Monday, January 22, 2018

Reviewing Easy No-Bake Bliss Balls

No-Bake Bliss Balls
Bliss balls are extremely easy-to-make and no-bake delicious snacks. They require few ingredients, can be made to suit your cravings, and are typically considered to be healthy snacks. In fact, some sources attribute Bliss Ball recipes to Keto or Paleo diets. I do not know the origination of these snacks, nor do I care. I do know that I made some and had to spread the word.


My Coconut Peanut Butter Bliss Balls


I had a craving for no-bake cookies today. After perusing the internet for a good bit of time, I had found Paleo and Keto recipes for Bliss Balls. Many of the recipes called for ingredients like protein powder or chia seeds - none of which I have on hand. However, many Bliss Ball recipes call for items that I have in my kitchen.

For an actual recipe, you'll need to follow one of the links below. But clearly, Bliss Balls do not require a recipe.  I made mine using shredded coconut, peanut butter, oats, vanilla, and cinnamon.

I used approximately:

1/2 cup coconut
1/3 cup honey peanut butter
1/4 cup oats
1 tsp. vanilla
a couple of shakes of cinnamon

I did not use a food processor (or my Nutri-Bullet) which might have made the consistency of this snack a little different. But combining it with a fork worked well.

I formed the "dough" into balls - approximately tablespoon sized. Then refrigerated.  

A few random items:

  • As one recipe writer noted, do not try to roll this into balls. Rather, just squeeze them into ball shapes (They are slightly too crumbly to roll into balls)
  • The longer they are refrigerated, the better they taste! The consistency changes a bit - a little more "cakey"
  • Despite having a good bit of peanut butter, these were not sticky or mushy
With these Bliss Balls, I have taken care of my craving for sweets. I like the taste so much that I haven't touched (or been tempted) by the bag of candy bars I have nearby.  And, unlike the candy bars, just one small Bliss Ball satisfies me for quite awhile. With candy bars, once I start I have trouble stopping until I've finished the entire bag. There is something about the Bliss Balls that feel more filling.

Related Links: 

Quite frankly, at the beginning of my recipe search, I was looking for Susan's No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookies. It turned out that I didn't have a stick of butter... so I continued my search and found the Bliss Balls. Susan Deppner, you may be gone from this earth but you are not forgotten.

After talking to some of the gals at work about their Keto diets and remembering how much better I feel with little to no carbs and sugars, I have been trying new recipes with a focus on lower carbs/sugars. This recent discussion is why the Paleo Bliss Ball recipes caught my eye. Paleo Grubs gathered a list of  21 Paleo Bliss Ball recipes. The recipes all sounded delicious and the photos made my mouth water. Unfortunately, I haven't been to the store and was missing the key ingredients for each recipe.

I continued to search and found 8 No-Bake Energy Balls on Bless This Mess. Chunky, delicious, every-day ingredients is what Melissa uses in her Bliss Balls (you have to go take a peek at the photo of her varieties). And it is from her that I decided on my coconut, peanut butter, oats, vanilla, and cinnamon mixture. And I'm so glad I did!



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Decorate with Purple in 2018 - Why? Because Ultra Violet is Pantone's Color of the Year

That's Right, Ultra Violet (Shade 18-3838) is Pantone's Color of the Year for 2018: Although not the exact shade, choose any Shade of Purple to Decorate With and You'll be Fitting In with 2018's Trend 

If you're not familiar with how Pantone's Color of the Year is selected, in summary, it's chosen as a reflection of society and it's current cultural expressions and often by it's needs.
“The Pantone Color of the Year has come to mean so much more than ‘what’s trending’ in the world of design; it’s truly a reflection of what’s needed in our world today.” – Laurie Pressman, Vice President of the Pantone Color Institute"
Individuality, unconventionality and artistic brilliance are some of the words Pantone uses to describe the reasons Ultra-Violet was chosen for 2018.

Spirituality is often associated with Purple. As an example, if you're a church goer you've seen the spiritual connection with purple during Lent when a Catholic Priest wears his purple robe. With Lent being a time of empathy for suffering and penance, purple is the chosen color for this time. It's not meant as a negative, but rather to give something of ourselves as a way of acknowledging Jesus' suffering for us.

