Recipes, Reviews

 

V-Blade Picture.JPG

As an aspiring cook, I love…no, obsess over all things kitchen-gadget related. After seeing a demonstration of a vegetable slicer, I decided it was going on my wish list. The Deluxe Cook V-Blade Vegetable Slicer is everything an at-home chef needs with several options for all your cooking needs.

I decided to test the V-Blade while creating a simple side dish for an easy Sunday dinner. The V-Blade was easy to assemble and use right out of the box, though i do recommend washing it!

It comes with four cutting plates that cut the following:

1.5mm Julienne

3.5mm Julienne

1.5mm slices

3.5mm slices (as seen in my video review)

My one complaint is that the slicer does NOT include a detailed manual on how to assemble, use, and clean. The majority of the directions are located directly on the box. It only took me about 5 minutes to master the art of using the vegetable slicer. By the way, the box warns only to use the slicer on vegetables and fruits. I was hoping to slice some cheese, but I did not attempt after reading the directions.

I had no trouble slicing the zucchini and squash, but my tomato was slightly too big for the hand guard making it more difficult for slicing. I would think that Roma tomatoes would slice perfectly!

If you’d like to see the Deluxe Cook V-Blade in action, checkout my video review below. Also, keep reading for the scrumptious recipe!

 

Zucchini, Squash, & Tomato Dish

1 Squash

1 Zucchini

1 Large Tomato

1/4 pound of fresh Mozzarella

2 Tablespoons of Italian Seasoning

4 Tablespoons of Olive oil or Avocado oil

  1. Using the Deluxe Cook V-Blade, slice the squash, zucchini, and tomato into 3.5mm slices.
  2. Arrange the slice in a glass baking dish, alternating between the three veggies.
  3. Between each group of squash, zucchini, and tomato, include a slice of fresh Mozzarella.
  4. Coat the vegetables and cheese with the olive or avocado oil.
  5. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are tender.
* The owner of this site is compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner(s) of this blog/website receives compensation for our posts and content, or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this site are purely the webmasters’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

 

Reviews

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I recently joined an online book club to help me pursue my goal of reading more books. The choice for January was Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes. I was so excited! I contacted my local library and immediately placed the book on hold…and I waited and waited for January 1st to begin what I thought would be a gem! And then I began reading…

I quickly became engulfed…waiting…waiting…until I enjoyed reading it. Was I really saying no, no, NO! to my favorite (current) TV show writer?!

Miss Rhimes spent pages, no chapters rambling!

“My paw is caught in a trap. I can try to chew it off and run away. But if you think I am whining now? Try me when I’m down a paw and have just a bloody gnawed stump to deal with.

The tears.

The drama.

The wailing and moaning.”

Every so often I would catch myself enjoying her personal stories about her family life, and then there would be pages of rambling about her political beliefs or her bragging about Shondaland or HER shows or HER success. About 100 pages into the TGIT writer’s memoir, I began to enjoy it! I liked it so much that she inspired me to begin to say YES! to more things that bring me joy and NO! to things and people that suck the joy right out of life.

I struggle to make time to read. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to read, but being a full-time teacher does not allow for much reading. Unfortunately, I wasted too many hours reading Year of Yes. Overall, I would rate the memoir 3 stars.

If you’d liked to connect via Goodreads, check out my profile.

Happiness Project

In less than 24 hours, we will be entering into the new year. Resolutions are being made and fresh starts are being sought after, but I am planning my happiness project–a life-changing experience, or so I hope.

I am truly blessed. I have a wonderful and loving family and boyfriend. I am a teacher at the best school in my district. I bought a house that will be paid for before my 35th birthday. I drive the car I desired. But I suffer with severe anxiety that affects all areas of my life–I constantly worry about anything and everything. I am also plagued with OCD tendencies that lead to more anxiety as I strive for perfection in every aspect of my life. This year I will make a 110% effort to overcome my anxieties, embrace imperfection, and enjoy each day in its fullest form.

How will I do this? By choosing one aspect of my life to work on each month. Within the month, I will work to form habits that will improve my well-being. Below you will find my January goals, resolutions, or whatever you want to call them.

