June 21, 2010

Organic Gardening Magazine

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Whether you are an experienced organic gardener or someone just learning, Organic Gardening is a wonderful periodical.

What You Can Expect in Each Issue:

  • Food: We evaluate new and heirloom varieties of tomatoes and all your favorite vegetables in our nationwide network of test gardens. And we bring you the latest research on how to grow them to the peak of flavor. Each issue also includes hints on serving them simply to show off their homegrown goodness.

  • Landscaping: A well-maintained property enhances your home's value and gives you a comfortable space where you can relax with family and friends. We show you how to create a yard that is filled with color and interest in all four seasons, with details on the flowers, shrubs and trees that demand little care and deliver big impact. And we offer expert suggestions for giving your yard that "designed by a pro" look.

  • Pest and Weed Control: Toxic pesticides and weedkillers not only harm wildlife and poison our fresh water supply, they threaten the health of people and pets. Organic Gardening readers get solutions that are proven to work, but safe for all living things.

  • Soil: The secret to success in gardening is right below your feet. Organic Gardening is the only magazine that gives its readers information they can use to build the most fertile, well-balanced and healthy soil possible. Plus, find out how easy and rewarding composting can be.

From organic summertime lawn care to keeping backyard chickens, the current issue is full of inspiration.  As an avid gardener, I find I need motivation at times. Reading Organic Gardening gets me excited to be in the garden, and the recipes provide further encouragement when it comes to harvesting and being creative with your bounty.

This magazine has been around since 1942. A two-year subscription only costs $23.94 ($2.00 an issue), and it would make a wonderful gift.

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

June 18, 2010

NOT NATURAL: Jarritos Mexican Soda

Once again, we have an example of someone not doing their homework! We were sent a whole case of Jarritos Mexican soda. Although this soft drink contains "100% natural sugar" instead of the high fructose corn syrup found in most American sodas, the other ingredients are not natural. Artificial flavors, food colors, sodium benzoate, etc....my daughter said, "We better not try it." So I can't tell you if this soda tastes good, as I won't drink it.

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

June 11, 2010

Really Natural Locavore Cookbooks: Emeril Lagasse Farm to Fork

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If you have a garden or love to shop at farmers' markets, you know the value of cooking with fresh, local ingredients. Famous chef Emeril Lagrasse does to and has written a cookbook to help you stay creative while maintaining locavore ideals. Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh is an aesthetically pleasing cookbook filled with beautiful photographs and delicious recipes.

In this extraordinary new book, Emeril Lagasse continues his lifelong commitment to using fresh, local ingredients in his restaurants and home kitchen. He has spent the past thirty years building close relationships with farmers, fishermen, and ranchers. Farm to Fork is his guide to help you explore the great local bounty through fifteen flavorful chapters--sweet summer in "The Three Sisters: Corn, Beans, and Squash," juicy "Berries, Figs, and Melons," sublime naturally raised meats in "Out on the Range," fresh catch in "Fresh Off the Dock," and home canning tips from "Home Economics: Preserving the Harvest."

One of my favorite recipes is one of the simplest. Mint grows like a weed once planted, and I have a ton of it all over my yard and garden. Emeril offers this wonderful recipe for fresh mint tea:
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh spearmint leaves
1/3 cup sugar
Two 1/4-inch-thick orange slices (do not peel)
6 whole cloves
2 orange pekoe tea bags

1. Bring the water to boil in a saucepan.

2. In another saucepan, combine the spearmint leaves, sugar, orange slices, cloves, and tea bags. Carefully pour the boiling water over the tea mixture, and the let it steep for 3 minutes. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then strain the tea into a small warmed teapot or other serving vessel. Serve hot.

Of course your orange pekoe tea won't be local (and probably not the oranges either), but at least you will have used up some mint!  Most of the recipes in this cookbook do not use entirely local ingredients (depending on your climate), but they do give you ideas for when the season offers a bounty of certain ingredients. 

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

June 9, 2010

Tagless, Flat Seamed Soft Clothing for Kids

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We've all experienced the annoying tag on an item of clothing that drives us crazy! If you pull it off, you risk tearing a hole where it is attached. If you cut it, you risk leaving a little bit of the tag that will continue to bug you.

For many children, especially those with Autism and other sensory issues, clothing sensitivities are common. Soft Clothing has a solution. Take for example the t-shirts they sent us for review:

Reinvention of the classic T shirt with suspenders printed on the front AND back. Now with special adaptations for extra comfort and style--made with 100% Soft cotton, constructed with flat seaming, a flat, wide fit bound collar, printed label and care info (tagless), and a classic t-shirt silhouette. Printed with digital printing techniques and water-based ink for a smooth handfeel, and enzyme washed for an extra soft finish.

Soft Clothing's line is made in India from 100% cotton. The clothing is packaged in a great reusable draw string bag too! My only suggestion is that they switch to organically grown cotton fabric.

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

June 7, 2010

The Best Natural Baby and Kids Shampoo and Soap: California Baby

I've been using California Baby Calming Baby Shampoo and Body Wash for six years now ever since I discovered my son was sensitive to sodium lauryl sulfate. California Baby is the gentlest product for your little one's skin, and even my eight-year-old daughter still uses this soap and my son's eczema has never returned since we made the switch.