If you're not a believer in traditional religions, purple is still referenced as an associated color for mindfulness. Whether it's for Yoga, Meditation or InspiringButterfly Lilac Bedding Duvet SetButterfly Lilac Bedding Duvet Set Gatherings, purple lighting, purple scents and purple art, are often used to compliment and reflect the calming intention of a group.

In home décor you'll find that purple is used to enhance a design that is bravely unique to the point that a home owner has no qualms about creating an environment that boldly stands out for all who enter. Call it, 'a little shock and awe in home decorating'.

Where the conservative decorator tends toward neutrals, purple is often for the individualists among us. It's not so much about being fearless, but more about recognizing self within our environment. Of course, if you're not a fan of purple it doesn't matter how much of an individualist you are, you simply won't decorate with the color!

In Business Marketing, purple is often used to represent trends, services or products that are higher in quality or sophistication. If your business reflects a higher level of quality, purple may be a color to include in your branding.

In short, decorate the way you want to decorate! No matter the trends, your home is your personal space and should reflect who you are and what you love. But if you happen to love Purple, you're in luck for 2018!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Teddy Ruxpin: A Parent's Review

Teddy Ruxpin:  A Parents Review
What Every Child Needs and Will Love

As a young mother, I was always thrilled when I found a toy, like Teddy Ruxpin, that teaches, entertains, and captivates one of my children. When that toy appealed to both of my children, I knew I had found a treasure.

Due to the demand, often times these toys are hard to find. With internet shopping today, it is not as hard to obtain the desired item, but 25 years ago, people actually fought crowds and long lines only to find extremely limited quantities.

That was the case with Teddy Ruxpin.

Tracking Teddy Ruxpin


Teddy Ruxpin:  A Parent's Review
My oldest child, our precious daughter, was only a year old when I made this discovery. I was intrigued when I saw the commercials on television. After looking him up in a catalog, I decided Teddy Ruxpin was a must have for my little girl. We didn't have a lot of money and we had to be very careful about our choices. It was my self-appointed job to find the best deal in town. I scoured the paper every Sunday for weeks waiting for this new toy to go on sale. I even employed my parents to be on the lookout.

Then it happened!  One Sunday morning, just before dawn, the newspaper hit the end of the driveway. I ran out immediately, opened to the store ads and there he was! 

Back in those days, my husband worked whenever he was called. It didn't matter if it was a weekend, a Sunday, a special occasion or even a holiday. This happened to be one of those Sundays when he was working. I grabbed the phone and called my oldest brother. He is 6' 4" and a phenomenal athlete. While I did not anticipate him needing to make high jumps for me, I knew he could easily run defense or offense. While my parents babysat, we ventured out at the break of dawn to take our place in line.

As we entered the store, women were running. We became part of the pack. Everyone knew what the objective was. By the time we reached the shelves, everything at my eye level was already cleared out. I wanted to cry. Then this long arm reached over my head. I saw the box as it landed right in my arms. Reality set in. My brother had reached out and grabbed Teddy Ruxpin from the top shelf and handed it to me. The bear was so high up and so far back on the shelf, I didn't even know he was there. I was beyond elation.

 Teddy Ruxpin The Original Storytelling ToyCheck PriceWe were laughing and moseying to the checkout with our sweet bear, when out of nowhere, this brazen, probably desperate, woman latched on to my box. I clutched Teddy to my chest as the woman continued to try to pull him from my embrace. Again, this voice from above said "I suggest you let go ma'am." Even in confrontation, my brother was polite. The woman backed off, she even apologized, but I was still a bit shaken by the assault. I don't believe I even responded.

When we got to the check out, I would not relinquish Teddy to the cashier. No, both hands remained on the box that held the treasure while she rang him up. I quickly paid and dashed to the car, fully expecting to be robbed of our new acquisition.

As we drove home, we both kept glancing behind us to make sure no one was following us home. We even drove a circuitous route, taking side streets in order to "shake" any "tail" we may have picked up when leaving the store. We did make it safely home that day. My daughter did receive her gift for Christmas and Teddy became like a family member. To this day, over 30 years later, he still graces the shelves in my daughter's bedroom.


