October 28, 2009

All Natural Wolfgang Chocolate Candy is TOO Sweet!

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One of the hardest parts about being a blogger is having to taste chocolate candies in order to review them (NOT).   Recently, I tried Wolfgang Candy, which is all natural and "healthy", because it is made from "real cranberries" (other berries flavors available too).

Ingredients:  Dark Chocolate (sugar, chocolate (processed with alkali), cocoa butter, soy lecithin (an emulsifier) vanilla), sugar, cranberries, vegetable oil.

I found this candy to be sickingly sweet. I had expected the candy to be chocolate covered dried or fresh fruit, but instead, a syrupy mess flows out of the innards. This candy reminds me of the crappy Valentine's Day candy I would get as a child that is sure to decay your teeth within minutes of eating. In fact, after trying two of these candies, I feel sick to my stomach.  There are so many better options for all-natural, even organic and fair trade, chocolate treats; however, if you like it super sweet, you'll like these candies.

Disclosure: I was sent sample candies in order to write an authentic review. There was no guarantee of a positive or negative review in exchange for the sample.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 19, 2009

Organic, Gluten-Free Bread by French Meadow Bakery

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My father has celiac disease, so I have tasted lots of gluten-free products. Some of them are so good, like Pamela's chocolate chunk cookie mix, that I eat it even though I don't require a gluten-free diet. Recently, I tried French Meadow Bakery's gluten-free breads that include many organic ingredients.

Gluten-Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread
Ingredients:
Filtered water, corn starch, egg whites, tapioca starch, organic honey, palm oil, organic raisins, sugar, distilled monoglycerides, rice bran and germ, contains less than 2% of the following: maltodextrin, palm oil, yeast, salt, cinnamon, carbohydrate gum, pectin, xanthan gum, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), guar gum, calcium sulfate, soy lecithin, natural flavor, ascorbic acid added as a dough conditioner, enzyme.

Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread
Ingredients:
Filtered water, corn starch, whole grain flour blend (amaranth, quinoa, millet, sorghum, teff ), egg whites, organic honey, tapioca starch, organic flax seed, palm oil, organic millet, organic quinoa, contains less than 2% of the following: rice bran and germ, distilled monoglycerides, yeast, maltodextrin, salt, carbohydrate gum, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), pectin, xanthan gum, guar gum, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid added as a dough conditioner, enzyme.

Gluten-Free Sandwich Bread
Ingredients:
Filtered water, corn starch, egg whites, tapioca starch, palm oil, organic honey, distilled monoglycerides, maltodextrin, contains less than 2% of the following: rice bran and germ, yeast, organic apple cider vinegar, salt, carbohydrate gum, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), pectin, xanthan gum, guar gum, citrus fiber, calcium sulfate, ascorbic acid added as a dough conditioner, enzyme.

Each loaf costs about $5.00 and is smaller than your average loaf of wheat bread. The bread is a little bit rubbery and is better toasted, like most gluten-free breads. Unlike some gluten-free breads, it does not fall apart, which makes French Meadow Bakery gluten-free breads perfect for packing in lunches. These breads are probably the best gluten-free breads that I have tried, but I am still addicted to my wheat flour.

Disclosure: I received three free loaves of French Meadow Bakery gluten-free bread to sample in order to write this review. There were no guarantees of a positive or negative review in exchange for the sample. This is an authentic review.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 8, 2009

Will Banana Price Wars in Europe Hurt Poor Growers in Developing Countries?

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I have often questioned the sustainability of a world hooked on bananas, and this tropical fruit is certainly not on the menu for locavores living in the Northern Hemisphere. Now, a banana price war is happening in Europe causing the fruit to sell for the cheapest price in 14 years. The Guardian explains the concern that the banana price war will hurt farmers in developing countries:

It is feared consumers will come to expect the rock-bottom prices and the cost will eventually be passed on to growers in developing countries...A Waitrose spokeswoman said: "The principle of providing fair and sustainable returns to all our growers is at the heart of how we do business. All our bananas are Fairtrade and, if others choose to start a price war, we'll make sure that our customers don't lose out. But none of the cost of cutting the price will be passed on to our growers because we want to help them build secure and viable businesses for the future."

So why have grocers started a "pointless" banana price war?
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 7, 2009

Make Perfect Temperature Herbal Tea with SmartKettle Cordless Electric Kettle

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As the crisp temperatures of autumn are upon us, my body craves the warmth of tea. I like to buy my herbal teas in bulk, but I fall short in tea making by not considering the temperature sensitivities of some blends. For example, did you know that green tea has a preferred temperature range of 155-195 degrees (F)? Such a narrow temperature range is hard to control with your stovetop kettle. Chef'sChoice 688 SmartKettle Cordless 1-3/4-Quart Electric Kettle offers the perfect solution.

The only drawback to the SmartKettle is its power usage. It uses 1500 watts of power, which is a lot when you live off-grid. The only redeeming feature in the power usage is that the SmartKettle does not use this large amount of power the entire time it is use, but it only uses it when heating the water to boil. In fact, the SmartKettle boils water faster than a microwave (which uses about 1000 watts of electricity) or a stovetop. Additionally, the SmartKettle automatically shuts off when the water boils.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

October 2, 2009

Gluten-Free Pamela's Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix

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I'm a busy working mom, and my daughter needs cookies to take to school for "wear your pajamas" day. Pamela's Products Incredible Chocolate Chunk Cookies Mix has made my job much easier! Simply add an egg and a stick of butter, and these gluten-free cookies are done! Ingredients:

Chocolate Chunks (Organic Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Non-gmo Soy Lecithin/Emulsifier (Chunks may Contain Traces of Milk Protein.), Organic Vanilla, Organic Natural Evaporated Cane Sugar, Brown Rice Flour, Brown Sugar, White Rice Flour, Tapioca Starch, Sweet Rice Flour, Grainless and Aluminum Free Baking Powder, Sea Salt, Organic Cocoa Powder (Processed With Alkali), Natural Flavor (Contains Corn Derivative), Xanthan Gum, Baking Soda.

