February 14, 2012

Gluten-Free, No Preservatives Seasonings and Soups by Nueva Cocina

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I've never been a prepackaged spice kind of cook. I'd rather mix my own adding a teaspoon of this and a teaspoon of that, plus many packaged seasonings contain MSG. Not so with Nueva Cocina:
Nueva Cocina Chipotle Taco Seasoning:

Ingredients
Dehydrated Onion, Freeze Dried Raisins, Salt, Sugar, Dehydrated Red Bell Pepper, Dehydrated Green Bell Peppers, Dehydrated Garlic, Chipotle Pepper Powder, Spices, Dehydrated Orange Peel, Garlic Powder, Apple Cider Vinegar Powder, (Maltodextrin, Modified Food Starch, Vinegar Solids).

This seasoning is designed to be used with beef, but it could just as easily flavor tofu, tempeh, or beans. Of course, it would be better if the spices were organically grown.

Nueva Cocina also makes instant soup mixes. We were sent:
Nueva Cocina Sweet Corn Soup with Green Chiles:

Ingredients
Dried Sweet Corn and Corn Powder [Corn, Maltodextrin, Corn Starch, Soy Lecithin}, Whey, Dehydrated Onion, Corn Starch, Yellow Corn Flour, Dextrose, Nonfat Milk, Salt, Sweet Cream Solids, Sunflower Oil, Sugar, Milk, Dehydrated Butter (Cream, Nonfat Milk, Salt, Annatto), Dehydrated Garlic, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Dehydrated Green Bell Pepper, Natural Flavor, Spice, Dehydrated Jalapeno Pepper, Annatto.

This product does not claim to be MSG-free, as autolyzed yeast extract is hidden MSG.

Just like with seasoning mixes, I'd prefer to make soup from scratch. I don't event take dehydrated food backpacking.

Both of these products are made in Miami, Florida

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 13, 2012

Surfrider Partners with Envirosax to Support Rise Above Plastics

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I love Envirosax and I love Surfrider! Their partnership is perfect in promoting both reusable shopping bags, as wells as how plastic bags are harming marine life.

Sales of the limited edition Envirosax Surfrider Reusable Bags 3pk Set go to support Surfrider's Rise Above Plastics campaign.

According to a study conducted by the United Nations, an estimated 100,000 marine mammals and up to one million sea birds die every year after ingesting or being tangled in plastic marine litter. With this new collection, Envirosax and Surfrider Foundation hope to raise awareness about the issue of single-use plastics in our marine environments.

"Our oceans, lakes and waterways are beautiful elements of nature we want our children and grandchildren to enjoy," said Envirosax CEO Belinda Coker. "We hope to inspire everyone to reuse. One tiny change is like a drop of water into a pond - it has the power of creating a big ripple effect. We hope that all of the small changes people make by using our bags will make a huge impact in order to preserve and protect our environment."

"The Surfrider Foundation is thrilled to work with Envirosax to bring more attention to the harms single-use plastics have on marine life," said Steve Blank, Surfrider Foundation's Director of Development. "The bags are fun, stylish and will turn heads with amazing art from our supporters Ned Evans, Robb Havassy and Melinda Morey."


I really like the artwork on these bags, and I appreciate that 50 cents from each purchase supports a very worthy cause. Furthermore, my experience with Envirosax is they hold up very well over time, and I love how the snap closure makes these bags compact and thus easily kept in a purse or backpack ensuring you always have a reusable bag handy.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 10, 2012

Convenience of a Travel Mug for Loose Leaf Tea Drinkers (and it's GLASS)

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It's pretty rare I get to review a product I have purchased, as we get so many samples for product reviews.

Libre Thermal Double Walled Glass Water Bottle w/ Steel Filter is a unique product for those who prefer loose leaf tea, like me.

Each Libre glass 'n poly Original has a health-conscious glass interior for fresh taste and a durable polycarbonate exterior for 'on the go' durability. The stainless steel tea filter is surrounded by BPA free polypropylene as is the lid interior.

