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(VINE VOICE)    (COMMUNITY FORUM 04)    (#1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 10 REVIEWER)   

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Jstyle Jewelry Stainless Steel Best Friend Puzzle Pendant,Music Note Engraved,with Chain
Jstyle Jewelry Stainless Steel Best Friend Puzzle Pendant,Music Note Engraved,with Chain
Offered by Jstyle Jewelry
Price: $19.96

5.0 out of 5 stars Great necklace for a couple who love music, January 24, 2015
Guys, listen up. It's a few weeks away from Valentine's Day as I write this, and I'm sure there is a birthday, holiday or occasion coming up for you and your girlfriend. Or maybe you scored tickets to your favorite band and you're taking your lady for a memorable night. Or going to a music festival. This little necklace is a sweet gift and would make a nice token of the occasion. It's a two part pendant: one part is a sort of crescent moon shape with an engraved music note. The other part of the "puzzle" is a G clef that fits into the first pendant. Separate them, and you have a "Friendship Necklace." The set comes with one pendant that becomes two, and two chains. It's not expensive jewelry but it's a very nice-looking set. Accompany this by a dozen or two of roses and you are a hero. The one I received is silver only (no blue color) in exchange for evaluation and review.


Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Synergy Ultra Premium Formula Dry Dog Food, 4.5-Pound Bag
Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Synergy Ultra Premium Formula Dry Dog Food, 4.5-Pound Bag

5.0 out of 5 stars Dogs liked it, January 24, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My dogs are not terribly fussy (one is the opposite of fussy, will eat ANYTHING. The list of what she's eaten is insane.) But both dogs liked this, and I liked the ingredients, Salmon, chicken, plenty of Omega-3 because the dogs have sensitive skin and need the natural fatty acids. The raw materials seem to be sourced from the US, and there were no tummy upsets.


NINABOX® Valentine's Gifts Heart Ocean Blue SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Crystal Pendant Necklace Fashion Jewelry
NINABOX® Valentine's Gifts Heart Ocean Blue SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Crystal Pendant Necklace Fashion Jewelry

5.0 out of 5 stars Sapphire-colored wrapped crystal heart, January 23, 2015
This is a large, sapphire blue Swarovski crystal heart wrapped with a metal strand of small pave crystals. The heart at its widest is 1 1/2 inches. The bail is formed from one part of the wraparound crystal band. The chain is about 18" and it is adjustable in length. There is a metal piece on the back of the heart (part of the wraparound) that provides extra reflection behind the crystal heart. It's pretty for a piece of costume jewelry and would be great for younger women, teens, tweens. You could string this on a blue velvet ribbon or satin ribbon for variety.

The blue is a slightly cool blue and darker than in this photo. I wear it with a black sweater and teal sweater jacket, and it goes perfectly. Very pretty. Item supplied in exchange for evaluation and review.


NINABOX® Valentine's Gifts SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Crystal 'LUCKY CAT' Chat Ruby Smile Kitten Women Necklace Fashion Jewelry
NINABOX® Valentine's Gifts SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS Crystal 'LUCKY CAT' Chat Ruby Smile Kitten Women Necklace Fashion Jewelry

5.0 out of 5 stars Very suitable for young girls, tweens, teens, January 23, 2015
This is a cute cat with a pink Swarovski crystal in the center. It comes with a chain and in a nice presentation box. It is about 1 1/2 inches from top of the bail to the bottom of the tail of the cat, and the head is about 1/2 inch wide. It gives the impression of a smiling white cat holding a pink ball. If you have a young friend (daughter, granddaughter, friend of your child who is having a birthday) this is really cute. It seems to be well made and it's very sparkly. Item received in exchange for evaluation and review.


Viva Labs Organic Chia Seeds: Raw and Non-GMO, 1lb bag
Viva Labs Organic Chia Seeds: Raw and Non-GMO, 1lb bag
Offered by Premium Vitamins
Price: $19.99
3 used & new from $10.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Chia pets...they are delicious, January 23, 2015
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these for a recipe for "overnight oatmeal" which is oats, Greek yogurt, fruit and chia seeds made up in Mason jars. You let them soak overnight, and you get breakfast "on the go" for the rest of the week. I used chia seeds, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, a touch of maple syrup, frozen raspberries and old fashioned oats. It made a really nice cold oat-based breakfast, and the chia seeds swell up and get a bit gelatinous, like flaxseeds. And like flaxseeds, the chia seeds have Omega-3 fatty acids, good for health.

These are great just sprinkled on oatmeal or cereal or yogurt without soaking, but they are really good in the overnight oats.


Barilla Veggie Pasta, Penne, 12 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Barilla Veggie Pasta, Penne, 12 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Price: $15.07

5.0 out of 5 stars Penne for your thoughts, January 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you are struggling to sneak vegetables into your family dinners, these are a good option. They are slightly pinkish in color, but under tomato sauce or cream sauce, they look great and they taste fine. They look especially nice under blush sauce. Normally, I'd suggest you stuff your veggies into your homemade sauce, but hey, sometimes we JUST open a bottle of sauce and boil up the penne, because we want a fast dinner. Or we have discerning family who can TELL we snuck the leftover broccoli into the sauce and they aren't fooled for one minute. (A cartoon in the New Yorker some years ago showed a child at the table, making a terrible face at his plate. "Broccoli, schmoccoli. I say it's spinach and I say it's rubbish!" was the caption.)

