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Grace Peanut Punch & Grace Coconut Water

peanutpunchOne of my favorite drinks is Grace Peanut Punch. I’d never heard of this delicious elixir until last year when I saw it on sale in the grocery store flyer and thought it looked interesting. I love nuts, peanut butter, and thought I’d likely enjoy this unusual treat. It is fairly pricey for such a small sized drinkin’ box though. Usually over $1.25 CDN for a 240 ml box, less than one cup size, 1 cup is 250 ml, still a small size for a drink.

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I love other Grace products, too. Their coconut water with jelly is fantastic, by far the best brand of coconut water I’ve ever had. Not sure what they do to it other companies don’t, but it is in a league of its own taste wise. I love the floating bits of pulp in it, though they have pulp free as well. These are not the cheapest products, but they are wonderful as a refreshing treat and when on sale, nice to stock up on.

Cabo Fresh Guacamole

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I had never in my life tasted guacamole until yesterday, it just was never something we had or tried and I saw some on sale in the grocery store flyer and decided I’d like to finally try some. I asked my mom if she’d ever had any and she had tried some homemade guacamole at a party before and said she thought I’d like it, so I took the plunge and got some, a bit expensive for the size tub, but I had some leftover corn chips, so why not.

Well I knew after the first mouthful on the corn chip it was not for me, I thought it was gross and not a flavor I’d ever want to experience again. I ate a bit, maybe a third of the tub and knew I couldn’t choke down anymore, waste of $6, and that was on sale! I gave the rest to my mom and she thought it was dreadful slop as well. She said the homemade one she’d had before was much better than this stuff and it was just awful. They have some bizarre recipes on their website too, everything from chocolate guacamole cupcakes to guacamole and almond milk smoothies, sounds vomit producing if you ask me.

Home Water Distillation

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Recently I got my very own home water distiller system. I had for the last eight years been happy with home water delivery every six weeks or so of a few jugs of distilled water, but with no notice they closed up shop. Luckily I had over a month’s worth of water on hand and some time to do some research.

There was only one local water delivery service left with only one day a week delivery, so if you miscalculated how much you had on hand, too bad for you. I then thought why bother with all that, other people’s schedules, traipsing into my home, why not get a system that does it myself? I then began researching home distillers and found some very fancy and pricey models. Yes, to buy the best would be nice, but I wasn’t looking to spend the better part of a thousand dollars either.

I came across the Mega Home distiller and saw it had very good reviews and was in the mid price range I was looking for, so I ordered it from a company all the way across the country in British Columbia. I looked at the manual and set about making my own distilled water at home, right on my counter top. It’s always harder to tell from just a picture what the actual size is, it’s a good sized model, larger than a coffee maker and prepares one gallon at a time, and that takes around five to six hours to complete.

It’s a stainless steel model, appears well made and sturdy. The first batch you don’t use, you run the cleaning solution through the first gallon and discard it. You fit a filter thing in the nozzle and the whole gallon inside is boiling all that time. The top is not tight fitting at all, if you have children please do not let them anywhere near it, if they pulled on the cord an entire gallon of boiling water would be on them, same for pets, if you let cats on your counters, beware the outside of this unit gets very hot and the hot air blowing out the top from the fan is as hot as a blow dryer.

I watched and I waited, it takes nearly a half hour until the first drips appear in the glass carafe they include and drip by drip, it fills up over six hours time. After the unit has cooled at least a half hour, you can remove the lid.

You should see the disgusting residue that the tap water leaves in the bottom, it’s beige crud that smells like old corn chips. This is what you are drinking in tap water. You need to clean that out the gritty, pasty residue with a damp cloth before doing your next batch. I have been pleased with the unit so far, having made around six gallons so far. I don’t need nearly as much as a family would, so I don’t have to change the filters as often. They consider average use a gallon a day to process. I go through less than two gallons a week, so hopefully the unit will last me many years.

The overall cost is around the same as having water delivered, but I no longer need to call in orders and have to wait on people to bring it at times inconvenient for myself. If pure, good tasting water is something you enjoy, but you cannot be bothered by a home delivery service, this is an excellent alternative.

Perrier VS Pellegrino Sparkling Water

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I have been a lifelong fan of Perrier sparkling water. Love it with a quarter of a lemon wedge squeezed into it. I’ve tried store brand sparkling waters and club soda, but nothing can beat Perrier in my books.

A sale at the grocery store got the better of me and I thought, how different can sparkling water be from brand to brand? I went whole hog as well, and bought a case of twelve bottles of the Pellegrino, which I’d never tasted before. What a sad awakening I was in for. The first mouthful and I knew I didn’t like it and had a whole case to wade my way through. I couldn’t believe the difference in them.

I felt less fizz first of all, I LOVE carbonation, I think everything tastes better carbonated, the fizzier the better. Pellegrino is nowhere near as fizzy, and just tastes “off.” I immediately looked online and saw others reported this as well, and the off taste, it’s slightly salty, higher sodium in it. Both waters are owned by Nestle. How I will make my way through a case of this nearly fizzless, salty swill, I do not know. I am not impressed. The store brand club soda would surely be better than this.

The label is nice and old fashioned looking, a good looking bottle, but I also don’t like the weird rubber rimmed cap on the Pellegrino either. Perrier wins hands down. I’m sure Pellegrino has its fans, we all like different things, but as God as my witness, I will never buy another bottle of it again as long as I live. I’ve managed to drink one bottle, gave one to my mom, only ten more to go before I can get more Perrier again.

Every Dish Can’t Be Perfect

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While I am a good cook and an even better baker, two things I’ve never had a talent for making are bread and candy. They both seem to require a certain style, timing and finesse. Some people excel in some areas of the culinary arts and not others for some reason.

I’ve heard cooks on t.v. cooking shows say similar things, Rachael Ray says some are either cooks or bakers. Given the choice, I do prefer baking to cooking, but do both well, baking more so though.

brickbread

I tried once, and only once, to make bread with yeast. It turned out like a brick! I followed the instructions, yet somehow, it just didn’t work. Perhaps I should have tried more than once before giving up on the bread. It was a lot of work, kneading, rising, more kneading, resting, all for a brick like object that didn’t resemble bread. It didn’t taste horrible, but was as heavy as said brick.

Candy making seems to also require a certain touch, precise temperatures, a thermometer. I have tried to make fudge many fudgetimes, and a few times it turned out well, most of the times however it was gritty, not the goal. Lots of whipping, beating, tiring on the arms, all for a gritty brick.

So those are two areas I stay away from, and just buy bread and candy rather than attempt to make them myself. I guess given enough attempts and experimentation, I suppose I could master them both, but simply haven’t the desire.