Drink

Adictivo Reposado Tequila Review

AdictivoTequila

I thought for my last post of 2021 it would make sense to review a tequila. We have all been stuck dealing with Covid for much of 2021, and I know we probably have enough new recipes that we still haven’t tried yet. This tequila is one we actually came across when we were visiting Puerto Vallarta.

One of our favorite excursions is walking into town and visiting the tequila shops. They are always very eager to give you samples, so we try to make sure we buy a bottle from them when we are all done. The bottle has a very cool twisted design, but the bottle that you can find here in the United States looks like it got a bit of an update.

The one thing that stands out about this tequila is how balanced it is across all its flavors. Usually, tequila will lean sweet or spicy, sometimes oakey, but this balances them all very well. In reading other reviews, many people thought this tequila was too sweet. Since I do tend to like sweeter tequilas, I thought I would share others’ observations.

When you compare this to something like Casamigos, I think Adictivo is much more balanced. It still serves up the vanilla and caramel notes, but the oak and spice smooth it out for me. The other thing about this tequila is how smooth it is and it finishes well. This may not be the perfect gift for a tequila connoisseur, but is worth trying! Enjoy your New Year’s Eve. Happy 2022!

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!

Home|Lifestyle

Nest Mesh Wifi Review

Google Nest Wifi Mesh Router

I have had many routers over the years and have tried them in many configurations. For home automation, I chose to go with TP-Link’s Kasa line of lights and switches. For a long time, I was under the impression that I had to have a TP-Link router in order to run them all since Kasa doesn’t come with a central hub. So after my first TP-Link router stopped working properly, I upgraded to a more powerful TP-Link router. Within a matter of weeks, the wifi part of the router stopped working. Then, one day I realized that my Xfinity Router supported Kasa. So, I moved all 40 of my Kasa units over to the Xfinity router. The one thing Comcast doesn’t talk about is that their router only supports a limited number of devices at one time.

I started to research which system I was going to with next. Then I happened upon one selling point that many other routers weren’t talking about and that was the number of supported devices. When I saw that Google was advertising that their new mesh router system supported up to 200 devices at once, I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I was a little put off by its expensive price tag so I watched for a sale and finally picked up a router and additional access point.

I already had many Google Home streaming devices, so going with the Nest system was a natural decision. The other selling point for me was the additional access point also acted as a speaker. Since I already had the Google Home app set up, adding the new router was really easy. The complete setup went very well, so then I just needed to move all my devices over to the new Nest Mesh System.

I immediately saw an improvement in streaming across the entire house. Any previous dark spots were gone. It also kept all Kasa devices connected and they weren’t dropping off as they did with my previous routers. If you are running Kasa and Google Home, then this is the system for you!




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

Orange Cilantro Margarita

Orange Cilantro Margarita

I made this on Cinco de Mayo and it was great! The main thing I learned about making a good margarita is that you don’t need margarita mix or a big bottle of Cointreau. A true margarita really only needs fresh lime and a sweet element like agave. For this version of margarita, I used a splash of orange juice to help balance out the lime. It is a perfect fresh margarita for summertime!

Orange Cilantro Margarita
3 Limes Squeezed
1/3 Cup of Orange Juice
3 – 4 Ounces of Gran Orendain Reposado
2 Tablespoons Agave
Bunch of Cilantro
Splash of Lime Seltzer

In a cocktail shaker, muddle together half your cilantro with lime juice. Add in your tequila, orange juice, and agave syrup. Shake well and pour over a glass of ice. Sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top, then top with a bit of lime seltzer. Enjoy!

Drink

Lemonade Seltzer Reviews

Lemonade Seltzer Review

You may have seen previous posts about Mike’s Lite disappearing of shelves in 2020. Since then, we have been on our journey to find something comparable to replace it with. We tried a lot of different brands of seltzers in many different flavors, but we weren’t finding anything that was hitting our taste buds right.

We really liked the Truly brand, but the lemon truly still lacked any real flavor. Then we discovered Truly Lemonade. The strawberry and black cherry flavors were a little polarizing in our house. I didn’t like the strawberry lemonade and he didn’t like the black cherry. But, the standard Lemonade flavor was pretty good.

Then all of a sudden one day, Mike’s Hard Seltzer popped up on the shelf. We quickly purchased it and rushed home to sample. It comes in 4 flavors (lemon, mango, strawberry and pineapple). All the flavors passed the test.

I had ordered groceries online one day, and the substituted the Bud Light Seltzer for one of the cases of Mike’s Hard Seltzer. Now, we had all three brands on hand and we proceeded with a head to head taste test of all three brands.

First of all, they are all about 100 calories each. So that really leveled the playing field. So, we had to break it down from there.

