A few new things to try from Trader Joes’

On Friday October 18th, a new  Trader Joe’s near my home.  I was so excited that I rushed after work to not only get my free reusable bag, but to look around at all the goodies I’m always hearing about!  When I got there it was insanity!!!  I guess I wasn’t the only one who’d been waiting for Trader Joe’s.  

I couldn’t take the crowd, but I did manage to get a couple of things that I wanted to try.  First being this:

Trader Joe's Spicy Chai Latte Mix

Now, I LOVE Chai tea, so this just sang to me.  I tried it that very night.  What impressed me most was, many times you buy these mixes and they say to use water or milk.  If you use water it usually tastes horrible, but this didn’t!  It tasted amazing just with water alone.  I can only imagine what it tastes like with soy milk!

This deserves:

4 tuna cans – This stuff rocks!

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The next thing I tried is Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack.

Trader Joe's Roasted Seaweed Snack

Crunchy, a little salty, a little fishy and you can eat the entire package and only take in 60 calories!  I’m thinking about making a mock tuna salad spread with this.  Some experimenting is definitely in order.

I give this:

3 tuna cans – You have my attention.
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So far, Trader Joe’s hasn’t disappointed me.  Sadly, it’s still incredibly crowded to go into. I’ll have to wait a few weeks until the novelty has died down a bit, so that I can go in and fully and calmly investigate things.

 

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Sonia Kashuk cosmetics

I’ve been searching for a cruelty free cosmetic line ever since I found out Clinique (who I had been using at the time) Mary Kay, and Avon were no longer cruelty free. It turns out they have been trying to sell their products in China, and the Chinese government will not allow any products used for personal care to be sold unless they have been tested first…on animals. So, hearing this news I began looking for a company, that was not only cruelty free, it’s suppliers cruelty free, AND reasonably priced!

There are several great options out there. Urban Decay and Hard Candy, are two such companies.  I had decided to get some things at Target and thought I’d check out Sonia Kashuk, since I knew this line is sold there.  Imagine my extreme surprise when I found out that not only are all of Sonia Kashuk cosmetics are cruelty free, but so are their suppliers as well as their make-up brushes.

I wound up buying some concealer, and I have to say I’m thrilled with it.  It actually covers better than the Clinque I had been using, and was almost three times less expensive.  My next purchase will be foundation.  There are a couple of colors that look like a good match for  my skin, and I’ll also get some blush.  I think I’m going to be very happy with this.

I give Sonia Kashuk 4 tuna cans – This stuff rocks!

Seventh Generation

As I slowly move toward being more environmentally conscious as well as buying cruelty free products, I’ve been looking for companies that offer products that I use daily.  They’re out there, but sometimes they are very expensive.  While I hate for money to  be the deciding factor on how green I am, these days I unfortunately have to count the pennies.

However, every now and then I’m surprised you don’t always have to break the bank to do the right thing. I needed some dish-washing liquid, and so I decided I’d look in my supermarket’s “Greenwise” section . I love this section because it has a lot of products that are either organic, vegetarian/vegan and of course, GREEN!

I was specifically looking for Seventh Generation, because when I downloaded the Leaping Bunny app to my iPhone, it listed them as a no cruelty company, but they weren’t on the shelf.  So, I looked through the cleaning section and picked out a dish-washing liquid that had the Leaping Bunny logo, put it in my basket and went on my way to look for some ice-cream. On my way to the back of the store, I passed the isle with all the regular cleaners and air freshers and decided to look there.  It turns out they had the Seventh Generation products there, which I thought was odd, but hey who am I to judge their stocking system.  Turns out this stuff was $1.00 cheaper than the one I originally picked up, and of course upon lifting the little tab on the back label, there was that lovely bunny.

Here’s the one I bought:

 

The scent is very nice, not too overpowering, and you really don’t need a huge amount either.   And the dishes felt squeaky clean with just one wipe.  My usual cleaner doesn’t do that which really now that I think about it is kind of gross.  Makes me think they weren’t being cleaned that well before.  Yeesh!  I mean, I know the gang and Sofie haven’t complained, but hey maybe they have!