A Forever Faithful Friend!


From the Teddy Ruxpin Lullaby Video Collection - This song is also on the Lullaby songs for the Teddy Ruxpin


Teddy, Too!

Seven years later, our son needed a Teddy Ruxpin too. Even though our daughter was more than willing to allow her little brother to play with her Teddy, I noticed that our "baby bear" was developing a habit of teething on Teddy's nose. Because Teddy was such a valuable friend to our daughter, I determined to purchase a second Teddy Ruxpin for our son. 

This time I was smarter!  I ordered a Teddy Ruxpin from the Sears Christmas Wishbook. That was so much easier and calmer that our first Teddy Ruxpin adventure. 



Teddy Ruxpin ~ A Child's Best Friend

Teddy Ruxpin:  A Parent's Review
I must give Teddy credit for encouraging my children to read. While I cannot say he is solely responsible, both children could read before they started kindergarten. I truly believe they excelled throughout their classroom years because they had such a solid reading foundation. 

Not only did Teddy read with them, he sang with them. When our daughter was really little, Teddy was difficult for her to lift and carry, but he was almost always with her. She would drag him around by his paw. When it was time for a little nap, I remember my baby girl sitting on the couch listening to Teddy Ruxpin and being lulled to sleep by his song. She would hardly part with Teddy. He even rode with her to her first day of kindergarten and patiently waited in the car for her return. 

I suppose our daughter was responsible for our son loving the bear too. When Teddy sang, they both joined in and we had our first family trio. Actually, make that quartet. Their Dad frequently sang along too. 

I will share a little secret with you, their Dad now sings the Teddy Ruxpin lullabies to the puppies. He thinks I don't know, but those little doggies tell me everything. 


Teddy Ruxpin:  Final Thoughts


Teddy Ruxpin is a sing along, read along, tag along companion. Both of our children treasure their Teddy Ruxpin bears. He is one of the few toys that is still prominently displayed in each of their rooms. 

The only negative about either Teddy Ruxpin is the motorized sound that his mouth makes when it moves.  But, like any ugly blemish on a loved ones face, we ignore that.  It really isn't hard to be oblivious to that sound when you love the bear so much.


Teddy Ruxpin - Easy to Find Online

The Teddy Ruxpin featured above is sold with one music cartridge and one illustrated companion book. The package also includes the Airship story cartridge and the Airship book so your child can read along as Teddy tells the story. There are other story cartridges and books also available separately. There is also an updated, newer version of Teddy Ruxpin available if you prefer.
 


Check Out More Toy Reviews
ReviewThisToyReviews.com


Teddy Ruxpin: A Parent's Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Hobby Time from the Review This! Contributors




hob·by - an activity done regularly in one's leisure time for pleasure. 

January is known as National Hobby Month.   The contributing writers here on Review This! each have their favorite ways to enjoy a relaxing pursuit and have written many reviews of various how-to books, crafting supplies and DIY tutorials, gardening tips, recipes & kitchen aids for the cook, photography lessons, reading or listening to music, sports, and a host of other hobbies. 

These are but a few of the hobbies enjoyed by the Review This crew. The list of hobbies is almost endless.  If you are interested in looking for what we writers here have reviewed, type in the name of your 'hobby' either in the box in the top left-hand corner of any Review This page, or in the search box down the right-hand side. By looking at the author's name, you won't have any problem figuring out which HOBBY is each writers' favorite! For instance, mine  (Wednesday Elf) is crochet and my hobby is shared by several other contributors here, so we learn and share with each other. A more comprehensive list is shown below.


National Hobby Month




Begun by the Hobby Guild of America in 1955,  National Hobby Month was celebrated in April until 1976, then in October until 1986.  Since then, it has been celebrated during the month of January. 

January was most likely chosen for National Hobby Month as it is the beginning of a new year and a good time to start a new hobby.  Many people have never had hobbies during their working years or while raising a family and begin one in their retirement or after the children are grown.  Others try many hobbies throughout their life before finding one or two that gives them the most enjoyment. 


Hobby Examples on Review This!



Hobbies can be passive (such as crafting, reading, writing, listening to music or watching a movie) or an activity such as gardening, cooking or participating in sports. Many people have more than one hobby and often combine them, such as listening to music while crafting. 

