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Valentine’s Day Gift Guide 2017

gourmet-salts-from-the-spice-lab

About The Spice Lab

As a woman-owned and family run business, The Spice Lab takes great pride in offering the widest selection of sea salts from a single source. Its every expanding line of products include peppers, spices, seasonings, rubs, loose teas, Gourmet Gift Collections, Himalayan salt shot glasses and plates, regional brands, private labeling, a wide array of corporate gifts and more.

All products are processed and packaged in our HACCP certified manufacturing facility in Pompano Beach, Florida. A homemade Christmas gift in 2009 sparked the start of The Spice Lab, recognized in 2014 and 2015 as one of the Top 50 Women-Owned Businesses in Florida and ranked # 549 on the 2015 Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies.

Salts and Teas

salts

The Spice Lab sent me some tea and some salt to try out. The first thing that I noticed was the amazing aroma of the teas. They sent me Sugar Plum and Black Forest. The Sugar Plum tea has fruity character with slight hints of berry, while the Black Forest tea captures the subtleties of chocolate, cherries, and cream beautifully. My son absolutely loves these teas. I simply put the tea in his diffuser water bottle, add some water and let it sit for a bit. The tea is smooth and flavorful, and he doesn’t put any sweetener or anything in it. He just likes to drink it as is. The Black Forest tea has a bit of a surprise in it: white chocolate chips! Who would’ve thought?!?!

salts

salts

The salt, oh the salt. I love a good salt that adds lots of flavors to my food. The Spice Lab didn’t disappoint, either! They sent four flavors of salt: Carolina Hickory, Cyprus Citron Flakes, Sriracha Pepper and Himalayan Crystal Pink. The cute little stand provided makes a wonderful display piece, and even offers a spoon for scooping the salt out. Each salt adds a dimension of flavor to different things.

salts

Carolina Hickory Smoked Sea Salt: Hickory Smoked Salt is created when delicate Pacific sea salt flakes are naturally smoked over premium Hickory hard wood. The resulting smoke flavor is full and clean without the bitterness. Hickory smoke is synonymous with southern cooking. Hickory Smoked Salt works magic with ribs, burgers, red meat, turkey, and chicken.

Cyprus Citron Flakes: On the Island of Cyprus, sea salt flakes are made in the traditional manner, through the evaporation of seawater.

Sriracha Pepper: Made from sun ripened chilies, finely ground sriracha powder is infused with sea salt to create this amazingly versatile condiment. It’s a flavorful addition for beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, soups, sauces and all types of Asian dishes.

Himalayan Crystal Pink: The Spice Lab sources only the finest quality 100% natural salt, hand-mined deep in the Himalayan Mountains.

Where To Buy

You can purchase the teas and salts mentioned in this post on The Spice Lab website. I do recommend them because they are good quality teas and salts. They offer a range of flavors to please anyone, and they really add to my recipes!

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im-going-bananas-dianas-bananas

It’s Bananas!

I love bananas. I mean, who doesn’t? The bad thing with bananas is that they brown so quickly after being peeled. Seriously fast! This tends to shy me away from eating them because I feel that I don’t get to take my time like I do with other fruit. I don’t want to scarf my food down in two seconds. Medical reasons prevent me from doing it, not that I would want to anyways. Diana’s Bananas has come up with a tasty way to eat your bananas….frozen!

About Diana’s Bananas

Diana’s Bananas started in the mid-80’s, as the delicious result of an inspired whim. There in our booth at The Taste of Chicago, the city’s yearly open-air food fest, we hit upon the idea of freezing a fresh, ripe banana and giving it a bath in delicious chocolatier-grade melted bar chocolate. We each took a bite and passed it around. Our taste buds leapt for joy… and we sprung into action.

We sent our team to the local supermarkets and cleaned them out of bananas. Around the clock, we melted chocolate, peeled bananas, inserted sticks, froze the bananas and dunked them in chocolate… oh, and we also sold the living daylights out of them. Ten days and 25,000 bananas later, we knew we had a hit on our hands.

