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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Recently, I wrote about my successful experience with growing microgreens, using Hamama Seed Quilts. I thought it would be helpful to also review both the decorative accessories and most helpful extras I use and love for growing these delicious and extremely nutritious microgreens indoors, in the comfort of my living room.

Although the Hamama's bamboo grow tray frame, seed quilt label holder, and other decorative accessories are designed specifically for the company's innovative, patent-pending growing system, the other recommended products I'm reviewing here would be both useful and beneficial to anyone who enjoys gardening, cooking, or both!

Photo of bamboo accessories and other supplies for Hamama micgrogreens growing system, overlaid with title text, "Hamama Seed Quilt Microgreens Growing Accessories"
My favorite accessories and useful supplies for growing microgreens with Hamama's seed quilt growing system
Microgreens are a delicious, nutritious way to add essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes for those of us who try to live a healthy lifestyle. Since health was my primary motivation for losing nearly 60 pounds on a keto diet, my new healthier lifestyle focuses quite a bit on healthy eating, and especially on getting more nutrition from food and relying less on supplements, something that is especially important when following a ketogenic approach to eating.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Growing System Accessories and Helpful Supplies

As I shared in my previous post, the Hamama microgreens seed quilt growing system is so easy, even this “brown thumb” gardening amateur is successfully growing delicious, healthy, nutrient-dense microgreens throughout the year, even here in New England. Now that my husband and I are no longer are at the mercy of the unpredictable and often scant selection of packaged microgreens at our local stores, we use our fresh, home-grown microgreens for more than just garnishes. In fact, they make up half the dark, leafy greens in our large, nightly dinner salads!

Along with Hamama's seed quilts and grow trays, the core of their unique container gardening system, I've also purchased a few accessories and supplies that have made the process of growing my own fresh, nutritious kale, broccoli, clover, daikon radish, zesty salad mix, and other varieties of microgreens more enjoyable and convenient. 

Hamama's Custom Growing System Accessories

Bamboo Grow Tray Frames and Seed Quilt Label Holders

Photo of two side-by-side Hamama seed quilts with decorative bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders
I love the way the bamboo grow tray frames and seed quilt label holders dress up my microgreens growing setup by our living room windows
Since counter space in our small kitchen is at a premium, I grow my microgreens in our living room, which has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows (although Hamama microgreens seed quilts don’t require a lot of light). So, I successfully harvested a few different varieties of microgreens using this unique growing system, I decided to spring for Hamama’s proprietary bamboo frames and seed quilt label holders. The bamboo frames fit either style of the company's grow tray. I started with Hamama's white ceramic tray. See how nice the bamboo frame looks with it?
Photo of microgreens growing in white ceramic Hamama grow tray with bamboo frame
The white ceramic grow tray is thicker (and heavier) than the black plastic tray.
Not long after, I decided to switch to the black plastic grow trays, which weigh very little and are much easier to carry back and forth to the kitchen (on the other end of our house) for cleaning. Although I try to avoid buying plastic for disposable items, these trays are reusable, and I plan to be using them for the foreseeable future. The walls are much thinner, allowing a narrow margin around the seed quilt, so it's much easier to check the water level in relation to the coconut coir mat (and to add a bit more water, if it's evaporating faster than expected). The marked fill line is also thinner than on the white ceramic tray, so it's easier to gauge how much water to add for soaking the seed quilt.

Whether you prefer the black plastic or white ceramic grow tray, the simple, sleek and stylish bamboo frames make them much more attractive and blend well with any style of home décor. There is a Hamama logo in the lower left corner of one side of the frame. Usually, I'm not a fan of displaying brand names, especially on decorative items. But in this case, I think the logo has been done quite tastefully and doesn't detract from the look. However, it can easily be hidden by facing that side of the frame toward the window, if you prefer.

Photo of Hamama microgreens germinated seed quilt in tray with decorative bamboo grow tray frame and seed quilt label holder
The Hamama bamboo grow tray frames and matching seed quilt label holders give my microgreens growing setup a more attractive, "finished" look.
The matching bamboo label holders are great for displaying the coated cardstock labels that come with each seed quilt at an easy-to-read angle. These labels provide a useful reminder of which type of microgreens I’m currently growing, as well as the approximate number of days until the paper cover should be peeled, and the total number of days until harvest. Before I got these label holders, I used to tape the cardstock labels to the grow trays. The tape left a sticky residue and wasn’t very attractive. Now, my bamboo seed quilt label holders coordinate perfectly with my grow tray frames.

Each holder is a nicely finished, rectangular block of bamboo the exact length of a Hamama seed quilt label, with a thin slot for the label. Whenever you start a new seed quilt, simply slide the label that comes with it into the slot, which holds it upright and angled slightly back for easy reading. When you finish harvesting your microgreens crop, just remove and discard the label from the holder, so it’s ready for the label from your next seed quilt.

