Linwoods for Healthy Holiday Entertaining

Linwoods Health Foods

 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  16+

 

Review

           

            I could probably write several pages on the health benefits of the line of Linwoods Health Foods.  Depending on which variety you choose, these super foods can help you increase your intake of Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, Dietary Fiber, Antioxidants, Iron, Zinc, Protein, Magnesium, B Vitamins and Co-Enzyme Q10.  And, you only have to incorporate 4 tablespoons into your daily diet! 

 

            For the past 6 years I have tried to incorporate flaxseeds into my diet.  I found the quality of this product to be quite excellent.  I really liked their flax blends.  The flax seed, almond, brazil nut, walnut & Q10 blend was a wonderful addition to my salads at lunch.  The flax seed, cocoa, strawberries and blueberries blend was fantastic on a yogurt parfait.  Their other blends, or the plain flax seeds, can be added to soups, salads, yogurt, cold cereal, hot cereal, smoothies, etc.  I found that I could easily add 1-2 tablespoons to each meal. 

 

Here is a picture of my yogurt parfait & my  Very Berry Parfait recipe:


Very Berry Yogurt Parfait
 
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup sliced strawberries
  • ½ cup sliced raspberries
  • ½ cup sliced blackberries
  • ½ cup sliced blueberries
  • ½ cup granola
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Linwoods Ground Flax, Cocoa, Blueberries & Strawberries
Instructions
  1. Layer ¼ cup sliced strawberries, ¼ cup sliced raspberries, ¼ cup sliced blackberries, ¼ cup sliced blueberries.
  2. Add a layer of ½ cup yogurt and a layer of ¼ cup granola.
  3. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon honey and 1 tablespoon flax blend.
  4. Repeat.
  5. Enjoy!

 

And, here is how I used my favorite salad with the regular flax … the recipe is here.

 

Feta and Walnut Salad with Grilled Chicken
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 to 4 handfuls of Spring Mix Salad
  • 2 handfuls of feta cheese
  • 1 handful of caramelized walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon Flax
  • 1 chicken breast, grilled and sliced
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons of Cherry Vinaigrette ( store bought)
Instructions
  1. Layer Spring Mix, feta, flax and walnuts.
  2. Top with chicken.
  3. Serve with Cherry Vinaigrette on the side.

And here is my EASY recipe for Caramelized Walnuts……
Caramelized Walnuts
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups Walnut pieces
  • ½ cup light brown sugar ( not packed)
  • 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon salt OR ½ teaspoon cinnamon sprinkled on finished nuts
Instructions
  1. Place brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in a small skillet ( preferable non-stick as this gets very sticky).
  2. Heat ingredients over medium to medium-high heat. Stir until bubbly.
  3. Add walnuts to mixture and stir to coat.
  4. Continue cooking 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. They are done when golden brown in color and smell very toasty.
  6. These will burn if left unattended.

 

 

            I also sampled their hemp.  I’ve never had it before.  It kind of reminded me of a pine nut or a strong walnut.  Very nutty, very earthy and very tasty if you pair it right.  Sprinkling a bit on your hummus or adding a tablespoon to your rice dishes is an easy way to incorporate this super food into your routine. 

 

            I would recommend this for the health enthusiast in your life.  The marathon runner, the hiker, the yoga lover and anyone who is generally health conscious would enjoy this product.  You could also pair these with some granolas, organic cereals, health bars and nut mixes as a lovely care package for those busy college students or young professionals in your life. 

 

            For more information, please check out their Webpage  and/or  Facebook !

                 

Where to Buy

 

            The prices range from $9.59 to $15.67 per standard size bag.  You can shop their entire selection on their Website.   

 

            For those who love the convenience of Amazon, you can purchase yours Here!   

 

 Reviewed by: Nicole

 

Note:  I received  one sample size bag for each of their 6 products.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

Hey Shuga! Lil’ Shuga! How Sweet It Is!

