Friday, February 27, 2015

Would You Eat a Chip Made from an EGG White??? (review and giveaway)


Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge,ips for review and giveawaypurposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it


If you have a child with food allergies, finding a snack they can eat, that resembles snacks other kids can eat, can be very hard.

So when I heard about a new snack made from EGG WHITES, I was interested to see what it looked and tasted like!
Meet  Ips :


The name rhymes with rhymes with “chips” and is short for “intelligent protein snacks”. They are made with non-GMO corn and egg white protein.

Founder and CEO, Sean, came up with the idea for the product when he saw how much his kids loved the crunchy edges of the eggs he made them for breakfast. His idea was to replace some of the fat and empty carbs out of traditional chips with egg white – a natural, high quality protein source. After some research he found a texture that was more like a chip, and 'ips' were born.


They have 6 grams of protein per serving (about the equivalent of one egg), half the fat of fried chips, and fewer carbs than baked chips. And they come in 4 great flavors.

The chips DO contain corn, rice flour, sunflower oil and tapioca flour, in case any of those ingredients are on your no-no list. 

As you can see  they look like other 'puffed' chips:


They come in 4 flavors:

- BBQ- which REALLY tastes just like your favorite BBQ chip
- Cinnamon- hands down they taste JUST like a cinnamon snack from your favorite drive thru restaurant
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper- the most adult flavor- the folk decided they like it best
- White Cheddar - Miss Grace's favorite, they taste very similar to the ones she takes everyday for lunch

They chips have a resounding crunch to them, and just a small handful really do fill you up and satisfy a craving you may be having.  They are great to break up, and put over a salad or omelette. 

Ips chips are sold in about 700 stores nationwide, including My Fit Foods,  Whole Foods in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vitamin Shops, or use their store finder to find a location near you. You can also buy them online through Amazon.





flashing Win

One reader will win an 8 sample pack, with 2 of each flavor of ips chips!

Book Review and Giveaway: The Forgetting Place by John Burley

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from William Morrow Publishing, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it




We've reviewed John's previous novel, The Absence of Mercy, and I'm thrilled to share his latest work, released this month!


The Forgetting Place cover


Synopsis:

A female psychiatrist at a state mental hospital finds herself at the center of a shadowy conspiracy in this dark and twisting tale of psychological suspense from the author of The Absence of Mercy.
Menaker State Hospital is a curse, a refuge, a prison, a necessity, a nightmare, a salvation.
When Dr. Lise Shields arrived at the correctional psychiatric facility five years ago, she was warned that many of its patients-committed by Maryland’s judicial system for perpetrating heinous crimes-would never leave.
But what happens when a place like Menaker is corrupted, when it becomes a tool to silence the innocent, conceal an injustice, contain a secret? Why is it that the newest patient does not seem to belong there, that the hospital administrator has fallen silent, and that Lise is being watched by two men with seemingly lethal intent? The answers are closer than she realizes and could cost her everything she holds dear.
In this chilling follow-up to The Absence of Mercy, author John Burley—a master at medical and psychological detail—showcases the many ways in which the dangers of the outside world pale in comparison to the horrors of the human mind.


Review:

John's first book was a page turner and I had super high hopes for his follow up book. While the book doesn't disappoint, it doesn't grab you like the first book, from the beginning. Rather about 4 chapters in, you start to see how the story will play out and by the end you are rapidly turning pages. But I wish the characters had been more likable, as I was close to not finishing the novel after the third chapter. Sophomore books can be tricky, when the debut book was such a huge hit. I'm sure John's next book will even out his writing style. This is a good book though for reading by the fire on a snowed in day!


About the Author:

John Burley grew up in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay. He worked as a paramedic and volunteer firefighter before attending medical school in Chicago and completing an emergency medicine residency program at University of Maryland Medical Center and the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. His debut novel, THE ABSENCE OF MERCY, received the National Black Ribbon Award in recognition of an author who brings a fresh, new voice to suspense writing. this is his second novel. John continues to serve as an emergency department physician in northern California. He is hard at work on his next project. Check your website for more info.




flashing Win


Giveaway:

One reader will win this review copy.




