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Lunchable Waffle Stick Breakfast Review

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Lunchable Breakfast ReviewWell this is a curious thing, spotted at WalMart for about a buck. “Lunchables” are “complete” meals to go, to eat heated or at room temperature, and were introduced in 1988 by Oscar Mayer, now part of Kraft.

They were created by a team at  Oscar Mayer as a way to sell more bologna, and the first units were comprised of lunch meat, cheese slices and crackers.

Now there is a plethora of choices, including the original styles, pizza slices,  diminutive hot dogs, burgers, and subs, and even tacos.

I admit to not being a regular customer, but I impulse bought this one, through it in the microwave for seconds and consumed.  I admit it has good flavor, the bacon is great, as is the syrup.  The waffles get kinda limp in the microwave tho, I should have tried one at room temp.

Would I buy it again?  Probably not, but they’re great things for a family on the go, as long as you watch the nutrition labels.  According to the package code, this product is made at  South’s Finest Meats 3201 10th Avenue, Suite S,  Tuscaloosa, AL 35401.

Lunchable Breakfast Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lunchable Waffle Stick Breakfast Review

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Home Brewing with Mr Beer Reviews

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Mr. Beer Review

Bottle Washing

It’s been two weeks since I completed the first step of making beer at home with the Mr. Beer kit. The mixture has been ‘brewing’ in the brew keg, and today I washed the (furnished) bottles and caps with the special “no dry” was solution that comes with the kit.

The kit includes tablets (made of sugar and wheat) to stimulate carbonation, and for these size bottles, you use two tabs per bottle. Drop those in.

Open the spigot on the keg, tilt each bottle to the tap and fill to within two inches from the top, screw on the caps.

Now more waiting –  another 14 – 21 days is required for the beer to be completely ready and carbonated, and you can check if they are ready by squeezing the bottles –  a completely hard bottle means it’s ready!

Chill and consume.  Repeat.

Mr. Beer has over a hundred varieties of beers you can make at home, including seasonal quaffs, hard cider, and even root beer.  If I can do it successfully, anybody can.  Order a kit today.

Mr. Beer Review

Topping the bottles off

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

mr beer reviews

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Aldi Smoked Knackwurst Review

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Aldi Smoked Knackwurst ReviewUnder their own brand name of Deutsche  Kuche, Aldi sells a smoked knackwurst sausage manufactured for them by Salm Partners, of Denmark, WI.

In  Germany, “knackwurst” can refer to a wide variety of sausages, depending on the region of manufacture.  In the US, it generally refers to a plump, mildly seasoned pork sausage in a natural casing.

Aldi’s are VERY mild, similar to a hot dog, and they are packed into beef collagen casings.  It’s a very fine “grind.”

I like more flavor and/or spice, so these aren’t for me, but they are a good value.

Aldi Smoked Knackwurst Review

 

 

 

Aldi Smoked Knackwurst Review

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Chi-Chi’s Corn Chips Review

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zantigoFor a time, back in the day, Minneapolis (of all places) was a hot bed of Americanized Mexican restaurants.

A local restaurateur, Marno McDermott, founded a fast food chain called Zapata (later Zantigo) which gave Taco Bell a pretty good run for the money,and was eventually assimilated by various Taco Bell parent companies and vanished. There are a half dozen “new” Zantigo’s in the Twin Cities these, started by former employees.

TV Ad for the “New” Zantigo

Amping it up to fast casual, McDermot started Chi-Chi’s in Minneapolis, which grew to over 200 locations. A few bankruptcies, and a nasty outbreak of Hep A did them in. Hormel bought the rights to the name for restaurant products, and a Belgium company now holds the rights to own and operate restaurants by that name, and they are fairly evident in Europe and Asia.

TV Ad for Chi-Chi’s Buffet

There was briefly a start-up competitor to Chi Chi’s in the Twin Cities, called “Estebans,” which developed multiple locations and was eventually purchased by Chi Chi’s.

