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Rosemary, Lemon and Garlic Flavored Salt

It all started one day when I spent a few extra minutes at the supermarket and checked out the gourmet section. All sorts of nice products started to appear before my eyes. Infused oils, fancy seasoning mixes and flavored salts. I was like a kid in a candy store. I wondered why had I never stopped before to check out all these delicious sauces and oils and soon found out.  I reached for a lime and chile flavored salt and almost dropped the jar on the floor when I saw the price. Granted, a well-known chef was depicted on the label but c’mon… $18.99 for salt?

I picked up some kosher salt and decided to go home and make my own flavored salt for a fraction of the price. I don’t mind help building up the celebrity chefs empires when it is a great product, but I am not willing to buy something that is overpriced just because they have endorsed it.

After a bit of experimenting, here is my favorite flavored salt recipe:

FlavoredSaltRecipe

I use a mini food processor, but a spice grinder works great as well.

Rosemary, Garlic and Lemon Salt Recipe

Note: feel free to adjust the recipe as you please. So… if you go gaga for garlic then double the amount and so on.

  • 1/4 cup fresh rosemary (not the wooden part)
  • Zest from 1 organic lemon (I use this peeler as it only peels the yellow part off and not the bitter white part)
  • 6 gloves garlic
  • 2 cups kosher salt

Note: feel free to adjust as you please. If you go gaga for garlic then double the amount and so on.

Put the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until everything is blended together. Heads up – if you are using a processor with a clear plastic bowl, the salt can scratch the inside of the bowl. Not a big deal for me, but it if is for you, you may want to get a spice grinder instead.

Place everything on a cookie sheet that is covered with parchment paper. Note, the parchment paper or a silicone mat is very important. The first time I made flavored salt I didn’t bother with any parchment paper and the salt pretty much melted into the cookie. It was not a lot of fun to cleanup, so learn from my mistake and use parchment paper.

FlavoredSalt

After 10 minutes in the oven give the salt mixture a stir and put it back for another 10 minutes at 200 F.

 

Put the cookie sheet in a 250 F oven for 10 minutes. Stir the salt and give it another 10 minutes in the oven. Take the salt out of the oven, let it cool down and then give it another few pulses in the food processor. If you plan to put the salt in glass jars, make sure to pulse the mixture until it is fine enough so you can sprinkle it through the holes in the top of your glass jar.

This is a jar that I have used for my flavored salts as a hostess gift and people have loved it!

Transfer your flavored salt to your glass jar and slap a fun label on it. I have given dozens of this particular salt away to friends and neighbors at Christmas and they love it! I chose a nicer jar for hostess gifts than the regular glass jar and people loved them! A few people have already asked for more already, so this post will be shared with them, so they can make their own flavored salt.

 

Naturally Infused Water Recipes

Do you drink a lot of soda and would like to cut back? I used to drink a lot of drinks that were full of sugar.  I would usually crave a drink or snack in the afternoon at work and often I would opt for a soda. The sugar in my system would boost my energy, but only for a little bit – and then I would crash the rest of the afternoon. Hard. To the point where I just wanted to put my head down on the desk and nap for a while.

The thing that made me realize that I needed to drink more fluid, but not the sugary kind, was a chat with one of my friends. He was telling me that he was going to have a kidney stone operation and said that he was in a lot of pain. I asked him if there was anything that you can do to prevent kidney stones and his answer was simply “Drink more water.”

I decided to give flavoured water a try instead of just water to spice things up a bit.  I do not add any sweeteners other than the natural kind that you will find in fruit such as strawberries or oranges. I add a herb such as basil or mint in most of my drinks as I grow tons of it in the backyard and I love the fresh flavors in the water.

I feel a lot better now that I drink more water. I have more energy, my skin is clearer, I and I don’t have the painful headaches I used to have in the afternoon.  I also feel better now that I don’t put all those artificial sweeteners in my body every day. If you want to stay hydrated and make the switch from soft drinks to homemade flavored water like I did, then check out these recipes.

Cucumber, lime & mint flavored water

1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/2 lime, sliced
Handful of mint, stem and leaves (give the mint a bash with a wooden spoon to get more flavours out)

Add the ingredients to a pitcher, fill up with water and leave in the fridge for a few hours or better, overnight.