Sharpen Those Knives and SAVE Money (Review and Giveaway)

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, and giveaway, free of charge,from System, via Tomoson, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it


If you're like us, you spent a LOT of money on really good knives to cook with.

And because they're quality made, they last and last.
But their edges get dull don't they?

DId you try the sharpener that came with them and found it lacking, and doesn't give you a sharp enough blade?

Then I have the solution for you that will keep your investment working for you,
and save you money!



The System Knife Sharpener has an unique design that will make you LOVE it. Not only is it compact, it has an extra strong suction pad design, to provide YOU with a safer way to sharpen your knives with one hand. The sharpener is suitable for Blunt and Ceramic knives, but not made for serrated knives or scissors, and features Ceramic Bond wheel & Diamond Grinding wheel, for double sharpening.


All you have to do is place the sharpener where you want it, and then push the locking lever down into place. Easy peasy and it is STUCK to your table or counter, and ready to start sharpening!

The System sharpener features not one, but 2 stones for sharpening. You go in stages (1 &2-clearly marked on the sharpener, and sharpen AND hone the blade edge!  

Step 1 is COARSE SHARPENING 

Using a slight downward pressure, put your knife through three to five pulls of stone 1, running the blade from its heel to its point. You will remove nicks and return the sharp edge to your knife, As you can see below in the before and after pictures (left side pictures)..



Step 2 is FINE HONING -
After completing Step 1, you can polish your knife Edge to its maximum sharpness in just a few pulls across the second stone. As you cans ee from the picture on the right above, that is one wicked looking edge! And it is SHARP! The knife cuts like new! Yeah!!


Did you know that you should sharpen your commonly used knives once a week? Yup you should! Chefs know this, which is why they have sharpening stones in their kitchens. And now you can too, with this super easy to use (and store) sharpener! Sharp knives save you time by allowing you to work quickly and efficiently, which equates to less time preparing food, and more time to enjoy it with your family 
.
I have to say that this sharpener has worked better than any other ones I have used! It is quicker and puts a better edge back on your knife! I love how I can store it in a drawer easily and attache it to the counter when I need it. It is so easy to use, that sharpening all the knives once a week will be an easy chore for me!  I love that it also has a money back guarantee, so you know you're getting a better quality product!

The sharpener would be a great birthday or hostess gift, and perfect for Mother's/Father's Day (they're closer than you think) giving as well! And lucky you, one of you will get to win one to try out for yourself!


flashing Win


Giveaway:

One winner will win their own System knife sharpener:

Recipe Weekend: Lighten Up, Y'all by Virginia Willis


Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this book, free of charge, from Blogging for Books, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it


Winter is still with us, and this new take on traditional comfort food is very timely indeed!

Lighten Up, Y'all  cover

Synopsis:

A collection of classic Southern comfort food recipes--including seven-layer dip, chicken and gravy, and strawberry shortcake--made lighter, healthier, and completely guilt-free.

Virginia Willis is not only an authority on Southern cooking, a French-trained chef, and a veteran cookbook author; she is also a proud Southerner who adores eating and cooking for family and friends. So when she needed to drop a few pounds and generally lighten up her diet, the most important criterion for her new lifestyle was that all the food had to taste delicious. The result is Lighten Up, Y’all, a soul-satisfying and deeply personal collection of Virginia’s new favorite recipes. All the classics are covered—from a comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Each dish is packed with real Southern flavor, but made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients and techniques. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up, Y’all has the recipes, tools, and inspiration you need to make the nourishing, down-home Southern food you love.


Review:

This is a great cookbook to add to your kitchen! Willis is as witty as ever, and she really understands the Southern cook "we define ourselves and out lives by the food in our kitchens and the food on our tables" Yes Southern fare tends toward the comfort food genre, but as Willis says, it is because it is based on the cops they grew and the animals they raised. So in the Summer there was zucchini based dishes, in winter corn dishes that were hearty and warm, to ward off the cold days and nights. Starch based recipes help fuel long days working the fields and crops. But the Southern cook is all about tradition, so the recipes have remained intact, and we've learned to try to work off the excess calories. Willis takes these traditional recipes and seeks new ways to lesson their calorie load, while maintaining their traditional taste. So you have say Broccoli added to Macaroni and Cheese, with reduced fat milk and cheeses used along with whole wheat pasta. The flavor is still there, but it's healthier for you!