Our hang out was the local outlet of the California chain “El Torito,” on Highway 12 in Golden Valley. We hit the happy hour quite often,cheap drinks and a free buffet were the perfect combination for youngsters in the local media biz.

Point is, I purchased some Chi Chi’s corn chips the other day, hadn’t had them before, and I quite like them. They are a little easier on the salt than many brands, and have a ‘lighter’ taste. They could become a regular entrant to the “Ameri-Mexican” foods in the pantry here – usually I make my own corn chips, but these are A-OK.

Chi-Chi’s also sells salsa and other goodies. Here’s where to find them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chi-Chi’s Corn Chips Review

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Genoa Illinois VFW Breakfast

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This small VFW post does whatever it needs to in order to maintain their solvency and funds for projects; they have found a niche with breakfast, dinners, and events for the community and environs.

The third Sunday of each month, they have an AYCE breakfast, loaded up with French toast, biscuits, hash browns, SOS, sausage gravy, two styles of eggs, bacon, sausage, juice, milk, and coffee – all for $7.  You also get the congeniality of getting to talk to the volunteers – seemingly all vets of last century’s wars. Nice guys, we should all be thankful for their service, of course.

Every Saturday, the post holds a burger and bratwurst cookout, and on selected Friday nights, they follow the local tradition of an AYCE fish fry. There’s also bingo and pull tabs.

Let’s all do what we can to support our vets. God knows the government isn’t doing much to help them!  The post is located at 311 S. Washington St.
Genoa, IL 60135 United States. (815)784-5967. www.genoavetshome.us

Genoa Il VFW Breakfast

 

 

Genoa Illinois VFW

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Panera Breakfast Sandwich Review

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20150817_090218Panera was founded in St. Louis, MO, where it operated (and still does in that area) at St. Louis Bread Company. The 1800 store chain is now owned by Au Bon Pain, which no longer operates Au Bon Pain (I liked those, for sure).

I don’t think I’ve ever been in a Panera before, thought I’ve had some of their sandwiches brought to me, and beyond the bread, they weren’t very impressive (not high quality ingredients or quantities of same).

Today I was looking for a new quick breakfast option, and did happen into Panera, where I ordered an Asiago Bacon Egg Cheese “pannini-ized” bagel sandwich, and a large coffee, which set me back the devilish amount of $6.66. No kidding.

The sandwich was prepared while I waited (except I don’t think the eggs were), it was hot, filling, and tasty.  Except for the cost, I might be a regular breakfast customer when I am out and about.

I found the store layout a mite confusing, there were four registers and two pick-up stations, I got sent from one to another, although there is no signage, some must be dedicated to one use or another;  they give you one of those vibrating hockey pucks to tell you when your order is ready.

Find one near you. Menu.

Panera Sandwich Review

 

 

Panera Sandwich Review

 

Panera Breakfast Sandwich Review

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Home Brewed Beer with Mr. Beer Review

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Mr. Beer Review

Mr. Beer Kit Contents

When the good folks at MrBeer approached me and asked if I would like to try out their home brew kit, I said “heck yes!” America has gone “beer crazy” the past few years, with all the micro-brews, gastropubs, and specialty drinks.

You can’t get much more ‘micro’ and artisan than brewing your own at home!

Mr Beer started over 20 years ago in Dallas – a budding entrepreneur wanted to figure out a way for the public to make quality beer, easily, at home. After developing the concept and taking it successfully to market, he sold the company to a Phoenix businessman, who continued to build the business and taking it to the next level, ultimately creating a global brand when he sold it to Australia’s Cooper Brewery in 2011.

Coopers is Australia’s largest family owned brewery, and was established in 1862. Their brewing expertise has helped expand Mr. Beer to be able to offer over a hundred popular brews, from basic American style lagers, to seasonal beers, fruity quaffs, hard ciders, and even root beer!

If you’re new to home brewing, like I was (but I won’t be anymore, it’s soooooooo easy!), start with one of Mr. Beer’s complete kits that include everything you need to get started: ingredients, brewing vessel, bottles, caps, printed instructions and a “how to video” that comes in English, French, and Spanish. Kits come with the capacity to make between two and six gallons.

