December 10, 2010

Green Beer: Fuller's 100% Organic Honey Dew

I am a former beer drinker. I've converted to wine as my beverage of choice, but I tried Fuller's 100% Organic Honey Dew for you, dear reader. It was quite a sacrifice, let me tell you.

Organic Honey Dew is the UK's best selling organic beer. Light and golden with a zesty edge and a bitter-sweet flavour, Honey Dew is a naturally palatable brew that is Soil Association approved.

Served chilled, Organic Honey Dew offers both refreshment and an unbeatable taste. The real organic honey in the brew gives a gentle sweetness that appeals to a wide range of people, even those who perhaps wouldn't usually drink beer, making it a very popular choice!

This beer has a smooth flavor, and before I knew it, the bottle was drained. There is a slight hint of honey, without the flavor being too sweet or overbearing. This is a tasty green beer!

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

December 9, 2010

Is Soy Dangerous?

I've been a vegetarian for over 20 years, and soy has always been part of that diet. More and more concerns about the The Hidden Dangers of Soy are being published, claiming soy has never been intended to be eaten in the quantity vegetarians embrace.

Dr. Mercola reports:

Soy Dangers Summarized

  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Phytic acid in soy is not neutralized by ordinary preparation methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking, but only with long fermentation. High-phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals, soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
  • Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
  • Soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body's requirement for B12.
  • Soy foods increase the body's requirement for Vitamin D. Toxic synthetic Vitamin D2 is added to soy milk.
  • Fragile proteins are over-denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
  • Free glutamic acid or MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is formed during soy food processing and additional amounts are added to many soy foods to mask soy's unpleasant taste.
  • Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum, which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.

From soymilk to tofu, I've always felt like I was being a good vegetarian when eating soy products.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by FotoosVanRobin

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

December 7, 2010

Save Energy: Use Your Convection Oven

Chances are if you own a newer oven, it has a convection feature. Chances are, if you are like me, you don't know how to use it, or never have.

Last week, I was cooking a pumpkin to make curry soup. The pumpkin had been in the oven for a really long time, and it was getting late. I decided to try convection.

Wikipedia explains:

By moving fast hot air past the food, convection ovens can operate at a lower temperature than a standard conventional oven and yet cook food more quickly. The air circulation, or convection, tends to eliminate "hot spots" and thus food may bake more evenly.

A convection oven will have a reduction in cooking temperature, compared to a conventional oven.

Although cooking times will vary depending on the how full the oven is, general, you can lower your cooking temperature by 25 degrees and reduce time by 15 minutes when cooking with convection. There's even an online convection calculator to help.

Once I switched to convection cooking with my pumpkin, the flesh cooked up much faster and dinner was on time. I have become a convection convert.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 29, 2010

Fight Holiday Relationship Stress Disorder with Natural Averna Herbal Liqueur

With all the wonder and merriment of the holiday season, it can take its toll on relationships. Holiday Relationship Stress Disorder (HRSD) results, but Averna has a solution:

HRSD is often triggered in males when they view credit card statements around the Holidays, which highlight increased spending on questionable items (e.g. another snow globe). Females have encountered HRSD while having to make sure they're dressed appropriately for church and/or hoping the 25 hints they've strategically placed for the perfect present was actually noticed.

The recommended dosage to ease HRSD is a 4 oz pour of Averna Amaro neat or over ice. Richly textured and made only from natural ingredients, Averna is distilled from a delicate blend of flowers, herbs, dried fruits, spices and licorice. After these succulent flavors are soaked in alcohol with a touch of caramel, the final result is unique and complex spirit renowned for its ability to settle the stomach.

I enjoy herbal liqueurs, and I appreciate the origins of Averna. Founded in 1868 by Italian Salvatore Averna, drinking this liqueur is like drinking history. Although Jagermeister may be more popular with college crowd, a more sophisticated palette appreciates Averna.

Although this product is all natural, I must point out that our sample was shipped in a box full of styrofoam peanuts.

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

November 24, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Vicki's Vegan Kitchen

Vicki's Vegan Kitchen: Eating With Sanity, Compassion & Taste is full of delicious recipes and instructions. These nutritionally balanced meals sometimes try to imitate meat dishes, like "Vegan 'Chopped Liver'", whereas others simply stand alone in taste and uniqueness, like "Cucumber-Wakame Salad".