More Matching Bamboo Accessories

Hamama makes a matching seed quilt holder for storing your extra seed quilts, but since I don’t store mine out where people can see them, I didn’t need one. The company has just announced its brand new bamboo "grow shelf," a gorgeous self-standing, five-shelf, open shelving unit to current customers, who can preorder one now. I expect it to be added to the Shop section of the website soon, so everyone who wants will be able to order one.

Extra Hamama Grow Trays

Once I knew I was going to be using this unique microgreens growing system regularly, I ordered two additional grow trays. As of this writing, the price of two black grow trays is only four dollars more than the price of just one. And, since it’s essential to clean each grow tray thoroughly after harvesting one seed quilt and before starting another, it’s nice to have an extra tray so there’s a clean one standing by to start my next microgreens seed quilt as soon as I harvest the previous one. I can soak, scrub, and disinfect the used tray at my leisure (it’s also safe to clean in the top rack of the dishwasher).

Hamama Microgreens Harvesting Kit

The company offers a convenient set of three tools for harvesting the microgreens grown with their proprietary seed quilts and grow trays. The kit contains:

  • 1 reusable Stasher silicone bag (sandwich size)
  • 1 pair of scissors (with the Hamama logo)
  • 1 bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (for thoroughly scrubbing your grow tray)

It's a very useful kit, particularly if you prefer to harvest your microgreens by trimming them just above the top of the seed quilt, rather than pulling them out, roots and all. Alternatively, you can purchase a Stasher silicone food storage bag, a pair of sharp, stainless steel scissors, and a bamboo scrub brush with natural fiber bristles (or use equivalent items you may already own) to create your own customized microgreens harvesting kit.

Save Money on Your First Hamama Grow Kit, Seed Quilt, or Accessories Order

Helpful tip: Don't miss my Hamama shopping link and discount code at the end of this article to save 10%!

My Favorite, Practical Products for Growing, Harvesting and Storing Fresh Microgreens

Stasher Silicone Food Storage Bags

You don't have to grow microgreens to fall in love with these fabulous food storage and cooking bags

In August 2019, I wrote a review of my favorite silicone kitchen tools and accessories, including silicone food storage bag. But, after trying the Stasher silicone bag in my Hamama Harvesting Kit, I fell in love with it. I purchased three more in larger sizes, and I definitely plan to add more over time. Although they cost more than other silicone bags, they're totally worth the price!

These Stasher silicone bags are a cinch to open and close, unlike any other brand of silicone food storage bags I've tried. Yet, they're also airtight and watertight. Many people use them for sous-vide cooking, placing the sealed bag of raw food in a pot of boiling water. And since these bags are leakproof, They're also perfect for marinating meats, poultry, seafood, fish, or vegetables to infuse them with extra flavor.

Photo of four Stasher silicone food storage bags
The Stasher silicone food storage bags I have purchased to date

The Stasher bag that came with the Hamama Harvesting Kit is the sandwich size (7.5" x 7.5" x 1"), which has a 15 oz. capacity. (It's the smallest one in the photo of my current Stasher bag collection.) However, since I wrap my harvested microgreens loosely in a paper towel before placing them in the bag to store in my refrigerator, I find that I need a larger size if I want to harvest all (or most) of a seed quilt at one time.

The sizes I use to comfortably contain an entire crop of paper towel-wrapped microgreens from a Hamama seed quilt are the tall Stasher Silicone Reusable 1/2 Gallon Food Storage Bag (10.25” x 8.25” x 1.5” with a 64.2 oz. capacity), and the Stasher Silicone Reusable Stand-Up Food Storage Bag (7.75" x 7" x 3" with a 56 oz. capacity) that, true to its name, stands up on its own for easy filling and removal of the contents.

Dedicated Scissors

If you prefer to harvest your microgreens with scissors, it's a bad idea to use your general-use utility scissors that are also used to cut paper, crafting materials, etc. I highly recommend dedicating a pair of scissors exclusively to harvesting microgreens and herbs, and cleaning the blades scrupulously before each use. They don't need to be fancy kitchen shears, but they should be sharp and comfortable and have stainless steel blades. (Who wants specks of rust in their microgreens or herbs?) 

If I were putting together my own harvesting kit, it would include the Fiskars 01-004761J Softgrip Scissors with 8-inch stainless steel blades (or something similar), which are backed by a lifetime warranty. 

Bamboo and Natural Fiber Bristle Scrub Brush

It's important to clean Hamama grow trays very thoroughly before starting each seed quilt. Although the trays are top-rack dishwasher safe, the top rack or our modestly sized dishwasher is usually filled to capacity with glasses, cups, bowls, long-handled spatulas, cooking tongs, etc. So, I prefer to scrub my grow trays by hand.

It can be challenging to clean between the ridges inside the black grow trays, particularly at the corners and around the perimeter. That's why the Hamama Harvesting Kit includes the small, round, bamboo handled scrub brush with natural fiber bristles, which I find invaluable for this purpose.

