4.26.2013

The Oster My Blend blender: an individual-sized blender and sport bottle to blend and go

   Although I'm a 'black coffee in the morning' kind of girl, many people prefer smoothies, protein shakes or milkshakes.  This morning's post is for those people who prefer smoothie style drink in the morning, or anytime!  The thing about this Oster My Blend Blenderis it's a sports bottle built into the blender so you simply blend, grab and go.  I personally would blend a nice iced coffee drink in this myself!!!


    Four trendy colors
    Blend Then Drink



     Blend your favorite smoothie or shake right in the sport bottle

    • Dishwasher-safe 20-ounce BPA-free plastic sport bottle
    • Powerful 250-watt motor with One Touch blending
    • Built-in, resettable fuse will revive the motor in 15 minutes should it overheat
    • Recipes included in the instruction manual

    A Blender to Fit Your Schedule

    The Oster My Blend blender is an individual-sized blender and sport bottle in one that is designed to fit your active, fast-paced lifestyle. With quick and convenient One Touch blending, you can create your favorite smoothies, protein shakes, and more to enjoy at home, on a run, or at the office.
    The My Blend is a powerful way to start your day with its 250-watt motor that will pulverize frozen fruit and ice to blend the smoothie of your choice. By blending directly into the sport bottle, you'll have less mess and less to clean up. The drinking lid has a carry hook that makes it easy to take with you as you carry out your day. The stylish 20-ounce BPA-free plastic sport bottle is dishwasher safe and fits in most car cup holders. Storage is simple, as the blender base is small enough to keep on your counter every day.

    Fill, Blend, Go, and Reuse

    The easy to use My Blend allows you to personalize the contents of your blended beverage and control the ingredients. Simply fill the My Blend sport bottle with ingredients from your favorite recipe, blend, and go about your

    I also found it available from Best Buy here:  My Blend 20 oz. Oster Blender with Sports Bottle









    You might be interested in some of their other colors at Amazon;


        





    4.22.2013

    The New Keurig Vue - Is it Worth It? Can K-Cups Be Used in It?

    This weekend I found myself wandering the aisles of Best Buy and no matter what I go into the store to purchase (this time it was printer ink) I find myself in the small appliances section.  It's my all-time favorite department to browse.

    Having owned Keurig brewers now for about 8 years (?) I am spoiled by the hot, strong, black brewed morning beverage I get verses the coffee grounds in a basket brewers.  I like my Keurig because I can brew it at 6, 8 or 10 oz. depending on the strength I want as well as having my coffee at 192 degrees.  Because I've never been interested in their new Vue system, I've never paid much attention to it.  However, I stood in the aisle this time and inspected the features... which is what prompted today's post.

    The Keurig  Vue®

    Direct from the Keurig website: The Keurig® Vue® V700 Brewing System gives you total control to brew your way: stronger, bigger, hotter and with more choices than ever before. With an interactive Touchscreen and revolutionary new Custom Brew Technology™ Vue® ensures every beverage is brewed to perfection, giving you perfect results – every cup, every time. And your choices are nearly limitless. In addition to coffee, tea, hot cocoa and iced beverages, Vue® brews delicious café and specialty beverages as well. Includes a bonus variety of 10 Vue® packs. This product is BPA free.


    • Fully programmable color Touchscreen
    • Brews in under one minute
    • Strength & Temperature control
    • Eight brew sizes – from 4oz. up to a full size 18oz. travel mug
    • Energy Savings Mode – Auto On/Off
    • Enjoy beverages hot or over ice
    • Brews frothy café beverages
    • Removable 74oz. water reservoir with easy fill, flip-top lid
    • Removable drip tray with adjustable plate
    • Cord storage

    They make it sound pretty awesome, right?  But I was more interested in comparing it to my K-cup brewing system and scouring the internet to see what others had to say about it.

