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Shan Butter Chicken Mix 1.75 Oz
Shan Butter Chicken Mix 1.75 Oz
Offered by Bhanu Indian Grocery
Price: $4.80
8 used & new from $1.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a novice like me!, July 14, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I love Indian cuisine but have little experience cooking it. The Shan Butter Chicken Mix makes it so simple for me to prepare at home one of dishes I most often order when eating out.

The mix itself is medium spicy - not too hot, not too mild. I substitute canned tomato puree if I don't have time to prepare fresh (not as good as fresh, but it'll do in a pinch!). I've also started using less than the called for amount of butter to make the dish a little less rich. And that's what's so great about this mix; you get the spices needed to prepare Butter Chicken but have the flexibility to tailor preparation according to taste.

Not sure what an experienced Indian chef would say about a boxed spice mix, but for me it's so convenient and delicious.

by Susanna Kearsley
Edition: Paperback
90 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious, but falls short of the mark, February 21, 2013
This review is from: Mariana (Paperback)
Susan Kearsley's strength is her ability to weave rich scenic and atmospheric detail which invokes an almost hypnotic mood. Her prose is beautiful, almost poetic. But to me, the characters in "Mariana" lack enough depth to be interesting and the storyline never really comes together.

Yes, most of the characters are sweet and likeable, and the banter between them is sometimes quite clever. But you really don't get to know any of them well enough to become attached or particularly vested in what happens to them. At some points it feels as if the characters are incidental to the scenic detail the author so painstakingly describes. Seriously, by the end of the book we know more about the gardens and dovecote behind Julia's house than we do about Iain, Geoff or anyone else for that matter.

As far as the storyline goes, the overriding theme is "The soul sees what truly matters." But it's almost as if Julia's soul was forever blind and needed to be clubbed with the truth in the last 5 paragraphs of the book. To me, the plot twists seemed contrived and the storyline never really came together in a satisfying or coherent way.

So if you've never read Susan Kearsley, I'd recommend starting with one of her later books. Her writing style is truly beautiful, but "Mariana" is not one her stronger works.

The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes
The Gourmet Cookbook: More than 1000 recipes
by Ruth Reichl
Edition: Hardcover
53 used & new from $9.97

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clearing up the "Yellow Type-Face" controversy, December 15, 2010
As I read the reviews of the The Gourmet Cookbook, I was so confused by the back and forth commentary about the yellow text that I went to the library to see what the controversy was about before purchasing the book. I wanted to see why some reviewers found the book impossible to read while others said the text was just fine. What I discovered is that there are two different versions of this book, one readable, the other illegible.

In the original version published in 2004, the recipe titles were printed in a very faint yellow that is virtually impossible to read. It's like trying to read a document that was written with a yellow highlighting marker (the titles text is just that dim). While the step-by-step recipe instructions appear in black text, the instructions are useless when you can't tell which dish they apply to. The illegible yellow recipe titles also make it impossible to thumb through the book to browse recipes (you have to use the index to know which recipe is on each page). The ISBN number for this hard-to-read version is 0618374086.

The book was re-released in 2006 with the recipe titles printed in a bolder and infinitely more readable reddish-orange colored text. What a difference! Having recipe titles you can actually read catapults this cookbook from a zero-star rating to a 5-star rating. The ISBN number for this readable re-release is 061880692X.

The two versions have identical covers and both are still offered for sale, so just make sure that the one you're buying is ISBN 061880692X. The recipes are wonderful, but if you buy the wrong printing you'll be miserable!

One last lesson learned: The original shipment I received from Amazon contained the wrong book inside the right dust jacket (in other words, I was sent the unreadable ISBN 0618374086 version wrapped in a dust jacket marked ISBN 061880692X). I'm not sure how this switch happened or if my experience was a one-off. But just make sure you check that the correct book arrives before the exchange deadline goes past.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 14, 2011 2:10 PM PST

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum Novels)
Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum Novels)
by Janet Evanovich
Edition: Hardcover
897 used & new from $0.01

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse..., October 23, 2010
I'm sitting here asking myself, why after the monumental let down of books 14 and 15 did I come back for more? I guess loyalty dies hard and hope springs eternal. I had this crazy idea that given the massive backlash against her last few books, Janet Evanovich might have enough pride and respect for her readers to actually put a little effort into this one. But I was wrong. Sizzling Sixteen is an incoherent mess.

