Category Archives: Amazon Reviews

The Black Sharpie Marker – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Black Sharpie Marker.  I know it sort of falls flat from some of the highly cool stuff I bring you doesn’t it.  You know though every day I think about what the next item of the day will be.  The key is with very rare exceptions they are all items I own and use or at least have used in the past.

So I really try to include stuff we use every single day like say our French Press or our Electric Kettle.  Last night I was jarring up some bulk herbs and wondering what I would do today.  As I wrote on the jar lid with a black sharpie I realized, that this humble little pen in a massive heavy lifter in our home.  Even if everyone already knows about it, it should be featured on TspAz.

With all the talk of seed and plant starting lately I should point out that I use these for all labels on plants.  I tried some expensive (like 12 bucks a pop) “garden markers” they were no better.  I have found putting some clear tape over plant labels is the best way to make them last longer.

We pretty much label everything with a black sharpie, fermenting mead, bottled mead, canned goods, alcohol infusions, you name it.  Yep it is humble, but it is also one of the most commonly stolen items from office supply cabinets for a reason, it just friken works.

Another thing I constantly use these for is my various construction projects.  Specifically making points to drill and cut PVC and other items that are plastic or metal.  A carpenters pencil just doesn’t cut it for such things.

And because everyone uses them, they are cheap, in this case 24 for 10.20!  That is 42 cents a piece!  So I am not saying to run out and buy them today but the next time you are ordering stuff from Amazon toss in a few boxes of Black Sharpie Marker and keep them around.  Their uses are unlimited and you need more then a few, along with tape measures and nail clippers they seem to be an item Gnomes or Elves steal while you sleep, they just constantly seem to disappear.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light.  I just discussed this item yesterday on the show but I am so impressed with the value of it I am featuring it for the TspAz item of the day.

To grow well plants need full spectrum lighting and as LED technology has advanced it has become the go to choice of professionals in the indoor farming market.  Not only does it grow plants with greater vigor than florescent lighting it has a massive cost savings in electrical use and LEDs last a long longer so the longer equipment life cycle further drives down total cost.

Still the cost of quality LED grow lights has been quite high and it has held back the small time and hobby gardener for quite a while.  Recently some low cost lights have come along and worked okay but were made so cheaply that they would often fail in 90-180 days for many users.  And with that any savings was gone.

Over the past two years a company called Kingbo began producing some smaller LED grow lights and developed a good reputation with them, but they were two small to be useful to me for starting flats of seeds.  When they came out with the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light I was pretty happy but figured I would wait a while and let others try it out and see what kind of reputation it had after some use by the market.

It has now been around about 9 months and seems to have maintained a good reputation.  I also like that they offer a full 12 month warranty and a 30 day money back satisfaction guarantee.

The big thing I like is how well it works, see the video below of one youtuber who tested his on basil and watermelon.  When you hear me talk about healthy and stocky seedlings this is what I am talking about.  I like this light so much that I recently ordered 4 of them for my own seed starting this year.  I’ll be putting together my system and sharing it with you soon.

In any event if you are looking for a great grow light to start your own plants indoors, of do indoor farming with a grow tent, check this one out, at 37 dollars with 92% 5 star reviews it is hard to beat on the current market.   I do expect over the years for this technology to continue to improve and become more affordable, but at present time the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light is my current top choice of what is available.  I have waited long enough to adopt LED grow light technology.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. Check out these videos testing testing the Kingbo Reflector 45W LED Grow Light.

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Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt.  I first discovered this stuff at a local farm to fork restaurant here in Texas called Ellerbe Fine Foods.  In the summer season they use our duck eggs on burgers for their lunch menu.

Due to that Dorothy and I felt we should go have dinner there.  It was fantastic and they had a lot of little extras they brought out like breads and condiments, etc.  One was a small dish of deep red crystals.  The waitress suggested we actually sample some directly and simply called  it Hawaiian Red Salt.

I am a guy that likes his salt but seldom do I eat salt like tiny rock candy but hey you got to try things or you never learn anything.  It was fantastic!  Salty of course but mineraly, and a kind of character I can’t really explain, but I just really liked it.  It was like no other salt I have ever tasted.

