Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Product Reviews. Show all posts

Sunday, January 16, 2022

A Bread Box Review and Recommendation

A Five Star Review - Bread Box

I've needed a new bread box for a long time. I searched on amazon for at least three months before finally taking the plunge and making the purchase.

Features That Were Important to Me:

  1. I wanted a roll-top bread box
  2. It needed to have two shelves inside
  3. Each shelf had to be deep enough and high enough to hold several loaves of bread
  4. There had to be room between the cupboard and top of the bread box so I could place things on top if necessary
  5. I wanted to spend less than $100
  6. It had to look attractive
  7. It could be chrome or wood
  8. I preferred it be pre-assembled
  9. I didn't want a glass door (I figured the glass would eventually break)
  10. Bamboo wood was preferred
This Bread Box Met 9 out of the 10 Criteria Items:

Bamboo Bread Box


Which One of the 10 Criteria Items Did Not Get Met?

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find one that met all of our needs that was pre-assembled. 

However, like most of my sons, my husband is very good at assembling products, so I knew I could safely forfeit this preference.

After reading the reviews, a few comments expressed their dissatisfaction with the assembly process. But I have to say, my husband had absolutely no problem putting it together, but as I mentioned, he's good at such things. 

If I had to personally assemble it, I would not have purchased any item that required putting it together --- only because I suck at that stuff! Fortunately, hubby handled that.

The Interior Has Two Shelves With Plenty of Room
Has Two Roomy Shelves

There is Plenty of Room On Top
There's Room to Place Items on Top

The Only Fix We Had To Make

When the roll-top door is closed (without care), it makes a loud noise. Since so many people live in our home, I knew I couldn't police that behavior, so we solved the problem by putting two tiny velcro tabs on the bottom. The tabs prevent the door from hitting the base, and it's much quieter.

We Placed Velcro Tabs to Reduce the Door Closing Noise

We Purchased the Bread Box From Amazon

We purchased it from Amazon.ca (Canada) at this link.

When typing this, I noticed that this specific bread box wasn't appearing on the USA site. But here's a link to a similar one (from what I could tell)... Both of them are the same size ... 15" by 9.8" by 14.2"

Five stars. Recommended.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Friday, January 14, 2022

Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Collectible Gift Tins Reviewed

Swiss Miss Tins
One of my favorite gifts that I received this year for Christmas was a set of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Tins filled with fabulous packets of instant hot chocolate.  This gift shows that my sister-in-law knows me well!

I am an unapologetic chocoholic. Any gift of chocolate is greatly appreciated.  Since I enjoy a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter day, the hot cocoa was a perfect choice. 

I am also a collector of glass jars and tins.  I can trace my obsession to glass jars and tins to my favorite hobbies.  They make excellent and inexpensive containers for all kinds of craft supplies.  While glass jars are excellent for viewing contents, a tin won't break, which means they both have their place in my craft room.  

The adorable gnome tins will be an awesome addition to my collection of tins in my craft room when we have finished drinking the hot cocoa.  Correction:  when we have finished using them for hot cocoa. I have already had to replace the hot cocoa packets in two of my new tins and it has only been a few weeks since Christmas.  Most likely, I will keep two of the tins in my kitchen for continuous refills and use.

 

Swiss Miss Collectible Gift Tins

I had never seen the wonderful Swiss Miss tins before, but I will certainly be watching for additional sets.  

When writing this article, I checked Amazon to see if they had my gnome tins available.  While there, I noted some precious woodland animal Swiss Miss tins.  Of course, I had to order a set of those for my craft room.  I need more storage tins for craft supplies (yes, that was my excuse!) .  

Each Gnome tin contains 5 packets of hot cocoa.  My personal favorite is the marshmallow hot cocoa, but my husband prefers the milk chocolate. The animal tins contain 4 packets in each tin.  

For the first time in my entire life, I tried the peppermint hot cocoa that came in the tins.  I love it!  It is my new second favorite (sorry, the marshmallow can't be beat).  I also tried the caramel for the first time ever.  It is good, but the competition is stiff.  Still, if I run out of my marshmallow and peppermint, I'll be more than happy to enjoy a mug of caramel hot cocoa.  All of the flavors are fabulous!

 

How to Make Swiss Miss Cocoa Packets 

It is very easy to make hot cocoa with the Swiss Miss packets.  Simply pour the packet of mix into a mug, add 1 cup of hot water & stir.   It is important to note that you should only add 1 cup (measurement) of water.  More water will dilute it and diminish the chocolatey flavor.  

