THOUGHTFULLY’S “CHOOSE YOUR FAVE” GIVEAWAY

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I received an email a few weeks ago from a company called Thoughtfully. They offered to allow me to review one of their gift boxes and being the curious person that I am, I agreed.  I had no idea what to expect since I had never heard of their site before, but wow! was I pleasantly surprised!

I was told to pick my 3 favorites and they would randomly send me one of them.  I was so excited to see which one I would get I could hardly wait for it to get here, and I was not disappointed.   They chose the Apple Pie Story box for my gift and I couldn’t be happier.  It not only included the apple spice and pie crust mixes, it also came with 2 ceramic mini pie dishes, a red striped pot holder and the cutest set of measuring spoons I think I’ve ever seen.  (They are shaped like mini mason jars and are absolutely adorable!)

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This set ended up being a perfect choice for me since I love to bake and apple pie is one of my favorites, but it was really hard to choose.  They truly have something for everyone.  There are several different sweets options, a few based on cocktails (for that relative you hardly ever see but always has a drink in their hand when you do) and also choices for hot sauce lovers, popcorn nuts or even bakers of beer bread.

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Each set is unique and the items are all hand wrapped and displayed beautifully.  It’s a real treat to open up all the individual pieces in the set and discover all the goodies inside.  These would make awesome gifts for just about anybody on your list and are sure to put a smile on their face.  Right now they are also offering $5 off & free shipping on your first order when you sign up with your email.  Woohoo!  Better than that…they are also allowing me to gift a box to one of my fans.  You can choose from any of the choices below if you are lucky enough to be the winner:

(Click on the name to view product info page)

Sweet As Pie: includes a ceramic pie dish, a gold pie server, a tea towel and a set of 20 blank recipe cards. Also included is our delicious pie crust mix and secret spice mix to add that perfect last touch.

Bloody Mary Bar:  includes bloody mary mix, gourmet hot sauces, highball glasses, a recipe book and more!

Cold Brew Set:  has everything you need, including high quality Colombian coffee, coffee filters and a scoop. There’s even a mason jar to keep it chilled.

Beer Bread Set:  includes everything you need, from a loaf pan to our original recipe beer bread mix, which comes in a beer bottle.
A “Born to Bake” apron and wrench-shaped bottle opener tops it off.

Chip Chip Hooray:  comes with a cast iron skillet, chocolate chip cookie mix, and a whisk. Do it up with vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

Tequila Cantina:   features a wooden tequila tray with cutting board and knife (for the limes!), four shot glasses and three kinds of salt–Himalayan, chilispiked and a sweetened variety. Salt plates included.

Moscow Mule: features two copper mugs, glass shaker, gourmet ginger beer, moscow mule mix, coasters and a matryoshka jigger. Top your drink off with candied ginger.

Popcorn Lovers Set:  everything you need for a snack-filled movienight, from popcorn kernels and striped bags to three delicious seasonings–bacon-cheddar, garlic and ranch.

Dynamite Feugo:  the perfect way to sample some of the best hot sauces around, including whiskey habanero, ghost pepper, and even chocolate chipotle.

Apple Pie Story:   has 2 mini pie dishes, measuring spoons, & oven mitt. We also added our favorite crust & spice mixes.

Cirque Du Sweets:  including three cast iron skillets and decorating bag, plus mixes for brownies, frosting, sugar cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. Sprinkles, milk bottles and straws too!

If you are lucky enough to win it will definitely be hard to choose and that’s not even the tip of the iceberg.  There are SO many more gift boxes on their site to choose from that you should be able to find something for anybody on your list, no matter how hard they are to buy for!

For a chance to win one of these awesome gift boxes simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.  (Don’t worry, I’ve made it super simple) I will close the contest on Wednesday,  November 23rd at Midnight central time.  The winner will be announced on the Rafflecopter widget and will also be notified by email.  Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize.  If not claimed in 48 hours, I will select a new winner from the existing entries.  Only one email entry per person.  Anybody entering using more than one email, will automatically be disqualified.  Blog comments will go through mediation before they are posted, but don’t worry, you will get your entries immediately and I will post them when I check my emails.  #sponsored

GOOD LUCK!!  And don’t forget to show this awesome company some love for such a great giveaway!  PLEASE share with your friends and spread the love!

