Food, Food/Beverage, Giveaways

Brooklyn Bean Roastery CocoMocha Review and Giveaway

Thank you to Brooklyn Bean Roastery for the partnership on this feature

Brooklyn Bean Roastery CocoMocha Review and Giveaway

With spring ending and summer beginning this month it is time to change your coffee flavor. Yes! I said change your coffee flavor and why not? With so many flavor choices and coffee strengths there is enough to change flavors every season of the year. Nothing goes together better than coconut and summer. The aroma of beach, coconuts and the warmth of the sun and long days. Cocomocha coffee from Brooklyn Bean Roastery is my summer flavor.

I have to admit that I was skeptical about coconut and coffee and perhaps drinking it without my trusty creamer giving me the sweetness I crave in my coffee. I cannot think of another coffee flavor I’ve tried where I don’t need my creamer prior to trying this coffee. It is a limited, seasonal coffee.

The box has 40 K-Cup pods and retails about $24 on Amazon and it is a Prime qualifier so you can be enjoying a cup within the next 48 hours. Of course they have many other flavors and strengths of coffee and cocoa to choose from.

The Giveaway

1 lucky reader will win a box of Cocomocha coffee from Brooklyn Bean Roastery. Open to US, ages 18+ and must not have won their coffee in another giveaway in the last 90 days. Ends 6/25. Good luck!

Earth Friendly, Food, Food/Beverage

Eco Friendly Boxes Wine Packaging from Bota Box #GoBota #ExploreEverything

This post is in collaboration with my brand partner, Bota Box. Opinions and story are my own. #gobota #exploreeverything

Eco Friendly Boxes Wine Packaging from Bota Box

To tread lightly on our Earth means to make smarter shopping decisions. When you walk into a grocery store you see aisles and aisles of plastic, glass and cardboard boxes. Inside those packages are sometimes more packaging. Then at home our garbage and recycling bins are full by garbage pick up day. Multiply that by every household on this planet and that is a lot of environmental harm. Bota Box understands this and they make buying their boxed wine products a choice that benefits our environment.

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With wines that come in 100% recyclable packaging with BPA-BPS free wine bags inside, Bota Box truly has environmentally friendly packaging. Not all “eco-friendly” packaging is created equal. It’s important to make sure you see the official stamps on the packaging that assure you that the product you are buying is packaged with care. And even better then the words ‘recyclable’ are the words ‘reusable’. This means that, like Bota Box, VOC-free inks and post consumer fibers or other reusable sources are used.

Eco Friendly Boxes Wine Packaging from @bota_box #GoBota #ExploreEverything Click To Tweet

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Now that you have made an earth-conscious decision to by products that are creating less landfill waste it is time to celebrate. Because there is no glass or corkscrew you can take the wine to enjoy anywhere. Having it in a box that is more easily portable than bottles means transporting your wine is easier because 1 Bota Box equals 4 bottles of wine.

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Shopping smarter is as easy as trusting what you read. So look for more than words. Look for the stamps and seals that say your product is truly eco friendly. I look for these stamps on packaging for this reason as well as assuring my foods and cosmetics are truly organic or natural. If we all made buying smarter a priority imagine how lightly we can begin to tread on our Earth. Keep the tips in the image below as a reminder on how to shop smarter.

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Give Bota Box and Bota Mini wines a try. They are so smooth with fantastic flavors. No bitter aftertaste and the cost is fantastic. You can find the brand in most grocers and convenience stores.

Bota Box has summer wines: Dry Rose and Mini Sauvignon Blanc and all season wines: Cabernet, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, RedVolution, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, NighHawk Black Red Blend and Malbec. Remember how much Bota Box cares for your love of wine and the footprints we all leave in the environment. Visit Bota Box to learn more.