You can add fresh marshmallows, peppermint, or other toppings to create your own fun flavor of hot cocoa.

 

How to Get Your Own Set of Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Tins

 Swiss Miss Gift Pack Tins Gnomes Characters, 6.9 Oz pack of 4. LIMITED EDITION. Milk Chocolate, Peppermint, Marshmallow and Caramel FlavorsCheck Price Swiss MIss Hot Cocoa Mix Milk Chocolate 3 Piece Gift Set, 1 Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix Tin and 2 Ceramic MugsCheck Price Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate Variety Pack (4 Flavors), Hot Chocolate Mix, Hot Chocolate Variety, Hot Chocolate Swiss Miss, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, Instant Hot ChocolateCheck Price

 





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Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Collectible Gift Tins Reviewed by:
House of Sylvestermouse




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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Snack Better With The Best Healthy Keto Cookie Dough Bites

Is raw cookie dough a guilty pleasure that you try not to indulge in, either because of the health risks associated with eating raw eggs or because you are trying to eat better? 

Whether you are trying to cut down on sugar or highly processed foods, follow a vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, low carb or ketogenic diet, or just want some healthy treats to satisfy your sweet tooth and curb your afternoon hunger pangs, you will love Bhu Keto Bites from Bhu Foods.

Today I'm reviewing these mini protein bars that come in five delicious cookie dough flavors, have a rich taste and smooth, creamy texture, are high in fiber and healthy fats, and contain no added sugars or artificial sweeteners, just minimally processed, non-GMO, organic ingredients.

Best of all, Bhu Keto Protein Bites taste just like cookie dough (yum!), but unlike that forbidden treat, they are not only safe to eat but also good for you!

Photo of Bhu Keto Bites - Delicious, High Protein, No Added Sugar Keto Cookie Dough Bites
Four of the five delicious flavors of Bhu Keto Bites mini protein bars.
Not shown: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor

For several years before before I began my successful low carb keto diet journey, I had been searching for delicious, healthy protein bars or snacks that would taste good and be good for me. Unfortunately, most of the protein bars I tried either tasted like cardboard and had a dry, unpleasant texture or tasted good because they contained a lot of natural or added sugars or contained highly processed ingredients, even though they marketed themselves as healthy food.

Then, in 2019, I switched my focus from a traditional low-fat, low-calorie diet to a nutritious, low carb approach to eating that focused on healthy fats, proteins and dietary fiber with little to no added sugars and minimally processed ingredients. That's when I discovered Bhu Keto Bites (and their big brothers, Bhu Keto Bars).

10 Reasons to Love Bhu Keto Bites

How do I love Bhu Keto Bites? Let me count the ways!

1. A Healthy Treat That Tastes Like Raw Cookie Dough

  • These bite-sized mini protein bars are absolutely delicious and have a rich, creamy texture and luscious mouthfeel.

2. High in Protein, Healthy Fats and Fiber

Depending on the cookie dough flavor, these Bhu Keto Bites contain:

  • 6-7g protein
  • 10-12g fat
  • 4-6g dietary fiber

3. Low Carb and Keto Friendly

Depending on the cookie dough flavor, these Bhu Keto Bites contain:

  • 5-7g total carbs
  • 0-1g net carbs

4. Healthy, High Quality, Nutritious Ingredients

  • Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Minimally processed

"We are committed to 100% organic, clean, ingredients. Our pricing may be slightly higher than the competition, but we believe the investment to your health and towards our planet is well worth it."
— Bhu Foods

5. No Added Sugars

  • 100% free cane sugar. 

"Our mission is to help wean people off of sugar so we wouldn’t think of adding sugar to our bars."
— Bhu Foods

6. Sweetened With Pure Monk Fruit

  • Sweetened with pure monk fruit (aka monk fruit sugar), which has numerous health benefits.
    • Monk fruit sugar is made by infusing the juice of the small, melon-like fruit in hot water and drying it to a powder.
    • It is metabolized differently than regular sugar, has a zero glycemic index and does not affect blood sugar levels or spike insulin, making it a great sugar alternative for diabetics.
    • Monk fruit has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine to treat digestive problems and colds. So, unlike sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners, monk fruit sweetener can help with, rather than cause, intestinal distress.
    • The compounds that give monk fruit sugar its sweetness (mogrosides) have anti-inflammatory effects and can help your body fight cancer.
    • Unlike regular sugar, monk fruit sweetener will not cause cavities. 
    • It's 150-200 times sweeter than cane sugar, so only a small amount is needed to achieve the desired sweetness.