In addition to writing reviews here on Review This!, most of the contributing writers here write for their own blogs and websites.  Writers consider writing to be more work than hobby, so time away from writing is important. That's where the activities done in our leisure time become such a pleasure. It is also interesting to note that the passion we feel for our hobbies is shown in many of the subjects we write about.


  • Barbara Tremblay Cipak (Brite-Ideas) is crazy about country music and frequently writes about the artists and their music she is so passionate about.  She is also loves to experiment with color in home décor. 
  • Dawn Rae does crochet and participates in a group of fellow jeep owners.  She also enjoys gardening and lately 'learning about homesteading'.
  • Cynthia Sylvestermouse is a freelance writer and photographer who loves all different kinds of crafts, including crafting in the kitchen, creating fancy cakes and cupcakes. 
  • Barbara (BarbRad) is an expert on books and loves to read.  She is also a nature photographer who most enjoys photographing her central California area. 
  • Mary Beth Granger (MBGphoto) is a fabulous photographer who continually takes photography classes to learn more.  Photography has become her passion in her retirement, along with traveling.  Lighthouses and beaches are her favorite subjects. 
  • Wednesday Elf loves crochet and needlework, watching baseball and reading. 
  • Beverly Owens is busy researching her Native American Indian heritage and loves to write about spirit animals and the wisdom of her ancestors. She also enjoys crocheting. 
  • Olivia Morris loves gardening and following the fashion world.
  • Brenda Little (Treasures By Brenda) collects coffee mugs and researches the history of vintage cups and other vintage items which she shares in her eBay store.  She also loves reading, great movies, cooking, and pop culture. 
  • Diana Wenzel (Renaissance Woman2010) enjoys an off-the-grid lifestyle where she pursues her interests in animal rescue, wonderful nature photography, and DIY projects. She also loves to read. 
  • Louanne Cox (Lou16) loves reading, 80s music, zombies and dolls, among a host of other interests. 
  • Heather Burns (Heather426) is an artist, illustrator and graphic designer. Her hobby is her artistic accomplishments, including the colored pencils she has created for coloring pages and coloring books. 
  • Coletta Teske is a published book author and loves to sew. 

These are just the highlights of hobbies and interests I have observed from the articles they publish and the interaction we have as a team here on the staff of Review This!.  I am sure there are other interests each of them have.  


Quick View Home Page



By clicking on the Quick View Home Page button at the top of any Review This! page, you will have weekly examples of many of the articles your hobbyists here enjoy (plus many non-hobby reviews).  

Stop by the comments section and tell us your favorite hobby or activity. The Review This! staff would love to hear about what gives you pleasure in your leisure time.

(c) Written by Wednesday Elf on 1/20/2018







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Kristin Hannah’s Home Front Book Review

HOME FRONT is an excellent fictional story by Kristin Hannah. I previously reviewed and loved Hannah’s The Nightingale, which sent me looking for more titles by this author.

It is a relationship story and a war story. It features a husband and wife who seem to be perfectly situated with a wonderful marriage, great careers and lovely children. However, as happens, they have drifted apart and are headed for disaster and when she is sent overseas to Iraq and the rift is almost too much for this family to bear.

This novel presents an interesting role reversal with the mother a helicopter pilot and the man trying to maintain order at home. What happens is dark and dreadful and presents a mountain for this family to surpass.

Here is the official video book trailer. In this trailer, I think the book is represented in a very light and fluffy manner especially given that divorce and military service are not easy things to deal with.



I believe that this second video, in which Hannah Kristin discusses the book, does a better job of representing the issues faced by the family in Home Front and by families in the same situation.



Hannah calls the book “the best, most emotional book she has ever written” and goes on to say that it is about “love, honor, duty, commitment, sacrifice.” I agree that it was an emotional book. It is RECOMMENDED by me and yes, you will cry. For what it is worth, I preferred the book The Nightingale.

Have you read either book? What did you think?

