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Cool New Products on Amazon

Cool Products on Amazon

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile, so I have quite a few exciting products to share. Please note these are affiliate links and I may receive compensation for any sales driven through the links. So, go buy some stuff!


Kitchen Mama Can Opener
Finally, a solution to open cans and keep that ugly can opener off your counters. We have tried many can openers that have all failed us. I even got to the point where I was fine with an old manual can opener until I discovered this beauty of Kitchen Mama. I was a little skeptical at first because of a few reviews, but after a few months, I am sold!


Sleek Socket Outlet Cover Extension Cord
This is such a cool product. If you have any place in your house where plugs stick out behind furniture or you want to hide that cord going to your wall-mounted TV then check these out.




Solar Fountain with LED Lights
I bought one of these last year and it didn’t make it through this season. I am glad it didn’t because this new model is amazing. They solved the issue of the fountain moving around by providing clear tubes to stabilize it. It also has a battery that charges which allows the fountain to come on at night with lights. The old models only worked when it was in full sun.




Uncategorized

Superfrico Restaurant Review

We recently traveled to Las Vegas for my friend’s bachelorette party. This was the first time I have flown since the beginning of the pandemic. The last few trips to Vegas, we have always stayed at The Cosmopolitan. It is certainly one of the most unique casinos on the strip and targeted at people who like things a little different.

On our last night, we booked dinner at Superfrico in The Cosmopolitan. The restaurant is described as a psychedelic Italian dining experience. It helps to understand that the restaurant is located next to the venue for the show Opium. It has a trippy Cique du Soliel vibe to it, but what really stood out was the food.

We started off our dining experience with the mozzarella that is made tableside and served as a delicious Caprese salad. From there, the table ordered a variety of things to share. Each item was delicious and the cocktails were on point. So, if you happen to be in Vegas, check out Superfrico at The Cosmopolitan.

Drink

Identity Tequila Review

Identity Cristalano Tequila

Recently I came across a new tequila that I just had to try. I have been really enjoying the Cristalano versions of tequilas lately. However, it was the bottle design that caught my eye. Identity Cristalano tequila comes in a bright turquoise bottle featuring a thumbprint with small rainbow inside of it. The brand is all about inclusivity, so I was happy to support it.

The tequila itself is a very sweet tequila which reminded me of Casamigos. Those sweet flavors come from vanilla and butterscotch notes. I did notice that it starts with a grainy alcohol taste, but does settle into those sweet flavors. If you like a smokey or spicy tequila, those notes are very subtle in the Identity Cristalano.

Food

Classic Meatloaf Recipe

Classic Meatloaf

Meatloaf is one of my favorite dishes from my childhood! I have certainly made the standard version my mom made with a packet of onion soup mix and topped with ketchup, but I learned there is a lot more that goes into a good meatloaf. First of all, most classic meatloaf is made up of more than just one meat. So, for this version, I combine hamburger and pork.

Before I mix up the loaf, I combine the eggs, half and half, and a little bit of yellow mustard. Wisk that all together and pour over meat and spice mixture.

Most Classic Meatloaf
1 Lb. Ground Hamburger
1 Lb. Ground Pork
1 Medium Onion Grated
2 Tablespoons Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley
2 Eggs
1 1/4 Cups Breadcrumbs
1/4 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Cup Ketchup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
Paprika and Pepper
2 Tablespoons Salt

Bake For One Hour at 375 degrees allowing at least 15 – 20 minutes to cool and set.

One thing that I learned watching my favorite host Sunny Anderson from The Kitchen, is that cannot over mix your meatloaf. She suggests taking your non-dominate hand, extending out your fingers like a pitch fork and gently mix together your ingredients. Once it is in the pan, cover with some additional ketchup and pepper. My last attempt felt like it was missing salt, so you may want to adjust that to your own taste. Also, make sure you give it time to rest before serving. Enjoy!

Food

Grandma’s Macaroni Salad

Macaroni Salad

While growing up, holidays always meant Grandma Van Damme’s Macaroni Salad. My sister and I were always excited if there were leftovers to take home. Eventually, my aunt caught on and started making two batches every holiday. Now, I carry the torch and share this amazing recipe with all of you.

Please note that this recipe contains a can of shrimp. My sister now has to substitute crab in her recipe because of an allergy, but I stand by the original recipe. One trick that my aunt shared with me, was that my grandma would open the can of shrimp the night before, drain it, then squeeze lemon juice into the can and let it sit overnight.

Grandma Van Damme’s Macaroni Salad Recipe

1 Package of Elbow Macaroni
3 – 4 Hard Boiled Eggs
2 Stalks of Celery
7 – 8 Radishes
1 Cup of Sweet Pickles
1 Can of Shrimp
2 – 3 Green Onions
1 Cup of Mayonaise
1 Tablespoon of Mustard
1 Lemon
Salt and Pepper
Paprika on top.

This salad does get better if it has a chance to chill in the fridge, so trying making it the night before for the best results. I also added some lemon zest to the shrimp overnight and poured everything into the salad. I would also experiment with how much mustard you add, as it can be overpowering.

Simply cook the pasta and set it aside to cool. Chop up veggies and mix together with all the other ingredients except pasta. Do a final toss of all ingredients and chill overnight. Enjoy!

Lifestyle

DIY: Solar Bird Bath Fountain

Solar Founatin

As soon as I saw the solar fountain on Amazon, I had to get one. However, finding the right birdbath to go in was very challenging. First of all, most birdbaths are made of large heavy stone and can cost anywhere between $150 – $300. On the other side, many of the birdbaths available online were very small and didn’t really match our vibe.

So, the next step was trying to find a new vessel to turn into a birdbath. In my mind, I was looking for a large concrete-type bowl that could double as a birdbath. You will learn that most pots have drainage holes in the bottom. So, I found this small 12′ pot on Amazon.

