Tag Archive | Product Review

Brownie Brittle: New Holiday Varieties Are Here!

Brownie Brittle Holiday Selection
All Photos By Gail

Do you have a favorite snack that tastes so delicious, you literally cannot believe how good it is? And maybe you buy a bag of that snack, and sit with the entire bag in your lap and just eat and eat until there’s nothing left in the bag except crumbs, but then you pour the crumbs out of the bag into your hand and lick them off of your palm? Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.

For me, the sweet snack that makes my head explode is Brownie Brittle, which I first discovered at a food show about three years ago. If you are not yet hip to the Mother of all Sweet Snacks, let me explain that Brownie Brittle is a cookie-like baked treat that tastes like the well-done edges of the Brownie where the batter meets the pan. There are a few lame imitators out there but Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle is the original, and it is just insane.

Brownie Brittle Bites

Brownie Brittle comes in a varierty of delicious regular flavors that are available in your local market year-round, but during the Holiday Season each year they come out with few new, seasonal varieties and they always hook me up, because Brownie Brittle is my Holiday snack time jam. This year is no exception. Let me give you a quick run down of these irresistible, available for a-limited-time-only treats so you can add them to your holiday shopping list

Salted Caramel

The salted caramel chocolate treat is still very much on-trend again, and Browne Brittle leads the charge this Holiday season with its Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle with a Dark Chocolate Drizzle — for added festiveness! Some of you may not know that adding salt to chocolate does not make the treat taste saltier, but rather it enhances the flavor, and makes it taste like the most delicious chocolate on the planet. I brought a bag of Salted Caramel Brownie Brittle to the office to share with my team, and not only was it was devoured within minutes, but my co-workers simply would not shut up about how amazing it was. They are still talking about it.

Chocolate Chip BB

Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle — a year-round favorite — gets all dressed up for Santa with the addition of a little sweet white drizzle on top. Check it out!

Chocolate Chip BB

This particular variety of crunchy, chocolaty goodness is really special when broken up over a dish of ice cream with maybe some Trader Joe’s frozen cherries tossed in for good measure. Yummy.

Thindulgent

Things start to get a little crazy with what they are calling Thindulgent Dark Chocolate Bark, which is Mint Brownie Brittle pieces covered in dark chocolate, topped with peppermint flakes and a white chocolate drizzle. Sassy! Bring this to the Holiday Party and make lots of friends!

Dark Chocolate with Peppermint

Also brand new this year are Brownie Brittle Bites, which combine the best parts of  candy and cookies all in one outrageously indulgent morsel. Kill me!

Brownie Brittle Bites Peppermint

Imagine Junior Mints wrapped around layers of crunchy Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle and you get the idea. Verdict: Out of Control.

Milk Chocolate Caramel BB Bites

Brownie Brittle Bites also come in Milk Chocolate Caramel in case you do not have diabetes yet. All of these varieties of delicious Brownie Brittle cone in a festive resealable, snowflake-print pouch, with bow on it and everything, so you don’t even need to wrap it! Find a store near you that sells Brownie Brittle, or buy it online, at This Link!

Chocolate Chip with Plate

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Product Review: So Right Frozen Entrees!

So Right Frozen Entrees
All Photos By Gail

Working peeps know this much: buying lunch in the office cafeteria, or out on the street, provides you with a greater variety of tasty meal choices, but it can get pricey over the course of a week. The thing is, bringing lunch from home isn’t always an enticing option for those of us who don’t cook, and who don’t want to be stuck with a boring sandwich every day. We all want good taste and variety, but we want to save a little cash also. This is where So Right’s recently introduced line of  single-serve frozen entrees comes in!

So Right microwave meals (from Bellisio Foods)  are made with 100 percent natural ingredients like white meat chicken, roasted vegetables, and whole grains. To put an emphasis on a healthier lifestyle, they are free of trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors and flavors; and are preservative-free. Tempting flavor varieties include Sriracha Chicken Mac & Cheese, Chorizo & Potatoes with Cheesy Chipotle Sauce; and Creamy Chicken Corn Casserole — comfort foods that taste especially delicious when it’s cold outside! Best of all, So Right entrées come at an unexpected and affordable price – the average retail price is just $1.80 per meal! That’s insane!

