Nature’s Gate Organic Shampoo+Conditioner Set–Product Reviews

Today I’m going to introduce you to one of my favorite products on earth. Organic, moisturizing, detangling and smells great, it’s Nature Gate’s Organic Shampoo and Conditioner, if you want to get more specific, it’s the chamomile and lemon verbena set. Where do I start? There’s so much I want to say, including a little secret story I’m sure no one in the world knows. Let’s start this review!
First of all, this is what the Nature’s Gate website says about the shampoo:

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The conditioner:

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I chose this specific set because it was in the ‘dry, damaged hair’ series, which my hair is definitely is. I have permed hair, and it has really damaged my hair to the point of dry, brittle, split ended and especially tangled hell. This thing really overdelivered, combined with the conditioner and another miracle worker coming up in another review, they’re life changing. There was a short period in my life when I went crazy and wanted to experiment with other products just to see how they would measure up, and I’ve learned my lesson. Never mess with other products! My hair went even more brittle than normal, hair was falling out and breaking when I lightly tugged on or twirled a strand of my hair. My hair went thin, flat, boring, dull, and I was plain shocked. My hair was in a terrible state, breaking all over the place. That was a lesson I’ll never forget.
When I converted back to my Nature’s Gate products, the recovery was quick and so amazing. My hair was healthy, shiny and gorgeous! My hair didn’t fall out, it didn’t tangle, and I looked and felt better. And I smelled great, too!

Here’s my normal showering routine:
1. I rinse my whole body and hair until fully soaked.
2. I always, always start with the shampoo. I squeeze a small dollop onto my hand and massage it into my hair and scalp until my hair is full of white foamy bubbles.
3. Rinsing off everything, I squeeze a larger dollop of conditioner (I need a lot for detangling) and comb it through my hair with my fingers and let it sit for approximately three minutes, as instructed on the bottle.
4. I rinse off the conditioner and squeeze a small dollop of conditioner, quickly run it through my hair and rinse immediately. This makes sure that there really are no tangles and my hair is perfectly smooth.
5. I wash my body with some Biore soap, rinse off.
6. I towel up, rub some leave in conditioner (will do another glowing review on that) and blow dry it. That’s it!

I have a little story to tell you before I move on to the pros and cons of this product. I have been using these products my entire life, my mom was using it, so naturally I started using it as a kid, then all those years passed, and I’m still using Nature’s Gate to this day. I have no idea when this started but…before I started baking, I still did this. The consistency of the conditioner is really nice–pure white, glossy and perfect for piping soft swirls! Every time when I washed my hair, I always practiced my piping with it, a swirl a day, sometimes lifting the bottle higher to let it drizzle across my hand, sometimes quickly squeezed in a circle piling up so it looked like a swirl you’d see with a normal, plain piping tip. I have no idea why I did this but embarrassingly, I’m still doing it every time I wash my hair. Here are some close ups of the bottles themselves:

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On to the review.

Pros and Cons of the set

Pros–
1. Smells natural and really good
2. Detangles and nourishes my hair
3. Priced at a a very value price
4. Moisturizes and prevents breakage
5. Leaves hair shiny, soft and smooth
6. It is organic, which makes it even more natural!
7. It has never been/is never tested on animals.

Cons–
1. I can’t think of a one. I’m being really scathingly honest here, I’m trying to rack my brain about the cons but…
This product is practically perfect.

Final conclusion:
By all means, GET THIS PRODUCT. I mean it. Especially if you have dry, damaged hair. Nature’s Gate also has a few other series you can check out to see which suits your hair condition, that’s a plus. Please try this out if you’re hesitating or looking for the perfect organic shampoo and conditioner! I have never and won’t ever doubt my mom’s addiction to organic products again, and you shouldn’t either.
Check the website out here

Stay tuned and I’ll be back soon with another review, love ya! xo

Chocolate Ganache

Hi there! Today I have a great recipe that I’m sure most of you have in your repertoire right now, but just in case you don’t…well, this one’s for you! It’s the secret weapon I use to cover up my cakes, glaze my donuts, pipe as a buttercream alternative on cupcakes, and so much more. It really is too simple to believe, and too delicious, rich and chocolatey to have too much of. Chocolate ganache. I’ll be using this a LOT in future cake, cookies, cupcake and donut recipes in different forms, so just keep an eye out for those, kay?

Everyone (or almost everyone) knows that chocolate ganache is made out of chocolate and cream, usually using the same ratio. But in a few cases, I want to make this as simple and clear for you:

Thicker ganache=more chocolate than cream
Thinner ganache=more cream than chocolate.

Thick ganache can be used for making those expensive, cocoa-powdered truffles that are dense and bursting with deep, sophisticated chocolate flavor. Thinner ganache can be used for drizzling/glazing the top of every baked good imaginable, and making warm fondues.
One important thing is that ganache thickens and the longer it cools down. When it’s cooled and really thick (thick as in you can pull a fork through it and it holds fork tracks clearly), you can use to frost cakes, fill cakes, decorate cupcakes and so much more. You could whip the ganache first to make it light and fluffy, or just dollop it onto cake layers. I vote for light and fluffy.

