Tuesday Reviews-Day: A Trio of Holiday Reviews

No Wine Left Behind

It’s been a little while since we’ve done a good, old-fashioned product review around here, but today I have not one, not two, but three things that could be useful to you this season.

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First off, this is the CapaBunga Wine Storage & Service Kit and I think it’d make a fabulous hostess gift. Now, I reviewed the original Capabunga wine caps a few years back and we’ve been using them pretty much constantly over the last couple of years. I even tried to use on a champagne bottle with mixed results.

While it was a bit of a stretch to get the CapaBunga over the mouth of the champagne bottle, the pressure that built up inside was often too much for it and we’d hear a soft “pop” from the fridge when it’d just get too much. So when I heard they’d come out with the CapaBubbles cap I was over the moon! Obviously we were not the only ones who didn’t always finish the bottle of champers in one go.

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The CapaBubbles top is a 2-piece cap with a plastic collar that fits just under the mount of the bottle and the cap which screws onto the threads of the aforementioned collar. Instant screw-top champagne! We opened a bottle of the Barefoot champagne you see above on Thanksgiving morning for mimosas and I am happy to report that the remaining bubbly is still bubbly a week and a half later. Cheers!

In addition to two of the original CapaBunga wine savers and the CapaBubbles champagne stopper, the service set also comes with a set six GlassWhere glass markers–silicone collars meant to rest on the base of your stemware to designate whose is whose. They have party-appropriate sayings on them, like “Most likely to break a glass” for the resident klutz (which would be me… though it’s been a while since I’ve actually committed such a party foul).

The CapaBunga gift set is $29.95

On-Trend Stocking Stuffer

Everyone’s pretty much on board with the grown-up coloring book trend, right? I mean, sure, I’ve been touting the benefits of busting out the crayons and coloring books as foil to creative blocks for ages; it’s nice that the rest of the world is catching on!

What I’ve noticed, though, about the more modern coloring books is that the designs are incredibly involved, a fact that is not calming to me, at all. The tiny illustrations and pattern fills are lovely to look at, don’t get me wrong! I love some good line art and repeating patterns (more power to the folks that made Zentangles a marketable thing in the mid-00s but I was doodling that stuff in my notebook margins back in the late 80s), but it wasn’t for coloring.

Still, when our friends at Oriental Trading asked if I wanted to take a look at the coloring books from their sister company, MindWare, I thought it was at least worth giving them a shot.

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I received 3 Mindware coloring books: Fantastical Styles Flowers, Celtic Flowers, and Fantastical Styles Ocean. They do include busily-patterned images, but like the conch shell, above, many have a single, large “container” for the patterns. That was a little easier to wrap my head around.

One thing I definitely like about the current coloring book trend is that these books are printed on nice, bright white paper that has a little heft to it. And most are printed on one side so you can use markers and not worry as much about bleed-through. I decided to use my watercolor pencils and water brush to work on the conch shell and once I gave myself permission to leave some of the spaces white (negative space is your friend, folks) I had a pretty good time!

Another nice thing about these particular books is that many of the designs repeat within the same book. So if your perfectionist side comes out a bit, you’ve likely got another chance at the design. Or you could share, you know, whatever floats your boat.

Each of the Mindware adult coloring books is 6.95

Catering to Your Gluten-Free Guests

Finally I had the chance to try these Free for All gluten-free crackers. You want to be a good hostess and make sure you’ve got everyone covered as far as snacks go, but finding good gluten-free crackers can sometimes be difficult. And what if it’s not just wheat you have to watch for, but corn, rice, and soy, too?!

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Free for All crackers are made from a blend of cassava flour and five ancient grains (amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, and teff). They come in three flavors: Olive Oil and Sea Salt, Roasted Garlic and Rosemary, and Olive Oil and Herb. We put these out for our Halloween party as well as with the appetizers at Thanksgiving.

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Now, at first glance, I admit: the crackers look like chipboard. But they are surprisingly light and not the heavy or dense as some gluten-free products can be. So don’t let the looks dissuade you!

I don’t know about you, but I heavily dislike dry food, so I’m not going to just eat plain crackers, I’m going to have something with them! The Olive Oil and Sea Salt cracker, above, is spread with blueberry-vanilla goat cheese and was a very tasty part of breakfast one morning. I also think these crackers would be great crumbled and used as cracker-meal in a topping for a casserole or the crust of a savory pie.

Free for All Crackers are produced by Partners and can be found at many grocery stores as well as by the case on Amazon (I see they have brownie thins, now, too! Wouldn’t those be awesome in s’mores?!)

Thank you to CapaBunga, Oriental Trading Company, and Partners for sending me these products to try out and share with all of you!

4 thoughts on “Tuesday Reviews-Day: A Trio of Holiday Reviews

  1. Blair says:

    Quick mimosa tip! For Thanksgiving I got the fresh apple cider that is sold by a local apple farm in our grocery stores and used that for a mimosa…..it was pretty amazing!

    1. Scraps says:

      Sounds potentially tasty, but it wouldn’t be a mimosa. Peach+champagne is a Bellini, for instance, not a peach mimosa, so calling it an apple mimosa is a missed opportunity for innovation. At most its a DIY sparkling cider, but why not come up with a new name for it? Maybe Galosa? (Gala being a type of apple, -osa being the tribute to the brunch standard cocktail.) Never pass up a chance for creativity 🙂

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