Make A Rock Cactus-More River Rock Creations From Mommy Ramblings!!!

If you remember my post a few weeks ago where we made candy corn out of river rocks, I told you I had lots of other great rock projects to share.  Well, I am going to tell you about one right now.  I call this Rock Cactus Planter, it’s fun to make and will thrive even if you have two brown thumbs.

When I was gathering river rocks, I looked for shapes that resembled cactus plants.  Then I painted the rocks on both sides with a craft paint that you can find in any craft store or craft aisle of most stores.  Pick a green you like and get to work.  When the green paint dries you can embellish the stones with all kinds of accents to make them appear more realistic.  Then seal the rocks with a Mod Podge or similar sealer.  After all that is done, pick out a container so you can create your cactus garden.

I used clean, fresh play sand as my base and I packed it tightly in layers.  When I was up to the top, I arranged the rocks the way I wanted and then filled in with small decorative stones.  The result was a beautiful bright, clean, non-prickly cactus planter that I put alongside my bathtub.  Now when I am relaxing in the tub, I can look over to the side and be reminded of the fun summer days at the river and crafting at home.

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I hope  you will give it a try, please share your results if you do.  Any questions please ask.


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Physical Apps, TheO SmartBall Review & Giveaway!!!

Physical Apps Logo

Are you looking for a fun way to help your kids aged preschool to 5th grade learn?  Did you know that active kids learn more and retain more of that knowledge?  They do and TheO SmartBall lets kids learn while they play!  TheO SmartBall is an orange foam ball that is soft and uses revolutionary technology and your smart phone to entertain and educate kids.  The Physical Apps Website offers a variety of kids learning apps featuring engaging games to stimulate kids mentally while they have fun physically.

TheO SmartBall In Bag

The O Smart Ball

 

It is easy to get started with TheO SmartBall, all you need to do is download the entertaining and educational apps to your smart device. Physical Apps offers 8 free apps to get started. See them all HERE!  You can download them from the iTunes or Google Play. Insert your device into TheO SmartBall as shown on the website tutorial and then toss, roll or shake the ball to initiate lots of learning fun!

TheO SmartBall Graphic

 

Theo Smart Ball

My kids were so excited to try TheO SmartBall and since my kids are really active this was a great combination to stimulate learning.  TheO SmartBall makes a great holiday or birthday gift for a child. 8

Giveaway!!!

Physical Apps is sponsoring giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win their own TheO SmartBall ($39.95 Retail Value)!!!  To enter just use the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!  Open to US residents.

TheO SmartBall Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!

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Young House Love Blog Says Goodbye For Now!!!

I will admit upfront I have  visited the blog Young House Love a few times at best and am not a follower or dedicated reader of the blog.   However, I heard about the turmoil that happened recently and how it led to the couple bidding blogging goodbye.  The did not specify how long the goodbye would last, but said it would be at least a month.  What I did learn is that the couple (Sherry and John) asked for honest feedback from their readers about not being able to blog so much and if they felt it would be okay to cut down on their posts per week.  They had many supporters who felt that would be completely fine but a poster named Margaret wrote this:

If you hadn’t asked for feedback, I would not be commenting. I used to read faithfully, but then less and less with each house. Why? Because all three houses LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME. Pale walls, cheap furniture, spray painted stuff. It’s totally fine in your first house, but it’s so very tired now. I was excited to start reading again with the house 3 purchase, because you promised more grown-up, expensive furnishings, etc. So far all I see is Ikea-Target-HomeGoods. Anything more expensive, you either scored it from the showhouse or got it at an outlet. I love a good bargain too, but am also willing to splurge on key pieces. I like the DIY big projects, but the decor stuff needs seriously rethought if you want to keep readers engaged. One last thing, you should absolutely not be using 2 small kids as your excuse for lack of blog posts, or projects, or anything. You make big bucks from this blog (I have no problem at all with that), and IT’S YOUR JOB. Most of us have kids, work, and do stuff around the house. You have encouraged honest feedback here.