Watermelon, lime & basil flavored water

2 cups of cubed watermelon
Handful of basil, rosemary or mint, stem and leaves (give the stem a bash with a wooden spoon to get more flavours out)

Add the ingredients to a pitcher, fill up with water and leave in fridge overnight.

Strawberry and mint flavored water

10 strawberries, sliced from top to bottom to create little “hearts”
Handful of mint

Add the ingredients to a pitcher, fill up with water and leave in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Quite often I will also just squirt some lime or lemon in a glass to keep it simple. When I go out I usually bring a water bottle with pure water as I don’t want to risk forgetting fruit in the bottom of the bottle. I could just imagine the water bottle rolling under a car seat and not be found for a few weeks. Tha would definitely be “flavoured” water, but probably not very tasty or that good for your health :-)

What are your favorite combinations for naturally infused water? Please share your recipes in the comment section below.

Men’s Bamboo Underwear – Breathable and Soft

Cotton underwear too hot to wear? Bamboo underwear is the breathable and eco-friendly option.

Bamboo men's underwear

Soft, breathable bamboo underwear – so comfortable your wife will want to steal them!

This summer my husband started to complain that he found his cotton underwear too hot to wear.  He works shift work and works very long hours and just didn’t feel that the cotton was breathable enough. After buying several different types of underwear, the majority of his underwear is now made of bamboo.

After my husband decided to look for a different material for his boxer briefs, he first went to the local sports clothes store at the mall. They had some pretty high-tech bower briefs that looked like they were fit for a NASA astronaut.

The price was nuts; on average a pair of these breathable boxers were $30. Filling up an underwear drawer of these babies would almost be the equivalent of a mortgage payment, so he only bought a single pair. He didn’t care much for the design of the underwear and said they felt too tight. I didn’t like how they looked on him, they were just too long – I want to see a bit of my man’s leg haha.

He absolutely loves his Texeresilk bamboo under shirts, so I decided to check out if there were bamboo underwear available in the same brand. It turns out that there is. After reading hundreds of reviews online, I finally decided to buy my husband two pairs of Texere men’s athletic boxer briefs on Amazon.com.

Click here to order your bamboo underwear on Amazon.com!

Product Features:

  • Absorbent
  • Odor resistant
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Eco-friendly material

My husband didn’t want to pose for a photo for the blog (you guys are probably relieved haha). Instead I have included a photo from Amazon (above), so you can see how the underwear fits.

Incredibly soft material

The material is thin, light and incredibly soft. It almost feel like there is silk in the material. My first thought when I felt the material was “Gosh, why don’t they make them for women as well? I want a pair of these!”

Sustainable Material

I love that they are made of bamboo, which is a sustainable material that is becoming more and more popular in the clothing industry. My husband says that they are so soft and very stretchy, he forgets that he is wearing them. He always wears them on the long days at work instead of the ones made of cotton. Bamboo is by far the best material for moisture wicking on hot days.

Holds up well in wash

After four months of wash and wear the first two pairs of underwear still look like new. The stitching and material is top quality, I think they will last a long time.

Huge sizes

The sizes do run large, so you may want to order a smaller size than normal to make sure they fit. My husband normally wears large, but I took other reviewers’ advice and ordered medium. I am glad I did – the boxers fit my husband perfectly.

Perfect for travel

Because of the thin and breathable material, they dry very fast after they have been washed – perfect for travel. They pack very light and therefore do not take up much space in a suitcase.

Stays in place

There is a thin strip of elastic at the bottom by the thigh that prevent the boxers from riding up.

Conclusion: If you are looking for a non-constricting, breathable pair of men’s underwear, then you should definitely pick up some of these!


 

 

 

Solar Powered LED String Lights

Solar powered LED lights are ideal at Christmas and backyard parties.

Solar powered LED lights are an eco-friendly way to decorate the front of your house for Christmas and your backyard for summer parties.

 

Wouldn’t it be great not to remember to switch your decorative exterior lights on every night? If you are like many other people you may sometimes also forget to switch them off just to realize the next morning that the lights have been on all night long. INST have come up with a great and energy efficient solution: Solar Powered LED lights that automatically switch on at sunset and switch off at sunrise.

