Friday, May 27, 2022

Selefina Spices

Complimentary samples of the spices were provided so that I could try them and share my expierence.

I love to bake and cook, to experiment with flavors. I have a spice rack that I registered for when I got married, it has been refreshed many times over because I love being able to have the variety of spice close by when cooking. Of course, I also have a pantry that holds the other spices that we use (and refills for some that we use a lot of). When I consider how many spices I have in my pantry, I am always surprised when a recipe calls for a new spice. Of course, when I buy it, then I try to think of or find other uses for the spice.

I recently had the opportunity to try some samples from Selefina spices. (You can order samples from Selefina for only $.75 each and shipping is free with 5 samples.) I recieved several to try in order to share about my experience.

I first tried the cinnnamon and nutmeg from the samples. I was making homemade macaroni and cheese for my daughter and I like to add a little bit of the earthen flavors when I make it. So, in addition to ground mustard, I use a touch of nutmeg and cinnamon. The flavors were good and the grind was even. The pouch format made them easy to measure - unlike a jar, I could stick the measuring spoon down in to grab the spice I needed.

The weather was chilly the other week, so the next thing I tried was the recipe for the Hot Chocolate Infused with Cardamom and Rose. The recipe was easy and the aroma was awesome. The presentation with the rose petals was also pretty and felt a little fancy. I have only had cardamom as a component in the filing for Skool Bread (Norwegian dessert), so it was nice to have another option for use. The rose petals gave off a nice floral aroma, as I drank the hot chocolate. Next time though, I would likely filter out the rose petals before drinking, as the texture of them in my mouth was a little strange. You can find the recipe on their website - Hot Chocolate Infused with Cardamom and Rose. You can even add the samples for the spices you need right to your cart with a single click on the recipe page.

Next, on another coolish day, I thought I would give the Golden Turmeric Milk recipe a try. I'm not sure what I expected, I had heard great things about turmeric's benefits but had never tried it. The recipe called for black pepper, which seemed odd but worked out well in the overall flavor. I will say that although I liked the flavor overall, after I added additional hot milk to rewarm the drink after I got distracted and it cooled, I actually liked the drink a lot better. You can find their recipe for Golden Turmeric Milk on the website as well. Interestingly enough, on this page, scroll to the bottom to add the spice samples needed for the recipe to your cart.

The samples all came in the reasealable pouches. I like the convenience of this and assume that from a shelf life perspective that this helps extend shelf life and ensure that the spices aren't exposed to too much light. I assume as well that the pouches are a lower cost / less waste option. The challenge is, I have no good way to store and organize the pouches. I could probably get a bin that would be the right width and simply place them alphabetical in there (that's how my spice rack is organized). Alternatively, since they also have glass jar sizes, I could go with those and use the pouches as refills. A win-win situation and I only have to thumb through when I need to refill a jar.

Overall, I have been very satisfied with the freshness and consistency of the spices that I have tried. They have good aroma and deliver the flavors I expect from the spices. I look forward to trying more of their options as I look to restock spices as I run out. I have found their website to be very informative. They offer several recipes featuring the spices. On the page for each spice, they offer a good amount of information about the spice, tips, usage and more. In addition, they have some primers which help you learn more about the spice - it's history, forms, use, and more. They seem to be working on expanding their spice offerings and their primers.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. Complimentary samples of the spices were provided for my family and I to try, so that I could share my experience.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge

A few weeks ago, Goudge, who I follow on Facebook shared that there was a deal for an eBook version of her book The Replacement Wife. The book, one that was published in 2012, was one that I hadn't read. The blurb shared on the site was intriguing and I decided to request a copy from the library (I'm just not a digital book reader, give me the good old-fashioned paper version). I have read a few of her other books, including Once In A Blue Moon. She is one of many authors that I have discovered through the blog and continue to read.