I really like this bottle, and the poly outside keeps your tea warm, the glass safe, and your hands cool. You can take it with the loose leaf tea packed in it and add water later, or toss it in your pack with the tea all made. I love the convenience and aesthetics!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 9, 2012

Wrinkles Don't Hurt: Daily Meditations on the Joy of Aging Mindfully

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I turned 40 this year, and frankly, I don't care. I am in my prime! I practice yoga every day and hike. I am in good shape, I have health, I have security, I have love, I have a beautiful home, I have a sweet family, I have...

But will I feel this way when I turn 70? My father is doing just that this month, so I will pass on this book to him.

Wrinkles Don't Hurt: Daily Meditations on the Joy of Aging Mindfully by Ruth Fishel is a sweet little book to help us keep a positive perspective on growing older.

No matter if we're thirty or ninety, we can learn to live in a way which will help us deepen our joy of living. And while we know deep down that wrinkles don't hurt, sometimes we disagree with those who tell us to seize the day--that the best is yet to come. We know the goal is to greet each day with optimism, enthusiasm, and a zest for living, but sometimes it's hard to know how to begin. Bestselling author Ruth Fishel provides much-needed wisdom, guidance, and inspiration to help us remain positive, present, and more mindful. Studies show that mindfulness may be the best medicine for what ails us physically and emotionally: It's a powerful tool that can keep our memories sharp, alleviate stress, boost immunity, and help us better handle life's ups and downs.

Written in a page-a-day format, Wrinkles Don't Hurt is filled with practical suggestions, affirmations, and whimsical illustrations that will help you let go of worries and fears, remember that you are not alone, and help you discover and celebrate the joys that come with living a seasoned life.

Today's advice:

As I begin this day with prayer and meditation,
I let go of all the regrets from the past
and all my fears of the future.
I feel love in the moment.
I am at peace.
My heart is filled with gratitude.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 8, 2012

Baby Gourmet: Organic, Convenient, BPA-Free Baby Food

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In an ideal world, parents would have time to make their infant's and toddler's baby food from scratch.  Actually, it's not that hard to do if you eat whole foods yourself.  Baby can eat what you eat if you follow a simple diet; however, we don't live in an ideal world.

Even stay-at-home parents need the convenience of prepared baby food, and you better make it organic and contained BPA-free packaging for optimum baby health.


We were sent samples of Baby Gourmet:

Healthy, organic, and nutritious food for babies (6-12mo) made by moms with a little ingenuity. With all products starting in owners, Jen's and Jill's kitchens, each recipe and batch thereafter is taste-tested and poured out if it's not absolutely loved. Creative recipes include:
6mo - Simple Purees

  • Harvest Pear, Pumpkin, and Banana

  • Juicy Pear and Garden Greens

  • Orchard Apple, Carrot Prune


7mo - Yummy Combos

  • Baby's Sweet Potato Pie

  • Roasted Squash and Fruit Medley

  • Apple, Sweet Potato Berry Swirl


8mo+ - Tasty Textures

  • Old Fashioned Apple Crisp

  • Vanilla Banana Berry Risotto

  • Tropical Banana Bliss


All products are organic, no salt, sugar, fillers, preservatives, no nuts. No dairy, except in Old Fashioned Apple Crisp. Packaged in in a specially designed pouch allows for less cooking time, locking in nutrient values and flavors.

All ingredients are organic with the exception of the ascorbic acid.

Unfortunately, the BPA-free packaging is not recyclable, but it does make for easy heating.  Personally, I like baby food jars. They are very handy to reuse for multiple purposes, but I would assume the lids on them contain BPA, as most canning jars lids do.

As much as I aspired to always make my own baby food and freeze extras, I did resort to store bought baby food on occasion, especially when traveling.  Baby Gourmet is a good option, and I trust the product's safety and quality, especially since it is made in Canada.