Let’s face it, in a business like ours you can’t take yourself too seriously. Just look at our packaging, or this website, for that matter. There are pictures of chimps all over the place. But there is one thing we’re unwaveringly serious about—producing the world’s best chocolate-dipped frozen banana™.

bananas What They Offer

  • Banana Babies Milk Chocolate
  • Banana Bites: slices of bananas covered in dark and milk chocolate
  • Banana Babies Dark Chocolate
  • Banana Babies Chocolate and Peanut (not pictured)

 

 

 

My Thoughts

I absolutely LOVE these! It’s like I am eating an ice cream bar, but it’s fruit and it’s good for me! There is a good amount of chocolate coating, so I don’t feel cheated at all. According to their website, these are only around 4 Weight Watchers points. Diana’s Bananas are a great way for me to convince my kids to eat more fruit. They feel like they are eating a treat, not something healthy for them. For me, the bites are the best, as I can just grab a slice as I am getting work done around the house. The bananas are yummy, and they are not brown at all. The bananas look fresh, like they were just peeled and cut. I am very impressed with these, and we will continue to purchase them!

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Post may contain a review, sponsored or otherwise. Also, may contain my affiliate links that help me pay for this site. 

What Is Touch Of Dazzle?

Touch of Dazzle is an amazing Amazon storefront. They have a beautiful selection of jewelry for children, teens or adults. Their jewelry is top quality and not some cheap dime store kind. They have basic necklaces with simple charms on them, as well as beautiful lockets with floating charms.

 

jewelry

 

“A Touch Of Dazzle is about taking something intangible and making it concrete – solidifying the most meaningful connections in your life. It’s about giving a little reminder of that relationship — a beautiful, dazzling keepsake that ignites a smile each time it’s worn.”-Goldie Silberberg, Owner of Touch of Dazzle

 

 

 

Jewelry

First up we have the Crystal Heart Necklace. It is 18K Gold Plated, which is great because it will last longer and won’t tarnish easily like silver. Crystal birthstone color hearts come in six color choices: Teal, Pink, Lavender, White, Red, Purple.  The necklace has a 16″ necklace with a 2″ extender piece. It comes in a beautiful gift box, which makes it perfect for gift giving for any occasion.

jewelry

jewelry

Next we have a locket with floating charms. These are really neat necklaces, and I absolutely adore it. It has a 22″ chain, which gives plenty of room and doesn’t make me feel like it’s choking me. This is super important to me, as I cannot stand wearing a necklace with a short chain. It is stainless steel, which means it won’t tarnish, and will stay beautiful. This locket is the best gift for anyone. With Easter coming up, and graduations right after, this is a sure way to make someone happy 🙂 It is super easy to insert the charms into the locket. The video below will show exactly how to do that:

jewelry

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The idea of Valentine’s Day is to express your love to your significant other. A lot of us do this with holiday candies and gifts. What better way to do that, than with Hershey’s!

About Hershey’s

Incredible and inspiring, the Hershey story starts off focused on one determined pioneer; Milton S. Hershey-but quickly becomes about so much more. Raised in rural central Pennsylvania, and with little formal education, Milton became known for the famous HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bar that bears his family name. He also became known for his philanthropy and open-hearted generosity which still touches the lives of thousands. Milton Hershey was genuinely passionate about people and their happiness. Happiness for Milton Hershey started with simple and delicious ingredients, simple processes, and sharing smiles by sharing HERSHEY’S products. Milton took that philosophy very seriously, and our company still does.

holiday candies

Loves Me, Loves Me Not..

When you give your Valentine candies for the holiday, you want to give the best. You want Hershey’s. This Valentine’s Day, they’ve put out some new candies. There are a lot of different flavors going on, with a great variety to choose from.