Food/Beverage, Giveaways, Natural Foods

LaCroix Flavored Sparkling Water Giveaway #LiveLaCroix

Sample sent for feature

LaCroix giveaway

The hashtag is #LiveLaCroix and the meaning of that is whatever you want to make of it. For me it was about tossing all juices and sodas from the house. We find ways to enjoy water by adding natural flavors. When we do crave that sparkling carbonation, the flavors of LaCroix satisfy.

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My favorite: Orange. The other flavors to choose from: passion fruit, mango, apricot, pamplemousse, cran-raspberry, berry, pure, lime, lemon, coconut, peach pear and tangerine. Great flavors with nothing artificial added.

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Want to try an 8 or 12 pack and #LiveLaCroix? Enter below. Open to US and ends on 4/4. Good luck!

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Food, Food/Beverage, Recipes, Spring 2017

7 Perfect Cocktails for Game Night

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Once you’ve picked out your activities for the night and set up the games for your evening of fun, you’ll need to plan and prepare the menu. No game night is complete without perfect party favors. You’ll want to have pre-made pitchers available so partygoers can refill their glasses quickly and get back to competitive gameplay. Use the following cocktail guide to pair your activities and snacks with a beverage menu your guests will thoroughly enjoy.

  1. Sparkling Fruit Sangria

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Sangria is an excellent addition to the drink menu of any get-together. It’s a fun, fruity, summer-themed party drink that’s easy to make in large quantities.

Serves 6

  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  • 10 large strawberries
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup of frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1/2 cup of triple sec
  • 1 750 ml bottle of dry red wine
  • 1 750ml bottle of champagne

Mixing Instructions:

Once you’ve gathered all your ingredients, the rest is rather simple. First, thinly slice the orange, lemon, and lime into rounds and place them in a large mixing bowl. Slice the strawberries in half and add them to the fruit mix. Then, combine the brandy, lemonade concentrate, lemon juice, orange juice, and triple sec in the bowl. Stir for about one minute before taste testing the cocktail, and add a quarter cup of sugar if it’s too sour.

To bring out the flavor of all the fruits, refrigerate the mixture overnight.  For a sparkling, fizzy sangria, stir in champagne just before serving it to your guests. This recipe can be easily adapted to accommodate designated drivers and those who don’t like or can’t drink alcohol. Simply leave out the triple sec and brandy, substitute red grape juice for red wine or sparkling red wine, and replace the champagne with two cups of carbonated water or club soda.

        2. Jungle Juice Cocktail

The Jungle Juice Cocktail is inspired by a drink of the same name that garnered its fame on college campuses. Jungle Juice is popular because it uses inexpensive materials and can be made in large quantities. The drink itself tastes different depending on your location (local bar versus university campus), your bartender’s preferences, and a few other regional discrepancies. Like sangria, Jungle Juice relies on tropical fruity flavors to appeal to your palate and boost your mood.

Serves 1

  • 1 lemon
  • 30 ml vodka
  • 30 ml rum
  • 30 ml triple Sec
  • 15 ml sugar syrup
  • 45 ml orange juice
  • 45 ml pineapple juice
  • 45 ml cranberry juice

Mixing Instructions:

First pour the vodka, rum, triple sec, and syrup into a mixing glass filled with ice. Then, slice two medium-sized wedges of lemon and squeeze in the juices. You can adjust the amount of orange, pineapple, and cranberry juice to your preferences, but they must be added in equal measure. Shake or stir the mixture to blend the ingredients. Last, strain the cocktail into a new mixing glass with ice. Add a maraschino cherry or slice of lemon for garnish.

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      3. Kamikaze

The Kamikaze is a fruity variation on the classic Gimlet cocktail. Despite its fruit-laced flavor, the Kamikaze is slightly more tart than its classic cousin, but no less elegant. This beverage makes a great party drink for cocktail enthusiasts.

