Subscription Service Review! Raw Spice Bar (Quarterly Subscription)

Welcome back to my spot, or if you’ve never been before, then welcome!

Today I’ll be reviewing a subscription service that I’ve written about before, Raw Spice Bar. You can read up on the monthly version of their subscription that we’ve received here and here. (In the second link, you can see the side-by-side difference in packet size and appearance) The difference between those reviews and today’s review is that today, I’ll be reviewing their quarterly subscription rather than monthly.

How this came about is that Raw Spice Bar sent me an email offer to try out their quarterly subscription for $12 (it’s typically $26) so I signed up for the first run-through of it and then changed my subscription back to monthly, because I’m just not ready to spend $30 on a spice subscription. I’m just not working with that big of a kitchen and so therefore, cannot be about that life yet!

So with the quarterly subscription, you’ll get 6 freshly ground, seasonal spices and blends every 3 months. Each packet contains around 1.1 oz of spice, vs the .3 oz that you have in every packet from the monthly subscription. Another thing about the packets themselves is that with the monthly subscription, you receive single-use, non-resealable packets, while the quarterly subscription gives you large, resealable, wax paper envelopes so that you don’t have to worry about moisture getting in after you’ve opened one and haven’t used all of it!

For example, we received a packet of hickory smoked sea salt that we used for three different purposes (seasoning steaks, adding to mashed potatoes and on avocado) before it was gone, and until we finished it, there was a poor, folded over little sky-blue paper packet in my kitchen that I was constantly nervous about spilling out everywhere or soaking up moisture from the air and turning into a chunk of hickory smoked salt. One last difference I noticed in the differently-sized envelopes is that whereas you could smell the spices pretty clearly through the small ones, you can hardly smell anything at all through the bigger ones (a good thing, in my opinion).

Here we go, on to the individual spice reviews!

First out of the package is a red-labeled envelope containing 1.1 oz of “Unpumpkin Pie Spice“. The ingredient list is as follows: “Ginger, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, black peppercorns, star anise“. Star anise sounds somewhat exotic, but it seems to be a favorite ingredient of theirs in many blends.

At this juncture, I’ll point out another difference between the subscriptions. Our monthly subscription came with cards (usually four) with recipe suggestions for the ingredients they sent. In the quarterly, I received some odd, pointless-seeming ones with self-promotion, a notice that with my quarterly subscription, I always get 25% off spices I order from their shop, and a list titled, “12 Things That Bring Us Joy”. Yeah, I’m not too sure about these.

Next, also in a redlabeled envelope, is “Kashmir Chiles Tandoori“. It has 1.1 oz of “Kashmiri chiles, Cayenne chiles, turmeric, paprika, coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, green cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, ginger (Yes, it says it twice, this is not a typo. I try to keep all my reviews as accurate as possible so that you have the best viewpoint), garlic, nutmeg, cloves”.

In a light blue label is their “Salt Free Greek Seasoning“. This one only has .75 oz inside and contains “Tellicherry black peppercorns, onion granules, garlic granules, Greek oregano, thyme, dill, rosemary, lemon peel, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg”.

The “Punjabi Garam Masala” is also in a light blue label. I’m probably the most excited for this one, because although I have no idea what I’ll end up making with it, I’ve heard of garam masala before. This envelope has the usual 1.1 oz of content, including “Toasted coriander, toasted cumin, black peppercorns, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, green cardamom, bay leaves, black cardamom, black cumin, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, star anise“.

Second to last, wearing red, is the “Shichimi Togarashi“. Now, I don’t know what that means, so I looked it up. Wikipedia gave me the definition, “Shichimi tōgarashi, a condiment that is a mixture of seven different ingredients that varies by maker”. Specific and helpful! Anyway, here are the ingredients: “Black peppercorns, red chile flakes, garlic, ginger, kelp, white poppy seeds, black sesame seeds, orange zest“. It has 1.1 oz inside.

