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I was given product for this review. All opinions are my own.

 

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I grew up in as a preacher’s kid in the South, where one of the rules is that you attend every single church potluck going on. It’s the law: If you prepare anything savory for a church potluck, you have to sprinkle on the paprika. Deviled Eggs, casseroles, potato salad… you name it!

So paprika is pretty much a staple in every southern person’s home. But I’d never tried smoked Spanish paprika. What’s the difference?

The difference is AMAZING.

Both varieties of Kiva Smoked Spanish Paprika have your beloved paprika taste, but with an amazing smoky flavor that adds a little something extra to your dishes. And it isn’t a fake smoked-taste as well. Typically, I’m not a fan of smoked foods, but these spices are amazing.

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For the Hot Smoked Paprika, I decided to sprinkle it on some Pierogies before baking them. Simply take frozen pierogies, sprinkle them with Kiva Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika, coat with non-stick cooking spray, bake on one side at 375 for about 8 minutes, flip and repeat.

Makes an amazing and flavorful appetizer. I highly recommend serving with Greek yogurt.

I decided to prepare Mom some scallops to celebrate her birthday. First time preparing them! I browned them, and sauteed them in a sauce made of butter, lemon, salt, pepper and Kiva Sweet Smoked Spanish Paprika. MMMM! What an AMAZINGLY delicious dish. I know it doesn’t look pretty, but as you know, I am in the business of preparing food for function and taste. AMAZING!

These paprika flavors would go amazing on deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach… the possibilities are endless!

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Sebastian enjoys Stewart Raw Naturals Dog Food

I was given product for this review. All opinions are my own.

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Sebastian loves being the test subject for all these dog foods, but I have to say the products I’ve had by Stewart Pet have been the absolute best so far. They have extremely simple and healthy ingredients, switching to them is very easy on his stomach, and he finds them extremely tasty. This time, Sebastian got to try Stewart Naturals Freeze-Dried Patties, and he really enjoyed them.

Ingredients and what they do to the canine body are what I’m going to focus on here.

Sebastian has a really hard time eating foods with corn as the first ingredient. Unfortunately, that is what you’re going to find with the most popular dog food brands. I can definitely see a difference if he eats corn-based food – and it isn’t pretty. Horrible digestive issues. Running outside to do his business. Diarrhea. Loose stools. Now, the vet did tell me corn is an excellent source of fiber, and that although corn gets a bad rap, it can be good for some dogs. My response: Just not for Sebastian.

As a petsitter, I see a lot of what dogs eat. I also happen to see what comes out of dogs’ bodies. This week I am taking care of some adorable chihuahuas who are on an amazing diet. It is a combination of dry, grain-free food, quality canned food, and raw food. They’re extremely easy to clean up afterwards, and their systems are pretty regular.

I’ve taken care of dogs who eat food that you can purchase at any chain drug store, and it is a totally different story. Extremely difficult cleanup. Mooshy stools. impossible to completely get off the grass. Very sad.

But some dogs eat this food and are fine. Just like with humans, every dog’s body is different.

But I know that what you put in a dog can really have an impact on what comes out of him. It’s just like with humans: If your poop looks weird, there’s probably something going on with your diet that you need to change.

Here are the ingredients in Stewart Raw Naturals Freeze-Dried Patties: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Ground Beef Bone, Broccoli, Carrots, Beef Kidney, Lettuce, Apples, Ground Flaxseed, Inulin, Salmon Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Blueberry, Cranberry, Dried Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Whole Ginger, Whole Parsley, Whole Garlic, Montmorillonite Clay, Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Mixed Tocopherols (as preservative), Vitamin D Supplement.

There’s one ingredient in there that struck me and made sense: Ginger. Ginger is known as a settling agent for nausea. I have read that Ginger is great to settle a dog’s stomach and even calm him down before a long car ride. So it made sense when this food didn’t really result in adverse reactions on Sebastian’s part. There was no dash to the back door. No gas. No heaving. Nothing. He just really enjoyed his food.

And here he is, enjoying his food. The second of these videos shows you but one way to prepare it for your dog. It can be prepared wet, dry, or crumbled on top of your dog’s existing food as a supplement.

