April 21, 2011

Recalled Turmeric Sold at Target Contained Lead

Here's a scary thought: your spice rack could contain lead! Not the rack itself, but the spices you sprinkle into your recipes. According to UPI, turmeric sold at Target has been recalled for lead content!

Officials in Georgia confirmed Archer Farms Ground Turmeric, a curry spice sold at Target stores, is being recalled due to high levels of lead...

B&M Inc. of Mount Vernon, Mo., shipped the jars of spice to Target stores from June 2009 to February 2010, the newspaper said.

Lead is toxic if ingested. It is known to cause mental and physical problems, including learning disabilities.

How the turmeric was contaminated with lead was not disclosed, but it is pretty scary to consider what may be lurking in our spices.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by techfun

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 18, 2011

Cholula Hot Sauces: The Flavorful Fire Great on Tofu Scramble and Home Fries

Cholula is a classic hot sauce straight from Mexico that's a favorite of egg lovers. It is great in all kinds of recipes, but I like to add a little spice to my tofu scramble or home fries with the sauce.

We were sent four flavors of Cholula:
Cholula Original Mexican Hot Sauce

Cholula Hot Sauce Original is all about Flavor, Fire and Fun. More than any other Hot Sauce, Cholula's delicious blend of piquin peppers, chile arbol and signature spices enhances food flavors without overpowering them. It's a combination that has defined Cholula as The Flavorful Fire.

Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce
Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce gives you all of what you love most about Cholula's original Flavorful Fire but with the distinctively delicious, tangy hint of fresh lime. It's a hot 'n' tangy flavor sensation that is incredible on tortilla chips, seafood, chicken, salad dressings and more.

Cholula Chili Garlic Hot Sauce
A garlic lover's dream. Cholula Chili Garlic gives you the full benefit of Cholula's original Flavorful Fire complimented with an abundant presence of fresh, coarse ground garlic. It is an incredible flavor enhancement to pasta sauces, pizza, poultry, soups and anywhere you would enjoy a little garlic!

Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce
Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce featuring a savory blend of Cholula's original "Flavorful Fire" and the smokey and slightly sweet flavor notes of real Chipotle peppers. It brings sensational new flavor to soups, ranch dressing, steaks, chicken and more.

I love the wooden stoppers on these natural products. I only wish they were made with organically grown ingredients.  I am also extremely disappointed our sauces were shipped in huge box of styrofoam peanuts.

I quit spicing my food after having children. Hot flavors weren't good for breastfeeding, and children don't like spicy food. Cholula makes it easy to add a little flavor to any plate without making a whole recipe too hot for little mouths.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 14, 2011

Easy Way to Add Organic Spelt Flour to All Your Recipes

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For the past couple of months, I have been using organic spelt flour in all of my baking recipes. This ancient whole grain has been around since the fifth millennium BC.

Many commercial products made with spelt are crumbly and fall apart. I've been experimenting, and I think I have found the perfect way to add a little spelt into any recipe.

My spelt substitution rule is simple: 1/4 to 1/2 cup spelt flour replacement for regular whole wheat or unbleached flour. For example, in this banana bread recipe, I simply replace 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour with spelt flour. The flavor change is subtle, giving it more of a whole grain flavor without affecting its consistency. Spelt flour is really good in brownies too!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 11, 2011

I'm Not a Paper Cup: Porcelain Reusable Coffee Mug

You've probably seen these cups before; they always make me do a double take. Looking exactly like a disposable coffee cup, I'm Not a Paper Cup makes a statement.

The original "I'm Not a Paper Cup" is the eco-friendly alternative to disposable paper or styrofoam coffee cups. It features a durable double-walled layer of thermal porcelain and a silicone top, both of which are dishwasher and microwave safe. The cup is 100% non-toxic and reusable. Holds up to 10 ounces.

One thing I like about the I'm Not a Paper Cup, besides the obvious message, is coffee joints know exactly how to make a latte or cappuccino in it. I've been frustrated on numerous occasions when baristas insist on making my soy latte in a paper cup, then pouring it into my stainless steel coffee mug because they don't know its size for the proportion of milk to espresso. It completely defeats the purpose of using a reusable cup, and I never win the argument.

I also think that porcelain is probably a safer material for hot beverages than China sourced stainless steel. I think this is also true for the lid (silicone vs. plastic).

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 8, 2011

Really Natural Cooking: Heart of the Artichoke

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Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys by David Tanis is an amazingly beautiful cookbook! Although not strictly vegetarian, the pictures are incredible and make you salivate over the recipes. From Fresh Peach Ice Cream to Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream, the meals are varied and unique.

A recipe is "what happens between the concept of a dish and its final result," he observes, then paints a fine line between "om" and "yum" with 14 meditations on kitchen rituals, small moments of epiphany that tie his childhood oatmeal to his adult polenta or celebrate the genius of the Ziploc bag. Cooks who live in an unchanging climate seem to have a penchant for dividing their cookbooks into seasonal chapters and Tanis is no exception. The (artichoke) heart of this work consists of 20 full menus, five for each season. Spring offerings include Vietnamese vegetable summer rolls, and "The Flavor of Smoke," featuring tea-smoked chicken salad. Summer belongs to herbs with choices like flat-roasted chicken with rosemary, and rice salad with sweet herbs. With the fall comes flatbread, a focaccia served alongside stuffed raviolone.

This cookbook provides seasonal menus perfect for anyone trying to eat locally and for selecting the freshest ingredients. For over 25 years, Tanis has been the chef at Chez Panisse, but you don't have to be a gourmet cook to follow these recipes.

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 6, 2011

Rapunzel Vegetable Broth: Not Just for Soups

One staple of my pantry is Rapunzel Pure Organic Vegetable Soup Broth. This powdered vegetable stock is delicious for making soups, but it is also an excellent flavor enhancer for any dish. It dresses up plain rice, and it makes the best gravy.

