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Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

and the winner(s) is….envelope please…

and the winner(s) is….envelope please…

Thank you to everyone for entering the Blue Avocado giveaway.  It was wonderful hearing all of the ways that you are currently helping the environment and how you plan to make changes in your life to help going forward.

The winners are:

Kelly B.

Jenny C.

Rhonda C.

Alisa S.

Becky S.

Natalie P.

Marlana J.

Jill S.

Ashley B.

Meggrenae

Kerri C.

Congratulations!  I will be contacting you via direct message to get your shipping information. Blue Avocado will send your (re)zip bags directly to you.

Now. On to step 2 of the giveaway!  Blue Avocado is going to pick three winners who have photographed / video taped their favorite (re)zip solution and used the tag #whatdoyourezip (post to FB, Twitter or Instagram). Winners will be announced on Earth Day. Winners will receive a $100 Whole Foods gift card and $100 gift certificate to provide a microloan to women entrepreneurs via kiva.org.

Thank you all for entering!  Tell your friends about MincedReviews and Blue Avocado.  For those that did not win this time or would like to buy more, you will be able to purchase Blue Avocado products for 25% off!  Use this special code: 25 for 25%.

Happy (re)zipping everyone!!

Contest time!

Contest time!

One of my favorite finds at last month’s Houseware’s Show was BlueAvocado, a company committed to making a positive impact with their products.

In honor of Earth Day (4/22), we are partnering together to celebrate all the great ways we can help keep our Earth ‘green’.

Comment with one thing you do already or can do to make your positive impact on our environment. Or nominate a ‘green’ friend (make sure to tag them!). Get creative!

25 winners will be chosen by yours truly to win a free pack of (re)zip seal lunch 2-pack. (the pool of entries will be combined from Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and Instagram).

THEN the 25 winners will have an opportunity to move on to another fun part II of the giveaway. (more to come)

Contest ends Friday so comment away! ‪#‎whatdoyourezip‬ ‪#‎blueavocado‬

Blueavocado

THE perfect iced coffee (so says me).

THE perfect iced coffee (so says me).

 

 

 

 

 

e·piph·a·ny (n):

a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple or  commonplace occurrence or experience.

I can remember the exact moment 4 years ago.  I was standing in line at a coffee shop (that shall remain unnamed) as I did every morning and started doing the math in my head.  The conversation to myself went something like this:  Let’s see… $4 x 5 days a week x 52 weeks=@$1000.  Wait.  What the what?  $1000.  On coffee.  That can’t be right.  Out my phone calculator came and my dodgy math skills were validated.  And there it was… an epiphany.   I was spending too much flippin’ money on coffee.

So, I watched very closely to how my impossibly delicious iced coffee was made that day.  I didn’t check my email, didn’t chat with co-workers, I watched.  Was it really that impossible to recreate?  It looked simple enough.

After many trials and errors, I finally mastered the art of iced coffee (again-so says me).

Iced Coffee:

Step 1:  It starts with the perfect cup.  I have tried almost every reuseable cup on the market (for verification purposes, you can ask my husband, who opens the ‘cabinet o’ cups’  daily, fearfully awaiting them to tumble-down on his head).  My favorite cup (drumroll please) is….

The Contigo Shake & Go Tumbler.   I use it for everything!   Iced Coffee. Iced Tea. Lemon water. Protein shake.  The possibilities are endless. It has a leak proof design that allows you to shake it, which means that you can be sure that your drink is mixed perfectly. Click here to buy or get more info.  Contigo is offering 20% off!  Just enter the discount code: shakeitblog.  (Reg. price $12.99)

Step 2: (Optional) Add your sweetening agent of choice to the bottom of the tumbler.  I am using Stevia these days.  Not 100% sold on the taste but my agave obsession has been permanently sidelined.

Step 3:  The coffee.  I have a Keurig, so I just pop my favorite pod in, place the tumbler underneath and use the smallest setting.   If you don’t have a Keurig,  a good ol’ pot of coffee will do.   Pour about 3-4″ of coffee into the tumbler.

Step 4:  The ice.  This is key.  You need to take an entire handful of ice and dump into your tumbler at once.  This flash freezes the coffee.  Do NOT do one cube at a time, you risk melted ice and watery coffee.  Yikes.

Step 5:  Top off with your favorite dairy product.  I use vanilla almond milk right now but regular or soy milk will work just fine.

Step 6:  This step is why I dig the Contigo Shake & Go Tumbler specifically.  I can put the top on and shake it to perfectly mix the coffee.  Pop the straw in and go.   Otherwise, you need to mix with spoon, a straw (which can sometimes be difficult when the ice is sticking together).

