Monday, July 22, 2013

Lowrey's Bacon Curls Original Microwave Pork Rinds

Made By:  Oberto Sausage Co. [USA]
Required to Prepare:  Microwave
210 calories per package

(Available online through

Due to the new work situation, I have had a bit fewer opportunities to enjoy (and thus review) ramen.  Who knew company-paid lunches could be a bad thing, right?  The reviews must go on, though, so today I will talk about low-carb snacks.

One thing I remember from my childhood is that my grandfather's favorite snack food was pork rinds.  He would usually have a bag next to his recliner, and he would share with the grandkids when we came to visit.  Maybe because of that memory, they are also a favorite snack food of mine, although I don't know if I've ever found a brand that tastes as good as what I remember him having.  So when I heard about these microwave pork rinds, made locally here in the Pacific Northwest by Oberto in Kent, WA, I knew I had to give them a try!

Preparation is both simple to anyone who's made microwave popcorn, and also slightly different.  The package cautions us to shake up the unpuffed pork rinds after unfolding the bag (to spread them out), and also has dire warnings about how it doesn't make popping noises like popcorn does and to watch the microwave like a hawk while cooking.  All I know is, with my older microwave, I can cook a bag for 2:10 and it turns out perfect every time without worrying about burning anything up.  (Your wattage may vary, naturally).  The bag inflates fully, like popcorn, but then deflates once cooking is done and the steam re-condenses--one package produces the amount pictured in the bowl.

The flavor is salty and sort of bacon-y, a lot like you would expect if you know what pork rinds taste like.  However, these will be the freshest pork rinds you've ever had; they are still snapping and crackling while you start to eat them, and I must say, fresh, hot pork rinds are a more memorable experience than cold ones out of a bag.  If you dislike the flavor of regular pork rinds, I doubt you'd like these either.  But if you do like them, I heartily recommend these, and I imagine you will have trouble going back to "pre-puffed" after tasting them. ^_^

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Achievements for Shopping?

I'm going to take a small diversion from my normal review format to share something that's got me all excited recently.  I've recently joined the "modern age" and gotten a smartphone, and one of the new things I can do with it is to save money on shopping!  There's this app called Ibotta which you can use to earn money back from manufacturers for purchasing items from most popular retailers.

I've been having a stupid amount of fun doing it--it's kind of like a real-life scavenger hunt game.  You "complete tasks" in the app by doing things like reading facts, answering multiple-choice questions, watching videos, or sharing product info on Facebook/Twitter, which earns you credit toward your purchase of that product.  After purchasing, you take a picture of your receipt, and the credit goes into your account where you can cash it out to your PayPal!

The real fun part comes in when you start collecting Bonuses.  I don't know how many of my readers are video gamers, but if you're familiar with the concept of XBox Live or Steam "achievements", or PSN "Trophies", the Bonuses are like that, except for shopping instead of gaming!  Some of the Bonuses are even worth real bonus money in your account!  As an example, right now there is a pair of "Target Freezin'" Bonuses--for the first one, when I cashed in three Target-only offers on one receipt, I got an extra bonus $3 into my account (plus a nifty Target-themed Bonus Badge for my collection).  If I go back on a different day and cash in another offer, I unlock the other Bonus, for another Badge and an additional $2--on top of the value of the offers themselves.  It can add up quick!

There's currently a "Share the Love" bonus going on, where if new members sign up through a referral link such as this one, that new user can earn a whopping $10 Bonus for redeeming any 5 offers in their first two weeks--which is even easier than it sounds!  It does require an Android or iPhone with a rear camera, but it works at all kinds of retailers, like Target, Safeway, Walmart, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Kroger/Fred Meyer... even places you wouldn't expect, like Sam's Club, 7-Eleven, Whole Foods, and even the Military Commissary.

Because the Ibotta offers aren't redeemed at the store but through the app, they can even be "stacked" with manufacturer and store coupons for some really ridiculous savings on some items.  But even if normal paper couponing isn't "your thing", I bet you'd find this couponing "game" to be a lot of fun. :D