Category Archives: Food

My April Box from #foodiepenpals

Originally posted 2013-04-30 05:00:00.

Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil Review



Hi, my name is Angie O.  I have had the fun opportunity to try Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut oil.  First of all…. I love coconut anything!!!!! I like the flakes, I like the milk, I even like the flavoring you can find in the baking aisle.  So it was not a very hard stretch for me to try something new in the coconut category, namely coconut oil.  If you look up coconut oil on swagbucks or any other search engine, you are going to literally find thousands of references.  Every one and their cat and monkey’s uncle is talking about coconut oil, its uses and the health benefits of it.
So whats the big deal? Why should you try it? My very first motivation was that this is 100% natural. There is not a person out there that is going to tell you that synthetic ingredients is good for you. One of the easiest ways to make healthy food for you and your family is to replace any fake food (AKA the ingredients you can’t pronounce) and replace them with food that is real. So this week I replaced some of the shady oil for coconut oil, and discovered that my family loves it!!! I used it in making popcorn, sauteing chicken, even making a few baked goods. The exchange I have found is one to one. If you would use one Tablespoon of butter…then use one Tablespoon of coconut oil. The oil itself has a mild tropical flavor that is easily hidden by other foods that have stronger flavors. That is….if you don’t like the flavor of coconuts! :o) Another benefit of using coconut oil is that there are apparently unending health improvements that can be had. Of course, as with anything, the more pure and unprocessed you go, the better it is for you.  So splurging for Extra Virgin is going to get you more bang for your buck.  I have not been using it long enough to really test out these claims….but even if half were true, it would be a great add to your diet!  One neat thing I thought about this product from Tropical Traditions is that it is all small batch.  Which means that the quality control is top notch.
So over all I would say this is a great product.  It has a smooth light taste that will not bother you unless you don’t like coconut flavor.  Even then you can easily hide it with other stronger flavors.  This seems worth it, seeing as how incorporating this into your diet would only serve to improve the health of you and your family!

I would like to say a personal thank you to Angie for her awesome help with the coconut oil!  As you can see, her beautiful girls enjoyed it as well!  They may be the best little models seen yet!  Angie is an amazing Mom of 3 beautiful girls and one little one on the way!  I am super amazed that she not only found time to write this, but also that she was able to test it out so much!!!  Much love to my wonderful friend!  —The Zoo Keeper
You can get Gold Label Coconut Oil in portions of 16 oz all the way up to 5 gallons from their awesome site!  They also carry many other natural products that will have you addicted!
Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil - 32 oz.
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America’s source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil?
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
Open to US and Canada!
Note for Canadian bloggers: Tropical Traditions is not responsible for customs or duties that Canada may charge for your sample or your readers’ prize.

Originally posted 2013-03-08 06:00:00.

Frego Review


Hey everyone!  The buzz going around is all about frego and their ability to do everything you need to do for your lunch except prep it!  Okay, well…  maybe not everything, but close!  Here are three four awesome things that make this thing…  well….  fabulous!

1.  You can heat it in the microwave OR oven.  The glass bowl is safe up to 600 degrees and the silicone is safe to 464 degrees (farenheit).  While the silicone will quickly cool down, the glass stays hot so that your food will stay hot as well!  Awesome…  check!
2.  It will keep your food hot (as noted above) or even keep it cold!
3.  It can be stored in the fridge, freezer or just in the cabinet!  The seal softsnap lid keeps food fresh and safe!  😀  Um….  check!!!
4.  You can put it in the dishwasher!!!  This is always a welcome product in my house!  LOL.  Check!

If you haven’t guessed, I am loving it!  The only thing that isn’t totally awesome is the weight, as it is a bit heavier than tupperware would be, but then it does a lot more as well!  So, it is my official opinion that the weight is worth it in order to have food that stays at the right temp!  I think it’s awesome especially as you can hook up a mini lasagna or casserole when you are cooking dinner in the little glass bowl, keep it in the freezer til ya want it, then thaw and reheat all in ONE dish and it will stay hot so you don’t have to eat a lukewarm lunch!  That’s my kind of benefit!

Below is their video demonstration:

As is required by the powers that be, I recieved one Frego product in hopes that I would give them a review on my blog. There is no compensation, this is not a paid post, and my opinions remain, as always, my own! 😀 Read more official mumbo jumbo on the PR tab. 😀

Originally posted 2012-12-07 06:00:00.

Farm Rich Review

Okay, have you TRIED Farm Rich?????Oh.  My.  Gosh.

