Package Description: Our Nacho Cheese Sauce is made with real cheese and jalapeño peppers for a tasty, zesty flavor.
Brand: La Preferida
Grocer: Food City
Price point: $2.79
Why I picked it up: I wanted something to rival Taco Bell nacho cheese.
Summary of Preparation: pour into pot, heat on low heat until warm. I added about 1/4 c of heavy cream to make it thinner.
Initial impression: Zesty, indeed.
Lasting impression: I was thrown back to my many nights at football games and eating nachos from the Band’s concessions. This is the same stuff they use for their nachos.
Recommended Accompaniments: Tortilla Chips.
Kid friendly: My 5YO liked it just fine.
Repurchase point: It will do until I find a shelf-stable product that tastes richer.
Name: Chicken Pad Thai
Package Description: Savory white meat chicken with a blend of sugar snap peas, carrots, and green onions over rice noodles in a spicy Thai-style sauce.
Brand: Full Circle
Grocer: Food City
Price point: $3.89 regular price, bought 2/$5.00 on sale.
Why I picked it up: I figured I could try something new.
Summary of Preparation: Vent, microwave 5 minutes, eat.
Lasting impression: Way too much fish sauce. Overwhelmingly so. It is bound to the rice noodles, which are mushy paste.
Recommended Accompaniments: N/a
Well, since my last post… I had a baby. And changed to WP Thyroid. And am still eating GF convenience foods. My TPO Ab are still off the chart, but they were in the 200’s when I was 8m pregnant. Guess my body was attacking my baby’s thyroid? Who knows.
Anyway, my husband tackled this project today. FINALLY. I have had this on my Pinterest for OVER four years. I pinned this when I was pregnant with my first child, we lived in a 1,000 sq ft townhome, and we were in baby step 2 of our TMMO. Wow, time flies!
I have three more sets of rails beyond my new drying rack. I did have one of these A-framed up on the floor (thanks, Mom!), but this gives me my floor back… and keeps my kids from trying to climb it. Isn’t it shiny?
I mostly line out diapers on there, but I plan to use it for much more of our laundry to reduce our electric expense. Hence the extra rails…
Here is a full load of diapers for our 7m old.
You can see here that my DH used his circular saw and jigsaw to notch out the ends. He also took off two of the rails on each piece. We can take the thing down off the chair rail and it lays flat against the wall.
This is totally not a normal post, but you know, it’s a blog, and I feel the need to share my pinterest-crafty stuff on here on occasion. I’ll try to confine it to one big post each month.
Watercolors with marker
Project technique from Alisa: http://alisaburke.blogspot.com/2015/06/kids-markers-tips-and-tricks-for-adults.html
I never thought about doing watercolors before because I prefer vibrant colors. However, I only had five invitations to color, so it seemed financially poor judgement to get them professionally done when I had card stock, markers, scissors, and 5″x7″ envelopes sitting around.
I did find the design of the invitation in a google image search, and tracked it back to an Etsy shop located here. It is called “Hanging Jars Gender Reveal Invitation.” I freehanded the black and white sketch on my laptop using Microsoft Paint.
Sign/Easel from Baby crib ends
Project technique from Larissa: http://www.prodigalpieces.com/2013/06/repurpose-an-old-baby-crib
I picked the crib ends and rails up at a yard sale about a year ago. The seller told me they had been in a barn for awhile, probably about ten years. I stuck them in my garage and waited for time to do the projects I wanted. I already had a drying rack from the rails of another crib my Mom made for me three years ago (we use it to dry cloth diapers), and I intended to make another drying rack.
Once I knew we were doing a yard sale, I bought white spray paint with primer and two hinges at our favorite home improvement store, but I ran out of time to do the extra work as we got closer to the sale day. Turns out, these dusty things are actually quite pretty in their naturally stained splendor. I used Murphy’s Oil Soap to clean them up, and they are really in good condition. I used two bungee cords from the dollar store (pack of four) to secure the tops of the drop-down rods to each other. It wouldn’t really be safe to put out unsupervised in this state–they are just propped against each other. So, I took it to my porch each night and set it out when the dew burned off each morning.
The pink is just posterboard from the dollar store. I used black acryllic to paint the words because I didn’t have enough Sharpies to do the lettering as thick as I wanted.
Name: Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Bisque
Package Description: “Fire Roasted Perfection: Simple, savory, and comforting…”
Brand: Pacific Natural Foods
Price point: $2.99 regular price, $2.54 on clearance.
Why I picked it up: Looking for something new to try.
Summary of Preparation: Open box, heat on stove, serve.
Initial impression: Kinda sour.
Lasting impression: The texture is nice. And once you get used to it, the flavor is pleasant. Meh, it’s soup in a box that happens to be gluten-free.
Recommended Accompaniments: I ate it with a cheese quesadilla.
Kid friendly: No idea, they don’t like tomato soup, so I didn’t offer it.
Repurchase point: Yes, because it’s heartier than Campbell’s regular Tomato soup and has a mild taste. Perfect with a cheese sandwich or something similar.
Name: Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
Package Description: Sweet, moist and delicious; Melts in your mouth
Brand: Live G Free
Price point: $1.89-ish
Why I picked it up: Haven’t had cornbread in awhile. I don’t particularly like cornmeal-only cornbread, I prefer to use flour. So, I thought we could try it.