There are just a few steps to your first batch. MrBeer makes it so easy, that if you can boil water, you can make beer (or apparently, sometimes help deliver a baby, I am told).

Everything you need for your first batch is included in the kits. The first step is to insert the ‘tap’ into the brewing vessel, and then proceed to clean the vessel with the included cleanser, which doesn’t require any rinsing. Put some cold water in the keg, dissolve the cleanser, swirl, drain.

In the meantime, you’re boiling a couple cups of water while running the included can of hops/malt mixture under hot water to make the thick contents a little more viscous.

Fill the vessel with cold water in the amount instructed (it depends on which size of kit you purchased), open the can of mixture and stir into the boiling water, which you have removed from the heat.

When it’s thoroughly mixed, at it to the brewing vessel and add the remaining water as instructed. Dump in the included envelope of yeast, cover, and let sit two weeks.

So check back here in a couple weeks and we’ll show you how to handle the bottling part, and later, the drinking part!  This is SOOOOO easy, even for me, a “kitchen idiot!”

In the meantime, order your kit from Mr. Beer today or find the kits/supplies at a store near you! Check out Mr. Beer’s demonstration videos on YouTube!

Mr. Beer Review

Step 1: Attach the spigot

When the good folks at  MrBeer approached me and asked if I would like to try out their home brew kit, I said “heck yes!”  America has gone “beer crazy” the past few years, with all the micro-brews, gastropubs, and specialty drinks.  You can't get much more 'micro' and artisan than brewing your own at home!  Mr Beer started over 20 years ago in Dallas – a budding entrepreneur wanted to figure out a way for the public to make quality beer, easily, at home.  After developing the concept and taking it successfully to market, he sold the company to a Phoenix businessman, who continued to build the business and taking it to the next level, ultimately creating a global brand when he sold it to Australia's Cooper Brewery in 2011.  Coopers is Australia's largest family owned brewery, and was established in 1862. Their brewing expertise has helped expand Mr. Beer to be able to offer over a hundred popular brews, from basic American style lagers, to seasonal beers, fruity quaffs, hard ciders, and even root beer!  If you're new to home brewing, like I was (but I won't be anymore, it's soooooooo easy!), start with one of Mr. Beer's complete kits that include everything you need to get started:  ingredients, brewing vessel, bottles, caps, printed instructions and a “how to video” that comes in English, French, and Spanish. Kits come with the capacity to make between two and six gallons.  There are just a few steps to your first batch.  MrBeer makes it so easy, that if you can boil water, you can make beer (or apparently, sometimes help deliver a baby, I am told).  Everything you need for your first batch is included in the kits.  The first step is to insert the 'tap' into the brewing vessel, and then proceed to clean the vessel with the included cleanser, which doesn't require any rinsing. Put some cold water in the keg, dissolve the cleanser, swirl, drain.  In the meantime, you're boiling a couple cups of water while running the included can of hops/malt mixture under hot water to make the thick contents a little more viscous.    Fill the vessel with cold water in the amount instructed (it depends on which size of kit you purchased), open the can of mixture and stir into the boiling water, which you have removed from the heat.  When it's thoroughly mixed, at it to the brewing vessel and add the remaining water as instructed. Dump in the included envelope of yeast, cover, and let sit two weeks.  So check back here in a couple weeks and we'll show you how to handle the bottling part, and later, the drinking part!  In the meantime, order your kit from Mr. Beer today or find the kits/supplies at a store near you!  Check out Mr. Beer's demonstration videos on YouTube!