If you are interested, you can see all of Kristin Hannah’s books including Home Front on Amazon here.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Home Front from Amazon.
See all of Hannah's books on Amazon.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

IKEA Food Reviewed

And You Thought It Was A Furniture Store!

ikea has food
IKEA image courtesy of pixabay.com
We recently visited the new store that just opened in our area and were surprised that IKEA food was even an option. My husband and I were prepared to see interesting types of furniture in the huge store. Well, let me rephrase that. We had heard from others that we should be sure to try the meatballs while there.

To be honest, I had envisioned something like Costco or a weekend at any given grocery store where there are people offering samples of food to try. I wasn't sure why IKEA would offer samples other than a sort of hospitality type gesture. Perhaps I thought that it was a way to celebrate the Swedish culture and their style of meatballs. Was I in for a surprise? You bet ya!

It seemed like there were miles and miles of furniture. The place is huge! Let me tell you the place is a virtual maze of interesting vignettes of ideas for the home or office. I oooed and ahhhhed at every corner, but I digress. There are signs overhead to guide you to different areas and at one point I noticed that the sign showed that we were on a path that would lead us to the restaurant. I said to my husband, "These people have thought of everything! Since this place is so enormous, they know a person can get hungry from all of this walking. So, they feed you too!" I should probably mention that upon entering the store we saw an area for parents to drop their children off so that they could shop in peace. Anyway, we headed for the restaurant...

It appeared that others had entertained the same thought, the place was packed with people. We got in the cafeteria style line and quickly got waited on. I chose the meatball dinner and my husband chose the salmon dinner, both were very reasonably priced. Oh my word! The food was really good. My meatball dinner included five or six meatballs, mashed potatoes and a vegetable dish of carrots and cauliflower. The potatoes and meatballs had a gravy like sauce over them and there was this other stuff next to the meatballs that almost looked like cranberry sauce. Well, I was in heaven! 

I really liked the gravy like sauce that covered my mashed potatoes and some of the meatballs. I said to my husband that I would really like to get some of it to use at home. Turns out, I could get some right there in the store along with frozen meatballs and all sorts of other food items. Who knew, right?

For some reason I only purchased one packet that day. Silly me! I was delighted to see that there is an option to get the cream sauce online!

Oh, and that stuff that looked like cranberry sauce on my plate. First of all, it was extremely good and tasted great when I dipped a piece of meatball in it. It was not a Swedish version of cranberry sauce but instead it was Lingonberry jam. This stuff is awesome! Kind of sweet but also tart much like cranberry sauce. I enjoy it with meat but it is also good on a piece of toast in the morning.

So, here is the deal. If you find yourself close to an IKEA store, you need to go inside. Prepare to spend some time there because there is a lot to see. Treat yourself to some of their food! I'm telling you; you will not be disappointed! By the way, the salmon that my husband had was wonderful. You can buy it frozen in the store, too. 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Reviewing Barbacoa Sauce by Frontera

Barbacoa Sauce by Frontera
I have just returned from a camping trip. During that camping trip I used the Red Chili Barbacoa Slow Cook sauce with roasted tomato and chipotle by Frontera. These little packets of sauce are my favorite. I use it in roasts, soups, tacos, quesadillas, and tamales. If you like Mexican foods and Mexican inspired recipes, I think you would like this barbacoa sauce.


Beef Barbacoa Red Chili Slow Cook Sauce


I learned about these sauce packets from my son, who typically likes food that is spicier than what I can tolerate. However, he thought I'd like the flavor of the soups he makes with this sauce, and he was right. It is spicy but not too spicy - the label lists it as "mild". In my opinion (and I am not a chef) it has a smokey, spicy, rich flavor.

He calls them soups, but to me they are thicker and richer, more like a beef stew. We both make these soups with a variety of ingredients; beef, carrots, hominy, potatoes, yams, onions, peppers, and so more. Basically, you start with a base of beef and the barbacoa sauce, then add what you have on hand.

While camping, I only brought along the packet of barbacoa, and roast, and some potatoes. I slow cooked it in an enameled pan on top of the wood stove. What a wonderfully easy and delicious meal.

Delicious barbacoa roast with potatoes


Frontera Foods


Frontera Foods may or may not sound familiar to you. But the
click for more information
name Chef Rick Bayless may sound more familiar. He appears on a public television cooking show called Mexico - One Plate at a Time
Also, Chef Bayless has written several cookbooks. 