That of course led to supporters responding back in defense of the YHL couple and others agreeing with Margaret.

Following a few posters who admonished Margaret for her “mean-spirited” comments were posters  like Meg who supported Margaret and took the YHL bloggers down a few pegs herself

But CE they ASKED for feedback. They ASKED for readers opinions.

And honestly, 5 posts a week isn’t that much for readers to expect when they are two fully functioning adults who are supposedly working on this 80 hours a week. They get paid to decorate their house and fix it up (which almost every other couple in America does on the evenings or weekends) so expecting quality content isn’t too much. If it’s “too much of a load from them to bear” well I hope they polish up their resumes and start looking elsewhere for income. They chose this career path and business.

After several more posts in support of YHL or with posters like Margaret and Meg, there was Paula who wrote this:

I find it amazing that John and Sherry asked for feedback and then when people give their honest opinion they are attacked by the “John and Sherry” lovers. This is a decorating blog people. The Petersiks aren’t your best friends. You probably don’t even know them. I come here to get ideas for my own house. I don’t believe for one minute they do all of this by themselves or with a little bit of money like most of us do. There is no way they can do over an entire room in a couple of days, have two kids and a dog, and run this huge blog. It’s just lost it’s initial realism to me. But I will continue to drop in and see what they are up to. But, please, allow everyone to have an opinion. It was asked for!!!

This continued on for say some 1000 plus comments and led Sherry to  post that the couple would be taking a break. The last two paragraphs of her 3000 word post from September 9th are:

So in an attempt to stop stumbling around and feeling like we just can’t get it back, we’re taking a break. We don’t know exactly how long we’ll be stepping away, but our guess would be at least a month. We will certainly be exploring other options for supporting our family (something we mentioned we were considering back in April). We had that fiery blog-spark back when we had day jobs and did this as a hobby, so we think it could be a good change. We’ll also be taking a break on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but the blog will stay public so you guys can access the archives whenever you’d like.

Our internal struggle and the state of this blog is entirely of our making, and we completely own that. Please don’t get mad at anyone for being honest with their feedback last week or accuse them of sending us packing. We have been struggling with that “something is off” feeling for a while now, and after way too much denial and “we’ll turn it around” pep talks, we finally asked for your feedback because we truly wanted to hear what you were thinking. It was cathartic and helpful for us. It has allowed us to very clearly see that if we have any respect for this blog and our love of it, and for you guys and what you’d like to see, we need to take break if we ever want any hope of getting back to that fun/real/spontaneous place it used to be when this was something we did for the love instead of the high stakes game of supporting a family.

In summary: we love you, we thank you, and we hope you understand.

Do you know what?  That post has over 4500 comments!   There is no way I would even attempt to read them, nor do I want to read them.  Why do I say that?  Well, I don’t follow them, I don’t know much about them and I really don’t care to learn.  Way too much of my own stuff to focus on but found it amusing that this DIY blog would be this controversial.  After all TV series get cancelled, reality shows get cancelled, shows that run for many seasons end and life goes on.  In the blogging  world we have to understand that things change, people get burnt out, go on to other opportunities, have life issues or just stop blogging.  There is nothing anyone can do or say to make them keep blogging if they don’t but the reality is that there are thousands and thousands of other blogs covering the same type of topics and life goes on.

 

 

All in all there were


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Sunset Yoga Workshop in Brooklyn Bridge Park With Miz Mooz Shoes!!! #MizMoozMoves

Well, I am very proud to introduce my daughter Alexandra as a new guest blogger for Mommy Ramblings. Alexandra graduated with her Masters in Public Administration in May and is working full time with NJ Transit as a Transportation GIS Analyst.  She lives in the NYC area and will be covering local events and happenings in the city that never sleeps.  Her first event post is one I knew she would love.  She is a very active young woman and after work can be found jumping on a train to a yoga studio.  So the September 16th Sunset Yoga Workshop sponsored by Miz Mooz Shoes in Brooklyn Bridge Park had her name all over it.   For all the details read her post below:

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The weather was breezy but nice in the Harbor Side Park in DUMBO. The bright orange yoga mats were set up directly across the Manhattan skyline with a perfect view of the Statue of Liberty.