These add carrots and tomatoes to the pasta. All the veg you need? No, you get a yellow veg (the carrots) and lycopene from the tomato but you still want some greens. Well, there's always arugula and spinach salad.


Barilla Plus Farfalle Pasta, 14.5 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Barilla Plus Farfalle Pasta, 14.5 Ounce (Pack of 8)
Price: $19.27

5.0 out of 5 stars More protein and fiber, still tastes like "real" pasta, January 23, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 0:15 Mins

These farfalle (butterfly or as we call them, bowtie) pasta are made with lentils, chickpeas, barley, oats, spelt and egg whites in addition to wheat. This makes them higher in fiber and protein, but they still have a decent consistency and flavor UNLIKE WHOLE WHEAT pasta, which I consider a crime against pasta. I have NEVER liked whole wheat pasta. It's bitter, it has an odd texture and if I want more fiber, I add more vegetables to my sauce. However, plain wheat pasta is just basically carbs. Here, the legumes add complete protein (because the lysine-poor wheat is boosted by the amino acids in the legumes to make a complete protein. Lysine is one of the essential amino acids, but it's low in wheat.)

So these farfalle taste great and are more nutritious than plain semolina flour noodles. If you feel you'd like a more nutritious option to pasta, I think Barilla Plus is excellent and the taste does not suffer. They are actually far more nutritious than (gag) whole wheat pasta, so you can hold your head up and serve these, feeling you are being nutritionally responsible (unless you are gluten-free, in which case, why are you reading this?)

You can use these for Kasha Varnishkes. This is a traditional Jewish recipe, with bowties, kasha (buckwheat groats) and mushrooms. In our family, we did not use the pasta version but most people do use the bowties. You can look up this recipe anywhere. I don't make it anymore, being allergic to buckwheat (go figure.) But it's very rich and tasty, and it goes well with roasts or makes a good dish on its own. If you are adding new grains to your diet, Kasha can be quite interesting. It has an unusual, musky-fruity flavor (as it's not really a grain) but many people like it. If you don't, you can try substituting red quinoa for kasha, which I do, because I can't eat buckwheat.

My recipe for these farfalle is Farfalle with Brussels Sprouts. Don't knock it till you try it. I used to hate sprouts. Now, I have them frequently. They are high in fiber and they have those healthy sulforophanes, which are antioxidants.

Farfalle and Sprouts (or Pasta Giovanna, since that's my name in Italian.)

4 oz Barilla Plus Farfalle
Approx. a dozen sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 cup slice mushrooms (I used white, but Crimini or baby bella are nice)
1 - 2 strips bacon, diced (or use Tofurky tempeh bacon if vegan)
a dash of olive oil

Method

Boil Farfalle according to recipe. Rinse and set aside. It's even better to have the farfalle cooking and draining just when you are finished the sprouts, which take about 20 min.

Steam sprouts in a steamer, while you saute the bacon. When bacon crisps, add in the mushrooms and a dash of oil if it's dry, in a non stick pan. Saute mushrooms until they are soft.

If you are using Light Life Foods Organic Fakin Bacon Smoky Tempeh or Tofurky Tempeh bacon strips, probably it's better to crisp the tempeh strip, dice it and set it aside -- add at the end (it's softer than bacon.)

When sprouts are steamed (about 15 min) add them to the pan and lightly color up the cut sides by tossing them in the pan, with the bacon and mushrooms.

Toss with the warm pasta (and tempeh, if you did the vegan version) and serve immediately.

Serves about 3-4
Video shows 2 oz of Barilla Plus Farfalle with 5 sprouts.

Yes, a shake of Parmesan cheese is really good on this. I love this--and it's a very good vegetarian or almost-vegetarian main course or "primo" course. It may change your opinion of Brussels sprouts.

Ok, ok, I will share the recipe for Kasha Varnishkes

2 large onions, sliced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons oil
1 large egg slightly beaten
1 cup medium or coarse kasha groats (Wolff's, for example)
2 cups vegtable or chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 Box Barilla Plus

Preparation

1. Sauté the onions in oil in a heavy frying pan with a cover until golden. Add mushrooms and wilt them. (I use a nonstick oval high sided skillet with cover) Remove onions and mushrooms to a plate.

2. Beat the egg in a small mixing bowl and stir in the kasha. Mix, making sure all the grains are coated. Put the kasha in the pan. Flatten, stir, and break up the egg-coated kasha with a wooden spatula on high heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until the egg has dried on the kasha and the kernels haved toasted and are separate. (If you don't do this, the kasha is like oatmeal. It's a necessary step to cook buckwheat groats. If not using buckwheat, skip the egg, this step and cook up red quinoa, drain and toss, and then add to the saute.)