So I did some research on it later that night.  It turns out that “Alaea Salt” is called that because it is mixed with red alae volcanic clay which gives the salt its color and some of its unique flavor along with a host of minerals.

The salt itself is sea salt made in the traditional Hawaiian manner, in holding tanks by hand.  So you are getting the minerals from both the salt and the clay in this stuff along great flavor, less sodium per ounce and a cool look all at the same time.

This stuff is fantastic for rubs, barbecues, on the rim of a margarita glass or anywhere you would use salt.  About the only place I would not want to use it would be in lacto-fermentation, I am just not sure how the clay once dissolved would effect the ferment.

On a final note, this product comes in both a coarse and a fine grain.  I use course because it is easier to handle by the pinch which is how I generally use salt when cooking.  But the fine grain would be what you’d want in a salt shaker.  Either way give Hawaiian Red Alaea Sea Salt a try, it will be something really cool to share with friends next time you have them over for dinner.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Two important notes.  First all salt tends to cake in salt shakers at times, but natural salts do so more often, a few gains of rice in a salt shaker prevents that, learned that from my Grandma.

Next the brand above is what I buy but many people offer it and most of it is fine.  That said there should be only two ingredients listed, (Hawaiian Sea Salt and Red Alae Clay) if you see anything else it ain’t the real deal.


Hoppe’s No. 9 Bore Solvent – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent.  This is another item for our project of building a basic gunsmith and maintenance kit for 2017.

Over the first few months of 2017 we will feature sufficient gunsmith and maintenance items to build out a full basic kit to handle most of your gun care needs.

Anyway I have said it before and I will likely say it again a lot during this project, I am very old school in my choices for gun maintenance.

I know there are a lot of new products but I also know what has always worked will still work.

I remember my grandfather showing me how to clean the bore of his old Model 70!

First ya take out the bolt, you never clean it from the front side, always the back, got it?  Good now pay attention, this is important.

Now next ya put a cotton patch on the rod, dip in in the Hoppe’s and don’t get it all over the place or your grammy will get you.

Run it though the barrel nice and slow, one pass in and out, then get a new patch, do it again, then one more time.

Then ya run two clean and dry patches through it, may be three but that is enough.  Then take one more and put just a tiny bit of Hoppe’s Oil on it, run it back and forth twice and your done.

That’ll keep rust out of your bore and no one wants a rusty bore, it hurts when you pee if your bore is rusted.  Ya think that’s funny, do ya, well good it means you’re payin attention.

It ain’t like when I was in the Navy, we are shooting deer here, not Japs, deer don’t care if your gun perfect, just that it works.  You don’t have to get all out of sorts with this stuff, understand.

Now if you do a lot of shooting we might need a brush or some of that copper solvent, but most of the time, when you just were sighing her in, or got your deer, this is all you need.

When you want to practice stick to your 22, 30-06 rounds are expensive, so are good guns, so take care of it like this and it will be around when you are as old as I am.

Now take that oil rag and give it a good wipe down and put it in the cabinet till next time.

And so it has been for well past 30 years, I still have my first deer rifle and my first 22 and Hoppe’s products have been maintaining them all the while.  I don’t know how long my Grandfather had been using products from Hoppe’s but I know the company has been around for over 100 years and he never mentioned anything else.

As you can see from my Grandfather’s teaching above this solvent is for everyday cleaning of a weapon after it has been fired.  It dissolves powder and lead and copper residue and will take off surface rust as well.

If you have a badly fouled barrel with a lot of copper build up you may have to use something like Copper Solvent or do some cleaning with a bore brush but most of the time for general use a few swabbings of this stuff is all you need.  If you do go to a brush this stuff can be used on your brush as well and it is very effective that way.

So consider adding Hoppe’s No. 9 Gun Bore Cleaning Solvent to your gunsmith and maintenance kit today, it has been taking care of my guns for more than 30 years, closer to 40 than I want to admit, and I have no plans to change brands any time soon.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – Note I said it dissolves rust.  So when you find that old shotgun in the pawn shop with some surface rust to restore, just put a bit of this on some double 0 steel wool and rub it lightly with this and it will come right off.  And remember anything you clean with this needs some oil before you put it away, this is a cleaner not a lubricant or protectant.  

Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base.  Specifically the link I provide today goes to a 3 pack of 8 ounce jars.  Now you can get a single 8 ounce jar to try it out, or you can get a 16 ounce jar.  However, if you do the math you will find the three pack almost amounts to getting 8 ounces for free compared to the other options.   And I like saving money!

So there is a lot to love about this stuff.  First and foremost it tastes great as do many other versions of the product, they even make a Fish Base, a Clam Base and a Lobster Base.  I mean if a food product doesn’t taste good you can’t really say much good about it after that right.  I am featuring chicken today because it is the most versatile, people use chicken stock in everything but all of them are wonderful.

One thing I love about the Chicken Base is the organic option.  I know organic isn’t perfect but it means a lot of things that are great like no GMO feed and no added artificial crap.  And there is almost no real extra cost for the organic version especially if you buy the three pack.

The other is the raw storage factor (RSF).  To me RSF is how much space does something concentrated take up compared to what it represented when reconstituted.  Each 8 ouch jar makes 9.5 quarts of broth.  So 3 jars at just under 20 bucks will make you 28.5 quarts of chicken stock.   That is 114 cups, but it only takes up the space of 1.5 cups in your pantry!  That is a 76-1 return on space!

Not to mention if you value organic chicken broth at say 2.50 a quart you have a 3.5 to one return on your money to go along with a 76-1 return on your space.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love home made stock, right now I have some amazing deep brown venison bone stock simmering on the stove, but there is a place for saving space, money and time and products like this do that in spades.

By keeping a few jars of a few varieties in your pantry you can literally store say 100 quarts worth of stock with no real effort for not much money.   Again with the chicken stock it is something you can use often so rotation is pretty simple.

Stated shelf life by the company is 2 years from date of manufacturer but I personally feel that it would last longer than that.  You do need to refrigerate them after opening though, so consider that with your planning.

Here is one way we use this stuff all the time.  About the only “grains” we eat with any regularity are quinoa and amaranth and alone they quite bland.  Basic directions for both are, put once cup of grain to two cups of water and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, simmer covered for 12-15 minutes stirring occasionally, remove from heat and let stand for about 5 more minutes covered.

Our slight modification is put two cups of water into the pot and heat until hot enough to dissolve one heaping teaspoon of Better Than Bullion.  Once dissolved add grain and cook as above.  The difference is night and day with flavor.

Lastly read the ingredients one of them is turmeric, now that is surely to give a great golden flavor, but more organic turmeric in your diet is never a bad thing.  So give Better Than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base a shot today.   Your pantry, your wallet, you family and your taste buds will all thank you for it.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. If you worry about salt, there are low sodium versions of most of their products available.

 

The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss.  Erica of course is a member of our expert council so I realized man I should have featured her book long ago.   Her book is what you’d expect from Erica, fing fantastic!

Erica designed this book to be the ultimate guide on the DIY home.  There are over 100 recipes, tips, and inspirational ideas in this great book.  It coverss everything from cooking, canning and preserving to making your own nontoxic home and personal care products.

Over half of the book focuses on the kitchen with a wealth of information about how to organize and stock your kitchen to more effortlessly prepare delicious meals.  Erica is a former professional chef who knows how to build flavor into simple and delicious home-cooked meals.

She also includes details on Basic Food Preservation techniques such as water-bath canning, pressure canning, and lacto-fermentation along with a handy year-long food preservation calendar of what to put up when.

You guys know Erica from her appearances on the air, she is extremely knowledgeable and always super prepared.  So you just know her book has got to be awesome, how awesome, one review on Amazon is titled,

“The mayo recipe alone is worth it…but really, this book is amaze-balls.”

I am not sure what that actually means but if you read the full review by  N. Stoddard you will see that she was very excited about it.  In fact you won’t find a bad review on this book, not one, 99 reviews with 4.8 stars overall.  But what else would we expect from Erica.  So check out The Hands-On Home by Erica Strauss and if you have not done so yet add it to your kindle or your book shelf.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

 

Healing Solutions Peppermint Essential Oil – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Healing Solutions Peppermint Essential Oil.  I am a huge fan of essential oils for many uses and I personally consider peppermint the most versatile of them all.