Benefits & Features:

  • Contains organic and sustainably grown ingredients
  • Cleansing agent: 100% Decyl polyglucose
  • No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, DEA, or numbing agents
  • No tears, non-irritating, non-stripping formula
  • Safe and gentle
  • Two products in one--use head to toe. May be used for hair, face and body
  • Great for babies, kids, or adults with chemically sensitive skin
  • Will not irritate eczema or cradle cap; reports of healing even stubborn cases
This is a product I highly recommend for all of your family members!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

June 4, 2010

Natural Home Cleaning Since 1886: New Bon Ami Products

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One thing I love about Bon Ami is you can find it any grocery store. It is my green cleaning standby when I can't shop at a health food store. Now, the company that has been making natural home cleaning products since 1886 has released new products. The new formulas include a tangerine thyme scent:
Bon Ami Powder Cleanser:

Bon Ami still uses the trademark feldspar and limestone as gentle, effective abrasives, but now combines them with even more sustainable cleaning agents from renewable corn, coconut, and palm oils. Plus we've added a touch of baking soda to help absorb odors.

Dish Soap:
Bon Ami Dish Soap was created with the same emphasis on gentle effectiveness as the original powders. Read through the ingredients - right there on the bottle - and you'll see there is nothing in the Dish Soap that will harm the environment either inside or outside your home. The all-natural ingredients are tough on greasy dish soils, but gentle on the skin, and will never contain phosphates or chlorine.

All-Purpose Cleaner:
Bon Ami All Purpose Cleaner is available in a Free + Clear version that has no added scent. And now Bon Ami offers a version of the product scented with natural essential oils. This fragrance, Tangerine Thyme, is a delightful fusion of mandarin orange, tangerine, orange, thyme, and clove.

Liquid Cleanser:
New Bon Ami Liquid Cleanser has the same gentle effectiveness of the original powder, but is easier to apply to vertical surfaces such as shower tiles, tubs, sinks, and walls. Like the powder, it contains the simple ingredients that have made Bon Ami a household friend for more than a century.

Our great grandmothers knew how to clean naturally! Beside, Bon Ami products are much cheaper than most green cleaning products!

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

June 2, 2010

Eco Travel Gear: Natural Silk Neck Pouch Perfect for Passports, Plane Tickets, and Money

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Now that my children are getting older, I am getting the itch to travel abroad. I also attend a lot of music festivals and find I need something to keep my important items close to my body while I dance without worrying they will be stolen. Recently, I purchased the Eagle Creek Travel Gear Undercover Silk Neck Pouch. Made from 100% natural silk in Vietnam, this little pouch is perfect for you passport, ID, money, plane or concert tickets, etc. It even fits my iPhone! This silk pouch can be worn over or under your clothes and is much less obvious and secure than the fanny packs you usually see tourists wearing.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

May 28, 2010

Time for a Tea Party!

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The traditions of drinking tea are largely absent in American culture except for in the play of little children. Lisa Boalt Richardson, certified tea specialist, can change all of that with her two books!
Tea with a Twist: Entertaining and Cooking with Tea

The parties are simple to put together. Each tea includes easy-to-follow instructions and budget-friendly tips for brewing specialty teas, preparing delicious recipes, and decorating tables. Whether the cook chooses to pour tall glasses of the unusual bubble tea for fun-loving friends or hot, exotic masala chai tea for those seeking an adventure, it's certain that tea time has a new twist!

I love the layout of this book, and how it includes recipes for food to accompany each tea party idea. From a Mexican tea party to your basic iced tea, everything is covered. It is truly inspirational!

The World in Your Teacup: Celebrating Tea Traditions, Near and Far
Sojourners learn the history of tea and its influence on eight specific regions, including China, England, and Russia. From the many recipes Lisa has collected and Lauren has photographed, readers discover that a savoury honey scone is perfect with dark Kenyan tea and a rich almond cookie called a ghoriba tastes great with a glass of sweet Moroccan tea. And every tea party planner will appreciate the helpful tips to create fun and tasty teas for their family and friends.

This books provides a cultural education for people like me that think of tea as something to drink when you are sick. It also includes recipes. I find the history fascinating. From Iran to France, readers learn cultural tips, as well as authentic ways to make teas.

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

May 26, 2010

Healthy Snacks: Stretch Island All-Natural Fruit Strips and FruitaBu Rolls

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My kids love Stretch Island fruit snacks! It's a popular lunch item and car ride treat that I feel good about giving my children. There are two varieties that come in many flavors: fruit strips (leather) and fruit rolls.

  • All-natural, 100%-fruit

  • No sugar added; gluten-free; dairy-free; certified kosher

  • One bar equal to one fruit-exchange in diabetic diet

  • Made on Stretch Island, WA

My kids prefer the fruit strips over the rolls, probably because they are easier and neater to eat.  It is important to pay attention when buying Stretch Island products, as they do make organic and conventionally-grown versions of their popular snacks.

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

May 24, 2010

Vegan "Meat": Stonewall's Jerquee Good for Backpacking

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I am not a fan of fake meat products, and I find no real need for them or craving in my vegetarian diet. There is one time, however, when I need some quick protein and salt, and fake meat comes in handy: backpacking. A friend introduced me to Stonewall's Jerquee. These chewy treats are made from vegetable protein, and the original flavor is a little spicy. They do take a little getting used to, and my daughter calls them "dog treats". I wouldn't eat Stonewall's Jerquee everyday, but I think they are a good snack during physical endurance activities.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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