Many reviewers have questioned whether Janet Evanovich actually wrote this book herself. I wonder that too, because it's hard to believe that an author who spent so many years carefully crafting such amazing and vibrant characters would then turn around and ruin them to this degree. Joe has gone from tough and sexy to being a domesticated welcome mat. Ranger has gone from super-human and mysterious to being a hapless supplier of cars for Stephanie to destroy. Lula has gone from fun and sassy to being annoying and kind of gross. Even Stephanie has become (and I never thought I'd say this) a little bit unlikable.

Regarding the plot, I'm trying to remember if there even was a plot (maybe something about a kidnapped Vinny and a lucky bottle?). Lots of driving around The Burg eating donuts. Mayhem at the funeral home. Blown up cars and burning buildings. So much filler, so many recycled gags. And Janet Evanovich has so overplayed her hand where the Joe-Stephanie-Ranger triangle is concerned, at this point I'm not sure why anyone should even care where things end up.

So it's official: I'm done with all things Janet Evanovich. It almost feels like a break up - I was a fan for so long! But since Janet has so clearly checked out as an author, I'm checking out as a loyal reader. Now I need to find a new favorite author! The search is on.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 24, 2010 6:38 PM PDT

Cuisinart DLC-4CHB Mini-Prep Plus 4-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless Steel
Cuisinart DLC-4CHB Mini-Prep Plus 4-Cup Food Processor, Brushed Stainless Steel
Price: $42.99
23 used & new from $29.95

598 of 603 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its uses, but not quite as versatile as I'd hoped, October 20, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Cuisinart 4-Cup Mini Prep is great for simple light-weight jobs like making salad dressing and chopping onions, but when I use it with heavier foods (like cooked spinach) I can smell the motor burning. So to avoid motor burnout, I no longer use the Mini Prep to process even small quantities of high-density foods - a use limitation I hadn't anticipated.

Regarding capacity, keep in mind that although the total volume held by the work bowl is 4 cups, you really can't work in batches much over 2 cups (less for dry items). If you exceed the batch limit, you'll end up with a result that is over processed on the bottom and untouched on the top. The user manual also advises that to avoid motor strain, the work bowl should never be filled more than two-thirds the way up the blade assembly column. So in practice, the 4-cup work bowl translates to a best-case maximum of 2 cups end product.

I'd also like to point out that the motor casing for the Cuisinart Mini Prep listed here (model DLC-4CHB) is plastic with a faux stainless steel finish. When I bought this product, I inferred from the item title that the casing was constructed of stainless steel. But if you look closely at the detailed item description, you'll see (as I discovered only after purchase!) that the construction is plastic made to look like stainless steel. And the plastic is pretty flimsy at that, so just be aware of what you are buying.

Bottom line: Would I buy this Mini Prep again? Probably not. For my needs, I think I'd look for something sturdier and more versatile. Do I think the Mini Prep is a complete train wreck? No, I use it for what it's worth at least 4 times a week and I appreciate how easy it is to clean. The important thing is to have a firm idea of how you want to use the Mini Prep prior to purchasing one. Want small batches of pesto, salsa or chopped onion? You're good to go. Want to make smoothies or process heavy and dense foods? You'll need to look for something with greater capacity and a stronger motor.

One final note on a lesson I learned the hard way...if when using the Mini Prep you consistently end up with onions that are pureed not chopped or nuts that are pulverized to dust, try alternating pulses between the Chop and Grind buttons. Alternating the two buttons moves the food around the work bowl for a more even result.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 26, 2012 4:36 PM PDT

Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 160 GB External Hard Drive
Maxtor Basics Personal Storage 3200 160 GB External Hard Drive
3 used & new from $38.00

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars When it fails (and it will) buy a new power supply, August 26, 2010
My Maxtor Personal Storage External Hard Drive worked reasonably well for about 2 years until out of nowhere it started malfunctioning. First I got "Cannot write to drive" error messages, then I got "Code 10 Device cannot start" error messages, and finally my computer wouldn't even bootup if the USB drive was attached.

After spending hours running the troubleshooting scripts suggested by Seagate/Maxtor and Microsoft without success, I started searching on-line user forums for a solution. Time and time again I came across Maxtor users saying that their USB drives stopped working when their power cords failed.

At first I thought that the problem with my own Maxtor drive couldn't possibly be cord related because the power light on the front of the drive was solidly lit. I figured that if the green light was on, the USB drive must be getting power. But as it turns out, a failing Maxtor power cord can provide enough juice to illuminate the power light while not providing enough juice to fully bootup the drive.