I want to point out that I am not making any medical claims or saying that this stuff cures or treats any disease.  Happy now you G-men?  I just will tell you what I tend to use it for myself and what my results have been.

The two main things I use it for are occasional head aches, specifically stress related ones and sinus issues.  For instance right now I have some sort of a head cold and can barely breathe though my nose.  I just sniff the bottle and soon get some relief from the congestion.  I also take my finger and put it on the top and just moisten it with the oil,  quick wipe under my nose on each side and I get continued relief.

Often with head aches, especially when one is just starting if I take a few sniffs or this stuff it mitigates it or simply shuts it down before it even gets started.  Again peppermint is likely the most versatile essential oil there is, in fact here is an article with 25 great uses for peppermint essential oil you can check out.

If you are new to essential oils you may want to consider trying them out with an infuser, this is my favorite one of those, it is also an Amazon best seller.  I will be doing a full show on essential oils later this year but for now consider adding Healing Solutions Peppermint Essential Oil to your preps.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. –  While this product brand is GREAT so are most true essential oils.  What is a true essential oil, it is undiluted pure oil from the source plant.  In general just by reading the ingredients you can verify that it is a pure oil.    I chose this brand because I had run out and this cold set in, and it was on free one day delivery,  after using it I can say it is as good as ny other quality oil I have used.

Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea.  As most of you know I drink a lot of herbal teas, so you may be wondering why I am featuring this item.

While I do occasionally make this tea stand alone as either hot or iced, I mainly use it to blend with my herbals.  I do this for two reasons.  One is that it adds great flavor and depth to many herbal teas.  The other is for a kick of caffeine into an otherwise caffeine free tea.

So what is up with the whole gunpowder thing?  Don’t worry there is nothing from Hodgdon in there and it doesn’t smell of cordite.  It is simply the shape and form of the teas.

Gunpowder tea is a form of Chinese tea in which each leaf has been rolled into a small round pellet. Its English name comes from its resemblance to grains of gunpowder. This rolling method of shaping tea is most often applied either to dried green tea (the most commonly encountered variety outside China) or oolong tea.

Gunpowder tea production dates back to the Tang Dynasty 618–907. It was first introduced to Taiwan in the 19th century. Gunpowder tea leaves are withered, steamed, rolled, and then dried.  Rolling renders the leaves less susceptible to physical damage and breakage and allows them to retain more of their flavor and aroma.

Here is a tea recipe I like to make with this tea…

The truth though is you can use it with just about any tea you fancy, also you don’t have to be held to my parts of each ingredients.  I recommend people make up very small amounts using say a teaspoon for your “parts” to find what works best for you.

Of course for loose teas you either want a good infuser or french press.  Either way I think you will be quite pleased if you give Davidson’s Gunpowder Green Tea a try.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

P.S. – For some reason Amazon has lumped ALL Davidson’s tea reviews together, this renders the reviews on this item essentially useless.

Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels.  I am going to tell you that really any flour sack towel I have used has been fine, these are just the best price per towel I can find and they are on prime.

Lot’s of people like these because they are lint free and dry dishes nicely, etc.  Some people use them for embroidery.  I don’t really care about that with them, I use them rather than cheesecloth and think they make a much better alternative when making yogurt cheese.

Cheese cloth wears out fast and doesn’t really offer any advantages for this use, where as flour sack towels last a very long time, you just wash and dry them and use them over and over again.  I am a huge fan of getting good bacteria like lactobacillus into your diet in many different ways and none are more awesome than yogurt cheese.  In fact it may be the easiest and most delicous way to up  your probiotic game.

All you need to do to make basic yogurt cheese is take one of these towels and dump plain yogurt with “live and active cultures” into it, stir in a bit of salt, put it in a metal strainer over a bowl and wait 12 to 24 hours.  You will than have something akin to tangy cream cheese.  But I have never made it so bland.

While your yogurt is still very soft is the time to stir in herbs and seasonings.  Here are a few of my favorite things to add to it.

