August 16, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes

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From the makers of my favorite chocolate, comes an incredible cookbook! Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes, Revised Edition is the kind of cookbook that makes you drool. Not only is it filled with incredible organic chocolate recipes, it also gives you an education into cocoa (e.g. growers' associations, education, cultural information).

This is the ultimate chocolate cookbook. It contains 100 recipes to tempt, tease & torment lovers of this food of the gods. Chocolate is one of the most luxurious and satisfying foods, full of texture and flavor, and it is also a versatile cooking ingredient, not only for rich, dark desserts but also a perfect partner for savory and spicy dishes.

Above all, chocolate can be molded to suit every occasion and so the chapters within the book include Abracadabra (quick & easy recipes) and Wicked (irresistible concoctions). Woven into the book are stories about the Maya in Belize who cultivate organic cocoa for use in our chocolate bars as well as tips on cooking techniques and handling chocolate.


Of course, all great chocolate recipes start with fair trade, organic chocolate

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 13, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: The Homesteader's Kitchen Recipes From Farm to Table

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Every once in awhile I come across a cookbook that I get really excited about. Homesteader's Kitchen, The: Recipes from Farm to Table is full of delicious, whole food recipes, as well as incredible photographs. It is motivating to me as a gardener to inspire new creations in the kitchen from what I have grown. From Miso Vegetable Soup to Brown Rice Cream with Dates, Cinnamon, and Vanilla, your palate will not be disappointed.

In The Homesteader's Kitchen, author Robin Burnside presents wholesome recipes and motherly advice for preparing nourishing meals, tasty embellishments, and luscious desserts. Her focus is on using fruits and vegetables from the family garden or the nearby farmers market. She teaches how to turn these local, organic foods into snacks, meals, and treats that nourish the soul as well as the body. From Multigrain Blueberry Pancakes in the morning, a Creamy Mango-Coconut Smoothie for a snack, a crisp Asian Cabbage Salad for lunch, an evening meal of Grilled Wild Salmon Fillet with Thai Cilantro Pesto, to a dessert of Spicy Pear Pie, Burnside offers mouthwatering recipes that are fun to prepare and a joy to eat.

My only criticism is with the title. The recipes do include some exotic items, like pineapple, so if the audience is intended to be North America, which is my assumption, than the ingredients truly aren't from your own homestead garden or local farmer's market. These ingredients are an exception in the cookbook that mostly favors items you can find seasonally grown in your local community.

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

August 12, 2010

People Who Read Food Labels Eat Healthier

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Much as you would suspect, a new study has found that people who read food labels consume a healthier diet. Published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, two studies found label reading creates "nutritional awareness". Natural News reports:

Based on a sampling of American adults in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers observed a significant difference in mean intake of calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, fiber and sugars, between those who pay attention to nutrition labels and those who do not.

"If the food label is to have a greater public health impact, rates of use will likely need to be increased among U.S. adults," explained Professor Ollberding, one of the study authors. "Low rates of label use also suggest that national campaigns or modification of the food label may be needed to reduce the proportion of the population not using this information."

I imagine cookbook readers also have healthier diets too!

Image: The Holistic Kitchen on Flickr

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 6, 2010

Pros and Cons of San Pellegrino All Natural Sparkling Lemon Beverage

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I've gotten into the habit of drinking San Pellegrino Limonata Sparking Beverage. I first tried this refreshing beverage at an upscale restaurant, and then discovered our local CostCo carried cases of it. I feel good about drinking this all natural beverage, but I do have some reservations.
Pros:

  • All natural

  • No high fructose corn syrup

  • Great in cocktails


Cons:

  • Product of Italy (heavy carbon footprint shipping to USA)

  • Owned by Nestle (responsible for much bottled water degradation)

  • Not organic


I'll probably continue to enjoy San Pellegrino Limonata Sparking Beverage on occasion, but it is best to drink organic sodas.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 4, 2010

All Natural Chocolate Peanut Butter Handmade Treats by Jer's

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Jer's All Natural Handmade Chocolates makes delicious combination peanut butter and chocolate treats.

Jer's products, which have won six International Taste Awards to date, combine crunchy rice crisps, salty pretzels, buttery toffee, or gooey homemade caramel with all-natural, premium, dark, milk and white chocolates and all-natural peanut butter (made from locally-grown Valencia peanuts, the most nutritious, peanut-sweet and protein-rich available).