Source: "What to Know About Monk Fruit Sugar," WebMD

Bhu Foods even has the chocolate chips in these Bhu Bites manufactured to their own specifications and sweetened with pure monk fruit!

7. No Sugar Alcohols

  • Bhu Bites also contain no erythritol or other sugar alcohols that can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea in some people, or if too much is consumed.

8. Supports a Variety of Dietary Requirements

  • Vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • 100% grain-free
  • 100% soy-free
  • Diabetic-friendly

Allergy warnings: Bhu Bites are manufactured in a facility that also processes peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and possibly whey and may contain an occasional shell fragment. They also contain cashews and MCT oil (from coconuts). The White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie Dough flavor also contains macadamia nuts, and the 

10. Small But Satisfying

  • Bhu Keto Bites are small but also dense, rich and very satisfying, thanks to the significant amounts of high quality protein, healthy fats and dietary fiber.
  • They're the perfect size to enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of milk (dairy or plant-based), as a snack, a taste of something sweet after dinner, or any time you're in the mood for "a little something," as Winnie the Pooh would say.
  • I recommend nibbling them slowly to make them last longer so you can savor every bite and prolong the deliciousness!

9. No Refrigeration Needed

  • Unlike their equally delicious and nutritious big brothers, Bhu Keto Bars, Bhu Keto Bites are shelf stable and require no refrigeration. 
  • The manufacturer recommends storing them at 72° F or cooler. During the summer, or if you live in a warmer climate, they also taste great straight from the fridge. 

Key Nutrition Data Comparison for Bhu Keto Bites Flavors

Bhu Keto Bites
Serving size: 1 piece
Calories Protein Total
Fat
Total
Carbs
Fiber Total
Sugars
Added
Sugars
Net
Carbs
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 130 6g 11g 7g 6g 1g 0g 1g
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie Dough 130 6g 10g 6g 5g 1g 0g 0g
Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough 140 6g 12g 5g 4g 1g 0g 1g
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough 140 7g 10g 7g 6g 1g 0g 1g
Chocolate Mint Cookie Dough 140 6g 12g 5g 4g 0g 0g 1g

Which Bhu Keto Bites Cookie Dough Flavor Is Your Favorite?

Honestly, I have a hard time deciding. Usually, it's whichever flavor I'm eating at the moment! All five flavors are wonderful. 

I highly recommend starting with:

  • a Bhu Keto Bites Variety Pack, which includes one bag each of:
    • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough,
    • White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie Dough,
    • Double Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough 
    • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • Chocolate Mint Cookie Dough Bhu Bites, the newest flavor, which is not included in the Variety Pack assortment. 

After you sample them all, you can reorder your favorite flavors. (If you're like me, that's all five!)

Enjoy!

Note: In addition to ordering Bhu Keto Bites on Amazon, you also may be able to find them at some branches of Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, The Vitamin Shoppe, and other retail stores, depending on where you live.



Snack Better With The Best Healthy Keto Cookie Dough Bites by Margaret Schindel


Posts About My Keto Diet Journey

My First Year on The Keto Diet

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Low Carb Muffins & Cupcakes: Treats to Enjoy on a Keto Diet

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Keto Cheddar Cheese Biscuits With Chives Recipe

The Ultimate Keto Hot Chocolate Recipe

The Best Low Carb Keto Gift Ideas: Keto Gift Guide

The Best Low Carb Keto Cinnamon Muffins

Wholesome Yum Keto Bread Mix and Yeast Bread Recipe

The Good Chocolate 100% Organic No Sugar Dark Chocolate Review

The Best Advice to Maintain Your Keto Diet Weight Loss

My New Irresistibly Delicious Keto Cheese Crackers Recipe

Luscious Low Carb Keto Triple Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies Recipe

Quick & Easy Livlo Blueberry Scones Keto Baking Mix Review

Snack Better With The Best Healthy Keto Cookie Dough Bites

Reviews of the Keto Diet by Barbara C. (aka Brite-Ideas)

My Personal Keto Testimonial

How I Stayed Committed to the Ketogenic Way of Eating

Read More Product Reviews by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Monday, January 10, 2022

Souper Cubes Reviewed

Comfort food equals a yummy bowl or two or three of soup in this house! Anytime of the year I love to make soup and then freeze the leftovers in individual sized containers. This is where things become a little labor intensive and the search is on for plastic containers to freeze the soup. Containers which are sturdy, freezer friendly and with a lid. Seems like a simple search except that matching lids seems to disappear like socks in the laundry. 