Kit Kat Red Velvet Miniatures-

These are a red velvet flavored wafer, covered in white creme

Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts With White Creme-

A perfect combination of white creme and peanut butter

Hershey’s Cupcake Kisses-

A blend of white chocolate and cookie pieces

My Thoughts

These holiday candies are pretty awesome! We gobbled them up in record time, and then we headed out to the store for more. The Cupcake Kisses were my absolute favorite, while my oldest son (16) fell for the Red Velvet Kit Kat. My husband and younger son (14) both inhaled the Reese’s with white chocolate. There was, quite literally, something for everyone in my house! We all like different things, and Hershey’s helps by providing a great assortment to choose from.

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Did Someone Say Cake?

Do you ever want cake or muffins, but you don’t feel like making them? Or you want them, but don’t want the temptation of having a full batch of muffins or an entire cake? Entenmann’s has the best solution for this! They have Little Bites. I especially enjoy them because they are in convenient single serve packages that have 5 muffins in each. This helps me control portions for my son, who is unable to sufficiently do so himself. The flavor is incredible and they aren’t dried out at all. In fact, they are very moist, and they never disappoint when it comes to the ingredients added. There are always plenty of sprinkles, fruit, chocolate chips, etc. My family is very happy with Little Bites. We get the convenience of cake, without the cleanup or temptation!

cake

What Varieties Are Available?

  • Party Cakes (limited edition)
  • Banana Muffins
  • Blueberry Muffins
  • Fudge Brownies
  • Crumb Cakes
  • Snickerdoodle Muffins
  • Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

About Little Bites

More than 10 billion Entenmann’s® Little Bites® snacks have been lovingly baked soft and moist since our innovative “portable pouch” of good choice deliciousness was introduced in 1999. Take our trip down memory lane and see where Little Bites® snacks and you first met, and where we’re going, Smiling Together.

Entenmann’s® Little Bites® baked snacks started rolling off the assembly line in 1999, introduced to the U.S. snack market in convenient and pre-portioned snack pouches. First flavors were Little Bites® Blueberry Muffins, Little Bites® Fudge Brownies, Little Bites® Glazed Donut Holes and Little Bites® Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Success in the seasonal snacking market has inspired Entenmann’s® to continue to expand that line. In 2014, the company added Little Bites® Party Cakes. Party Cakes were so popular, they debuted as a year-round product in May of 2015. After all, who doesn’t like to celebrate all year long?

 

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I absolutely love a good nail painting session. I have a ton of colors and brands, but none have held up to the new Sally Hansen formula. Color Therapy is the newest formula, and it has Argan Oil in it to help nourish your nails.

About The Polish

Introducing new Color Therapy™, gorgeous color that cares while you wear! The patented argan oil formula fuses intensive nourishment and instant moisture for healthy looking nails.

9 out of 10 women experienced a noticeable improvement in their natural nails after wearing the Color Therapy™ nail polish. Up to 10 days of fade-proof, chip-resistant wear. Available in 38 stunning shades.

nail painting

The polishes are available at your local stores for around $5.99 each. I like how they go on my nails. The polish goes on nice and easy with great coverage. It takes just a little bit of polish to give me a beautiful color. The Color Therapy polishes really make nail painting easy for anyone! The top coat gives me a beautiful shine and really seals the color in to make them last longer than ever.

The Process

The process is pretty easy:

Step 1: Apply one coat of Color Therapy™ to clean, dry, nails and allow to dry for 2-3 minutes.

Step 2: Apply a second coat of Color Therapy™ and let dry thoroughly.

Step 3: Top it off with Color Therapy Top Coat™ for glossy shine and extended wear.

Finish by applying Color Therapy Nail & Cuticle Oil™ for nails and cuticles that instantly look healthier, restored, and rejuvenated.

Overall, I am really happy with these polishes, and I am looking forward to buying more of the colors!

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Mixed Drinks?

I personally am a fan of mixed drinks. I like the fruity flavors, and the complex flavors. My ideal good time is having a few friends over, sitting around a fire pit out back, having some mixed drinks and good conversation. Pearl® Vodka helps me do that.

mixed drinks

What is Pearl®?

Pearl Vodka is expertly crafted in micro batches, distilled five times and filtered for ultimate smoothness. The result is a classic, clean vodka that satisfies a taste for variety within every flavor and every cocktail.

