Christmas Edition Of Ramblings And Reviews 2013

Hello!!! Have you gotten all your Christmas shopping done? If you haven’t, I’m here to let you know one thing. I have been finished with mine for weeks. It’s ok, you can hate me. I understand. I too used to be one of those people who waited until December 24th to get going. Ok, no I wasn’t. I just said that to make you feel good.

But I know there are some of you out there, avid gourmands all, surrounded by the same, who still need to get some treats for each other. So I, Momma J as I am known to my kid in laws (yeah, the title makes me laugh too; feel free to giggle) am here to help you. So prepare to get hungry.

Twice The Vice sporited chocolates

Twice The Vice spirited chocolates

Recently, I was sent some absolutely wonderful chocolates from a company called Twice The Vice. They make alcohol infused (aka “spirited”) chocolates ranging in price from $28.00 to $44.00 dollars and they are well worth every penny. Yep, you read that right. Booze and chocolate… together. Thus the name, obviously. Is there a woman out there who isn’t totally excited right now though? 😛 As I already said, these are wonderful. I had to force myself not to gorge on them. If you are looking for a splurge, this is it. The outer shell of chocolate is thick and breaks neatly when you bite it. It is rich with no artificial flavor at all, just pure chocolate. The box I got was “The Classic Cocktail Collection” and had four flavors-  Pina Colada, Mint Julep, Margarita and White Russian. The White Russian is my favorite. There is a definite Kahlua “bite” to it. The ganache in all the flavors is smooth, rich and creamy. If you have a chocoholic to buy for (or just love good quality chocolates yourself), go to Twice The Vice. You will NOT be disappointed. This ranks up there in the top two chocolate experiences of my life. And yes, good chocolate IS an experience, not just a dessert. Go to his site asap!

Next up is Raley’s Confectionary. I love this company too. Just looking at the candy takes me back to my childhood. How many of you, every Christmas, had a bowl full of various hard candies sitting there in the livng room, ostensibly for guests when they came over, just waiting to be swiped by you when your mother wasn’t looking?

Raley's Confectionary

Raley’s Confectionary

If you are one of those people, you’ll love this candy. Even if you weren’t, you’ll love this candy. Besides being beautiful to look at, it tastes great. I was sent three bags, each about 3 ounces. That sounds small, but this is hard candy, remember. That three ounces is a good amount of candy and it is so intensely flavored, one or two of the small pieces is sufficient. This candy is true art in its way. On the right, you can see that that is “The Christmas Mix”.  The piece at the middle left spot has the word NOEL in it. Now, this is not imprinted on each piece, it goes all the way through the candy. I’ve seen the technique done before and it is an amazing talent. So many of this type of candy can be bland however. NOT Raley’s Confectionary. Wesley makes sure his candy has a LOT of flavor. The Christmas Mix is my favorite of the three bags I was sent. You open it and a light peppermint scent wafts out but that’s not the only flavor in there, just the most strongly scented. There is also an eggnog flavor, which I loved. It tastes exactly like a glass of eggnog, minus the brandy 😛 The above mentioned Noel is Figgy Pudding flavored. He touches all Christmas bases here lol. The Tutti Frutti is a yummy mix of strawberry, blueberry and banana. This man has so many more flavors I want to try that I can’t even count them, such as Grapefruit, Lime, Kiwi (yes, he has a Kiwi flavor!), Blackberry (one of my all time fave flavors in ANYTHING), Peach and Pumpkin Spice among others. The bags are small enough to give a child for a Christmas stocking stuffer, yet flavored so well that that same small bag will make an adult candy hound quite happy. Go… right now… check out Raley’s Confectionary. You need his candy. Honest.

Next up are some delicious Truffle Bars from Seattle Chocolates sent to me by a lovely lady named Casey. She sent me four bars- Birthday Cake Batter, Candy Cane Crunch, Lemon Ice and San Juan Sea Salt. All of them were fantastic.