We tried out several varieties of Jer's handmade chocolates:

If you like peanut butter with chocolate, then you will like Jer's products. Personally, I prefer organic to simply all-natural, so I will stick to Newman's Own Organic Peanut Butter Cups with Milk Chocolate for my fix!

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

July 30, 2010

Hint Premium Essence Water: 0 Calorie, 0 Preservatives, 0 Sweeteners

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Sometimes water is just not enough to quench your thirst, or you would like a little flavor without all that sugar or high fructose corn syrup common to beverages.
Hint Premium Essence Water offers a healthy alternative.

The idea behind Hint is simple: pure water, nature's original refreshment, accented with a hint of natural flavor. No sugar, no artificial sweeteners no preservatives! Hint is a refreshing alternative to sodas, juice and other sweetened drinks and it tastes great.

I like the subtle flavor of Hint, but if you are used to sugary liquids, it may take some adjustment of your tastebuds. Since I am a mostly water drinker, Hint tasted full of flavor.  Their motto is "drink water, not sugar".

Hint does come in plastic containers (#1), and the label reads "Coming soon 15% less plastic".

Hint Water is also good in cocktails!  

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

July 28, 2010

Bear Naked Cranberry Raisin Cereal: 100% Pure & Natural and Partnered with Terracycle

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Bear Naked Pure and Natural Cereal is delicious and of the same standards of naturalness you would expect from Bear Naked.

Ever since our very first batches of granola, we've been searching for ways to un-invent food and celebrate the variety Mother Nature provides...So as we thought about cereals, we felt they should be more than just hearty flakes. We wanted a mouthful of bearly processed goodies we could actually pronounce. And that's what you hold in your hands...A thoughtfully crafted blend of nature's boldest flavors, richest textures, mouthwatering aromas and REAL nutrition that makes your body smile.
In our camp, we believe every sunrise reveals a new adventure, and this cereal is for those of you who want to wake up and experience a pure and natural breakfas

At first glance, I was concerned this product did not contain organic ingredients, as there is no USDA label. Upon closer inspection, there are many organic ingredients, and I appreciate Bear Naked does not overstate this fact since the product is not 100% organic.

Another concern I have is with packaging. You only get 12.5 ounces per bag, which doesn't last long around my household, and the packaging is not recyclable. Bear Naked has teamed with Terracycle to address this issue.

Every year millions of non-recyclable bags and wrappers end up in landfills. TerraCycle and Bear Naked are committed to finding new uses for old bags and wrappers. As an eco-friendly innovator, TerraCycle will develop unique new products made from used bags and wrappers and upcycle them into shower curtains, tote bags and so much more
.
Although upcycling is probably better than recycling, the chances of these bags making it to Terracycle by the average consumer are slim compared to the recycling bin.

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

July 21, 2010

Natural Licorice: No High Fructose Corn Syrup

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The American Licorice Company has just released an all-natural licorice. This tasty product comes in two flavors:


This confection is made in the USA by a family-owned company.
-all natural ingredients
-no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
-no high fructose corn syrup
-low in fat, cholesterol and sodium
-vegetarian, vegan, and kosher

I liked both flavors, but I did prefer the strawberry. Licorice makes a great snack, but I wish the ingredients were organically-grown. There are organic licorices available; however, I have never tried them. 

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

July 20, 2010

Science Barge: Urban Farming in NYC

Urban Farming: Hydroponics in the City from Dawn Productions on Vimeo.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 19, 2010

Honest Tea Organic Half Tea & Half Lemonade

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Honest Tea Half Tea & Half Lemonade is a delicious thirst quenching beverage. I like how Honest Tea is now available in most gas station convenience stores, which is handy on road trips, but that accessibility came at a cost. Coca-Cola owns 40 percent of the company. 

The Half Tea & Half Lemonade is the same quality and taste I have come to expect from Honest Tea.


  • Half Tea & Half Lemonade

  • Fair Trade Certified

  • USDA Organic

  • Organic Twist on an old fashioned classic

One annoyance I have with the products I was sent was they came packaged with styrofoam peanuts. Not only does the Coca-Cola stock acquisition cause me to question the integrity of the company, but the packaging causes concern too.

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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