 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  18+

 

Review

           

            Have you ever tried to dissolve sugar in iced tea?  I have.  It’s not pretty.  You wind up using a lot of sugar (most of which you will find at the bottom of your glass… it does not dissolve well).

           

Have you ever tried to dissolve Hey Shuga! in a glass of iced tea?  I have and it is fabulous!  Hey Shuga! dissolves in cold beverages!  Being a sweet tea lover who is currently living in the Northern Midwest, I am giving serious consideration to carrying Hey Shuga! around in my big purse to sweeten my tea at restaurants… 

 

            Hey Shuga! is an organic, gluten free, natural invert cane sugar.  It is produced in a way that mimics how bees make honey.  But, it is vegetarian and vegan friendly.  It’s also certified Kosher, contains no artificial colors or flavors, does not contain any preservatives and is GMO free. 

 

            Lil’ Shuga! is a blend of the original Hey Shuga! and Stevia extract.  You get all the health benefits of Stevia and the great taste of cane sugar.  It is twice as strong as real sugar (so you use half as much) and, I am delighted to inform, that there is no gross aftertaste. 

 

Hey Shuga! and Lil’ Shuga! work very well in cold beverages and hot beverages.  I’ve also used it to sweeten up fruit, yogurt, cold cereal and oatmeal.  It can also be used in baking.  Just use ¾ cup of Hey Shuga! for every 1 cup of sugar called for in your recipe.  Oh, they recommend decreasing the oven temp by 50 degrees. 

 

You can get lots of great recipes on their website:  Hey Shuga! Recipes            

 

Hey Shuga! and Lil’ Shuga! would be nice gifts to an office co-worker, teacher, health enthusiast, or anyone who loves their iced beverages sweetened. 

 

 

Where to Buy

 

            The prices range from $7.99 to $9.99 per standard size bottle, depending on which type of sweetener you order.  You can shop their entire selection (including bulk purchases and jumbo bottles) on their Website.         Hey Shuga   

 

            For those who love the convenience of Amazon, you can purchase yours Here!    

 

 

Reviewed by: Nicole

 

Note:  I received one standard size bottle of Hey Shuga! and one standard size bottle of Lil’ Shuga! for review.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

 

**** Contest Closed****Rose Romano’s Italian Gourmet Toppings Giveaway

One lucky Make Life Special reader will win  a mixed 2-pack of Rose Romano’s Italian Gourmet Toppings.  These are 100% natural and are really delicious.  One topping is made with marinara sauce and red bell peppers and the other topping is made with marinara sauce and green bell peppers.

Read our full review about these delicious sauces here:  Rose Romano’s  Italian Gourmet Toppings Review

 

TO ENTER

To enter the giveaway, just tell us what you would make with the Rose Romano’s Italian Gourmet Sauce.  One entry per person.  Continental USA only for this one.  Post your comment in the Speak Your Mind box at the bottom of this post.  

Giveaway ends Tuesday December 11, 2012

Winner chosen by Random.org

Good Luck!!!

Note:  Rose Romano’s is providing the 2-pack of Italian Gourmet Toppings for this giveaway.  Thank you!

Rose Romono’s Italian Gourmet Toppings

Rose Romano’s Italian Gourmet Toppings just exploded in my mouth with flavor!  Rose Romano’s Italian Toppings are a special blend of peppers and a marinara sauce made in the traditional Italian way.  There really is a Rose Romano and her son, Dr. Marshall Angotti, created this gourmet sauce based on the knowledge he gained as a child helping his family with the peppers in the grocery stores they owned.  I enjoyed reading all about the story behind this product : Dr. Marshall Angotti and Rose Romano Toppings

There are over 30 recipes on the Rose Romano’s website to get you started cooking with this delicious Italian topping.  It is perfect on pasta and pizza…..

It’s great on chicken, on fish, on vegetables…. I even sprinkled some on my scrambled eggs one morning and thought it was delicious with a slice of whole wheat toast on the side.