Serves 6

  • 300 ml vodka (Smirnoff works well)
  • 300 ml orange liqueur
  • 300 ml lime juice

Mixing Instructions:

Before adding any liquid ingredients, fill your cocktail shaker with ice. Then, measure 25 ml of vodka, orange liqueur, and lime juice with a jigger and add them to the shaker. Shake the mixer vigorously until the tin’s surface feels cold. Then, using a cocktail strainer, strain the mixture into a tall glass. You can also make a Kamikaze from high-quality tequila. However, substituting vodka for tequila will push the taste closer to a Margarita than a Gimlet. For a smoother, less tangy twist, add a dash of coconut liqueur.

     4. Perfect Scotch Sour

Moving away from tropical party drinks, the Perfect Scotch Sour is more subtle than its classic counterpart, mixing sweet flavors with a hint of slightly sour lemon juice.

Serves 6

  • 300 ml blended scotch whiskey
  • 6 dashes of angostura bitters
  • 150 ml lemon juice
  • 105 ml sugar syrup
  • 6 egg whites

Mixing Instructions:

Start by filling a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Next, using a jigger, pour in the blended scotch whiskey, lemon juice, syrup, and angostura bitters. Crack six eggs and carefully separate the whites from the yolks. If this proves to be too difficult, purchase a carton of liquid egg whites, and add twelve tablespoons (approx. 30 ml) into the shaker. As with the Kamikaze, shake the mixture until the surface of the tin is cold, and then strain it into a short glass. Top the drink with a thin slice of lemon for garnish.

     5. Classic Manhattan

The Manhattan is one of the great classic cocktails. Its rich blend of sweet whiskey and bitters makes it a favorite within and outside of the greater New York City area. Its popularity is credited to New York’s Manhattan Club in 1874. The original Manhattan was made with rye whiskey. However, after the Prohibition, bourbon grew in popularity, and the drink adapted to the people’s newfound desire for blended whiskey. The classic Manhattan cocktail is an ideal choice for those who like less fruit-flavored drinks.

Serves 5

  • 250 ml malt whiskey
  • 125 ml sweet vermouth
  • 5 dashes of angostura bitters
  • 5 maraschino cherries

Mixing Instructions:

Pour the malt whiskey, angostura bitters, and sweet vermouth into a mixing glass. Next, fill the glass with ice and stir the mixture with a bar spoon. When the ingredients are completely combined, strain the mixture into a martini glass. For garnish, add a maraschino cherry to each glass.

      6. French Martini

The French Martini is a tropical spin on the classic cocktail by the same name. It’s a popular party drink, easy on the palate, and visually striking. The frothy top adds an extra visual effect that your guests will love.

Serves 5

  • 200 ml vodka
  • 100 ml French raspberry liqueur
  • 250 ml pineapple juice
  • 5 twists of lemon

Mixing Instructions:

Fill a cocktail shaker with medium-sized cubes of ice. Next, pour in the vodka, raspberry liqueur, and pineapple juice. Shake the mixture until the surface of the mixing tin is cold, and strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass. Using a sharp knife or a lemon stripper, cut a long piece of lemon peel and twist it onto the rim of the glass.

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      7. Gin Fizz

Last, but certainly not least, is the Gin Fizz, a subtly sweet drink with a sharp, almost bitter blend of added citrus. There are two ways to prepare this drink. The first requires less mixing and more club soda for a fizzier finish. The other uses egg whites (and a lot of mixing) to give this bubbly cocktail a creamy froth atop the body of the drink.

Serves 5

  • 250 ml dry gin
  • 125 ml lemon juice
  • 50 ml sugar syrup
  • 20 ml club soda
  • 5 lime wedges
  • 5 egg whites (optional)

Mixing Instructions:

First, fill a glass with small to medium-sized ice cubes. Next, pour the gin, lemon juice, syrup, and club soda in the glass. Stir the mixture with a bar spoon until all the ingredients are combined, and garnish with a lime wedge. For the alternate, creamier version of this cocktail (also known as the Silver Gin Fizz), fill a glass with ice and pour in the club soda. Then, combine the gin, lemon juice, syrup, and egg whites in a cocktail shaker. Shake the mixture vigorously for about ten seconds. Then, add the ice and club soda to the mixture and shake until the shaker’s surface is chilled. Last, double-strain the drink into the prepared glass.

