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Friday Finds: Glade Sense & Spray

24 Apr


As a BzzAgent, I get the opportunity to review new products at no cost, which could possibly be the most fun thing ever (at least to me!). Not only do I get to hear and learn about new products, but I also get to try them out for myself, and see if they actually live up to the hype. Plus, I get to share that knowledge with you!

The first product I received was the Sense & Spray, a new automatic air freshener from Glade. I am an absolute air freshener junkie, so this was a perfect product to get my feet wet with. After using the Sense & Spray, I learned very quickly that this is no ordinary air freshener. After all, the Sense & Spray is motion activated, putting it in the category of “why didn’t anyone think of this before???” It works in two ways, releasing scent when:

  • motion is detected from 5 feet away
  • someone presses the button on the front of the unit

Translation? No wasted sprays!

I was definitely skeptical about this working; I figured it would go off every time someone walked by, or it wouldn’t go off at all. To test the unit, I put it on top of the toilet in our 1st floor bathroom, which gets the most use. I soon realized that while it sometimes takes a couple of seconds to release the scent, it has a lock feature, which times out the unit from spraying automatically for 30 minutes. I also liked that the unit was fairly attractive, didn’t take up too much space and was easy to assemble and operate. Having used it for 30 days and having the canister still half full, I can also say that the Sense & Spray lives up to its claim of being long-lasting.

I received the Clean Linen scent, and while it didn’t completely win me over, it’s a pleasant enough fragrance to keep around. Refills are also available in Apple Cinnamon, Country Garden and Powder Fresh, which gives you the option of finding the perfect scent for you, and at only $3.49, aren’t a fortune to replace, which is always a bonus.

Would I purchase the Sense & Spray for myself? Probably – I find it a convenient product, and I like that it gives you options. Plus, when you purchase the starter kit, you get everything you need in one package: the unit, 2 AA batteries and a refill canister (either in Clean Linen or Apple Cinnamon). It’s a little pricey at $8.99, but it makes up for it in quality and convenience.

To give you the opportunity to try out the Glade Sense & Spray for yourself, I have 5 coupons for $4 off a starter kit to give away, and they’re good until August 31st, 2009 (US only). The giveaway closes on Monday, April 27th at 11:59 PM EST, and there are three ways to enter:

  1. Leave a comment with your e-mail address and favourite scent
  2. Post about this giveaway on your blog, and leave a comment with the link
  3. Subscribe through a reader or by e-mail, and leave a comment letting me know. If you’re already a subscriber, leave a comment and you’ll be entered as well.
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Friday Finds: Strawberry Chex

17 Jan
(photo taken from Chex.com)

I honestly didn’t think that this week, my Friday Find would be a box of cereal.

I’m usually not a cereal girl, and definitely not a milk girl, but man, this cereal made all of my dreams come true – halfway through eating, I expected to look up and find a unicorn covered in diamonds in my living room.

Seriously.

This was my dinner a couple of nights ago, and it was surprisingly satisfying. At less than $4 a box, this is a yumminess that everyone can afford. You won’t be sorry!

Friday Finds: Archer Farms’ Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese

9 Jan

Even though E and I did all of our Christmas shopping online this year, it still felt like we were running around like headless chickens, tying up loose ends and getting last-minute necessities. On one particularly late evening with a hungry husband in tow, I caved, and pulled out another boxed meal I picked up from Target, Archer Farms’ Buffalo Macaroni and Cheese. E and I are both big fans of hot sauce and blue cheese, so this seemed perfect for us!

Priced under $3, this meal promised 3 servings and a one-pot mess. It’s pretty simple; bring a measured amount of water to a boil, add in both the pasta and powdered sauce mix, and cook until pasta is tender and sauce has thickened.

For me, this meal fell somewhat flat – although super-convenient and easy, the sauce never thickened fully, and was somewhat liquidy until it fully cooled. Maybe it’s personal preference, but when it comes to pasta dishes, especially a mac and cheese, I like a nice, thick sauce that coats the noodles. In terms of flavour, this was okay. I didn’t find this tasted like blue cheese or buffalo sauce at all, never mind a combination of the two. It just felt a little flat to me, and although E seemed to like it, this isn’t something I’d choose to eat again, although I did appreciate the convenience of it.