    Let's take a look at some of the "Cons" of the Vue I found online from various sources:
    • The water tank will often say it's empty, which means it stops working until it's refilled.  Except, it is half full.  This is apparently a bug they know about - we'll see if they fix it.
    • Fewer coffee selections to choose from than the k-cups.
    • Not compatible with k-cups
    • Two packet process for cafe style drinks. The milk is a powder and is the first packet you use. Sometimes the machine will just blow the powder out of the packet into the cup with a small amount of liquid, then you use the coffee packet and it ends up sort of mixed in the cup. Or sometimes it shoots hot water into the creamer cup and tries to push the steamed "milk" into the cup. Either way, it never gets it all out, there are chunks of wet powder left in the milk packet. And either way, the resulting "frothed" milk does not end up completely blended into the drink. There are floating chunks of undissolved milk powder in the resulting drink. Very sweet and watery, and vanilla way too strong (oh yeah, the vanilla is in the packet, you don't/can't add your own).
    • They added new travel mug brewing options and even sell bigger Vue cups with more coffee BUT... you can't fit a travel mug under the brewer! Say what?! The Vue brewer is SHORTER than the B70 and even with the drip tray removed you cannot fit a standard sized travel mug. Completely lame.
    • The new STRONG brew option... can you tell the difference? Is the coffee actually stronger? Um, no. I've tested this with four different coffees. I've even used dark roast and a smaller cup size. It does not taste any stronger to me than the standard option. This was the main reason I wanted the Vue brewer. Completely disappointing.
    • The water tank, while it has three different ways you can fill it, is more difficult to fill than the B70. I feel like I'm going to break it every time I try to take the top off completely. Opening the little corner is fine but if I want to remove the reservoir to fill it in the sink it's a pain.
    • The "fancy" coffee options... GROSS! The hot chocolate is disgusting. The 2-step mochas/lattes... taste watered down and fake (which really, is what they are).
    • The Vue is considerably louder than the B70. It sounds like it's working really hard to get the water through the pump.
    • Even if it worked right, the machine requires a minute or two to warm up when you first turn it on. Has a power-save timer to auto shut-off -- is it keeping water hot all the time unless you turn it off? Cups over a certain size won't fit under the spout -- a disposable Chinet insulated cup just fits (5-1/4" tall), but I have some ceramic ones that are taller, unusable. Travel mugs? Forget it.

    While discussing the Vue with my husband I remarked they must have came out with a new style that is completely incompatible with k-cups, perhaps because there are so many copy-cats on the market now?  Or they've made their kazillion dollars on the K-cup brewers and wanted to make a whole new style for those who have to have something "new" and "different" from everyone else now that the K-cup brewers are so popular and most everyone seems to have one?

    But then I read this little gem - I don't know how to verify if it's true or not, but it seemed to be a better explanation as to why they came out with the Vue when the K-cups were already so popular:

    "....Keurig really missed the boat on this one. Seems like they were in a hurry to come out with something quick since the patent was expiring on the K-Cups."

    Hmmm.  Interesting.

    Another little gem is for those living in higher altitudes.  Apparently if you live in altitudes over about 6000 - 7000 feet there is an issue of coffee spewing, double streams, and other mishaps.  It was found that if you look at the cups and they are puffed up, you need to simply pierce them with a toothpick or needle to release some of the pressure, then use as usual.  This seems to alleviate the problem.

    At this point, I am still content to use my Keurig K-cup brewer as the average $200 price tag for a machine that doesn't seem to do much more than my brewer seems a little steep.  I like my coffee strong, hot and black so the 2 cup powdered milk drinks are not a draw for me personally - and even if they were, I have to say, the Cafe Escapes Caramel drinks do quite nicely in my Keurig K-cup brewer and I'm happy with it.

    For those that want the newest and latest however, the Vue seems to be your guy.  A LOT of people on the net are happy with it and it seems to have a consistently high rating among reviewers.  It averaged 4 1/2 out of 5 stars everywhere I checked. 

     Let's add one thing I do like over the K-cup brewers;   apparently the Vue containers are recyclable.  LOVE that.  Although I've tried to reuse k-cups myself in various ways, it's a pain to cut them open and remove the filter and used grounds and wash them out...  it's a long and messy process.  I'm thankful the Vue cups are able to be recycled but I'm still not ready to jump into the Vue brewer quite yet.  Perhaps by next year though... if the price comes down just a bit to be comparable to the K-cup brewer.