After meeting brand representatives at the Health and Nutrition Editor Showcase event in NYC,  So Right sent me an assortment of five different meals (seen above) to review for The Gig, which I prepared in the office and enjoyed for lunches over the course of one work week. My findings follow!

Set against The Hype of a press release blurb on each dish, the entrées were judged in the following categories:

Appearance: What is the dish’s degree of visual resemblance, after coming out of the microwave and being sufficiently stirred, to the photo on the front of the box.

Quality of the individual ingredients: Self explanatory.

Taste: What were the most (or least) appealing  flavor and textural qualities once the food was in my mouth.

Enjoy-ability Factor: How good, on a scale of 1 to 10 — with 10 being best — did eating the dish make me feel.

Ready to have some fun? OK, here we go!

Chicken Burrito Bowl

Chicken Burrito Bowl

The Hype: We sliced up a piece of all-white-meat chicken and threw it together with a veggie mix of red bell peppers, poblano peppers, and corn, as well as some tasty black beans. We then topped it with some cheddar cheese and a red chili sauce rich with paprika and cumin flavors. The final result: One of our favorite meals that’s ready to enjoy in minutes.

Chicken Burrito Bowl

Appearance: Does it look like the picture on the box? Pretty much, yeah.

Quality of the individual ingredients: This dish contains many familiar-favorite southwestern-style ingredients (listed above), on top of a bed of white rice. There is also a red chili sauce, and a small amount of cheddar cheese that melts into the sauce upon cooking. As is the case with most pre-cooked chicken found in a frozen entrée, the meat was not exceptional, but it was decent. All other ingredients were of the quality that you would find in a home-cooked meal.

Taste: Who doesn’t love a Burrito Bowl in all of its endless variations? While it is not going to compete with the indulgence of a trip to Chipotle, the So Right Chicken Burrito Bowl is an excellent choice for a light lunch. Eating the So Right Chicken Burrito Bowl reminded me of eating chili over rice with some corn in it, so if you love chili, you will be very attracted to the comforting paprika and cumin flavors of the sauce. Very tasty.

Enjoy-ability Factor: 9. A dollop of sour cream or a handful of tortilla chips would have upped that factor to a 10.

300 Calories. Read more about this entrée at This Link.

Chicken Lo Mein

Chicken Lo Mein

The Hype: Multigrain pasta and a mix of vegetables that includes carrots, broccoli, onions, and red bell peppers is the base for this dish. We added in all-white meat chicken and covered it in a tasty sesame garlic sauce to create a delicious Asian-style meal.

Chicken Lo Mein

Appearance: It could have used more broccoli.

Quality of the individual ingredients: The Lo Mein Noodles are quite clearly spaghetti noodles. Otherwise, all good.

Taste:  The distinguishing flavor profile is a sweet-soy sauce taste.  If Take Out Chinese Food is your thing, you will not be disappointed.

Enjoy-ability Factor: 8

270 Calories. Read more about this entrée at This Link.

Sriracha Chicken Mac and Cheese

Sriracha Chicken Mac & Cheese

The Hype: This delicious meal starts with the perfect cheesy base and adds an exciting chili pepper twist to create a cheesy sriracha sauce. The addition of pasta and all-white-meat-chicken make this a meal you’ll be sure to remember.

Sriracha Chicken Mac and Cheese

Appearance: This entrée’s appearance is remarkably faithful to the picture on the box, except that is has more sauce than in the photo.

Quality of the individual ingredients: Of the five entrees I sampled, the chicken in this dish was especially was tough and gristly. I picked it out. The pasta is on the well-done side, which I enjoy, and the sauce is very rich and flavorful with a powerful spiciness.

