Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Musselman's Applesauce Big Cup Packs and Healthy Swap Promoting Healthier Living {Review and Giveaway)

I remember years ago my sweet mother (who was a fabulous cook!) saying she was substituting applesauce for oil when she used cake mixes. Now she didn't start using cake mixes until very late in life; and she had always been a great cook and a purist as far as real ingredients - flour, sugar, butter, eggs - was concerned. She could work magic with her pantry stock of basic ingredients. But in her later years her baking turned to a bit easier style - hence the mixes. Then when she discovered that she needed to curb the fats she consumed because of high cholesterol, she turned to applesauce substitution for fat (oil, butter, or margarine). Her little mix cakes were still delightful and we were all surprised.

Whether you spoon your applesauce from a jar into a little bowl,
or pack one of the "Big Cup" containers in the lunch "pail," applesauce
is a go-to food for your family!
Substituting applesauce for oil and fats can be rewarding to you and your family because you not only lower your fat consumption, you add fiber and vitamins from the nutritious apple!
Looking at the recipe cards that Musselman has provided
and trying to decide which to cook up. The Warm Apple Pie Sundae looks great!
2 cups Musselman's Cinnamon Apple Sauce
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch allspice
1 pinch cloves
Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Combine apple sauce, sugar, and spices in a medium pot with a lid.
  • Bring to a low boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will thicken. Let the sauce cool for 5 minutes.
  • Serve warm over ice cream. (Unused portion can be refrigerated up to 1 week.)
I can hardly wait to try the Peanut Butter
Banana Muffins!
Discover the "roots" of Musselman's Grower Owned Company! Click Here
GIVEAWAY: The good folks at Musselman's is providing a treat for one of Chat With Vera's readers! One reader will receive a "Big Cup" pack of Musselman's Apple Sauce and some Recipe Cards, Then you can get busy swapping applesauce for oil in your recipes and discover the goodness of apples. ENDS October 16 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I received some Musselman's Apple Sauce in exchange for this review. No compensation was received. I was not obligated to write a positive review. Giveaway prize is provided by Musselman's and shipped directly to the winner.

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll (Review & Giveaway)

About Hidden in the StarsA quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large---and who his next victim will be. 

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21-year-old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother's offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn't help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer. 

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia's mother's "special" quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia's unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer---still at large---silence her forever?

My thoughts:  This novel is shorter than most but just right for this story. I found the story lagged a bit here and there, but all in all, it was an enjoyable read.

The frequent mention of various ballets performed by the mother of the protagonist was interesting as was mention of the costumes. Sophia was victim of a horrendous attack on she and her mother by ruthless men. Surviving the attack with her life but with a body that will no longer be able to compete in world-class gymnastics, Sophia begins her healing while she helps the detective, Julian, with bits of information that lead to the who, what, and why of the attack.

As the book begins to wrap up, the pace picks up and excitement builds.  I have read Robin Caroll's books in the past and really enjoyed them. This is one I can recommend but not one of my favorites. I do have the opportunity to offer one of Chat With Vera's readers a giveaway copy to win for their very own. I hope you'll enter and think you'll enjoy the book should you win it or acquire your very own copy elsewhere. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway begins October 1 & ENDS October 23 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
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Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. When she isn't writing, Robin spends time with her husband of 20-plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for ACFW. Her books have been named finalists in such contests as the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer's Choice Award, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year.

Read more reviews here
Connect with Robin at: websiteFacebookTwitter,Goodreads 

Monday, September 29, 2014

"Love's Fortune" Book 3 in the Ballentyne Legacy by Laura Frantz

About the book:  Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas's vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. When her father receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope, Rowena makes the journey hi.m and quickly finds herself in a whole new world--filled with family members she's never met, dances she's never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantynes' shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her peril?

My thoughts: Young Wren is arbitrarily thrust into Pittsburgh Society when she and her father travel by steamship from their beloved Kentucky home.  The story is set during pre-Civil War years and the slavery issue stirs everywhere.  For years the Ballantyne family has had members involved in the underground railroad aiding escaped slaves to freedom. James Sackett who is loosely connected to the family is tightly connected to the freedom fight.