When I looked for a similar brush, most of them had either synthetic bristles or components made of plastic or other non-biodegradable components. After considerable searching, I finally found a palm-sized, mildew-resistant round bamboo scrub brush with organic, natural fiber bristles, very similar to the one in the Hamama Harvesting Kit. As a bonus, it comes with soap dish that can also be used to store the scrub brush out on the counter, if desired (just make sure both the brush and the dish are completely dry first). 

This versatile brush has medium-hard bristles that can also be used to clean even non-stick pots and pans, dishes, vegetables, and more.

3% Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide and Fine Mist Spray Bottle

Only one of my Hamama seed quilts has ever developed mold, back when I was still a seed quilt "newbie." It was hot and humid in our living room, since we don't have central air conditioning and only turn on each room's A/C unit when we are actively using the room. I made the common rookie mistake of over-watering that one seed quilt, so that the paper covering was wet. When, unsurprisingly, about a third of the sections failed to germinate. I then compounded the problem by covering those water-logged sections with strips of newspaper for two days, after reading a troubleshooting tip for a different problem. (I did say I had a brown thumb!) Of course, when I pulled off the newspaper strips at the end of two days, there were signs of mold, and unfortunately, the seed quilt was unsalvageable at that point.

Before throwing away the moldy seed quilt, I took a couple of photos and shared them in the Hamama Friends group on Facebook and asked how I could prevent a recurrence. The answers were very instructive. One of the best recommendations I got was from a woman who recommended that spraying the surface of the water in the grow tray with food-grade 3% hydrogen peroxide before soaking future seed quilts. She also said she mists the leaves with it after peeling off the paper cover, and hasn't had any mold issues since she started doing that.

I immediately ordered a bottle of food grade 3% hydrogen peroxide. A while ago, I had purchased a dozen small, cobalt blue glass mister bottles. I filled one of them with the 3% hydrogen peroxide and labeled it (since the rest of my cobalt glass misters are also filled with clear liquids), and it now lives next to my Hamama grow trays to remind me to spritz the water before soaking each new seed quilt. And, like the helpful person who suggested I use the 3% hydrogen peroxide for this purpose, I haven't seen a speck of mold since I started following her excellent advice!

I find these pretty and practical cobalt blue glass spritzer bottles useful for many different purposes. They spray a very fine mist, which makes them ideal for evenly and lightly moistening metal clay with distilled water, since this material dries out very quickly when exposed to air while working with it. I keep another filled with isopropyl alcohol for sanitizing makeup brushes, tweezers, manicure implements, etc. in between full soap-and-water cleanings. I also find that they don't leak, so I'm considering keeping another bottle filled with a CDC-approved alcohol-based disinfectant in my purse for when I leave the house. The cobalt glass isn't just pretty; it also helps protect the contents against UV rays.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

If you haven't ordered directly from the Hamama website before, you can use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total. And if you're lucky enough to have receive a Hamama grow kit as a gift, you can use this link and discount code to save 10% on the beautiful bamboo accessories made exclusively for the Hamama seed quilt and grow tray system.

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories by Margaret Schindel

Posts In This Series About My Keto Diet Journey

My Favorite Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt Accessories

Hamama Microgreens Growing Kit Review & Success Tips

Good Dee’s Keto Cookie Low Carb Baking Mix Review

Low Carb Keto Chocolate Yogurt Granola Chip Pudding Recipe

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

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part Two

Preparing to Succeed on the Keto Diet, Part One

My First Year on The Keto Diet


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 Reviews About Health and Wellness by Our Review This Reviews Contributors

Read More Gardening Reviews 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, October 19, 2020

Reviewing Beginning Soap Making Supplies

 I have always wanted to learn soap-making but have been intimidated by the recipes and working with lye. This year I tried an even more basic soap-making process with Melt & Pour soap base. I completed two batches using this easy method. It was an excellent start and required only a short list of supplies.



I ordered the Honey Melt & Pour Soap Base, a silicone soap mold, and a mixing cup with a pour spout. I already had essential oil, inexpensive mixing spoons, a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol, a cutting board and a knife.  The only other thing needed is a heat source. Most people use their microwaves for this process and some use a double boiler pan on the stove. 

The shortened version of melt & pour soap-making is:

  • purchase a melt & pour soap base
  • cut that base into small chunks and melt in the microwave using very short bursts of time
  • once melted, add in a very small amount of essential oil 
  • stir very gently (in order to avoid making bubbles)
  • pour into a soap mold
  • spritz the top of the soaps with alcohol (this removes the bubbles and is not a required step)
  • allow soaps to dry before removing from the molds

The Melt & Pour soap bases come in a variety of ingredients. I chose the honey base first. And so far it has been my favorite. I have since used a Shea Melt & Pour base. 

I used this silicone soap bar mold and I like it a lot. It came in a pack of 3. 