And here’s part 2. I love the heart shapes! They also have freeze-dried treats that are heart-shaped. So sweet!

Part 2 of the #StewartPet Freeze Dried Dog Food experiment. A video posted by @bellesouthblogs on

We tried several different ways of feeding Sebastian, but in the end, we discovered that he really doesn’t care for the wet food. I ended up handing him the patties whole so he could eat them for dinner. He can always drink his water separately (and he does; we always keep out a ton of water for this little guy.)

The Freeze-Dried Naturals Patties are available in beef and chicken flavors. As you can see, there are extremely simple ingredients to these foods. And frankly, I think they’re amazing. Sebastian kinda digs them, too.

So, if you are looking for something new to feed your dog, give this a try. I recommend easing your dog into any new diet by gradually introducing and increasing the new food with the old food, and also to pay attention to your dog’s reaction. Gas and dramatic changes in stool can indicate issues – and excessive scratching and watery eyes can mean allergies. But as with humans, we typically have to test our animals to figure out what is best for them.

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**FTC Disclosure Statement: This guest post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a commission if you click a link and make a purchase. 45-Day Price Lock for MacBooks ends 3/20/2015. $20 Bonus Offer Terms and Conditions: One per customer and only applicable on MacBooks. Ends 3/22/2015.

If you’re like most of us, you can’t wait to get your hands on the brand new MacBook, which will finally be released on April 10th. This enviable piece of machinery is engineered to be the lightest and most compact notebook ever. At only two pounds, you may not realized that you’ve even picked it up!

A few other notable features are: a 12-inch retina display; nine hour battery; no fan for a silent operation; and it comes in silver or gold.

As usual, Gazelle has come to the rescue to help us pass the time until April 10th by offering a limited-time45-day price lock promotion. This means that you will have 45 days to lock-in their price for your old MacBook. But better giddy-up on this offer as it ends March 20th. Plus, the longer your wait, the more the price of your existing MacBook will depreciate.

Oh, and to make this deal even sweeter, Gazelle will also give you a $20 bonus on any working MacBook valued at $50+ at trade-in at Gazelle. Yet another great reason not to let the grass grow under your feet!

Gazelle is the nation’s leading consumer electronics reCommerce site, providing an easy, fast and safe way for you to get cash for your used electronics or buy Certified pre-owned devices. To get cash for your used MacBook and other electronics, simply go to their site, get a quote on the trade-in value of your electronics (the longer you wait, the more your MacBook depreciates in value), pack them up and ship them to Gazelle and they send you the money in return. Your MacBook and other electronics get a new life as refurbished devices that travel to new homes overseas, skipping the landfill altogether. And you have cash in hand to purchase your new MacBook.

Lock in your MacBook price for 45 days at Gazelle! Valid through 3/20! Go to Gazelle today, and see what your MacBook is worth!

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This is a compensated post for Never Hungover. This post contains affiliate links, and I will make a commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. Please drink responsibly, and only if you are 21 or older.

Never Hungover - the best way to prevent hangovers!

I put my binge-drinking days behind me long ago. Becoming a caregiver and a dog-mom has a way of doing that, because you have things called “responsibilities.” But I do remember those days, and (unfortunately) many of the mornings after. I still know many of you like to go out on occasion and get a break from work, the kids, the spouse, what have you. So in the name of work, science and public service, I decided to conduct a controlled experiment in my home using Never Hungover, a bottle of cheap Blue Raspberry vodka, and Ancient Aliens on H2.

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Never Hungover is a shot-type drink that is likely being sold in liquor stores near the cash register, along with similar-sized energy shots. Never Hungover has no carbs, sugar or calories. Its main ingredient is aloe vera, which supposedly provides hydration properties. The suggested retail price for one bottle is $2.99, but you can save 20% off your first online order with code 20NH through 3/31/15.

I think it’s a great idea to get a case of these directly from the website and have them at your party as party favors. Place them at the bar, near the cups as they are mixing their drinks.

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Never Hungover can either be taken as a shot, or mixed in your drink. I sipped the stuff, and trust me… you’ll want to shoot or mix it. It’s also an interesting shade of yellowish-green, which makes sense, considering the Aloe Vera concentration.

