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Amazon Products Reviews

Reviews of and direct links to products on Amazon.

Bob's Red Mill Organic Oats Rolled Quick
32-Ounce (Pack of 4)

Healthy, Good Tasting, Organic, Inexpensive

Oats are probably the healthiest grain there is, and oatmeal is the most common way to attain these healthy oats. Oatmeal also makes for a great tasting breakfast. I eat it every morning, with fruit and nuts added to it. And I try to eat organic whenever possible. So I was pleased to find this product available so cheaply on Amazon. Four bags last me a long time, so I don't have to order very often. And these oats taste just as good as the popular commercial brand.

Being in a bag rather than a box or carton is a small problem. I had mice get into a couple of bags! Those mice were caught with old-fashioned wooden traps, but I now store the bags in large Tupperware containers. To open a bag, I snip a corner off and close it with a small chip clip. So I am giving these oats four stars rather than five for the minor inconvenience of the bag.

As for why I say oats are the healthiest grain, see the chapter on "Whole Grains" in my God-given Foods Eating Plan book. In it I cite many scientific studies showing "whole grains (especially oats) can improve blood lipid profiles and reduce heart disease risk." And my blood lipids have been just fine ever since I started eating oatmeal every morning.


Pyrex Serveware Sculptured 3-Cup Bowl, Clear with Blue Lid

Does not get hot in microwave

I bought two of these bowls in May 2014 for making my morning oatmeal in and for heating stuff up otherwise in the microwave. 3 cups enables a large bowl of oatmeal to be made, which I needed at the time as I was trying to gain weight. I especially like that the bowls do not get hot even with being in the microwave for several minutes. It is now October, and they are still in perfect condition. No surprise the Pyrex bowls have not deteriorated, but neither have the plastic lids, even with daily use and putting them in the dishwasher. And the lids hold firmly enough for microwaving and storing food in the bowls. I never dropped a bowl, so I cannot say if they would break or not if you do, but I'm not going to drop one just to find out! I am giving them five stars as they do what they are supposed to do.


Nordic Ware Toaster Oven Pizza/Crisping Sheet

Work well, but become grungy

I've order three of these trays: first in April 2010, then in  February 2011, then in March 2013. The reason I've ordered three is they work very well. They fit in my small toaster oven and are non-stick. However, over time they become grungy, meaning the nice gold color slowly becomes tarnished and dark spots build up on them that cannot be scrubbed off. Once they become too black, food begins to stick. But they are rather inexpensive and are available with Amazon Prime, so having to buy a new one occasionally is not too big of a problem. So I am giving them three stars for doing what they are supposed to do, but no more for not lasting very long.


Misto Brushed Aluminum Olive Oil Sprayer

Works great and long-lasting

I am allergic to alcohol, which most commercial oil sprays contain, so I cannot use them. I was buying an organic olive oil spray that did not contain alcohol, but it was rather pricy with having to purchase it regularly. I heard of reusable olive oil spray products and checked here on Amazon to find one. I came across this product and ordered it in September 2012. It is simple to fill and only needs to be pumped a few times to work. It does not need to be refilled very often, with one filling lasting me months. And I can use my own organic olive oil in it, which is a lot cheaper than buying an organic oil spray. It is now October 2014, so my first Misto has lasted over two years and is still going strong. But if it ever does break, I will definitely get another one.


Avanti AR4596SS Counter High Refrigerator

No freezer and reliable, but a problem with the door

I ordered this Avanti compact refrigerator (AR4596SS) on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Since I have Amazon Prime, I expected it to arrive on Friday. And Friday morning, the tracking on Amazon said it was "Out for Delivery." I needed to take it up a flight of stairs, so I had a helper standing by to help me get it into my home. By 6pm on Friday it had not arrived. So I called Amazon. After waiting on hold for several minutes, I was told it was on its way and would arrive in an hour. Well, 7pm came and went, and it still did not arrive. So I called Amazon again. This time I was told that it was never even scheduled for delivery on Friday; that it would be coming on Saturday. So I asked, "Why did the Web site say it was 'Our for delivery' and why was I was told at 6pm that it was coming in an hour?" All the Amazon representative could say was that that was the info the site administrator and the previous rep had, but she now had the correct info.