With the silicone soap mold, the bars popped out easily (pushing them from the back side) once they dried. Also, with 3 molds, I didn't feel pressured to make then pour the exact amounts needed for the mold. I just poured bars of soap until my mixture ran out. I made small batches so that was only about 6 bars of soap. 

Using Melt & Pour soap base is a great way to get over your fear of beginning soap-making. After I made 2 batches of soap using this process, I did move on to making a batch of soap using lye.

Soap making with lye can be done using either a hot process or a cold process. I used the cold process as it seemed the next natural step after using melt & pour. Someday I'll advance to the hot process of soap-making using lye.

In addition to using Melt & Pour as a beginning step in learning soap-making as a hobby, I highly recommend this as an activity to do with the children. Note: the melted soap base is very hot so children should be fully supervised and assisted. But like cooking and baking, making soap would be a great quality time activity with the kids. 

I do not feel qualified to instruct you in making Melt & Pour soap. There are many video tutorials if you search using the terms "melt and pour". I do highly recommend the honey base I've shown and the silicone molds I purchased. The initial cost for these items is not too high. And when finished, you'll have your own soap to use. 

With a little creativity, you can personalize your soaps. I used my favorite spiced orange essential oil in one batch. In another batch, I added some pulverized tea leaves and aloe vera from my plant. That batch ended up as an ugly bar of soap in appearance but I LOVE what it does for my skin. Melt & Pour is limited in that you cannot add large amounts of additional ingredients or you will change the ratio that is what makes it soap. However, just a few drops of essential oils goes a very long way. 

If you have been wanting to try soap-making, but haven't yet, consider giving Melt & Pour a try.

My first batch of soap: Honey Melt & Pour base.






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, October 14, 2020

Warm Toes and Funny Socks are a Great Combination

Summertime has ended and it's now time to get out the woolies!  Cold feet are one of the first things I notice when the weather changes!  Here's a great Gift Idea!

Not many of us like cold feet and for me personally, it is the first thing that I notice as the fall becomes a fact of life.  I hate having cold feet! Add a pair of socks and I'm feeling warm well into the evenings after sundown.  Toasty toes are something that I really like.  


In the summer months that's not a problem, but once October rolls around, I'm scrambling to get my tootsies into something that will keep them and me happy. 

Bring on the socks!  

The days of putting your feet into a pair of boring socks are gone forever.  Today, many of us are choosing to use our feet to help tell our story! 

There are so many choices and some really fun ideas to keep the word "BORING" out of your sock drawer.  

My son's wedding a couple of years ago, was a great time to let loose, even though it was a very formal and "special" occasion, they still wanted to add some fun.

All the groomsmen were outfitted with Socks with Star Wars themes on them!  Both the Bride and Groom loved Star Wars, so it was fitting to add  little "Space Extras" into their day.


Novelty Socks have taken the market by storm.  Today you can get socks to show support for your favorite team or sport.  You can get socks that have funny sayings on them and lots with colorful patterns.  The best thing is that these are not just for the kids anymore.

These socks come in adult sizes for both men and women.  Oh children can still get some wonderful socks too!

Funny Socks really make a great gift for almost anytime of year. Even funny socks will be useful.  They aren't too expensive either.  So you can have some fun without breaking the proverbial bank!

When my grandchildren were younger I would buy them socks that were colorful and full of many different designs.  Sorting socks after washing became a game and some fun for them too.  It's so much easier to sort socks when there's a bold design on them, then just your regular white, grey or black sports socks.

Funny and Bold socks are just so much fun compared to what we have been used to.  Designs cover every holiday, sports teams, lifestyle choices and so much more.  You can even have socks custom made just for your and your family.

My best friend gifted me a pair of socks last year.  Looking at them you wouldn't think they were too outlandish, but when you see the soles of the socks, you just have to laugh.  She knows me far too well.

You can get some idea of the socks that are available on the link below.
Novelty Socks for the Whole Family

Novelty Socks are a great gift idea all year long.  Because they are affordable, you can send someone a gift without having to worry and with Amazon you can have it sent directly to the recipient.  Just remember to mark it as a gift at the check out!  

Are you and your best friends having a sports showdown?  Get them a pair of socks with their favorite team and let them walk the walk in style and support!

I like that you can send someone a pair of socks and you know that they will find them useful and I'm sure they will have a good laugh at your choice for them.  

My eldest Grandson would love the socks with sayings on the bottom!  His favorite would be " Do Not Disturb and I'm Busy Gaming" on the feet.  
These are the ones I have and the ones I'm getting for my grandson!

I'm sure you will find a time and a celebration that would be a perfect time to send some special socks to rock your family and friends.



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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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Cool Camping Gift Ideas Reviewed

Some people just can't get enough of the great outdoors; they can't resist those outdoor activities. Hiking a mountain trail, riding a bike trail, fishing in a lake or stream, canoeing, and boating. 