I am used to taking power yoga at my home studio but have been craving a slower flow and the teacher, Kelly, absolutely delivered. The poses she recommended were perfect to completely stretch out the body no matter if you were a novice or a very practiced yogi.

 

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The class was very welcoming and provided a nice retreat from the chaos of the city. Miz Mooz showcased some very fashionable styles for fall and each blogger was sent home with a very comfortable espadrille style flat which I have been using for commuting on the PATH.
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The shoes are comfortable  and fashionably perfect for the city.  I had an absolutely amazing experience sharing this class with all of the awesome bloggers and want to thank Miz Mooz for their hospitality and the great shoes and goodies we all got to take with us!  To see all the gorgeous Miz Mooz fall shoe styles visit their website and connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

 

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Save $10 At Lovable Labels 3 Day Spooktacular Weekend Sale September 19th-21st!!!

Lovable Labels Logo

Lovable Labels is having a Spooktacular Weekend Sale from September 19th thru September 21st.  Save $10 on any order of $25 or more when you use the promo code SPOOKY2014.  It’s not too late to label all that school stuff and take a look at their new Halloween products that are only available for a limited time.  So head on over to Lovable Labels now and take advantage of this great sale because it will be over before you can say BOO!!!

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Canning Labels


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Success® Whole-Grain Boil-In-Bag Brown Rice Is a Pantry Staple For Me!!! #SUCCESSRICE

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Success Rice Box

You know what’s one of my go to foods when I want a quick and easy side dish or to make to eat for lunch or a snack? It’s Success® Whole-Grain Brown Rice and Salsa.  I have been eating that for the last several years so I was absolutely stoked to be chosen to write a sponsored post for Success® Boil-In-Bag Rice.  I absolutely love it the brown rice and mild chunky salsa combination.  I have no idea what ever led me to mix the two, but from the first time I did, it was love at first bite.

Have you tried Success® Boil-In-Bag Rice?  If you have, then I am sure you will relate to how convenient it is to have in your pantry, I consider it a pantry staple.  It’s simple to make and the brown rice can even sit for 30 minutes in the hot water (with the heat off) before serving making it foolproof and worry free.

If you’ve never tried it, you should! Success® Whole-Grain Brown Rice is 100% whole grain and gluten-free. The rice has a great chewy texture and nut-like flavor that are a nice departure from traditional rice products on the shelves.  The cooked brown rice can be used in a variety of recipes from salads, soups, main entrees to desserts just like white rice.  Success® Whole-Grain Brown Rice is available in two sizes (14 oz. and 32 oz.) to accommodate different household sizes.

I tried a recipe for the first time with Success® Whole-Grain Brown Rice.  I improvised on one of the recipes I found online at the Success® Rice website. and made a fried brown vegetable rice.  It was super easy.  I just prepared 2 bags of Success® Whole-Grain Brown Rice according to the package directions.

Success Rice

I put the rice in a bowl and mixed it with peas and carrots (you can use cooked fresh, canned or frozen) and green beans. Then I  heated up some oil in pan to cook 4 beaten eggs for about 40 seconds, began to break up the eggs  into small pieces while they finished cooking.

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When the eggs were cooked I added the rice and veggies and cooked until heated through adding a few tablespoons of low sodium soy sauce. An easy way to a healthy side that tastes great.