This is when my online search began to replenish my supply of individual sized containers for homemade soup. I found the Souper Cubes with over a cumulative 5/5 review score of over 5,000 reviews and I was not disappointed.

Souper Cubes Pros

At first glance the cost was a consideration as this was much more of an expenditure than plastic containers, but the Souper Cubes have delivered as promised. This product is a thoughtful design with the soup lover and soup freezer in mind.

  • Easy
  • Space saver in the freezer - definitely yes!
  • Convenient
  • Stackable - can stack two trays on top of each other in the freezer which is 8 cups of soup!
  • Portable - can pop a frozen soup cube in a bag or container to warm and eat away from home
  • Dishwasher Safe - a must!
  • BPA free
  • Food and Freezer Safe - of course!
  • The product literature states the product is also oven safe up to 415 degrees (excluding the lid)- I have not tried this and do not foresee trying this in the future either.
Each section has a measuring mark for 1 cup and 1/2 cup.


I did not find any cons to the product with the initial concern over the the price in comparison to plastic containers with lids. However, there is no comparison as this product is in its' own niche and with the sturdy quality construction I view this as a long term kitchen investment verses disposable plastic containers with a limited use life. 

Recommendation For Souper Cubes

I would add another 5/5 stars for the Souper Cubes. One tray is perfect to freeze 4 cups of leftover soup which is perfect. The cubes are easy to pop out of the tray for individual servings. I also envision using the trays for chili, chowder and stew. For those who love to make soup and freeze the leftovers this is a great companion or replacement to individual size containers and saves so much space in the freezer.

Souper Cubes come in various sizes. I chose the two pack which is 4 one cup servings per tray. The cubes also come in 1/2 cup trays and 2 cup trays. 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, January 8, 2022

WHAT SOLD ON EBAY? CHRISTMAS EDITION

What Sold on eBay Christmas Edition!

Wondering what sold lately on eBay? Well, in December I definitely sold some Christmas items. While they accounted for only 15 percent of the items I sold, I have chosen to review them here because I think a lot of them were interesting items. I hope you enjoy them, too.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1949) WHITMAN EDITION


The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Whitman Publishing (1949).

First up and definitely an interesting vintage item in my mind, was a fragile 1949 copy of the classic children's story The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore and Whitman Publishing. It was an oversize, thin book with a soft, textured finish that had seen lots of love from previous owners. That did not, however, deter the person who purchased it from doing so and I wonder if they purchased it because they owned it as a child. I also wondered if it was going to be a display piece or if it was going to be shared and treasured by a new generation of  children though I suppose the answer could include all of those possibilities.   

KURT S. ADLER BIG BEN LONDON ORNAMENT

Next was a handsome Kurt S. Adler ornament featuring Westminster Palace's Big Ben. Surely purchased from me as a reminder for someone of a remembered trip to or time spent in London, England. 

Adler first learned about merchandising in the U.S. army. After World War II, he turned that learning toward selling goods to countries in need of them and apparently, there was a big need after the war. When those needs changed or really I guess those countries recovered from the war, he pivoted in the 1950s and presented his first Christmas ornaments. Starting with East and West German angels, he went on to include décor from other European countries. Today, the company is run by his children and grandchildren from a base in New York City and continues to turn out both classic and trendy products that are hotly sought after. 

Take a peek for yourself at some of the truly beautiful Kurt S. Adler Christmas ornaments available by clicking here, which today reveals more than 2,300 new, used and vintage pieces on eBay.

What sold on eBay? Why Christmas did! Discover a number of the new, used and vintage items that sold in December!

DOUBLE DECKER GLASS CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

This piece had no well-known name associated with it and represented London's double decker bus though it was not actually identified as such but it was another item that sold that I believe was probably destined for someone's Christmas as a reminder of a holiday or of a time spent in London, England.

HALLMARK KEEPSAKE ORNAMENT PEANUTS: A SPOOKY STORY 


Hallmark's Peanuts: A Spooky Story Keepsake Ornament features Scouts Leader Snoopy reading a Scary Story at the Campground in his Ten to his Troops!

