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Pretzel Crisps Review

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Pretzel Crisps Review

When the folks at Pretzel Crisps® asked the Gimmie Girls to review their yummy, low-calorie snacks, I thought “that’s nice.”  I like pretzels. I like low-calorie snacks. I like Pretzel Crisps®. What else am I going to say?

So, we got this awesome shipment you see above. In it were lots of different flavors, a reusable bag that looks like the regular Pretzel Crisps® and most importantly – something I never realized until I did this review – each of the bag secretly has the most excellent suggestions for what to pair Pretzel Crisps® with!  Since I was not prepared for the yumminess I was about to encounter, I just used my imagination.  I tasted each of the flavors, looked at the bag and thought, “oh YEAH that would be good!”

So then I started gathering things to pair with my Pretzel Crisps®, and try the suggestions pictured on the package. I must say, it was a party!  We had a whole spread and it was absolutely delish!!  Check out the pairings and recipes on their website. They have some GREAT ideas!!

But don’t take my word for it!  Here’s what the other Gimmie Girls thought:

Trish: When I received my Pretzel Crisps at my doorstep I was surprised! There were so many delicious flavors to try! I got 9 different varieties and flavors of Pretzel Crisps. Garlic Parmesan, Sesame, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Honey Mustard & Onion, Original, Buffalo Wing, Everything, Chipotle Cheddar and Jalapeno Jack. The first one I wanted to try out, which ended up being my favorite, were the Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper ones. I have never tried Pretzel Crisps before and these were DELICIOUS! They flavor was fantastic and the crisp makes you feel like you are actually eating a chip rather than a pretzel. My husband’s favorite flavor was the Honey Mustard & Onion, he ate almost the entire bag in one day! The bold flavors are fantastic with dips. We tried the Jalapeno Jack and the Chipotle Cheddar crisps with a basic cheese sauce and they paired great with it! I enjoyed pairing these crisps with slices of block cheeses as well, the shape and style is perfect for layering with cheeses or dipping into a dip. The most favorite combination as voted by the entire family, was using the Original crisps and dipping them into a chocolate spread. Nothing better than a sweet and salty snack in my opinion! All of these flavors were great, there wasn’t a flavor that we didn’t enjoy even the more bold and spicy flavors like Buffalo Wing. We usually aren’t a huge fan of pretzels in our home but these were fantastic! The crunch in them is awesome, it’s really like eating a very crunchy chip! The flavors are amazing, nice and bold but not over powering to the pretzel flavor. They are all natural and baked which is also perfect! I would much rather my family snack on these rather than greasy potato chips any day! These would be great with cheese spreads, any type of dips, sliced cheeses and meats. These will definitely end up being a regular snack in our home now!

Debbie: My family and I are definitely carbaholics. We can down a bag of pretzels in a couple of days. The Pretzel Chips from Snack Factory are a carb lover’s dream. First of all, it’s not too bready like most pretzels. It’s just the outer, crispy layer…my favorite part! I received 9 different flavors of Pretzel Crisps: Original, Garlic Parmesan, Sesame, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Honey Mustard & Onion, Buffalo Wing, Everything, Chipotle Cheddar and Jalapeno Jack. My personal favorites were Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper and Everything. My husband liked the Garlic Parmesan and the kids liked the Sesame and Original. They were great for dipping in salsa and hummus. I liked that they were light and crispy and went well with sandwiches (but way healthier).
My only complainant about the chips was that a good number of them were broken. That could have been due to the way they were shipped. But I did enjoy the pretzel crisps and they are a great, healthy alternative to chips. I highly recommend Snack Factory’s Pretzel Crisps and will definitely buy them in the near future!

Laurie & Joe: If you go to the Pretzel Crisp webpage or Facebook page, you’ll see that their slogan is “Rethink Your Pretzel!” … and boy is that appropriate. I’ve enjoyed Pretzel Crisps for a long time, but did not realize they had flavors besides “Original.” In reality, they have many more flavors! (apparently I need to get out more, lol).
There are eight Deli Style flavors, four Modern Classics, two Holiday Indulgent (available once a year), two Everyday Indulgent, and two Minis flavors. WOW! They have great pairing ideas right on the package, plus more pairings and also recipes on their web page. We tried many of the pairing suggestions and were amazed over and over again as to how simple, yet really tasty they were. I tried their recipe for prosciutto & asparagus on “Everything” pretzels (see picture above).