Last for today, but definitely not least, is the “Freshly Ground Chiles Taco“, also in red. This one has a solid 1.0 oz. I’m excited for this as well; it has ‘Taco’ in the name! The ingredients list for this mixture is, “Toasted New Mexican, Ancho, Guajillo & Arbol chiles, toasted cumin, oregano, toasted coriander, black peppercorns, hot Spanish smoked paprika, cayenne pepper“. Spicy

I’m excited to try out these new additions to my spice rack and I can hardly believe that I have such a big amount! If you decide to try Raw Spice Bar for yourself, or if you already are, leave a comment below and chime in with your thoughts and experiences!

Before you go, check out what’s new in Hazel’s Shop.The holiday season is fast approaching and every purchase (most items are $5 or less!) helps fund a small business and gets us a little closer to our goal of a farm! Even sharing the page on social media helps ^_^

Thanks for Reading!

Heather & Hazel

 

 

 

Subscription Service Review! Raw Spice Bar, September 2017

Hello and welcome back to my little review spot!

Today we got in this month’s delivery from Raw Spice Bar and I’m excited to share it with you. In case you didn’t see my post from last month about it, Raw Spice Bar is a subscription service (we have the monthly subscription for $8, shipping included, though there is also a quarterly option). Included are individual serving amounts of three different spices and/or salts meant to represent one region. It also comes with four different recipes for suggested use of your new ingredients.

Here is what we received:

RawSpiceBar2

Before I even opened the the (thick) envelope, I could detect an intense scent of anise. Not usually my cup of tea, but I was still eager to see what was waiting. After I pulled the packets out, I noticed that they were the same colors as the ones we received last month. I did look up some other reviews of this service and see some different-colored packets, though, so never fear!

First in the picture is the sky blue packet, the “Seaweed & Sesame Gomasio”. Goma means ‘sesame’ and Shio means ‘salt’, so as you can gather now, it’s a sesame (seasoned) salt. This one has no detectable scent through the packet and the ingredients on the packet are: “White Sesame Seeds, Black Sesame Seeds, Sea Salt, Red Chiles, Spices”. The recipe suggestion for this one was ‘Furikake Nori Edamame’. I probably won’t be preparing this one, myself. Ever since Fukushima, (which noone should forget about! It’s still happening!) I don’t eat much from the ocean, and I’ve never been a fan of the taste of seaweed anyway.

Next up, in the red packet, we have the “Turmeric Japanese Curry”, which smells of cumin and clove through the package it’s in. The ingredients list is: ‘Turmeric, Toasted Cumin, Green Cardamom, Black Peppercorns, Cayenne Pepper, Fennel, Clove”. This one came with two recipe suggestions, ‘Japanese Curry Fried Rice’ and ‘Japanese Vegetable Curry’, both of which sound tasty!

Last up is “The Super Mushrooms”, which is in a purple packet, the same as last month’s “The Super Berries”. I’m sensing a purple super-foods theme, here! This envelope has a strong licorice scent coming through. Ingredients are listed as: “Reishi Mushroom (one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally), Cacao, Star Anise, Rose Anise, Cinnamon, Licorice Root”. HOLY LICORICE. The recipe suggestion for this one is called ‘Reishi Cocoa Latte’. I’m not sure how this one will go over for me either, with all the licorice scent and flavor in a cocoa… but I’ll give it a try!

Overall, I’m not as excited about this month’s as I was last’s. However, I still feel that it’s well worth the price and I’m still looking forward to more from Raw Spice Bar!

Comment below if you got this month’s!

Love,

Heather & Hazel

Subscription Service Review! $8 Raw Spice Bar

RawSpiceBar

Hello friends and welcome back to my blog!

Tonight I’ll be sharing my initial review of a new subscription service that we are trying out. It’s called Raw Spice Bar and it only costs $8 per month. You receive three different single serving amounts of different spices each month, along with a couple of recipe cards containing ideas for how to use your new ingredients.

Now I don’t know about all of you out there in web-land, but I don’t exactly have an adventurous spice rack. To be honest (and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this here, but…) most of the bottles and containers that adorn my kitchen hutch are different seasonings and rubs for meat. However, it seems like every time I’m on an excursion to the grocery store and I’m browsing the aisle with all the spices and baking goodies, that ish tends to be out of my price range. Now, I don’t mean that if I need or want a certain ingredient, I don’t have the money to go buy it. It means that as an unplanned purchase, those little-bitty bottles hurt the pocketbook!