Whatever your pleasure is, the great outdoors offers it all. Some people like to take on some of these activities while camping. Other people, like myself, just like to relax enjoy the surroundings, cook up some great food, and meet new friends. 

Cool camping gift ideas reviewed

Camping is such a wonderful family activity. When our kids were growing up our family along with friends rented cottages on a small lake just south of Lake Erie in Western Pennsylvania.

Here we made memories that we'll never forget. The Lake had a recreation area with a game room and go-carts for kids and the big kids.

After a day of relaxation, good food, and fun my favorite time of these camping trips was the nightly campfire.

Now that our kids have grown up and have their own kids we haven't been camping in a long time. Although, we still enjoy those wonderful campfires with our kids and grandchildren right in our own backyard.

Cool Camping Gift Ideas:


Landmann USA 23172 Patio Lights Firewave Firepit, BlackLandmann USA 23172 Patio Lights Firewave Firepit, Black

This Landmann Firepit was my Father's Day gift many years ago. Now in the spring, summer, and fall, we enjoy our backyard campfires.

 Although many people here in Western New York like their backyard campfires all year long, I pull the plug when it starts to snow.

Landmann fire pits are made with sturdy steel construction and come with a poker and cooking grate.

You can find out here: How to Cook Corn on a Campfire


 

Square Pie Iron - Cast IronSquare Pie Iron - Cast Iron

You can't possibly have a backyard campfire without cooking up some Mountain Pies also known as Hobo Pies.

My Rome pie irons were yet another gift from my daughter for our backyard fires.

These pie irons are a heavy-duty cast iron design and will last forever if you take care of them. I clean and coat them on the inside and outside with vegetable oil after every use.

If you don't know how to make a mountain pie you can find out how here: Mountain Pies. 


I have two favorite mountain pies, one is pizza with cheese, sauce, and pepperoni. The second is apple and cheddar cheese. This Creative Pie Iron Cooking book is loaded with many more recipes for your enjoyment. These are perfect gift ideas whether you're camping or want to enjoy some backyard fun. 

 

Rome Industries 2011 Creative Pie Iron Cooking by Richard O'RussiaRome Industries 2011 Creative Pie Iron Cooking by Richard O'Russia

 

See more Gift Ideas on Review This Reviews Here: ReviewThisGifts.com



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, October 7, 2020

Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review

Image: collage of Hamama microgreens photos with superimposed title, "The EASIEST Way to Grow Your Own Microgreens"
With a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and the company's proprietary seed quilts, growing and harvesting fresh, delicious, and nutritious microgreens is nearly effortless!

Fresh, crisp microgreens are colorful, refreshing, and extremely nutritious. Since last year, when I committed to making healthy lifestyle changes, including a special focus on healthy food choices, I have been adding microgreens to salads, sandwiches, soups, eggs, and other dishes as often as possible.

Although buying packaged microgreens at our local Whole Foods is an expensive and frustrating proposition, growing my own hadn't seemed like a viable option, given my poor track record with keeping even healthy plants alive, much less growing them from seed.

Then, four months ago, I found out about an innovative microgreens growing system from a company called Hamama, which was designed to be as as simple, effortless, and low-maintenance as possible, so that even container gardening newbies like me could grow these healthy, tasty, nutrient-dense greens year-round.  

The proprietary, patent pending Hamama Seed Quilt Growing System is the brainchild of co-founders Camille Richman and Daniel Goodman, who met when they were mechanical engineering students at the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following their graduation from MIT, they worked together full-time at the MIT Media Lab, researching high tech indoor agriculture. After growing food both in the lab and at home for several years, they wanted to make it possible for more people to experience the benefits of growing healthy food at home.

In May, I decided to order a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit, including three seed quilts and a reusable grow tray. I was surprised and delighted by the results, and a few weeks later,  I ordered two more growing trays and 18 more seed quilts. Although I've skipped a week here and there, I've successfully grown and harvested around more than a dozen seed quilts at this point. Now, I'm anxious to share my experience, and perhaps inspire others to try growing their own healthy, delicious, superfood microgreens, even if they have never had any experience, or luck, growing vegetables in the past.

P.S. Make sure to read all the way to the end of this review to find out how to get a 10% discount off the purchase price of your first order of a Hamama Microgreens Starter Kits, Seed Quilts, or other microgreens growing accessories!

Microgreens Are Superfoods That Pack a Powerful Nutritional Punch

Increasing our consumption of nutritious, dark leafy greens is an important part of healthy eating. The USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend eating more fruits and vegetables, including dark leafy greens. For those of us who have chosen a low carb, ketogenic approach to eating, dietary restrictions make it even harder to get enough nutrients from the foods we eat, rather than from supplements.

Adding more microgreens to our diets, in particular, provides even greater health benefits. A 2012 research study found that microgreens contain between four and 40 times higher concentrations of essential nutrients than their mature counterparts!