I enjoy watching his shows, I like his recipes, and am very thankful for this sauce that helps me easily create meals with an authentic Mexican flavor. In fact, thanks to a lesson from my son and this wonderful barbacoa sauce, I recently made tamales in my own kitchen. 

Where to Buy Frontera Beef Barbacoa Sauce


I have trouble finding the sauce in the stores local to me. I am fortunate that my son always stocks up on packets and saves them for me. He easily finds them at his local Target store. They are available on Amazon and the Frontera Foods website has a list of participating groceries. My local groceries, that are not on the list, carry the Frontera products in a hit and miss fashion.

Side Notes: 

For more information about The Shack (my current camping trips and my future retirement/homestead plans) take a peek at my blog Treasures, Travel, and Tales. Also, the pan in the photo may look familiar. I purchased it for The Shack and wrote a review about it in February 2016. I still believe that Enameled Cast Iron - Pricey but Worth It. Unfortunately, it looks like these little pans by Martha Stewart are a little more difficult to get. Good thing there are many other brands still easily available.

A few of the cookbooks by Rick Bayless on his Amazon author page



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

3 Ways to Add Color to Your Wall Without Painting

Three Ways to Add Colors to Your 
Walls Without Painting
Photo by: Funkthishouse.com
Colorful décor comes in many funky ways, simple but true.

If painting the walls just isn't in the cards, but adding color is, you can do it by including wall and furniture items that hold colorful, necessary home accessories.

Use Your Nail Polish as a Colorful Wall Art Display - Featured Below

Instead of having a drawer filled with a collection of colorful and expensive nail polish, display them in a stylish metal rack on the wall. 

The functional dual purpose of a nail polish wall rack makes it an original accessory for a washroom, dressing room, vanity desk area, or the bedroom.

The racks themselves are fairly reasonable in price so acquiring a couple to fill a large nail polish collection won't break the bank. Best of all, with two metal wall racks you have double the wall art. 

Don't hesitate to give a nail polish wall rack as a gift. These items tend to be labelled 'perks' that most people won't bother treating themselves to, so receiving one would be a treat. If there's someone in your life who's known for their massive collection of nail polish, this item could be a hit!

Wall Unit Plant Stand for Multi-Colored Plants - Featured Below

Plants add energy, freshness and style to a room. Often times we want to add plants, but after looking around the room, come to the conclusion there's no place for them.

If you use a wall to feature a Ladder Plant Stand, you're able to locate that stand in one appropriate place in the room to display multiple plants.

Most importantly, you've added color to the room without painting the walls by using multi-colored flowers and plants. How nice is that ... instead of toxic paint, you have lovely air freshening plants.

A Spice Rack: Use a Decorative Rack in the Kitchen- Featured Below

New kitchen's normally have spice drawers, and older kitchen's tend to have spice cupboards. Who says you have to use either. 

If you're not one of the fortunate who have a modern pull-out spice cupboard located along side of the oven, then you're free to take all your colorful spices and feature them on the wall by using a Spice Wall Rack.

The metal spice racks are particularly stylish. They fit with virtually any décor style; modern, rustic, country, contemporary, and traditional. Place it for all to see, as you would any piece of wall art.

And there you have it, three easy-peasy ways to add color to the walls without painting.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Easily Increase Your Vegetable Intake with a Spiralizer

how to make zucchini noodles with a vegetable spiralizer
Image by Lou of Lou's Designs
If you're looking to increase your vegetable intake or reduce some of the heavy carbs like pasta from your diet then a spiralizer could be the answer.  Let me review why I think you'll adore having a vegetable spiralizer - I personally love mine, I don't know why I didn't get one sooner.

At the time of writing this I'm doing the Arbonne 30 Day Plan to Healthy Living and Beyond and basically that means that (for this month at least) I can't eat pasta, I can eat zucchini however ... enter zoodles! 

I have been meaning to try and made zoodles aka zucchini noodles for ages which is the whole reason I purchased my vegetable spiralizer.

Making the zucchini noodles was so easy and I'm now seeing lots of other recipes using other vegetables in place of pasta.  What a cool way of getting your child to eat more vegetables than to make their spaghetti bolognaise with zoodles?