I like how this Hallmark Keepsake ornament combines a few favorites like Christmas, Halloween, Scouting, Peanuts and Snoopy and camping. Released in 2009, it is now retired from Hallmark so in order to add it to your collection you will have to find it on a secondary market. Click here to find your Hallmark Peanuts A Spooky Story Keepsake Ornament on eBay today.

VINTAGE CLIP-ON SANTA CLAUS


What Sold on eBay in December? A lovely vintage clip-on Santa Claus and more!?!

Do you remember clip-ons? I am not actually sure if they have another proper name or what they were called when they were sold. (If you do, be sure to let us know in the comment section below.) Anyway, I definitely remember them from when I was young though I do not necessarily remember the Santa Claus. One of my aunts gifted us with a clip-on bride and groom at our wedding shower and, more recently, I was given a koala bear clip-on from Australia. If you would like to add a vintage clip-on Santa Claus to your collection, visit eBay by clicking right here where you can buy a single Santa or a whole 'herd' of them!

STARBUCKS CANDY CANE COFFEE MUG


What sold on eBay? This Starbucks candy cane-themed coffee mug and more!

So fun though personally I feel that the candy cane mug is not the most practical mug to drink from it sure is pretty. I have a collection of Starbucks Christmas mugs that come out at Christmas time. We love using them. Find all of the Christmas-themed Starbucks mugs available on eBay here. Personally, we have pivoted to choosing and using the smaller mugs. The larger ones seem like you are serving an awful lot of coffee, which I suppose suits some. 

RUSS BERRIE'S BANDY NUTCRACKER PLUSH TEDDY BEAR

As shown in the first picture on this page, Russ Berrie's plush nutcracker teddy bear is a handsome dude and he was purchased from me at the last minute. Close enough to Christmastime that the buyer reached out to me to see what I thought of the odds of it making it in time. With the Christmas rush of online shopping and parcels and ongoing concerns with the virus, I told the buyer that estimates should be taken as just that and to expect anything in terms of delivery time. I am glad to be able to report that Bandy travelled through the system lickety split thanks to Canada Post's efforts and my buyer was pleased to have him in time for Christmas and even ahead of the estimated arrival date.

SANTA CLAWS BOXER SHORTS

One buyer outfitted all of the men in her life by buying four pairs of Hatley boxer shorts in various fun themes like the Christmas one shown in the first picture on this page. Other themes included beavers, alligators and dachshund dogs. I picture her doing what I used to do. That is, putting a pair of fun boxers in the Christmas stockings of all three of my 'boys.' I still have a selection of new Hatley boxer shorts in my eBay store here, if you are interested. 

INUIT GREETING CARDS

I thought the Inuit Christmas cards (again shown in the picture at the top of this page), which featured the 2009 artwork of Ningeokuluk Teevee called Ptarmigan's Arrival was an unusual find and I am sure the person who purchased them from me agreed. While I have no more Inuit cards left in my store, I do have some other interesting Inuit and First Nations items here.

MOLLY HATCH COFFEE MUG


In the December edition of my What sells on eBay series, you will find Molly Hatch Christmas mugs and more great new, used and vintage finds.

Finally, at least for this page, was the Ice Skates coffee mug shown here by Molly Hatch. Hutch is an American artist and potter. In 2010, she created her first collection and she now has a large body of work that includes a variety of items for your home like the coffee mug that I sold. Her images in this Christmas series are simple and vintage in style, depicting everyday items like ice skates, animal friends, mistletoe, holly, gingerbread and stockings. She calls her items 'modern heirlooms with everyday charm.' I enjoy them and like the idea of a serviceable, new item that has a vintage feel. I have a couple of Molly Hatch's pieces from this Christmas series as well as one other series available here.

While the items I have shared here are no longer available in my store, I do have Christmas items in my eBay store all year so do drop in! Find my store, Treasures By Brenda by clicking here

You never know
what I might have
in store for you! 
Brenda 

Quick Links

From baby quilt to dipping bowls and chimney sweep, discover what sold from my store one weekend in October.

From fanny pack to wind-up toy to knife block, discover what sold from my store one weekend in November.

There's something for every Starbucks and coffee fan on this list of  Starbucks' gift ideas!

See a few more Molly Hatch Christmas mugs here.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Winter Dressing Requirements Include Layering Up! A Product Review

Winter in many parts of the world means cold, wet, and less than "perfect" weather.



