrun By Them





Strength & Sunshine // Smoky Spiralized Purple Sweet Potato Fries





The Herbal Spoon // How to Make Mint Extract





The Navage Patch // DIY Bird Bath





The Pistachio Project // Probiotic Carrot Cake Popsicles





Olives 'n Okra // DIY Vintage Patriotic Bunting




If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!





Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!


Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:





Here we go!