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C RSS Feed (Guilford, CT USA)
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T-fal PF311 ActiBread 15 Programs Gluten Free Bread Machine Stainless Steel Housing Nonstick Coating Automatic Bread Maker with LCD Display, 700-watt, Silver
T-fal PF311 ActiBread 15 Programs Gluten Free Bread Machine Stainless Steel Housing Nonstick Coating Automatic Bread Maker with LCD Display, 700-watt, Silver
Offered by Home & Cook USA
Price: $149.90
2 used & new from $149.52

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing specifically gluten-free about this machine, September 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My experience with bread machines is quite limited. So far, I have only used my MIL's machine (Sunbeam) to make a specific bread mix on a specific setting 4-5x a year for family gatherings. She likes to serve a particular type of bread for breakfast Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving mornings.

I have however tasted bread from many bread machines belonging to other members of my extended family as well and am very eager to have my own. After my best friend was diagnosed with Celiac disease a few years ago, I have been very interested in Gluten-free cooking and baking so this particular machine having a Gluten-free setting was a major selling point for me.

Sadly, the gluten-free setting seems to be just a sales gimmick. It does not seem to do anything special that is different from other regular settings. The recipes and instructions for Gluten-free baking just simply tell you to use any store-bought gluten-free mix of your choice. My current favourite gluten-free bread mixes (Pamela's and Jules) say to specifically not use a gluten-free setting if your machine has one, but rather use a regular setting.

As this machine is twice the price of a same machine without the Gluten-free settings by the same manufacturer, I would recommend getting the less expensive regular bread machine.

As for the bread itself, it always tastes better than store bought sandwich bread. However, it seems that a bread machine cannot make artisanal crusty loaves although it can be used as a kneeding machine for those types of loaves.

I will report back as I experiment more with this machine. So far, I have made 2 gluten-free loaves from bread mixes (one Pamela's and one Jules) and both have come out as expected when I followed the package directions on a regular setting. I will try some other settings for regular bread as well and report back.


Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse
Microsoft Arc Touch Bluetooth Mouse
Price: $69.95
2 used & new from $69.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Plug and play., September 20, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Plug and play.

I really like the simple modern lines of this mouse. It is ergonomic without looking bulky. It easily connected to my netbook and my husband's laptop. Best of all it folds down easily for storage.


Benson Mills Climbing Vine Heavy Weight Spillproof Tablecloth, Ivory, 60-inch-by-104 inch
Benson Mills Climbing Vine Heavy Weight Spillproof Tablecloth, Ivory, 60-inch-by-104 inch
Price: $19.99
2 used & new from $19.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Basic polyester tablecloth in common shapes and sizes including oval., September 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a very attractive and practical table cloth.

Pros:
+ Decently tight weave helps prevent spill bleed through.
+ Herringbone weave is subtly elegant
+ Heavy weight table cloth looks more expensive than it is.
+ Inexpensive and decent value.
+ Available in a variety of colours.
+ Available in a variety of common sizes and shapes.
+ Sized to fit common shapes and sizes with the recommended 7-8" drop on all sides
+ Easy to wash, machine friendly and seems to not hold the stains (yet).

Cons:
- Polyester can melt and stick to the table finish underneath if exposed to heat from chaffing dishes and skillets.
- Needs to be smoothed out immediately after washing or it will keep its wrinkles.

I've used this tablecloth a few times during a luncheon get together and also for a dinner party. Tomato-based pasta sauce, red wine and white wine stains washed off cleanly with the help of a stain remover. I just tossed the tablecloth into the machine on cold and it came out clean.

Recommended as an everyday basic tablecloth, but care must be taken near hot objects so the polyester does not melt and ruin the finish of your table.


OXO Good Grips Mini Santoku Knife
OXO Good Grips Mini Santoku Knife
Price: $8.20
14 used & new from $6.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Good value, comfortable non-slip grip, September 17, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Exceptional value for a mini santoku.