January’s focus is all about rejuvenation.

january-image

Click HERE to get your FREE printable!

If you’d like a blank copy, click HERE!

Vitamins- I have some health problems that cause me to be very tired, thinning hair, and great anxiety. I started a new vitamin regimen that is designed to heal these areas.

20 Net Carbs or Less- I am 5’2″ and weigh about 130lb. To most this is a great weight, but I struggle to eat healthy, so I am limiting myself to less than 20 carbs a day. Hopefully, I can kick those sugar cravings.

Exercise- I always feel better after exercising, but after a long day of work, I form every excuse possible not to hit the gym. As cliche as it may be, I will be working on my fitness this month.

Walk my Dogs- This may seem odd since my focus is rejuvenation, but I love my fur-babies dearly and evening walks are a great way to bond and clear my mind.

No Electronics (after 9PM)- It is easy for me to spend hours aimlessly wandering around the Internet, pinning on Pinterest, or reorganizing my digital clutter while ignoring things I love–like reading! Setting a time to get off will ensure I have time for myself while being disconnected.

Bedtime- Establishing a bedtime is very much needed. Being a teacher means I SHOULD be up before the sun and heading to work to be well prepared. Unfortunately, I stare at the clock at 1AM, sometimes 2AM.

Skin Care- I find that women tend to put other ahead of themselves all too often. That is a fault of mine; I will spend hundreds of dollars on my dogs for their health, but I can’t invest in good skin care nor find the time to properly clean nourish my skin.

Morning Routine- Creating a morning has been a goal of mine for quite some time. It goes hand in hand with going to bed at a decent time. As the month develops, I will share my morning routine. My goal is to WANT to crawl out of bed!

Grateful Heart- Or spending the month not complaining. It is so easy to be influenced by toxic people who are bitter and ungrateful. I will be striving to avoid unnecessary negativity.

I hope that you embark on this journey with me! Please share your focus and progress.

XOXO

Dani

 

Happiness Project

As cliche as it may be, I am pondering my goals for the coming year. Reflecting on the past year, I realized that year after year, I complain about the days being long but the year inevitably short.

Do you ever feel like each day is on repeat? Wake up. Work. Clean. Sleep.

My goal or promise to myself for 2017 is to live fully in the moment and enjoy each day. I will be developing and implementing a happiness project. I was inspired years ago by Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. After a break-up with my high school sweetheart and boyfriend of 6 years (in 2011), I was searching for true happiness. Rubin’s book inspired me to tackle small habits to find myself and improve my life.

So this year, I will take readers on my journey to finding my happiness. And I invite you all to join me. Use my forms or use the blank ones provided to create your own happiness project.

The first step is to create a list of promises to yourself that are not too specific. Just ideas that you would like to live by each day. Rubin calls her list Personal Commandments, but I named mine Promises. Whatever you call them, post the list in a spot that tends to remind you of the life you truly want to live.

Click here to get a FREE printable of my promises.

promises-image

Wanting to create your own? Click here to get a blank version.

Be Content- My first promise and reminder to be content where I am in my live. I am a perfectionist, always striving for bigger and better.

Be Positive- Being a teacher and working long hours make it difficult to look on the bright side.

Let Go- Hanging onto anger, anxiety, and regret can hold us back; those feelings do not affect or hurt anyone except ourselves.

Don’t Wait- Procrastination is my worst enemy.

Live in the Moment- Spending too much time on social media while my boyfriend and I are spending time together or viewing sites from behind a camera tend to steal the moment away from me. Always waiting for the next best thing.

Prioritize- Emphasizing things that do not matter in the long run tend to rule my life–planning the next school outing, developing lesson plans, or repainting my baseboards for third time in a year.

Invest in Relationships- Forming and maintaining meaningful relationships is important in living a fulfilling life.

Have a Grateful Heart- Trying not to complain and being grateful for the small things is sometimes a struggle.

Enjoy the Wait- Always waiting for something else to make us happy or fill a void can spoil the present moment. Be thankful for all things happening in their own time.