I found myself checking off more recipes than I thought I would! Some seem so simple- Baked Onion Blossom, instead of frying (Panko crumbs get the same crispy texture), others a new twist on old ideas- like Beer Battered Shrimp (which is pan fried, not deep fried) and others insanely unique- Southern Style Shepherd's Pie with Grits (grits instead of potatoes!! Be sure to check out Virginia's blog post about grits, that shares many of her thoughts and techniques with grits from this book.). Yet they are all infused with flavor, to keep you coming back time and time again! She covers everything from appetizers to desserts, and along the way shares about her upbringing and ways to prepare meals, without the use of processed (and bad for you) products). 

This is more than a cookbook- it is truly a hybrid of writing about food and sharing recipes, that is Willis' unique style (you have to love a woman that can make an ode to her love of biscuits  sound like something your best friend is telling you!). My only complaint is that I wish there were color pictures of all the recipes (there are only pictures for about every 2/3 recipes). The book would make a lovely hostess present (Easter is coming), birthday or Mother's day gift too! I highly recommend it! 


Recipe
:
Today I'm sharing a recipe that might not seem much, but they are SO good for dinner instead of cornbread or biscuits, and to be honest we've had them with just bacon and maple syrup (it's the Yankee coming out) before for dinner. They are a Southern staple, and this new recipe is perfectly lightened up, making them a great accompaniment to any dinner 

Cornmeal Griddle Cakes

Ingredients:
1 cup yellow whole-grain cornmeal (not a mix or self-rising version)
1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
Large egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola oil, plus more for the skillet
1 green onion, trimmed and very thinly sliced

Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine the cornmeal,salt and baking soda. Set aside..
2. In a  large liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk,egg white and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the wet ingredients into the dry, and stir in the green onion.
3. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Coat the bottom with a thin layer of oil, using a small ice cream scoop, place up to 6 spoonfuls of batter in the pan (about 2 tablespoons each). using a off-set spatula pat the batter down slightly until its about 1/2 inch thick.
4. Cook until golden brown on the bottom then turn and cook until golden brown on that side as well.( 1 1/2- 2 minutes per side), regulating the heat, so the cakes essentially bake in the pan, instead of deep frying them.
5. Remove to a rack to cool slightly and serve warm. You can make and store and rehear when needed.

About the Author:

Virginia Willis is the author of Bon Appétit, Y’all, which was nominated for the IACP Best American Cookbook award and voted the Comfort Food Book of the Year by the Chicago Tribune. She has been featured in Cooking with Paula Deen, House Beautiful, Washington Post, Houston Chronicle, and San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. Willis has appeared on Real Simple Television, Martha Stewart Living, Paula Deen’s Best Dishes, and numerous local television shows across the country. 

A graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine and Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, Willis has served as a television producer for Turner South and Shirley Corriher, was the kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living Television, and the executive producer of The Discovery Channel’s Epicurious. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more at www.virginiawillis.com.


Wlingua Can help YOU Keep Those New Year's Goals!

Disclosure / Disclaimer:  I received this info, free of charge, from Wlingua via BlogsRelease, for blog posting purposes. No compensation,  monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post/review. Nor was I told what to say, all experiences and opinions are my own, and yours may be different.


Did you make any New Year's Goals about traveling?

What about learning a new language?

Studies have shown that keeping your mind learning new things can help you keep Alzheimer's at bay. How are you doing with that?

Did you answer yes or I need help with that?

I have a simple EASY solution for you:

wlingua app logo banner


Wlingua is an new app that can help you (or your kids/spouse) learn Spanish in your own home, when you have time, on your favorite handheld devices! AND it's available for iOS AND Android.

Traveling and want to make sure you learn the better form of Spanish? Wlingua has you covered- you can selected from Castilian (Spain) and Latin America (ie Mexico) varities, so you get the more common usages of different words for those areas. See? Wlingua wants to make learning EASY for you!

