September 2, 2011

Really Natural Dessert Cookbooks: Sinfully Vegan

There is nothing better than a good dessert. Make it vegan, and the guilt goes away!
Sinfully Vegan: More than 160 Decadent Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth by Lois Dieterly makes your mouth water!

What better way is there to end a meal than with a luscious piece of cheesecake, a rich slice of chocolate cream pie, or some chewy peanut butter cookies--all made with easy-to-find vegan ingredients? In this newly updated and expanded edition of Sinfully Vegan, Lois Dieterly shows you how to do just that, with more than 160 dairy-, egg-, and cholesterol-free recipes.

Sinfully Vegan offers desserts from every shelf of the pastry case: cakes, candies, cookies, brownies, pies, tarts, puddings, and quick breads. Complete with essential baking and preparation tips, creative recipe variations, nutritional breakdowns, and wheat-free alternatives, Sinfully Vegan is the ultimate vegan dessert resource and an essential addition to any kitchen. And since there are no eggs in the batter, plenty of sampling is encouraged!

From toasted coconut pecan pie to peanut butter twist brownies, you won't miss the dairy in any of these recipes! My only critique is I wish there were pictures to accompany the recipes. I am always motivated by images!

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 31, 2011

GE: Energy Smart Lightbulbs from a Company Making Record Profits and Not Paying Taxes

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We've come a long way when it comes to the energy we consume to light our homes. GE has been the leader in home appliances from the beginning. From Thomas Edison's first light bulb to today's CFLs and LEDs, GE is paving the way.

We were sent the following GE Energy Smart bulbs to try:
GE 74437 15-Watt Energy-Smart Covered Glass CFL Light Bulbs, 60-Watt Equivalent:

GE Lighting 74437 15-Watt energy smart CFL all glass light bulb, 60-Watt output, 1-Pack This bulb was made to look like a regular incandescent light, but uses a fraction of the electricity. Our compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs bring all the advantages of fluorescent lighting to regular incandescent sockets. They use up to 75-Percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer. This bulb has the same look and size as a standard incandescent light bulb, but has GE spiral bulb on the inside. The instant on feature allows it to perform similar to an incandescent. It is energy star compliant and RoHS compliant requiring it to contain lower mercury than before. It uses 73-Percent to 78-Percent less energy! This bulb will pay for itself with energy savings. It provides the same warm soft-white light and lasts 5 years (8,000 hours), 8 times longer than the standard incandescent equivalent.

GE 62180 9-Watt LED Soft White A19 Light Bulb
This 9-watt GE energy smart LED is an A19 General Purpose Bulb. A19 is a Shape of light bulb that you see in most homes also known as a "Household light bulb". They're the most common bulbs in the world and never before has an LED A19 existed that actually sends light out in all directions. We have the solution! This bulb uses fantastic LED technology to ensure it will last longer than other bulbs you've seen. this bulb specifically will last 22 years based on normal 3/hour per day usage. Its rated at 25,000 hours and puts out 450 lumens. The instant full brightness doesn't need to warm up and makes you feel like you have a normal bulb in the socket. It has omni-directional light distribution. Color temperature of 3000K. RoHS compliant with a 10-year warranty.

I think the future of light bulbs are LEDs. Sure they cost a lot more now ($42 a bulb!), but the technology has really improved. The LED bulb we were sent is fabulous, lighting up in all directions as promised.

If GE's record profits and lack of tax paying bother you, than you will want to shop around for other alternatives.  As ABC reported:

For those unaccustomed to the loopholes and shelters of the corporate tax code, GE's success at avoiding taxes is nothing short of extraordinary. The company, led by Immelt, earned $14.2 billion in profits in 2010, but it paid not a penny in taxes because the bulk of those profits, some $9 billion, were offshore. In fact, GE got a $3.2 billion tax benefit.

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 26, 2011

Lapostolle Chilean Wines Earn 90 Points from Wine Spectator

I love wine, although I typically stick to California vintages. It's not hard to be a locavore when in you live in the Golden State. My experience with South American wines has not always been positive. They are usually more affordable, but there is also usually quality issues.

We were sent two varieties from the Chilean winemakers Lapostolle:

Cuvee Alexandre Carmenerre 2009:

Color: Deep dark purple red, very intense. Nose: Expressive nose, with fresh black fruit aromas, spices, red pepper and bitter chocolate. Palate: Smooth and well balanced tannins, with a good structure and a long finish. Needs aging. Service and Food Pairing: Cellar for several years or decant and serve at 16-18°C (60 to 65°F). Ideal companion for meats and elaborate dishes.