These nutrient-dense, immature plants can be excellent sources of key vitamins such as C, E, K, and also carotenoids including lutein and beta-carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A aka retinol), two important antioxidants provide a wide range of health benefits, including helping to protect our eyes against macular degeneration. 

Photo of a large, colorful, salad topped with Hamama microgreens
We enjoy a large, colorful, salad with a generous helping of freshly harvested microgreens every day!

Why Not Just Buy Packaged Microgreens Instead of Growing Them?

Unfortunately, many supermarkets and grocery stores either don't sell them, or run out of them quickly. Even when I've been lucky enough to find one or two containers, those commercially grown microgreens have cost a pretty penny. Far too often, the expensive organic microgreens we've bought at our local Whole Foods Market have become not just limp but slimy and inedible after just one or two days in the vegetable drawer of our fridge. Most are also sold in single-use, plastic clamshell packaging, which is bad for the environment. 

Finding organic microgreens or ones that have been grown from non-GMO seeds can also be a challenge. 

Unfortunately, since March, these problems have been further exacerbated by the widespread negative impact of the current, unprecedented health crisis.

The Pros and Cons of Using Hamama Seed Quilts vs. Growing Microgreens From Seed

Buying packets of loose seeds and growing them on a bed of moistened potting mix, soil, or coconut coir is, without question, the cheapest way to grow microgreens at home. However, it also requires watering the seeds once or twice a day, and monitoring their progress daily, from the the time they are planted until they are ready to be harvested, usually takes somewhere between 9 days and a few weeks. And they do best with 4–6 hours of direct sunlight, or natural light supplemented by a grow light(s).

While this may be a good option for experienced container gardening enthusiasts, not everyone was blessed with a "green thumb," or enjoys growing things from seed. Some of us just want to have convenient and consistent access to a variety of microgreens and enjoy them when they are at their freshest, tastiest, and most nutritious, and are happy to pay more for an approach that requires significantly less time and effort than growing these immature greens from seed.  

That's why Hamama developed its proprietary seed quilt system, which makes growing fresh, delicious, nutrient-rich microgreens indoors as easy, effortless, and care-free as possible. 

Anatomy of a Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilt

Each seed quilt consists of three layers (excluding the seeds):

  1. The bottom layer is a loosely woven coconut coir mat (aka coconut fiber mat or coconut husk pad).
  2. The middle layer is a thin sheet of white felt
  3. The top layer is some type of unbleached paper.

The seeds are sandwiched between the white felt layer and the light brown paper cover, divided into 20 long, narrow, rectangular, "quilted" sections that hold the seeds in place in a fairly even distribution.

Key Benefits of the Hamama Seed Quilt Grow System for Microgreens

  • By combining the seeds, the growing substrates, and the papery cover into a single, compact unit and pairing it with a perfectly-sized growing tray, Hamama has removed as many variables as possible.
  • The Hamama Starter Kit contains everything you need to grow microgreens, except the 24–26 ounces of water for the initial soak. (Depending on the quality of your tap water, I recommend using filtered water.)
  • Starting a new seed quilt takes as little as 1–2 minutes! After that, you can basically ignore it for the next 4–6 days, until the seeds have germinated.
  • This bottom-watering and self-watering growing system is the closest thing to "set-it-and-forget it." Once you pour water inside the grow tray up to the fill line and briefly submerge the seed quilt to get all 20 sections evenly moistened, you shouldn't have to mist the seeds quilt or seedling, or top up the water. (Toward the end of the growing period, I try to check the water level every couple of days, if I remember. just in case it drops below the midpoint of the coconut coir mat.) 
  • The brown paper cover helps to filter the ambient light during the initial 4–6 day germination period, then it peels off easily to provide the seedlings with full exposure to the ambient light.

Hamama Microgreens Seed Quilts Are So Effortless, They Practically Grow Themselves!

Growing a Hamama microgreens seed quilt is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Do the brief initial "soak." Add water to the growing tray's marked fill line (no higher) and submerge the seed quilt for 10–30 seconds, just until all 20 sections have uniformly changed to a darker shade of brown.
  2. After 3–5 days, when the seeds have germinated, pushing against the paper cover and causing the sections to puff up or balloon, peel the paper cover.
  3. Approximately 7–10 days after the initial soak, harvest your microgreens!

You can harvest the entire seed quilt at once and store whatever microgreens you won't use immediately in the refrigerator, if you wish, or harvest a few sections at a time over the next few days. 

Photo of Hamama Earthy Clover and Super Salad Mix seed quilts and are puffed up and ready to peel
I often grow more than one Hamama seed quilt at a time

What's Included In the Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit?

  • One reusable Grow Tray.
    • Black plastic or white ceramic
  • Your choice of three Hamama Seed Quilts (choose all one variety, or mix and match up to three different types) 

  • Easy growing instructions.

