Monday, March 23, 2015

Review: Kuuk Silicone Ice Ball Maker

I love a cold drink, especially since Spring is here, so I was happy to try out the Kuuk Silicone Ice Ball Maker.  I got the small twin pack which included a green and blue ice ball maker.  You've probably seen ice balls before in fancy restaurants when ordering scotch.  Scotch is nice, but I thought these would work just as well for making non-alcoholic drinks for the family!

When I opened the package, I noticed there were no instructions.  I decided to wing it and it wasn't that tough to figure out.  I filled the bottom half of the ice maker with water (1.5 Tbsp.) and put the top on.  Then I used a small measuring cup to pour water into the hole on the top (2 Tbsp.).  If a little ran over after it filled up, it was no problem because it was caught in the top of the tray and didn't spill all over the counter.

When I made these a second time I just put water straight from the tap into the whole thing put together, and I noticed when you fill one ball it fills the others too.  The ice balls didn't turn out as nice when I did it this way, though.  I pinched the top to get the excess that was in the lip of the filling hole- this part is key otherwise you will have little "handles" coming out of the top of your ice!  I popped them in the freezer, and when I took them out about 4 hours later, they were pretty easy to get out of the molds.   

I did a test to see how fast they melt compared to my regular ice cubes. They absolutely last longer- I would say 1 ball lasts about an hour, depending on the conditions and the drink.  A regular ice cube lasts about 15 minutes.
The Kuuk cube (left) and a regular cube (right) after 15 minutes
-Cheaper than other fancy ice ball makers or whiskey stones
-Makes ice melt slower (won't dilute your beverages while you sip them!)
-Made of flexible high-quality silicone (there's no aftertaste)
-Easy to clean & dishwasher safe (though I don't know how dirty they will get unless you use them for things besides water!)
-Lifetime money-back warranty

-It takes some practice to get them to look as perfect as in the promo pictures
-You'll need to use distilled water for crystal clear ice balls
-No tips/instructions included in the package
I think these ice balls would be great for putting in cold drinks for on the go.  Since they melt slower, they will keep your drinks cold longer while you're out running errands.

Next, I'm going to add some fresh herbs or fruits in there before I freeze them.  I'm imagining freezing some mint leaves, rosemary, or lavender buds in them and adding them to a big glass of sparkling lemonade- so fancy!  Or maybe adding raspberries to the balls and popping them into a pitcher of sangria- yum!  If you have kids, you could freeze different flavors of fruit juice in each one and make a rainbow drink.  Tons of possibilities!

I received this product from Kuuk in exchange for writing a review.   All opinions are my own.  For more reviews or to buy, see the product on Amazon here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Getting Healthy: Prenatal Smooties and Vitamins

I have been having a green smoothie each day, and recently switched up my routine a little.  I'm *not* pregnant, but I want my body to be healthy when I decide to try, so I've been taking Thorne Basic Prenatal Vitamins.  It has the right form of folate for me (I am not supposed to take folic acid due to a mutation in my genes called MTHFR), and it also has a better form of B12.  It was going well, but then I found this other great prenatal called Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal Powder.  It has every nutrient you need and more!  The problem is that it costs a lot more than Thorne.  Thorne is about $26 for a one month supply, where Seeking Health is $80 for a one month supply.  Wow!  But I still wanted to try out how Seeking Health tasted, so I bought the 15 day supply for $40.

Since I've already been making a green smoothie for breakfast everyday, I thought I would just switch it out for this one.  I decided to save money I would use the Thorne every other day and alternate with Seeking Health.  So far it has worked great!  I bought the chocolate flavor protein powder, and it doesn't taste amazing just mixed with water.  Not terrible, but not something I'm excited about drinking.  The website says to mix it with frutis and vegetables to improve the taste, but I wasn't sure which would make it taste better and which would make it taste worse!

I figured since I already have the know-how about making regular smoothies, I could make a few changes to make it tastier.  To turn it into a smoothie,  I add quinoa milk, ground flax seed, half a banana, and 3-4 tablespoons of peanut butter (or other nut butter).  I think the peanut butter is key- it makes it taste less tart and more delicious.  Then I pop it all into my NutriNinja blender.

 I actually look forward to it now!  Somehow drinking a smoothie is easier than taking the three pills that I have to take for the Thorne Basic Prenatal.  You can also pop in other vitamins you take and blend them into the smoothie- no swallowing pills!  Perfect.