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You may also like Success® White Boil-In-Bag Rice.  I hope you will share with me if you are a user of this rice and what your favorite way to use it is or if you try a new recipe with it.  If you have never tried it, I hope you will let us know your thoughts if you do and what you made with it.  For inspiration you can browse more than 300 recipes from breakfast to dessert on the Success® Rice website at www.successrice.com. For additional recipe inspiration, lifestyle tips and more, you can connect with Success Rice on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Success® Rice is one of the participating brands in a “How Are You Cooking This Fall?” Sweepstakes from O, The Oprah Magazine! Would you like to win a variety of culinary-themed prizes?  If so, head on over to O’s Magazine and submit the entry form and pin with inspiration from O’s PROMO: “How Are You Cooking This Fall?” Pinterest board for a chance to win.

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Success® Rice.


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Emile Henry Bread Cloche and Baguette Baker Review & Giveaway!!!

EmileHenry-Logo

I consider myself a good baker but I never thought I could make bread the way I did last weekend.  I had help from Emile Henry.  I was sent the Emile Henry Bread Cloche  and Baguette Baker in beautiful, warm red.

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As I looked at the recipe book, I marveled at how quickly you could make bread, artisan style bread that looked delicious. I still doubted mine would turn out as perfectly.  I started making the quick-bake recipe of the round bread and it was so easy.

3 cups of bread flour

1 cup of warm water (95 degrees F)

2 tsp of salt

2 tsp of granulated sugar

2 tsp of dried baker’s yeast

2 tbsp of milk

In a large bowl mix the bread flour, salt, sugar and dried yeast.

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Pour in the warm water and knead for about 2-3 minutes.

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 Form the dough into a ball and cover with a dish towel.

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Put the covered bowl in a warm place away from drafts to rise for 20 minutes.  Uncover the dough and knead to remove the carbon dioxide, form the dough into a ball.  Sprinkle some flour on the platter of the bread cloche and place the ball of dough on the platter.

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Cover with the cloche and let rise for another 45 minutes at room temperature.

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Brush a little milk over the top at the end of the rise time and sprinkle with flour.

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Make several incisions on the top and cover again with the cloche. Bake in a preheated oven of 460 degrees F for 35 minutes and then allow the bread to cool on the platter with the cloche removed.

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The whole process was fast and easy and I cannot tell you how impressed I was when I removed the Cloche after baking and saw that beautiful round artisan style bread on the platter.  It tasted as good as it looked and the whole family enjoy it right from the oven.

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The baguette baker was the next thing I tried and even though the first time baguettes could use a little artisan tweaking the taste of them was better than anything we have ever tasted.  The way the baker cooks the crust but leaves the middle soft and chewy is unbelievable.  My kids ate those faster than you could say Bon Jour.  The are definitely one of our new favorites and I only wish my parents were still alive to taste these breads because they would have loved them!  I never knew that you could bake this kind of bread at home and now that we know, we are baking bread almost daily.

For the Baguettes we used the “Real French Baguette” recipe below:

2 cups of bread flour

1 cup of warm water (110 degrees F)

1 tsp of fine salt

1 tsp of dried yeast

I added about 2 tsp to 3 tsp of granulated sugar ( I added by eye)

Mix flour, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl and add the warm water and knead the dough about 5 minutes until you can form a smooth ball.  Cover the bowl with a dish cloth and let rise in a warm location, away from drafts for about 40 minutes.

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After 40 minutes, knead the dough again to remove the carbon dioxide and then divide into three equal portions. Sprinkle each piece with flour and shape into a rectangle about the size of your hand then roll the dough a little longer in length than the depression in the baguette pan and about 10 cm wide.  Fold one side about 2/3 of the way over and then the other side 1/4 of the way over to form a cylinder shape.

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Sprinkle the baguette pan with flour and turn the formed dough with the folded side on the bottom and place in the pan.  Repeat with the other 2 pieces.  Cover with the lid and let rise for 2o minutes while you preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.

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After 20 minutes open the cover and brush with water, sprinkle with flour and make several diagonal cuts in each baguette.

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Replace cover and bake for 25 minutes and then remove the cover and continue baking for 2 minutes until they are nice and brown.

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As soon as these came out we ate them hot with fresh butter and they were gone in minutes!