After I noticed the name first, I then saw the price. $8 per month. Couldn’t hurt to try out a couple of times, could it? I did look up a few different reviews on their service first, but they seemed to vary and didn’t give me much black and white opinion as far as what I wanted to know. So we sent off, excited to try it.

Within a day or two, I received an email from the site (because I’d signed up for their email list or something along those lines before we actually signed up with a credit card) saying that if I signed up for a subscription, that they would include a free Herbs de Provence. I was a little upset at first. A- I’d always wanted to find out what Herbs de Provence are. I’ve only ever seen it called for in very few recipes. B- I just signed up with them! Of course I sent an email to them right away, explaining the situation. Literally, I told them that I had just sent off my credit card info, was still awaiting my first ever package from them and would they please consider including one of the packets of Herbs de Provence with my subscription when it was sent out?

Now, I’ll be honest with you. They never did send me an email back. I wrote it off, assuming that like most other businesses, they were busy making so much money that they didn’t care too much how I felt, one way or the other (I’m looking at you, Honest Co!).

Two days after I received my initial package from Raw Spice Bar, I found another envelope from them in my mailbox. Sure enough, it was the packet of Herbs de Provence, and while the three different packets that you receive each month are typically single-use size (my first three were all the same amount, .3 oz), this was literally 3x the size of those (.9oz)! You can see from the picture up above what type of size difference I’m talking about.

So, Herbs de Provence aside, I’ll tell you about what came in my first subscription envelope. Before I start, I’ll also tell you that I haven’t opened any of my single-use packets because they aren’t resealable and I don’t fancy going out to Michael’s and buying itsy-bitsy glass containers to put them in and trying to transcribe all the information from the packets onto bitty chalkboard paint labels. I’m not a Pinterest star, no shame. I will tell you what information the packets give me, as well as the recipe recommendations that came with them.

First up is the ‘Smoky Chiles & Mustard Memphis’. They all say
“100% Pure Spices
FRESHLY GROUND
.3oz” and that, under the name of the spice, makes up the front of each packet, though they’re different colors. This one is red. The ingredients are on the back, but if you hold the packet up to your nose, you can already smell the black peppercorns and paprika. The ingredient list is as follows: “Toasted Yellow Mustard Seeds, Smoky Paprika, Onion, Garlic, Black Peppercorns, Celery seed, Thyme, Oregano”. The recipe cards suggested using it as both a dry rub for ribs and for portobello burgers.

Next up was a one ingredient packet, colored sky blue. It contained hickory smoked sea salt, which I wasn’t able to smell through the packet. They suggested using it in a creamy potato salad, the recipe which was on their blog. It actually sounds amazing, and I’m pretty picky about potato salad.

The last packet was a royal purple and it contained “THE SUPER BERRIES”. Get this, the ingredients are Amla (botanically known as Amilica Embillicus, is a small tree native to the Indian subcontinent that produces plum sized yellow fruit with some amazing benefits for our health), Acai, Turmeric (the only ingredient I could  detect before opening), Ginger, Wild Blueberries, Lacuma (a misspelling of Lucuma, Pouteria lucuma (lúcuma) is a subtropical fruit native to the Andean valleys and produced in Chile, Peru, and Ecuador) and Spirulina. I wasn’t expecting this one, though I was far from disappointed to find it with the others. The recipe suggestion for using this one was a “Super Berries Acai Breakfast Bowl”. It’s actually an 8 or 9 ingredient recipe, though, so I could much more easily see me using the powdered superfoods packet in a couple of smoothies for the Mister and I. If you’re a lover of smoothies and using Greek yogurt in them like I am, you should give the brand Fage a try. It’s one of the absolute best Greek yogurts that you can get your hands on in North America.

A quick search told me that Herbs de Provence are most commonly used on meat and fish or sometimes in vegetable stews. Some further investigation provided me with a better suggestion, especially since I’ve been trying to get the Mister further away from microwaves. Whole New Mom does a lot of experimentation with popcorn, it seems, and there I found this recipe for Urban Popcorn. 

