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Friday, February 21, 2014

Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies: Spa Party Time!

Thanks to the awesomeness that is House Party, It was Spa Time at my house recently! The theme was strawberries and healthy living, and the star was Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions Hair, Skin, and Nails Gummies!

From the Nature's Bounty website:

Looking good and feeling great has never been this delicious! Nature's Bounty® Optimal Solutions® Hair, Skin & Nails Gummies contains just the right balance of nutrients to support lustrous hair, healthy nails and vibrant skin, all in a delicious strawberry flavored gummy.

 I will state that they really are delicious. They have a very fresh strawberry taste, and the gummies are nice and soft. It's tough not to eat the whole bottle.

As far as results, I have been taking them for a week, and I'm definitely seeing stronger nails and softer skin. We'll see what happens to the hair. (.:

We made ourselves pretty, and of course, there was food!

Not to mention drinks: Homemade lemonade, tea and coffee!

The menu included mini sandwiches (egg salad and PB&J), both mango and fruit salsas with lime and chocolate tortilla chips, and a rich chocolate fondue station!

The fruit salsa was VERY simple...I just pulsed fresh strawberries and honeydew melon quickly in the food processor, then added a bit of honey and lime juice. It was a perfect match with organic chocolate tortilla chips.

In addition, I whipped up a simple, but delicious strawberry dessert, The Strawberry Banana Delight!

It uses fresh bananas and strawberry Jell-O, and is so creamy and tasty, but still good for you. Interested? Recipe is here.

To top off our spa experience, my husband played smoothie barista, and made Antioxidant Refresher Smoothies. The ingredients will surprise you.

 1/4 cup red cabbage,
1 stalk celery, halved,
1 apple, halved,
3/4 cup blueberries,
1/2 cup watermelon,
2 cups ice 


1/4 cup red cabbage,
1 stalk celery, halved,
1 apple, halved,
3/4 cup blueberries,
1/2 cup watermelon,
2 cups ice - See more at:

 Don't be afraid. You seriously do not taste the cabbage. It's delicious.

This was probably the first party that we had goodies, yet left feeling healthier than we did when we came. A wonderful time was had by all.

I received free products from House Party and Nature's Bounty in exchange for my review and sharing the product in a party setting. My opinions are my own.

1/4 cup red cabbage,
1 stalk celery, halved,
1 apple, halved,
3/4 cup blueberries,
1/2 cup watermelon,
2 cups ice - See more at:
1/4 cup red cabbage,
1 stalk celery, halved,
1 apple, halved,
3/4 cup blueberries,
1/2 cup watermelon,
2 cups ice - See more at:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wonderful Pistachios: So Many Nut Jokes, So Little Time.

So I was given the opportunity to host a Big Game bash featuring one of my favorite items in the world: Wonderful Pistachios. I went nuts, especially since I wouldn't have to shell out for a big bag of them. (Rimshot) Since Wonderful Pistachios are so fabulously healthy, I figured I'd be nuts not to go with a "Healthy But Tasty" theme, with healthy spins on standard superbowl faves. Ta-daa!

For the wings: I baked them in the oven on a flat baking sheet at 400 degrees after brushing them with a bit of hot sauce. It takes quite a while for  them to get crunchy using this method, so plan accordingly. Once done, I tossed them in a basic wing sauce using 1/3 cup butter and 1/4 cup hot sauce. 

For the nachos: I used organic blue corn tortilla chips as a base, and topped it with a light cheese sauce, black beans, seasoned white chicken breast, fresh tomatoes and chopped fresh jalapenos.

The  meatballs are a little less standard, but still  a staple for many sports gatherings. The sauce is incredibly simple: it's just chili sauce and grape jelly. Seriously. It's really good. it's usually made with frozen meatballs, so for my healthier spin, I made my own. I used ground turkey for the meatballs, and sugar-free grape jelly in the sauce.