There are two Rose Romano’s Toppings available.  One topping is made with marinara sauce and red bell peppers and the other topping is made with marinara sauce and green bell peppers.

I liked these toppings because they 100% all natural and contain no preservatives and they really have a great Italian flavor. 

You can order these online from Rose Romano’s website for $15.98 for a mixed 2-pack:  Rose Romano’s Online Store

For the Amazon fans, here is the link :  Rose Romano’s on Amazon.com

These items would make great additions to any gourmet gift basket you are putting together for the holidays.  

Note:  I received a mixed 2-pack to use for this review.  No compensation was received.  These are my true and honest opinions.

 

 

 

KitchenKuffs – Keep Your Sleeves Up !

I just received my pair of KitchenKuffs to review for our Holiday Gift Guide and I can’t say enough good things about these!  What a great idea!!  (These are in that category of “Why didn’t I think of that??)   KitchenKuffs  are the  brainchild of Barbara Doran. All of us have experienced soggy wet sleeves from dishwashing… or washing the car.

And, don’t forget all of the times your sleeves have gotten in your way when you are flower or herb gardening.

And what about cooking?  My sleeves are always in my way when I’m kneading bread or making meatballs… but not anymore!  KitchenKuffs to the rescue!

I’m going to put a pair under the kitchen sink, a pair in the garage by my potting bench, and a pair in the laundry room. I’m getting ready to paint one of our bathrooms and I’m sure my KitchenKuffs will come to the rescue then too.   I just keep finding times when my KitchenKuffs come in handy!

Barbara Doran made an excellent video I’d like to share with you that shows tons of great ways to use KitchenKuffs:  KitchenKuffs Video

KitchenKuffs would make a great stocking stuffer.  They come in Regular and Adjustable Sizes and sell for $ 9.95.  You can order them here – just in time for holiday gift giving:  Order KitchenKuffs   Plan on ordering several pairs – for schoolteachers, for dance and piano teachers, grandma, mom, aunts and cousins!  Everyone will think they are great!

I LOVE them!

You can check out KithcenKuffs on :   

Note: I received a sample of KitchenKuffs for this Holiday Gift Guide review.  No compensation was received.  These are my true and honest opinions.

 

 

Tiered Buffet Server

Now that’s entertaining…..with this gorgeous Tiered Buffet Server by SCM Designs and available at Sam’s Club.  I love to entertain and whenever I have more than 10 people for dinner – I serve the food buffet style.  Whether the occasion is casual or elegant, a buffet is a perfect way to serve your guests.

The scrolled black wrought iron stand holds five stoneware serving dishes that are perfect sizes for serving.  There are two 9 X 13 inch rectangle serving dishes, two smaller rectangle dishes ( 8 X 10 inch ) and one 8 inch round serving dish.    The stoneware serving dishes are dishwasher and microwave safe.  The   wrought iron stand comes apart for easy storage.

I can’t wait to use this buffet server over the Christmas Holidays!  We will have lots of family and friends over to our house throughout this month.  Here are some of the buffet menus I will be using.  Feel free to add your own recipes to customize these menu ideas for you.  Click on the recipes in that are highlighted and you will go right to my recipe with an easy recipe card you can print, how-to photos to show you how to make the dish AND some of the recipes also have a video tutorial you can watch !

Easy Appetizer Buffet Menu

Baked Goat Cheese Marinara with Homemade Crostini  (Double recipe) :  Bake in 9 X 13 dish and put the homemade crostini is one of the 8 X 10 inch dishes.

Vickie’s Mississippi Caviar :  Put this in the other 9 X 13 inch dish and put Fritos Scoops in the other 8 X 10 inch dish.

Vickie’s Cheese Ball:  Put the cheese ball in the 8 inch round dish and surround it with additional crackers.