If it had just been me I wouldn't have been too upset, but as I said, I had another person waiting to help me. So we both wasted the whole day waiting for a package that wasn't even scheduled to arrive until the next day. In addition, before I ordered it, I checked the weather, as I knew I'd be outside for a while hooking the fridge up to a dolly. Friday the weather was to be nice, but storms were forecast for Saturday. That is why I ordered it on Wednesday, so I'd get it on Friday. I didn't want to be outside on Saturday in the middle of a lightening storm messing with a metal fridge and dolly. The forecast was right: it was nice on Friday and stormed on Saturday. But the fridge did not come until 5pm on Saturday, so the storms had passed by then. But it was two wasted days for me and my helper.

However, for all of the hassles, Amazon refunded a significant portion of the cost. So for that I am thankful, and it is why Amazon is my "go-to" place for Internet shopping. Their service is usually very good, and if they do screw something up, they usually make it good somehow. But be forewarned when ordering large items, as there could be hassles with the shipping.

That said, on the fridge itself, the reason I was getting a compact fridge was for "overflow" from my main fridge. Specifically, I try to eat mostly organic food, especially fruits and veggies. The best place to get such in the Pittsburgh area where I live is Pittsburgh's "East End Food Co-op." But that is over an half hour drive for me, so I only go once a month. As such, I really need to stock-up when I go. A compact fridge enables me to get even more fresh produce and not have it spoil by having it in a fridge the whole time.

I had a compact fridge before this one, but it had a freezer compartment. As soon s I got that fridge, I knew it was a mistake. The freezer compartment was worthless. The only thing it would freeze was water. Even spaghetti sauce or chicken juice did not freeze. But what it did do was get covered with ice very quickly, so I had to defrost the freezer every month or two. Doing so required taking everything out of the fridge and freezer compartment, putting a tray under the freezer compartment to catch the melting ice, then wiping up the water that overflowed the tray, and then putting everything back in. It was a real pain, so I got rid of it. Unless you have a pressing need to make ice, do not get a compact fridge with a freezer compartment. That is why I got this Avanti fridge, as it does not have a freezer compartment.

In any case, I finally got the fridge into my home and set up where I wanted it. The front feet are adjustable, so I adjusted them as needed. But I read somewhere in researching compact fridges that you should let a fridge sit for several hours after moving it before plugging it in. I'm not exactly sure why, but it has something to do with letting the cooling elements settle. So not wanting to damage my new fridge, I let it sit overnight. The next morning, I plugged it in and put a fridge thermometer in it. But when I went to turn it on and adjust the temperature, I noticed a minor problem with this fridge. The inside is white, including the knob for adjusting the temperature (located on the right hand side in about the middle of the fridge), but the numbering on the knob is light gold, so it is barely readable. I had to use a magnifying glass to read the numbers. But with doing so, I set it to the middle and  let it cool. It only took about an hour. And I've only had to adjust the temperature a couple of times since then, so the hard to read numbering on the knob is not too much of a problem.

But the second problem is much more significant. After I got everything in it with no problems, I put a two quart jug of reconstituted protein powder on the door and shut it. But when I went to open the door later, it was stuck! I couldn't open it. I had to shake it to get it opened, which with the "not moving it after it is plugged in advice" was probably not a good idea, but it was the only way I could get it opened. After some investigation I figured out what happened. The jug was "so heavy" it bent the door down, so it was catching on the bottom of the fridge. I had to pull up rather strongly on the door to straiten it up, which made me uncomfortable, as I was afraid I would break it. I didn't, but I knew then that I could not put anything "heavy" on the door.