I haven’t gotten around to buying an independent popcorn maker yet, so if any of you out there get around to trying this or have a favorite use of your own for Herbs de Provence, or any of these blends, leave your comments below!

Have a wonderful day, everyone!

 

Subscription Service Review-$10 Ipsy Glam Bags

Hello, fellow makeup lovers! Welcome back to my blog and thanks again for following along!

About three years ago, I finally purchased an Ipsy subscription. They’re only $10 per month, a shockingly low price for anything these days (I just spent $9 on a clear-colored lip liner from Walgreen’s the other day). Each month, they send you a makeup bag (These are different each month and have two variations of the bags lots of times. For example, they sent out a bag in November 2016 that was a navy blue with constellations on it. The bag I received had gold constellations while the bag that my mom received had silver constellations, as well as coordinating zippers and zipper pulls. I wish I had a use for both of them, I would have asked for hers as well!).

Now, a word about their customer service. I had my first month’s Glam Bag sent to my mom’s house, since I was living somewhere without reliable mail service. She called me on the phone, to tell me that it had come in the mail and she would put it up for me. I thanked her because I didn’t have a car and couldn’t get around very easily. The next day, she sent me a text message, asking how I liked my bag. I was confused because I hadn’t even left my house except to go to work and back. Turns out, one of my younger sisters stole the whole bag from inside the pink, shiny envelope that they’re sent out in each month. I was devastated, crushed. It says right there on the website that there are only so many of each item. I didn’t have the extra money on my card right then and had been so excited. I went ahead and sent the customer care team an email, explaining what happened (in nicer words than I really wanted to) and asked if they could please throw together another Glam Bag for me that month and to just charge my card again. They responded within a 24-hour period with a sincere-sounding apology about what had transpired. They jokingly suggested that my sisters get a Glam Bag of their own and then promptly sent me another bag out without charging me. I was bowled over. Shocked. Amazed. Impressed. I was hooked.

There will typically be five items in your bag each month. These can include sample and/or full sized products such as makeup brushes (I’ve probably received at least 10 different brushes, at least 8 of these have been full-sized and now I will never need to purchase a makeup brush myself ever again! Besides, buying brushes is such a bitch, they’re usually so pricey but in these instances, you’d be receiving full-sized brushes from brands like Luxie, whose brushes range from $12-$24 (for $2) or Skone Cosmetics, ranging from $9-$21 (for less than $2).

Other makeup products that you may receive include things like lipsticks, lip gloss, lip liner, blush, eyeliner, primers, eye shadow, skin creams, exfoliants, peels, face masks, highlighters, contouring tools, mascara, acne and skin treatments, etc. Pretty much everything and anything that you could ever use to do up your face!

I’ve received products from brands like Urban DecayThe Balm CosmeticsTrust Fund BeautyNYX CosmeticsIT Cosmetics (best eyeliner pencil EVER!) and Elizabeth Mott, to give you some idea of what we’re working with, here. I even had one of those Lisa Frank X Glamour Dolls blush brushes sent to me a month before they were released for sale to the general public!

Overall, I would rate this company and service a 4.5 Stars out of 5. You would be doing yourself a dis-service if you don’t at least check them out. Here Is The Ipsy Link but don’t forget! I still have 5 Free Glam Bags to Send Out, so you could actually end up trying your first one for free! Leave a comment below if you’re interested!

Smooches!

Heather

Baby Product Review! Nuby Vibe-eez Vibrating Teether, Lion Variety

Hello everyone and welcome back!

Recently our little one started drooling a lot, one of the first signs that she’s starting to cut teeth. The horror! I’m actually excited, though I know there are a lot of trials to come.

Other signs that made it evident to me that she was beginning to teethe (teeth? >.< sp.) were that:

  • She is very fussy immediately upon waking and realizing she isn’t being held, where as she used to slowly wake up and come to full realization of her surroundings.
  • Upon waking, she immediately lets out a sharp-pitched cry, this one letting me know that she’s in some type of pain or discomfort
  • She doesn’t want to be put down, ever. She would rather be held to the point where she’s almost falling asleep on our shoulders than anywhere else. This is not her usual self and points out to me that she’s craving company and comfort.
  • The last thing that I noticed is that she’ll turn away from breastfeeding to let out a cry until I comfort her and guide her back to it.