Pros;
+ Inexpensive
+ Metal blade is ticker than regular low-end knives
+ Ergonomic grip
+ Comfortable soft rubber-coated grip helps relieve pressure and sore spots when cutting hard food such as turnips and carrots.
+ Rubber-coated handle helps prevent slipping when prepping wet messy food.

Cons:
- While the handle seems to be firmly attached to the blade, it is not clear whether it has a full-tang. I would caution against using it in a wedging bending motion when cutting.
- Thinner metal blade than cold-forged full-tang high-end knives but thick enough for its intended purpose.

I like this length of Santoku knife to cut small fruits and vegetables. I find that this is perfect for cutting cucumbers julienne for sushi and salads. This knife will go into my regular rotation and I report back regarding its longevity for the edge and the knife itself.


Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear, Maximum Absorbency, Small/Medium, 57 Count
Always Discreet Incontinence Underwear, Maximum Absorbency, Small/Medium, 57 Count
Price: $48.73
2 used & new from $48.73

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for drysuit diving: fast absorption, keeps moisture contained to middle areas., September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I scuba dive in colder waters and wear a drysuit. Often these dives are longer and more technical in nature and require some sort of assistive urinary device such as a catheter or a she-pee to be connected from the diver to the valve in the suit. If for some reason the catheter or she-pee device can't be attached, then the only option is incontinence underwear. This review will mainly be on the use of this product for dry-suit scuba diving.

First Impressions:

+ Soft sides so that it sits smoothly on the hips.
+ Padded absorbent area is mostly on the front and back all the way up to the waist. No extraneous bulk so the dry-suit underwear still fits. No urine seepage to the waist area.
+ Cotton-like exterior fabric does not stick to my drysuit underwear. It is also not as noisy so one does not sound like a crinkly diaper-clad baby.
+ Extra anti-leak guard along the padded absorbent area is supposed to help with leaks from moving to the hip area. It seems to work so far. I have been horizontal and even upside down and it has kept moisture contained to the middle-front and middle-back areas.
+ Quick absorption. I don't feel too much urine seeping along my bum line or too high up the front before it gets absorbed by the diaper. Of course I do try to stay upright when going, but sometimes in a demanding environment, my safety depends on my position in the water and the last thing I want to worry about is my diaper leaking.
+ So far, even with heavy finning there does not seem to be leaks in the hollow along the inner crotch to thigh area. If there is a leak, this is the most likely place.
+ Overlapping size chart: there is an overlap so sizes S/M, L and XL by a few inches. I feel that this makes the fit better and therefore allows the product to perform as it should. It is important to allow some extra room for the absorbent material to expand when wet. If the fit is too tight, there is no room for absorption and leaks happen. If the fit is too big, then the leaks happen along the hollow area where the crotch area joins the leg. I can also see that if the fit is too loose, there may be a chance for a gap between the leak-guard and the skin.

Overall I like this better than Depends which is too bulky and allows moisture to gradually spread to the hip area. The less I smell of urine the better. I usually go to the head in the boat right before I suit up and limit my beverage intake until after the dive so I cannot comment if this will take a full bladder's capacity of urine. My (and other female divers) go-to brand was Tena. I'll continue using this into the cooler season and will report back to how it performs on other dives. So far I'm happy with it.


Discreet, Incontinence Pads, Ultimate, Long Length, 28 Count
Discreet, Incontinence Pads, Ultimate, Long Length, 28 Count
Price: $16.31

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast absorption and very similar to a large pad,, September 15, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
My mother recently had hip surgery and had temporarily moved in with me while she heals. One of the side effects of this surgery is minor incontinence during the extended healing process. She is quite embarrassed and distressed because as soon as she feels the vaguest need to go she has to rush to the bathroom. If there is any line up or she has too many layers on, often she just misses the toilet or barely makes it.

She is currently using Always Infinity (made for quick heavy periods) and it seems to work well enough for her. Poise was too thick and bulky and she does not have complete uncontrollable bladder elimination issues.