 

Easy Lunch Buffet Menu

 

 Vickie’s Almost Famous Chili OR Vickie’s Chicken Corn Chowder :  Put in one of the 9 X 13 dishes

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (Cut into half diagonally) :  Put sandwiches in the other 9 X 13 dish

Celery Sticks, Baby Carrots, Cauliflower and Broccoli flourettes , grape tomatoes and assorted olives:  Fill both 8 X 10 dishes with the assorted fresh veggies and olives.

 Brownies :  Cut into squares and fill the 8 inch round dish.

 (Put the chili condiments in smaller glass bowls in front of the buffet server)    

 

Easy Dinner Buffet Menu

Cooker Chops :  Cook in the crockpot and then place chops in one of the 9 X 13 dishes

Cream Cheese Whipped Potatoes  ( Double the recipe) :   Cook in the microwave and put in the other 9 X 13 dish.

Vickie’s Fried Corn:  Put in 8 X 10 dish

Green Beans:  Put in 8 X 10 inch dish

Hot Garlic Bread OR Vickie’s French Onion Drop Biscuits:  Put in the 8 inch round dish

 

 

These are just a few suggestions for great buffets using the Adjustable Tiered Server.  This great server is available from Sams Club for $ 39.98. 

Note:  Sam’s Club provided me with a sample of the Adjustable Tiered Server for this review.  No compensation was received.  These are my honest and true opinions.

 

 

 

ZinZig Wine Tasting and Trivia Game

 Play this great wine tasting game and learn more about wine!

ZinZig Wine Tasting game arrived at my door a week or so ago for our  Gift Guide and I have to admit I was very intrigued.  I have always loved board games and trivia games and to combine that with wine tasting just has to be fun.  So, we decided to grab a few bottles of wine and a couple of friends and play ZinZig.  Game  night started with my “Almost Famous Chili” with all of the fixins’ and then we moved into the living room to play a very competitive game of ZinZig.

The wine tasting game can be played with up to 6 people ( or by up to 6 teams) but there were only 4 of us for our initial run playing ZinZig.  We thought the instructions were pretty straightforward….nothing too complicated ( which is good considering you are drinking wine during the entire game!).  

The game started with us tasting all of the wines ( 3 bottles).  We each picked a winery and the figure to represent us on the board.  We each picked a winery for our figure to start on.  The board is circular and the game moves quickly as you move around the board, trying to answer trivia questions and then “swapping” , “trading” or the favorite of everyone “sip and savor” )where you get to sit back, relax, and enjoy your wine, while earning a free card)

  

Each trivia card has a resource printed on the back — barrel, grape, bottle or cork.  The point of the game is to collect one of each resource and then start production.  Once you do that, you move to the middle of the board and go through the stages of production ( crushing, fermenting, aging and bottling) by answering more trivia questions.  All in all, ZinZig has over 200 trivia questions about wine and 50 blind tasting cards.  

I did not win that night, but I had loads of fun.  We all thought the trivia questions were interesting and we all learned something new about wine.  The game lasted about 2 hours and got a resounding approval from all of us.  

 ZinZig is available from Amazon for anywhere between $ 38.00 to $ 49.95.  Amazon.com

Note:  True Fabrications provided us with one ZinZig game to review for our Holiday Gift Guide.  No compensation was received.  These are my true and honest opinions.

 

 

 

 

iGrill Grill Thermometer

The iGrill is the new grill, cooking and barbecuing thermometer!

The iGrill grill thermometer is a digital wonder.

 

Gift Guide Age Recommendation:­  18+

 

Review

 

            Full disclosure:  I am not an avid griller.  And, it’s winter time.  I was not going to test this grill thermometer in the freezing cold.  I am an avid home cook and I use my oven, a lot.  I think I have gone through 3 or 4 thermometers in the past 5 years.  Some of them got frayed wires from overuse, some broke during one of my many moves and some were not great to start with. 