Recipe: (makes 16 meatballs)
Meatballs, made your way
12 fluid ounces tomato-based chili sauce
1 1/4 cups grape jelly

  1. In a large skillet, heat shortening over medium heat. Add meatballs, and cook until browned, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from skillet, and drain on paper towels.
  2. Add chili sauce and jelly to skillet; heat, stirring, until jelly is melted. Return meatballs to skillet, and stir until coated. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

I got the recipe here.  It has a handy tool for adjusting the amount if needed.

The condiments even fit the theme. I used light ranch, light bleu cheese, and a fresh salsa.


Presenting center stage, of course, is a big bowl of shelled and tempting Wonderful Pistachios. The bowl is ingenious...the bottom section holds the shells. I opted to have them unshelled for ease of munch.

Included were some great favors...thundersticks, which the kids kept using as swords, and stress balls, as well as fabulous single-serve nut packs.

The comments were endless, about squeezing nuts, giant nuts, to one man commenting that his wife had his nuts in her purse. Apparently on the way home, someone even left his nuts at the gas station by mistake. Luckily, they were recovered.

Wonderful Pistachios are a staple for me...I keep them handy for those "temptation moments" when you want a salty snack, and they're great for when you're out and about and starving. I find they're always very fresh and tasty.

Beware if you decide to take on the Speed Cracking Challenge, however. There are some real nuts out there that are not amused.

When Nuts Are Cracked, People Are Unhappy. from Mojocastle on Vimeo.

I received free products from Crowdtap in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Taco Bell Sauces: Lose The Packets, It's Party Time!

Okay, I know you all have it. The plastic bag or container of Taco Bell sauce packets. We all hoard them, planning to give our next taco night that wonderful zing, or maybe just make that Bloody Mary a bit more spicy.

Replace it...there's new sauces in town. It's about time they did this.

Yes, you can actually get those great Taco Bell Sauces all bottled up and ready to spice up your quesadilla in the grocery store now. I found out through a Hosted Party opportunity at my friendly neighborhood Crowdtap.

They're not just for tacos anymore, either. Check this spread:

Taco supplies with both beef and chicken, queso, black beans, Spanish rice, Mexican bruschetta, and little taco chicken bites, all starring Taco Bell Sauces!

The chicken and taco meat was made with the standard taco seasoning and a generous application of the Mild flavor sauce. 

I added a dash of Hot flavor sauce to the queso.

For the black beans, I simmered them in the Verde sauce and a splash of lime juice. They were great both as a side and a vegetarian option.

I missed taking a pic of the rice, but that was made using Mild Sauce.

The Mexican bruschetta was a bit of an invention on my part. I saw a few complex recipes, but figured I'd keep it simple. A standard bruscetta is Italian fare, and is usually fresh tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella and olive oil. For this version, I used a cheddar and jack blend of cheese, a chunky fresh salsa, and olive oil pan spray.

First, slice a nice crusty French bread into slices, spritz with olive oil pan spray and toast in the oven at 350 until crisp. If you're a purist, a quick swipe with regular olive oil using a brush will work, too.

Add a bit of the cheese...

And top with the salsa! I added a dash of the Verde sauce to the salsa for a bit of extra kick.

The beauty of these is that they're great as is, but the bread holds up great to extra toppings. People can get creative.

My other snack bites are seriously simple. I had already made white chicken breast into taco meat, so I just needed to nab a few pieces from there.

Start with the "scoop" style tortilla chips, and sprinkle a little cheese inside:

Put a piece of the chicken inside:

Toss in the over for JUST a minute or so. You want the cheese to melt, but not get crusty. Remove, plate, and garnish with salsa or whatever you like. Cheese and chicken are pretty universal. I used a mixture of tomatoes and green chilis flavored with Fire Sauce. Again, very conducive to customizing to taste using the taco condiments, and a nice, easy one bite snack. I think these would be great for any sports gathering.

