Friday, January 27, 2012

Blue Ridge Jams Review

I would like to introduce my readers to a company called Blue Ridge Jams. They are located in Dana NC, and have sent me two jars of their products to taste and review about.

The company has been making these jams, and other fine gourmet products in the Blue Ridge Mountains since 1961. They have a huge variety of products to choose from. They range from jams, jelly's to pickles and preserves. And much, much more.

So I am excited to get started. First up, the Smokey Mountain Special preserves.

Smokey Mountain Special is a delicious triple berry mixture of Strawberries, Raspberries, and Cherries in a preserve that is like nothing you have ever tasted.

I loved nothing more than trying this on some toast with a hot cup of coffee. So what I made was a Smokey Mountain Special and a peanut butter sandwich. The special is a wonderful tasting mix of triple berry's. The blend is strawberries, raspberries and cherries, made into a fantastic tasting preserve. In every bite you taste the real fruit that was used. You can taste the quality and care that was put into making the preserves, it showed in every bite. There are small pieces as well as large pieces of the fruit in the preserves. Even though this was a preserve, it was as smooth as jam. This product would taste so wonderful in many different recipes, like cakes, cookies, or even over some buttermilk pancakes. My little one had her preserves over top of some vanilla ice cream. I stole a bite, and it was yummy in my tummy.

Next up was the Jalapeno Strawberry Jelly.

This time I used the jelly, in a glaze for my pork chops. There's nothing better than some sweet, and spicy flavor in your recipes. You got the sweetness from the strawberries and the spice from the Jalapeno, and it was in perfect balance. Also I tried some poured over some cream cheese, and served with Ritz crackers. Dinner was a hit. Everyone enjoyed the chops and the crackers. The taste was a mixture of warmth and sweetness in every bite. And the glaze that it created on the pork chop was perfect. It stuck to it, not runny at all.

If you would like to know more about the products as well as these from Blue Ridge Jams, hop over to there website and try them out. There"s so much to choose from.

Also you can find them on twitter and facebook as well.

It's also nice to know that their products are available retail and wholesale.

Looking for a different gift. Their products would look great in a gift basket.

Disclaimer: Momzblotter has personally reviewed the product listed above. Momzblotter has not received any monetary compensation for her review. Momzblotter did receive a free product to try out so Momzblotter could evaluate and use it for her review. Momzblotter's thoughts & opinions in this review are unbiased & honest and your  opinions may differ.



    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Pet food labels

    Finding the best food is vital to your pet's health and longevity. But deciphering pet food labels can be confusing. Follow these steps to be able to understand pet food labels and be able to compare pet products with confidence.

    Learn to look beyond the marketing claims accompanying pet food. In the USA, pet food labeling is regulated on a federal (FDA) and state-by-state basis, with guidance from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). However, AAFCO provides only minimum requirements. The reality is that pet food producers often use terms that are undefined by the regulations, in order to communicate more effectively with consumers and improve their product's image in the market. The AAFCO warns on their website that "it is not rare at all that labeling and marketing information is designed to appeal to the latest trend in marketing human products." In other words, the focus tends to be more on appealing to our preferences than on whether or not the food is suitable for your pet. For this reason, learn to look behind the marketing hype and to find the real substance of the nutrition status within the pet food.

