The Real Deal

Have You Ever Wondered... Is that certain book really good? Does that product really work? So have I. From Indie authors and musicians to local products or nationally advertised, I can't tell you the countless products I've bought as seen on TV only to find out that they don't work at my house, the book was really a bunch of hype, the music was not what I had hoped for or a movie was a yawn. If you want an honest opinion, you will find it here. Although I do lots of book reviews, I also check out lots of other products and let you know if they really live up to their ads or their hype. Stay tuned, and check in often. You never know what I'm going to talk about next.


Not Kraving It

I like the idea of a multi-grain cereal but not so thrilled to combine it with chocolate.
Although this cereal weighs in at a 11 grams of sugar it is less than some other high sugar cereals. The taste was pleasant enough although my sweet-toothed cereal eater turned away from it. I liked the little bit of chocolate in the center, although I'm not a big sweet eater to begin with. It wasn't overwhelming.
If you're looking for a way to get more fiber into your kids, this will be a good one to try.


Three Cheers for Chantea

I count myself a health conscious consumer and was excited to try the Chantea Green Tea and Aloe Vera. Chantea, is unlike any other mass produced beverages, it's all natural blend of Green Tea infused with Aloe Vera bits - two powerful and healthy ingredients.
This is a tasty, high quality drink but I was initially thrown by the Aloe Vera bits, I didn't expect "pulp" in tea. But really it tasted great. It's lightly fruity in a slender container that fits in a lunch box or great to take on the go. Not overly sweet or too in-your-face.
Chantea won the Best New Product Award at the 2011 World Tea Expo and Buyer's Choice Best Ready to Drink Tea at the North American Tea Championship in Las Vegas.
If you want to try something new, be looking for this product on store shelves near you.


Home Front by Kristin Hannah

This is a story about the high cost of war. The physical, emotional and psychological agony endured by those who defend our freedom.
Hannah takes you right into the gritty pain of a military family who can barely hold it together before or after Jolene's deployment to the front lines of Iraq. This story starts out like a slow moving train, gaining strong momentum, chapter by chapter. But it’s also a story about how they rally.
 I have a new appreciation for what some of them go through. I think it's a timely and provocative story that everyone should listen to.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Amazon Vine program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Just Peachy

Since the first time I tried the MiO liquid water enhancement products, I’ve tried other flavors: Berry Pomegranate, Strawberry Watermelon and now PeachTea. I like how fast and easy it is to use these. I’ve gotten used to filling my water bottle at work squeezing the bottle for a second,  and then presto, it’s ready to drink.
I have one in my desk there, and one I carry in my lunch box. They are a convenient size, caffeine free and full of flavor. All the flavors are equally good, and the Peach Tea is a welcome addition to this family.


Under a Dark Sky with Lisa Gerrard and Sigur Ros

I'm a big fan of listening to new music. I listen to Pandora at my bill-paying job. It's the one vice I have, that I listen to music all day. When my personal life took a hit last Spring, there was no comfort to be found anywhere else.
By the fall, I finally realized I was grieving a loss. I ditched my normal wardrobe and bought all black clothing: Coats, shirts, jeans and shoes. You can call it Goth if you want, quite a few people do, but really it's just me expressing a deep pervasive grief. Expressing it helped quite a lot, and the other thing that helped, was
becoming a regular at Amazon buying music downloads. Some of the music that resonated that same dark feeling were Lisa Gerrard, Black Opal became a big favorite and I could listen to Redemption ten replays at a time. I preferred the extreme melancholia of her non-English songs, which was also a draw for me with
 Sigur Ros,

The bands release, Untitled I listened to while in the tanning bed.(Although I like black, I don't like looking pasty white. So now you know, I'm not a true Goth.) Saeglopur was their first cut that got to me and after that, I was on a quest to get more. Sfevn-G-Englar is moody enough to keep me in a holding pattern of sadness, on the grey days where I feel more like brooding than smiling. It reminds me of old Acid Rock with out the driving beat of drums. I am currently winding down on the events that led me to this music, so I'm not sure that I will be getting more at this point.

Currently, Spring is weeks away, and I might prefer the lighter tunes of Matt Nathanson and Augustana. But, that's another post, for another day.


Rendang Curry with Tofu

Rendang Curry by Prima Taste is a Dry Beef Curry sauce kit. The box says Best Singapore Favorites. Lately I’ve been trying out a couple of exotic food kits, so this one piqued my interest. Although 28 oz of beef tenderloins  were required, I’m not a beef person and decided to try using tofu instead. I invited two other people to join me for this experience. All of us like rich, spicy food and all the better if it is restaurant quality at home.
To start, I took two packages of extra firm tofu (packaged in water) and sliced each into eight no nine slabs like a loaf of bread. I laid these on a clean dishtowel to drain the excess moisture out of them which aids in absorbing the flavors of the sauce.
Choosing toasted sesame oil, I coated the bottom of an iron skillet until the oil was fragrant. I cut each slab of tofu in to eight chunks and laid them in the pan, letting them brown slightly. Then took those out and set aside until all of the tofu was browned.
Meanwhile, basmati rice (not in the box) simmered in another pan. The box says it also goes well with mashed potatoes, something I’d like to try next time.
One of two enormous packets contained a slightly oily red paste that upon first inspection looks like tomatoes, but turns out to be an exotic blend of Galangal, Palm Sugar, Pandan Leaf, Candlenut, Ginger Salt and Lemon grass to name a few. The minute it hit the hot skillet a pleasing fragrant aroma wafted through the house. Each of the guests commented about it.
The second packet held a dry, powdery mix of coconut milk solids. I hadn’t seen coconut processed this way before, but after adding the required amount of water, the sauce began to look much more like a curry. After following the cooking instructions I added the tofu to the sauce. When it was heated through, we served it over rice. Each of us had a small plate, and there was enough left over for each of us to have another meal.
It made an abundance of sauce as well. We were all satisfied with the flavor and talked about having seconds, but were full.
I found it a bit on the sweet side, as mentioned above palm sugar contributed to this. I’m not a fan of sweet curries. Although the taste was sensational, the spicy kick was surprising but not overwhelming. For a bit of variation, the addition of baby green beans, julienned carrots, or sautéed onions would be welcome.
All in all, we found Rendang Curry very tasty, and everyone enjoyed it. I’ll be looking for this on store shelves.