    You might also be interested in the Vue packs used with the new Keurig Vue:


          


    4.15.2013

    Bacon.... Coffee? Yep. Caramelized Bacon Coffee



    From the kitchen of Seattle's Best Coffee comes an idea I'm not sure I am ready to make.  Now, I love bacon.  I really, really love bacon.  And, I love coffee.  I even love bacon and coffee together for breakfast.  A few strips of crisp bacon and a full mug of strong, black coffee is a perfect breakfast in my book.  But... bacon coffeeSeattle's Best Coffee has a new coffee recipe that combines coffee with the unexpected flavors of caramelized bacon and subtle hints of pumpkin pie spice.   What do you think?  (You'll need  Bacon Syrup )  While over at Amazon I also found this Maple Bacon Flavored Ground Coffee - which I guess would be a much faster way to get your bacon flavored coffee but it doesn't seem nearly as rich and decadent as the following recipe.



    Bacon Coffee

    1 rounded T Seattle's Best Coffee, Level 5, ground
    3/4 c Hot water (6 fl oz)
    2 T Light cream (1 fl oz)
    2 t Bacon flavored syrup
    1 1/2 t Caramel flavored syrup
    1/8 t Pumpkin pie spice

    Garnishes
    Spiced Caramelized Bacon Whipped Cream (recipe below)
    Caramel ice cream topping
    Pumpkin pie spice
    Caramelized bacon (recipe below)

    For the Spiced Caramelized Bacon Whipped Cream
    1/2 c Heavy whipping cream (4 fl oz)
    1/2 t Caramel flavor syrup
    1/4 t Bacon flavored syrup
    1/4 t Pumpkin pie spice


    Brew the coffee with the hot water in a pour-over brewer or coffee hand press; Pour the coffee into a cup. Pour in light cream, bacon flavored syrup, caramel flavored syrup and pumpkin pie spice and stir with a spoon until combined. Top with a dollop of Spiced Caramelized Whipped Cream, drizzle with caramel ice cream topping and sprinkle with a little pumpkin pie spice; Garnish with a strip of caramelized bacon.

    For the Spiced Caramelized Bacon Whipped Cream

    1/2 c Heavy whipping cream (4 fl oz)
    1/2 t Caramel flavor syrup
    1/4 t Bacon flavored syrup
    1/4 t Pumpkin pie spice

    In a larger mixer bowl, add all the ingredients; Whip until stiff peaks form. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set aside until ready to use.


    For the Caramelized Bacon

    Brown sugar
    Bacon

    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment paper and cover with a thin layer of light brown sugar.  Layer bacon strips over the brown sugar; Pat additional brown sugar over the bacon to cover and top with a second piece of parchment paper. Bake the bacon for 15 to 20 minutes, or until brown and bubbling. Remove to wire rack and cool completely






    You might be interested in;

                 






    4.06.2013

    Coffee Themed Decor for the Kitchen or Home



    As I'm sitting here sipping my coffee this morning I asked myself;  What coffee should I review today?  And suddenly the imagine of the coffee prints I have in my kitchen came to mind and I thought;  "I've never posted about coffee decor!"

    Yes, my kitchen has a coffee theme.  Not an 'in your face' kind of theme, as I am someone who thinks 'simplicity' and "less is more" is a good way to live.  And decorate.  In my kitchen and dining area I have 3 framed prints on the walls.  Just three;  all different coffee drinks with their name artistically printed on them.  I love them and they were the basis for the colors I chose to use in my kitchen as well.   So today's post is in honor of coffee and coffee themed decor.

    This 8X10 inch retro print is one you can hang as is, or choose to frame yourself to match your home decor.    See it here:  Retro Coffee Set by N. Harbick 8"x10" Art Print Poster



    This 100% cotton quilt fabric is perfect for those who want to add just a little more to their kitchen or dining room by sewing (or having sewn) a vintage look curtain or perhaps just add a valance to their window.  I also like the coffee themed fabrics for things like homemade aprons, embellishing plain kitchen towels with a strip sewn across the top, or you can use it to cover photo albums and make them into recipe books.  So many ideas!


    • Content : 100% Cotton Fabric
    • Width : 44/45"
    • Weight : 8 oz per yard
    • Characteristics: Light and airy

    Although the vintage tin sign and fabric isn't really my personal style - framed prints are.  This is a set of 4 I found on Amazon that not only come in a matching set of 4 different designs, but are already framed and ready to hang.







    *The Fresh Brewed Coffee Retro Vintage Tin Sign shown above;
    • professional quality metal / tin sign
    • tin signs are new and may have a vintage or distressed appearance
    • enameled paint is attractive and very durable
    • measures 11.75 by 16.75 inches
    • ships quickly and safely in a protective envelope 
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