    Locate the "Guaranteed Analysis" on the pet food label. See the example under "Tips" below. Note that the percentages given for protein, fat, and fiber are measurements of the food in its current state. However, because different pet foods have different levels of moisture, you can only logically compare pet foods on a dry matter basis. Moisture levels in pet foods can range from approximately 6 percent to as much as 80 percent. Canned food obviously contains more moisture than dry kibble. But it may not necessarily contain as much protein, for example. You can't tell which food contains the most protein, fat or fiber until you have converted both labels to a dry matter basis.
    • Determine the amount of dry matter first, by subtracting the percentage given for moisture from 100 percent. Using the example below, the moisture accounts for 10 percent of the pet food. Therefore, the dry matter content is (100% - 10% = ) 90% of the pet food.
    • Convert the protein, fat and fiber percentages to a dry matter basis by dividing the percentages given on the label by the amount of dry matter (from the previous step). In our example, the 26 percent protein on the label converts to 28 percent on a dry matter basis by dividing 26% by 90%. (Notice that in this example the dry matter calculation is only slightly different than the labeled percentage. This is because the moisture level was only 10 percent per the label. If the moisture level had been, say, 40 percent, then the dry matter content would have only been 60 percent and protein on a dry matter basis would have been calculated as (26% divided by 60% =) 43%.)
    • Compare the new protein level of 28 percent on a dry matter basis to other pet foods (once you've converted the other pet food labels in the same way). Do similar comparisons for fat and fiber after converting to a dry matter basis calcula. Be aware that percentages alone don't tell the whole story. You may have 28 percent protein on a dry matter basis, but what is the source of that protein? You can get protein from chicken beaks and feet that are not good sources of nutrition for your pet! This means that you'll need to look next at the list of ingredients. Pet foods must list ingredients in order of weight. Generally, the first five ingredients will make up the majority of the pet food product. Ideally, look for meat as one of the first ingredients on a pet food label. Grains, such as corn, corn meal, whole wheat, barley, rice are used to provide essential energy for the pet and appealing texture to the kibble.
      • Even the AAFCO website admits that "Economics plays a part in any ingredient selection" and "protein is not simply protein. Ingredients providing protein have specific amino acids which may or may not match the amino acid profile required by a cat or a dog." Manufacturers routinely combine multiple protein sources to provide for all the amino acids required for a healthy lifetion.
    Be mindful that pet food manufacturers can manipulate this information. For example, by breaking an ingredient down into components and then listing them individually so that you don't notice a easily recognized undesirable ingredient too near the top of the list, this information can be effectively changed enough to cause you to read the label differently.

    Some pet owners search for pet foods that use human grade ingredients with no animal by-products and avoid pet foods that use artificial colors, flavors, sugars and chemical preservatives (notably BHA and BHT). However, some animal by-products like liver and other internal organs are excellent sources of the amino acids and other nutrients that dogs and cats need. In addition, dry pet foods need preservatives to prevent spoilage and degradation of essential nutrients.
    • Contact the manufacturer direct to find out what the "by-products" listed in their product actually consist of. Be aware that this may change without warning. Sometimes your pet's reaction will be enough to make this obvi. Do a cost per weight analysis to determine the weight value of the pet food product. The density of dry products can be changed through puffing up the food, while different wet foods can be labeled with pounds or ounces (or other measurements), making weight comparison harder. Check the price comparison to get the real value.ous!
    Check the label for "nutritional adequacy"
    • The words: "(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO (Dog/Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles."
    • Or look for the words: "Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition."
    • Be sure to choose the right life cycle stage for your pet - this should be on the label too (for example, kitten/puppy). Pet food needed for pets that are growing, reproducing or working hard should be chosen with care that it can meet all the nutrient requirements for that pet. Size, breed or senior labeling claims must meet the criteria for adequate adult pet nutritional needs; in reality, the more precise claims are harder to ascertain.
    Read the feeding instructions. Even if you think you know how to feed your pet the particular product, changes do happen or you might have transposed feeding instructions from one product to a new one. Always read these with care to ensure that you are feeding your pet adequately. However, even though manufacturers try to cover all contingencies, you still need to monitor your own pet's needs, preferences and environmental conditions. Talk to your vet if you're unsure, especially with respect to growing and reproducing pets.
    • As part of feeding, also read the calories provided by the product. The amount of calories provided can vary considerably between products and between dry and wet foods. If your pet is growing, overweight or underweight, or has an illness, calories are of especial interest.
    • Calorie statements are made on a "kilo calories per kilogram" basis. Kilo calories are the same as the "Calories", while a "kilogram" is a unit of metric measurement equal to 2.2 pounds. It may also be stated as "per cup" or "per can", alongside the required kilo calories per kilogram statement.Be savvy about marketing claims such as natural, organic, premium, etc. These are marketing words without official definitions to back them up. While it is surely to be hoped that all pet food is "natural", this usually refers to a lack of artificial additives, colors or flavors. The words "premium" and "gourmet" and the like are marketing speak and don't mean anything more than what the overall packaging suggests to the consumer. Organic pet food should be free of synthetic additives but guidelines are still under development for the official meanings

    Monday, January 23, 2012

    Exotic Coffee

    Do you like exotic coffees? Not gourmet, like at the expensive coffee shop on every corner and in every bookstore in town. This is something you can make at home. It is very good and it is a nice soothing type of coffee.