About the book:
The Replacement Wife
A professional matchmaker with six months to live tries to find her husband’s next wife in this poignant novel by a New York Times–bestselling author.
Camille Hart, one of Manhattan’s most sought-after matchmakers, has survived more than her fair share of hardships. Her mother died when she was a young girl, leaving her and her sister with an absentee father. Now in her forties, she has already survived cancer once, though the battle revealed just how ill-equipped her husband Edward is to be a single parent. So when doctors tell Camille that her cancer is back—and this time it’s terminal—she decides to put her matchmaking expertise to the test for one final job. Seeking stability for her children and happiness for her husband, Camille sets out to find the perfect woman to replace her when she’s gone.
But what happens when a dying wish becomes a case of “be careful what you wish for”? For Edward and Camille, the stunning conclusion arrives with one last twist of fate that no one saw coming. At once deeply felt and witty, The Replacement Wife is an unforgettable story of love and family, and a refreshing look at the unexpected paths that lead us to our own happy endings.

The concept behind the story in this book left me feeling a little sad. On one hand, I can totally relate to a mother and wife wanting to ensure the best for her family, especially given her own childhood. On the other hand, I immediately had a sense of foreboding. There simply were too many ways that this could go wrong. When she shared the idea with her husband and with the selected candidate, both met her request with reservation and yet she pushed forward. Even those around her that she shared her plan with wondered if it was the right thing.

The story challenged me and left me wondering, would I particpate, could I stand by and not try to reason with them if I was aware of what was going on. It left me feeling frustrated for the kids who not only had to deal with their mother's illness but also the outcome of this 'game' that the adults were playing. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and I liked how the side storylines were carried forward through intersections, even as they fell from the main story. I felt that I came to know them and connected with the emotions that they were processing, feeling anger, sympathy and frustration as the story unfolded. I appreciated that the book included both a six months later and a year later look into the lives, allowing the reader to feel like although this story was finished, they knew how the characters would be moving forward.

Have you read any good books recently?

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Burned by a Fake Store Site

Uggghh! I consider myself reasonably savvy and generally careful when it comes to online transactions.

Sometimes, you just let yourself get too comfortable and make an assumption that if you had looked into things the same way you always do, would have showed you the error of your ways.

I know that its not uncommon to find spoofs of websites that use the same logos and offer a similar array of products. And yet, I misssed obvious signs and other signs that I would have normally questioned.

My daughter recently started a job and had a few things that she wanted to buy - a couple items she needed for work and a few that she simply wanted. She had talked about them earlier in the week and showed them to me on her phone. One evewning, I had her pull up the items that she was wanting on the computer and put the right size and color in the cart so that I could place the orders for her.

It was past my bedtime and I wanted to get the orders placed, so I checked for coupon codes and offers and completed the three orders and went to bed. The shipping for the one order was $10, which was higher than I liked but I had looked on a few other stores that carried the brand and they were all more than the 'brand' site even with shipping. It was only two days later when I received a ship notice on the one order that I thought, I don't remmeber seeing an order confirmation email from the one order. I pulled up my e-mail and searched and found the paypal payment with my receipt and another that had almost no content and said your payment was recieved.

I went to the site and realized that indeed, she had found a site that was not the brand site. Why it had come up at the top of the page was a bit of a mystery until I entered the brand in my search bar and noticed that it was at the top of the search results as a promoted/ad driven link. I immediately looked how to cancel my order and started to find everything that should have warned me. The product doesn't ship for 15 - 20 days and ships from China, so it told me to expect 4-6 weeks for delivery (once it shipped). The customer service contact information was an e-mail that was clearly not that of a product brand website. I had no order number either. I sent them an e-mail asking them to cancel my order. I replied to the payment received message and asked the same thing. On PayPal, I submitted a request to refund, selecting product not received as my answer.

I got no response from the company, so I reached out to Paypal by phone. They were able to escalate the request and about a week later I did get a credit for my money. In the meantime, the company contacted me a few times asking why I wanted to cancel, even in response to my message that explained that with the long lead time, they would not arrive in time to fit my needs

In the meantime, I ordered from the right website and got the product before I had credit for the cancelled order and had to do an exchange for size, which was super easy through the brand site.

And now I know. I need to continue to be savvy. I need to make sure that I am on a legit site before ordering. I didn't realize that 'spoofs' would advertise and put themselves at the top of the search results to find unsuspecting consumers. I am sure that I would have received a knock off product eventually but am glad that I realized the issue in time to cancel it and not lose my money.