They’re healthy too! Pretzels Crisps® are a great alternative to potato chips and other snack foods. They contain no saturated or trans fats, are 110 calories per serving and 0-2 grams of fat (10-11 crisps) compared with 150 calories and 10 gram of fat (1 g saturated) per one ounce serving for potato chips.

We sampled all of the “Deli Style” flavors. A couple of the flavors were too spicy for me, but my husband loved them. Of course, he wants to just chow down on the plain pretzel crisps while I’m trying to get him to try the pairing suggestions, lol. I think that the pairings that put something sweet (like apple, grape, etc.) are especially intriguing. Get that sweet & salty combination going and it’s very tasty.

My husband says: these are great for snacking, you can have a good amount and still be low calorie. The flavored ones are great by themselves (and great for dieting) and when combined cheese or dip make some tasty combinations. The only two things I did not like so well (but it would not stop me from buying them) are: 1. Some of them get broke up into pieces too small to dip or put something on. 2. When you eat some of the flavored ones the flavor stuff gets all over your fingers.

As you have probably guessed… Pretzel Crisps get two thumbs up at our house.

Heather: Oh boy, I love Pretzels!  So, I was in Heaven when a BIG box of Pretzel Crisps arrived at my doorstep! I’m pretty sure they sent a bag of every flavor they carry which includes: Original, Garlic Parmesan, Sesame, Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Honey Mustard & Onion, Buffalo Wing, Everything, Chipotle Cheddar and Jalapeno Jack!  I love having variety in my food, and Pretzel Crisps truly offer something to fit all off my savory cravings!

Pretzel Crisps are made nice, and thin to mimic a chip, just perfect for dipping or adding some goodies on top! They are a fantastic alternative to regular chips, all the while maintaining that delicious classic pretzel flavor, and crunch. It was difficult to narrow it down, but I think the Mustard & Onion is my favorite, with Garlic Parm a close second! My hubby (who is NOT a pretzel fan) went straight for the Buffalo Wing, and Jalapeno Jack flavors, and he LOVED them!  I served these paired with my Quick Party Cheese Ball recipe on Easter this year, and I had to break out a back up bag! Some people were actually scooping up, and eating their salads with them! Pretzels are finally being seen as more than just a *beer snack*, and they are all the rage right now with restaurants creating special Pretzel bun sandwiches. Pretzel Crisps are plain & simple – really good! We all absolutely enjoyed giving these a try! I would love to see some sweet or dessert flavors offered in the future.

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Ivanabitch Vodka Review

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Ivanabitch Vodka Review

With a name like Ivanabitch, how can this vodka be anything but great?  I’d never actually heard of it before, but the name is intriguing and I like a good vodka. My Polish friend was impressed and amazed at my Midwestern self for my enunciation of “Stolichnaya” – it’s all in the attitude. 😉

Long ago, my drink of choice was the Greyhound. Easy enough to make – just mix vodka with grapefruit juice and throw in some ice.  If you like it salty, salt the rim and call it a Salty Dog instead.  It’s like a screwdriver but with grapefruit instead of orange juice.  I swear I could lose 5 lbs in a night of dancing and consuming greyhounds.  About 10 years ago, at one especially memorable work Holiday party, I was at another office for work in the beautiful city of San Francisco. They invited me to join them.  After the formal dinner where I was the company’s president’s honorary date (both our spouses weren’t there), a bunch of us hit an after-party at a local bar. They had Karaoke – a long-time favorite of mine!  The San Francisco office’s general manager learned I drank greyhounds (see, I’m getting back to the point) and insisted that I try Grey Goose instead of Stoli.  I was surprised at how good it was!  I’m told I took over the Karaoke jockey’s job, by getting her big tips for preferential turns in singing.  Everyone had a blast!  I don’t party often, but when I do – it’s legendary. 🙂

Another fun story about vodka: it’s a great accompaniment to a breakup party. Why? I don’t know, it just is.  When my friend called me, barely discernible through tears because her jerk boyfriend finally did her a favor and left, I jumped into action. I went to the liquor store and bought every color of Smirnoff vodka I could find.  It was fun, frilly and silly. It was the lighthearted anecdote we needed to lighten the mood. She came over and we made exotic drinks. She felt better. Voila!