    With a few ingredients you can create your own exotic coffee.
    • 3 tbsp coarse ground coffee
    • 2 tsp sugar or brown sugar
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp cocoa
    • 1 tsp anise seed
    • pinch of dried orange peel
    • 1/2 tsp cardamom

    Add to your slow cooker 6 - 8 cups water, 3 Tbsp coarse ground coffee, cinnamon, cocoa, and anise, saving the sugar and orange for last.

    Turn the slow cooker on low and set for 2 hours.

    Pour into mugs and garnish with a twist of orange.

    Here's a great tip

  • If you don't have a slow cooker, you can use a sauce-pan set on low. Just watch that it doesn't boil. 195° is the optimal temperature.

  • Feel free to modify the ingredients as you like. This is not a rigid recipe.

  • You can omit the sugar in the cooking stage and add it in the mugs.

  • Cinnamon sticks work well. Add 2 whole, unbroken sticks to the pot, then one each to the mugs.

  • Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Mississippi Mud Cake You Can Make

    If you love chocolate, cake and southern cooking you will love Mississippi Mud Cake. To get started here is what you need:


    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 1/4 cups strong brewed coffee
    • 1/4 cup bourbon or brandy
    • 5 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
    • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • unsweetened cocoa powder
    • sweetened whipped cream or ice cream, for serving

    Lets start baking. First you will want to preheat your oven to 275.
    Then take your flour, and your salt, along with the baking powder and mix together.

    Next you will combine your coffee, the bourbon, chocolate, and your butter, in a double boiler. You want to make sure you stir occasionally until it is well melted. When that is done, pour the mix into a large mixing bowl. With your electric mixer, beat the sugar in, make sure you have the mixer on a low setting. You will do this until the sugar dissolves.

    Once the sugar is dissolved, you will speed up your mixer to a medium speed and add your dry ingredients. Mix them well, and when that is done beat your eggs and your vanilla in, blending well.

    Next you will pour your batter into a well greased 3qt bunted pan, that you have dusted with some cocoa powder.

    Make sure your oven rack is in the top half of your oven. Place your cake pan in and bake for a hour and twenty mins. Take out when a pick is inserted in the center and comes out clean.

    When your cake is done, and is completely cool, dust the top of your cake with some cocoa powder.

    This cake tastes great served with some ice cream.

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Rural Route 1 Popcorn Review

    Today from Rural Route 1, three bags of their gourmet popcorn.

    Over the years, since 1983 Rural Route 1 has been producing some of the finest gourmet popcorn. They are based out of Wisconsin, where they produce many of their favorite flavors.

    The first bag I tried was the RC snackle. The popcorn was made with three of my favorite foods. Popcorn, cranberries and fudge, white fudge at that.

     The flavor combo was fantastic. You could taste all three ingredients in every bite. This flavor popcorn not only comes in snack bags but gift items as well. If you love fudge, and cranberries and popcorn, then this is a perfect snack for you. You definitely taste the quality of the products the company uses in making their popcorn. The popcorn itself was fresh and tender. Not hard like some popular store brands. It was as if I popped it fresh my self and just added the other ingredients.

    Next up I tried the CC Winkle. This bag was filled with caramel corn, cashews, and then dipped in a creamy chocolate fudge. Powerful flavors going on here. I have had other caramel corn, but never with my favorite nut, cashews. I loved this one. In every bite, you get the taste of every flavor. It was like eating a caramel chocolate candy bar made only with popcorn.

    The ingredients they use are of high quality, and after you tasted their popcorn you will see that for your self. So far these ready to eat sensations are a party in my mouth. I can't wait to try the last bag.

    Last up was a bag called K Nuckle. This popcorn was made from a creamy medley, with almonds and then some white fudge. I would have to say, I can not pick just one as my favorite, they we're all my favorites.