I like that Baby Gourmet is very organic (not just one or two ingredients), but I do wish the packages were recyclable.  I also like how they have recipes where you can incorporate the baby food with solids to help transition children.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 7, 2012

Toddy Gear Silk Microfiber Cloth Cleans Your iPad Without Worry

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My son has an iPad 2. Little hands leave little smudges, and touch screens do need careful, constant cleaning. The Toddy Gear Smart Cloth cleans effortlessly and beautifully.

Dual-sided cleaning
Plush microfiber material on one side to clean and a distinctively patterned silk microfiber on the other side to buff and polish.
Distinctive Patterns
A variety of vibrant designs and patterns to choose from, adding personality, color and style to your life.
Antimicrobial Coating
Protected with the AEGIS Microbe Shield® technology, an antimicrobial coating that prevents the spread of germs and bacteria.
Reusable and Environmentally Friendly
Washable, stain and wrinkle resistant, just machine wash cold and tumble dry low.

I do worry about anti-microbial product safety and what they do to our health (weakened immune system, antibiotic resistance, etc.); and I feel that just being reusable is not enough to call a product "environmentally friendly". There needs to be some commitment from the company towards sustainability, alternative power, organically-grown materials, etc. That being said, I do love the Toddy Smart Cloth and its fun patterns. It works well!

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 6, 2012

Amazonian Soul: Wembe Loofah Exfoliating Experience and Cleansing Blend Soaps

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Wembe soaps have Amazonian soul! Cruelty-free, vegan, and gluten-free, we love how Wembe brings to our skin the power of the rainforest. Their unique blends not only cleanse, but the exfoliating blends actually use loofah in the bar!

We were sent the following four bars to try:

LOOFAH ACAI MASSAGE SOAP BLEND

Acai is widely known for its antioxidant power. Give your skin the gift of youth. This blend made with Acai oil and extract contains the heart of a vegetable sponge to help improving blood circulation in the most natutal way.

My Loofah Experience: The Loofah is a powerful natural tool for health. Coming from a plant that actually looks like a zucchini, this vegan sponge is an easy beauty tip to use in order to get a radiant skin day after day. The Loofah exfoliating blend infuses your skin and your senses, it helps improving blood circulation, removing dead skin cells and reducing the appearance of cellulite. It will even help you shaving less frequently.

CHOCOLATE CLEANSING BLEND
From the heart of the forest, Chocolate invokes the wildest side of your soul. Dark and exotic, the jungle's aphrodisiac promotes healthy skin and deep stimulation of the senses. The invigorating elements from the oils and butters in this bar will awaken cravings throughout your body. Good for Face Hand & Body.

ASSAI BERRY DETOX SOAP
Assai or Acai is the fruit of a palm that grows in the Amazon rainforest. It is widely known for its antioxidant properties, so we designed this blend for mature and damaged skins. We combined here Assai with Mango, another powerful antioxidant fruit, to make them work in synergy. Found also in this blend is Jojoba Oil which helps maintain the skin's elasticity and works in perfect harmony with the other two to rejuvenate the body and soul.

AVOCADO CLEANSING BLEND
One of the most complete fruits in terms of nutrition, avocados also make great soap. The riches of it's pulp and oils seep onto the skin combining with cashew leaves to create a blend that emolliates, comforts and nurtures. The moisturizing elements deliver a smooth and baby-like skin.Thanks to it's high fiber and vitamin contents, Avocado is highly antioxidant and helps circulatory problems. This comforting blend is softly emollient to soothe your soul. Good for Face Hand & Body.

All of the cleansing bars are lovely, but I truly love the Assai Loofah bar! It removes dead skin, smells wonderful, and the wild harvest of Assai supports ethnic tribes in the Amazon.

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 5, 2012

Fair Trade, Organic Choice Chai and Green Teas

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Do you love chai and green tea? I do, and now trusted organic teamaker Choice has added four new blends to their fair trade line.

The four new teas reinforce Choice Organic Teas' commitment to offer high quality teas from around the world while honoring their traditions.

Premium Korean Green (Green Tea) - This lush tea hails from Jeju Island, South Korea's "Island of the Gods." From fertile volcanic soil to subtropical forests, this pristine isle offers rich tea-growing terroir. The leaves are steamed, rolled and dried in the Sencha tradition, for a fresh and savory cup.

