Thursday, December 31, 2020

A Different Holiday Season

It’s usually a month of celebration with family and friends. Things were certainly quite different this year. That doesn’t mean we still can’t celebrate, even if you are by yourself.

Pour yourself a glass of one of this month’s finds and get ready for the New Year with some new healthy choices.


Ultimate peppermint for the season…

I couldn’t think of a better spirit for the winter than RumChata Peppermint Bark. It’s rich and creamy, and full of mint flavor, without being overpowering. It’s a rum candy cane I want on the rocks, in my coffee, and definitely in my hot chocolate. (For more ideas, check out the RumChata website.)

As delicious as RumChata Peppermint Bark is on its own, I could resist trying a recipe with it. Peppermint mocha is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. Here’s my recipe for some delectable Peppermint Mocha Fudge Brownies.


Bruno’s rum…

After trying SelvayRey Rum on vacation, Bruno Mars fell in love and started working with the company that distills in Panama.

They had me at “Chocolate Rum,” and it lives up to its tasty treat name. SelvayRey Chocolate Rum is not very sweet, with the infused chocolate sticking out to produce coffee notes and giving the opportunity to mix in a sugary chocolate pina colada, or more savory cocktails.

I'm also a fan of the SelvaRey White Rum has hints of fruit and vanilla, thanks to a blend of two different aged rums bourbon barrels.


Always time for tequila…

I’m always ready to try a new tequila and INSÓLITO did not disappoint. This also comes with musical support, from country music’s Midland. They teamed with the Herrera Brothers of Premium de Jalisco.

INSÓLITO’s unique flavor is credited to the elevation (7,200 feet) 80% of the agave is grown in, mixed with the balance from the lowlands.

I loved the INSÓLITO Blanco, sweet and smooth, and a bit more herby than fruity. The Reposado is also a good choice, with flavorful citrus and not too much sugar. I found the Anejo, aged for 18-24 months in new American oak, a bit too whiskey-like for my taste.


Wrap it in cheese…

 Folio Cheese Wraps are a big win for anyone looking to eat healthy. They check all the boxes as gluten-free, high protein, keto, low carb, and even lactose free. Most of all, they are delicious and can be used in so many ways.

Folio Cheese are shaped like tortillas, but made completely out of cheese. You can wrap your sandwich inside or put them on top of your dish and give them a quick melt. I just put a parmesan (my favorite) on top of my pasta for a gooey dinner, and wrapped one over avocado for a healthy lunch.

The Folio Cheddar and Jarlsberg are also excellent. You can buy them in many supermarkets, or on Amazon.


Protein in a puff…

Shrewd Food Protein Puffs offer another healthy way to get your protein. The nutrition is impressive, with 14 grams of protein, less than two grams of sugar, and two carbs per package. They are easy to take with you too.

I received a selection of all their flavors. The Nacho Cheese was definitely my favorite, but my friends and I enjoyed the Brick Oven Pizza, Baked Cheddar, and Strawberry & Cream. The only one I was not fond of was the Cookies and Cream, which didn’t have much flavor. 

These are definitely a good way to kickstart your new year. You can purchase Shrewd Food Protein Puffs here.

Cauliflower power…

I confess that I am not on the cauliflower bandwagon. Don’t get me wrong, I love it as a vegetable, I just don’t see it as a substitute for every carb out there. When I was asked to try Cauli Crunch products, I went into it with that skepticism.

I have since learned that cauliflower can be a healthy, reasonable, and tasty substitute for breadcrumbs. Cauli Crunch is a great alternative, whether you are looking to save a few calories, add more vitamins, or stick to a diet that’s gluten-free and Vegan. I haven’t had a chance to get too creative yet, but it makes a great way to bread chicken as it’s got a nice crunch.  

The Cauli Crunch 7 Spice is especially flavorful. It also comes in Original and Taste of Italy. They are available here.


Make it eggless…

If you’ve ever tried to substitute eggs to make something vegan, you know what a challenge it can be. Vegg not only takes away some of that works, it is a healthy and tasty alternative.