    When your mixing popcorn, and nuts and any type of chocolate or fudge together, who could resist. In every bite, you still know that this is popcorn you are eating. The other flavors in no way over power that.

    Rural Route 1 has so many other flavors to choose from. And they are available in so many forms. From bags to tins, you will find something for everyone.  The popcorn products would be great for gift giving, for any occasion.

    If your looking for some great tasting popcorn, then why not visit Rural Route 1 at their website . There's alot more there to choose from, for just about any occasion.

    And if your ever in their neck of the woods, make sure to stop by and check them out.

    Disclaimer: Momzblotter has personally reviewed the product listed above. Momzblotter has not received any monetary compensation for her review. Momzblotter did receive a free product to try out so Momzblotter could evaluate and use it for her review. Momzblotter's thoughts & opinions in this review are unbiased & honest and your  opinions may differ.

    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Pet Ferrets

    In the past years ferrets had gotten a raw deal as a negative pet to own. But maybe it is because, they we're misunderstood. Maybe their needs and behaviors we're not understood either.

    If you want to know about whether or not a ferret is a good family pet, well the real question is, is the family responsible enough to own the ferret.

    As with any pet, ferrets take commitment, and proper care and love. Like your other pets, they need regular exercise, and training. They need lots of love and attention. And your ferret does require vet care for vaccinations.

    Ferrets make families a wonderful pet, due to their low maintenance. And they are inexpensive pets to own as well.

    The best thing to do before buying one, is to make sure your home is ready for a ferret, and that your family is as well. And do some research along the way also.

    Thursday, January 12, 2012

    Change up your Risotto

    After you make your risotto mixture how about changing it up some by just adding three ingredients. Add four mild sausages cut up with the casings removed, then add some small chopped up tomatoes, and last a little tomato paste. You will be surprised how great these additives taste.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Hammond's Candie's Review

    Today I would like to tell you about Hammond's Candies, a company that has been in business for over 90 years. They sent to me to review, two chocolate covered marshmallow hearts. Before I taste them, let me talk about the company.

    The company is based out of Denver Colorado, and has been producing some of the finest candies since the early 1920's. The first marshmallow candy they produced was in 1930 and was covered by caramel. Now in our time, the company is producing gourmet candies as well as their old time faves.

    So for the moment of truth, the taste test.
    I received two valentine shaped candies, inside the foil was a marshmallow candy covered in chocolate. The bite you get is very delicious. You get a bite of the chocolate and the marshmallow at the same time. And you get this in each bite you take. The chocolate was very decadent, smooth and creamy. And the marshmallow was not hard and sticky, that two was a subtle sweet, creamy textured marshmallow. If you like this combo, you will be very pleased by this companies product.

    After tasting the candy from Hammond's it was clear to see, why they have been recognized world wide. They we're featured on many shows like CNBC and Martha Stewart Living.

    Also their candies can be found in many fashionable stores like Nordstrom's and Dean & Deluca. They are also available in Cracker Barrel and hundreds of other local shops and stores. But Hammond's doesn't stop in the US, they are found all over the world, as in England to Korea.

    Hammond's not only produces great tasting candies but other succulent dessert as well. They have not only sweets, but sweet and savory flavors you can choose from.

    They can be found on their website , face book, and twitter.

    There are many great gift ideas, and other products for you to see, so check them out.

    Join their mailing list also, and you will be able to enlist in their great giveaways.

    Disclaimer: Momzblotter has personally reviewed the product listed above. Momzblotter has not received any monetary compensation for her review. Momzblotter did receive a free product to try out so Momzblotter could evaluate and use it for her review. Momzblotter's thoughts & opinions in this review are unbiased & honest and your  opinions may differ.

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Eva Ruths Gluten Free Bakery

    Today I would like to introduce some products I received from a bakery called Eva Ruth's. They are a specialty bakery that makes gluten free products. The company is producing wheat free and gluten free desserts, and they are coming out delicious.

    They we're gracious enough to send several of their products. From white bread to a apple pie, and I am excited to get started.