Pearl Vodka offers a suite of ultra-smooth, distinctive flavors painstakingly crafted to be desired by all who thirst for adventurous taste. From the fresh aroma of Strawberry Basil to the subtly sweet zip of Vanilla Bean, you’re sure to discover your perfect Pearl.

 

 

Flirtini

Pearl® has more than 15 flavors available to make different mixed drinks. They offer a plethora of recipes from simple to adventurous. Let’s look at the Flirtini. This is one of the perfect mixed drinks for the upcoming Valentine’s Day. It is made with Pomegranate flavor Pearl®.

mixed drinks

Ingredients:

1½ oz. Pearl® Pomegranate Vodka
4 oz. Chilled Champagne
Splash of Grenadine

Instructions:

Pour Pearl® Pomegranate into flute and add champagne to fill.
Add a splash of grenadine for color.

Where To Buy

You can usually find Pearl® at your local liquor stores, or even at your local Meijer grocery store. Pearl® has a fantastic locator available to help you find it near you 🙂

My Thoughts

When I first received this, I was pretty skeptical. I mean, it’s Pomegranate, right?  Who wants Pomegranate? I thought it would taste like some weird drink. I was pleasantly surprised, though, to find that the flavor was nice and smooth, and it really blends well. In fact, their website tells you what types of drinks that each flavor will pair well with. Pomegranate pairs well with cranberry juice, lemonade, cola, club soda, and obviously Champagne. It doesn’t have an overpowering taste to it, which I like. I like my mixed drinks to not taste too “alcohol-y.” Overall, I very much like this line of vodka, and I’m excited to try out the other flavors!

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Post may contain a review, sponsored or otherwise. Also, may contain my affiliate links that help me pay for this site. 

Hot cocoa? Yes, please! We are in the middle of Winter here in Indiana, although some days it feels more like Spring with these temperatures. Nevertheless, it’s Winter. That means hot cocoa! Brooklyn Bean has this amazing variety pack of hot cocoa.

About The Product

About the Product
  • Contains assortment of 6 Brooklyn Bean hot cocoa flavors
  • Creamy hot chocolate made with real cocoa
  • Each cup brews a perfect individual serving (8 ounce setting recommended)
  • Product contains milk and soy
  • Compatible with Keurig Original K-Cup Brewers, not compatible with Keurig 2.0 Brewers

Studies say chocolate contains chemicals called dopamine & phenylethylamine which release certain “pleasure” endorphins to the pleasure centers of the brain. This variety pack has 6 cocoa flavors that will make you feel good all over.

hot cocoa

What Flavors Are There?

  • Mexican Hot Cocoa: Spicy sweet Mexican Chocolate Flavor
  • Carnival Hot Cocoa: Salted Caramel Flavor
  • Campfire Hot Cocoa: Marshmallow Flavor
  • Midnight Hot Cocoa: Rich Dark Chocolate Flavor
  • Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa: Decadent Milk Chocolate Flavor
  • Peanut Butter Cup Hot Cocoa: The Perfect Mix of Peanut Butter and Chocolate Flavor

The variety pack retails for around $24 for 40 cups. This is a really good deal for these. The flavors are unlike anything you can find in your local grocery store. I love the convenience of being able to choose a different flavor each time and not having to open a packet and spill everywhere. It makes it great for my son to make his own hot cocoa as well. He has motor skill delays, so opening a packet of hot cocoa never ends well. Picture chocolate powder flying through the kitchen..haha. These cups allow him to be more independent and that is something I definitely love!

GIVEAWAY!!

Say what??? That’s right, folks! Two Rivers has generously offered to give away a variety box of these hot cocoas! This giveaway will start now and end on Friday February 10 at Midnight EST.

 

Hot Cocoa Sampler Giveaway!!