Vegg is all plant-based, made from soy, yeast, magnesium, beta carotene, and black sea salt. It is an egg yolk substitute that can be used it cooking and baking. I tried the Vegg Egg Yolk in a muffin recipe and did not taste the difference, but what I really loved was the Vegg Power Scramble with 20 mg of protein. I added some spinach and mushrooms for more superfoods.

You can purchase Vegg on Amazon.


Don’t forget the anti-aging…
I’m pretty happy with my skin care routine these days so I wasn’t sure when I was approached by a Baebody rep about trying their Retinol Moisturizer. Then I did a little research and read that it was outselling its class on Amazon, and was only $19.99.

I discovered something very interesting when trying the Baebody Retinol Moisturizer. I was honestly not sure it was enough firming for my 50+ year old facial skin, but while the jury was still out on that one, I ran out of my body moisturizer one night. I decided to try it on some crepey areas I acquired during a recent weight loss.

While I’m still not sure it’s a facial cream for me, Baebody Retinol Moisturizer has made a huge difference in smoothing my calves, upper arms, knees, and elbows. I definitely suggest ordering the cream and trying it everywhere.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Holiday Gift Ideas

While I received a variety of products this month, I decided to concentrate on some gift ideas for this column. We are all adjusting our shopping these days and online is a good way to go. Just remember that the post office is also having a rough year so be sure to allow enough time for your presents to arrive.

I always appreciate it if you purchase through my affiliate links below. Also, if you are looking for handmade gifts, my Etsy shop is filled with crocheted creations.

Give Himalayan Salt a try…

I have tried a salt cave and found it relaxing and felt my breathing to be a little better. I have been thinking about getting a Himalayan Salt Lamp at home so I was excited when I received this one to try out.

This is rather impressive for the $19.99 price. Not only does it contain the salt, but it has a wireless remote to control a dimmer night light and white noise.

I can’t tell you all my health problems have been cured, but that tickle in my throat that often wakes me up hasn’t happened since I’ve had the lamp there.

A holiday top to give or keep…

It’s always nice to have something new to wear for the holidays and this top is great to give or get for yourself. Despite the face that the description uses the words “casual” and “sweatshirt,” the material and open back lends itself to dress.

 I love the brown color, which is more of a rust. It also comes in other options and looks like it is well worth more than the price of $16.99. 

Great Leggings on a budget…
That top goes great with these leggings. They are very sturdy, not at all see through, and give lots of support. They also have a bit of a shine to them so they can easily be dressed up – for $21.99.

 If you want to be a bit more daring than the standard black, check out the camel, black leopard, and camouflage.

The toy for every dog…

When I first got this toy, I didn’t think it would be of use to my 6 lb. Yorkie puppy. I was definitely wrong. He loves it. It’s solid and has all different textures and noises. He’ll be playing with it for a long time and I think my pit bull grand dogs would even have a hard time destroying this. 

Bring your pet along…
Teddy is training to be a service dog, but since he is small, I don’t want to take a chance of him getting caught in the wheels of my scooter. That’s why I was so excited to try this bag. It works fine for my GoGo Scooter.

I love the fact that it has a built-in cover so there’s room for Teddy to stick his head out, or me to fill it with groceries or a water bottle.

Of course, this is meant for a bicycle and would also be a great gift for the bike rider in your life. 

Everyone needs this humidifier…

Dry skin, dry mouth, dry hair… everything is dry in the winter time when the heat is on. A humidifier is the perfect way to stay moist. This one, priced at only $32.99, has bonus features.

The Toppin Humidifier is cool mist so it won’t be sweating and it's very quiet. It also has a night light and diffuser for essential oils. I have mine in the living room with gentle scents of vanilla and cinnamon during the day, and lavender at night to help the puppy sleep better (it works). 

Another way to give relaxation…

I don’t find much more relaxing than a hot bath and it’s made even better with the right bath pillow. This pillow checks all the boxes in softness, comfort, and support, plus it’s easy to clean.