Taste: Once I got rid of the chicken, the meal was delicious! I’m a Mac & Cheese lover since birth, so the mix of tender pasta and creamy cheese sauce make this a very good comfort food choice. And when they say Sriracha, they aren’t kidding. The bold and spicy flavor kick from the sriracha elevates this from a kids’ meal to an adult meal. Unless your kids like the taste of fire.

Enjoy-ability Factor: Without the chicken, a 10.

390 Calories. Read more about this entrée at This Link.

Sriracha Chicken Mac and Cheese
Mmm…So Cheesy…

Creamy Chicken Corn Casserole

Creamy Chicken Corn Casserole

The Hype: All-white-meat chicken with pasta and a vegetable mix made up of yellow corn, poblano peppers, red bell peppers, and black beans is the base for this delicious meal. We cover it all with a creamy white cheddar cheese sauce to create a tasty casserole that has a twist that can only come from the southwest.

Creamy Chicken Corn Casserole

Appearance: Does it look like the picture on the box? It does.

Quality of the individual ingredients: While the Creamy Chicken Corn Casserole is somewhat of an unusual combo of beans, southwestern style veggies and noodles, it somehow works.

Taste: I enjoyed the tender pasta in this and the addition of corn and beans. The cheese sauce is really is very mild (so much so that it almost tasted like a gravy to me) but that gives it a homemade taste. It reminded me of eating a Pot Pie without the crust. I liked it.

Enjoy-ability Factor: 10.

310 Calories. Read more about this entrée at This Link.

Szechuan Chicken

Szechuan Style Kung Pao Chicken

The Hype: The right combination of all-white-meat chicken served over brown rice with a vegetable mix of broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers and green onions. We tossed a few water chestnuts and some Szechuan peppercorn spice into the sauce to create a delicious meal with the right kung pao kick.

Szechuan Chicken

Appearance: Does it look like the picture on the box? Yes.

Quality of the individual ingredients: This entrée had the best quality chicken of the bunch, with overall high quality ingredients and, especially, crispy water chestnuts! Bonus points for using Brown Rice!

Taste: The Kung Pao sauce had a sweet taste similar to the lo mein meal (which is expected) and it was spicy enough to make my nose run.

Enjoy-ability Factor: I’m going to put this one in the Take Out Chinese Food category and give it a 9.

290 Calories. Read more about this entrée at This Link

So Right Frozen Entrees

To find a store in your area that sells So Right entrees, visit This Link!

Product Review: Rudi’s Organic Bread!

Loaves of Rudis Bread
All Photos By Gail

Do you like bread? I sure do, and I am fortunate to have no intolerance to wheat flour, so I can eat all the bread I want – yay! I recently met up with folks from Rudi’s Organic Bakery at an Editor Showcase press event here in the City, and they sent me four varieties of their delicious organic bread (pictured above, lounging comfortably on my duvet) to review for you on The Gig! Here are my findings.

Rudis Whole Wheat Bread

Rudi's Whole Wheat Bread Detail
Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat Bread: See The Goodness

Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat has cracked the code on cracked wheat bread! This classic bakery treat blends whole wheat flour with a hint of molasses: an old world recipe that’s become a modern favorite!

Tuna Sandwich on Whole Wheat
Tuna Salad Sandwich on Rudi’s 100% Whole Wheat Toast: A Crowd Pleaser!

Rudis Honey Sweet Whole Wheat
Rudi’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat

For added variety, Rudi’s Honey Sweet Whole Wheat is lightly sweetened with organic honey. All Rudi’s breads stay fresh in the bag for about two weeks, but can be refrigerated and defrosted slice by slice as needed with no loss of quality and taste — convenient!