So my vegetable spiralizer came with three different blades like the Paderno World Cuisine one below, but you can also get them with 7 blades, Amazon's best selling vegetable spiralizer comes with 7 blades and is the second one featured.




The actual one that I have doesn't seem to be available online which is why I've given you two alternatives.  Now I've only used the blade to made noodles so I'd just get the 3 blade one personally, but...

They were super easy to make you simply placed the zucchini (or vegetable of choice) on the spiky guard, making sure that the other end is in the middle of the round thing that is going to basically core your zucchini so that it looks like a very weird toadstool after the noodles are all made.

The next step is to simply turn the handle, however if that is all you do you won't get very long noodles, you'll just get little curls (they don't say that in the instructions).  What you need to do is as you're turning the handle you need to also be applying a gentle pressure inwards (towards the vegetable) then it will work beautifully.

It is super quick and I simply popped the zoodles into boiling water for a few minutes - basically treating them like fresh pasta noodles.  I've since been told of other ways of cooking them that involve almost sauteing them in coconut oil, but I haven't tried that (and probably won't).

how to make zucchini noodles so that your kids want to eat their vegetables
Image by Louanne Cox, Arbonne Independent Consultant

I would recommend starting with zucchini as it's quite a bland vegetable which makes it ideal to replace spaghetti.  I would also recommend a pinch of salt in the water when cooking it, I didn't do this the first time and it was much better when I did do it.

You can use sweet potato, carrot, parsnips and who knows what other vegetable, just use your imagination.

I will be trying out sweet potato next as I think that will go really well with a number of dishes I enjoy.

Have you ever tired zoodles or thought about making them?  If so then why wait, just do it as Nike would say!

Let me know in the comments if you've tried any other vegetables as I'd love to hear how they went.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Reviewing Within Temptation Band - Music That Speaks to My Soul

An Accustic Night at the Theater by Within Temptation
available on Amazon.com

My Constant Companion 


Music has been my loyal and constant companion my entire life. It often sets my mood, changes my mood or soothes my soul. If I want to grieve, it will grieve with me. If I want to rejoice, it will join my celebration. If I want to dance, it will set the pace. If I want to love, it will put my feelings into words and express what I do not have words to say. 

My mother is an extremely talented pianist. She can play anything without music and in any key. She is every vocalist dream of a perfect accompanist. No doubt, I owe my love for music to my mother. When she plays, her music resonates throughout the house, in our hearts and in our souls. Because of her influence, I don't just hear a string of notes, I feel the song and it's message. 

Every decade or so, I hear a musician who just has that touch. One who takes my breathe away by their sheer natural talent.  I would like to introduce you to a talent that I originally discovered in my son's vast collection of cd's. I was searching for a current day song to recommend to a promising soloist and I found a real treasure. 


"All I Need" by Within Temptation

This song has a haunting melody and lyrics! 

Ever since the first time I heard it, I find myself humming the tune or even singing it out loud at some of the strangest times.  This is one of those songs that crosses two areas of emotion for me. It will cry with me when I am depressed or it will sooth my soul when I am hurting. It isn't the lyrics to this song, although they are beautiful, but the melody and her comforting vocal quality that just calms me. 

I love the idea of making "my heart a better place."  A phrase from this song is actually my cell phone ring.  I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do. 



Lyrics to "All I Need"
I'm dying to catch my breath. Oh why don't I ever learn? I've lost all my trust, though I've surely tried to turn it around.  Can you still see the heart of me? All my agony fades away when you hold me in your embrace.

 

Within Temptation ~ The Band

 Within Temptation 24X36 New Printed Poster Rare #TNW815387Check PriceThis group has actually been performing together since 1996. Because they were all still in college, they took a hiatus in 1999 to finish their studies, but returned in 2000 to the stage to become not only Holland's biggest selling musical export, but also one of the fastest growing new rock acts internationally. 

I am extremely impressed with the longevity and commitment of this group. As usual, in the beginning "Within Temptation" had to replace a few band members for various reasons, but nothing reports that they had any volatile splits or dissension within the group.  Most often a band will split several times due to internal differences and squabbles. These young people seem to have been able to handle fame and a rigorous schedule together without all of the petty jealousy and fighting that usually destroys a group on it's way up the charts.