Cuvee Alexandre Chardonnay 2008:
Color: Bright light yellow with subtle lime notes. Nose: Elegant aromas of sweet citrus fruit, sweet flowers, tropical fruits and subtle spices. Palate: Very round and elegant mouth feel with good volume, a lively acidity and a long persistent finish. Service and Food Pairing: Serve at 12° C (53° F). Ideal companion for medium seasoned dishes, fish or chicken.

I did prefer the carmenere over the chardonnay, but both bottles had cork issues that broke upon opening.  

The vineyard does disclose its environmental practices. These wines are made from organic grapes in the process of certification, although the label does not disclose this important information. I am much more inclined to buy an organic bottle over conventional. Furthermore, the vineyards are 100% biodynamic.

Under the leadership of Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle, Lapostolle is wholly committed to natural winemaking techniques, including: 100% organic and biodynamic vineyard management, new green packaging, water conservation and recycling, and 100% night harvesting across three vineyard sites in Chile. Night harvesting not only makes "green sense" by reducing energy consumption, but consistently delivers a more full-bodied expression of the grape.

I commend all of the environmental practices of Lapostolle, but I still think it is better to get your wine locally.

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 24, 2011

Etsy Finds: Organic Cotton Ghost Elephant T-Shirt

I love Alternative Women's Organic Short Sleeve Scoop Neck Tee, so when I see Etsy designs featuring them, I am in love!

RC Tees Ghost Elephant design is very cool. I had a thing for elephants as a child, and this graphic design is very appealing! 100% organic pima cotton and supporting Etsy merchants: You can't go wrong!

These t-shirts really fit nicely. I think the above photo does not do it justice!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 19, 2011

Green and Healthy Back to School with Naked Binder

Back to school time starts earlier and earlier each summer it seems. My kids went back to school on Monday. Unfortunately, many common school supplies are toxic and not environmentally-friendly. In particular, binders are often covered in PVC vinyl. The new binder smell alone is enough to make parents seek out greener back to school supplies.

Naked Binder to the rescue!

Started in 2008, Naked Binder emerged having multiple goals: sustainability, great design, preserving wilderness we love and giving back to education that helped us get here.

We designed the strongest, most sustainable 3-ring binders available - cutting waste in manufacturing, processing and travel. We make our binders, folders and tabs in Des Moines, IA in the US of A out of FSC certified, 100% post-consumer waste binders board, 100% cotton cloth, a few FSC certified papers and metal rings. No plastics, vinyls or toxins.

We designed our 3-ring binders to look so good you won't want to get rid of them. We have everything you might need to impress a client, store your taxes or decorate your office.

Naked Binder donates to support wilderness areas and schools around the US. Learning to think and space to think in are important for a better world.

These are great, sturdy binders that are aesthetically pleasing and sure to be the envy of all the green minded kids at school. Plus, Naked Binder makes more green back to school supplies with folders and dividers for those binders! These products are great for teachers too!

I love Naked Binder!

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 17, 2011

125 Best Blender Recipes Bookazine Perfect for Hot Summer Meals

Published by the Hearst Corporation, 125 Best Blender Recipes: Smoothies, Shakes, Cocktails is a Bookazine full of refreshing summer recipes.

The summer will be a lot cooler with recipes for refreshing smoothies like the Blueberry Blast (pg 19), cocktails including the Miami Mojito (pg. 29) and Mango Margarita (pg. 23), and desserts like Watermelon Granita (pg. 94). Now on newsstands nationwide, 125 Best Blender Recipes is $9.99.

125 Best Blender Recipes also includes recipes for speedy hors d'oeuvres, light entrées and no-stress party menus, complete with entertaining tips, plus a blender buying guide. A detailed recipe index divides dishes by category, with appetizers like Speedy Hummus (pg. 39) and Arugula Pizza (pg. 36), salads such as the Mediterranean Shrimp Caesar Salad (pg. 55), soups like the Chilled Cucumber-Melon (pg. 57) and entrées including Chicken Tostadas with Avocado Sauce (pg. 78) and Whole Wheat Rotini with Walnut Pesto (pg. 77), making it easy to plan new meal ideas and party menus.

I've personally never felt the need to have a recipe for a smoothie. I make them with whatever fresh or frozen fruit we have on hand, and they always end up delicious. I do like the cocktail and breakfast recipes in this bookazine.

This bookazine is not just full of blended drink recipes but shows you how to use your blender to make great sauces and mix ingredients, like for crepes and basic pesto. It is not strictly vegetarian, and you may want to substitute some ingredients. The photographs are very appetizing!

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 15, 2011

Alo Natural Aloe Vera Drinks Made in Taiwan With Real Aloe Chunks

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Made with 25% Aloe Vera, alo is a thirst quenching beverage. It is not organic, but there is no high fructose corn syrup to worry about.