In addition to standard stuff you can buy in most liquor stores, I’ve tried real Russian vodka, that friends claim is “the best.”  It was good!   I’ve tried Belvedere Vodka, also very good!  It’s a far cry from SKYY Vodka, which isn’t bad but is much more mainstream (and affordable).

So, I know good vodka (that was the point).

Enter Ivanabitch.  This flirty vodka with its fruity flavors and colorful bottles makes you want to try it. I mean, they’re so pretty!  After a long week of general nonsense, it’s so nice to relax and unwind. If you like vodka, you really should try Ivanabitch.  Their flavors are fun and tasty.  They have great Ivanabitch vodka drink recipes on their website, and most of them use things you probably already have at home.

The nice folks at Ivanabitch sent us 8 of their fun flavors to try, and to tell you about.  If you follow Gimmie on Instagram, you probably already know that!  The flavors we received are: Menthol Tobacco, Red Berry, Blackberry, Vanilla, regular, Cherry, Orange and Peach.

My first Instagram post captioned:  About this week… Ivanabitch

Ivanabitch is great for unwinding, de-stressing, and relaxing. I have to admit, I wanted to b~tch a little about my week. It was a doozie! lol!

 

Ivanabitch Berry Blast

Berry Blast

2 oz Ivanabitch Red Berry Vodka
2 oz Club Soda
2 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash of Fresh Lime Juice

Pour over rocks, stir, garnish with an orange slice and enjoy.

The Ivanabitch Berry Blast has red berry vodka, club soda and cranberry juice. Seriously, what’s not to love?  I love cranberry. Since all I had was cranapple we used that and it was fantastic.  This was probably my favorite of the three, although the orange was also amazing!

Ivanabitch Liquid Cheesecake

Liquid Cheesecake

2 oz Ivanabitch Vanilla Vodka
3 oz of Lemon Lime Soda
Serve on the rocks.

The Ivanabitch Liquid Cheesecake was a lot like its name. I’m not typically one to drink sweet drinks, but it was incredibly good.  I do love cheesecake!  It was fun to try different drinks and share with my mom, sister and niece (don’t worry, all are 21+!)  I highly recommend grabbing a few fun flavors of Ivanabitch and inviting a few friends over to try different tastes. It was really fun!

Ivanabitch Orange Soda

Orange Soda

2 oz Ivanabitch Orange Vodka
1 oz Orange Juice
3 oz Club Soda
Splash of Grenadine
Pour over rocks, stir, garnish with a cherry, and enjoy.

We didn’t have Grenadine or cherries, although they’ve since been ascertained. The Orange Soda drink was everyone’s favorite even without the cherry twist. It is yummy and sweet, but not too sweet.  It’s sort of like a grownup screwdriver (orange juice and vodka).  The club soda adds a bubbly bit of extra fun that really made me love it!

Don’t miss all the yummy Ivanabitch vodka drink recipes!

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Foundations in Personal Finance: College Edition by Dave Ramsey

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Foundations in Personal Finance: College Edition by Dave Ramsey

Dave Ramsey’s College Edition of Foundations in Personal Finance is for college students who want to learn how to basically be smart with their money and pay off their debt. It comes with 4 discs (3 DVD’s and 1 CD) and a 5-chapter student guide.

When watching the DVD’s, you follow along with your student guide that it comes with and fill in the blanks. I found this convenient because it helped me to learn what he’s going over while he’s talking. I not only hear it, but I also write it down. This is also good for when you want to go over things he went over in the DVD without having to watch it all over again. Another thing I find convenient is on the back of the DVD case it says how long each chapter is. With how it’s divided, I think college students can easily find time to watch this. I found it easier to do a chapter a day. It only took about 1 ½ hours to 2 ½ hours (depending on the chapter) out of my day to do this.