We search the world over for the highest quality organic ingredients that retain important nutrients and provide you with a whole healthy and sustaining meal for our line of Vegetable broth. This broth helps eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and provide better earnings within rural communities.

Not only is this product vegetarian, it is gluten-free!
Ingredients: Sea salt, yeast extract, rice flour*, sunflower oil*, onions*, carrots*, celery*, spices* (tumeric* mace*), parsley*. *organically grown and processed ingredients.

If you plan to use this product as an all around spice, be sure to cut back on the salt you add to your recipes, since it already contains sea salt.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 31, 2011

Monsanto Sued over GMO Alfalfa by Farmers and Consumers

The US government has approved Monsanto's "Roundup Ready" alfalfa despite concerns by consumers, scientists, and farmers. As a result, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice have filed a lawsuit against USDA as unlawful. Organic Consumers Association explains:

The GE crop is engineered to be immune to the herbicide glyphosate, which Monsanto markets as Roundup. USDA data show that 93% of all the alfalfa planted by farmers in the U.S. is grown without the use of any herbicides. With the full deregulation of GE alfalfa, USDA estimates that up to 23 million more pounds of toxic herbicides will be released into the environment each year.

"USDA has once again failed to provide adequate oversight of a biotech crop," said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. "This reckless approval flies in the face of overwhelming evidence that GE alfalfa threatens the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as significant harm to the environment. APHIS has refused to apply and enforce the law and instead has chosen to bow to the wishes of the biotech industry."

Hopefully, justice will prevail!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 30, 2011

Texas Grown Rice by Rice Select: Little Packaging, Not Always Organic

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We eat a lot rice in my family, and fortunately living in California, we can get rice that was grown close to home. Rice Select features Texas grown rice called Texmati. We were sent samples of the following varieties:

Long grain rice is my favorite, but the samples I was sent were not organically-grown. I did find that the brown rice is available in an organic variety, which I linked to above.

I prefer to buy my rice in bulk and store in large glass jars. Plastic packaging is environmentally degrading, even when recycled, and the samples we were sent were about one meals worth of rice. I can't imagine having to recycle a plastic container after every rice meal (larger sizes are available).

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 29, 2011

Single Serve Espresso Just Got a Little Greener

The very concept of single serve coffee is not very green, and frankly, I don't really understand it. What's a K cup? I've only tried it once, and that was in a hotel room. I have to admit, it was one damn good cup of coffee, but what about the disposable waste?

Outpresso the Nespresso Capsule Recycler makes single serve espresso a little greener. Single Serve Espresso reports:

Outpresso was recently started by veteran web-entrepreneurs who fell in love with Nespresso. It wasn't until after a relative's trip to Europe where they saw Nespresso machines "everywhere", did the owners of Outpresso USA get one as a gift; a Red Nespresso Citiz. Fans of espresso, and keen on being green, the new machine presented a dilemma that a lot of single serve coffee/espresso users have; how to balance the convenience and quality of the single serve coffee brewer with the environmental impacts of the packaging, like the aluminum coffee capsules in the Nespresso system. Avid recyclers already, Andy and Beth, owners of Outpresso USA, the Outpresso recycler was the answer. Amazed by the quality and ease of use, bringing it to the US market was the obvious next step...

Each Nespresso capsule contains 2 grams of aluminum making it a small amount that adds up over a lifetime of espresso drinks. You can't just throw the spent capsules into the recycling stream because the ~7 grams of coffee contained in the capsule won't separate, and won't create that pure metal stream that is easy to process. So, in order to recycle the capsules, separating the aluminm from the coffee is a big step in making it more recyclable. While Nespresso runs a recycling effort in Europe, urging consumers to bring capsules back to recycling points, they don't yet do that here. Given the general sentiment here about the environment and the lack of market penetration in the US for Nespresso, I am not sure we will see that happen for a long time.

Good news if you are a Nespreso junkie!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 25, 2011

Northbound Coffee Roasters Vintage Roasted, Fair Trade, Organic Coffee Guarantees Freshness

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I am a coffee junkie, and not just any coffee will do. I limit my coffee intake, so it has to come from quality beans to make it worth it. There's no point in drinking coffee that was roasted months (or even years) before it reaches my grinder.

Northbound Coffee Roasters is a new roaster in Northern California.

Northbound Coffee is roasted in small (tiny really) batches in our 1930′s vintage roaster at the base of Mount Shasta in beautiful Northern California. Sound ideal? Wait 'til you taste our coffees. We spend a good deal of time sourcing and selecting the finest coffees and then we roast them to perfection drawing out the best qualities of each origin or blend. We only roast to order and date every bag to guarantee the coffee drinker the freshest coffee. We cup every roast to assure you have a quality coffee experience each and every time. Our attention to detail is driven by our passion for quality.

Our love of quality is part of a larger devotion to those things which are built to last and forever giving a phenomenal experience. Sound like too big a promise for just a cup of coffee? Let us be part of your daily coffee ritual and deliver you something pleasantly unexpected.

We tried out two Northbound fair trade flavors of medium roast:
Ethiopia Harrar
Produced by the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, the largest fair trade coffee
producer in Ethiopia. This dry processed coffee presents wild berry notes, semi-sweet
chocolate, and hints of clove. Medium roast. Organically grown.

Guatemala Finca Bourbon
A rich and full-bodied cup with a hint of cocoa. Grown by the Echeverria family since 1870 at the border of the Atitlan and Acatenango regions, this medium roasted coffee is grown under the shade of native trees. Organically grown.

I have never tasted such freshly roasted coffee in my life! Short of owning your own roaster and doing it at home, you cannot get a fresher bean anywhere!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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