Zero maintenance lights

These innovative LED lights from INST can be used indoors or outdoors as they are waterproof. The LEDs run on solar power and come with a neat little solar panel and spike to put in the ground. There is zero maintenance – all you need to do is put the lights where you want them and put the spike with the solar panel in the ground. It is a set and forget system, so you don’t have to worry about replacing batteries or bulbs.

Steady or flashing lights

The LED lights are also available in this beautiful soft blue.

The kit comes with 100 lights. The string of lights measures 55 ft (17 m). The distance from the solar panel to the first LED bulb on the robe of lights is approximately 6 feet. There is a switch that allows you to enjoy a steady or a flashing light. The lights have an ON/OFF switch, so you can switch the lights off when you don’t need them. If you want the lights to go on automatically at dusk, just leave the switch in the ON-position.

Nice soft glow

The solar led lighting from INST is great for a garden party, wedding, or an outdoor Christmas tree or wreath. The lights are not super bright LEDs, so they give a nice soft glow. The lights are fairly dim and only supposed to be for an ambience setting. If you are looking for something to light up a dark pathway, these lights would not be ideal. Check out the Mr. Beam Motion Sensor LED lights instead.

Installation

When you first get your lights allow the solar panel to charge in the sun for six hours. You do not need to install any batteries as these lights are solar powered. All you need to do is put the spike with the solar panel in the ground and put the robe of LED lights where you want it.

Conclusion

These LED lights are an easy and inexpensive way to make the exterior of your house look festive. Whether you plan to use them as Christmas lights, patio lighting or for party ambience, you will love that there are no batteries or light bulbs to replace. The lights take a moment to install – just make sure you give the solar panel six hours to charge and you will enjoy hours of warm ambience light from these decorative LED lights.

Click here to have a closer look at the LED Solar Powered LED String Lights on Amazon.com

 

Bamboo Pillow Review

Bamboo pillows

The best pillow ever! Shredded memory foam with a bamboo-blend fabric. Made in the USA.

I initially saw these bamboo pillows with shredded memory foam filling at a home show. I was very impressed with the quality and how soft they felt. We were heading out for dinner after the show and I didn’t want to carry two pillows all over town, so I was pleased to find out from the representative that they are available on Amazon.com.

We had been looking for new pillows for a little while and these bamboo pillows by Coop Home Goods (Amazon.com link) really fit the bill. I am a side sleeper and my husband is a back sleeper and the rep assured us that the pillow would work for both of us. I liked that the fabric was partly made of bamboo, which I know has a wicking effect and will help you stay cool while you sleep. The pillow are made in the USA and that made me a lot more comfortable buying these pillows.

Product Specifications:

  • Certipur-US certified foam 
  • The pillow cover is made of 60% polyester and 40% bamboo
  • The filling consists of shredded memory foam
  • Machine Washable
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dust mite resistant
  • PBDE free
  • Pillow case size for Queen: 30″ x 20″ and King: 38″ x 20″
  • Made in USA
  • 5 Year limited warranty

Clever design

It is obvious that a lot of thought has been put into designing a breathable pillow that keeps you cool at night. The fabric is made of 60% polyester and 40% bamboo that has a cooling effect. It feels like a down pillow but the inside is made up of shredded memory foam. The little pieces of memory foam makes for a much more breathable pillow than a regular memory foam pillow where the molded piece inside seems to be a magnet for heat. In the past I would have to flip the pillow a few times every night but this one keeps my head cool the entire night.

You can fluff up the pillow and make it bigger or thinner – just like a down pillow. The pillow is quite tall, approximately 7 inches, but the filling can be adjusted any way you like it. The memory foam is of high quality and will not go flat over time. We have had our for over three months now and they still feel like the day we got them.

Made in USA

I try to buy products that are made in North America to support local manufacturers and this was actually one of the main reasons why I bought these particular pillows. I love the fact this is a product that is made in the USA. The pillows are manufactured in California that has some of the strictest bedding laws in the entire country.

Bamboopillows

Improve your beauty sleep with bamboo pillows.

Great for people with allergies

If you or your spouse suffers from dust mite allergies or are hyperallergic and this causes you problems at night then you should have a closer look at this pillow. It is both hyperallergic and dust mite resistant helping you sleep a lot better.