Dave Ramsey goes over Savings, Budgets, Debt, College Student Essentials, and Family, Friends and Philanthropy. While I did learn a lot, I found it all to be a bit overwhelming and not focused specifically on college students. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I feel that all the chapters should have been like the 4th chapter (it’s focused on college students and getting grants, scholarships, financial aid, jobs after college, etc.). For instance, chapter 1 is titled “savings” and of course, we all need to save better but instead, he goes over the baby steps to becoming wealthy. One of the baby steps is to save $1000 in an emergency fund but the rest of them consisted of things like paying off all debt except for your house debt (not saying it’s not possible but I don’t know of any college students that can afford to pay off their debt while still in college), saving for your children’s college fund (how can we save for our unborn children’s college fund when we can’t even afford ours?!), and paying off your home early. Now I understand these are all great tips, and it’s never too earlier to learn them, but I was under the impression that this was all suppose to be things college students could do to help their money situations now.

Later on he goes over budgeting. Now every college student needs to learn how to budget, so I did find this chapter helpful BUT once again, he then threw stuff at us that was a bit overwhelming. It’s things I felt would be more helpful for people out of college and with a family and home. A lot of these things are not “baby steps.”During Dave Ramsey’s excerpts, it cut out to clips of his daughter and she was more college student focused with the small tips she gave. I think having someone other than his daughter would have made this a bit better because at times I was very skeptical. Her dad is Dave Ramsey and she could have very well gotten help for college since saving for your child’s college tuition is something he emphasizes. Nothing is wrong with that at all, but I think a lot of college students that are in debt will probably not think she’s helpful. Some of her tips were things like “Save so you can pay for next semester’s tuition in cash.” That’s a good tip, but something very obvious. The only reason a lot of college students don’t do that is because even with saving, college still isn’t affordable for those who don’t get much financial help. Now, she did make a few good points like save and go to a college you can afford, but then again, how many colleges today are “affordable?”

One of the things Dave Ramsey did go over that I thought was good for college students is the envelope system. This helps with not overspending and making sure we don’t go over our budget. The only issue with that is that will mean college students will have to keep cash on them in envelopes. I, personally, use a debit card 90% of the time so if I were to do this envelope system, I’d keep a sheet of paper in the envelopes and keep track by writing down how much money I’ll designate for whatever the envelope for and subtract from it every time i make a purchase with my debit card. Most people I know do not feel safe keeping a month’s worth of expenses in cash on them, so I think he should maybe explain that for people that mostly use debit/credit cards. Otherwise, I think the envelope system seems like a good idea to help with budgeting money.

Overall, I learned a lot of info from this college edition of Foundations in Personal Finance. I learned financial terms I didn’t know before, a few things I can do now like balancing my checking account, saving and putting into an emergency fund (maybe not as much as he suggested), budgeting, how important it is to save now to have a better future, and A LOT of stuff that will benefit me in the future that I probably wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I think he does a really good job of emphasizing the things we should not do, such as using credit cards and spending money we don’t have. A lot of us tend to do that without even thinking. I do think this would have been a lot better if this was more college student focused, but some of the info in here is things college students can still do. I suggest not trying to do everything he suggests, but rather starting small and taking actual baby steps such as stopping bad spending habits you have (you don’t need that $100 pair of jeans), and saving more. It probably won’t help you get out of debt instantly while still in college, but it will help get you on the right track to having a better and comfortable future, money-wise.

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Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze Review

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Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze Review

As parents, we want the best for our children. We work hard to ensure that our kids will have the tools that they need to succeed. The ultimate goal is to give our kids every opportunity possible so they will not have to work as hard as we did. However, is that the true lesson we want to teach? Smart Money, Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey, and his daughter, Rachel Cruze, show the reader how teaching you children to earn money and stay out debt from day 1 are two of the most valuable tools you can give your kids.

We have all seen it; that kid in the grocery store throwing a tantrum because he or she can’t have the gummy bears or toy that they want. Mom and dad are so embarrassed and desperately want their child to be quiet so they give in. Where does this sense of entitlement come from? In Smart Money, Smart Kids, Ramsey and Cruze address the root of the problem for self-entitlement in kids: the parent. I am guilty of this. I have found myself picking up my kid’s toys because it is faster and easier for me to do so than to argue and coax my 6 year old and 18 month old to do it. Even as a child, my mother did things for me because she didn’t want me to worry about work and to focus on my studies. However, how does the parent ever hope to teach the value of a job well done if they do not allow the child to “work”?