Seattle Chocolate Truffle Bars

Seattle Chocolate Truffle Bars

Each of the beautifully wrapped bars is 2.5 ounces and sectioned into 4 nice thick sections, each section a perfect treat, so the 2.5 ounce bar can last quite a while. The San Juan Sea Salt is a milk chocolate bar with sea salt and toffee bits. The salt flavor is mild, just a little tantalizing bit in each bite you take, nothing overpowing as some salted chocolate candy can be. The toffee bits add a nice crunch to the bar and a well rounded caramelly flavor. This was probably my favorite. The Lemon Ice is a white chocolate bar and I love both white chocolate and lemon so I was excited to see this one in the package. When you open the bar, you can smell the lemon; YUM!  The white chocolate is good quality. This isn’t a cheap piece of chocolate. It’s creamy, mildly sweet and milky and the bar has crunchy lemon bits throughout adding a nice tang and texture. The Candy Cane Crunch is a seasonal bar. The first thing you smell is peppermint when you open it, but if you put it up to your nose, you get a wonderful deep dark chocolate scent. This bar smells like Christmas 🙂 The dark chocolate is wonderful; not too dark, which I personally don’t like. This is a fairly mild dark chocolate. The peppermint is JUST enough, not overpowering the chocolate, but not wimpy either. The Birthday Cake Batter was my least favorite. Still delicious, but just not as good as the others in my humble opinions. The chocolate outer shell was still a wonderful quality and flavorful milk chocolate but the birthday cake part was rather bland; just a vague sweet flavor and a touch of crunch. Bottom line though? There is still time to get some of these for Christmas. So go… shoo… get over to Seattle Chocolates and buy some Christmas treats. Feel free to buy me the Rainier Cherry Truffle Bar, the Coconut Macaroon Truffle Bar and the Panoramic Pecan Truffle Bar. And throw in a few of the San Juan Sea Salt- they were my favorite 😀

Now we have is something I tried for the first time this year- Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Jo Jos. I know many of you have had these already, but for those who haven’t, nows the time. They won’t be at Trader Joes for much longer this year and then you’re out of luck until next year.
Trader Joe Peppermint Jo JosIf you like a certain brand of chocolate sandwich cookies, you’ll love these. They put the other ones to shame. These are covered in a thick layer of dark chocolate; a mild one here too, which I love as I mentioned. I don’t care for bitter dark chocolate and this is nowhere near that. It is smooth, creamy, not too sweet and downright dangerous to your waistline… aka yummy! The chocolate is covered with crushed peppermint candy- just enough t give it that crunch and a delicious peppermint flavor that mingles with the chocolate, not enough to overpower. The cookie itself is a crunchy chocolate peppermint wafer with a creamy peppermint flavor center. These are well worth the four dollar price tag and would make a cute addition to a cookie tray if you want to cheat and say you made them :-P. I won’t tell if you do.

Last but not least for this Christmas Edition of Ramblings And Reviews are something easily found but delicious. They are a new edition this year to the
Lindt truffle line and in my opinion, one of their best yet. These seem to be exclusive to Wal Mart, in the seasonal aisle.

Lindt Dark Chocolate & Orange Truffles

Lindt Dark Chocolate & Orange Truffles

Lindt makes wonderful budget priced truffles and these are no exception. When you open the bag, you immediately get hit with a wonderful chocolate orange scent. I am pretty sure I spent five minutes with my face practically hidden in the bag. The thin outer shell of the truffle is a mild, sweet dark chocolate. The inner ganache is a sheer melt in your mouth delight. Literally; you bite it and it just melts. The chocolate orange flavor is fantastic. Just one of these is more than enough to satisfy because they are so flavor filled, so a bag should last a while. I bought two bags and fully expect to still have some next Christmas lol. Maybe. If I can control myself.

Well, that’s it for the Christmas edition of Ranblings And Reviews.  I’ll close this with the best Christmas photo ever- Joshie being Santa. Was he adorable or what?

Joshie- ChristmasI wish all of you a Merry Christmas. God Bless and know that every single one of you is in my prayers for a blessed coming year. <3

Ramblings & Reviews III

Hello! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these! But with the holidays coming, there are a lot of things to review! Add in that the weather is getting colder and I don’t know about you, but I start looking for creamier skin products and hair products to fight the Winter dry skin and hair frizz. So lots to review there too.

First off- I’m sure many of you have seen that Gingerbread seems to be the current craze in the Christmas Limited Edition flavors? Well, so had I. I was totally stoked over it since that’s one of my fave holiday flavors. But talk about disappointment! I bought the new Gingerbread M&M’s, the new Gingerbread Twix and the new Gingerbread Oreos. All three…well…sucked. The Gingerbread M&M’s actually had the effect of making both myself and my husband gag when we smelled them. They are reminiscent of sweaty gym socks. And the taste? About what one would imagine those same socks tasting like. The only one who will eat them is my 18 year old and he will eat anything with sugar lol. But even he says they taste “weird”. The other two; twix and Oreos? They didn’t make me gag but neither did they make me want to waste any daily calories on them. The Twix also has an off, chemically smell and the flavor is just boring. Plus the cookie is very dry and crumbly. The Oreos? Just bland and boring and also not worth the money. Save your cash and buy some of the other things I’ll review today!