Veteran cookbook author Chelf (Cooking with the Right Side of the Brain) expands the vegan culinary universe in this collection of 375 meat-, egg- and dairy-free dishes for those with dietary restrictions. Yes, there are smoothies, Tabouli, and Hummus, but Chelf helps readers expand their diets with vegan versions of pizza, lasagna, and even Cheez Whiz in this accessible and imaginative guide. Chelf's creative concoctions enable vegans to enjoy French Toast, béchamel sauce, pie, and a mock beef stew that finds its umami in seitan, tahini, and liquid aminos. A guide to vegan-friendly sources for key ingredients, and foods to avoid or seek out ensures larders will be stocked with healthy staples. Helpful step-by-step instructions for baking bread and making noodles, and tips on sprucing up soups and smoothies inspire confidence and enable cooks to expand their culinary repertoire. Though special ingredients are often required for many of her dishes, Chelf does an admirable job of keeping things as simple as possible. This is a terrific guide for vegans tired of settling for a salad.

There are plenty of recipes in this cookbook that would be a wonderful addition to any holiday meal.  Whether your holiday meals are 100% vegan or you have a vegan guest, everyone will love these dishes. 

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

November 22, 2010

Organic Ancient Grains Granola: Nature's Path Partners with Kirkland Signature

Nature's Path Organic Ancient Grains with Almonds is my absolute favorite granola! I discovered this product at Costco, only to also receive it as a product review too. Coupled with Greek yogurt, Ancient Grains is the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack.

The ancient grains in this excellent granola are:

-Spelt: Considered to be of prehistoric origin, spelt is an early form of wheat that contains notable amounts of iron, amino acids and fiber.

-Kamut Khorasan Wheat: Buttery wheat believed to be of Egyptian origin and kept alive by peasant farmers in Egypt and the Middle East. Kamut contains higher levels of lipids, amino acids and vitamins than durum wheat.

-Amaranth: This grain was so important to the Aztecs that Cortez, in an effort to destroy the Aztec culture, declared that anyone growing amaranth crops be put to death. Thanks to some seeds that were smuggled into Asia, you can enjoy its lively, peppery taste and high quality protein.

-Quinoa: Originally cultivated by native people of the Peruvian and Bolivian highlands, quinoa is known as a complete protein, including all the essential amino acids that our bodies can't make by themselves.

-Oats: Crushed grains of oats that have been rolled into flakes, these are an excellent source of iron, dietary fiber and thiamin.

Nature's Path is one of the few health food companies that has stayed independent. At first, I was a little wary to see they had partnered with Kirkland, but this is not a corporate takeover. I am not in the least bit worried this partnership will degrade Nature's Path in any way, and it will make their organic products more accessible and affordable to the masses. I also really appreciate that Nature's Path shipped this product with eco-friendly packaging.

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

November 17, 2010

From Coconut Milk to Frozen Ice Cream: Soy Delicious Dairy Free

There are a lot of dairy free products on the market, but many of them just don't add up in texture and flavor to what they are trying to replace. Not so with So Dairy from Turtle Mountain. This abundant organic line is certified vegan and kosher. Every single product we have tried, we have liked! Here are some of our favorites:

So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage:

NEW! The world's first (that we know of) coconut milk beverage is now So Delicious!
Slide over soy milk and move over dairy milk, something new and exciting is coming to the milk aisle, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage! Enjoy it on cereal, in coffee, in recipes or just in a tall glass. One sip and you will say, "Wow, that is So Delicious!"

Purely Decadent Made with Coconut Milk:
Purely Decadent's new line of coconut milk ice creams are perfect for ice cream lovers who want to eat healthier without compromising taste. Sweetened with low-glycemic agave syrup, they are dramatically lower in fat, calories and sugar than most premium ice creams. But because they are made with coconut milk, they are incredibly creamy and smooth .

So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt:
NEW! The world's first (that we know of) coconut milk yogurt is now So Delicious!
You'll be amazed from the very first spoonful at this amazingly creamy yogurt experience without the dairy or soy!

So Delicious Minis:
Get one of your favorite dairy free desserts in one of America's most popular novelties, the classic ice cream sandwich - a true favorite for all ages. These delicious treats are a superb dairy free snack anywhere - anytime.

So Delicious™ Drinkable Cultured Coconut Milk:
We originally referred to this product as 'kefir' because its properties and functional benefits derived from probiotics are consistent with the dairy-based kefirs currently in the marketplace. However, after carefully listening to our consumers we realized that many are not familiar with the term "kefir' and that a clearer, more direct description was in order.