If you like to bake bread or if you have never made bread, you have to try these Emile Henry accessories.  You will not believe the bread you will be making and neither will your family.

Quality Bakeware For Breads:

Emile Henry enters the artisan bread baking category with the Bread Cloche. The ceramic Bread Cloche with its bell-shaped cover allows you to proof your bread directly in the bread cloche. The lid also traps steam from the baking bread to create an environment similar to a steam-injected oven. The steam gives the bread a crunchy, chewy crust. The Emile Henry Bread Cloche is sized for a round loaf made with 3-cups of flour. Recipe and Instruction booklet included. Like all Emile Henry products, the Bread Cloche is made of all natural materials and is backed by a ten-year warranty, which is not offered by any other ceramic manufacturers. Emile Henry is located in the Burgundy town of Marcigny, France.

The new ceramic Baguette Baker from Emile Henry bakes three, 13½inch long by 2¼ inch wide, artisanal French baguettes. The Baguette Baker traps steam from the baking bread to create an environment similar to a steam-injected oven. The steam gives the bread a crunchy, golden crust and a chewy interior. The Baguette Baker simplifies the process so home bakers have more consistent, delicious results every time they make bread. A recipe book is included with the product so even a novice baker will be confident in baking bread at home. The Baker, made in France from Burgundy clay.

Emile Henry Oven Ceramic

Emile Henry’s Oven Ceramic bakeware and tableware is made in Marcigny France since 1850 from high fired Burgundy clay. The natural clay is unsurpassed for conducting and retaining heat. Emile Henry’s Oven Ceramic is made with an exclusive process to produce strong and durable ceramic bakeware and tableware for everyday use.

  • Resistance Against Mechanical Shocks: During everyday use, there are many opportunities to bang a dish or a set of plates. Particularly resistant to shocks, our ceramic is even used in restaurants!
  • Resistance Against Temperature Changes: A dish or stewpot should be able to withstand wide variations in temperature. Our ceramics allow our products to be taken directly from the freezer to the hot oven (+250°C/500°F).
  • Resistance Against Fading Colors: Heat, the dishwasher or sharp instruments will all have an ageing effect on a product. Our glazes are particularly resistant to the dishwasher and the most aggressive of detergents.

The quality of these pieces is extraordinary and the ease of use and clean up is absolutely divine.

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Emile Henry is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will receive their own Bread Cloche and Baguette Baker- A $260 value!!!  Thank you to Emile Henry for the review pieces and for sponsoring this awesome giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Emile Henry Bread Cloche and Baguette Baker Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Giveaway, Kitchen, Main Page Post, Mommy Ramblings, Recipes, Review

Celebrate Autumn In New York State with a Trip To The Wright Family Farm & Save 33% on Admission!!!

Wright Family Farm

The leaves are changing, the pumpkins are ready for picking, the apples are crisp and it’s a wonderful time to explore New York State.  Fall is so beautiful in New York State, sometimes living here, we take for granted the beautiful change of seasons and the colorful beauty of fall.  If you are living in New York State or visiting the area, I urge you to experience the beauty of Autumn with a trip to the Wright Family Farm in Warwick, New York

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Wright-Family-Farm- Pumpkin

Try to find your way out of the Corn Maze, go on a hay ride, pick your own pumpkins, compete in the duck races, visit the animals in the barnyard, ride the pedal karts and have a picnic.  Right now you can save 33% off admission to the corn maze and barnyard with a special US Family Guide discount coupon that you can get by clicking HERE.  You can follow them on Facebook too to keep up with the newest happenings.

 

The Wright Family Farm is located in scenic Warwick, New York, just an hour north of New York City. This family-run farm stand offers a variety of seasonal family fun! During the fall, we offer pick-your-own pumpkins, free hay rides, and a corn maze. The farm stand features seasonal produce, fresh-baked breads, and cookies, as well as hot dogs and snacks.

Wright Family Farm Pic

Wright Family Farm Cows


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Make Choosing Tile Easier With The Interior Design Tile Style Guide From Drury Design!!!

