April 18, 2011

Cholula Hot Sauces: The Flavorful Fire Great on Tofu Scramble and Home Fries

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Cholula is a classic hot sauce straight from Mexico that's a favorite of egg lovers. It is great in all kinds of recipes, but I like to add a little spice to my tofu scramble or home fries with the sauce.

We were sent four flavors of Cholula:
Cholula Original Mexican Hot Sauce

Cholula Hot Sauce Original is all about Flavor, Fire and Fun. More than any other Hot Sauce, Cholula's delicious blend of piquin peppers, chile arbol and signature spices enhances food flavors without overpowering them. It's a combination that has defined Cholula as The Flavorful Fire.

Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce
Cholula Chili Lime Hot Sauce gives you all of what you love most about Cholula's original Flavorful Fire but with the distinctively delicious, tangy hint of fresh lime. It's a hot 'n' tangy flavor sensation that is incredible on tortilla chips, seafood, chicken, salad dressings and more.

Cholula Chili Garlic Hot Sauce
A garlic lover's dream. Cholula Chili Garlic gives you the full benefit of Cholula's original Flavorful Fire complimented with an abundant presence of fresh, coarse ground garlic. It is an incredible flavor enhancement to pasta sauces, pizza, poultry, soups and anywhere you would enjoy a little garlic!

Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce
Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce featuring a savory blend of Cholula's original "Flavorful Fire" and the smokey and slightly sweet flavor notes of real Chipotle peppers. It brings sensational new flavor to soups, ranch dressing, steaks, chicken and more.

I love the wooden stoppers on these natural products. I only wish they were made with organically grown ingredients.  I am also extremely disappointed our sauces were shipped in huge box of styrofoam peanuts.

I quit spicing my food after having children. Hot flavors weren't good for breastfeeding, and children don't like spicy food. Cholula makes it easy to add a little flavor to any plate without making a whole recipe too hot for little mouths.

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

April 13, 2011

Conserve Environmentally-Friendly Cleaning Products: Just Mix Tablet with Water

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If you look at the ingredients of your favorite cleaning products, you will find water near the top, whether the product is eco-friendly or not. I always think it is silly to be paying for water, and besides water adds to the shipping weight and increases any product's carbon footprint in transportation from manufacturing to retail.

Conserve by Baum Gartens makes buying concentrated cleaning products easy and affordable. By putting the product in tablet form, there is no measuring (or spilling) of the cleaning product involved when mixing it with water.

We tried out two Conserve tablet cleaners:
Conserve Glass Cleaner, Makes One Gallon, Vanilla Lavender

More economical than the competition Quickly cleans and shines windows, mirrors and glass surfaces, leaving behind a fresh scent. Environmentally friendly, yet as powerful as the leading brands. Simply drop one effervescent tablet in the reusable bottle, fill with water and start using. Kit contains 32-oz. trigger spray bottle and four tablets; makes one gallon. Contains no petrochemicals, phosphates or acids. Cleaner/Detergent Type: Glass; Application: Mirrors; Windows; Applicable Material: Glass; Mirrors; Windows; Chemical Compound: N/A.

Conserve Odor Eliminator,w/32oz Refillable Bottle/4 Tablets,Lavender
Keep your home and office smelling fresh. Apply to clothes, upholstery and drapes to neutralize odors and leave behind a fresh scent. Environmentally friendly, yet as powerful and effective as the leading brands. Simply drop one effervescent tablet in the reusable bottle, fill with water and start using. Kit contains 32-oz. trigger spray bottle and four tablets; makes one gallon. Contains no petrochemicals, phosphates or acids. Scent: Lavender; Physical Form: Tablet; Application: Odor Control; Capacity (Volume): N/A.

You need to be patient while you wait for the tablets to dissolve (about five to ten minutes). I am not sure what the ingredients are in each product, as they are not listed. Given the marketing of the term "environmentally-friendly", these products could be such simply by reducing waste of plastic spray bottles, or they could also contain green ingredients. I just don't know. At least they do not contain petrochemicals, phosphates or acids.

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

April 11, 2011

I'm Not a Paper Cup: Porcelain Reusable Coffee Mug

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You've probably seen these cups before; they always make me do a double take. Looking exactly like a disposable coffee cup, I'm Not a Paper Cup makes a statement.

The original "I'm Not a Paper Cup" is the eco-friendly alternative to disposable paper or styrofoam coffee cups. It features a durable double-walled layer of thermal porcelain and a silicone top, both of which are dishwasher and microwave safe. The cup is 100% non-toxic and reusable. Holds up to 10 ounces.