Gingerbread flavored sweets

Next thing isn’t holiday per se but it WOULD make a great stocking stuffer (in this 3 pod trial size) for anyone who has a Keurig. I bought these Archer Farms Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee K-Cups on a whim at Target and wow, they’re yummy! You can smell both the vanilla and the caramelized sugar smell as they brew and you can also taste both flavors, which is hard to find in a flavored coffee. So go grab some if you like the flavor combo.

Archer Farms Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee K Cups

Archer Farms Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee K Cups

When colder weather hits, my already fine flyaway hair gets dry and frizzy. Yet, when I try to use those extra moisturizing shampoos, I end up with hair that looks like I haven’t washed it in weeks after barely a day. This Moroccan Argan Oil shampoo from Organix doesn’t do that. It leaves my fine hair really soft and I don’t have to hide it by pulling it back into a ponytail after like 10 hours because it looks greasy. Plus, it smells fantastic. It leaves just a subtle scent on my hair but it’s definitely there.

DSCF2810Last review for this week-

We all know I’m not the worlds most healthful eater. I DO however like dried fruit. Now, no preaching about how the calories are concentrated just as much as the fruit flavor. I know this. I don’t eat buckets of it a day. I saw the Dried Figs at Trader Joes and couldn’t resist them and I’m soooo glad I didn’t. These are amazing. If you’ve ever eaten a Fig Newton, you’d love these. They aren’t all hard and impossible to chew like some dried fruit. These are soft and chewy and truly taste like the inside of a Fig Newton but without the added sugar. Plus, the price was outstanding. Not even 3 dollars for the tub. Can’t beat that! I’d show you a full container but…well… mine has only 2 figs left in it lol.

Trader Joes Dried Figs

Trader Joes Dried Figs

On the rambling side of the post, cause I sure didn’t ramble up there hehe, I think Autumn is unofficially over. We had some spectacular colors this year. I had hoped we would since we had such a wet Summer, which is what makes the trees brighter in Fall. But now the trees have dropped all their leaves and they are hunkered down for cold weather. That’s ok; so are we. Wood stove has already been used more than once and my dads old Mickey Mouse blanket with the hole in it has taken up residence on my recliner to keep the chill off. Here’s what it looked like here a week ago; not anymore though.


View from the front porch

View from the front porch


Have a great week this coming week, everyone!

Ramblings And Reviews #2

It’s been an…interesting… couple of weeks here. Some good, some bad. My favorite Kitty, Horatio, died on the 19th of last month. He was about the best cat ever and I still miss him.

me and horatio

When he died, I told myself that that was it… no more indoor cats for me, just the cats we have that live outdoors. But, fate, as it often does, intervened. I was just fiddle farting around online one day and found myself going to the page for the local shelter. So what happened? We now have not one, but two, kittens in the house. Go figure. When I first thought about it, I was just going to get this little girl whom we have named Sierra-

SierraBut then she seemed lonely. Extremely loving, but lonely. So I had to get her brother. I justified it by reminding myself that they were rescue cats. No crazy cat lady here *coughcough*

This is her brother Opie. So named because he is a whiny sidekick but yet still cute as can be, like his namesake lol. If Sierra leaves his side, he whimpers and follows her around.


I have come to the conclusion (ok, I came to the conclusion years ago, but I’ve been in denial) that I have a serious lip balm addiction. I can barely make it through a store w/out buying another one. The bottom of my purse, which btw, I only keep lip balm and old receipts in, is covered in lip balms. Many many of them. One of my favorite brands is Eos. I absolutely love their products. They aren’t oily or greasy feeling on my mouth, just smooth. Plus they taste great. That can of course defeat the purpose of not getting chapped lips if you find yourself constantly licking your lips like a starving fat girl, but hey, I’ll deal with that drawback by just putting on more. I also love the lip balms from Kiss My Face, especially their Sliced Peach, but I haven’t been able to find it anywhere in months now. *Sobs* I would LOVE to try their Maple Sugar one, but I’ve never seen it in stores at all.

EosLately, I have been on a binge with the new “Hello” bars from Lindt

LindtOh. My. Gosh. I would say which one is my favorite but for the life of me, I can’t decide. When I try a piece of the coconut one, I’m in love. Then I try one of the others… same thing. They are pretty darn awesome!

On a non food addiction, beyond the bazillion lip balms, I have, for months now, loved this Body Butter from Trader Joes.