I have spent many a winter in some places you would consider to be warm all year long  and even there the winter months can be less than perfect. I lived in Israel for three months and let me tell you it was cool at night and damp, so layering was the only way to stay comfortable.   Even Florida in December to February can be cool sometimes.    Layering your clothing is one way to beat that cold and chill you feel in those dark and wintery months.  Layering has become a way of life for me, especially at my age (peri-menopausal and menopausal).  If you haven't reached that age yet, get ready, it will happen to you too!

You start off the morning feeling just right, get dressed and then feel too cold, so you add a layer!  An hour or two later you are so hot that you need to remove a layer.  And so your day goes, one moment cool, the next moment hot!  You just can't seem to win at any stage of the day.  

Well my answer to all of this is to layer and layer well.  It's easy to remove  a layer without having to start dressing all over again.  

I love a Company called Cents of Style!  Why?  Well let's just say that they are:
  1. Stylish
  2. Comfortable
  3. Cost Effective
  4. Available in Many Sizes and Colors
These Oversized Sweaters are just the thing you need when you are thinking about layering!  Not only are they pretty, but they are comfortable!  With an oversized sweater, you can easily have another T-shirt or light blouse underneath.

So when your internal thermometer starts acting up, you can do your thing (removing or adding) as you need to!  

Not only are they comfortable and trendy, they come in over 10 different colors so you can choose the one that suits you best.  Available in sizes Small right up to 3 XL!  There is no reason not to have a couple of these in your wardrobe.  

I'm sure that this layering will help you get through any cold and dreary weather that the winter of 2022 can bring us!  

Keep warm and beautiful!  
Favorite Tops


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Best Affordable Programmable Large- and Small-Batch Coffee Maker

One of my husband's holiday gift wish list items this year was a coffee maker that he could use to brew just one or two cups of really good java. He had been looking online at small-batch coffee makers that brew and hadn't found a reasonably priced one that had mostly good reviews. After doing my own due diligence on his behalf, I chose to buy him a Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with a 12-cup carafe and a small batch setting.

It makes delicious coffee in a choice of two brew strengths, brews at an appropriately hot water temperature for great flavor without bitterness, can be programmed the night before (so you wake up to the smell and taste of freshly brewed coffee!) and comes with a permanent gold-tone filter that you can use instead of disposable paper filters, if you prefer. It's also easy to fill and clean.

Most importantly, unlike most of the other coffee brewers I reviewed during my research, this Ninja programmable coffee maker with a superior-performing small batch function makes just one to four ups of Joe that's just as rich, hot and flavorful as when you're brewing a full carafe for up to 12 cups. 

Whether you want to brew a full pot for several people or a party crowd, or prefer to brew just one or two (or three or four) cups for yourself and maybe someone else, you'll love this Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with small batch settings. 

Image of Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer with text "Program & Brew Delicious Coffee for one person or a crowd!"
Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer

You Don't Need to Be a Gourmet to Appreciate Good Quality, Hot, Freshly Brewed Coffee

I grew up with a dad who was a coffee connoisseur (dare I say coffee snob?). He was fussy about his beans, insisted on buying them freshly roasted and grinding them just before brewing them in a drip coffeemaker (although, late in life, he eventually replaced his classic Chemex drip carafe with a programmable coffee maker) and refused to drink coffee that had been brewed more than 30 minutes earlier and wasn't practically scalding hot.

To dad's dismay, for most of my life I drank coffee only with sugar and cream. Even with that dilution, it tended to upset my stomach, so I became primarily a tea drinker. Even so, however, dad did instill in me an appreciation for freshly brewed coffee made from freshly ground beans over coffee that was made with lesser-quality, stale beans or has been sitting in the carafe on a warmer for an extended period of time. 

Then, in 2019, after I adopted a ketogenic diet that helped me lose nearly 60 pounds, my husband and I read "biohacker" Dave Asprey's bestselling book The Bulletproof Diet and I started drinking "bulletproof coffee" most weekday mornings, using Asprey's official Bulletproof coffee recipe made with freshly brewed Bulletproof brand coffee frothed in a blender with grass-fed ghee (clarified butter) and Bulletproof Brain Octane C8 MCT oil. The fat keeps me full and satisfied for hours, and the C8 MCT oil not only helps burn fat as part of a very low carb or ketogenic diet but also helps keep my brain and attention more sharp and focused while I'm working, while the caffeine helps keep me awake and alert. This mixture is so smooth and creamy and the low acidity of the Bulletproof coffee beans agrees with my digestive system far better than ordinary coffee beans, so I no longer need to add cream. Instead of sugar, I sweeten it with one of my favorite keto diet-friendly sugar replacements, such as BochaSweet granulated or Besti monk fruit and allulose blend granulated sweetener.