 

            I tested out the iGrill  grill thermometer while making pork chops in the oven.  Pork is not a meat that I want to serve undercooked.  And, I hate cutting into meat to check its “doneness.”  Releasing the juices to test meat is not my preferred method.  Using a good digital thermometer is my favorite way to make sure my food is cooked correctly. 

 

How the iGrill works:

Setting up the iGrill grill thermometer with your iPad, iPod or iPhone is pretty easy since the iGrill has Bluetooth.  All I had to do was download the iGrill app from iTunes (it’s free), sync the device and start cooking!  The app display was very user friendly.  There was even a user manual in the app to help me out if I got confused.  I didn’t, but it was nice to have the manual. 

I should point out that you don’t have to sync the device with an iPad or iPod to use it.  I tried it without and, I have to admit, I would not recommend using the iGrill solo.  The display is not great in sunlight (my kitchen has a really bright window that I need to get blinds for) and there are cheaper thermometers on the market that you program, stick in your meat and check 30 times until it is done.  Maybe you listen for the alarm, but I don’t hear mine over the TV two rooms away….

 

What I really like about the iGrill:

The iGrill grill thermometer comes with 2 probes!  This would be especially great if I were cooking chicken and steaks on the grill.  I chose to use both because I had some thinner chops (for my son) and some thicker chops (mainly, for my husband).  I was easily able to take out the thin pork chops when they were done and wait a bit until the thicker chops were done.   In case you never thought about it, those probes get HOT!  It was nice to not have to take the probe out of one pork chop and place it in a thicker one (I’m not very coordinated with oven mitts). 

            If you order the ambient temperature probe (I did not purchase one since I am not smoking any meat in my oven this winter) you can set a high temp alert and a low temp alert.  I think this would allow many a dad to watch more football and spend less time checking their thermometers on the grill.  Or, if they are smoking meat over night, it would probably allow them to get more restful sleep instead of worrying that their smoker might be too cold. 

            The biggest perk of all is that I did not have to be in my kitchen to use the iGrill grill thermometer.  It was really great to carry my iPod with me and watch the temperature rise as my pork chops cooked 2 rooms away. 

 

            I recommend the iGrill for any home cook or grill master who already has (or is getting this Christmas) an iPad, iPod touch or iPhone .  I especially think that anyone who uses a smoker would be thrilled to receive this gift if you combo it with the ambient temperature thermometer.

           

             

Where to Buy

 

            Priced at $79.99 for the iGrill ($99.99 for the Essential iGrill Gift Pack), you can purchase the iGrill directly from their Website.      

 

            For my fellow Amazon shoppers, you can purchase an iGrill HERE!       

 

Reviewed by: Nicole

 

Note:  iDevices supplied me with one iGrill thermometer for review.  No other compensation was received.  The review in this post is honest and my own.

*****Contest Closed*****Pet Gifts for the Holiday Giveaway!

Here is a giveaway you don’t want to miss!!!! This is a great collection of pet products offered as a Giveaway to 1 lucky Make Life Special reader by Propel Communications.  Read about each product in our Pet Gifts for the Holiday Review:  Pet Gifts Review

One (1) lucky winner will win each of the following products:

 Sunbeam Pets Microplush Warming Pad that will provide your pet with soothing comfort and warmth – great for aging pets.  

One Sherpa Pop Tote EVA Airline Carrier

One Loving Pets Vintage Diner for dogs

Evangers Nothing But Natural Jerky Treats for Dogs ( 3 packs)

AND….

Loving Pets Grill-icious Gog Treats  ( 3 packs)

This is a BIG GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!!

 Giveaway ends Monday December 10th, 2012

Winner Chosen by Random.org

Winner must check back on Tuesday after the giveaway to see if they are the winner, and send us  an e mail with your name and mailing address.

Good Luck!!!!

Here are the different ways to enter:

1.  Become a subscriber on Make Life Special YouTube Channel.  Then post that you did this in the Speak Your Mind Box at the end of this post.