Ramsey and Cruze provide numerous examples of valuable lessons to help aid you in a practical approach in teaching your kids the value of working. They give numerous examples of age appropriate chores for your kids. Moreover, the Ramseys also teach us why it is valuable to teach your kids the importance of giving. A child who learns to appreciate the feeling of accomplishing a “job” learns a good work ethic. The Ramsey’s tell their own personal stories of their journey to become debt free. Rachel, Dave’s daughter, explains that since she was very young during most of her parent’s bankrupt years, she learned from the very beginning how to avoid the pitfalls of accumulating debt and living beyond your means. In addition to the personal stories, they provide several, practical examples on how to save money for college and teaching your children the cash envelope system form an early age.

One of the most valuable gifts your can give your child is to teach them to never go into debt. Smart Money, Smart Kids is a wonderful book for parents. Being a parent is hard work. But that hard work is worth it when the result is confident, independent kids who grow up to be kind, successful, financially responsible adults.

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Envelope System to Budget and Save Money by Dave Ramsey Review

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Envelope System to Budget and Save Money by Dave Ramsey Review

I received the  Envelope System by Dave Ramsey to review and tell you about.

This came at a perfect time for my family. We are due to have our 4th child by fall of this year and we have been looking to move into a much larger home by this summer. We usually have a hard time budgeting with 3 kids.  There always seems to be something we think we “need” and we end up spending much more than we intend to.

With the envelope system, it’s set up to where you plan out each month’s spending into categories. For that entire month you put in an envelope, the amount of money you plan on spending and NO more than that. If spend that allotted amount in your envelope, you cannot grab those credit cards and continue your spending. This will allow you to watch your spending habits and learn to plan out and budget your cash so you aren’t reaching for those credit cards and end up over spending.

The categories I chose to write in my envelopes were “Food”, “Entertainment”, “Monthly Bills”, and “Gas”. For each of those envelopes, my husband and I planned how much we intend to spend on these categories for the entire month. We then placed our money inside the envelopes and every time we go out to eat, go bowling, pay a bill or gas up our vehicles we take the amount of money out of the appropriate envelope and write down what we spent, what we spent it on and how much we have left in the envelope.

So far we have been doing pretty good and we have been able to save up for our new home and baby items we will need soon. Sometimes it’s hard because kids are demanding and want want want as always so we have ran out of money in our envelopes faster than we intended to. But it’s an eye opener!  I haven’t reached for a credit card yet though so I think we are doing good!

This system is really great if you are serious about budgeting and spending less than you normally do. The whole intent is to help you spend LESS money and save more. If you want to save that money, this is the perfect plan for you! It’s easy to use and it really does work if you are committed to it!

5 things I liked about the Envelope System:

  1. I liked that this system will help my family budget our money easier.
  2. I liked the monthly envelopes included with the ability to keep track of your spending right on them.
  3. I liked that I can actually keep this book inside my purse to hold my money and bank cards inside.
  4. I like how simple and straight forward the envelope system is, there’s no confusion on how to do it correctly.
  5. I like that this system will help my husband and I save money and keep us from over spending like we usually end up doing.

I didn’t really dislike anything about the envelope system because it’s so easy to maintain and understand.  But, if I had to find 2 things I didn’t like I would say having to sit down and plan a whole month of spending could be a bit difficult, especially with 3 kids.  And, if you end up running out of the money inside the monthly envelope you are NOT allowed to spend any more. I think that might be difficult!!  My life can be unpredictable when it comes to spending and money!  But, that’s exactly why I need a system like this in my life!

The Categories are completely up to you on what you would like to categorize. The examples of categories they give you are food, gas, and entertainment. These are all cash-only expenses that you would have. Categories I chose were of course monthly bills, food, and entertainment. You have free reign to choose whatever categories you would like and add in to each envelope which I really enjoyed. They actually don’t mention an emergency fund planning in here, but they do state it’s best to start off with putting your receipts for an entire month in each category so you can find out how much money you are likely to spend in the next months in those categories. What I am planning on doing is adding a little extra money then I actually plan on spending to each envelope just in case I do happen to overspend for an emergency. I think planning for a whole month will be beneficial to my family in the long run. We really have a hard time saving money at times and with our new move coming up we really need to be making a serious effort on saving up our money and watching how we spend. I think once you get the hang of controlling how and what you spend that it will eventually come without even having to plan or think about it. I like the idea of pretending I don’t have as much money as I really do, and to act and spend like I have hardly any money at all so I can save money a lot easier. The envelope system has been a great start for me!

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