Step 2: Clean Everything

When the good folks at  MrBeer approached me and asked if I would like to try out their home brew kit, I said “heck yes!”  America has gone “beer crazy” the past few years, with all the micro-brews, gastropubs, and specialty drinks.  You can't get much more 'micro' and artisan than brewing your own at home!  Mr Beer started over 20 years ago in Dallas – a budding entrepreneur wanted to figure out a way for the public to make quality beer, easily, at home.  After developing the concept and taking it successfully to market, he sold the company to a Phoenix businessman, who continued to build the business and taking it to the next level, ultimately creating a global brand when he sold it to Australia's Cooper Brewery in 2011.  Coopers is Australia's largest family owned brewery, and was established in 1862. Their brewing expertise has helped expand Mr. Beer to be able to offer over a hundred popular brews, from basic American style lagers, to seasonal beers, fruity quaffs, hard ciders, and even root beer!  If you're new to home brewing, like I was (but I won't be anymore, it's soooooooo easy!), start with one of Mr. Beer's complete kits that include everything you need to get started:  ingredients, brewing vessel, bottles, caps, printed instructions and a “how to video” that comes in English, French, and Spanish. Kits come with the capacity to make between two and six gallons.  There are just a few steps to your first batch.  MrBeer makes it so easy, that if you can boil water, you can make beer (or apparently, sometimes help deliver a baby, I am told).  Everything you need for your first batch is included in the kits.  The first step is to insert the 'tap' into the brewing vessel, and then proceed to clean the vessel with the included cleanser, which doesn't require any rinsing. Put some cold water in the keg, dissolve the cleanser, swirl, drain.  In the meantime, you're boiling a couple cups of water while running the included can of hops/malt mixture under hot water to make the thick contents a little more viscous.    Fill the vessel with cold water in the amount instructed (it depends on which size of kit you purchased), open the can of mixture and stir into the boiling water, which you have removed from the heat.  When it's thoroughly mixed, at it to the brewing vessel and add the remaining water as instructed. Dump in the included envelope of yeast, cover, and let sit two weeks.  So check back here in a couple weeks and we'll show you how to handle the bottling part, and later, the drinking part!  In the meantime, order your kit from Mr. Beer today or find the kits/supplies at a store near you!  Check out Mr. Beer's demonstration videos on YouTube!

Step 3: Heat the mixture

When the good folks at  MrBeer approached me and asked if I would like to try out their home brew kit, I said “heck yes!”  America has gone “beer crazy” the past few years, with all the micro-brews, gastropubs, and specialty drinks.  You can't get much more 'micro' and artisan than brewing your own at home!  Mr Beer started over 20 years ago in Dallas – a budding entrepreneur wanted to figure out a way for the public to make quality beer, easily, at home.  After developing the concept and taking it successfully to market, he sold the company to a Phoenix businessman, who continued to build the business and taking it to the next level, ultimately creating a global brand when he sold it to Australia's Cooper Brewery in 2011.  Coopers is Australia's largest family owned brewery, and was established in 1862. Their brewing expertise has helped expand Mr. Beer to be able to offer over a hundred popular brews, from basic American style lagers, to seasonal beers, fruity quaffs, hard ciders, and even root beer!  If you're new to home brewing, like I was (but I won't be anymore, it's soooooooo easy!), start with one of Mr. Beer's complete kits that include everything you need to get started:  ingredients, brewing vessel, bottles, caps, printed instructions and a “how to video” that comes in English, French, and Spanish. Kits come with the capacity to make between two and six gallons.  There are just a few steps to your first batch.  MrBeer makes it so easy, that if you can boil water, you can make beer (or apparently, sometimes help deliver a baby, I am told).  Everything you need for your first batch is included in the kits.  The first step is to insert the 'tap' into the brewing vessel, and then proceed to clean the vessel with the included cleanser, which doesn't require any rinsing. Put some cold water in the keg, dissolve the cleanser, swirl, drain.  In the meantime, you're boiling a couple cups of water while running the included can of hops/malt mixture under hot water to make the thick contents a little more viscous.    Fill the vessel with cold water in the amount instructed (it depends on which size of kit you purchased), open the can of mixture and stir into the boiling water, which you have removed from the heat.  When it's thoroughly mixed, at it to the brewing vessel and add the remaining water as instructed. Dump in the included envelope of yeast, cover, and let sit two weeks.  So check back here in a couple weeks and we'll show you how to handle the bottling part, and later, the drinking part!  In the meantime, order your kit from Mr. Beer today or find the kits/supplies at a store near you!  Check out Mr. Beer's demonstration videos on YouTube!