Rudi's Soft Wheat Kids Bread
Rudi’s Soft Wheat Kids Bread

We have already established that I like bread, but do you know who really likes bread? Kids. Kids love bread. But sometimes, they can be a bit finicky, like wanting the crusts cut off the sandwich and blah blah blah, kids! Do you know that I once watched a Wonder Bread sandwich actually melt in the sun? Yes, it happened. Point being: There is a fine line between bread made to appeal to children, and Bread Not Found in Nature. Fortunately, back in 2015, Rudi’s introduced a Kids Bread that gets everything right.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Soft Wheat
Grilled Cheese Sandwich on Soft Wheat Kids Bread

Rudi’s is the first nationally available organic bread specifically for kids, made with simple organic ingredients that you might find in your own kitchen. Available in both white and wheat varieties, Rudi’s Organic Bakery Kids Bread is unique to the market. And it’s important know that the recipe for this incredibly soft and fluffy bread was developed to appeal to parents as well as kids. It is my favorite bread for sandwiches. When grilled for the traditional favorite, Grilled Cheese, the wheat bread takes on an irresistible nutty flavor that will make kids go insane.

Rudi's Soft White Kids Bread

Rudis White Kids Bread
Rudis Soft White Kids Bread in its Natural State

To be made on Rudi’s White or Wheat Kids Bread  is every sandwiches’ dream !

Rudis White Kids Bread Toast

Rudis Soft White Kids Bread is also my go-to bread for the most delicious toast!

Find out more about the family of quality products of Rudi’s Organic Bakery, including where to find them in your area, and get a money-saving coupon on your purchase, at This Link!

Product Review: HartFelt 360 Toothbrush

Hartfelt Toothbrush Ad
All Photos By Gail Except Image Above

When it comes to brushing your teeth, which everyone does, you have two basic toothbrush choices: manual or electric. While there have been continuing, and recent, innovations to the electric toothbrush, there has been relatively little change in the design of a manual toothbrush that isn’t purely aesthetic. I never gave it any thought until I was asked to “try out” the 360 round-head toothbrush by Hartfelt, and I said OK, because I am obsessed with dental hygiene!

Hartfelt 360 Toothbrush

The toothbrush arrived in the mail and I saw right away that it was not only very sleek and aesthetically pleasing, but that the head was indeed a full 360 degrees of bristles, unlike any toothbrush I had seen before. HartFelt’s new 360 degree toothbrush is truly innovative, because it is the world’s first 360 degree designed toothbrush.

360 Degree Head Close Up

Here is close-up of the head from the back of the package. It looks like fun, right? Developed in Japan at the Osaka University Dental Hospital, the 360 Toothbrush’s 10,000 micro fine bristles — 10 times more than the average toothbrush — provide unparalleled cleaning power! Circular rings firmly hold the bristles in place, while spacing washers between bristle layers make it more effective for removing plaque and keeping the brush clean. I was excited to give the 360 a try!

360 Toothbrush in Action

The first time I used the 360 brush, it felt a litte weird and bulky in my mouth, but by the next use it was as comfortable as any regular toothbrush. Directions on the package recommend that you brush more gently than usual, and that is helpful advice to keep you from banging it into your gums while you get used to how the uniquely-shaped head feels between your teeth and gums. There is no need to turn, spin, or twist your wrist as you brush. It really get does between your teeth and down to the gum line (which is very important to keep your gums healthy), and it is fun to use because you know you are helping to make your mouth healthy.

After using this toothbrush for about three weeks, I can say that my teeth do feel cleaner, and the test is the way that they feel against my tongue. Because the tongue knows all. The 360 Toothbrush is perfect to keep in the office, and is also appropriate to take out camping, or on the road, as it can be used effectively with water alone when you are on the go and no toothpaste is available. The 360 Toothbrush by Hartfelt is a great product that does exactly what it claims to do, and I recommend it to all my readers! Remember to go to the dentist on a regular basis and use Smile951 for your braces and alignments!

HartFelt Collection’s 360 Toothbrush can be purchased at This Link, and also via Amazon Dot Com!

360 Tooth Brush Close Up

Sources-
http://toothbrushtalk.co.uk/

Cooking With Gail Presents: Amira Smoked Basmati Rice!