I know, I know, processed foods but frankly, especially to my fellow Moms, sometimes we need a break and a short cut every now and then.  Anyone who doesn’t has way too much energy and should stop shaming the rest of us!  LOL.

I recently got to try Farm Rich Products and they are super yummy!!!

So, aren’t into fried foods because they are too greasy???  That probably means your oil isn’t hot enough.  Stop blaming the food.  But, if that doesn’t convince you, then just bake em.  Sheesh!

The Zoo, as a collaborative whole, tried the meatballs, the mozzarella sticks, stuffed peppers, and fried mushrooms.  Let’s see….  Have I mentioned they were super good???   I love them all, but I think my favorite, winning out only because of versatility are the meatballs!  We needed a quick meal and had meatball subs.  Ummm….  More please!?!  LOL.  They were delicious and made for a great busy night meal.  I didn’t feel the least bit guilty, as I wasn’t serving cold sandwiches or leftovers! (A go to fave for those busy busy nights when we don’t have enough time to cook our usual mostly healthy meal for dinner.)

As for the rest, they were fabulous!  We used the fried finger foods for a game night veg out.  *The bad for you food doesn’t happen very often so don’t mess with me*  The game night was fabulous and having the finger foods made it easier for us to enjoy our time together!  That’s what I love: great flavor and awesome family time!  Thank you, Farm Rich!

Now, want some of your own, huh?  Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you are taking shortcuts if you happen to be the on-the-ball Mommy.  If you aren’t, who cares what people think: yummy food, quick and easy meal equals a great break for Mommy!

The Oh-So Awesome people over at Farm Rich are going to give one lucky winner 2 coupons for free bags of Farm Rich Product.  Trust me, once you try them, you’ll be hooked!

See PR Tab for details, but yeah…  given a product for an opinion, my opinion are too frank to be anyone else’s!  LOL.  Seriously though, check out the PR tab.  I don’t have time to by copying and pasting that nonsense….  Pinterest awaits me!  LOL.

Originally posted 2012-09-11 05:00:00.

Glass Straws Review

glass straw

Hey everyone!  With the holiday season fast coming upon us, I wanted to review some things that we could use for gifts so the awesome people over at Glass Dharma has allowed me to review their glass straws!!!

Pros:  great for the environment, pretty, makes you feel kinda classy, comes in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and designs, easy to clean and they have specially made brushes to clean them with in case anything gets stuck inside!, GREAT for the environment!

Another pro is the way it is made!  It’s made with the same process the people at Pyrex make their glass!  I love Pyrex and have some really old Pyrex dishes so I like that they are made the same way!

Guarantees:  Breakage and satisfaction guarantee!  Taken from their PDF regarding Glass Dharma: We take great pride in the workmanship of every piece we make. We use exclusively borosilicate glass (Pyrex® and Simax® are familiar brand names). Occasionally a crack may occur unnoticed before the annealing process takes place. This would significantly weaken the glass. We guarantee all of our work against such rare defects. It is also because these defects are sometimes difficult to detect that we guarantee against ANY breakage. This gives you the benefit of the doubt!!

Cons: none really, however I did learn that I tend to ‘grab’ straws with my teeth.  No worries, it didn’t hurt.  LOL

Price:  $6.60-$8.50

Great For:  These straws would really make a great gift for the person that has everything.  I would almost guarantee he/she wouldn’t have these!  (Since they are fairly new)  I also think they would make great hostess gifts!  Of course, they’d make great gifts for anyone that loves to entertain!

My Two Cents: I really like them.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about the concept, but I’m loving them.  Did you know that it takes a plastic bag over a 100 years to degrade???  I think using these straws will do a nice little bit in my part of helping the environment!  I read that stat and am still in shock!  Furthermore, and I know this sounds crazy, but I can totally see me and my girls sipping our ice tea (we’re southern, you just have to understand) and enjoying great conversation!  Makes me feel all grown up and sophisticated!  LOL.

Have you used glass straws???
Which one would you like if you won?
What would you use them for???


Originally posted 2012-09-04 09:18:00.