Choose From 10 Different Types of Microgreens Seed Quilts

Hearty Broccoli, Refreshing Cabbage, Spicy Daikon Radish, Super Salad Mix, Sweet Wheatgrass, Zesty Mix, Energizing Kale, Earthy Clover, Hot Wasabi Mustard, and Fragrant Fenugreek. All the seeds in Hamama's microgreens seed quilts are non-GMO Six are also organic (Energizing Kale, Fragrant Fenugreek, Hearty Broccoli, Spicy Daikon Radish, Earthy Clover, and Sweet Wheatgrass). The company is working on making the switch to an all certified organic line.

Save 10% on Your First Hamama Order!

Use my Hamama shopping link (or click on the image below), add the products you want to the shopping cart, then use the discount code SUPERGREENS during checkout to get 10% off your product total.


Hamama Microgreens Starter Kit and Seed Quilts Review by Margaret Schindel


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Monday, October 5, 2020

Review Updates: Anker PowerPort and Anker PowerCore

During a recent camping trip I once again depended on my Anker solar charger and battery charger. I realized how long I had been using those items. It was then that I decided to begin writing updates for a few of my favorite reviews.

One of the very best things about being a part of the Review This! team is knowing that we write about the things we truly use, enjoy, and honestly recommend. The recipes are the foods we cook and enjoy. The product reviews are the things we use. Our site is not clickbait; clogged up with ads. And we very rarely write reviews because someone has approached us, asking for a review of their products. It is an honor to be a part of this group. 

Anker PowerPort Solar Charger and Anker PowerCore Battery:

I go camping regularly; off-grid in West Virginia.  Even though I go with the plan to be unplugged and get away from it all, I still want to have a fully charged cell phone at all times. I have 2 items from Anker that have been super reliable and keep me feeling secure at all times.

The Anker PowerPort Solar Charger was my first Anker purchase.  I reviewed this charger in September 2017.  I still use this solar charger during every, single camping trip and I have had zero problems with it. On 2 occasions, it shut down briefly and I thought perhaps I had broken it. But those were 2 extremely hot days and very bright sunshine. In hindsight, I wonder if it (or my phone) got overheated and shut down temporarily. That has not happened outside of those two occasions. 

This charger is lightweight but folds up in a way that is easily to carry in a backpack. I HIGHLY recommend this item for camping, hiking, and other off-grid situations.

Because there were times that I was camping during several days of rain, or in the winter when daylight hours are shorter, I added the Anker PowerCore battery to my camping supplies in 2018. I also keep it fully charged during hurricane season. 

This item is basically a rechargeable battery. I charge it fully using the outlet or my laptop (using the USB cord) and then keep it in my camping supplies. It provides enough power to charge my cellphone for multiple days. I have only had one issue with the PowerCore Battery and that was due to operator error. In short, Willy (my dog) got the zoomies in The Shack and ripped the battery off of a shelf when he ran under the cord. It was quite impressive how far the battery flew... and the cord now has to be finessed into the opening in order to make full contact. Frankly, I'm quite impressed that the battery didn't break during that incident.

The PowerCore battery chargers are offered in different sizes (or would that be capacities?).  I purchased the largest that I could afford at that time. But I plan on purchasing one that has a larger "mAh" capacity as soon as I am able. That way I am prepared with more charges in the event of a longer term camping or weather situation.
Between the solar charger and the battery, I am prepared for any weather and several days of being off-grid - whether intentional or due to emergency circumstances. 

In Summary:

Yes, that was a lot of rambling to say that I purchased these items in 2017 and 2018. I use them regularly. The dogs and I are clumsy and a little rough on things. And these two items have withstood our abuse. These two purchases were well worth the money spent. And years later, I still highly recommend them! 
 
The Links for the original reviews:

Reviewing the Anker Portable Solar Power Charger (on my personal blog: Treasures, Travel, Tales).

Reviewing the Anker PowerCore Portable Charger.





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Friday, October 2, 2020

Reviewing "MyPillow" Mattress Topper

MyPillow Mattress Topper
I previously reviewed our MyPillow pillows, which we still love. Because the pillows were such a hit in our home, we also opted to buy the MyPillow mattress topper. 

I wanted to wait a while to review the mattress topper. For me, it was as important, if not more important, than the pillows. Plus, it is a lot more expensive than pillows, therefore I wanted to make sure it was worthy of my recommendation. Now that we have been sleeping on the topper for 4 months, I believe I can give you a review based on experience, not just first impressions. 

For me, a mattress topper is not just about making a bed more comfortable.  It is about being able to sleep through the night without experiencing discomfort from being too soft or too hard.  Both can result in pain.  My days of sleeping on floors or on the ground, long ago passed.

 

Why I Need a Great Mattress Topper

I have mentioned in past articles that I was born with severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine). Because of the multiple curves in my spine, as well as having a pronounced raised hip on one side, I do experience pain, especially if I do not have good support when sleeping or sitting. My mattress matters a lot to me, as I think it does to everyone, whether they suffer with scoliosis or not.  I'm not quick to embrace any kind of change. However, it was time for a new mattress on our bed. 