Amira Smoked Basmati Rice
All Photos By Gail

Do you like Rice? I sure do. I especially love fragrant, long grain  Basmati Rice from India. India! Seriously, it is the most delicious rice. Maybe you have shied away from making Basmati Rice in your home due to the additional required preparatory steps — such as rinsing, and then soaking the rice prior to cooking  — which can seem a bit daunting if you are used to the no fuss approach of throwing rice in a pan with some water, bringing it to a boil, and then forgetting about it for 40 minutes, which is a no-brainer.  I understand how you feel.

Amira Smoked Basmati Rice

But when you break it down, Basmati Rice preparation and cooking time takes maybe 10 minutes longer than traditional rice, so it can hardly be argued that it is a vastly longer or more labor intensive process. It just takes a little getting used to. I was recently sent a package of Amira brand Smoked Basmati Rice and I had fun making it and taking pictures of the process so you can see  that you don’t need to be scared to try something new. Come along and let’s have a little culinary adventure, shall we?

Basmati Rice Prep

Besides a spoon and a pan to cook it in, you will need a measuring cup and colander or strainer. Measure the rice (a general guideline is one part rice to two parts water, but the exact directions are printed on the bag so zero guesswork is involved) and pour it into the strainer. Next, run the rice under cold water from the tap for a minute or so, shaking it slightly to expose all grains, which will remove the excess starch.

Soaking Rice

That was fun, right? It gets better. Now transfer the rinsed rice to the pan and cover with water. Set a kitchen timer, or keep an eye on the clock, for 25 to 30 minutes while the rice soaks. You can either do prep on other parts of the meal during this time, or watch TV or play Words With Friends, which is something I enjoy doing.

Basmati Rice is a long grain rice by nature, but there is a very noticeable quality difference with Amira’s Premium Rice, which is extra long grain.  Amira smoked basmati rice is an all natural extra long grain rice, which is smoked in the ancient Persian tradition, resulting in an aromatic, smoky rice.

Once the rice is done soaking, drain it, and then add it back the pan with two cups of fresh water, bring to a boil, cover the pan, reduce the heat and cook for ten minutes. While the rice cooks, your kitchen may smell like you are baking a ham, but don’t be alarmed. After ten minutes, turn the heat off, move the pan to a cool burner and let it rest for ten more minutes. When you remove the lid, the rice will look something like this:

Amira Cooked Rice

Oh my, isn’t that beautiful! You can’t really tell from this photo, but the rice grains are so long that you may even freak out a little. It is really quite extraordinary.

Meal on a Tray

Here is a photo of my delicious and super easy-to-prepare single ladies dinner of two Trader Joe’s Masala vegetarian burger patties and huge pile of fluffy Smoked Basmati Rice, seasoned with little salt and some butter, because I love butter on my rice. What I discovered is that, after cooking, the smoke essence remains more in the fragrance than the actual flavor of the rice. So you do not need to be afraid that the rice will have a harsh, overly smoky, or meaty taste. It will just taste like delicious rice. Find out more about the Amira brand at Amira Dot Net.

Amira Rice Serving Suggestion

Product Review: POTTYMINTS Disolvable Air Freshener!

Potty Mints Booth Display
All Photos By Gail

There is no delicate way to put this: when you share a home with other people, maintaining the quality of the bathroom “atmosphere” is an ongoing consideration. It’s easy enough to light a match or spray some room fresher into the air, but when a solution that’s both discrete and longer-lasting is desired, I’ve got just the thing for the occasional malodorous situation: POTTYMINTS.

Potty Mints Booth Display

I discovered POTTYMINTS at the recent New York Now home show, when I was trawling the aisles fro free stuff and was charmed by their attention-grabbing booth display, featuring an
extra tall toilet with an extravagant bouquet of flowers extending from its bowl to the ceiling. Very impressive! I stopped to talk to POTTYMINTS representative, Matthew Grobman, whose sister and business partner Suzanna Grobman, invented the product after taking a vacation (my guess is they went to Mexico) with her then-boyfriend-now-husband.  You can read an abridged version of what I assure you is an hilarious story here.