  • Fresh Basil and Fresh Garlic – this is the universal one everyone likes
  • Chopped Jalapenos and Garlic
  • Cracked Black Pepper, Rosemary and Thyme
  • Cracked Black Pepper and Almond Slivers
  • Lemon Zest and Chopped Walnuts

Honestly if you think it might taste good with cheese it will likely work.  How much, well as in most things I do it by eye, just remember you can always add more but can never take it out.  Here is a save if you ever over do anything, make a plane batch and blend it.

Also if you want your yogurt cheese a bit firmer, try this, take a large heavy can of something, put it on top of the towel and it will help expel a bit more of the whey.  Oh the whey that stuff is probiotic gold.  You can drink it and you will also find that your animals will like it too.

So if getting more probiotics into your diet is in your plans for 2017 give Utopia Kitchen Flour Sack Towels a shot.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.

The Hoover Sprint Quick Vacuum – Item of the Day

Every day I bring you an item on Amazon that I personally use or has been purchased by many members of the audience and I have researched enough to recommend.

Today’s TSP Amazon Item of the day is the Hoover Sprint Quick Vacuum.  This one was suggested by Dorothy and here is the story behind it.  As you guys know we are animal lovers, we keep both dogs and cats and we love them like family members.  Our house would be empty without them.

The one big issue is hair, hair everywhere, especially with dogs like Max our GSD and he predecessor Lakota who was a Siberian Husky.  We are talking running the vacuum at least every other day.

As you guys know I am of the school of “buy once, cry once” (meaning buy the best, cry about the price but never worry again) at least when it makes sense.  So when Dorothy said she wanted a Dyson Animal, well having heard how amazing they were for so long, I said go for it and simply accepted the almost 500 dollar price tag as a “buy once, cry once” moment.

At first we were happy, the Dyson sucked like no vacuum had ever sucked before!  The performance was amazing, then it sucked in another way.  It simply broke and would not suck at all anymore.  By then it was out of warranty so Dorothy tracked down a repair guy locally, there was ONE.  Yes ONE.

But one does not simply throw away a 500 dollar vacuum if one has brains so down she goes to the shop.  They guy fixed it for a fee, about 75 bucks if I remember right, but he also told her the following, paraphrased,

I work on these things all the time, and it is always pet owners bringing them in.  Once they break the first time, they keep breaking.  Now I make money fixing them so fine but to tell you the truth I would never buy one.

What I do is buy this cheap Hoover called the Sprint.  It is like 60-70 bucks and while a bit small it is very powerful.  I have dogs too, and I am going to be honest, pet hair kills vacuums, it just does.  I work on them all the time,  I’ve been doing it for 20 years and no vacuum is immune to this.

These little vacuums will give you about three years and crap the bed, just like the Dyson but will only cost you about 65 bucks.

The Dyson is going to be at least 75 to repair each time, until you give up and buy another one.   Every time you do that you are out 400-500 bucks and for what?  I’m happy to take your money but I am also big on telling people the truth.

Well, Dorothy got the Dyson fixed anyway and you know what, it didn’t last much longer before it went down again.  So before repairing it again she figured she would try the Sprint.  The little thing is a beast!  Not to mention very light weight and easy to use.

It is also affordable, since that time as most electronics do the price has dropped from 70 to under 50 bucks!  I’ll bet some people with two story homes might get two just to keep one on each floor, though as light as the thing is there is no need to do so.

There is one short coming and it is the size, well the size of the dust bin, it is pretty small.  With Charlie, Lucy and Max, pretty much one room fills it, but it is easy to dump and it just keeps going.

I know some of you are likely fans of the Dyson and will go on about “you have to clean the filters”, yes we know,  yes we did, and yes it still failed.  Not to mention the parts that fail have nothing to do with the filter.  The truth is I think the Dyson is a great vacuum, especially for people without pets or at least without pets that shed a lot.  I also think it is over priced.

The Hover Sprint is what we use now, we use it on wood floors, tile floors and carpet and it just works.  I guess Dorothy has had it about a year and a half now and it gets almost daily use.  I am sure one day it will give up the ghost, fine, so be it, I would rather be out 46 dollars than 75 for a repair or say another 400 on a new machine.

Remember you can always find the TSP Amazon Item of the day by just going to TspAz.com and by shopping at TspAz.com anytime you shop on Amazon you help support TSP and the work we do here no matter what you buy.