3. Add the water or bouillon to the frying pan and bring to a boil. Add the onions, cover tightly, and cook over low heat, steaming the kasha for 10 minutes. Remove the cover, stir, and quickly check to see if the broth is absorbed and kasha is tender. If not, cover and continue steaming for 3 to 5 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the Farfelle according to the directions on the package. Drain.

5. When the kasha is ready, combine with the Farfelle. Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with parsley, if you like. If desired, add a bit of butter (this is not Kosher) or some olive oil.

Summary: This pasta is full of protein, fiber and tastes fantastic. It cooks up al dente quite well and the flavor is as good if not better than semolina-only pasta. It makes vegetarian pasta dishes (or almost-vegetarian) dishes especiallly well yet you get a good serving of protein due to the legume ingredients in the pasta. Tastes great and yes, filling.


A Reunion of Ghosts: A Novel
A Reunion of Ghosts: A Novel
by Judith Claire Mitchell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Suicide is painless--it brings on many changes?, January 22, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Three New York sisters, Lady, Vee and Delph come from a long line of genteel suicides that read like a coroner's textbook: jumping from a window, drowning, cyanide poisoning, gunshot, and so on. Is suicide in the genes? Because the book opens with the sisters planning a suicide pact. But we get to see into their family history first and that's the novel.

Some psychologists claim that behaviors crawl up and down the family tree--alcoholism, teen pregnancy, divorce and yes, suicide. Here, the author wants us to believe that it may be more than family history--perhaps it's in the DNA? Either way, the story has a shocking start and that's always a good way to grab my attention and keep it. However, the writing has to sustain my interest, and the author is able to create memorable characters and above all, tell a story. This probably will end up being a film, and I only wish Ingmar Bergman were still alive, because that's who would have been the perfect director for this novel. Recommended, if you like darkly funny family tales.


DII Oceanique Shower Curtain 100% Polyester, Machine Washable, for Everyday Use, Kids, Teens, Extra Bathroom, Main Bathroom 72 x 72", Textured Solid, Cool Brown
DII Oceanique Shower Curtain 100% Polyester, Machine Washable, for Everyday Use, Kids, Teens, Extra Bathroom, Main Bathroom 72 x 72", Textured Solid, Cool Brown
Price: $19.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plain brown wrapper, January 21, 2015
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a perfect shower curtain for guys who fear patterns, don't like colors, worry that pale blue is not masculine enough and prefer all things home decor to be plain, brown and nondescript. Seriously, you guys are out there --you know who you are. When your gal asks you "what color do you want the living room to be" you answer, uh, beige and uh, brown? And when she met you, your apartment was decorated entirely in brown-- or as a friend of mine explained "Guys are bears, who like to live in caves but with furniture."

It does have a bit of textured line pattern in it, but that's subtle and you won't need to worry about it being loud, patterned and clashing with any of your wall art or window curtains.

If that's you and you love the look of tree bark, dried leaves or brown paper packages tied up in string, this shower curtain is for you. Just be sure to put a liner behind it to protect the curtain from excess moisture leading to mildew. Good news, they usually come in plain white. One downside; if you already decorated your entire place in brown, you run the risk of being matchy-matchy. But you probably don't care, or even know what I mean.

Seriously, I hung this curtain in my guest bath, which is painted buff color, with white tile, and it's really nice looking. The bamboo stalk pattern is shiny, satin texture on matte , slightly wrinkled fabric in a mid warm brown. The bamboo design is more like bark and abstract. The reinforced eyelets are easy to use with my ring hooks. It's plain but elegant and simple.


NomNom Delights Gourmet Caramel Candy 24 Piece Box Individually Wrapped & Handmade with Real Butter & Gluten Free (Fleur De Sel Sea Salt)
NomNom Delights Gourmet Caramel Candy 24 Piece Box Individually Wrapped & Handmade with Real Butter & Gluten Free (Fleur De Sel Sea Salt)
Offered by ShopTivia!
Price: $19.97

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good...please, someone lock them away, January 20, 2015
These caramels are large (size of your thumb, more or less) and made with good ingredients. You can taste the condensed milk, giving them that dulce de leche flavor. You can taste the butter. I got the Fleur de Sel because who doesn't adore salted caramel? The salt is there in just enough to give the occasional crunch. They do have corn syrup, which is a common ingredient in candy, providing a chewy texture and preventing crystallization and hardening. It's been used for decades. (Remember Karo Syrup when you made toffee or caramel at home? That's corn syrup.) If you have a thing about corn syrup being "bad", stay away (more for us.)

Yes, you can cut one of them up to make three bite-sized morsels. That might make them last a bit longer. Unfortunately they are so delectable and "more-ish", you may not be satisfied with one piece. As a gift, they make a very nice presentation, boxed up and nicely packaged. If you know someone who loves salted caramels, you might work yourself into their good graces with these. Item supplied in exchange for evaluation and review.


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