Food, Food/Beverage, Travel

Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room Review-Seattle

This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated

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We live near Seattle and recently visited a spot near Capitol Hill I have wanted to visit for a while now. The Seattle Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room is must-stop in Seattle to experience the finest coffee crafting you can’t get anywhere else.

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If you are a Starbucks fan you have heard that CEO Howard Schultz stepped down as CEO to focus on these new roastery concepts that I feel can be a huge hit. The outside of the building is tall with very large wood doors and when you walk inside it is almost overwhelming to the eye because there is so much to see.

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Yes! It is truly the place to watch the finest beans from around the world being roasted in front of your eyes. I’d say about 40% of the atmosphere is the assembly pieces needed for the roasting and bagging of their special reserve beans. It is all around you and above you working to roast. You are simply intruding o the process to watch, taste and shop. It is an experience you won’t forget, not just a place to get coffee.

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Starbucks travels the world for the finest beans and develop a signature roast for the most special of those beans found. These signature roasts become the Starbucks Special Reserve beans for sale at the Roastery, online and some storefronts.

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When you walk in you are greeted then you can head into the gift shop or head to the first bar for some coffee or pastries and salads. Keep walking to the back and you get some museum-style decor to view and larger seating areas including a private area for large crowds you can try and hold down for you group.

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Walk upstairs to see a fantastic view of roasting from above.

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If you take a seat and choose to browse the house menu it can be confusing as there are recipes you have never seen anywhere else. At the front bar you can order your typical drinks you are used to but in the back you get some extra help. If you request an explanation of what you are wanting to taste a Barista will come sit with you like we had. He sat and helped explain the entire menu and choose a drink we may like based on our conversations and tastes we talked about.

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Below is the Smoked Butterscotch Latte my BIL ordered. This one is sweet and so creamy. It is espresso and whole milk infused with smoked butterscotch and black pepper. He challenged my BIL to try despite the pepper note and it was fantastic.

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They made my son a butterscotch hot chocolate. My son thought it had some orange flavor so perhaps it was a smoked butterscotch used or a special blend.

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What did I order? I had to try the Shakerato Bianco. I have no words-speechless to the divine taste. You need to love the espresso taste for this one. A Shakerato is Italian iced coffee drink featuring freshly ground espresso shaken over ice and poured into a martini glass. So you get some crunch of tiny ice particles in each sip.

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Because there were more of us we also ordered the taster which means we chose 3 of the days brews and had them in carafes with small tasting cups for sampling. This is a great way to give a few a try and please everyones palate at the table.

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From my 8 year old son to my Father we all enjoyed the visit. You cannot comfortably walk here from Pike Place as it is many blocks up hill. However in the day of Seattle traveling you can find a parking spot and visit perhaps after dinner at some of the fantastic restaurants within a block or two of the Roastery. Located at 1124 Pike St. Seattle, Wa. 

Food/Beverage, Natural Foods

Healthy Breakfast Recipes with Nature’s Path

Samples sent for feature

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If there is any season that warrants the best healthy breakfast recipes it is winter. If you like browsing breakfast recipes, Nature’s Path has delicious ones such as the Love Crunch Family-Style Pancake. See recipe <<HERE>>.

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My son loves oatmeal and the Nature’s Path Pumpkin Spice with Chia hot oatmeal is filling enough for him to head out the door full and ready to start the day.

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You can see the seeds and ingredients in the oatmeal because they are real ingredients made with real seeds and grains.

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From premium organic granola to oatmeal and cereals, Nature’s Path has healthy breakfast options for everyone in your family. You’ll find more great beverage and meal recipes at their official website.

The Giveaway

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1 lucky reader will win a bundle from Nature’s Path. Enter below. Open to US and ends on 1/2. Good luck!

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