Step 4: Add mix to boiling water

Mr. Beer Review

Step 5: Add mix, yeast and set aside for two weeks!

 

 

 

 

Home Brewed Beer with Mr. Beer Review

(Mr. Beer furnished the kit and supplies for me to try their product).

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Bandito Barneys Beach Club Review – East Dundee, IL

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Somebody else was buying, so they picked, and they picked Bandito Barney’s.  I’ve never been there, I’ve even walked by it and didn’t notice it, the outside is an older home, and there’s only a smallish, faded sign over the door.

But walk inside, and the whole world turns upside down, with massive outdoor bars and patios, sunlit, busy, and all aswarm with attractive server-type women.

Bandito’s menu has ‘something for everyone,’ sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza, flatbread, appys, and of course, a full bar and plenty of beer. Daily specials, too, like AYCE pasta and the Chicago Friday traditional fish fry.

Burgers come in two sizes, 5 and 8 ounces, with a variety of cheeses and toppings to choose from.  The restaurant is able/willing to cook to order, and my medium rare was just that.

I went with regular tots as a side, which were deep fried to a nice crisp.  My pal encouraged me to try sweet potato tots, but they are just not for me. Sweet potato dishes are one of those things that puzzles me at restaurants – the raw product costs less than the regular potato, yet they charge more. Go figure.

It’s an above average burger, but not spectacular, on its own.

Bandito Barneys Review

 

Bandito Barneys Review
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Bandito Barneys Beach Club Review

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Parkview Hot & Spicy Smoked Sausage Review

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Parview Hot & Spicy Sausage ReviewHere’s another great product from global discount grocer Aldi. Germany based Aldi sells staples and fresh grocery items, under (mostly) their own created labels, at substantial discounts compared to national brand names.  I’ve written about several of them in the past.  These sausage, in the refrigerated section, also come in  “Polish” and “Sun Dried Tomato” varieties.

The Hot & Spicy type are a mild pork and beef smoked sausage, with natural flavorings, a couple of different sugars and different preservative salts.  The sugar content slightly elevates the carb count.

The spicy “bite” is more evident in the after taste than when you’re chewing, and most consumers will find these to be a very satisfactory product, whether grilled and on a bun, or sliced and pan fried for breakfast or other meal entree.

As I have explained in the past, Aldi’s contracts with national manufacturers to make the products to Aldi’s specifications and price point.  These sausages are made in the Chicago plant of Owensboro, KY based Specialty Foods Group.   USDA establishment M17S-is at 4550 W. Jackson Blvd, about four miles west of the loop (pictured below).  SFG makes a number of different brands of processed meats, including Scott Petersen bacon, and Field Liverwurst.

As with most mass-produced sausages, this one is a very fine grind, and it’s in a thin hog casing.  I wonder what determines the thickness of a casing? Diet? Exercise?

I generally find brand name natural casing sausages and hot dogs priced around a buck a pop when they aren’t on sale. These are more like 65 cents each as packaged.  Worth adding to your shopping list.

Parkview Hot & Spicy Sausage Review

Parkview Hot & Spicy Sausage

SFG Chicago Factory

SFG Chicago Factory

 

 

 

Parkview Hot & Spicy Smoked Sausage Review

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Certfied Angus Brand Deli Corned Beef

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Certified Angus Brand ReviewGeez, I just get finished with my “deli roast beef” smackdown, and I run into Certified Angus Brand on sale, which I previously had skipped over. Certified is a brand that was created by a group of Angus ranchers in the late 70s, who wanted to produce a higher quality product, held to higher standards.

This is a good one, deserving to be in the top 5, if not top 3; clearly “whole muscle” meat, and by the taste and texture, lacking the dreaded “injected solution.”

I like it.  I’ll be back. Here’s where to find Certified Angus Brand products, at stores and restaurants.

Certified Angus Brand Review

Certified Angus Brand Corned Beef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Certfied Angus Brand Deli Corned Beef

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