Friday, 24 October 2014

Roku 3 Product Review: Is It Worth It?

The Roku 3

    Do you want access to hundreds of channels, netflix, youtube, games, and more, right on your tv?
    It doesn't even have to be a smart tv, as not everyone in the world has one, or wants one.

    This is a streaming tv device. It allows you to connect to the internet, download proprietary channels, and watch them. Some of those channels are not free. The Roku 3's details page boasts 650+ channels. The majority of those channels are either not useful, or only available to customers in the US.
    The remote is a nifty little gadget in itself, as if you plug in your headphones to it, you can watch and browse without disturbing anyone else in the room, and you don't have to figure out how to get a set of headphones with a super long cable. The only problem with that is, the roku 3 remote stops working after you use it for about a month or so. When the roku remote stops working, you can download an app in the android store, or the apple itunes store, however, you can no longer play games, and you cannot use the headphones the way the remote is supposed to.

    I bought this product, because I wanted to use it on my regular intelligence tv. (lol). I do regret it. I won't be buying another roku unless they go down in price. I paid $109 CAD at Wal-Mart for this. I was disappointed that the remote gives out so fast. I can't return it,  because I threw the box out after 30 days. I can't really call Roku to complain, because I have my internet set up in such a way that it appears that I am in the US. Yes, that is on me, but it is a hassle to reset it, so I don't want to do it. Besides, I shouldn't have to do it! The remote shouldn't give out. I have tried repairing it, replacing the batteries, cleaning it, anything and everything.

    If you are willing to go through a hassle with the remote, and the Roku goes on sale for say $25, then it is almost worth it. Other than that, don't waste your money. Get an Apple tv. That device has not failed us at all, and it is on the same network. If you do buy this product, save the box, save the receipt, and make sure that you figure out how to set your network up to think you are in the US, because if you don't, you won't get anywhere near 650 channels. Maybe more like 10% of that, and the good ones are NOT free. Boasting about having 650 channels on the Roku 3 is a bit like me saying I have lots of cake to share with all of you. I can say whatever I want, but most of you will never get my cake. (LOL).

If the remote was still working, I think that this review may have had a much different tone, mostly because I liked playing Angry birds when the remote worked, as well as I loved the headphone feature, and of course I had my network settings just right to have access to the channels, even if most of them are less than good, and you have to pay for the good ones.

Sure, I can suck it up and call Roku, but should I have to? No. I paid more than $100 for this item, had more trouble setting it up properly than I should have, and now the remote has given out, and a replacement is at least $60 on ebay. (At the time I checked). Not only that, research has shown me that this issue with the remote is a KNOWN and very very common issue with the Roku. Why the hell boast a remote like this, when you can't make it work under normal usage for more than 60 days? That's like a car boasting great gas mileage, but it breaks down after the first fill up! I am extremely handy when it comes to technology, and I know what I am doing. I have reset everything to make that remote work, and it simply doesn't. I have bought new batteries, rechargeable batteries, reset the Roku box, reset the internet, preformed a factory reset, powered it down, restarted it, did a rain dance around it, and nothing.

So, in conclusion. I hate Roku. I will never ever buy another one as long as I live, even at a yard sale. The end.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Almond Joy Coffee Creamer in Canada? No Way! DIY Recipe Included.

Recently, an american friend of mine told me about Almond Joy coffee creamer from International Delight. I was so excited, I really really love coconut, and chocolate.  The thought of indulging in that flavour in my once daily coffee blew my mind. However, I ws sorely disappointed to realize that this particular variation was not available in Canada. I found a recipe online, but made a few tweaks, because I wanted to make a bigger batch, and, I didn't have any almond extract.

Here is my recipe: (This will make a lot, you can half it if you need to.)
1 500ml carton of fresh whipping cream
1 355ml can evaporated milk
12 tbsp of coconut palm sugar. (You may use regular Raw sugar)
1.5 cups shredded coconut. (It is  important this is unsweetened, and NOT dessicated)
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 Tbsp Vanilla extract
1/3 cup slivered almonds, or better yet, 3 tbsp of almond butter

Pour all ingredients into a high powered blender, (I have a Ninja Professional 1100 watt), or a food processor.  Put it on high for at least 4 minutes. You may want to strain your creamer through cheesecloth, or a wire mesh strainer, but I didn't. I love chewing on coconut chunks. I used slivered almonds, because I was out of almond butter, and I had forgotten to make the almond butter myself, ahead of time. I didn't find that there was much, if any flavour of almonds what so ever in this recipe, but it was delicious nonetheless.

I imagine if there is too much for me to use up in 2 weeks, I will make a milkshake with some of this, or muffins, or cookies, Make sure you put this in the fridge right away. This will keep for about two weeks,  but I don't think that it will last long enough to spoil.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Healthy Recipe: "Sour"dough Tortillas With OAT Flour & Whole Wheat Flour


This is totally MY recipe. I made this up!! Yayyyyy.