Adjustable to your style of comfort

I am a side sleeper and this pillow is just made for me. You’d think that they measured my head and made a pillow from these measurements. It is perfect for sleeping on your side and gives you great support. My husband on the other hand sleeps on his back. At first he thought the pillow would be too tall but then he just pushed some of the filling to the side. Now he says it is the best pillow for back sleepers and that it is the best pillow he has ever had. If you happen to be a stomach sleeper then just flatten the pillow to your liking. It is very adjustable, just push the filling aside.

Machine washable

I just washed our pillows for the first time. You are supposed to wash your pillows every three to six months, so it was about time I got it done. I used the gentle cycle, hot water (instructions say to use cold water, but I am freaked out about dust mites, so I always use hot water for bedding) and eco nuts instead of laundry detergent. Then I put the pillows in the dryer at medium heat with a couple of dryer balls. It was easy and they didn’t get flat or anything after the wash.

Drawbacks

When I first opening the bags up and pulled out the first pillow, I thought it had just arrived from a farm. It smelled like hay. I quickly put both pillows in the dryer before the whole bedroom smelled like a petting zoo. After a few minutes in the dryer I checked to see if the smell was gone. There was still a tiny hay scent, but nothing like when I first opening the bag. I took my chances and made the bed with my bamboo sheets and my new pillows. When we went to bed that night I had forgotten all about the smell and didn’t notice any smells at all.

Fluffing up your bamboo pillow

When you receive the bamboo pillow it will arrive in vacuum compressed packaging for storage and shipping purposes. When you take the pillow out of the packaging, leave it for about an hour to decompress. The memory foam will expand and the pillow will eventually plump to size. I ended up throwing mine in the dryer for a bit afterwards as I wanted to get rid of the smell from the factory and that worked fine, my bamboo pillow does not have any kind of smell anymore.

Conclusion

I am very pleased with my purchase. This is by far the best pillow I have ever slept on. It is comfortable no matter if you prefer to sleep on you back, side or stomach. It does not get thin and is machine washable. And the best part is that it is made in the USA! I did a lot of comparison shopping before I ended up buying two of these bamboo pillows with shredded memory foam. You will not get better value for your money.

Click here for the price on Amazon.com on the Shredded Memory Foam Pillow with Bamboo Cover By Coop Home Goods

 

 

 

 

TaoTronics TT-GL20 LED Grow Light Bulb

The TaoTronics Hydroponic TT-GL20 LED light bulb is ideal for anyone that enjoys growing plants indoors but do not have the sufficient day light to do so.

 

Taotronics TT-GL20 light bulb

Give your indoor herbs and plans a boost with the Taotronics light bulb.

Whether you live in an apartment or want to winter grow in your basement then using grow lights will greatly improve the results of your crop. The beauty of LED grow lights is that they do not get hot and they do not use a lot of electricity. They also have a long lifespan (more than 50,000 hours), so you don’t have to replace them that frequently.

It is a very environmentally friendly way of ensuring that your plants get the proper amount of light. There are many options grow lights available for individual plants, but if you want to get the most bang for your buck then you should buy the TaoTronics TT-GL20 LED light bulbs.

TaoTronics TT-GL20 Product Specifications:

Output: 12 W

Input voltage: AC85~264V

Input current: 300mA

Frequency: 50/60 Hz

Works in temperatures: -20-40C

Lifespan: More than 50,000 Hours

Light Bulb Size: Diameter: 4.84″, Height: 5.44″

Package size: 4.92″ x 4.92″ x 5.99″

Gross Weight: 0.37kg

Fits standard E27 fittings

CE & RoHS approved

12 LEDs – three blue (460nm) and nine red (6×620-630nm and 3x660nm)

TaotronicReview

Click image to check out this customer video on Amazon.com.

Floodlight fixture

The bulb is well made and can be screwed into a regular hanging light fixture. Amazon has some great options for light fixtures with a standard E27 socket that the hydroponic light bulb will fit into. It is recommended that you use a hanging light fixture such as the Woods Lamp with 6-foot cord to give your plants an even amount of light from above. If the space does not allow a hanging light fixture then another great solution is to use a Boston Harbor Desk Lamp.