When You Hear the Price of a New Mattress
My husband and I started shopping for a new mattress, only to discover many of the current mattresses are made of foam. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about that fact and started testing the mattresses with a great deal of apprehension.  In spite of feeling like we were on display in the store, we tried several mattresses. There was only one that would suit my needs. When the salesman, unapologetically, quoted an astronomical price that exceeded $15,000, I walked.   No, perhaps you could say I ran from the store. I was not about to spend that kind of money on a mattress that may or may not feel great for 8 hours each night, for years to come. I thought our mattress was looking a whole lot better and clearly had at least 15 more good years.  In the car, my husband was saying he would do whatever I needed regardless of price.  My mind was saying, $15,000 for a mattress?  I paid less than that for my first automobile! 

When we got home, I promptly went online and ordered a Memory Foam mattress topper.  The Memory Foam Topper price in 2017 was $116.00, clearly significantly less than $15,000.  I had to wait several days after we received it to put it on the bed.  It smelled awful!  It took a while for it to air out enough to be able to sleep on it, but I felt this was a good compromise.


The MyPillow Mattress Topper

After sleeping on our MyPillow pillows for a month, I decided to try the MyPillow Mattress Topper too.  My Memory Foam mattress topper was now 3 years old.  My husband described its condition as having to sleep in craters.  Okay, so it had clear recesses.  I guess it's "memory" of our body impressions was just a little too good, but I was still not in the mood to spend an automobile price on a new mattress and the Memory Foam mattresses were no longer available.  So, we bought the MyPillow mattress topper.

 MyPillow Three-inch Mattress Bed Topper (King)Check Price

The first week was a real adjustment for me.  It was harder than the Memory Foam, but I was definitely sleeping through the night and waking up pain-free.  After a month, all was still well and I no longer thought it was too firm.  After 4 months, I can say, with certainty, that this mattress topper is the right choice.

Benefits of the MyPillow Mattress Topper 

  • Available in 7 sizes
  • 3" Thick (requires deep pocket sheets to cover existing mattress & topper together)
  • Includes a Removable Zippered Cover made of Phase Change Material (body temperature regulated) which is Machine Wash & Dry
  • 4 Corner Straps that Holds Topper in Place
  • 10 Year Warranty
  • Made in the U.S.A.

Upon receipt, it is necessary to let the mattress topper lay out for a day to regain it's full shape after being wrapped for shipping.  The faint odor will also disappear quickly.





If you would like to read my review of the MyPillow pillows which I mentioned earlier, you can find it by clicking here.



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Friday, September 25, 2020

CleanGreen Microfiber Cleaning Gloves (Dusting Gloves) Reviewed

Microfiber Dusting Gloves
Recently, I discovered the CleanGreen Microfiber Cleaning Gloves. I planned to wear them while I was dusting my home so I could easily pick up & dust picture frames, trinket boxes and knick-knacks. However, the first time I put them on, I discovered they can do so much more!

As I was dusting my dining room, I found it was a lot faster and easier to dust the dining room table legs and chair legs with the gloves.  Moving on to the buffet, I discovered just how easy it was to dust the doors, drawers & sides of the buffet.  In my den, I ended up using just the gloves to dust the book shelves. 

The gloves allow me to hold picture frames without getting finger prints on them while also dusting them completely.  Since the gloves are not thick, I can still feel the surfaces.  They are also very soft, similar to the way a plush animal feels.  I may never use a dusting cloth again!


Benefits of the CleanGreen Microfiber Cleaning Gloves

 Master Manufacturing CleanGreen Microfiber Cleaning Gloves, One Size
OFFERED ON AMAZON PANTRY
Lowest Price When Available in Pantry
Check Price
There are several features about these gloves that I really like.  First and foremost, they do a great job of dusting anything your hands can touch or reach.  Here are a few more reasons to love them.

  • Attracts & Holds Dust, Dirt, or Pet Hair
  • Safe for Computers & Electronics
  • Safe for Dusting Leather
  • No Chemical Cleaning
  • Set of two gloves - one for each hand for dual action
  • Thin & soft - unlikely to scratch anything
  • Machine Wash & Dry

 

One note of caution:  Don't dry them with a fabric softener dryer sheet.

These dusting gloves made me wish I was a lot taller so I could dust the ceiling lights, fans, window casings and wall cornices.  Well, I guess I could do that with the help of a ladder, but I best stay on the ground with my long handled feather duster for those areas.

I was so impressed with these dandy dusting gloves that I immediately purchased 7 additional pairs.  I have already given my mom a pair and I plan to give them as Christmas gifts to the home "cleaners" in our family.   They are most definitely "gift worthy".




I am a firm believer in cleaning without harmful chemicals whenever there is an option! I have sought out cleaning products that do not have strong smells, yet actually work.

If you also avoid strong smells or harmful chemicals, you may also be interested in the reviews featured below.


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