As someone in the middle of several home improvement projects with extensive tile work involved in 2 of them, I am excited to share a new guide to make choosing tile easier.  One of the most daunting parts of picking out tile is trying to find what you like, staying in your  budget and choosing tile that is right for the application you are using it for.  Walking in a tile showroom can be positively overwhelming!  There are so many patterns, colors, materials and finishes that it may cause your eyes to glaze over or make you have a panic attack.

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Last year at this time, I was picking out the tile for our master bath and I remember being so overwhelmed.   I just wanted to be in a room with 3 choices and make a simple decision.  Tile is something you don’t just change on a whim, you know it’s going to be with you for a long time and that’s why picking something that is going to go the long haul for you on style and  durability is paramount.

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If you wished an expert could be with you, holding your hand and guiding you, I may have the next best thing.  The Interior Design Tile Style Guide from Drury Design will help you understand everything you need to know when making a tile purchase. From the basics of whether  to choose glass, ceramic, porcelain, natural stone or exotic tile based on where it will be installed, durability, maintenance and your budget to lots of interior design ideas simple and ornate. Armed with the proper knowledge beforehand makes picking out tile a much easier and pleasurable task.

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Tile Steamer_in_kitchen_drury

You can browse great design ideas for bathrooms, kitchens, backsplash trends and more for inspiration.  Check it out today and see what you think.  Let us know your thoughts.


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Primula Cold Brew Glass Carafe Iced Coffee Maker Review & Giveaway!!!

PRimula Logo

I don’t know about you, but I love iced coffee and I don’t live down the street from a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. If you found when making your own at home it tasted different, it’s was because hot brewed coffee is highly acidic.  Did you know that there are cold brew coffee makers that make coffee concentrate? I recently had the chance to try the Primula Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker.

Primula Website Photo

 

The coffee made in this cold brew way makes coffee concentrate that is 65% less acidic than hot brewed coffee. The 50 oz Carafe will make enough concentrate for 16 cups of iced coffee. You can store the concentrate in the refridgerator for up to 14 days so you will easily be able to whip up a refreshing iced coffee whenever the mood strikes. There are also recipes for other delicious coffee drinks in the instruction guide. The glass carafe is BPA free, stain and scratch resistant and features a non slip silicone bottom ring. The carafe easily fits in the fridge without taking up much room.

The Cold Brew Glass Carafe System has the MyBev Flavorcore that is a stainless steel mesh basket core where you place the ground coffee.  The handle on the Flavorcore makes it easy to maneuver and it rests inside the lid and locks firmly in place with a twist while brewing  After 12-24 hours you simply remove the lid and unscrew and remove the Flavorcore, the coffee grounds are easily emptied from the bottom.

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It’s so easy to make the coffee concentrate. All you do is put freshly ground coffee in the Flavorcore, then cover slowly with one cup of water then continue filling until the grounds in the Flavorcore are submerged by water. Next, put the top on and place in the refrigerator to brew for 12-24 hours.  When the brewing time is over, just remove the Flavorcore and dispose of the grounds.  you can insert the flavor mixer to mix and then use the concentrate for iced coffee, cold brew frappe, iced cappuccino, iced mocha or any of your other favorite iced coffee drinks.

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The concentrate is so handy to have made so that my favorite iced coffee treat is seconds away.  I love this system and the concentrate tastes great mixed with water and flavored creamers.  I had an iced pumpkin coffee today after some extensive yard work and it was what I had my mind focused on as my reward for my hard manual labor :) .  If you are looking for a Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker that’s easy to use and easy to clean then the Primula Cold Brew Glass Carafe System is for you!

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Want a chance to win the Primula Cold Brew System?  One lucky Mommy Ramblings’ reader will win a Primula Cold Brew Glass Carafe System!  Thank you Primula for the review unit and for sponsoring this refreshing giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!! Open to US residents.

Primula Cold Brew Glass Carafe System Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter to win using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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