Does not generate heat

The light does not generate heat, so you can place it very close to your lights. Even if you forget to raise the light as your plants grow, they will not get burnt by the LED light bulb. The light is extremely light and bright but because it is LED it hardly uses any electricity. Most users leave the light on for 8-10 hours a day without heating up the light or the surrounding area.

Growing seedlings

The TaoTronics hydroponic light will help your seeds to sprout a lot faster. A lot of gardeners use this light in a combination with the Hydrofarm Seedling Mat for maximum germination results.

Drawbacks

The TaoTronics bulb is great for a single plant, but despite what it looks like in the picture, it will not be sufficient for several plants and does not cover more than a couple of s.f. if you place the light 1′ above the plant. It is a great product but it will not be able to provide enough light for a whole basement room full of herbs. Many users ending up buying more than a single light bulb after they realize how effective they are. If two square feet of light is not enough, then the TaoTronics UFO LED Grow Light TT-GL21 is a much better option for you.

Conclusion

Whether you are growing tomatoes, basil or arugula, the TaoTronics LED light will help boost the growth of your plants. The bulb is also ideal for plants that do not like the short days in the winter. The red and blue color spectrum from the bulb puts your plant in a pink hue that results in strong, vibrant dark green leaves and exponential growth. The pink light may look at bit funny at first, but it really does the trick to give your plants the light they need.

Click here for the TaoTronics grow light price and to read more reviews on Amazon.com

How to save gas with these simple tips

Roof carrier

Roof bags can be very convenient on road trips but will have a negative effect on your fuel economy, so remove them when not in use.

I recently had my car in for a new muffler and I got chatting with the mechanic. We ended up talking about how expensive gas has become and the mechanic gave me some tips on how to save gas regardless of which type of vehicle you drive. I did some research when on gas savings tips when I got home and decided to share my findings.

Become a smoother driver. Slowing down can save you up to 25%. Speeding will save you a few minutes here and there but it means that you will fuel up a lot sooner. Accelerate and brake more smoothly. A thing I learned when I took my motorcycle license is to always look 12 seconds ahead. This way you see a traffic light switching to red or red brake lights from cars way ahead of you and you can slow down more smoothly. Being a smoother driver also increases the life of your tires and your brakes.

Turn your air conditioning off. Your air conditioner is the most gas guzzling device in your car, so try to get used to driving without turning it on. Be aware that if you instead open the windows and sunroof the drag at high speeds can actually lower your fuel economy. So only open your windows at low speeds and use your air conditioner on the highway. This can save you up to 15% on your gas usage.

The mechanic told me this tip and it is something I have never though about before. When you are done filling up your tank, turn the hose upside down in your tank and get all the drops out that are stuck in the hose. You just paid for them. The drops may as well go into your tank than evaporate into thin air.

Remove your roof rack when you don’t use it. If your car has a rooftop carrier then make sure to remove it when you don’t need it. Having something on top of your vehicle’s roof will increase wind resistance and increase your gas cost by as much as 5%.

Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Check the Tire Decal to learn what the level should be at for your tires. Keep a tire gauge in your car, so you always have it on hand to check your tire pressure.

If it is time for you to buy new tires then buy radial tires (Amazon.com link). Making a switch to radial tires can improve your gas mileage by 2-3%.

When you driving on even stretches on the highway then use your cruise control as much as possible. This can save you up to 7% on your gas usage. It may also prevent you from getting a speeding ticket – as long as you set the speed under the legal limit.

Try to stay in one lane as much as possible. Weaving in and out of lanes and constantly increasing and decreasing your speed may save you time, but it will cost you more at the gas pump.

Turn off all electronics and climate controls (fans) before you turn the engine off. When you start your car up again, the engine will not have to strain so hard as all the extras are switched off.

Skip the drive thru. Yep, it is convenient to get your morning java without having to get out of your vehicle, but drive thrus are terrible for the environment as well as your pocket book.

Get rid of the junk in your trunk. Open your trunk and empty it for all the heavy items you don’t need. The extra weight in a trunk means that the engine has to work that much harder and using extra gas.

These are my local mechanics’ tips on how to save gas no matter what type of car you drive. I hope you found his tips on how to achieve best mpg useful. if you have any other tips to save on gas then please add them to the comment section below.