Always Discreet promises to have the capacity of Poise yet be smaller and thinner like a regular pad which my mom really appreciates. It is much more comfortable than Poise and my mom equates it wearing a thicker regular pad not an ultra-thin pad. It fits well under clothing and is not visible under regular fitted clothing despite its longer length. However it can be visible, just like a pad would be, under yoga pants and other ultra fitted clothing.

This incontinence pad is small enough to fit in her regular handbags and takes the same amount of space as a thicker pad. It is also not as embarrassing if for her if a friend or relative needs something from her handbag since this just looks like a pad. She likes this enough that she asked me to go online and look into the pantiliner version of this for when she gets better. It is also not quite as embarrassing for her or my husband when he swings by the drugstore on his way home from work.

Overall, my mom is very happy with this and would recommend it to others with minor urinary incontinence issues.


OXO 11108600 8-Cup Good Grips French Press Coffee Maker, Silver/Black
OXO 11108600 8-Cup Good Grips French Press Coffee Maker, Silver/Black
Price: $39.99
4 used & new from $24.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Plastic plunger with limited lifespan., September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What a disappointment for such a promising product.

Pros:
+ Stylish design
+ Features a grounds lifter that is supposed to lift the grounds out of the bottom of the carafe for easier cleanup with less water which would be perfect for boat or RV use. The carafe needs to be washed anyways but this promises less water usage and a less messy cleanup of the grinds.
+ Stainless sleeve/housing is supposed to help with heat retention.
+ Lid of the plunger has a slotted area that is lined up with the pour spout that is supposed to help with keeping errant grounds out of your cup.
+ Borosilicate glass carafe
+ Features OXO's signature black silicone/rubber coated handles for comfort and grip.
+ Plunging mechanism can be disassembled for cleaning.
+ Product is packaged very very well to prevent breakage during transit. The French press is put in a plastic bag to prevent dust and dirt from sticking to the rubber-coated handles. It is then placed in a formed paper tray with a formed paper cap to keep it secure in its product box.
+ Instruction booklet on how to make French Press style coffee is included in the box.
+ Additional instruction with pictures is printed on one side of the product box so the consumer knows how much effort making coffee this style entails.
+ Replacement carafes are available.

Cons:
- The plunger's support for the mesh is thin plastic. My experience with French presses that have plastic supports is that 1) it warps after a while from the heat of the hot water and fails to keep the mesh close to the sides of the glass carafe and grounds seep through 2) the metal stick that attaches the knob to the mesh and its support will eventually cause a stress fracture and break off at the attachment point or just simply poke a hole through the plastic. How long the plastic lasts depends on how often it is used and of course the quality of the plastic to begin with. Either way, it will not last anywhere as long as a metal mesh support such as those on a Bodum.
- The addition of a silicone ring on the plunger part (which in theory is supposed to keep grounds from seeping up into the coffee, only serves to put added stress on the plastic parts to an even shorter lifespan.

Notes:
* The 8-cup claim is based on 4oz European cups and saucers. So the capacity is actually 3 American (8oz) cups/small mugs
* Extra care must be taken when placing the glass carafe into the stainless sleeve. Breakage can occur from thermal shock if the temperature of the glass carafe is too different from the stainless sleeve. Be especially careful to make sure the stainless sleeve is warm before pouring the hot water into the carafe when making the coffee and also when replacing the glass carafe into the stainless sleeve after washing.

This OXO French Press would be perfect if the plunger is made of metal and there is an additional stability nut where the rod screws into the plunger part.

I have several French Press coffee makers that range from low end dollar store knock offs that contain plastic parts, to the classic Bodums in the Brazil and Chambord styles to brands such as Bonjour, Alessi, Frieling and private labels such as Marks and Spencer. I will continue to use this OXO French Press in my regular rotation and will report back to how it performs in time.