So when your Maxtor USB Hard Drive stops working, buy a new power cord. Ignore the "Missing drivers" error message (this particular Maxtor drive doesn't even require unique drivers) and don't bother with Microsoft's Device Manager troubleshooting tool. Chances are good that a new power cord will get you up and running again!
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 30, 2013 2:21 PM PDT

Teva Women's Mandalyn Wedge Flip Flop
Teva Women's Mandalyn Wedge Flip Flop

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stylish, but not great for walking long distances, June 28, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I live in the city so I do a lot of walking. While I love the stylish look of the Mandalyn Wedge, it really isn't the most comfortable thong for running errands on foot. As other reviewers have mentioned, the fit is a bit loose so it slides around on your foot. The footbed is also quite firm relative to other Teva styles, so my feet get tired faster.

Although I'm not a huge fan of the Mandalyn Wedge, I really love the Mandalyn Flip Flop (the flatter and softer version; comes in the same colors and patterns as the Wedge). So if you love the Mandalyn patterns but need a comfortable walking shoe, check out the super comfortable Mandalyn Flip Flop.

Teva Women's Mandalyn Flip Flop
Teva Women's Mandalyn Flip Flop

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So comfortable. Love the patterns., June 26, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I've been a fan of Teva's Mush flip flop for years, but this summer I decided to try the Mandalyn style for a little variety. I'm so glad I did! Now I'm a fan of both styles.

The footbed on the Mandalyn Flip Flop is firmer than that on the Mush, but it's comfortable just the same. Where the Mush has a squishy mold-to-your-foot footbed, the Mandalyn has a soft but firm footbed. I live in the city so I do a lot of walking, and I can walk for miles quite comfortably in my Mandalyn Flip Flops.

With regard to the straps, both styles are equally comfortable (no rubbing or blisters). The Mandalyn straps are covered in a satiny fabric that has a dressier look than the woven nylon straps on the Mush. I bought the Sweden Eucalyptus pattern and I love it! It's funky and looks great with khaki. But I haven't tested how well the Mandalyn straps hold up to water, so I still love my Mush flip flops for the beach and pool. The Mush's nylon straps rinse in water and dry fast; I'm just not sure if the fabric covered straps on the Mandalyn are quite as wash and wear (I'll update this review when I find out!).

So all in all I've been really happy with the comfort and stylish look of Teva's Mandalyn Flip Flops. As I longtime Mush wearer, the firmer footbed took some getting used to, but now I really love it. I'm sure I'll be back to buy more patterns!

(One last note...while the Mandalyn Flip Flop is very comfortable, I can't say the same for the Mandalyn Wedge. While certainly that comparison belongs in another review, I just wanted to point out that Teva has two different Mandalyn styles that should not be confused.)

Yama Glass 8 Cup Stovetop Coffee Siphon (Syphon)
Yama Glass 8 Cup Stovetop Coffee Siphon (Syphon)
Price: $58.82
2 used & new from $58.82

5.0 out of 5 stars Robust French press taste without the grit, March 23, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a former French press user, I cannot believe how much better the Yama coffee siphon is. The level of effort for brewing and cleaning is about the same for both types of coffee maker, but with the siphon you get hot and full-flavored coffee without the French press sediment.

If you've never used a coffee siphon before and want to see the vacuum process in action, go to YouTube and search on "Vacuum Coffee Maker" or "Yama Siphon". Having never used a vacuum coffee maker before purchasing this one, I found the demo videos quite helpful.

I took the advice of other Amazon reviewers and bought a Cory glass filter rod to use in place of the cloth filter. The glass filter works just as well as the cloth filter and it's a little easier to clean. I also suggest buying a bottle brush if you don't already have one. The neck of the coffee pot is very narrow, so you'll want a bottle brush for proper cleaning.

While nothing beats the convenience of a drip coffee maker, the flavor and plastic-free brewing of the Yama siphon make the extra effort worthwhile. I'm a happy convert who is never going back!

DSL Nintendo Character Stylus - Yoshi
DSL Nintendo Character Stylus - Yoshi
Offered by HappyTrade

3.0 out of 5 stars Not really a stylus. More like Yoshi on a stick., January 14, 2010
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The Nintendo Character Stylus is about as long and thick as a pencil, making it too clunky to really be used as a stylus. So think of it as an incredibly cute Yoshi on a stick. Or a magic wand! Or a conductor's baton! Just be aware that you won't be able to play a game using it as a stylus.

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