One thing I like about the I'm Not a Paper Cup, besides the obvious message, is coffee joints know exactly how to make a latte or cappuccino in it. I've been frustrated on numerous occasions when baristas insist on making my soy latte in a paper cup, then pouring it into my stainless steel coffee mug because they don't know its size for the proportion of milk to espresso. It completely defeats the purpose of using a reusable cup, and I never win the argument.

I also think that porcelain is probably a safer material for hot beverages than China sourced stainless steel. I think this is also true for the lid (silicone vs. 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

April 8, 2011

Really Natural Cooking: Heart of the Artichoke

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Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys by David Tanis is an amazingly beautiful cookbook! Although not strictly vegetarian, the pictures are incredible and make you salivate over the recipes. From Fresh Peach Ice Cream to Black Sticky Rice Pudding with Coconut Cream, the meals are varied and unique.

A recipe is "what happens between the concept of a dish and its final result," he observes, then paints a fine line between "om" and "yum" with 14 meditations on kitchen rituals, small moments of epiphany that tie his childhood oatmeal to his adult polenta or celebrate the genius of the Ziploc bag. Cooks who live in an unchanging climate seem to have a penchant for dividing their cookbooks into seasonal chapters and Tanis is no exception. The (artichoke) heart of this work consists of 20 full menus, five for each season. Spring offerings include Vietnamese vegetable summer rolls, and "The Flavor of Smoke," featuring tea-smoked chicken salad. Summer belongs to herbs with choices like flat-roasted chicken with rosemary, and rice salad with sweet herbs. With the fall comes flatbread, a focaccia served alongside stuffed raviolone.

This cookbook provides seasonal menus perfect for anyone trying to eat locally and for selecting the freshest ingredients. For over 25 years, Tanis has been the chef at Chez Panisse, but you don't have to be a gourmet cook to follow these recipes.

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

April 6, 2011

Rapunzel Vegetable Broth: Not Just for Soups

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One staple of my pantry is Rapunzel Pure Organic Vegetable Soup Broth. This powdered vegetable stock is delicious for making soups, but it is also an excellent flavor enhancer for any dish. It dresses up plain rice, and it makes the best gravy.

We search the world over for the highest quality organic ingredients that retain important nutrients and provide you with a whole healthy and sustaining meal for our line of Vegetable broth. This broth helps eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and provide better earnings within rural communities.

Not only is this product vegetarian, it is gluten-free!
Ingredients: Sea salt, yeast extract, rice flour*, sunflower oil*, onions*, carrots*, celery*, spices* (tumeric* mace*), parsley*. *organically grown and processed ingredients.

If you plan to use this product as an all around spice, be sure to cut back on the salt you add to your recipes, since it already contains sea salt.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

April 4, 2011

Green Pets: Planet Dog Toys Thinking Globally & Acting Doggedly

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Pet toys are typically made from the cheapest materials. They do not hold up to the demands of humans and dogs, and they end up in landfills. In fact, I usually will not buy a dog toy, as a stick can serve the same purpose, then again, a stick dog is an annoying dog.  My children, however, enjoy having toys for their dogs (I don't think the dogs mind).

Planet Dog's mission is "to amuse, explore, support, innovate, create, educate, celebrate, & philanthropate...all in the name of the dog". We (humans and canines) love Planet Dog!

We tried out two Planet Dog products:
Planet Dog Wood Chuck Ball Toss Toy with RecycleBall:

Engineered with sustainable bamboo and reused cork scraps. A sleek take on other ball-tossing devices, Wood Chuck's® bamboo core offers strength and maximum chuck-ability with an ergonomic cork handle for comfort and grip-ability throw, after throw. Wood Chuck's® 4-pronged claw coupled with the pliant nature of our Orbee-Tuff® products make it a cinch to grab and throw. Goes the distance every time. Wood Chuck® is offered with Orbee-Tuff® RecycleBALL®. Can be used with Planet Dog's Orbee-Tuff® 2.5" toys or certain unpressurized standard tennis balls.

Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Glow for Good Ball:
100-Percent of the sales of our doggie-durable, buoyant, bouncy, minty Glow for Good Ball go directly to the Planet Dog Foundation, our not-for-profit arm whose mission is to support canine service programs.