Listen- Always listen instead of planning the next piece of the conversation. Genuinely give attention to those speaking to you, whether with words or emotions.

 

 

Freebies, Teacherisms

naeir

NAEIR is an acronym for National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources. The organization allows teachers and other service organizations to get FREE resources. The catch? The items you select must be used for the ill, elderly, or youth. Of course, as a teacher all the products can be used in the classroom. NAEIR legally cannot charge individuals for the items. They only charge a nominal shipping fee.

How does this work?

Larger companies donate items to NAEIR and receive a tax write-off. Non-profits then get the items for FREE!

Is NAEIR legit?

Yes, yes, and yes! I have ordered and received my shipment in a timely manner. NAEIR offers great products from companies like Crayola, 3M, and Rubbermaid. Enjoy a wide variety of products from pens to laminating machines to clothing and shoes. I recently saw a 2-pack of 3M laminating machines for just $24 shipping!

As teacher, I am always looking for more economical ways to supply my classroom, and NAEIR has helped me greatly! CLICK HERE to get started! It may take a few days to be approved, but it is well worth the wait!

Giveaways

As a teacher, I am always looking for freebies whether it’s in or out of the classroom. I love FREE printables, technology, decorations, advice, you name it…I’ll take it! I follow so many freebie groups on Facebook that I decided it was time to try my luck at sweepstakes, giveaways, and instant win games. I have never been lucky in this arena, but I figured if I make an attempt to enter daily and numerous giveaways then I may have a chance. Please join me on this lucky journey! Let me know if you strike it rich!

I will try to update this post weekly.


Daily Entries

Live Debt Free Sweepstakes (Ends January 31, 2018)

Enter for the chance to win $100,000 to pay your bills! Limit one (1) entry per person and per email address, per day, per unique brand presentation for Sweepstakes regardless of method of entry.

$10k Fit and Fabulous Sweepstakes (Ends January 31, 2018)
Enter for a chance to win state of the art fitness equipment and apparel worth $10,000! Limit one (1) entry per person and per email address, per day, per unique brand presentation for Sweepstakes regardless of method of entry.

$25k Dream Vacation Giveaway (Ends January 31, 2018)

Enter for a chance to win $25,000 to spend on the vacation of your dreams! Limit one (1) entry per person and per email address, per day, per unique brand presentation for Sweepstakes regardless of method of entry.

$25k Wardrobe Makeover Sweepstakes (Ends January 31, 2018)

Enter for a chance to win a brand new work wardrobe – worth $25,000! Limit one (1) entry per person and per email address, per day, per unique brand presentation for Sweepstakes regardless of method of entry.

 

Tito’s Vodka Chilled Sweepstakes (Ends March 31, 2017)

Fingerhut Spring 2017 Shopping Spree Sweepstakes (Ends April 30, 2017)

Newport Pay Day (Ends June 14, 2017)

Enter everyday for a chance to win $100,000!

 

Weekly Entries


Monthly Entries

Radiant Life $100 Gift Certificate
Enter once a month to win a $100 gift certificate to purchase Radiant Life supplements. 

Once & Done Entries

Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Sweepstakes (Ends January 13, 2017; March 14, 2017; May 15, 2017)

Each person can enter once during each drawing period.

First Prize (3 total; 1 per Drawing): One (1) 55” television, one (1) sound system, one (1) Angie’s Boomchickapop branded pillow, one (1) Angie’s Boomchickapop branded helmet snack bowl, one (1) big bag filled with 25 Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP® Sweet and Salty Popcorn 1.0 oz bags, 25 Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP® Sea Salt Popcorn 0.6 oz bags, and one (1) bag each of Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP® flavors: Sea Salt, Sweet & Salty, Lightly Sweet and White Cheddar. ARV: $1,192.01 each First Prize.

Second Prize (15 total; 5 per Drawing): Tailgate set consisting of two (2) Angie’s Boomchickapop branded tailgate chairs, one (1) Angie’s Boomchickapop branded cooler with speakers, one (1) Angie’s Boomchickapop branded helmet snack bowl, and one (1) bag each of Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP® flavors: Sea Salt, Sweet & Salty, Lightly Sweet and White Cheddar. ARV: $495.19 each Second Prize.