I'm totally obsessed with making my own homemade tortillas. I love it, it makes me feel good, and they taste fantastic! I can also be sure that it has no added chemicals. I was looking for Masa Harina, but I found out that Masa Harina is a chemical treated type of flour. I'm not being technical at all, but I don't want anything funky done to my food, if I can help it.
Anyway, I have an Ninja Blender, which I LOVE! I Love love love love it. I want the bigger more powerful one, but it's a little out of my price range with Christmas coming up. I know, it's only September, but it creeps up fast huh?

So, I made some oat flour in my Ninja blender, I added about 2 cups of regular oats, and pulsed for a few seconds, got bored of that, and then put it in 3 and left it to chop for about 3 minutes. The blender is really loud, so I couldn't take it anymore, and then poured out the flour. It was still a teeny bit gritty, so I poured it into the single serve container of the blender, and then ran it again for about 2 minutes. This resulted in an awesome oat flour. You can save yourself the trouble, and buy it, but I honestly am not sure where you can, because it is not sold anywhere near me.

Here is my recipe:

1.5 Cups of Oat flour
1.5 cups of Whole Wheat flour - maybe a bit more if your mixture is too wet
1/2 cup of Coconut Oil - *Melted
1/2-1 cup of water. Please, be super careful about the amount of water you add. Add it a little at a time.

*To melt the coconut oil, fill a deep bowl with hot water from the tap. Put the coconut oil jar in the hot water, for about 5 minutes. DO not melt the oil in the microwave, trust me, it does not turn out well. The oil starts to smoke within seconds. It's important to melt the oil, because it helps things to blend together really nicely, and melting it with hot water will make sure that it's not too hot to handle with your fingers once you need to mix everything together.

Now, you need to add the oat flour, whole wheat flour, and melted coconut oil to a bowl.Mix them all together. If you notice that your flour is a bit dry, don't fear. Add a little water, and mix thoroughly. Be careful to only add about 1/4 cup of water at a time, so that you don't add too much. If you do, just add a little flour and work it in, slowly, to make your dough form into a ball. I don't have an exact technique, but I know the dough is good and ready, when it all wants to stick together, but not to the sides of the bowl. It is not too wet, and not too dry. I would take some pictures of what I do, but my camera is broken. I would do a video as well, but I'm too self conscious about my super bootylicious body. Ha. Not joking at all on that.

You MUST let your dough rest on the counter for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours. The longer, the better, but not too long of course. If you are going to let it rest for any longer than 1 hour, add a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar, or Lemon Juice, or Lime Juice to it. This helps to make them a bit "sour", but it's a very pleasant taste, and not at all overwhelming.

Do not put it in the fridge if you have used coconut oil, because the ball of dough will be very hard to work with, and will not want to melt. You can put it in the fridge if something comes up, and you don't have time, but you will have to break little pieces of the dough off with a knife, to make one tortilla at a time, until you've used it all. It's not a big deal, just an annoyance.

Once you have your dough divided into the sizes of balls you want, you can roll them out. I do it one at a time. I preheat my cast iron pan, on the stove, on about 7 (Med-High).

I sort of flatten the ball between my hands, then put it into my small tortilla press, which only does so much, because I want big tortillas. I then use the rolling pin to get it to the thickness I want, which is very thin. Then I put it in the pan, wait 30 seconds, flip it over, 40 seconds on that side, and then back to the first side for about 15 seconds. Then it is done. I store mine on the counter top, on a plate, inside a plastic bag, for freshness. Putting them in the fridge will keep them fresh longer, but they don't last that long for me. :)

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Easy Tutorial: DIY Oat Flour

I was looking around on the internet a lot, and I saw a few recipes that called for oat flour.

I decided that I didn't need to buy it. I already had oats in the house, surely oat flour was just a matter of a few steps. Especially so, since I have an awesome Ninja Professional Blender. (I wish I had the even more powerful one - but this one is great!)

Anyway, I poured about 2 cups of regular oats into the regular 72ounce jug of the blender. I pulsed it a few times, and then said what the heck, and put it to the maximum speed, which is three. This blender is really really loud, so you will want to do this at a decent time of the afternoon, or you will likely annoy neighbours. After about 3 minutes, I checked on the oats, and it was a little gritty still, but getting to a very nice consistency. I poured the flour from the big jug, into the single serve container, as that has a different blade attachment, and then let it grind for about 2 more minutes or so. The result was a very nice fine flour, sort of like whole wheat flour is.

I used the resulting 1 1/2 cups of Oat flour in the recipe that I will post soon. The 2 cups of oats yields about 1 1/2cups of flour because of some sort of sciency reason that I can't explain. I'm not good at explaining things like that, but I'm sure it's science, and air and what not. LOL.

Anyway, I made some awesome whole wheat & oat tortillas from this. YAY!

If you don't have an awesome blender, like a Ninja, or a Vitamix, and cannot afford one, you can also use a mortar and pestle. I would recommend getting the oats as small as you can in the blender or food processor that you have, even a spice grinder, and then using the mortart and pestle to get things even finer, if needed. :)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

RECIPE: Whole Wheat & Quinoa Flour Tortillas EASY EASY!!