Collage

Drink up buttercup!

 

 

Hi ho hi ho.. It’s off to the Housewares Show I go.

I will be looking for new products, new trends and new colors for all things kitchen (unplugged of course). Stay tuned. More to come!

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Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

In celebration of this fabulous food holiday, here is my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Sprinkle a little sea salt on the top before baking. Perfect.

Trader Joe’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

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Blogging about a blog?

Blogging about a blog?

Yep!  That’s what I am doing today.  Blogging about another person’s blog.  My friend Kelly sent me this great link to an alternative to the standard tempering chocolate methods that we all know and love (don’t at all).  I haven’t tried this yet, once the flu germs have left the building, I will try this and let you know.  In the meantime, I just couldn’t keep this to myself.

This blog is called The Yummy Life and here is the link to how to temper chocolate in a slow cooker!

The Yummy Life’s Slow Cooker Melted Chocolate Blog.

Happy melting!!

Holiday Cooking 2.0 (Turkey Talk)

Holiday Cooking 2.0 (Turkey Talk)

Happy ‘almost’  Thanksgiving!  Some important blogs coming your way as we get countdown to Thanksgiving.  Today’s blog is about all things Turkey.

Turkey Tips:

  • De-Ice Ice Baby (I’m such a dork)  – Hopefully you are thawing your turkey right now.  If not, stop reading immediately and start thawing that thing.  It takes about three days to fully thaw a turkey.
  • To brine or not to brine–  I personally think that if you have the time to brine, you should.  If you have about 24 hours before Thanksgiving and your turkey is thawed, I recommend this step for a tender, flavorful turkey.

How to Brine a Turkey (Martha Stewart)

  • A Cheesecloth?  What’s that?  My former assistant buyer, who is an amazing cook, enlightened me a few years ago to the wonder of a cheesecloth. (Thanks Ashley!)   If you want that golden brown, perfectly cooked turkey sitting on your table on Thanksgiving, then I highly recommend you try a cheesecloth this year.  Click the link below for how to use a cheesecloth.

How to use Cheesecloth (Martha Stewart).

  • Basting/Brushing – Whether or not you decide to you use a turkey baster or a basting brush seems to be personal preference.  The goal is the same.  To keep the juices on the turkey as opposed to at the bottom of the pan.  You need to commit to this though.  You need to commit to getting up and basting/brushing the pan juices every 30-45 minutes and you need to do it QUICKLY.  Every time you open the oven you are releasing the heat and altering the temperature of the turkey. If you can’t move at the speed of light, remove the turkey from the oven, shut the door, baste and then return to oven.  Remember, the goal is to prevent the oven temperature from dropping.  The link below is to a video on how to baste.

How to Baste a Turkey (Epicurious)

  • Watch the temperature, will ya?? – For safety reasons, it is very important to monitor the temperature of the turkey to ensure that you don’t UNDERcook. For yumminess reasons, you need to monitor the temperature so that you don’t OVERcook it. I don’t recommend relying on the little temperature gauge that sometimes comes with the turkey.  By the time that pops, you usually have overcooked your turkey.  Thermometers have come a long way in the past few years.  While I do like the standard read thermometers, it still requires you open the oven to check the temperature guage.  Again, releasing the heat.  If you can spend a little, I recommend getting a wireless thermometer.  You can get a pretty decent one for @$20-$25 at most major retailers (Target, Walmart, Meijer, Macy’s).  You want to make sure that you place the probe in the thickest part of the thigh because it takes longer to cook than anything else. You want to reach the ideal safe temp of 165 degrees.

Wireless Thermometer

  • The Conundrum– While you need to work tirelessly to keep the turkey from drying out on top, you also need to make sure that the bottom isn’t sitting in a pool of juices.   You should always use some sort of roasting rack to keep the turkey up and out of the drippings.  Another fun tool that I found this year is from a company called Prepara.  It is called a roasting laurel.   Click the link below for more info.

Prepara Roasting Laurel

Prepara Roasting Laurel

  • At long last – A few last tips, use turkey lifters to lift the turkey out of the roasting pan if you do not have a roasting rack.  You have worked so hard on this thing, don’t ruin the beauty of it by using forks or something equally inappropriate for the size of your turkey.  Lifters are meant for just this and are quite cheap. ($7.99 for a set of two and Bed Bath and Beyond).  Also, remember to use a very sharp knife or electric knife to carve.

Tomorrow’s blog?  Side Dishes!  I love Thanksgiving sides!!   Check back tomorrow for a few of my favorite tried and true recipes!

and remember if you run into a Turkey cooking emergency, the experts are always available.

Butterball Website

or

1.800.BUTTERBALL.