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Archive for the ‘Product Review’ Category

(Product Review): TheCrazyCap and the quest to keep water clean

Posted by cmh gourmand on December 31, 2019

CrazyCap Bottle

I am the father of a four year old boy. Nothing on this planet seeks out dirt, grime and general chaos with more gusto than a four year old boy….except maybe the three year old version of the same. When CMH Griffin (CMH Son) entered the world of daycare when he was just over two years old we began a year of guerilla warfare with germs. For the first three months of school he was out sick (home with daddy) more often than he was in school. Making it to school three days a week was a GOOD WEEK! As the person that “never gets sick” I was sick more often over that 18 months than I had been in the previous 18 years, I even picked up a case of Foot and Mouth Disease (yes, eww).

We are doing better at Daycare/Pre-School today but in the course of a school day he is embedded with up to twenty three other chronic germ machines and so his his water bottle. When I saw the Crazy Cap pitched in a back to school press release, I volunteered to take one for a test drive for my family to see if it could survive the four year old challenge.

Here are some of the Crazy Cap selling points!

– The deep UV LED provides 500,000 water treatments during its lifetime

– CrazyCap’s battery lasts up to 1 week, comes included with charger

– The CrazyCap can be used to sanitize any surface. Simply shine it on cell-phones, laptops, tablets, etc.

– CrazyCap is compatible with most 9, 12, 15 and 17 oz insulated stainless steel bottles. In case you don’t have a compatible bottle, the brand also offers double-walled, vacuum-insulated bottles that are designed to keep beverages cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12

– It contains deep UV LED sterilization technology to destroy microorganisms completely (unlike traditional filters, which trap but do not destroy). Purify your water on the go and keep your go-to bottle sanitary at the same time

– “CrazyCap’s makes sure that your bottles do not smell funky or moldy. It is our guarantee!!”

All of the above seemed impressive.

I tested this out at home from fall to Christmas break. Overall, I found the product easy to use and understand. The charger was easy to use. A color coded light system in the cap helps you understand what the battery level is in the CrazyCap and it allows you to determine what level of sanitizing you want to use. An added bonus of the CrazyCap is it can be used to sanitize items other than your water and the bottle itself, you can use use in on keyboards, phones, and etc. This could be a handy item for a camping trip or an emergency preparedness kit (if you keep the charge fresh).

CrazyCap with charger

There were two downsides for the “back to school” uses for this bottle and they mainly apply to the audience I tested this with. While this would be a good back to school item for a high schooler or even an older middle school child, I would not suggest this for young children, especially those in daycare and probably elementary school. First, the CrazyCap is not dishwasher safe which means it is not kid safe nor exhausted adult proof. Second, there is a warning not to look directly at the CrazyCap UV light…..you know that is bound to happen with a toddler and even some teenagers and adults. I do think this would be a great gift for the techie in your life.

To find out more about CrazyCap check our their website -> TheCrazyCap.com

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(Product Review): TwentyFifty Compostable Spoons

Posted by cmh gourmand on December 25, 2019

Compostable Spoons

True Fact 1: I am a recycling and sustainability nerd who would like to progress to being a zealot.

True Fact 2: I am a sucker for anything FREE!

When I received a press release about TwentyFifty compostable tableware I was beyond intrigued so I made a pitch to test drive some of their product. I also asked if I could run a contest to help get the word out about their products and what their mission is. The company said yes to both of my requests. If you want the opportunity to have a box of compostable spoons sent to you so you can try them yourself, follow me on Instagram at: CMHGourmand and you can participate in my Instagram contest on January 1st – to help make your own New Year’s Resolution to be nicer to our planet. One commenter to my New Years Day Instagram post about these spoons will win a box of spoons.

TwentyFifty is a San Diego based company with noble purposes. One goal is to create methods to allow cutlery to be made around the world using locally sourced grains.

Named after the year 2050 – the year the population is projected to reach 10 billion and when it’s estimated that the amount of plastic waste in the ocean will exceed the amount of fish – the brand has one mission: to stop, or at least significantly reduce, plastic pollution. They are doing this with cutlery. The first, and only, compostable alternative to single-use plastic you can compost in your own backyard compost pile.

A few facts about plastics that I hope terrify you. As a parent of a child I hope has a liveable world after 2050, here are a few things that could keep me up at night.


Over 40 billion plastic utensils go into landfills and oceans every year.

There are about 300 million tons of plastic that are produced every year with half of them estimated to be for only single use and they are then dumped in the oceans after use. This then creates an underwater smog of plastic debris and this then affects the seabirds and marine life that ingest it which can then affect the health of the people that consume the affected animals later.