Matthew gave me a few sample packets of POTTYMINTSto try at home and here is what happened next.

Pottymints Sample Packets

Behold, the POTTYMINTS displayed on the seat of my toilet! Please note that correct use of the POTTYMINT involves waiting until after the flush (#theafterflush)!

POTTYMINT IN HAND

After flushing, drop one POTTYMINT into the clean water and watch it go!

Effervescence

The POTTYMINT will effervesce and dissolve, leaving the air sweet smelling for, not even kidding, a few days!  POTTYMINTS are sold in assorted sizes, including a small packet perfect for traveling or just keeping in your purse or bag. All packaging embraces a minimal-yet-elegant design aesthetic — like something you would find in the bathroom at a very fancy hotel and want to take home with you! POTTYMINTS come in two very appealing fragrances: Arancia di Capri (Citrus) and La Fleur (Light Floral). These varieties are effective and impart a fresh and enduring scent without becoming cloying, as some sprays or atomizers can be.

Find out more about POTTYMINTS, and get a 10% discount on your first purchase, at This Link!

Potty Mints Product Display

Product Review: Boulder Canyon Riced Vegetables

Boulder Canyon Riced Vegetables Packaging
All Photos By Gail

As an admitted foodie with a very busy schedule – and not much time for, or interest in, cooking an evening meal for just myself from scratch – I celebrate the great quality and awesome variety available in Trader Joe’s frozen food aisle! I love convenience, but I refuse to sacrifice taste, and I’m always excited by side dish options that balance a meal, while delivering on both quality and flavor. Boulder Canyon Natural Foods, best known for their delicious Chips and snacks, have now ventured into the frozen side dish domain, with delicious results.

Riced Sweet Potato

Boulder Canyon Foods‘ grain-free Riced Vegetables are made with 100% vegetables, making them a healthy and easy addition to your dinner table! I received packages of two varieties: the Riced Sweet Potato Caramelized Onion (seen above) and the Cheddar Broccoli. I prepared each of them with a different meal over two nights, and here are my findings.

Riced Sweet Potato in Pan

Cooking instructions on the package call for microwave use (you can actually just throw the entire bag in the microwave , no pan needed) but I don’t own a microwave, so I used a non-stick sauce pan,  without any oil or water added. There is no need to defrost the product. I cooked the riced veggies over medium heat until they were fully cooked – maybe 5 minutes.  Preparation is super easy and the hassle of chopping everything has been done for you!

Riced Sweet Potatoes and Veggie Burgers

I served the Riced Sweet Potato dish with two Trader Joe’s Masala Burgers, which are potato-based veggie patties with Indian seasonings (very delicious). The added aromatic sweetness from the caramelized onion enhanced the sweet potato’s natural flavors, and provided a pleasing contrast to the savory Masala Burgers (which I topped with shredded cheese, because I love cheese).

Riced Sweet Potatoes and Veggie Burgers

Here’s a close up. The Sweet Potatoes cook up soft but not mushy. They taste a little bit like carrots. In fact, if you were to serve them to one of those “I don’t like Sweet Potatoes” people, you could say they were eating carrots and I bet they would never know the difference.

The next night, I made the  Riced Broccoli with Cheddar Cheese, which I figured would pair well with a Trader Joe’s Chicken and Bean Burrito. Yum.

Riced Broccoli in a Pan

A little steam got on my camera lens.

Riced Broccoli and Burrito

If that looks good, it’s because it was! I love broccoli, and the ricing does not diminish the fresh, robust flavor. The cheddar cheese flavor was a bit ‘in the back’ of everything though, so you if you really like cheddar cheese on your broccoli, you could always shred additional cheese on the top. There is no such thing as too much cheese!

Boulder Canyon Riced Vegetables are a terrific Rice Alternative for anyone on a gluten free diet, and they come in eight flavors, so you never get bored! Find out more about all Boulder Canyon Riced Vegetables varieties, and learn about their family of other fine foods products at This Link!

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