Trader Joes Body ButterIt smells fantastic; a strong but not overpowering coconut scent and it leaves you oh so smooth and soft. Just don’t eat it, tempted as you’ll be. 😛

Onto an actual good for you treat… I’ve been loving both of these products below lately. I found mine at Whole Foods.

ButtersThe Justins Vanilla Almond Butter is amazing. Smooth and creamy with just the slightest hint of vanilla. I would tell you that I use it in all sorts of wonderful recipes, but so far all I do is squeeze it out of the little pack into my waiting mouth hehe.

While I enjoy the Cacoa Bliss the texture takes a bit of getting used to. it has that slightly gritty texture that anything made with real coconut is going to have. But the taste is pure heaven. Coconut Chocolate Heaven. Go. Buy some.


Why yes, that IS a pair of underwear on his head. And yes, I have every intention of saving this and using it for blackmail purposes when he becomes an ornery teenager. 🙂

Last but not least, here’s your silly child pic for the week. I think my son needs massive therapy. 😀 I’m so proud!

Have a great rest of the week, everybody! Go cook something decadent and fattening!




Ramblings And Reviews

A few months back on my Facebook page, I mentioned that I planned to start a new blog feature called *points up* Ramblings And Reviews. Well, ummm, it took a while :-P. I’m slow, what can I say? But here I am today to bring you the first installment of Ramblings And Reviews. What is it exactly? like duhhhh mannnn, the name doesn’t give it away? As if I don’t ramble enough in my regular posts, here I have given myself an excuse to ramble away. Why do you think I picked that name? *pokes head with index finger (and says ow)* I is teh thinking woman here.

Or something. So you ready for ramblings? And erhmmm, reviews? Of something? I hope. OFF WE GO!

First- I’d say that, considering the plethora (dontcha just love it when I use big words? I love knowing I’m using that Chicago Public School edumacation…or something…again) of coconut recipes here on the blog, it’s obvious I kind of like coconut. One thing I always hated though, back in the day anyway, were things scented like coconut. Every single damn one smelled like sun tan lotion, which then brought back flashbacks of blistering sunburns and days of pain. NOT a great association. So I was leery when I saw that Bath & Body Works had brought back their Coconut Vanilla scent for a while. I LOVE the Lemon Vanilla one- wear it often. My husband and I call it the “sexy lemon cupcake” scent cause that’s what it smells like. But this stuff is awesome! Light coconut scent, vanilla, slightly musky. A little bit flirty and playful (did I REALLY just say something that sounds like a bad commercial?) Unfortunately, they aren’t selling it right now but I am sure they will have it back at the next semi annual sale. GET SOME! And definitely get the Lemon Vanilla… it’s unbelievably awesome!

Bath & Body Works Coconut Vanilla

Bath & Body Works Coconut Vanilla

In other news, my son Joshie is one strange kid. We had an interesting episode with him a couple of weeks ago where he decided spinning in dads computer chair was fun. Until, that is, he fell off and managed to practically bite his tongue in half. There is nothing more heartbreaking than listening to your child screaming as they sew up his tongue of all places. But as the photo shows, he is none the worse for wear. Strange… a little bit weird maybe, but fine. 😛

Joshie looking cool :-D

Joshie looking cool 😀

Weird review here. Ok, maybe not. I have to remember that this is the internet age and I shudder to even think of what is reviewed out there. Once upon a time, I had a friend who reviewed sex toys. Yeah. I never quite knew what one was supposed to say about that. “Oh yeah read your review this week! Sounds…painful. I mean, ummm, fun.”

I love this deodorant! No; seriously. When it first came out, not the Dove brand per se because I’ve been using that for a few years, but this specific type meant to help underarm breakouts, I was skeptical. I have ultra sensitive skin when it comes to that area and even though I’m one of those lucky women who doesn’t have to shave often (other women hate me because I only need to shave like twice a month hehe) when i do, I would inevitably break out no matter how careful I was. So I tried this deodorant. And lo and behold, it works! It doesn’t hurt like he** when I put it on after I shave and it really has made it to where I don’t get all red and bumpy. So if you have that issue, give this a try. Plus.. it smells good. No fake powdery scent like your armpit is trying to smell like a baby butt and no perfumey smell that competes with whatever REAL perfume you’re wearing.

Dove Deodorant

Dove Deodorant

Lets end with a picture of my adorable husband and our adorable grand daughter Lillian. You can never go wrong with baby pictures! 😀

Lillian And Grampa. Aren't they cute!?

Lillian And Grampa. Aren’t they cute!?