From a documentary that was filmed by a journalist Craig Leeson, a director of A Plastic Ocean discovered discarded plastic bottles on the ocean floor while he was filming whales underwater in the India Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka. He then traveled to about 20 locations so as to show the effects of plastic on the marine ecosystem and his documentary then talks about how the plastic in the ocean breaks up over time to become tiny pieces called microplastics. This then enters the food chain and it brings toxins into the fatty tissues of the fish and other animals which will then be transmitted to human during consumption. – from The Heart Beat

There are other compostable cutlery options out there but most require a lot of energy to produce and then break down after use. The design of the TwentyFifty fork, spoon or knife allows it to be fully decomposed in a typical home composting bin within 30 days. You could even stick one in the ground of your garden and let it release nutrients into the soil after eating some of your garden produce at a picnic – how do you like that for cycle of life?

Spoons side by side

If you are searching for a real alternative to single use plastic that is a win/win for the environment, TwentyFifty has a sound solution for you. I received a box of 12 that I tested out in various ways for typical things my family does at home and away. The spoons are both aesthetically pleasing and practical to use. They hold up well to any use I could think of and did not add any aftertaste or discoloration to foods. I soaked one in a glass for four hours and it was still usable. After one hour of soaking, it showed no signs of wear or decomposition, at 4 hours, it was pliable and could be broken with some effort but still retained its shape. The spoon is made with a mix of wheat, corn and soy flours. I was impressed after my thorough usability testing and am excited to see what other products that will produce over time.

Box 0f Twenty Fifty Spoons

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(Product Review): Belle Chevre Goat Cheese Cream Cheese

Posted by cmh gourmand on October 25, 2019

Long time readers know that I am a sucker for cheese. Few know how much I love goat cheese but it well established that I love free cheese. In this instance, I was offered cheese I would gladly pay for next time I go to the store in the form of Belle Chevre cream cheese made from goat’s milk.

When I received this box I was vaulted to cream cheese heaven. Inside were eight different cream cheeses to try so I took my mission very seriously. In order of my taste preference these are the samples I received: Fig, Original, Honey, Roasted Red Pepper, Cinnamon, Pumpkin Spice (it’s not just for coffee anymore) Garden Veggie. I am still holding on to the Coffee Cream Cheese (unsampled) for unspecified and perhaps secret baking project.

My spouse was a bit skeptical of cream cheese made from goats milk. Also, her superhuman sense of smell confirmed that these cream cheeses did originate from goats, not cows. For her this fact was neutral, but for me, it was all goaty goodness.

Belle Chevre goat cheese cream cheese has some distinct advantages over standard cream cheese. Their goat cheeses are naturally gluten free and a one ounce serving offers five grams of protein which is more than double that of regular cream cheese. Compared to cow’s milk-based cheeses, goat cheese is lower in fat, provides more calcium and has two and a half times the protein. That is something that helped me rationalize eating a whole container in a day.

For my rigorous testing I did several head to head comparisons of Belle Chevre and standard cream cheese. Thinking of the creaminess and spreadability of typical cream cheese as a percentage or curve, the Belle Chevre cream cheeses were about 75% on the spectrum between regular goat cheese and regular cream cheese leaning more toward the cream cheese on the scale. Belle Chevre is dense but lighter and fluffier. It is less likely to “stick” and embed itself with it’s companion be it a bagel, salami, or whatever. The goat cheese flavor is present but not pronounced and pairs exceptionally well in the fig flavor in particular. True fact: I made my favorite sandwich of the year with a next day leftover piece of steak, the fig cream cheese and some just out of the bag sandwich bread from the store. It was simple but amazingly delicious. Over time I noticed the unused portion in each container tends to settle overnight bringing the remainder to a flat baseline by the next day which is value added for people like me that do not like big divots in the center of their dairy packaging but instead like a constant horizontal level awaiting the next knife or spoon.

Belle Chevre on the right

My most common test was to try the different versions of the goat cheese cream cheese on bagels, with one half of the bagel covered in Belle Chevre cream cheese and the other half spread with “a national brand cream cheese”. The Belle Chevre was always an even substitute and often a superior option depending on my flavor preference. My least favorite of what I sampled was the veggie. The veggie chunks in the cream cheese did not add to the flavor, for the most part, they just added some texture to the lump of cream cheese in my mouth. You can use Belle Chevre cream cheeses interchangeably with anything that would feature cream cheese and in my experience you will find it a flavor enhancer to whatever you are eating with it. In my research, it really excels in any baking recipe which calls for cream cheese, especially with the cinnamon flavor (which is why I am holding onto the coffee cream cheese for a future creation).

Belle Chevre is a company I have tracked for several years. They make great products and have an inspiring origin story. Their artisan cheese makers have been handcrafting traditional and original goat cheeses since 1989, combining old school European cheesemaking techniques with innovative approaches. All of this happens in Elkmont, Alabama under the chief cheese, Tasia Malakasis. The company is woman owned and led. It has won many accolades including a best dessert award for a goat cheese cheesecake and a feature on Oprah’s O List. To learn more about Belle Chevre click -> HERE.

Locally you can find Belle Chevre at Giant Eagle Market District and Meijer as well as in my refrigerator, but please do not take any of my Belle Chevre fig cream or I will give you an old copy of Who Moved My Cheese as a punishment.

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