The next thing I needed was a stand to put it in on and luckily this was much easier to find. So, I found this stand on Amazon, originally made for a different birdbath. Now, the bowl I chose was slightly smaller than what the stand was for, but it looks great in place.

HOW DO I GET MY SOLAR FOUNTAIN STAY CENTERED?

Once everything was put together, I realized some of the fountain options shot the water too high in the air ultimately making a mess and emptying out the fountain. So, I went without the attachment which just allowed the fountain to bubble more gently. But, the challenge was getting it to stay in the center of bowl. Here are a couple ideas I came across and my current solution.

The first idea I read was taking the attachments that go on a hanging basket, clip the ends off and then clip them to the side of the fountain. This would keep it centered. I also read that you would tether it with some string and attach it to weight. I finally decided to use to small large bamboo skewers, used some floral wire and attached them underneath the fountain.

Since it has already been such a hot summer up here in the Pacific Northwest, I am sure the birds are going to get a lot of relief from our little birdbath.

Drink

What happened to Mike’s Lite Lemonade?

Mikes Lite Lemonade

As I previously noted, 2020 has been taken away many things from us. That came apparent when we realized the Mike’s Hard Lite Lemonade disappeared. What happened to Mikes’s Hard Lite Lemonade? Well, after seeing it disappear from the shelves of our local Total Wine, I did some research.

I actually contacted Mikes Hard Lemonade and they did confirm that they had put that flavor of Mike’s out to pasture. So, that is when we began our journey to find its replacement. After trying many types of spiked seltzers and combinations of them, the winner was clear. Truly’s Lemonade flavors were the most comparable. The variety pack they sell has four flavors; plain lemonade, strawberry, black cherry and mango.

Not long after I wrote this original post, they released Mike’s Hard Seltzer. The variety pack features Lemon, Mango, Pineapple, and Strawberry. While I enjoy both the Mango and Pineapple, the other two flavors have a strange aftertaste to me. And after watching the comments, I see there are many fans that agree with me.

Clearly, there is a market for lighter beverages and I hope that we continue to convince Mike’s to bring it back!

Drink

Chamucos Reposado Review

Chamucos Reposado Review

This tequila review is dedicated to the scariest thing of all; 2020. We have lived through so much this year. So many holidays have been essentially canceled. With Halloween finally falling on a Saturday night, it is almost ghoulishly cruel that many won’t be able to celebrate like we used to. So, maybe it is just best to stay home with a spooky looking tequila bottle filled with delicious tequila.

Chamucos Reposado is a tequila we discovered for obvious reasons which is the box it comes in. I certainly don’t buy tequila based on the bottle, but this tequila’s packaging draws your eye. But wait, there’s more. The box that it comes includes punch outs that allows you to turn the box into a scary demon as seen in the photo.

But, what about the tequila inside you ask? Chamucos Reposado is a very smooth, high quality tequila therefore it does come at a slightly higher price point. The taste of the tequila is very fruity but with strong flavors from the oak barrels. I think the best highlight is the delicate balance between the fruit and the spice. It almost has the complexities of a pineapple jalapeno margarita. That being said, it could be a great candidate for a high end cocktail.

In summary, this is a great tequila but mild enough to lure in even the occasional tequila drinker. Those fruity notes make it dance across your tongue but finish with the nice spicy notes.




Lifestyle

What happened to Brooke Baldwin from CNN?

CNN's Brooke Baldwin

if you are asking the question, than you probably have been watching as much CNN as I have. With all that is going on in the world, its no surprise that some of the scheduling has been upended, especially given two CNN anchors have both tested and recovered from Covid-19. One of those anchors was Brooke Baldwin.

In early April, Brooke Baldwin posted that she has tested positive for Covid-19 which led to several weeks away from the her 2pm – 4pm time slot. After a full recovery, Baldwin returned to the desk and led us into this crazy election season. However, recently CNN executives made a change and there have been no responses from the network as to why she was replaced with Jake Tapper.

The CNN anchor fueled speculation she’s left the network after leaving a vague Instagram post saying Jake Tapper will ‘hold down’ her show until after the election. With so much important news going on, it was no surprise that fans took to grilling her as to why she would leave at such an important time in our history. Her response to the fan was ‘it’s not my choice’. 

It has been over a week since this transpired but there stll remains to be few details about what is happening. Some speculated it may have something to do with her health after battling the disease, but there has been no confirmation from any sources that her health is the reason behind the departure.

The comment that included the mention that she would see us after the election only added to the confusion if this was a permanent move by CNN or just a temporary programming shift as we lead up to the election. Like many changes that have been thrust upon up this year, this is just another one that we may need to just chalk up to the Coronavirus.

We wish the very best to Brooke and her husband and hope to see her return to the desk when this whole mess of an election is over!




Food

Classic Pea Salad

Pea Salad

Over the years, this has become of my favorite salads that my mom used to make. I still have the recipe written down on an index card, but have since updated it just a bit. Hoping that we will return to a world where there are parties and Summer BBQs soon, I decided to publish this recipe to get everyone thinking about something positive.

The main difference I have seen across recipes is the use of green onions or red onions. I love onions and don’t mind the red onions strong flavor, but if that’s not for you than try green onions. I also have noted that some recipes didn’t include cheddar cheese, but for me that is a key ingredient in the salad. The most important ingredient to me is the water chestnuts. I had a hard time finding these for awhile, so once I did, I stocked up on several cans.

1 Package of Frozen Peas
1 Canned and Cut Water Chestnuts
1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1/4 Cup Red Onion
3 Pieces of Bacon Cooked and Crumbled

Dressing
1/2 Cup Sour Cream
1/2 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon ACV
1 Tablespoon Sugar
Salt & Pepper