Wren must have a "season" and she must marry well. So she is corseted, groomed, trained, be-gowned, and coached to prepare herself for this responsibility. The author presents well the snobbery of society toward those considered beneath them. She also gives the reader a delightful glimpse into the graces involved in escorting and protecting a young lady.

There is danger and romance and villainy. Laura Frantz has again brought a lovely read to those who enjoy Christian historical fiction and readers will not be disappointed.

Laura Frantz will be "stopping by" Chat With Vera every now & then to chat and answer your questions. Leave a comment or question below and let's see what she says!

GIVEAWAY: A complimentary copy is being provided by the author for one of Chat With Vera's readers to win in this giveaway. Use the Rafflecopter form below to record your entries. You can come back daily for the daily entries. Begins September 29 & ENDS October 16 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to address in the USA only.
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Ever wonder how a book cover is designed? Here is a bit of insight into the magic!
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of Love's Fortune in exchange for this review. I was not expected or required to render a positive review. No compensation was received for this review.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin C Serum {Review and Giveaway}

I have had the pleasure to use several Vitamin C serums and have found using such a product to be a real winner for me. As a lady-of-a-certain-age, the inevitable has happened. Yes, there are wrinkles. Yes, there is sagging. Yes, there are dark spots finding their way to the surface. And yes, I'd love to turn back the clock and make all things new. But folks, there is no magic pill. There is no magic potion. There is nothing magical about it. It is simply you "Do what you can and enhance and protect as much as you can!"

I have found that using products for my skin - morning and evening has a major impact on making my skin look better. Using creams for my eyes, creams for my face and neck, serums, and nice washes really does help. Does it remove the toll of years? No. But it does soften the look and helps tremendously.

Now  about the Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin C Serum I've been using about two weeks now. I've used it morning and evening though they say once a day for most because it could dry your skin if used twice a day. Twice works nicely for me and has not caused dryness. First I cleanse the face. Then I apply the serum which I allow to dry to maximize the effect. I follow this with my moisturizer (day cream for mornings and evening cream for evenings - there is a difference, you know). After the moisturizer has soaked into the skin somewhat, I apply my makeup.

If I'm not going out for the day, I just use a little blush and lipstick. Using the serum along with a moisturizer tends to give my face a nice glow which I like.

One of my daughters was recently visiting me and she noted that the dark spots on the side of my face were not as prominent. Wow! That makes me feel that something is working. I believe perhaps the Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin Serum could have a major role in this for me. So I'll continue to apply it.

GIVEAWAY: One of Chat With Vera's readers has the opportunity to win their very own bottle of Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin C Serum. Use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Open for USA addresses only. Begins September 26 & ENDS October 16 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. Open to USA addresses only.
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About the product - from their website: Voilà Ve  Triple Action Vitamin C Serum is no vitamin C serum. The secret that sets Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin C Serum apart from the rest is its three different forms of Vitamin C, unlike competitor's brands which contain only one form. These three forms combined together with 100% percent pure Hyaluronic Acid make this product more effective and faster to work than one type alone.

Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin C Serum is effective at treating a variety of skin problems. The three types of vitamin C plus Hyaluronic Acid in this rich serum will:
  • Even out skin tone
  • Lighten dark spots and discolorations, including sun damage
  • Reduce the appearance of wrinkles and crow's feet
  • Brighten the skin
  • Soften and moisturize skin
  • Balance skin's pH
  • Lighten acne scars and other scars
  • Make skin appear firmer and smoother
  • Gives skin a youthful look
  • Will not clog pores
Unlike other vitamin C serum products, Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin C Serum contains no fillers, just pure nutrients. Plus, it DOES NOT contain potentially-harmful parabens. Only a few tiny drops are needed and will cover the entire face, making the product go further and last longer. Voilà Ve Triple Action Vitamin C Serum comes in a handy, easy-dispensing 1 oz. pump bottle.

Find them on

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary product in exchange for this review. I only recommend products I use and can recommend. I was not compensated for this review and I was not required to render a favorable review.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Super Stroller Organizer by Children 'n Us

Part of being a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grand mother is that you can say, "Been there, done that!" and smile and keep going. But also part of the lady-of-a-certain-age scenario is that you stand in awe at the fabulous products now on the market for moms and dads to enjoy today. Wow! Let's give that a double-Wowie!!!