Its consistency makes it perfect for piping flowers onto cakes, just like buttercream, although it’s brown from the color. Personally, I love ganache so much more than I do buttercream. Maybe it’s just that sweetness that throws me off, or the greasy taste of butter in the buttercream? Or maybe it’s just that I haven’t had real buttercream yet. Let’s save that experiment for another time :)

Recipe for chocolate ganache

1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup of semisweet or dark chocolate chips

First, get the cream up to a simmer, but don’t boil it.
Pour the cream over the chocolate chips. Let it sit there for about three minutes, then whisk until it’s perfectly smooth and chocolatey and gorgeous, with a pretty sheen to it.

That is it. I mean, COME ON! This is great as a last minute, quick filling or glaze for ANYTHING.
I know I didn’t go into much detail, so check out this page that has EVERYTHING you need to know about ganache, if you want to get a little more scientific, and clear process photos. I know, I’m being a bit lazy on this one but I need to work on perfecting a new recipe for you guys soon! Stay tuned and I’ll catch you in the next post :)

Betty Crocker Pie Crust Mix–Product Reviews

Let’s face it. Everyone’s lazy at some point. And this is my point. I’m going to give you the moral before the story-slash-review. Don’t be lazy. Laziness=bad food is a very WRONG formula, one that you should know by heart.
What’s the story, then? Well…I was shopping at the huge grocery store in the basement floor of Taipei’s famous 101 building, and I spotted an aisle for baking products! I was so, so freaking happy, I had been looking for Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, Pillsbury…products for who know how long with no results. They only had a couple cake mixes that I didn’t really like, so I didn’t buy them: carrot cake and yellow cake. I don’t hate them, I just..don’t really like it. I’ll choose a fluffy white cake over a spicy carrot one any time. Then I found canned frosting, looked at the ingredients, and promptly placed it back on the shelf. Don’t mess with those things, honey. Although canned frosting textures are TO DIE FOR, I ain’t putting that in my stomach. Lastly, I saw Betty Crocker’s Pie Crust Mix. I was actually really excited, because I don’t like using so much expensive butter in my pie crusts. I learned my lesson. Butter is better.
Gleefully, I bought two boxes. Then I put them in the cabinet, and tried it for my chocolate mousse tart I wanted so bad to show you guys, but guess what? The crust was so awful! Too awful to do anything to it, except throw it in the trash bin.
It was WAAAAAY too salty, like a soda cracker, and it was flaky but it just did not measure up to my buttery pie crusts I’ve made before, and I didn’t add anything to it except the required amount of water. It was just god-darn terrible! I couldn’t imagine pairing anything with it that would taste good. It was so bad.
One good thing: it was so easy to work with, it didn’t tear, it could withstand my rolling to about two millimeters thick and I could transfer it to my tart tin. This would be good for practicing crimping and decorating pie crust edges. That is the only good thing about this pie crust.
I was so disappointed! The crust looked absolutely AMAZING before it baked, so perfectly smooth and with no cracks in it. I had seriously high hopes for this mix, because some (three) online reviewers said that it was great. I have no idea why on earth they would ever say that! Here are some shots of the actual pie crust, (it comes all crumbly and dough-y) and the ruffly, rustic-y shapes I made with the leftover dough…you could say they’re a sneak peek for some rustic, freeform tarts I have in mind!

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Conclusion: Do you even NEED a conclusion for this? If you do…this is terrible. Don’t buy this. Ever.
If you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to comment below and I will get back to ya, bye! xo

How To Soften Butter FAST

Quick Tip #1 How To Soften Butter Fast

And I mean like, five minutes fast. Fifteen tops.

Do you just HATE having al the ingredients you want to make something out of on hand, and when you’re measuring out ingredients you realize: darn it, the butter’s not softened yet! And you take it out of the fridge and wait a few hours to let it soften.
Well, if you’re like me, that happens almost EVERY TIME I make something. I just forget! If I make something 100 times, I’ll only remember to get the butter out 5 times beforehand. I’m scatterbrained.
Have you Google searched for “how to soften butter fast”, “how to soften butter quickly”, or “how to soften butter in five minutes” or something like that? My web history is full of that. And the articles tell you to put it on the oven while it’s preheating, put it in the microwave with the power on low, chop it into chunks…but does everyone have a microwave with heat settings? I don’t. Then I tried the oven method, and my butter totally melted on the oven! Finally, I tried the chopping method. Worked like a charm! People ain’t lying, butter softens FAST when it’s teeny sized.
Either chop the butter into really, really thin (as thin as you can make it anyway) slices, small chunks or grate it. Benefits of slicing are that you can home your knife skills, grating benefits are that grating gives you much smaller bits of butter. But I just slice the butter, it’s hard to hold the butter while you’re grating it! Plus it’s hard to get the butter out. I used to think this was a waste of time, so I just waited out the few hours. Now I think it’s sorta fun in some way. You can soften your butter with these real, usable tricks within five to ten minutes, fifteen tops, depending on your amount of butter.
I hope I helped you with easy butter-softening! Have you got any other methods that works? Comment below!
Thanks for visiting, love ya xoxo

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Cuisinart ICE-21 White Ice Cream Maker–Product Reviews

Cuisinart 1 Quart Ice Cream Maker—Product Reviews

Hello, hello! Today I’ve got another product review for you! It’s one of the best investments I have ever made, and if you want to know why, just keep reading on.