    For the white bread I tried it in two ways, toasted with some strawberry jam, and some french toast. Both ways, the bread was very good and moist. As a matter of fact later I am using the rest of the bread to make bread pudding. Whats great is that not only is the bread gluten and wheat free it's dairy free. A great vegan bread for sure.
    Next my family tried the blueberry muffins, these tasted great with our morning coffee. We warmed the muffins up, and with a pat of butter, they we're a party in our mouth. Very moist, and so full of blueberries. Made the same, no gluten, no wheat, and no dairy.

    My little one of course wanted to try the sugar cookie as well as a chocolate chip cookie. The cookies we're very moist on the inside. These delicious bites of happiness have no wheat, no gluten and no potato or soy. It's also great because all the products we're shipped fresh, and not frozen.

    In the mix was a brownie, which we shared. This was just right with our coffee for dessert. The chocolate was very good, and the brownie very moist. It had great texture to it. A tray of these would make any one's taste buds dance.

    Next we tried the chocolate chip cookies. Once again as with the other products they are wheat free, gluten free, and pure vegan. Dunking one of these in a glass of milk as a snack took you back to your childhood. Very good cookie if I must say.

    Now to taste the apple pie. We warmed it up and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The pie was made just right, not runny at all on the inside. The crust was just the right texture, with a little flakiness to it. Very nice!

    Last but not least was the pumpkin bread. I warmed this also with some butter on it. Wow, so moist and just the right amount of spice. Nothing over powering. It reminds you of the Holidays for sure.

    Eva Ruth's has so many more great products to choose from, you will just have to visit them to find out more. Jump on over to their website . You can also find them on face book as well.

    Disclaimer: Momzblotter has personally reviewed the product listed above. Momzblotter has not received any monetary compensation for her review. Momzblotter did receive a free product to try out so Momzblotter could evaluate and use it for her review. Momzblotter's thoughts & opinions in this review are unbiased & honest and your  opinions may differ.


    Sunday, January 8, 2012

    Sweet Designs Cakery Review

    Today I received some cake samples to try, from a company all the way in Kansas, Sweet Designs Cakery. A small bakery with a big heart, the husband and wife team put out some awesome products. So let's get started and give them a try.,
    First up let me tell you about the containers of the products I received. They came in little pretty glass tasters with mason type lids. After you eat these wonderful little cakes you can definitely re-use the jars.

     Now for the moment of truth. First up is the vanilla raspberry cream cake. Even though the cakes are in a jar, they are still the perfect texture, not over moist from being sealed. You taste the raspberry flavor in each bite. The cream was just the right consistency, not running from being jarred. This in a large size would make a wonderful wedding cake for someone.

    Then in our tummy's next, was the strawberry yummy. My husband said this was his favorite. He loves anything made out of strawberries. Once again the cake had the right texture, which was surprising for being in a jar. Moist, and just bursting with flavor in every bite.

    For my self my favorite had to be the chocolate covered strawberry and butter cream cake in a jar. I mean who can resist this. It was like eating a huge strawberry that had been melted in the finest chocolate on earth. Fantastic flavors once again in every bite you took. The butter cream was a party in my mouth. Very well put together flavors.

    Last was the chocolate peanut butter cup. Now talk about flavors, this cake with the peanut butter cup is out of this world. Anyone who is a peanut butter fanatic will fall in love with this one.

    If you would like more information about Sweet Designs Cakery please visit them at . There is a ton of pictures you can look at to get a wonderful idea of the products they produce.

    Make sure you check out Sweet Designs Cakery on facebook and twitter to.
    Disclaimer: Momzblotter has personally reviewed the product listed above. Momzblotter has not received any monetary compensation for her review. Momzblotter did receive a free product to try out so Momzblotter could evaluate and use it for her review. Momzblotter's thoughts & opinions in this review are unbiased & honest and your  opinions may differ.

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Can Can

    If you shop at shoprite don't forget to check and see if their Can Can sale starts soon

    Hat for mommy and baby

    Please pay attention,there have different quantity.Please confirm it before you buy ! 【Size:Baby---23*15CM/9.1*5.9",Mom---30*4...