These are great, durable toys. I really like them both!  The ball tosser really flings the ball far, allowing the dogs to get a great work out running up and down the hill as I toss it. The glow-in-the-dark ball is fun for nighttime ball play!

Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 30, 2011

Texas Grown Rice by Rice Select: Little Packaging, Not Always Organic

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We eat a lot rice in my family, and fortunately living in California, we can get rice that was grown close to home. Rice Select features Texas grown rice called Texmati. We were sent samples of the following varieties:


Long grain rice is my favorite, but the samples I was sent were not organically-grown. I did find that the brown rice is available in an organic variety, which I linked to above.

I prefer to buy my rice in bulk and store in large glass jars. Plastic packaging is environmentally degrading, even when recycled, and the samples we were sent were about one meals worth of rice. I can't imagine having to recycle a plastic container after every rice meal (larger sizes are available).

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

March 28, 2011

Medela Breastmilk Labeling & Storage Makes Pumping Organization Easy

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Medela Breastmilk Storage System is essential if you are a busy mother needing to pump.


FEATURES AND BENEFITS
Makes it easy to protect, organize and locate breastmilk bottles in fridge or freezer.
Holds up to 6 Medela breastmilk bottles.
Lids are compatible with all Medela polypropylene breastmilk bottles.
Also compatible with Medela Pump & Save breastmilk bags (sold seperately).
WHAT'S INCLUDED
1 tray
2 labeling lids
2 - 5 oz breastmilk bottles

This system helps you organize your breastmilk to ensure freshness and eliminate waste. Additional Medela Fresh Breast Milk Labeling Lids are helpful too, as they easily indicate the day of the week and am, pm, or midday with a twist of the lid.  Of course, all of these products are BPA-free. 

I did pump for about two weeks when my son had surgery. A storage system like this would have been very useful, especially when other people, like family and nurses, were feeding him.

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

March 23, 2011

EcoTensil and EcoTaster Replace Plastic Single Use Spoons

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When I was a child, we frequented Baskin Robbins. I think I tried all 31 flavors with those little pink disposable spoons (just one more example of the heavy carbon footprint of my childhood)http://ecotensil.com. EcoTensil and EcoTaster have a solution with their paperboard alternatives:

EcoTensil is building a lot of momentum in the industry by making a truly sustainable replacement for plastic tasting spoons. It's just one step of the green puzzle, but something that often gets overlooked. According to the Clean Air Council, enough paper and plastic utensils are thrown away every year to circle the equator 300 times. It is estimated that close to 40 billion individual plastic utensils--meaning between 14 and 18 billion plastic spoons--are produced each year, and as you know with such low rates of reuse and recycling, most of them end up in our landfills, beaches and oceans, where they are likely to remain for hundreds of thousands of years. This astounding figure gives businesses an easy opportunity to make a decision for the environment by doing away with these unnecessary pollutants and replacing them with environmentally friendly utensils.

Anything designed to be disposable is contrary to being green; however, we are not going to live in a perfect world anytime soon where disposables no longer exist. Just last week, 78,000 EcoTensil single-use spoons used at the Natural Products Expo.

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

March 21, 2011

Good Home Co. Products Tested on Good People, not Good Animals

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Inspired by her parents' farm in Ohio, Christine Dimmick started the Good Home Co. making products on her kitchen stove. The Good Home Co. does not test on animals, only "good humans", and the products are vegan. They do not contain harsh chemicals.

Lately "organic" products have been popular in the market place, however none of our products would be deemed organic. Why? Because in order to be organic, all ingredients must be "grown", which is why the term organic relates to food. We use food items, but we also use other ingredients, such as water and soaps, that simply cannot be "grown". We hold ourselves to high ethics and standards and will not deceive our customers with claims that are impossible and do not pertain to our products, now matter how trendy they currently are. Though one ingredient we use may be deemed organic, if all ingredients cannot make this claim, then the product cannot be ingredient.

I agree with the above statement, but when I read the labels on the Good Home Co. products I was sent to review, not only are some non-descript (fabric softener and fragrance), none are labeled as organic. I understand not labeling an entire product as organic for the above reasons, but I like my products to contain some organic ingredients.  In fact, I take some offense at being labeled as "trendy" for caring about herbicide and pesticide use in our environment. 

We were sent the following products:


The Environmental Working Group has given the Good Home Co.'s fragrance a hazard score of 8. That's pretty high. Other products contain chemical colorants. The Good Home Co. does not claim to be all-natural and admits to using manmade ingredients in its fragrance.

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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