ALO line of aloe vera infused drinks is the leading RTD aloe vera drink in the U.S. mass market and natural grocery channels for a reason. Our drinks are made from only the best, all natural ingerdients. We never use artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. Nor do we add gellan gum, xantham gum, thickeners, or emulsifiers, as some others do. Our proprietary manufacturing process yields larger chuncks [sic] of real aloe pulp than any other aloe vera drink in the market. And we have totally unique blends like none other.

I think the chunks of aloe pulp are a little strange, as my first thought was the drink had gone bad and the aloe solidified until I read it is suppose to be there. These drinks contain 25% aloe vera juice and pulp content, but my biggest concern is they are made in Taiwan. That is a heavy carbon footprint to ship to western markets considering the first listed ingredient is water.

Alo comes in the following flavors:

The cranberry is my favorite flavor.

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, 2011

MountainSmith Recycled Lumbar Fanny Pack Provides Comfort and Convenience for Day Hikes and Travel

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When we go backpacking, we always take day hikes that require a smaller pack for lunch and water. I have hip problems, so most fanny packs annoy me and I prefer a daypack. I recently purchased the Mountainsmith Swift II Recycled Lumbar Pack for my daughter, and I was surprised at how comfortable it is.

  • fleece
  • Removable shoulder strap and air mesh foam back panel; tuck-away waistbelt; two water bottle pockets and elastic rigging
  • Made from 100 percent recycled ReDuraTM PET fabric
  • Zippered main compartment, interior zippered hanging pocket, zippered front panel with key clip
  • Bright yellow lining promotes visibility and 3M reflective highlights
  • Removable shoulder strap. Fleece-lined eyewear pocket with cord port. Internal organizational dividers. Front panel water resistant zipper.
This is a smaller fanny pack for long day hikes, as it would be challenging to fill it with all you need; however, the size makes sure you don't overload it and put extra strain on your hips and lower back.


This is also a great fanny pack for traveling and not looking like a geek!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 10, 2011

PETA Humane Products for Unwelcome "House Guests"

PETA is know for the advocacy for animal rights. It only makes sense PETA would provide humane traps for household pests. We were sent three of these products to try:
Frog Saver Lily Pad:

Save the rain forests! Save the whales! Save the frogs? You bet! This ingenious "lily pad" gives frogs just the leg up they need to prevent them from drowning in swimming pools. Snapped onto the pool ladder or attached to the wall, the Frog Saver helps frogs, lizards, and other small animals.

Humane Bug Catcher:

If you're a compassionate person who wouldn't hurt a fly and your motto is "live and let live," even when it comes to tiny, six-legged, uninvited house guests, then this humane bug catcher is for you! Complete with a plastic sliding door and housing to safely contain the insect, the bug catcher makes the transport from your home to outdoors simple.

Humane Smart Mousetrap
When tiny guests stop by, turn compassion into action. Plastic trap catches mice alive and unharmed so they can be released outdoors. Be sure to check the trap frequently, so mice won't suffer needlessly. Each trap is reusable so that you can catch and release each mouse for relocation. We will enclose our Humane Control of Mice and Rats tip sheet with every order.

Glue traps are among the cruelest pest-control devices on the market today.

Personally, I think these products are like trinkets. My father says the frogs get out of his pool just fine using the ladder, and I catch bugs easily enough without a plastic device. Wasps I kill. Sorry PETA. My solution for mice is a cat.

That being said, the bug catcher is actually cool for collecting bug species outside for viewing and identifying. Sure it is not the intended use, but it entertains and educates my kids.

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 8, 2011

Ditch the Bottled Water: ZeroWater Pitcher Removes all Total Dissolved Solids

Bottled water is one of the biggest scams sold to Americans, but it is true the tap water sometimes doesn't pass muster. ZeroWater ZD-001 Filtration Pitcher with Electronic Tester, Filter Included removes all Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) through a 5-stage ion exchange filter exceeding bottled water standards.

Tested and certified by the Water Quality Association and NSF International for removal of several minerals, ZeroWater is the only filtration system that fits the FDA definition of purified bottled water. And at a fraction of the cost of ordinary carbon filters.

The ZeroWater pitcher not only improves the taste of your tap water, it also helps to improve the environment. When you use the ZeroWater Pitcher, you'll reduce your use of plastic water bottles that clog up landfills and harm ecosystems. You'll also contribute to water conservation, because unlike reverse-osmosis systems, ZeroWater is gravity operated and doesn't waste electricity or water.

I like the idea of pitcher filters to keep cool water in the refrigerator, but I trust my Multi-Pure more.

My only concern is the plastic of the pitcher could contain BPA. There are no recycling numbers on it to indicate the type of 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

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