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I’m a coffee lover. I love a good, hot cup of coffee, or even an ice cold cup of iced coffee. Coffee in all forms is a lifesaver to me. I had the opportunity to try out some coffee from Founding Fathers recently. I was not disappointed!

coffee

They sent me five varieties to try out:

  • French Roast
  • French Vanilla
  • Morning Blend
  • 100% Colombian
  • Donut Shop

 

About Founding Fathers Coffee

Founding Fathers Products was founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Phil Knutsen with the mission to help keep America strong one product at a time by creating superior American-made products who’s profits support American military families.  The company donates 50% of all profits to support our troops and their families.

Founding Fathers Coffees were launched in June, 2016 and are currently available nationally through leading online retailers and major retail locations. Their coffees are high quality gourmet coffees that are priced below many industry leaders, offering tremendous value for consumers. The coffees are available in a number of formats including single serve brew cups, bag ground roast and whole bean varieties.

What They Offer

Founding Fathers offers Keurig compatible cups in 16, 36 and 80 count, as well as 12 ounce ground roast and whole bean coffee.

  • 100% Colombian: Medium Roast  |  This coffee has a deliciously rich taste with satisfying, full-bodied character. ​
  • Donut Shop: Medium Roast  |  ​This classic coffee blend is rich, smooth and satisfying.
  • French Roast: Dark Roast  |  This intensively rich coffee has a soft smoky flavor with a smooth taste and velvety body.
  • French Vanilla: Medium Roast  |  The sweet and creamy essence of vanilla creates a luxurious coffee experience.
  • Morning Blend: Light Roast  |  Brighten your day with this perfectly balanced,  aromatic coffee with an enjoyably smooth finish.

Where Can I Find Them?

Find Founding Fathers Coffees at:

Founding Fathers coffee can be found at Walmart.com, as well as Amazon.com. There is definitely a blend for everyone!

My Thoughts

I personally have tried out all of the blends, and I love them! They have a wonderful, full flavor to them. I like a rich brew, and these coffees definitely deliver. I’ve consistently used these coffees everyday since I received them and I dread running out, so I will have to make sure to order more before that happens! I like the convenience of brewing one cup at a time, because I generally only drink one cup per day so a pot of coffee is too much.
Who would like a giveaway? Founding Fathers has generously offered to giveaway an 80 Count box of their 100% Colombian blend! This giveaway is open from now until Sunday February 12, 2017 at Midnight EST.

Founding Fathers Coffee Giveaway

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Cookies. Everyone loves them, yet not everyone wants to do the baking to get them. This is where Malt Shop Cookies comes in. They have the most awesome cookies. The secret? They use malted milk! Malt Shop Cookies are the perfect gift. You can personalize the tin with a picture of your choosing, along with a message. You can choose to send one cookie flavor or all three! They offer Chocolate Chip, Double Chocolate and Mocha Chocolate cookies.

 

malted milkmalted milkmalted milk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Malted Milk?

Malted Milk is best known as the flavor that gave birth to every Malt Shop, Soda Fountain, Diner and Lunch Counter all across the USA. It is that. But times change.

It’s still got that fine and sweet finishing touch flavor. But Malted Milk also offers something else. Made from malted barley, wheat and whole milk, it’s a natural, completely natural, preservative.

That means our (your) cookies stay soft and moist for a long, long time. No artificial preservatives needed. Just an all natural way to deliver the wonderful flavor that it is.

So, Malted Milk in a cookie? The way it was meant to be.

But How Expensive Are They?

They really aren’t expensive. They come in three sizes:

  • Lemme Taste ‘Em, 12 ct  $24.99
  • Eat Your Fill, 18 ct  $29.99
  • Mega Munchin’, 36 ct  $39.99

If you do the math, the bigger the tin, the less it cost per cookie. This is the perfect excuse to order more cookies!

The cookies are amazingly soft and chewy, like they were just baked. The flavor was very pronounced, and was just different than other cookies I’ve tried. The malted milk really adds a dimension of flavor that no other ingredient can.

I think this is the ideal gift for any occasion. What grandparent wouldn’t want a tin of delicious cookies with their grandchildren on it? What teacher wouldn’t love a personalized gift? This is a great gift for anyone in your life! Malted milk has definitely been the right way for this company to go! Amazing cookies 🙂

 

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