They are really delicious, and substitutes can be made to make them vegan. Now, how do I stop myself from eating too many of these cookies so there are enough for her class?

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 28, 2009

Natural Cooking: Food and Wine Cookbooks

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Almost every cookbook uses whole foods in their ingredient lists, which makes it easy to learn to cook naturally. Using organic ingredients ensures your food is the healthiest possible for your family. Recently, I was sent two new cookbooks by the editors of Food & Wine. Even though I am a vegetarian, and there are many meat recipes included, it is always easy to omit the meat and create great meals.

  • Food & Wine Quick From Scratch Italian Cookbook: As a working mom, I appreciate recipes that are quick, but I also want to create meals for my family starting with whole foods (i.e., "from scratch"). One recipe that looks particularly good to me is "potato pie with tomato and fontina". This recipe only takes 10 minutes to prepare, and it bakes for 50 minutes. I also love how each recipe comes with a wine recommendation!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 24, 2009

US Illegally Approved Genetically Modified Sugar Beets Says Courts

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Big news for those of us opposed to genetically modified crops: U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White has ruled it was illegal for the US to approve "Round Up" ready sugar beets created by Monsanto. Already, over 70 companies have pledged not to use genetically modified sugar beets in their products, and the courts have ruled in their favor. The San Francisco Chronicle reports on the ruling:

The government illegally approved a genetically modified, herbicide-resistant strain of sugar beets without adequately considering the chance they will contaminate other beet crops, a federal judge in San Francisco has ruled...Planting genetically modified sugar beets has a "significant effect" on the environment, White said in his ruling Monday, because of "the potential elimination of a farmer's choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer's choice to eat non-genetically engineered food."

Judge White stated the USDA needs to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), and lawyers are calling for an "injunction against sales until the review was completed."
Via: Organic Consumers Association
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 21, 2009

Really Natural Books: Flat Belly Diet Cookbook Features MUFA recipes

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What's MUFA? MUFA stands for "super-health monounsaturated fatty acids" that are supposed to flatten your belly. I can't tell you whether Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook diet really works, but I can tell you the recipes look delicious and are quick to prepare. It is not a vegetarian cookbook, but there are plenty of recipes for veggie heads like me, including a whole vegetarian chapter.  In addition, there are many recipes that can easily be adapted for meat-free eating. For example:

Chickpea Curry with Cashews
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) no -salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 Tablespoons fat-free Greek-style yogurt

1. Whisk the cornstarch in a small bowl with enough of the broth to dissolve. Set aside.

2. Combine the oil, onion, curry powder, salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until the onion is softened.

3. Add the remaining broth to the pan along with the reserved cornstarch mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Add the chickpeas and cashews. Simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to blend. Stir in cilantro. Serve with a dollop of the yogurt.

Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook claims you can lose up to 15 pounds in 32 days! Whatever the veracity of this claim from the editors of Prevention magazine, you will at least eat well while trying!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 17, 2009

Really Natural Recipes: Oven Roasted Balsamic Vinegar Cherry Tomatoes

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My garden is exploding in produce, and I overplanted cherry tomatoes this year. One quick and easy recipe that uses up a lot of cherry tomatoes (and my daughter adores) is Oven Roasted Balsamic Vinegar Cherry Tomatoes. This vegan recipe is super simple to make and complements almost any main course.

Oven Roasted Balsamic Vinegar Cherry Tomatoes

These oven roasted cherry tomatoes are even good cold in your lunch on the following day!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 9, 2009

Bob's Red Mill Build New Gluten-Free Dedicated Facility

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We like Bob's Red Mill and have just received samples of Bob's new gluten-free corn products.

  • Gluten Free Corn Flour: Corn Flour is freshly stone ground at Bob's Red Mill and contains all of the bran, germ and endosperm. Add it to your favorite pancake, biscuit or bread recipe for added flavor and nutrition. Try making your favorite cornbread recipe with part or all corn flour instead of cornmeal. Your cornbread will be richer and less crumbly when made this way.
  • Gluten Free Corn Grits/Polenta: Corn Grits-Polenta makes a popular breakfast, especially in the Eastern and Southern states. Many gourmet Italian and Mediterranean restaurants feature our polenta. The recipes on our packages are simple and delicious. Also makes a delightful hot cereal served with milk and honey or brown sugar.
  • Gluten Free Medium Cornmeal: Medium Grind Cornmeal makes the best cornbread possible-gives a great texture without an overabundance of crumbs.

My dad is a celiac, so we are always looking for new gluten-free products. Bob is committed to maintaining the gluten-free integrity of its products by dedicating a "gluten-free manufacturing facility that is completely separate from the rest of the manufacturing and production areas." Bob's gluten-free products don't have that ubiquitous warning about facility cross contamination many gluten-free products contain.

I wish Bob's new gluten-free products were organic and available in bulk. Sure it is better to buy in bulk, but Bob's packages are convenient and available in many more stores that don't have bulk bins.  The packaging also reduces the risk of cross contamination in bulk bins from careless consumers.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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