PB Crave #Review

PB Crave in Hawaii2Hey Everyone!  Hope everyone is doing well!  One of our fave snacks around here is peanut butter and we have had the fortune to do a review for PB Crave!!!  Yay!  The really awesome news is we’ll be able to share it with one lucky reader!  Yeah, now you WANT to read this, huh???  Seriously, don’t just skip to the rafflecopter, that’s lame!  Read me, you know you want to, go ahead, that’s it…

Ha!  Now I’ve got ya!  It’s too late, read on!  LOL

Okay, so I’ll stop messin around…  For a sec anyway…  Peanut butter….  Mmmmmmm….  Second only to ice cream and chocolate….  Guess that makes it third….  Don’t judge me!  LOL.  So, we got to try 4 flavors of peanut butter.  YUM!  That’s what I have to say!  What kind you ask?  Well, check out the pic:

So, in case you can’t read the pic, We have Cookie Nookie…  Yeah, I know, the name made ya giggle with delight, didn’t it!  There is also Choco Choco, CoCo Bananas, and Razzle Dazzle.  I have to admit, I love the names.  So, my thoughts…  That review thing, huh?  LOL

First and foremost, they all had wild honey.  Which is a great flavor, don’t get me wrong, but it makes them a little bit runnier than traditional peanut butter.  This eliminated the possibility of my fave breakfast: peanut butter and graham crackers.  It ran off the cracker.  Made me kind of sad, really.  LOL.  They explain that this is due to the fact that it is all natural and the oils separate, so you just have to mix it up.  It helped a lot, and the flavors became amazing!

Another awesome thing???  ALL NATURAL.  Yep.  I said it.  Good stuff!  😀
Next, a warning.  They all contain milk.  Chief Zoo Keeper has a milk allergy so he couldn’t try any of them!  🙁  I have to tell you, if you don’t know: milk allergies stink!  ESPECIALLY if they developed after you’ve had milk you’re whole life!

Cookie Nookie  –  really good flavor, though it’s not what you expect when you think cookie dough flavor
Choco Choco  –  okay, peanut butter with chocolate in it, already a favorite, right?  This one is really good.  They used dark chocolate and sweet chocolate.
CoCo Bananas  –  pretty good, the banana flavor comes out kind of strong, but it’s my third favorite!  😀
Razzle Dazzle  –  I have to admit, I’m not a huge rasberry fan.  As evidence, the bad spelling of before…  Leaving for swagbucks search to look it up….  who knew there was a ‘p’ in raspberry????  (If you did, just be the quiet one in the back of the room smarty pants!  LOL)  Anyway, it also has white and dark chocolate mixed in.  😀

What’s your favorite way to eat peanut butter?????

*Per the powers that be, I was given the flavors pictured to try in hopes that I would give a review here at the Zoo.  I did not receive any monetary compensation.  Please see the PR tab for the full, legal mumbo jumbo description.  My opinions, as crazy as they can get, are always my own.

Originally posted 2012-06-22 01:59:00.

Skillet Bacon Spread Review

SkilletBaconHi Everyone!  The new craze around are all these bacon spreads and such.  I could no longer resist trying them out!  So, I thought I would let you know what I thought of it!  Okay, I’ll admit that the looks are scary.  The most popular opinion was that it looked like….well….poo.  So, if you have a queezy tummy, this is NOT for you!  However, if you can get past the looks, you are golden!

Presentation:  Well, we’ve established the look isn’t all that great.  Honestly though, it kind of looks like potted meat.  Which, of course, is basically what it is!
Smell:  When you open the jar, the aroma of bacon and herbs rush you.  It smells delicious!  It is roasted and mixed with ranch and various herbs.  You can smell the yumminess as soon as you open it!
Flavor:  Well, with a smell like that, you really can’t expect less!
Their website has some great recipes, that I’m dying to try out.  One specifically for a burger.  I think it will be super yummy!!!  Any dish that could use bacon, this will take care of!  They have quite a few recipes and you can add your own!  When you try it, I’d love to hear your recipes!!!
If you have any questions about the product, you can of course check out their site, or you can email them at
Anyway, go try it!  Be brave!  LOL.  Then, come back and share your recipe!!!  Have a great day!

*** I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Originally posted 2012-02-09 17:01:00.

Heart Shaped Cookie Review

Heart Shaped Cookies Review

Hey everyone!  Wanted to share something sweet with you today, so I’m doing a review of some yummy heart shaped cookies!  😀  You get the sweet pics, we got the calories!  But don’t worry, I’ll tell ya how to get your own Valentine Day Cookies or Valentines Day Gift Basket with 10% off!

Heart Shaped Cookies ReviewBut, before we get to the discount, the review!  Okay, first I will admit that I am always afraid to order this stuff by mail.  I mean, what are the odds of them surviving the trip unbroken?  Do they really pack them well enough to survive?  The answer to that question, my friend, is yes and yes!

The cookies were packed in 3 packages, a big box with the air cushions, then in a fitted adorable box with smileys (SO using that box in a project!  If you aren’t crafty, it would make a great gift or storage box because it’s made of the really strong cardboard), then in a plastic container wrapped in plastic so that the cookies were firmly in place!  They didn’t get busted up, so I was impressed!  No broken cookies, all perfectly smiley!