BrandTruly LemonadeMike’s Hard SeltzerBud Light Hard Seltzer
Calories100100100
Sodium45mg90mg30mg
Carbs3g1g3g
Sugars1g1g>1g
TasteTart/LemonyFresh/SweetWine/Bland
Rank#1#2#3

As much as we wanted Mike’s Hard Seltzer to come out on top, Truly seems to be dominating the space right now. Unfortunately, Truly Lemonade does not sell it’s plain lemonade flavor by the case. So, we found that Total Wine carries large cans in their singles aisle, we have been ordering a case of those and picking them up at the store.

Please let us know your thoughts and thanks for taking this journey with us.

Drink

Best Cheap Tequila by the Half Gallon

Best Cheap Tequila

Since the beginning of 2020, we have been buying our tequila and having it delivered. In the process, we have been comparing brands of tequila that come in the 1.75 liter size. First of all, I have to state that our household does not believe in Silver tequila. Silver tequilas do not have the benefit of resting in barrels and developing those more complex flavors. Silver tequila has what I can a grainy alcohol especially when you are looking for cheaper brands. So, this post is going to focus on affordable tequilas that come in the half gallon size.

One night we decided to rank several half gallons of reposado by price and we were surprised where they all fell in line. It was that night that inspired this blog post. Hopefully it will help you decide which tequila might be right to have handy when you need to make a couple pitchers of margaritas.

Hornitos Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $30 – $35)

This has been one of our go-to tequilas for years and years. It’s what I might call old faithful. It has a mellow flavor that isn’t too spicy or too smokey. It has fruity floral notes that carry through that add to any mixed cocktail.

Legado Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $32 – $37)

We often bounced between Camarena and Legado as our resident cheap tequila. As the price of Camarena went up, Legado won the honored spot. When we compared that to Hornitos, we actually found that the Legado was a slightly more refined tequila. It has more spicy notes and is a little sweeter as well.

1800 Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $43 – $47)

This tequila sits right in the middle in terms of price and quality. I don’t think of this tequila as a fine tequila and often surprised when restaurants and bars try to pass it off as top-shelf.

Camarena Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $43 – $45)

As mentioned, this was one of our go-to cheap tequila brands for some time. This tequila reminds me a bit of Hornitos in that none of the flavor profiles are too pronounced. It has just enough complexity and flavor to be a great tequila for Margaritas and cocktails.

Espolon Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $45 – $50)

This tequila might be best known for its great label. Featuring skeletons and skulls, the Dia de Los Muertos design makes it perfect for holidays and celebrations. This is also a very solid tequila. Complex notes of spice, smoke, and sweetness live together well in this brand.

Altos Reposado 1.75L (Average Price $40 – $50)

Of all the tequilas mentioned in this post, this one had the widest variety of prices. Altos is a great brand with a well-developed flavor profile. The maturity of this tequila is in the flavors. As tequilas become higher quality, you start to experience much smokier and spicier notes with rich sweetness. If you find this at the right price, it’s a great value.

Cazadores 1.75L (Average Price $45 – $50)

As we lined up our half gallons by price, we were surprised that Cazadores came up as the most expensive. Cazadores is also a very solid brand and as mentioned above, higher quality tequilas have more complex flavors. This is great for people who love the taste of tequila in their cocktails and want those flavors to shine through.

The Winner

We went with Legado as the best cheap tequila that is available in the half gallon size. The rub on this one is it is only available at Total Wine as part of their Direct Spirits brand. As we come out of our Coronavirus lockdown and move into ‘drinks on the patio’ weather, pick it up and give it a try. Let us know what you think!

Food

Almond Flour Pizza Recipe

Almond Flour Pizza

Since today is National Pizza Day, I thought I would share this recipe. When I began cooking low-carb meals, this was one of the first things I tried to master. Let me tell you, this is much easier than trying to make real dough from scratch.

First of all, get out your cream cheese and let is soften. Combine that with the cheese in a microwave-safe bowl. Then, I microwave it 30 seconds at a time until the cheese gets melted a bit. That’s when I fold in the almond flour and egg. Combine well, then flatten between two pieces of parchment paper.

Turn your broiler on low, and cook the crust for just a few minutes until it starts to brown. Take it out and flip it onto your second piece of parchment paper. I actually cook the other side of the crust for just a minute to make sure it gets a bit of crunch. Then top pizza and cook for about 7 – 8 minutes until toppings have cooked through the center.

Almond Flour Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 1/4 package cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup mozzarella
  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper

I would suggest keeping the toppings fairly light or the crust might start to get a little soggy. So, a thin layer of sauce and toppings will work best! Enjoy!