Since the Taco Bell Sauces entered the house, my other hot sauces have been very neglected. Even my husband's scrambled eggs sport a coating of Fire Sauce instead of the usual hot sauce. I can't wait to see what other new taste treats are in my future.

And to answer the number one question, yes, they are as good as what's the the packets, only without the difficulty of use and possibility of face splatters. I'm going to have to stockpile this stuff.

I received free products from Crowdtap in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Liquid Ice Energy Drink: Tastes GREAT, Feels Better!

I know that a forty-year-old mom of three is not the stuff that energy drink commercials are made of. I don't skateboard off of Mount Fuji, and if someone asked me to jump out of anything that's in motion, I'd either take their temperature or call their parents. Or both.

That does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that I lead a sedentary life. Besides the mom position, I also hold the role of small business owner, wife, and as you see, blogger. I don't sleep. At all.

Coffee is the love of my life, but sometimes you gotta cheat, because you're just not getting what you need to push through.

Meet my new lover.

First off, it tastes DELICIOUS. None of that nasty-sweet flavor or cloying aftertaste here. It's crisp, fresh, and citrusy, and makes you feel seriously refreshed from the taste alone. Oh, and it's a very pretty shade of blue.

But does it work?

I'm getting to that.


This fabulous brew has been my go-to all-nighter fuel since I tried it. I'm due for a restock, in fact. It kicks low energy's butt as well as any leading brand, and more.

It even comes in sugar-free.

And then there's The Boss.

Image courtesy of

It's as delish as the other flavors, with a fruitier, richer taste, and the same great effects.

So what's so cool about these compared to other brands?

Other than being delicious and pretty, they also contain less caffeine, and rely on B-Vites for kick instead. I personally find that makes for a much longer energy duration, and less plummeting afterwards.

It also makes it a fabulous mixer for alcoholic drinks. Imbibe responsibly, though.

You can currently purchase Liquid Ice Products (and apparel) at their online shop here.You can also find it on Amazon. They are also looking for new distributors, so if you're interested, you can contact them.

Check them out. You won't be disappointed. If nothing else, their website is extremely cool.

While I won free products in their contest,  I was not required to post this review, nor received any compensation in exchange for it. All  listed opinions are true and correct.

Pampers Swaddlers, a Real Softie...Now Up To Size 5!

Despite a wide age range in my kids (they're fourteen, four, and two), there was one thing that was consistent: They all came home from the hospital in Pampers Swaddlers. The scent and softness became an integral part of those first memories.

Now you can have that softness and sweetness (and the wonderful Pampers protection) for your bigger baby!

I was chosen by Crowdtap to participate in a sample and share. My daughter is very happy I did. I had no idea that you could get Swaddlers for anything but newborns. My kids all like soft things best, and obviously when you're talking about right next to the most sensitive skin there is, the softer the better.

And here's my little supermodel, showing off her new togs:

 She was so comfy, she didn't want to put anything else on. She just snuggled right in.

Here's the deets: (From

  • Pampers softest diaper ever wraps your baby in comfort and protection
  • Color-changing wetness indicator
  • Unique Absorb Away Liner pulls wetness and mess away from baby's skin

  • Here's a visual. Pictured: The wetness indicator. That's the narrow yellow line, not Elmo.

    When they say soft, they mean soft. Check out the lining:

    It's even softer than it looks. As for the whisking away the nasty, it's for real. She has a bit of a sensitive hiney, and if she's damp for too long, it's rash city. Since we switched to these, not a flareup in sight AND no wet or poop-throughs! Not to mention my personal thrill of being harkened back to my wonderful newborn memories with every whiff of the scent. And this time, I'm a lot more comfortable. (.: I seriously recommend them.

    For more info, check out the Swaddlers page here.

    If you'd like to hear an opinion straight from the baby's mouth, here's a video review:

    I received free products from Pampers and Crowdtap in exchange for my review. My opinions are my own.