Summary of Preparation: You mix the ingredients into a batter, but let it sit for a few minutes before you pour it in the pan and bake it. And yes, we greased the pan (butter…. mmmmm), but I guess it needed more.
Initial impression: Cupcake.
Lasting impression: It’s sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. So, if you enjoy Yankee cornbread… you will like it. The texture is fluffy like a yellow cake.
Recommended Accompaniments: I initially served this with black bean soup, but I served the leftover portions with sugared strawberries for a quick shortcake dessert.
Kid friendly: They gobbled it up, of course. It was mostly sugar!
Repurchase point: If I want to have strawberry shortcake, sure. But as a savory bread item, can’t do it.
Name: Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets
Package Description: Breaded Nugget Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat
Brand: Live G Free
Price point: $4.99
Why I picked it up: It was the first time I saw GF chicken nuggets on the shelf for less than $6.00 a package.
Summary of Preparation: Cook in microwave for 50-60 seconds, more time as needed.
Initial impression: They are tiny.
Lasting impression: They are tiny. Seriously, a little bigger than a quarter, about a half-inch thick. Calling it a “patty” is being very generous. Maybe they are cut from chicken patties, but these are like chicken “bites.” The breading is decently seasoned (they claim paprika and tumeric specifically), and the chicken inside tastes like minced chicken from your typical fast food place.
Recommended Accompaniments: I eat mine with Chick-fil-a Honey Roasted BBQ sauce or Marie’s Blue Cheese salad dressing. It works as a small snack or you can prepare ten of them as a main dish with a salad/veggie/fruit combo.
Kid friendly: Not mine, but maybe yours? The kids like their regular Chicken McNuggets or CFA grilled nuggets but refuse to eat these Aldi ones in any quantity. If I slice it in half, they will try a bite, but I think that’s more of a courtesy than because they want any…
Repurchase point: Yes. I’ve bought three bags in the last month, but remember I’m also pregnant and need the protein.
Name: Macaroni and Cheese
Package Description: Gluten free corn pasta in a creamy cheddar cheese sauce microwave meal.
Brand: Live G Free
Price point: $0.99
Why I picked it up: Had to see if this freezer meal lived up to its’ cousin in the stovetop preparation method.
Summary of Preparation: Microwave the tray for 3:30, stir, sit for 2 minutes.
Initial impression: Seasoned well, but chalky texture in the sauce.
Lasting impression: Let’s talk prep first. I’ve not seen such a quickly microwaved entree since I had Michelina’s brands of similar foods. I think that the timing method is fine and gets the job done. My husband said the pasta was a little chewy, but I think he was expecting rice pasta instead of corn (corn is denser of the two in my experience). And I was very pleased to see that there was real shredded cheddar on the top of the meal, right out of the box.
The seasoning for the entree is very good. Not too much salt, and it is creamy to a certain degree. There is an underlying texture problem with the cheese sauce. It seemed a little chalky throughout the meal. I’m not sure if it is the cheese sauce alone, or the combination of the sauce and the shredded cheese that just doesn’t work for me.
Recommended Accompaniments: I ate this as a side with chili and tortilla chips.
Kid friendly: Nope. Both my 3.5 year old and my 2 year old turned their nose up at it on first glance and refused to even taste it. Which is weird–they LOVE mac and cheese.
Repurchase point: Nope. Texture is not what I was hoping for.
In this blog review, I learned how to properly spell “mozzarella,” hooray for learning new things!
Name: Mozzarella Sticks
Package Description: Gluten Free, all natural, breaded strips of creamy mozzarella.
Brand: Health is Wealth
Grocer: Food City
Price point: $6.23, but $4.40 on close-out special.
Why I picked it up: It was finally marked down, I figured I could take a chance. Especially since it was being removed from inventory–I might not get another chance.
Summary of Preparation: Bake in oven for 8 minutes, turning once.
Initial impression: Wow, that has some taste! I’m impressed!
Lasting impression: Wow, these are very tasty! I haven’t had a mozzarella stick in about 4 months now, and I am so very glad I picked them up! The breading gets crunchy if you let it cool a little bit. I tried mine while it was still hot, and the breading was a little mushy for my first stick. The mozzarella is very tasty. And there is a short lingering aftertaste of oregano that is quite pleasant. I was very pleased with the quality of the product.
Let’s talk about serving size first. Yes, they are shorter than your typical mozzarella stick. They are also a little wider, so it evens out if you are comparing them to others. There were 15 in the box, though I was expecting only 12 due to the Nutritional Facts label. That is a good thing–more servings for later! Yay for extra food.
A point of contention: there is a photo of marinara dipping sauce on the front of the package, but it is NOT included in the box. Supply your own marinara if you desire it, but the sticks are so tasty, you might not want any.
Recommended Accompaniments: This is an appetizer, so stick them in while you are making the other aspects of your meal and you can nosh on them while making the main course. Yum!
Kid friendly: No idea. I didn’t want to share!
Repurchase point: Yes, if you can get them on sale. $6.50 for a package of 15 sticks works out to a per unit price of $0.44 each, which really hurts. It’s cheaper than a restaurant’s wheat-battered editions, yes, but still makes me cringe to spend that much on a frivolity.