We had a couple of those gel freeze teething toys already in the freezer and ready to go (because Mom believes that there’s no such thing as being too prepared) but she wasn’t too keen on them yet, or the wooden ring teething necklace that I bought her (there will be a final product review on that soon, you can check out Part 1 and Part 2 here).

All that added up to a trip to the store for some different teethers, to me. One of the items I picked out was Nuby’s Vibe-eez Vibrating Teether. They had a lion and an octopus version, we went with the lion.

It’s a circular teething toy with three softer, rubbery loops on one side for baby to gum on. On the other side is a large button that you hold to make it vibrate. It takes one battery, I believe a double A, but don’t quote me on that. It might be a triple.

My baby loves this toy. As soon as I put it in her mouth and it started vibrating, she was hooked. She likes to mouth on it as long as she’s awake and in a (decently) good mood. Well worth the $12 price tag! The only thing that I would change about this is making it with an on/off switch so the baby could hold it themselves.

All in all, I’d rate this product a 4.5/5!

Product Review- Little Duck Organics Tiny Gummies Probiotic Fruit & Veggie Snacks, Pomegranate Blueberry & Acai

I saw these again when I was at Target earlier today and decided to both pick up a pouch of them and write a review on them, since I obviously liked them enough to purchase them a second time.

On a side note, when I’ve seen these, they have been in the Target checkout lane and there are never very many of them. This time, there was only the one lone pouch, his buddies had departed in search of better places.

These pouches are .7 oz and I feel like there is a pretty good amount of product in them, considering they’re aimed towards young children. (I bought these last time and this time under the excuse of trying them before my child ever does.) The packaging is cute and appealing, pink and white and the pouch is easy to tear open.

The fruit snacks sit down in the bottom of the pouch, with a prune-like stickiness to them. They are in the shape of duckies and a little meatier and thicker than your average Welch’s fruit snack, though I find that most of the organic gummies are like this. The flavor is tart at first with a following sweetness that is still far from overkill. They are a refreshing break from the typical so-sweet fruit snack and also contain probiotics, which can only help little tummies!

Overall I’d rate these a 4/5. Definitely worth a try and a purchase if you run across them. These cost $1 per pouch in the Target checkout.

Baby Product Review! Sakura Bloom’s Ring Sling Baby Carrier

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! Or Welcome, if you’ve never been here! Today I have my review of Sakura Bloom brand’s ring sling baby carrier.

If you don’t know what a ring sling is, it’s a long piece of fabric that slips through two rings and back through for tension (like the D-rings on your belt), then you slip the sash formed over your shoulder, put baby inside in some particular positions and then cinch it so that baby is snug, comfortable and safe.

I’ll start by saying that we did get our ring sling second hand. We paid $50 for it, whereas new ones can run you upwards of $100 depending on the brand and variety.

The fabric on ours is linen and a refreshing light green color. It’s breathable, though baby can get quite warm when being carried so close to your own body and collecting heat in the little pouch she’s in, so make sure you check them often. I like to pull back a side of the fabric and blow in there to cool it down a little bit. They do make different fabrics, including mesh for summer and water use. I like the fact that mine is solid, allowing me to make a shady spot for little one in the sun (when she’s on her side in it). I’ve also used the tail end to cover her face when carrying her tummy to tummy.

The fabric is very strong. I’ve bent over and literally had her suspended in the sling, hanging from my body and she never slipped an inch. I’ve also tried tugging at the fabric in the rings to adjust it and been unable to force it to give when it isn’t in the right position, so I would say you have very little to worry about as far as losing tension.

The rings are very strong as well. They’re large and so far, have no signs of damage or wear, even with a previous owner and us putting it through the dryer.

Something particular to our Sakura Bloom brand sling is that the fabric is shorter than other ring slings. This could be problematic for some people, though I am pretty short and small, so it doesn’t bother me at all and gives me less to have to work with.