Diaper bags of my generation were simply rectangular shaped, a strap, and maybe a zipper. Period! No pockets. No pouches. No frills. And folks, they usually had to last for more than one baby!
Pockets, Pockets, Pockets! 2 cup/bottle pockets, a phone pocket
A large center pocket. An outside smaller items pocket!

Today's diaper bags are tremendously innovative and work so well. They are even stylish. But today we're not talking about diaper bags. I have been given the privilege of examining the Children 'n Us Super Stroller Organizer. This bag is designed to be attached to a stroller and to hold all sorts of stuff today's mommies and daddies like to take along when they get out 'n about. 
Straps easily attach to stroller and hold the organizer
Not just for strollers! Use on your bike when you take Junior for a spin with you!

Out 'n about in the car - short trip or long journey - hang it over the seat back/headrest.

I don't need one of these. My days of needing this are over, but my great- grandchild's mommy and daddy will be thrilled to have it, I'm sure. I can't wait to pass it along to them. I can see it being a really nice "go-to" shower gift to purchase in the future when the opportunity arises.

I don't care a lot for company names on my clothes or products I use and this organizer does have the "Children 'n Us" name emblazoned across the front. Their company is not the only one that does this and it seems acceptable most folks. It certainly won't interfere with the organizers usefulness.

DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Immi's Gift ~ Written & Illustrated by Karin Littlewood (Review & Giveaway)

ISBN: 9781561455454
Ages 4-8, Hardcover  $15.95
Little Immi is a  child of the far north, cold frozen land of Alaska. She is a native Inuit. Her people fish for their sustenance and little Immi is learning young to fish.

One day while out fishing she catches a beautifully carved and painted bird.She is filled with joy at this beautiful gift from the water. On subsequent days she catches other beautiful treasures.

At the end of the story, she decides to "gift" the sea with one of her very own Inuit treasures. Ultimately, the Inuit treasure is caught from the sea by a Pacific Islander.

This beautifully told and illustrated story is charming. There is sweet innocence and true joy. There is also an underlying story of bonding across the distances imposed by water, land, or cultures. 
" Immi was about to go, 
she stopped and put her hand to her necklace. She took the small bear and gently dropped it into the water."

The illustrations alone are what I consider "keeper quality." But combined with the effortlessly and beautifully simple told story, it makes for a perfect book for the child's home bookshelf or libraries at school and city.

GIVEAWAY:  Peachtree Publishers has graciously agreed to provide one of Chat With Vera's readers their own copy of Immi's Gift. Simply use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Begins August September 24 & ENDS October 14 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Immi's Gift from Peachtree Publishers in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own and I received no compensation for this review. The winner's giveaway copy is provided directly to them from Peachtree.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wellness Bioscience Garcinia Cambogia Review

I'm really not much of a "supplements" person and I take a daily multi-vitamin and a daily Vitamin D3 supplement only at the advice and encouragement of my doctor. But I have had the opportunity to experiment just a little of late with some supplements that a famous television doctor has been speaking highly of for their benefits including helping with weight loss.

I absolutely know that there is no magic bullet (or pill) for achieving weight loss. But we all dream of something to help or to "kick-start" the process, don't we? So today we're looking at Garcinia Cambogia from Wellness Bioscience. I decided to try this after doing a bit of online research about just how it works and what can be expected from it. Feeling confident that it would be a safe product to try, I agreed to review the Wellness Bioscience Supreme Garcinia Cambogia product.

Garcinia Cambogia extract is made from the Asian fruit, Cambogia. The extract is purported to have weight loss properties. Well, that sounds wonderful. I've been taking 2 tablets twice a day for about two weeks. I have not seen any difference in my weight. I don't seem to feel as hungry for snacks as before. Perhaps this is the effect of the "HCA..." suppressing my appetite "by increasing serotoni levels, which is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good and improves your mood, helping control reactive or emotional eating." (quote from product's information)

I did read online that the extract has been found to have a positive impact on insulin and control of lipids in laboratory rats. So if perchance this product can help control my blood sugar and lipids levels in a positive way, I would be delighted.

Two weeks is too short a period to see a true impact on how any supplement can affect one's health - weight or otherwise. So we'll just have to wait and see what the true outcome will be. I have not seen any adverse effects from using this product to date.

Will I continue to use Garcinia Cambogia as a supplement? Only time will tell.

DISCLOSURE: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.