My husband also has been drinking bulletproof coffee twice a day, a cup first thing in the morning and a second cup mid-afternoon. He finds that it helps tremendously with maintaining his mental acuity, focus and energy during his long and stressful workdays without making him feel wired and jittery, which regular coffee always does but Bulletproof brand coffee does not.

Integrated coffee measuring scoop on side of Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Brewer
The Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Maker has an integrated coffee measuring scoop

Don't Brew More Coffee Than You Need

Before I bought my husband his new Ninja CE251 Programmable Brewer, we were using my dad's 20-year-old coffee maker, which also had a 12-cup glass carafe but no small batch settings. Using it to make a small batch of coffee (4 cups or less) produced terrible coffee, so he would brew a full carafe's worth. Unfortunately, that was also the case for most of the coffee makers with small-batch settings I looked at that didn't cost a fortune, as well as the single-serve coffee makers that weren't inordinately expensive and didn't use K-cups or other coffee pods, which he have stopped using as we are trying try to minimize our consumption of single-use plastic disposable items.

Good Coffee Is Too Expensive to Waste

Good quality coffee, including sustainably grown, Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee beans that have been tested for mycotoxins (harmful mold toxins), like those in Bulletproof brand coffee, is expensive and a shame to waste. 

So, after brewing a carafe of it, my husband would pour out a cup of the fresh brew for himself (and one for me, if I was having some that morning), then let the rest cool in the carafe to room temperature, pour it into a couple of large hydration bottles and refrigerate them. In the early afternoon, he would decant and reheat a cup of the refrigerated Joe in the microwave it before blending it with grass-fed ghee and MCT oil to make his second Bulletproof coffee of the day.

Coffee Should Be Consumed as Soon as Possible After Brewing

Unfortunately, the coffee oils that give the brew its rich flavor and aroma oxidize when they are exposed to oxygen, both in the air and in the water used to brew it, especially when heated. So, the longer the coffee sits after you brew it, the more the oils oxidize, making the beverage taste more bitter and smell stale. So, the sooner you drink your coffee after brewing it, the better!

That's another reason not to make more coffee than you plan to drink in the next 30-60 minutes. 

Photo of Ninja CE251 programmable coffee brewer with 60-oz. removable water reservoir
The 60-oz. removable water reservoir is easy to bring to the sink to fill

Why the Versatile, Affordable, Programmable Ninja CE251 Is the Best Small Batch Coffee Maker Option

Here are the features and benefits that make the Ninja CE251 the best programable coffee maker for brewing both large and small batches without breaking the bank.

Delicious, Rich Flavor and Aroma, Whether You Make a Single Cup or a Full Carafe

Unlike most other 12-cup carafe programmable coffee makers with a small batch option, this versatile Ninja model delivers the same excellent, flavorful, piping hot brew when you use the small batch settings (for 1–4 cups) as when you make a larger 6–, 8– 10– or 12–cup batch.

Note: Virtually all electric coffee makers consider a "cup" of coffee to be 5 fluid ounces, not the 8 fluid ounces in a standard US measuring cup.  

Affordable

The Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Brewer was available on Amazon for less than $80 at the time this post was published, a great price for a coffee maker with such thoughtful design, excellent performance and consistent brew quality for both large and small batch brewing.

Two Custom Brew Strengths

A choice of Classic or Rich strengths and Ninja's Thermal Flavor Extraction® Technology produce hot, flavorful coffee with no bitterness. The Rich strength setting provides a darker, more robust brew and maintains its smooth flavor when you add milk or cream.

Removable Water Reservoir 

One of the things my husband and I really disliked about my dad's 20-year-old coffee maker that we had been using was the fact that the water reservoir was permanently attached to the machine, so we had to use the carafe to measure the water and then pour it into the reservoir, which was hard to do without spilling any. The water reservoir was also black opaque plastic with a window, which made it inconvenient to see the water level.