"Stand My Ground" by Within Temptation

This song speaks to a totally different side of me altogether. A side that my family is very familiar with and probably wish I would hold back sometimes. I am a warrior at heart and I will fight for what is right.  I definitely "Stand My Ground." 
 


WITHIN TEMPTATION LYRICS - Stand My Ground
I can see when you stay low nothing happens, Does it feel right? Late at night Things I thought I put behind me Haunt my mind / I just know there's no escape/  Now once it sets its eyes on you But I won't run, Have to stare it in the eye / Stand my ground

 

Awards for "Within Temptation" 

There are multiple notable awards worldwide.  Some are internationally known.  Others are perhaps more regional or genre specific, but the list is quite impressive!
 
2002
* Silver Harp (Dutch Music Award)
* TMF Award in Holland - Most Promising Act
* TMF Award in Belgium - Best Rock (International)

2003
* Edison (Dutch Music Award) - Best Live DVD: Mother Earth Tour
* Conamus Export Award now known as the Buma Export Award
     (given to Dutch artists who have sold the most records abroad)

 
2004
* Conamus Export Award aka Buma Export Award
 
2005
* Edison Award - Best Band
* TMF Awards Holland - Best Rock National
* Conamus aka Buma Export Prize
* World Music Award - Best-selling Dutch Artist
 
2006
* 3 FM Award - Best Rock Artist
* Golden God (Best Video: Angels)
* Buma Culture Export Prize

2007
* 3FM Award - Best Rock Artist
* TMF Awards Belgium - Best Live Act (International)
* TMF Awards Holland - Best Live Act
* TMF Awards Holland - Best Video
* MTV Europe Music Awards - Best Dutch & Belgian act
* World Music Awards  - Best Selling Dutch Artist

2009
* Golden Harp
* 3FM Award - Best Live Act
* Female Metal Voices Fest Awards – Best Album for The Heart of Everything

2011
* Loudwire Music Award - Rock Album of the Year - The Unforgiving
* Loudwire Music Award - Artist of the Year
* Loudwire Music Award - Rock Goddess of the Year given to Lead Singer, Sharon den Adel  

2014 
* Metal Hammer Award (Germany) - Best Live Band
* Loudwire Music Award - Rock Goddess of the Year given to Lead Singer, Sharon den Adel

2016
* Buma Export Award


Confirmation Source: Wikipedia

 

"Somewhere" by Within Temptation 


This song has a double meaning to me and it depends on my mood which meaning I embrace at the time. One part is romantic. The one that says "I will wait for you. You are a part of me now and always." 

The other is introspective and very personal. I sometimes search inside myself for the "whys." 
 


By MrPanyGoff (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Band Members of Within Temptation

* Sharon den Adel - vocals (since 1996) 
* Robert Westerholt - rhythm guitar, death vocals (since 1996) 
* Ruud Adrianus Jolie - lead guitar (since 2001) 
* Jeroen van Veen - bass (since 1996) 
* Martijn Spierenburg - keyboards (since 2001) 
* Mike Coolen - drums (since 2011) 
* Stephen Helleblad - rhythm & lead guitar (since 2011)

 

"The Truth Beneath the Rose" by Within Temptation

This song is a combination of all of my emotions. It evokes my passion to right every wrong. To stand my ground until I reach my own final destiny and it certainly speaks to the seeker in me. It also touches another part of me. The one that seeks forgiveness for any wrongs that I have ever committed, knowingly or unknowingly. It is the hardest for me to easily dismiss.

 


By Olarcadia (Own work)
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)
or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)],
via Wikimedia Commons

The Choice

It was really difficult to choose only a few songs by "Within Temptation" to share with you. Every song possesses and exudes great passion and depth. 

This band has the unique and rare combination of a songwriter with the heart of a poet, a band with remarkable musical ability and a vocalist with an unbelievable range, clear voice quality and tremendous breath control. I even like the background death vocals. They are not overused or out of place in this music. 

This is easily one of the best groups recording today!





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Reviewing Within Temptation Band - Music That Speaks to My Soul Written by:
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