Third Prize (27 total, 9 per Drawing): One (1) Boomchickapop branded indoor single shootout basketball game and two (2) bags of Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP® Sweet & Salty Kettle Corn. ARV: $251.22 each Third Prize. Total ARV of all prizes: $17,786.82

Barielle “March Madness” Giveaway

ONE GRAND PRIZE WINNER WILL BE AWARDED a PRIZE: One randomly chosen participant will win a prize. Sponsor will not replace any lost, mutilated, or stolen prizes.

Valued at $200: Marc Jacob’s Wavy Lady Dot Bandeau Scarf, Baublebar’s Fire Engine Red Bubble Stream Necklace, 3 Barielle Prosina Polishes (Elle’s Spell, Berry Posh and Secret Desire) and Barielle’s Best Selling Nail Strengthener Cream (.5 oz) and Total Foot Cream (2.5 oz)

Good Housekeeping Closets by Design Sweepstakes

Carnival Takes You There (Ends March 31, 2017)

Enter the Carnival Takes You There Sweepstakes for a chance to win  1 0f 5 $500 Carnival gift cards  and you could be on your way to the vacation of your dreams.

Pedego Electric Bikes Giveaway (Ends July 31, 2017)

Enter the Pedego Electric Bikes Sweepstakes for a chance to win 1 of 6 pairs of Pedego electric bikes!

Good Housekeeping Sleep Sweepstakes (Ends March 31, 2017)

Enter the Good Housekeeping Sleep Sweepstakes for a chance to win 1 of 10 prize packs of Good Housekeeping’s sleep essentials worth $249!

 

 

 

Instant Win Entries

 Pandora Instant Win (Ends June 30, 2017)

  • (3,233) Pandora Plus 3-month Membership ARV: $14.95
  • (511) Pandora Plus 12-month Membership ARV: $54.89

Canada Dry Instant Win (Ends May 10, 2017)

Enter daily to see if you won!

Grand Prizes: 250 $100 Reward Codes. Total ARV $25,000.00

First Prizes: 2,500 $20 Reward Codes. Total ARV $50,000.00

Second Prizes: 7,000 $10 Reward Codes. Total ARV $70,000.00

 

 

 

 

How To's


You may want to have a seat before reading the next line, but there are ONLY 26 weeks until Christmas 2016 or 188 days. Now breathe, I don’t expect that anyone is hauling down the tree or picking out color-coordinated gift wrap, but if you look around at stores like Hobby Lobby, you’d think the most wonderful time of year has begun!

It may not be time to get your tinsel in a tangle, but it is time to prepare financially. Other than credit card rewards, I enjoy using several sites to save money for Christmas. If you begin now, Christmas could be paid for before it gets here!

I am featuring some of my favorite and easy ways to earn money without leaving home. Now by clicking some of the links, I will earn a little reward (the government says that I have to inform you).

I would suggest creating an e-mail account just for your moneymaking, survey, and sweepstakes sites. I love using Gmail, and find that it is very user-friendly to organize my digital clutter.

1. MyPoints
MyPoints allows users to earn points for reading e-mails, making necessary purchases, completing surveys, watching videos, printing and redeeming coupons, or donating money to charities. Redeem points for gift cards to most major stores and restaurants like Bath & Body Works, Applebee’s, Amazon, iTunes, and the list goes on! Click here to get started!

2. SurveySavvy

I am always leary when someone promotes a survey site…is it legit?! When a friend posted about Survey Savvy on Facebook, I decided to give it a shot! I have not been disappointed! Earn money with quick and fairly short surveys. Once you have a balance, request a check that will be recieved in 4-12 weeks. The minimum amount to cashout is ONLY $1! Click here to get started!

3. Ebates
Ebates has to be one of my favorite ways to earn money for Christmas and birthday spending. I simply use Ebates when making online purchases. If you don’t shop online, simply link your credit card and link offers to shop in-store. The percentage earned changes often, so check back frequently for the best earnings. Ebates also offers great coupon and daily deals. Click here to begin and earn $10 for just signing-up!