Decaffeinated Green (Decaf Green Tea)< - Delight in the best of both worlds with a cup that's both decaffeinated and flavorful. This crisp green tea grown in the mountains of India is gently decaffeinated using carbon dioxide, the only certified organic method. Enjoy the true essence of this refreshing and wholesome tea day or night.

Masala Chai (Black Tea) - Spice things up with this bold classic, featuring malty Assam tea from India's Brahmaputra River Valley. Choice Organic Teas blends rich, robust black tea with masala spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and black pepper) for a spirited cup that warms your body and soul. It blends perfectly with milk and sweetener for an authentic chai.

ooibos Chai (Herbal Tea) - Thrill your senses with this naturally caffeine-free twist on traditional chai. Choice Organic Teas blends rich South African rooibos with the finest masala spices (cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and black pepper) for a cup that's warming, robust and subtly sweet. It's a luscious treat that pairs wonderfully with milk and sweetener.

Although I prefer loose leaf tea, all of these tea bags are delicious!

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 2, 2012

The Naturopathica 30 Day Skin Transformation Challenge

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Ten days ago, I started the Naturopathica 30 Day Skin Transformation Challenge with some trepidation.  My sometimes problem skin had finally been put under control with tamanu oil.  After ten days on this challenge, I have had one blemish, but it healed quickly.  My skin has not been oily at all.  

I am following the Naturopathica  REGIMEN KIT: NORMAL TO OILY

ALOE CLEANSING GEL: A foaming sulfate-free cleanser with a refreshing blend of Aloe Vera and Lavender gently clarifies the skin while maintaining natural moisture

OAT FACIAL POLISH: Soothing Oats and Jojoba Beads gently sweep away dry, flaky skin, removing impurities and leaving the face soft and radiant

PLANT STEM CELL SERUM: An ECOCERT certified organic concentrated serum, designed to significantly slow down the aging of cells due to inflammation caused by UVA photodamage and oxidative stress

ROSEMARY OIL-REDUCING MOISTURIZER: An astringent blend of Rosemary and Willow help to absorb excess sebum while nourishing devitalized skin with moisture

The Naturopathica Oat Facial Polish is my favorite cleanser now!  It is very gentle, but it contains a little exfoliant to keep your skin in great daily shape without leaving you feeling raw.  All of the products in this regimen smell wonderful!

Disclosure: The products described above were sent to us as free samples. Prior assurances as to the nature of the reviews, whether positive or negative, were not given. No financial payments were accepted in exchange for the reviews. The reviews reflect our honest, authentic opinions.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 31, 2012

Dairy Free and Gluten Free SOL Sunflower Milk

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There are a lot of alternatives to cow milk and soymilk made from nuts and seeds available these days as more and more people are diagnosed with allergies and making health conscious decisions. Sol Original Sunflower Milk is the latest offering for those seeking alternative beverages for their cereal, smoothies, coffee, etc.

SOL Sunflower Beverage is made from sunflower seeds, one of nature's most potent superfoods. Sunflower seeds are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help neutralize cancer-causing free radicals and slow down signs of aging. Sunflower seeds are also packed with essential minerals such as phosphorus, selenium, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. SOL's vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fats boost immunity, promote brain and heart health, strengthen bones and teeth, and promote beautiful, younger-looking skin from within.

SOL refreshing sunflower beverage provides an excellent source of Vitamin E, Phosphorus, Folic Acid, Calcium and Vitamin D. Each 8 oz. serving provides 50% of the recommended daily allowance for Vitamin E, 60% for Phosphorus, 30% for Calcium, 25% for Vitamin D, and 20% for Folic Acid.


I did notice that Sol has a shortened shelf life compared to soymilk. The sample we were sent expires in March, but that is still a good length of time.  I do like the flavor of Sol a lot, much better than rice or hemp milk. It does contain some organic ingredients; however, the sunflowers are not.

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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