I’m very happy with this.  Next time I’ll be checking out their paper products and garbage bags.  If their other products are as good as this one in quality, I believe this is the start of a wonderful relationship!

 

I’m giving this a rating of: 4 Tuna Cans! Not just because of the quality and price, but because this company really gets it! You don’t have to harm or kill animals to make a good product and make money, and you can still be kind to the environment!

Gardein Mandarin Chicken – Review

One word, AWESOME!

I decided to get a few things at Target this past Saturday afternoon, and in the middle of finding the perfect stockings for my two new furry additions to the family, I realized I needed something for dinner. I love shopping at Target, because ever since they added the grocery section I find many wonderful meatless options either in frozen foods or on the shelves next to some of the dry foods. Thankfully, Target has begun offering some Gardein choices in their vegetarian section. I was reaching for the meatless burgers when I noticed the Mandarin Chicken package!

Of course, I couldn’t just serve this alone. I’d need some sort of side, so I opted for a steam-in-bag broccoli, and added some some boil-in-bag brown rice at home, (can you tell I’m all for convenience?) My entire meal took less than 15 minutes to make. I did however have to improvise a little when it came to the sauce for the Mandarin Chicken. The pouch exploded in my microwave, and I only had about 2 tablespoons of sauce, watered down sauce, left. I add a little honey and some red pepper flakes and mixed it into the chicken as it was in the pan.

It was delicious! This package is enough for several meals if you are cooking just for yourself. I not only had enough for dinner, but I had plenty left for lunch today and dinner later as well. So for less than $6.00, between the Gardein and the broccoli, I managed 3 very tasty and convenient meals. I won’t count the rice, because I already had that.

I love Gardein. There are many meatless offerings I haven’t had, simply because not all markets sell all of their products. I suspect they just sell the most popular. I won’t complain very much though, since I’m happy to be able to find anything from them. If you want something delicious, quick and not too pricey, especially if you are feeding several people, this is the way to go.

Gardein Mandarin Chicken easily gets 4 tuna cans from me!

Zicam – Allergy Relief – Product review

I have allergies. I have seasonal allergies and I’m also allergic to cats and dogs. For the record, I did not become allergic to my cats or dog after I had them, I was well aware of my allergy to them BEFORE I brought them into my life. But, at the time, I had insurance and was taking allergy medication that I needed anyway, so bringing these fur babies into my home was not a big deal.

Today, I have no insurance, and have to pay for my medication without the luxury of a copayment. Because of this, I try to find over the counter medications to get me by until I can afford to fill my prescription. I can only do this with allergy medication, because my asthma medication has no OTC substitute. Yes, I have asthma and have pets. Surprised? Well, not everyone uses the old “I have allergies” to dump their pets. Some of us actually love them and deal with a little discomfort. But, I digress.

I ran out of my generic nasal spray, and until next pay day I have to resort to the OTC stuff. Right now I’m trying the Zicam Allergy Relief nasal gel. I’m not thrilled. Call me crazy, but is it too much to think this will actually work while I’m at home, WITH my pets? I’m at work now, and even though I’m still sniffling and sneezing, it’s not bad. My nasal passages are somewhat clear. But while I’m home, where the actual allergy is hitting me full throttle, nothing. There are moments when I sneeze for several minutes non-stop. Is it just me? Am I the only one this stuff doesn’t work on? I use so many of these over the counter products and they never seem to work.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t expect this to work as well as my prescription medication, but I would have thought it would have at least given me some relief! At the very least cut down on the stuffy nose!

$12.00 down the drain as far as I’m concerned. They won’t be getting another twelve from me any time soon.

Sorry, Zicam. You get a 2 out of 4 litter box rating from me this time. I didn’t give it a worse rating only because at least at work I’m clear.