FoodSaver FSFRSH0051 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum Sealing System, White
FoodSaver FSFRSH0051 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum Sealing System, White
Price: $17.50
23 used & new from $15.75

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for mason jar storage., September 12, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought this handheld unit mainly to vacuum-seal mason jars for short-term fridge storage of salads, chacuterie, cheese and for longer term storage of dry goods, teas and spices. I didn't want to buy a full-sized unit not only because of the cost but also because my kitchen in tiny. My aunt who has a full-sized unit (and a larger kitchen) loves how convenient this handheld unit is and it seems to perform as well as her full-sized unit and with less hassle too. She likes it so much that she has just bought a handheld unit in addition to her full-sized unit.

To vacuum seal a mason jar, you also need the mason jar adapter accessory that is sold separately. There's the wide-mouth version and the regular mouth version. For this handheld unit, there is no need for the tube attachment that comes with a full-sized unit. The grey rubber end can be pushed up against the top of the mouth adapters. The mason jar does however have to be free of defects, chips and food particles along the edge to create a good seal.

Both the wide-mouth and regular-mouth attachments work with Ball jars and Kerr jars. I am not sure if they work with Bernardin jars.


Nutiva O'Coconut Lightly Sweetened Coconut Treat, Hemp & Chia, 24 Count
Nutiva O'Coconut Lightly Sweetened Coconut Treat, Hemp & Chia, 24 Count
Price: $19.87
2 used & new from $19.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious lightly sweetened moist coconut bite, September 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Yum.

These bite-sized pieces of coconut resemble a denser version of a moist, soft and chewy interior of a coconut macaroon. It is roughly puck-shaped or more like a small coconut ball flattened down slightly.

Pros:
+ Lightly sweetened. I personally detest overly sugary coconut.
+ Moist snack is easy to eat on the go, does not dry your mouth out and does not need a beverage to wash it down.
+ Individually packed bite-size pieces make it easy to take it with you.
+ Bite-sized and easy to eat with one hand and not make a mess.
+ Vegan
+ Gluten-free
+ Non-GMO
+ Fair-trade certified coconut
+ Kosher
+ Made in USA
+ Each individual packet has the expiry date printed clearly on the back.

Cons:
- While individual packaging ensure freshness and are convenient, it is not very environmentally friendly.
- Pricey. Each packet/piece is just under a dollar.

Overall, I'm very happy to have found a lightly sweetened coconut snack that is easily portable and not messy to eat. I will be buying some to keep in my travel bag.


Instinct Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb Meal and Peas Dry Dog Food 4.4 lb Bag
Instinct Grain-Free Limited Ingredient Diet Lamb Meal and Peas Dry Dog Food 4.4 lb Bag
Price: $19.55

4.0 out of 5 stars Reputable Limited Ingredient Kibble for dogs with sensitivities., September 10, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is a highly reputable brand of dog food and this particular line Limited Ingredient Diet is considered to be one of the better above-average diets available on the market.

This line of kibble was designed for the dog with sensitive stomachs and allergies to different proteins. Hence there is only a single protein (in this case, lamb) and no grain. The grain has been replaced with peas in this formula. The only controversial ingredient in this product is canola oil because there is a likelihood that it is GMO or GMO contaminated. One main thing to note is that this kibble does not have probiotics added to it.

I just added another foster dog to my pack and it has some health issues that we think are diet related. Both the rescue that I am fostering this dog from and the vets that have seen it are recommending that it be put on a limited ingredient diet to try and clear up its skin, coat and weight issues. Nature's Variety Limited Ingredient Diet Kibble is on my (and the several rescues I volunteer at) short-list of Limited Ingredient kibbles we prefer to give the dogs. We usually start with lamb as the protein source as many dogs who have diet problems are sensitive to beef and chicken. Most of the time lamb works well.

This particular foster seems to be doing well on this kibble so far. There were a few stomach upsets as expected with any change of food (and new environment) so I added Forti Flora probiotics to this kibble (as it does not have any per the ingredient list) to help with digestion and also to make it more palatable. Limited Ingredient kibbles are usually not too attractive to dogs that are used to junk food such as your regular purina kibble or beneful.

This particular rescue pup likes to eat and seems to be enjoying this kibble (with FortiFlora added). I'll report back every week or so for the next month as to how this kibble is working for this dog.


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