You get 420 lessons from a basic to an advanced level with easy explanations that will help you learn Spanish fast. How many apps give you THAT many lessons? Right, very few!  And with Wlingua, you can work at your own pace, right from the beginning, as you can take a level assessment BEFORE you start the course, that will place you at the correct level (A1, A2 and B1 levels), so there is no time wasted going over what you already know. How cool is that?

wlingua sample page 1

As you can see, there are vocabulary exercises to help you learn and understand more than 9,000 words, in categories that YOU need to learn  No more learning about a snake that makes you scream (why is it you remember the stupid sentences from high school Spanish class, but not the important ones?), you will learn vocabulary that is common and useful! For example, the first lesson included basic word like girl, boy, city, woman, man, dress, shoes. 

wlingua sample lesson and test

, You are shown the word, it is pronounced for you, and then you see a picture. This spaced repetition system allows you to learn Spanish gradually with no frustrations, You can stop on any page, when the kids are screaming, settle their fight, and then come back and pick up where you left off (your progress is automatically saved, so the next time you enter the course you can continue right where you left off. Even if you continue on a different device (like switching from tablet to your cell phone, when you give the tablet to one of the kids to end the fight).  The test also allows for YOU to speak the words, to make sure you are getting the pronunciation correctly! How cool is that?

The sample above shows you the first test on the beginning level. I went back and reloaded the app and took the assessment test and actually got placed into A2, which sort of surprised me and how much I remembered!

wlingua sample page 2

I love that the course doesn't JUST teach vocabulary, but also teaches phrases and sentences, to help build on the vocabulary (more repetition!), so that you learn how to use the words correctly. All of them are read to you verbally, so that you can hear the phonetic, pronunciation, and intonation of the new words and sentences, which is just as important in learning a new language! 

I was really impressed with how detailed each lesson's explanations were and how many examples were used, to make sure the learner truly understands. For example, grammar can be uber tricky, as in Spanish adjectives come AFTER the noun, which is different from English. The included exercises at the end of every lesson really help to reinforce what you just learned. As you get farther into the course there are also reading exercises, with true or false questions. How cool is that? You can test your reading comprehension skills! You can determine if you could say read a bus map, a restaurant menu, or hotel amenities list! 

There is also a Progress Checker, that you can open to show you how well you are doing overall, and how much you are learning! The app also included an online dictionary, with the audios in Spanish, in case you want more practice and to look up words not included in the course.  

wlingua download ad banner

When you download the app, you DO have to create an account to work within the app. This allows the app to save your progress, and all you need is your email and a password. NO other info is needed to start the course! When you access the course for the first time, you get ONE month of Premium access for FREE to try out everything available in the app (all material, tests, etc). When the trial month finishes, your account will automatically convert to a Basic account (which is pretty decent overall, but does have restricted access to certain parts of the course). That's it, with no hidden fees.

wlingua basic vs premium levels

Now if after one month you want to stay on Premium level, then it is only $12.99 for a month;s access, $48 for 6 months. But the course is SO easy to use and learn from, you might find yourself only needing a couple of months to get where you need to me. And that cost is a whole lot cheaper than courses that require one year memberships or 13 cds! With Wlingua you always have the course with you, available for when YOU have the 10-15 minutes to get in some learning! And you do have the option to download exercises to your home computer/laptop, to go back and revisit and entrench the lessons!  

If you are looking at traveling and need to learn some basic Spanish, need to brush up your Spanish skills, or need to learn basics for work, Wlingua is the easy peasy solution for you! Plus it is so fun to use, you might find yourself making it a family app, so everyone can learn along with you!

Be sure to check out the WlinguFacebook, Twitter (https://twitter.com/wlingua) and Google+: (https://plus.google.com/+Wlingua) pages for updates on the course and eve FREE content and giveaways Right now they are giving away a ONE YEAR Premium membership on their Facebook page!


 You can download this amazing app for FREE on your iOS OR Android device! 

So what are you waiting for?
Learn a new language today!