I jazzed this up with some peppered feta cheese sprinkled on top and served it with celery sticks and cucumber ranch dressing, which did improve it slightly. A great value and really convenient, taste is important, and this just didn’t do it for me.

Friday Finds: Steamfresh Meals for Two (Sweet and Spicy Chicken)

2 Jan

A few weeks ago, I clipped out a coupon for $2 off Steamfresh’s new Meals for Two. I’d seen them in the freezer section of our local Kroger’s, and I had wanted to try them, but priced at $7.49, they were a little beyond my budget. Armed with my coupon, they became a little closer. Since they do not make any vegetarian options for E and I to share, I picked the most interesting sounding selection, and decided to go it alone.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken is described as “Tender roasted chicken, tomatoes, onions, black olives and plump raisins tossed with rigatoni pasta and topped with a sweet and spicy tomato sauce.” The preparation is simple: take the bag out of the freezer, put it into the microwave, cook for 10 minutes, and eat! Thankfully, this meal stays true to its word, and it really is that simple. I ended up having to heat it a little longer due to cold spots, but the extra time didn’t seem to sacrifice the ingredients’ quality.

I did end up really enjoying this; a little different, the flavour is addictive after the first bite, waking up the taste buds. Although the sauce was a little watery, it had a much better consistency than I thought. The pasta was firm, and the chicken was moist. I don’t think the chicken is necessary, and that the dish would’ve been just as good without it. The portion size is reasonable, and will definitely serve two, especially if paired with a salad.

As much as I enjoyed this, I probably won’t buy it again. It irks me that there is no vegetarian option, especially considering there are 6 meal types on the market (4 with chicken, 2 with shrimp). Birds Eye could easily replace one of the chicken meals with a veg one, or release some of the meals sans meat. It would allow consumers the choice to add in the protein of their choice, possibly using up leftovers, and would probably cause the price to lower. Make no mistake – this is good, especially for a quick meal, but I have a hard time paying almost $8 for a convenience food my husband can’t eat.

Friday Finds: Archer Farms’ Spicy Southwestern Tamale Pie and Blue Corn with Flaxseed Tortilla Chips

26 Dec

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always get a fully home-cooked meal on the table every night – sometimes, life just gets ahead of me! I hate the idea of fast food as a runner-up, and I definitely don’t want to serve E something that tastes artificial or bland.

We had picked up several different meal kits at Target a few weeks ago, and soon after, I was in a dinner panic. I looked through the pantry, and picked the Spicy Southwestern Tamale Pie by Archer Farms, their more upscale house brand. Priced under $5 with servings for 4, this is definitely a frugal meal, completely vegetarian andfairly healthy (sodium and carbohydrates aside). It’s also really easy to put together. I also loved that the box is fairly compact, which means it didn’t take up a lot of pantry space.

Inside the kit is three packets: the cornbread topping mix, the beans and the spices.

This is seriously simple: you simmer the beans with the spices in some water for about 15-20 minutes, mix up the cornbread topping (with milk and an egg, I believe), and preheat your over. Once everything’s ready, pour the bean mixture into a 1 1/2 qt. casserole dish, top with the cornbread topping and bake until topping is puffed and brown, which took us about 25-30 minutes. This was really good! The beans had a really hearty, homey taste, were thick, and the mix also contained tomato bits and corn niblets. The cornbread was perfectly cooked, firm and crisp on top, soft on the bottom, and also contained corn niblets. E and I both had this the next day for lunch, and it was just as good – the best part was that the cornbread didn’t get mushy or develop a different texture than it had the night before.

Would I purchase this again? Most definitely. I’d probably add some lemon juice and/or fresh cilantro to the filling the next time to brighten it up a little bit, and while I did sprinkle some cheese between the cornbread and the beans, I would omit that the next time, as you couldn’t taste it one bit.

I served this with my mother-in-law’s fantastic corn and black bean fresh salsa and Archer Farms’ Blue Corn with Flaxseed Tortilla Chips. These are definitely my new favourite tortilla chips! At under $3, they’re affordable and I love that the packaging includes a ziptop to really keep the product fresh. They’re actually pretty, an almost purpley blue, with whole flaxseeds throughout. I also appreciate that they’re not greasy or salty, and that they’re thin enough for that perfect crunch, while thick enough to hold up to any dip. They’d be wonderful for parties.