I hand wash my sling with a little bit of Doctor Bronner’s Baby variety liquid soap and then let it hang dry. If you don’t have the time, you can also stick a sock over the rings and throw it in the dryer on low.

Overall, I love this product and I’m extremely grateful that I got the opportunity to use it while she’s still small enough (they cap out recommending them at about 35 pounds). All thanks goes to Dad for buying it for us. It’s been a life saver, allowing us to be out and about and doing normal things in public 75% more.

I would definitely recommend this to new moms and dads, or even as a gift if you know someone who is expecting.

Local Chef Kitchen – Local Restaurant Review

My boyfriend has been after me to try this restaurant location that opened up right down the road from us not too long ago. 

Today was our first ever visit to Local Chef Kitchen.

I was immediately impressed by the order boards over the register, they’re obviously re-written often.

The second thing that I noticed is that all the products that they sell are locally made. Their sodas (in coolers, tap is not available), their kombuca (both locally made AND available on tap!) and they also offer lots of locally made jams and jellies (I noticed strawberry rhubarb, plum and elderberry, in particular) as well as local honey.

The food was DELICIOUS. We both ordered the Eggs Benedict with Hollandaise. The fruit on the side was wonderful. It was a freshly cut mix with apples, grapefruit and blueberries with a little bit of pineapple. I’ve never had a side of fruit this good anywhere else, EVER. The fried potatoes on the side were a treat as well. I typically don’t care for fried potatoes. I would give up potato chips for the rest of my life just to have these fried potatoes at dinner every other night. They were to die for. The eggs on our Benedicts were delicious-tasting, with beautiful, healthy, golden yolks. I ate every bite of my food.

We also got to talk to the chef who runs the spot and he was everything I hope for in a chef ^_^ (this coming from someone who works in the industry).

This is an amazing option and we’ll be back very often, I’m sure.

They’re located at 15270 Manchester Road in Ballwin. Give them a try and then remember to tell your friends!

Baby Product Review! The Vintage Honey Shop’s Wooden Ring Teething Necklace, Part 2/3

Almost three weeks ago now, I typed up a blog post about how I had just ordered a handmade necklace from a website called The Vintage Honey Shop. I received it pretty quickly, it arrived from a bordering state in the mail in about a week, give or take. We’ll say take, because I really want to say that it only took about five days, but there may have been some weekend days in there that I’m forgetting to account for. vintage_honey_shop-vhjan2_17-0089_grande

This is the actual design that I ordered. The fabric is called Peachy Pink Cotton Blossoms.

I’ll start by saying that my little one is still too small to use this for teething purposes, but I’ll continue with my review because it seems like a promising product already anyway.

First off, the wooden teething ring. The site claims that this ring and the beads along the length of the necklace are made from organic wood. I can’t back that or deny it, I have no idea. I will say, however, that the ring is exceptionally smooth (the beads aren’t exposed) and feels very nice to the touch.

There are NO rough bits, edges, divots in the wood, etc. The fabric also feels very nice to the touch, very clean and new. You’ll probably want to work the necklace around a bit in your hands as it does feel stiff, though I’m not sure whether or not that will change or help.

I also like how the ends tie with a ribbon. Not the ribbon idea itself, as I’m not sure whether or not it will hold up and not unravel eventually, but the fact that you can tie it at different lengths depending on where you need it to come down to.

I’ve gotten my 1-Month baby to hold onto the ring itself while feeding, though that’s been all for now. I believe it’s a matter of training them with it as they get older, including popping the ring into their mouth to show them the example of chewing on it. I’ll keep putting her hands on it and when she can finally hold her head up on her own, I’ll be working on introducing her to the beads and the length of the necklace while I hold her. I truly believe that when she can be carried around and worn after she can hold her head up, that this necklace will be worth it’s weight in gold as a teething option, a toy and a visual for her to watch as the necklace moves around while it’s being worn.

I’ll make another post here in a month or so when she starts cutting teeth as an update to this review, though it’ll be in a different post.

Thanks for reading!

Comment below if you’ve tried one of these or something comparable ^_^