The water reservoir on the Ninja CE251 large and small batch coffee maker is see through, BPA-free plastic with clear, easy-to-read markings and indentations that make it easy for even small hands like mine to hold it securely when pulling it out to fill at the sink and carrying it back to reattach to the coffee maker.

24-Hour Programmable Delay Brew

You can program your brewer as much as a day in advance, so you can set it up at night to wake you with the aroma of fresh coffee. One of my favorite childhood memories waking up to the smell of Dad's strong, freshly ground and brewed coffee in the morning!

Flavor Straw and Mid-Brew Pause

The "flavor straw" keeps the coffee circulating as it's brewing so the heat and flavor are uniform throughout the batch, while the mid-brew pause lets you remove the carafe briefly to pour a cup or two while waiting for the rest of the batch to brew.

Adjustable Warming Plate

Although I highly recommend drinking your coffee within an hour of brewing it for the best flavor and aroma, the Ninja CE251 gives you the option of programming the warming plate to stay on for up to 4 hours.

Permanent Gold-Tone Filter

A permanent gold-tone metal coffee filter is included with this Ninja coffee brewer. You have the choice to use either the permanent metal mesh filter or disposable #4 cone paper coffee filters; do not use a paper coffee filter inside the permanent metal mesh filter.

If you use the permanent metal mesh filter, you will retain more of the coffee oils for a more flavorful, aromatic brew. If you fill it with ground coffee with a medium grind in the permanent metal filter, as recommended, there should be minimal sediment from the "fines" (finely-ground, powdered coffee too small to be filtered out by the metal mesh). 

Alternatively, you can remove the gold-tone filter and use #4 disposable paper filters instead, which will absorb a lot of the coffee oils and make the brew less flavorful and aromatic but also filter out more of the fines, if having even a small amount of sediment bothers you. I highly recommend using natural, unbleached #4 cone paper filters for both flavor and health and safety reasons. 

Twist-Lock Carafe Lid

Unlike the lid to the glass carafe of my dad's old coffee maker that we had been using, the lid to this Ninja programmable coffee brewer easily locks and unlocks with a simple twist. Now I don't have to risk breaking a nail to attach or detach the carafe lid!

Easy to Clean and Maintain

One of the things my husband hated about our old coffee maker was that, because the water reservoir was not removable, in order to clean it he had to put the entire machine into the sink, even though the built-in electronics needed to be kept dry. In addition, the opaque black plastic made it almost impossible to see whether it was properly cleaned or needed descaling.

The Ninja CE251’s see-through removable plastic reservoir can be carried to the sink for filling or cleaning while keeping the electronics well away from any water. 

Although it is preferable to hand-wash the permanent gold-tone coffee filter, the removable water reservoir and the glass carafe, all three are top-rack dishwasher safe. The manufacturer recommends using a ball-shaped, soft foam brush for thoroughly cleaning the inside of the glass carafe.

As with any electric coffee maker, periodic descaling is recommended to remove buildup from the heating element inside the machine. Although you can use a special descaling solution made specifically for cleaning coffeemakers, 16 ounces of ordinary white vinegar works fine and is significantly cheaper. Follow the simple instructions in the Ninja CE200 series product manual and quick start guide for pouring the descaling solution or vinegar into the removable water reservoir and pressing the Clean button on the control panel on the front of the coffee maker, followed by running a Classic brew cycle with just clean, fresh water. 

You Don’t Have to Be a Coffee Connoisseur to Appreciate the Difference in Taste!

My husband doesn’t consider himself a serious coffee enthusiast like my dad by any means, which is why he was surprised and delighted at how much better the same freshly-ground Bulletproof coffee “The Mentalist” medium dark roast beans tasted after being brewed in his new Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Brewer compared to the previous batches brewed in our old coffee maker.

A Great Gift for Any Coffee Lover

Although we haven't had our Ninja CE251 Programmable that long yet, so far we are both thrilled with this purchase. My husband couldn't be happier! It would make a great gift for yourself or someone else who enjoys a great-tasting cup of coffee, needs to brew small amounts most days but also appreciates the ability to brew a full 12-cup carafe when company comes, as well as ease of use and easy cleaning and maintenance. 

Close-up photo of Ninja CE251 Programmable Coffee Maker control panel
The control panel on this programmable large- and small-batch coffee maker is simple, intuitive and easy to read

For those of us who work from home, it's also a treat to be able to brew a small quantity fresh throughout the day.


The Best Affordable Programmable Large- and Small-Batch Coffee Maker by Margaret Schindel


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