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You are supposed to drink one bottle for every four drinks, so I poured four shots of vodka into my glass and added the Never Hungover.

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After mixing and adding some flavored carbonated water and ice, it turned into a very putrid-looking green drink that reminded me of the cocktails my friends and I used to throw together on a whim back in college. In hindsight, I would suggest just shooting it and getting it over with. And buying an alcoholic drink that is not flavored with “Blue Raspberry.”

So, the test. Ancient Aliens happened to be airing, so I decided to play the Ancient Aliens drinking game. It’s pretty simple: You drink every time the narrator is “On location,” every time the narrator says “As ancient astronaut theorists believe/suggest/etc.,” every time the narrator asks a question, every time the narrator appends the question with “And if so…,” and then drink twice every time Giorgio Tsoukalos talks.

Two shows in and it got funnier and funnier, and I got drunker and drunker. All I could handle was one four-shot beverage. I soon passed out for the evening, but not before burning my wrist when trying to turn off my bedside light.

I woke up. I had to be up and at ‘em for petsitting gigs. And you know what? I felt great. NO headaches. NO queasiness. No dehydration. NONE of the symptoms of a hangover in spite of the fact that I made some very horrible decisions, starting with drinking Blue Raspberry Vodka. I was quickly ready to head out and take on my day of visits and walks.

This would be great to order for any upcoming party, or even just to keep on hand for guests if you regularly entertain in the home. I swear this stuff is great. So take it before or while you are drinking, one bottle for every four drinks, and when you sober up the next day, I hope you are as in good of shape as I was.

Enjoy a drink without having to worry about a hangover the next day. Get 10% Off Never Hungover using code ALLNATURAL. Expires 3/30/2015 11:59 PM PST.

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Review: Garcinia/Cleanse Fast Weight Loss Kit

I was given product for this review. All opinions are my own.

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I have not had good luck with weight-loss supplements. If you’ve been reading this blog for the past few months, you know that I have given some past weight loss products some less-than-stellar reviews. But I was sent this Garcinia/Cleanse Fast Weight Loss Kit from Team Innovations, LLC to review, so I figured I would give this one a shot since it was a system and not just one bottle of supplements.

There are lots of things this system is supposed to help with: Weight Gain, Sluggishness, Acne, Mood Swings, Gas and Bloating, Sleeping Problems, and Constipation. Let’s go with the cleanse first.

The Cleanse should ONLY be used for seven days. And if you want a cleanse – it works. Overnight. And fortunately it works without cramping, needing to run to the bathroom at any given moment, etc. And I think using it for seven days should be okay.

In addition to essentially being an overnight-acting laxative, it is supposed to remove unwanted toxins and, of course, other elements from your body. As the daughter and caregiver of a kidney patient, I keep up on toxin removal and know that the body already has its own ways of removing toxins. There really is no food or product that is going to rid your body of toxins.

I wish they would. Otherwise my mom wouldn’t need to be on dialysis. But there isn’t even really a kickstarter for your body here. Yes, the cleanse will rid things from your body. No, there is not any conclusive evidence that it removes things that are toxic to your system.

Next is the Garcinia Cambogia. I took it and the Cleanse as directed, and did not notice any changes in my energy levels. I did, however, notice that my skin cleared up. And that was pretty cool. I also can’t report any gas or bloating during this time – even though I was taking a cleanse that would normally cause gas. So those are some good things. However, my weight did not change. I still wanted to have a Fourth Meal late at night. And my sleep patterns were still awful.

BUT. There are some margins of error here. I have sleep apnea and am currently in the midst of sleep studies so I can get a CPAP to treat it. So, as a result, I am basically sluggish all the time. I never get a good night’s sleep. So, if you get 6-8 hours of sleep, do NOT have sleep apnea, and still feel sluggish, this might work for you. I do know of one other person who tried Garcinia Cambogia and said her energy levels went up.

The main thing to remember about these and any supplements is that every body is different. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution. So when picking supplements, you should think critically, look at the results from peer-reviewed studies, and of course talk to your friends and read reviews to see if they worked. This didn’t work for me. It may work for you.

The kit can be purchased for $37.95 here. And ALWAYS consult your physician before taking new supplements or beginning any weight-loss program.

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