But even with only putting a few very light items on the door, the door still sticks. So I need to gently pull up on the door each and every time I open and close it. Since there is no handle on the door, this is not easy to do. I have to use both hands and grab onto the little grip at the top of the door with my fingertips to open and close it. This is a real pain, especially when I am putting something into the fridge. Rather than holding the item in one hand and opening the fridge with the other as anyone reading this has probably done thousands of times without thinking about it, I have to set the item down, open the door with both hands, then hold the door open with one hand as I pick up the item with the other hand and then put it into the fridge.

Because this is something that irritates me every time I open and close the fridge, I am only giving it three stars. But that is shame, as if it wasn't for that one problem, I would probably give this fridge five stars. As indicated, I got this fridge in May; it is now October. So I've had it for five months, and it has been working fine that whole time. The fridge stays cool, even when I load it up after my monthly Co-op trip, so it is a reliable fridge. Plus, there is a lot of space for a compact fridge, so I can really stock up on healthy foods. And eating lots of organic produce and other healthy foods has improved my health. That is no surprise, as I discuss the benefits of doing so in my God-given Foods Eating Plan book. But when I was between compact fridges, I wasn't going to the Co-op, so I wasn't eating quite as healthy as I am now.

Bottom line: this Avanti fridge is reliable and roomy, and the lack of a freezer compartment is a big plus. If they would just fix the door and use black numbers on the temperature knob, it would be ideal.


Fit & Fresh Smart Portion, 2 Cup Chill Containers, 4-Count

Very convenient for snacks

This set comes with four containers, four lids, and two ice packs that snap onto the bottom side of the lids. The ice packs are what makes these containers especially convenient. It keeps whatever is inside cold for at least a couple of hours. That is about how long it is between when I go downstairs to work in my home office and when I take my first break and eat a snack. And these containers are just the right size for my snack. It usually consists of two hard-boiled eggs and a piece of fruit. Two extra large eggs just fit inside one container with the ice pack, and I can fit a piece of fruit in a second one if I cut it up, such as cutting an apple into eighths.

The containers seal reasonably well, though not as good as some containers, so they are not spill proof. But they are dishwasher safe and probably microwave safe, though I never put plastic in the microwave, even if it is labeled as being microwave safe. I've had these containers for several weeks now and use them daily, putting them in the dishwasher after each use, and they are still in like new condition. So I am giving them five stars for convenience and durability.


Fit & Fresh Lunch on the Go Set with Ice Pack, 3 Reusable Containers with Lids, BPA-Free

Very functional

This set consists of one 8 cup container, with a lid and ice pack, and two 1 cup containers that fit inside of the large container. The first time using the large container, I put chilled cut up watermelon in the large container, then put the frozen ice pack in the lid. It was easy to put the ice pack in the lid before it was frozen, but now it was very difficult to do so, as it barely fit. It appears like the company did not take simple physics into account; water expands when it freezes. But by putting all of my weight on it, I got it to snap into place.

I kept the container by my workstation in my home office for three hours, with it being in the mid-70s in my office. When I ate some of the watermelon three hours later, the ice pack was still frozen, and the watermelon was still cold. Then three hours later, I ate the rest of the watermelon. By then, the ice pack was no longer frozen, and the watermelon was warm, so the ice pack lasts somewhere between 3-6 hours.

I've only used the small containers to put small food items into to store in the fridge, but I can see how it would be nice to have separate containers that fit in the large container for small food items to go with a larger food item for a packed meal. Thus I am giving this set four stars for its functionality, but not five due to the company not knowing basic physics.

Anchor Hocking Swirl Glass Salt and Pepper Shaker with Lid, 3 oz.

Nice size and shape

Some of the reviews said the holes in these were the same for both and a little larger then most shakers. That is what I wanted as I got these to put Eden Sea Salt in both. I thought the larger holes would be better for unrefined salt as I thought it would be coarser than refined salts. As it turned out, neither was the case. The salt was actually finer than refined salts, and the holes in these shakers are the same as in other salt shakers. But still, I'm glad the holes are the same size in both, so I get a consistent amount of salt in each, which I use in two different locations. Otherwise, these shakers are a nice size. They do not need to be filled very often; they are easy to handle. The cap fits on tightly, and they look nice.


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