4. Swagbucks
Swagbucks allows users to earn bucks by doing online searches, surveys, polls, shopping, watching videos, and playing games. I recommend setting Swagbucks as your homepage and use it immediately upon searching the Internet. Easily cash out your swagbucks for gift cards or sweepstakes entries. Click here to get started!

5. Viggle
Everyone loves watching a great TV series or listening to music, so why not get paid to do these favorite pasttimes? Join Viggle and begin earning points! Simply check in when listening to a song or watching a show. Earn Perk Points that can be redeemed for gift cards. Click here to get started!

6. thredUP
ThredUP is a great online consignment shop that pays you to clean out your closet! I have been using thredUP for about a year and make $30-50 with each clean out bag I request. It is so easy to get started, simply request a clean out bag, stuff it with your gently used name brand clothes, and mail back free of charge! It will take about 4-6 weeks to process your bag and recieve your money. Use the money on their site to purchase gently used clothes or transfer the money to your PayPal account! Click here to get started! Using my link will give you $10 to spend right now!

7. Pinecone Research
I have been doing surveys for Pinecone Research for quite sometime. Most surveys pay $3 per survey or you earn points towards rewards. Pinecone is a legitimate way to earn some sideline cash. Click here to get started!

8. Etsy
Do you have a crafty side? Use Etsy to share your high-quality and unique creations. I have friends that make $500-5000 a month selling their products on Etsy. Click here to get started!

9. Community Selling Posts
Many communities are looking to Facebook to create virtual garage sales. Don’t have time to set-up tables and organize items, simply join or create a Facebook group where locals post pictures and prices of items they need to sale. Make sure to meet in a secure location. Craigslist is also another option to sell unwanted goods!

10. Product Reviewer 
Reviewing products for companies is definitely my favorite way to get cheap or free gifts for Christmas! Follow my link to another blog post about becoming a reviewer. Always remember to provide honest and high-quality reviews so companies will continue to ask you to review. Click here to get started!

How To's

I have been doing Amazon reviews since February 2015. It is rare to have a day go by without a package or two on my doorstep! I am excited to share how to start your journey on reviewing wonderful products. I must warn you: you will be addicted with your first package!

Step 1:
I highly recommend paying the $99 for Amazon Prime. If you are unsure about this commitment, get a FREE 30-day trial; just remember to cancel after 30 days if you are not satisfied with the service. Amazon Prime is not just FREE 2-day shipping, it gives subscribers access to TV, movie, and music streaming.

Many companies that offer free or discounted products ask that you review the item within 10 days; this can only be accomplished with the 2-day shipping.



Step 2:
Before joining any review groups, review your prior purchases on Amazon. Amazon does provide guidelines for writing reviews and for the most part, they are enforced. the full list of guidelines can be found HERE. The following information are the basics:

HOW CAN I WRITE A GREAT REVIEW?

  • Include the “why”: The best reviews include not only whether you liked or disliked a product or service, but also why. Feel free to make comparisons with related products or services you’ve experienced.
  • Be specific: Your review should be relevant to the product or service you’re reviewing and focus on specific features or your experience. For video and image reviews, we recommend that you write a brief introduction.
  • Not too short, not too long: Written reviews should be at least 20 words and are limited to 5,000 words. The ideal length is 75 to 500 words. Video reviews have a 10-minute limit, but we recommend 2 to 5 minutes to keep your audience engaged.
  • Be sincere: We welcome your honest opinion about the product or service. We do not remove reviews because they are critical. We believe all helpful information can inform our customers’ buying decisions.


Step 3:
When you have completed reviewing prior purchases on Amazon, it is time to get the party started! Sign-up for the following sites to start getting products to review for FREE or highly discounted prices! Please be patient when you begin reviewing; companies will not offer you expensive products to begin. It is important to build a good reputation. But it is best to sit now and create a log-in for each. Start a document with all your usernames and passwords; better yet, allow your computer to remember your information. I also recommend getting a notebook to keep track of what company you are reviewing the product for. Each website has different protocol on submitting your reviews.