I have been scouring the web for recipes as of late, especially seeing as I feel that I have lost track of my healthy eating plan. :( It's not hard to get off track, when there are so many unhealthy temptations, but the important thing is that I am cognizant of the fact that it has been happening.

Anyway, I wanted to make something with the Quinoa flour that I have had in my cupboard for months. I tried the recipe that I found on the website, but they didn't turn out at ALL! They were nothing but a goopy mess, that I had to scrape off my pan! :( BOO!

So, I decided to experiment. I used 1 cup of whole wheat flour, and 1 cup of quinoa flour. BOOM! They tasted fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is the recipe:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Quinoa Flour
2 tbs of oil, preferably coconut oil, or olive oil. I used Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this one.
3/4 cup of water
pinch of salt

Be super careful to add the water slowly. Add about half the water, and mix it around, and if it's too dry, add another tablespoon at a time until you have enough. You might even need more water than this called for. I kind of eyeballed the water until the dough was the right consistency. It kind of has to be a bit dry, so that when you press on it with your fist, none of the mixture sticks to your hand. I wish I had remembered to take pictures!!

If you add a little too much water, you can always sprinkle in some more flour. SLOWLY.
Now, once you are done with the mixing, this step is VERY important. Cover the ball of dough with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge for about 15-45 minutes. If you forget it longer, that's ok, but it needs at LEAST 15 minutes. I used to skip this step, and I was sorry for it. It somehow lets the gluten develop, or something.

Anyway, once your time is up, preheat the cast iron skillet to medium-high. My stove has numbers from 0-9, and I chose 7. I like the number 7. I hate the number 6, because I do honestly have mild OCD, and the numbers 6, 13, 36 freak me out. There is another one, but I can't even bring myself to write that one down. LOL. Anyway, you don't need ANYTHING at all in the pan. That's the beauty of a seasoned cast iron pan, it doesn't need anything to make awesome tortillas, but heat.

So, while your pan is preheating, you need to press & or roll out the dough. What I did, I used my little cast iron tortilla press. I divided my mixture into 4 balls, because I wanted large tortillas. Once I had the little balls rolled, I put one ball at a time into my tortilla press. (It was like $10 on ebay.) Then, because the press didn't get it thin enough, I sprinkled flour on the countertop, and put the tortilla there, then started rolling it out thinner with the rolling pin. This way makes them a bit uneven at the edges, but I'm not entering any contests, right? LOL.

About the tortilla press, and the rolling pin being used together. Yes, you can use one or the other, or even a glass, but I find that using the two makes it a much simpler and more enjoyable process. Using the rolling pin alone would take so much longer than the press, and using the press alone, never gets the tortillas thin enough, and also not big enough, because the press I bought was for 6 inch tortillas.

I roll them out as thin as they will go, and then I slap it into the pan. About 1 minute on the first side, then 45 seconds on the second. Make sure that you're watching it though, it may need slightly more, or slightly less. Once the second side is done, I flip it back to the first side for about 10-15 seconds. If it starts making bubbles throughout, you know you've done this correctly.

Now, you are ready to put whatever in or on them, and way to go, you've got fresh homemade delicious, and nutritious tortillas! YAY! I'm going to try Masa Harina next, if I can find it around here. It was at No Frills once, but they stopped carrying it. :( I will include pictures and or video the next time I make them! :)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Gardening Update: Bell Peppers & Tomatoes

Hi guys!

I wanted to post, because I'm so pleased, and proud of my green peppers. Yes, I have more pepper plants than the last time I posted. Why? I went to the local garden shop, and it had a two for one sale, because of course it's late in the season. I plant my stuff in containers anyway, and some of the pepper plants were not only blossomed, but already had some peppers starting. So, I bought the 4 that I liked the most, and came home, replanted them, and then waited. Of course I added organic soil, and organic fertilizer. I also added a little of the tomato food, and calcium nitrate that I had bought for the tomatoes, which of course are NOT organic, (I will know better for next year), anyway, I read that Bell peppers, (Maybe all peppers, I don't know), and tomatoes, among a few other plants, are members of the nightshade family, and they can grow under the same conditions, and the same fertilizers work well for them. I'm by no means an expert, but it is certainly working so far. Even the bell pepper plant that I bought at Wal-Mart has begun to put off teeny tiny peppers. I think they would have been doing better, had I fertilized the little bugger properly when I began.

I am learning by trial and error, plus watching lots of youtube videos, and reading other peoples blogs, and what not. Anyway, here are some pictures of my green pepper plants, taken today. Woot!! Look at those little buggers!!

If you want to use ANY of my pictures on this post, or on another post, you may, but please link back here, that is my ONLY condition, say where you got them. I digitally watermark them anyway, but I do want you to give me credit. I need all the help getting traffic here that I can get. :)
Isn't this one nearly perfect??

This is my prettiest looking guy so far. :D I'm sure it will taste the same anyway. LOL This is the same guy as the one above, from a different angle.

Aww, look at this little guy trying to be all grown up! Woot! You can see his little sister to the right, in the background.

The little sister with her own time to shine in the spotlight!

Should I be worried about those spots that I have circled?