Hear Shaped Cookies Review

Now, opening the package is part of the fun.  I will admit.  However, EATING the cookies is a much bigger part!  Also, in these pics you get a tiny sneak peak of our new house, enjoy because this is it for a bit!!!  The cookies themselves were good, they are sugar cookies.  They are made to be firm (I’m assuming to help with the shipping process) so they are a bit crumbly when you eat them.

The heart shaped cookies looked just like the ones in the picture.  The icing was done exactly.  Unfortunately, the icing left room for disappointment.  It really didn’t have much flavor.  Again, I’m guessing that was in order for the cookie to be decorated and remain so during shipping.  Nevertheless, I wish they had found a way to make the icing harden with flavor, rather than without.

Overall, these cookies were good.  They weren’t super great, but they weren’t bad either.  I will say they would be great to send to soldiers, as they would arrive just as gorgeous as when they are shipped and they are good cookies.  Also, they’d be good to add to parties since they are so well decorated.  Especially if you want uniformity!

You can check out their facebook page if you like.  Also, use the code BLOG10 at checkout to get 10% off your order!  The code will cover anything except gift cards, so enjoy!

Which are your favorite cookies from their site or for Valentine’s Day in general????

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Originally posted 2012-02-03 14:15:00.

Crystal’s Super Simple Homemade Cheesy Mac

Crystal;s Super Simple Cheesy MacI love quick and easy dinners during the week!  Who has time and energy to prepare a four course meal, work, clean house, or whatever all the time, every single day? In the summer, that can be even more important. Our kitchens get way too hot to want to be in there for long, am I right?  Of course, when school starts back if you have even less time.  Always so crazy.  Regardless of the season, this is a perfect week night Cheesy Mac recipe.

I picked up a box of hamburger helper and decided to yum it up!  Having the same old thing gets old fast so I looked around my kitchen and started adding things.  Funny how the best things can come from such unexpected places!  I love mixing up and making things different, especially when they are a good cheat!  It was so stinkin’ delicious that we now have it at least once a week!  I hope you enjoy it!



*1 box cheesy Mac
*1lb of Hamburger (you can add more for a larger family)
*1/2 a can of rotell (if spices aren’t your thing use chopped tomatoes)
*onion powder
*spoonful or two sour cream
*grill mates smokehouse maple seasoning
*shredded Parmesan cheese (on top)




Brown and drain the hamburger meat. Add in seasonings, onion, and Rotel while the meat is cooking. Next add the season pack with the noodles, following directions on the box. You can skip the onion powder if you aren’t a fan of onion, but we love it! I’m obsessed with it. I add it to everything!
When the noodles are ready add the melted cheese pack from the box and a spoonful or two of sour cream to your liking.  Voila!
Pair this with garlic bread or cottage cheese, or a nice salad for the perfect, quick week night meal.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on my creation!  How do you, would you change it up?


Originally posted 2017-08-31 10:58:26.

Yummi Pouch Multi-use Storage Bag

There is nothing quite like that moment when you realize the milk or snack or water has leaked into your car, diaper bag, or is just all over that poor little one when you are out and about and unable to run home.  If it’s a hot day, it doesn’t take long for clothes and car alike to develop a smell second only to what you nearly stepped in this morning.

 reusable food pouches combine style and convenience in an Eco-friendly reusable drink container you can fill with homemade smoothies and blended snacks. Easy to fill and clean through the top zipper opening and enjoyed by drinking from the side spout, Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches are ideal for kids taking healthy snacks on the go. Includes set of 4 assorted patterns.

I absolutely love having these!  Since they are made of cloth, I don’t have to worry about whether or not the boxy shape of the tupperware I normally use is going to take up too much room and I frequently use it for those lovely soiled linens that happen when you are out.  If you are a cloth diaper momma (or auntie, or grandma, or whatever), you could also use them as a wet bag if you preferred.  They are machine washable, so it would be no problem to toss it in with the laundry once you get home, hang it to dry and you will be good to go!  Plus, with four patterns you could manage to always have at least one ready to go.

I’m crazy about being prepared, so keeping an extra on hand in the car is a must-do when I’m on the go.  I swear if I could I’d take with me probably half a bus of just in case items.  I’m that chick that has 3 bags on a trip, except only one of them is actually clothes.  The rest is stuff I might need in any scenario.  haha.  Lord help me if I ever decide to fly!

You can get yours through Amazon by clicking on the picture above or you can see what else they have on their website.

Originally posted 2016-09-30 21:01:42.