We have decided to use a name that better describes what the product is -- a drinkable cultured coconut milk. Although the name has changed, it possesses the same creamy taste, ingredients, nutritional profile, and functional properties as before. Namely, it still contains powerful prebiotics and probiotics that can strengthen the immune system and improve digestion when consumed on a regular basis and incorporated into a healthy diet.

So Delicious® Coconut Milk Creamer:
NEW! A world's first, coconut milk creamer is now So Delicious!
At last we have created a delectable and healthy coconut milk alternative to traditional coffee creamers. Coconut milk is naturally rich in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) such as lauric and capric acid, which are known for supporting the body's immune system. Now you can enhance your favorite beverages with your choice of three delightfully rich flavors.

The coconut coffee creamer is especially good, and it is a great replacement for Silk Creamer. I find Turtle Mountain to be a much more reputable company than Silk, who has dumped organic US soy farmers and tricked consumers by switching to non-organic sources. Recently, guests to my house raved about the coconut creamer in their coffee!
Although we are recognized first and foremost for our products we are perhaps most proud of our contribution to the environment. As a sponsor of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP) we provide much needed funds to help save the ever-shrinking habitats of sea turtles. Our dream is to one day hear that the populations of the many endangered species of sea turtles have stabilized and are on the rebound. Until then we will make every effort to help the people at STRP fight to save these wonderful creatures.

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

November 16, 2010

FDA Wants to Fast Track Genetically Engineered Salmon Without Consumer Labeling

Via Center for Food Safety:

With your support, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) has successfully stopped the commercialization of genetically engineered (GE) crops such as alfalfa, wheat, rice, sugar beets, and pharmaceutical crops. Now we are faced with a new challenge - the pending approval of GE salmon. Through our legal petitions and pressure on federal agencies and our government, we've been able to keep this hazardous new fish out of our waters and off our plates for the past ten years. Unfortunately, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)--under serious pressure from the biotech industry--is now set to approve GE salmon, making this the first GE animal ever approved for human consumption.

These GE fish pose serious risks to wild and native salmon and our marine environment and could potentially outcompete, and wipe-out, any remaining native salmon populations. To make matters worse, the human health impacts of eating GE fish are completely unknown.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 15, 2010

Clif Bar Energy Bars Seasonal Flavors are Back!

With the holiday season getting into full swing, the return of seasonal flavors of Clif Bars has returned with an added bonus: 1 percent of net proceeds to benefit Winter Wildlands Alliance.


"Once again this year we received a lot of phone calls and emails asking when our holiday-inspired flavors would be available. Well, the wait is over," said Carly Lutz, Clif brand director. "And this year we're proud to support Winter Wildlands Alliance in its preservation efforts - a cause anyone who enjoys outdoor winter adventures can get behind."

Winter Wildlands is the only national organization focused on issues that affect "human-powered" winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding.

Clif Bars seasonal flavors are:

At first, I was going to critique the seasonal bars for not being organic, then I examined the label more closely. These bars contain 70% organically-grown ingredients. I think it is reputable of Clif Bars not to plaster their label with a USDA organic label when 100% of the ingredients are not organic.  That shows integrity often not found in times when organic has simply become a marketing term.  

My favorite flavor is the Cranberry Orange Nut Bread. There's no reason your energy bars can't get into the holiday spirit!

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

November 10, 2010

The No-Nonsense Guild to Popular Wines Ranks Vintages by Good, Better, Best

Good, Better, Best Wines: A No-Nonsense Guide to Popular Wines is an easy reference tool for wine drinkers. Ranking commonly found vintages by from good to best, this handy little book makes buying wine easy.

The first buying guide to focus exclusively on the best-selling wines in North America that you can find anywhere!

When it comes to wine, your "wants" are pretty simple: a good wine, at a price you can afford, that's stocked at your local wine shop or supermarket. Good Better Best Wines gives you just that. It reveals in plain English, the good, better, and best wines available for the dollars you're willing to spend--up to $15--along with photos of clearly labeled bottles to make wine shopping easier.

And because Good Better Best Wines is the first book to rank the best-selling wines in North America--think names like Beringer, Kendall-Jackson, and Woodbridge--you bet they'll be stocked at your local store

Each variety is explained before ranking the popular wineries that make them. Since I only drink locally-grown wine from organic grapes, none of my regular brands are featured.  I can't really comment on whether or not I agree with the author's findings, but I do think a locavore wine diet is best.

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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