Several sites will ask for your Amazon reviewer profile. Watch my short video to locate this information.

Once you create an account, start shopping for deals that interest you. Select “Review Now.” If you are chosen for a particular product, you will be notified via e-mail! It is so exciting to check your e-mail daily for freebies!


Simply sign-up & begin receiving e-mails with great offers! You do not have inform them when you are done reviewing. 

3. Amazing Deals Group
Sign-up and receive 2 coins to get FREE or discounted products. Once you have reviewed the item, allow the site to verify your review and gain the coins back.


Step 4:
Once you receive the product, please leave a quality review promptly. A good review consists of 4-5 sentences that describe the product and your experience with it. Pictures and videos will also help improve your Amazon ranking. I have included the link to Amazon’s review guidelines. Click Here. Always include a disclaimer letting the reader know that you have provided a an honest review in exchange for a free or discounted product.

Some sites will request that you find an item’s permalink. Please watch my video to easily find the permalink.



Doggie Delights, Recipes

maxs-cake
If you’re anything like me, my fur babies are like children to me. When I come home from a long day of work, they (Max & Beau) are happily awaiting my arrival with puppy kisses and the expectation of treats! When it comes to their special day, I treat them like I would a child’s birthday–presents and cake included!

My sweet Max’s birthday was the week before he had a tumor removed (more about that later), so I wanted to make it extra special! Unfortunately, my boy has some pretty terrible allergies, and I am slowly removing triggers from his diet. So for his cake, it had to be grain-free! The following is my take on a grain-free puppy cake! By the way, if you want a bite too, go for it! It’s 100% human-safe too!

Cake Ingredients
 
1 cup of natural peanut butter
3 eggs
2 small mashed bananas
1/2 cup of coconut or almond flour
1/4 cup of cottage cheese
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1-2 teaspoons of natural honey
Milkbone Treats
Candles
 
Icing Ingredients
 
1 package of cream cheese
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
 
Directions
 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Butter or line a 9 x 13 baking pan
3. In a large bowl, mix all the cake ingredients
4. Bake for about 20 minutes
5. In a medium bowl, mix the cream cheese, oil, and peanut butter until smooth.
6. After the cake has cooled, cut it in half.
7. Spread the icing between both layers and around the cake until smooth.
8. Decorate with candles and Milkbone treats!
 
My lovely Beau is enjoying his brother’s cake!

 

Recipes

I found this recipe in one of my old magazines and decided to give it a twist! It is light and not overly sweet; it makes for a great summer dessert. Please try it and let me know. Also, be sure to share your favorite summer dessert recipe!

lemon-cookie-berry-cake


Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Ingredients:
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
3 cups mixed berries (I used blueberries & blackberries)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 Lemon (For juice ONLY)
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup of confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups of cold heavy cream
1 package of lemon crème cookies (I used the Great Value brand)
Directions:
1. Toss 1 cup of strawberries & mixed berries with 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar & the juice of half a lemon; set aside to macerate (at least 30 minutes)
2. Puree 1 cup of mixed berries until smooth. (The remaining berries will be used for the topping)
3. Beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, & juice of half a lemon in a large bowl until mixture becomes fluffy. Add the heavy cream and beat until peaks form. Take half of the whipped cream and mix with the pureed berries.
4. Cover a loaf pan in plastic wrap. Spread a thin layer of the plain whipped cream into the pan. (Refrigerate the remaining cream for the topping)
5. Place a single layer of the cookies on the bottom of the pan. (I split the cookies in half, but do whatever you would like) Spread a layer of the berry whipped cream, and then top with the macerated berries. Then proceed with another layer of cookies, cream, & berries. Finish with a layer of cookies. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours.
6. Toss the remaining berries with the lemon juice & sugar mixture. Allow them to soak while the cake chills.
7. Uncover the cake and flip in onto a plate. Top it with the remaining cream and macerated berries! & Enjoy!
It is great with a cup of lemonade or coffee!
XOXO
D