Friday, October 12, 2018

Drinkmate Spritzer

A while back, I reviewed the original Drinkmate carbonator, and gave it my thumbs up.

This time, they sent me their new Spritzer, which is a smaller, more compact unit.

Basically, they got rid of the stand, so it's just the head that attaches to the bottle you're going to carbonate, and a connector to the CO2 tanks.

It's not quite as industrial looking as that sounds, as you can see from the photo, although if you found it in someone's kitchen drawer, you might not know exactly what it is.

The Drinkmate Spritzer came with the smaller water bottles, rather than the larger one that came with the original Drinkmate. It also included two 3-ounce CO2 canisters for carbonating.

First, the operation of these two devices is nearly identical, and they use the same type of bottles, so you can swap between the two devices - for example if you have one at home and one at work. When using a small 3-ounce CO2 canister with the Spritzer, the canister is completely enclosed. The Spritzer can also use the larger 60-liter canister, but then it would be much bulkier. If you're making a lot of fizzy water, the larger canisters might make more sense even though it wouldn't look quite as sleek. But if you want to take the carbonator along on a picnic or tuck it in your desk drawer, the smaller canister, enclosed in the device, might make a lot more sense.

One of the main selling points of the Drinkmates is that you can use them to carbonate any beverage. With other carbonators, you can only carbonate water, then add flavor. That means you can't carbonate things like wine or juice or tea. While I mostly use mine for water, it's kind of fun to carbonate other things.

After I used the Spritzer a few times, I realized there were some distinct advantages to the smaller bottles. For one thing, that's a nice serving size for me. When I used the bigger bottles, I poured the fizzy water into a glass. With the smaller bottles, I drank straight from the bottle.

So I bought extra bottles. And that was even a better idea. You see, cold water carbonates better than cool water, so now I just leave filled bottles in the fridge and I carbonate them when I want them. When I'm done drinking, I clean the used bottle, refill, and tuck it back into the fridge.

Do I like this better than the original Drinkmate? Hmmm. I think I do, since it's smaller. But that's a personal decision.

Since the operation of the two is pretty much the same, I'd say that it's really a tossup as to which is better. The original carbonator doesn't take a lot of counter space, so if you want it handy at all times, you might like that better than a device that you'll tuck in a drawer.

Either way, it's a cool device.

Here's my original review.

I received this as no cost to me; I bought extra bottles.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Degustabox - October 2018

Yup, they just keep sending these boxes, month after month. Free snacks!

This month's box didn't have an announced theme, but it seemed rather Halloweenish. Like, if kids actually came to my house on Halloween, there were lots of things in the box that I could give them. If I hadn't eaten them first.

Oh well. Sorry kiddies. I had fun.

Brown & Haley's
Caramel Roca! If you've had almond roca, you pretty much know what this is, but this has a browned-buttery caramel flavor. This was a bag of wrapped candies, so it wasn't really appropriate for Halloween giving as it was packaged. Too bad, kids, this one is all mine. Bwaa ha ha!

Pirate's Booty
When I unpacked the box, I though, okay, more popcorn. But it's not. It's actually baked corn and rice puffs with a white cheddar flavor. Duh. These might be okay for Halloween giving, but there were only three bags, and now just two. Seems silly to have two of something in case there are four kids at the door. Sorry, kids. I'll be crunching these.

Bahlsen Waffeletten
These seem to be what some of my European friends refer to as wafer rolls. There's a crisp waffle-like cookie thing that rolled up and introduced to some chocolate. I picture these being eaten with coffee or tea while admiring the countryside. Maybe a castle off to the left. Or, you know, they're nice snacking cookie things. No way am I going to give a kid a whole box of cookies. Also, it's open now, so ... hmmm. I guess these are mine, too.

Peanut butter chips. You know, like chocolate chips, but made with peanut butter instead of chocolate. I didn't open this yet, but I have ideas. Maybe chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips. Or oatmeal cookies with peanut butter chips. Too bad trick or treaters don't like home made goodies.

Bush's Best
Crisp roasted chickpeas. I've made these before, and they're a lovely snack that's not terrible for you, since they're full of fiber and not super fatty. Having them show up in a handy package is nice. I buy a LOT of Bush's products and they're always high quality, but usually I'm buying canned beans. This is an interesting addition to their product line. The ones I got were Sriracha Lime. Would kids like these for Halloween? Too LATE! (oopsie)

This was interesting. Most of the package was not in English, so I wasn't sure what it was. It was a small roll candy with chocolate on the outside and a dense caramel-like interior with banana flavor. I've never had these before, and I've never even seen them before, so it was interesting to try. Happy Halloween to me. There was just one piece, and now it's gone.

I got one bag of chocolately Sixlets and one bag of chewy fruity ones. They're round candies with the choco ones in primary colors and the fruity ones with a glimmer-dust look. A bag of these would be nice for a Halloween witch at my door, but I had to taste test, so ... none left for the kids. Oh well, I guess I'll just keep looking.