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FRAZONI DIGITAL COOKING THERMOMETER REVIEW

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I cook almost every night and even with all of that experience I still worry about things like food poisoning and e-coli.   It was drilled into my head growing up that if you don’t cook your meats long enough, especially poultry & pork,  you can become deathly ill.   Unfortunately my mother took that to the extreme and cooked everything until it resembled shoe leather.  I was convinced that I didn’t even like most meats when I was little and didn’t learn until I was adult working in a steakhouse that it was because they were cooked to death.  I am SO thankful that the cook at that steakhouse  explained to me that all meat does not have to be charbroiled to be healthy and risk free.   I still remember my first bite of a piece of prime rib that was still red….I was sort of worried because it was red but tried it anyway…and OMG!!  It was so juicy and had more flavor than anything I had ever eaten!   Right away I became a meat lover to the extreme!  BUT….I also learned that with poultry and pork products you better be worried!   You can cause some truly horrible problems if you don’t get them right.  They both have to be cooked thoroughly for them to be safe to eat, so again, I found myself overcooking both.   Frazoni to the rescue!!

meatthermometer9 This meat thermometer is perfect for me.  It has a nice, slim design and a large screen so it’s easy to read.   It’s super simple to use and I love that the cord on the temperature prong is long enough to reach from the oven to the counter top.   You can set the controls for the temperature you’d like your food to be, insert the probe into the meat, place it in the oven and not worry at all anymore.  It will beep when the meat reaches the desired temperature to let you know it is done and all you have to do is take it out.  (You can choose if you want to use Celsius or Fahrenheit on the back of the unit)

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I, of course, had to go get a turkey so I can see how well this really works.   (Plus it sounded SO nice to have a mini Thanksgiving in April LOL)  I looked up the proper temp for turkey and discovered that 160 degrees is considered safe.   I set the timer to alert me when it reached 150 degrees because I had the turkey covered with foil and wanted to allow time to brown too.   Once the turkey reached 150 degrees I removed the foil and by the time it reached 160 my turkey was a nice golden brown.   (It wasn’t as brown as I normally go though.  I am usually so worried about under cooking that I leave it in too long).  I was a little worried that it wasn’t going to be cooked all the way through but decided to trust the thermometer.  I am so glad I did….This was by far the best turkey I have ever made!  It was very tender and so juicy!!  Even my husband, who usually only eats dark meat because he says the white meat is too dry, loved it!  I will never go back to “eye balling it” again.

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I also tried it out while cooking chicken on the stove top and it worked just as well.   You end up with such juicy chicken and it’s so nice to know that it is safe from salmonella or e-coli or the many other things that can make you ill.  My husband has always liked my cooking but this has made it much better.  I am no longer over cooking meats and losing the juices, and most of the flavor, that you lose when you over cook.   It is also perfect for steaks because you can cook them from rare to well and know that they will be exactly what was requested.

I did have one issue with this thermometer though.   I could not find an on/off switch on it anywhere.  When it started beeping to alert me that my turkey was done, I could not figure out how to turn it off or how to stop the beeping.  I had to take off the battery cover and remove the battery to get it to quit.  My husband also looked and neither of us could find a way to turn it off.   Luckily there is an extra spot in the battery compartment to leave the battery when you are not using it but an on/off switch is something they definitely need to add.   Other than that though, I am very pleased with my results and would definitely recommend this thermometer.  Considering this can ease a lot of food safety concerns I think every household should have one. Food poisoning is a big deal and this will help eliminate it and many other illnesses and you can’t really put a price on that!

 

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Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for review from  Giveaway Service  website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

FRAZONI SILICONE BAKING MAT REVIEW

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I don’t know about you but I feel like I have to replace my bake ware way more often than you should have to.   In no time at all it will look like it’s a million years old.  The oils you’ve used will cause horrible discolorations and make them look old way before their time.   It builds up even with regular washing and just makes me want to throw the pans away and start all over again.   Silicone bake ware is the perfect solution to this problem and this baking mat is a great item to start with.  There are SO many benefits to using these.  First off, you don’t need any oils at all.   Nothing will stick to this mat so there is no need.  Secondly, clean up is a breeze.   It washes easily with a little soap & water and I’ve even thrown it in the dishwasher with no issues.  It fits a normal baking sheet perfectly and I love the rounded edges for getting it out of the pan easily when finished.  You can even roll it up to store it in a drawer and it goes right back into shape and lays perfectly flat.   Plus it’s virtually indestructible.  Other than accidentally cutting it somehow I don’t see how you could damage it.

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We decided to make cookies the first time we used this.  The cookie dough we were using wasn’t very thick and couldn’t be rolled and cut out with cookie cutters so we had to form them directly on the baking sheet.   I was a little worried that they would stick because the dough was sort of soft and trying to use the different colors required us to really push them down into the mat.  I really shouldn’t have worried though….they came out perfectly baked and slid right off the mat.

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I have since used this mat for a few other things and so far it has worked great.   I love being able to cook without added oils and it’s an easy way to cook healthier.   The only issue I have noticed is that is does get slightly discolored when cooking darker colored foods.   Nothing very noticeable but there were some slight outlines where the darker cookies had been and it didn’t come off when washed.  It is so faint that it wouldn’t even show up in a picture though so not a big deal.   I just wanted to mention it since I always try to point out the good and the bad of every product I review.   I am happy to add this baking mat to my growing collection of silicone bake ware and I know I will get tons of use from it.

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If you would like to start your own collection of silicone bake ware this is a great piece to start with.    It will make your baking sheet last much longer and can also be used without one if you adjust the cooking times.  For a little less than $10 you can get an item that will last forever and help you bake a little healthier too.  What a deal!

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Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above in exchange for review from Giveaway Service website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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