I bought this ice cream maker around June this year, because summer was almost fully here and I was interested in how to make ice cream but didn’t want to have to go through all those tiring repeating steps of freezing, take out, mix, back in. What can I say? I’m lazy sometimes. So after reading lots of reviews on which was the best affordable ice cream maker, I saw that the brand Cuisinart (www cuisinart.com) had the most reliable, trustworthy and best reviews. I always, ALWAYS read as many reviews as I can, good or bad on any product I want to get. Here are some product negativities stated in some of the reviews I saw, and if they are true or not:

1. Weak motor, burns out after a few usages. NOT TRUE! I have used this maker like a maniac this summer and it has NEVER died on me yet! Holds up awesomely, will update when I’ve had it longer.
2. Hard to clean. NOT TRUE! This thing cleans like a charm! Never had any trouble with cleaning, in fact it’s one of the easiest things to clean. Just run it under hot water and you’ll be fine.
3. Soup ice cream. In my case, this has never happened before. I have no idea why some people’s makers didn’t work. Maybe it’s the temperature?
4. LOUD when churning. It’s not so loud that you have to wear earmuffs. It’s not LOUD loud, maybe about the sound of…frying a piece of fish. Get that? After a while, you barely notice it’s there. Anyways, a bonus is that the sound reminds you to check on your ice cream instead of forgetting all about it and letting it churn for like an hour or so.

I got this ice cream maker at around fifty or sixty dollars brand new at my local Cuisinart shop, and also got their 2 cup mini food processor which will come in another review. You have no idea how excited I was to finally try making ice cream! I waited two days for the ice cream maker and the processor to arrive, because it was out of stock at the time and they had to order more. Photos below from when the ice cream maker arrived, and a few shots of it in action:
I’m sorry if I don’t have many photos, I know I have my unboxing photos somewhere…I’ll post them when I find them!

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After all that, here’s the most important part of the review. How well does it actually work? Does it actually produce ice cream?
It works! I was so excited when my second batch of ice cream turned out well, my first batch wasn’t so good because I thought I had to freeze the custard to chill it down, when I really had to put it in the fridge. So the ice cream maker was pounding away at some rock-hard custard that wasn’t even churned yet! But more on that disaster in another post. It churned my ice cream in thirty minutes tops, and it melts really, really fast. Or maybe that’s just my temperature. The ice cream is BETTER than those sold at the shops, and it’s so simple to use ANYONE could make ice cream. It’s great that there’s only one button: the on/off switch. So people like me won’t have a headache wondering how to turn it on. Basically you just fit in the frozen insert/bowl, throw in the churning paddle or something and lock on the lid. Then you pour your ice cream mixture in the machine and let it churn and freeze simultaneously while you go do other things. Or stand there for thirty minutes to watch the ice cream progress, which I did once. It’s magical.
Okay, now for the ice cream insert/bowl thing. This is a machine that requires the insert pre-freezing for at least 24 hours before using, oh sure, there are machines that don’t have to pre-freeze their inserts, but they cost A TON (you’re looking at about 300$ for the cheapest model). It’s no problem for me now, whenever I finish a batch of ice cream, the first thing I do is get out the ice cream and put it in the freezer. The second thing I do is I wash the insert with hot water, dry it off quickly and throw it back into the reserved freezer spot. And I keep it in there until the next time I want to make ice cream, which might be a week or even tomorrow. I don’t have those times when I want to make ice cream and I realize ‘oh no I forgot to freeze the insert!’ anymore, which I used to have. It now has a reserved spot in my freezer that everyone knows not to take out. And NEVER EVER EVER try to make your ice cream when the mixture is hot or when the insert hasn’t fully frozen yet. I’ll talk more about that in my first ice cream post why.
Since then, I have made over maybe fifteen? Twenty, tops flavors of ice cream, French-style and American-style, sorbets and sherbets, and it worked wonderfully with everything. There’s also a two quart option if you eat a lot of ice cream fast, which is great, but I don’t need it.

My final conclusion: It is a brilliant, BRILLIANT machine! I highly recommend you try out this brand, it’s amazing. And it looks sorta cute in my cabinet. It works wonderfully, looks cute, churns out amazing ice cream…what could you want more in such an affordable ice cream maker? Please go get it if you haven’t already, and thank you for reading my review!

I bought the ice cream machine with my own money, and I wasn’t paid to write this review.