2.  Tell us about your favorite pet.  Maybe it was your dog you had as a child growing up or your constant companion now.  A cat, a bird….or something more exotic?  Whatever the pet, let us know about it in the Speak Your Mind Box below.

3. ” Like” Loving Pets on Facebook and then post that you did this in the Speak Your Mind Box.

4.  “Like” Make Life Special on Facebook and then post that you did this in the Speak Your Mind Box.

5.  Share this giveway link on your Facebook page, leave the link in the comment box below.

 6.  Follow Make Life Special on Twitter.  Leave your comment below.

7.  Follow Make Life Special on Pinterest.  Leave your comment in the box below.

So there you have it!  Lots of ways to win this great giveaway!  You can enter one than one entry.  Continental USA only for this giveaway.  Good luck!

Note:  Propel Communications along with Sunbeam, Sherpa, Loving Pets and Evangers sponsored this giveaway by providing the prizes.  

 

 

Ravensburger Puzzles “Wrap Up” Fun This Holiday Season!

Ravensburger Puzzles bring new life to the puzzle world.   I received this great puzzle to include in our Holiday 2012 Gift Guide and I was so amazed at what Ravensburger has done for the world of puzzles!   Ravensburger Puzzles are the first to add video animation ( which they call Augmented Reality) to four new puzzles….just in time for holiday gift giving.

I have always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles and I can’t wait to get started on this 1000 piece “Underwater Realm” beauty.  We always have a house full of company over the holidays and I like to have a Jigsaw puzzle out on the coffee table so everyone can get involved in putting it together.  Sometimes we even have a contest to see who gets to put in the last piece!  

Now you are probably wondering what “Augmented Reality” means.  This is one of the most exciting technologies around and it brings these jigsaw puzzles to life!  Simply assemble the puzzle, download the free App to your iPhone or iPad, then hold your iPhone or iPad over the puzzle and you will be amazed at what you see!  

The “Underwarer Realm” puzzle that I received portrays a variety of marine animals and when the iPhone screen is placed over the completed puzzle,  a “Find the Fish” game begins which allows the puzzler to explore this underwater world even further.

Ravensburger has three other Augmented Reality Puzzles that would also make great holiday gifts.

“Lofoten, Norway”  This 1000 piece puzzle makes a trip to the fjords of Norway possible.  This puzzle depicts a  beautiful summer scene which can be transformed into a snowy winter wonderland by simply tipping your iPad or iPhone Screen.  Once you have downloaded the free App, you can sit back and watch the spring scene turn into a winter wonderland!

 

“Above the Roofs of Paris”  Once you’ve completed this 1000 piece puzzle, you can take a spectacular night-time tour over the rooftops of Paris!  Hover your iPhone or iPad over the puzzle and watch an amazing 360 degree tour of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower.    

 

”  Animals of Africa”  This 1000 piece puzzle shows an expansive safari scene which can be brought to life by tracking over the individual animals.

 

Another great puzzle creation by Ravensburger is the Puzzleball.  We received a 60 piece Christmas Puzzleball which actually makes an ornament when completed.  All of the pieces are curved — with no straight edges.  

 

 

 

Ravensburger  has a 125 year history as a toy and game manufaturer.  Visit their website to see all of the great products they have to offer:   Ravensburger Website    

The Augmented Reality Puzzles sell for $ 19.99  and are recommended for ages 10+. 

The Christmas Puzzleballs sell for under $ 15.00 and are recommended for ages 12+. 

Where to Buy   

You can order these online, direct from Ravensburger :  Ravensburger Online Store

Or, for a store locator, click here:  Store Locator for Ravensburger Puzzles

Note:  Ravensburger and Grand Communications supplied us with a sample of the Ravensburger Underwater Realm Puzzle for this review.   We also received one Christmas Puzzleball.   No compensation was received.  These are my honest and true opinions.  

Make Life Special
2 Cypress Rd Litchfield, IL 62056 US
Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com