I got one slice of a yellow cake with chocolate frosting and a three-pack of Peanut Butter Kandy Kakes. The yellow cake was just a little sweet for my taste, but still good. The Kandy Kakes seemed a little less sweet, maybe because of the peanut butter inside. There was also a little cakey layer, so it wasn't quite as dense as a peanut butter cup. Would kids like these for Halloween? I'm not sure, but it doesn't matter because they don't seem to be here any more.

Welches Fruit Snacks
I've had these before, but now there are new flavors like pomegranate-passionfruit or goji-apricot. Made from real fruit. Probably good for you. To be honest, I don't tend to reach for things like this often enough to want to keep a whole bag of them here, so I passed them along to someone else. For some strange reason, now I'm craving grape juice.

Idahoan Foods
Steakhouse Potato soup in a bag. Hmmmm. So, this arrived on the day that the weather went from nice to "oh heck, it's really cold now" so I decided to make this. It couldn't be easier. I just boiled water, added the contents of the package, and cooked for about 5 minutes. Then it was supposed to rest for another five, and it thickened a bit during that rest. During cold weather, I make a lot of soups from scratch, so I don't know how often I'd use something like this, but it would be handy to have for emergency soup days. There was more than enough for a couple meals, so on the second day I added cheese. I was tempted to add some hot sauce, but refrained. Needless to say, I'm not offering bowls of soup to trick or treaters.

Oh well, I still have the empty box.

I get these boxes delivered at no cost to me every month, so I can tell you all about 'em. Ain't I the lucky one?

Friday, September 21, 2018

Degustabox September 2018

Where does the time go? 

It's September, so it's time for another Degustabox. As you know, they send me these boxes at no cost to me, so I can tell you all about the contents.

The theme of this box was Lunchbox, which I guess is all about back-to-school lunches.

I usually ate the school lunch because that was easier for mom and I wasn't a picky eater, but these days I make my own lunch. How about you? Eat out or eat in?

So, here we go!

Not tie-dyed food, but these are like cheesy puffs, but made from chickpeas instead of corn, like those big brands I'm sure you know. They're not exactly the same, but there's an appealing crunch along with additional flavor. I got one bag with cheddar and one with a hickory barbecue flavor that was totally different. Everyone sing with me! Allll we are saying ... give chickpeas a chance ...

Handfulls Crrrunch Bites
If these were in the snack bowl, you might not know what the heck they are. They're almonds covered with a mesquite-flavored rice cracker. Lots of crunch-worthy snacking. It's an interesting idea, yes?

GoCo Crunchy Coconut Bites
Ah, here's the coconut! It's so popular, but it's one of the few things I don't like, so I had to pass these along to someone else. I should really start liking coconut. It's everywhere!

The Chia Company
This is chia in a little package that you can take with you to add to your smoothie or salad, or keep it at home to add to recipes. Convenient, if you like chia.

Fruit strip snacks. Mmmmm, snacks. These are 100 percent fruit unless you get one that has veggies, but there's no chocolate, nuts, sugar, salt, fillers, or car parts. So you get your fruit serving in a handly snack that you can shove in your desk drawer for that day when lunch wasn't as good as you hoped and the vending machine has eaten all your quarters.

The Better Chip
Ah, yes, tortilla chips. These have herbs and vegetables mixed in rather than stuff dusted on top, so your fingers won't be suspiciously orange after you eat them. Like, for example, jalapeno and cilantro. Not like beets and tarragon. Wait, maybe they do have that flavor. But probably not.

Marions's Kitchen meal kits
General Tso and Kung Pao kits include most of what you need to make a meal. Of course you have to add the protein and fresh vegetables, but this makes it pretty easy to whip up a dinner on a busy night when the last thing you want to do is raid the spice drawer and measure a dozen different things.

Mighty Spark food company
Basically, these are chicken sausage snacks with flavoring like cranberries and jalapeno. Great if you prefer your snacks to be more about savory protein than crunchy carbs.

Bauducco chocolate wafers
Three-layered chocolate wafer cookies. Do I really need to say more? These are made in the US and don't have any artificial colors or preservatives.

Tigertail mustard
I've had Tigertail mustard before, but this is mustard in a metal squeeze tube. Besides taking less space in the fridge and being an easy way to dispense, less of the product is exposed to oxygen after you open in, so I'm guessing it will stay fresher, longer.

PB Crave
Peanut butter sweetened with honey, and maybe with some flavorings. I'll be honest here. I'm a peanut butter purist, and tend to like it without extra flavors. Honey is nice, though. Can't argue with that.

Idahoan Foods instant mashed potatoes
I always keep instant mashed potatoes on hand, but I seldom use them to make mashed potatoes. Instead, I add them to bread recipes. Normally I use unflavored versions, but the cheesy flavors would be really nice in bread. They're also good for thickening soups or gravy. Sneaky, eh?

Marquis Citrus Yuzu energy drink
I've been avoiding energy drinks since the last time one of them kept me awake for half the night, so I had to pass this one along to someone else. Yuzu is an Asian citrus fruit that's something like lemon, but not quite. Sounds tasty.

Garden of Life clean protein bars
A to-go snack or emergency desk ration for folks who are eating clean and want more protein than carbs. I haven't tried this one yet, but it's set aside for later.

So there we go. Another month, another box. And as I said, I get these at no cost from Degustabox. Munch, munch.