February 6, 2007

Taza Chocolate and Tiny Trapeze Marshmallows

On a cold winter afternoon, nothing beats good, old fashioned hot chocolate with marshmallows. And I don't mean the kind that comes in a packet labeled Swiss Miss.

Lately, we've been warming our bellies (and our hearts) with some locally produced organic cocoa from Taza Chocolate in Somerville and marshmallows from Tiny Trapeze in Hyde Park.

Taza Chocolate owners Alex Whitmore, Lauren Adams and Larry Slotnick source beans directly from farming communities and co-operatives in Mexico and South America to ensure that a fair price is paid for high quality cocoa beans. From there, they bring the beans to our chocolate studio in Somerville, Massachusetts and grind them into delicious chocolate. Buy the beans and grind 'em yourself, or buy them pre-ground in a chocolate drink like Taza's Velo Rouge.

Tiny Trapeze Confections, located in an old mill building in the Hyde Park neighbor of Boston, makes tasty, old world sweets using all natural and organic ingredients. My latest guilty pleasure - and the perfect topping for a mug of cocoa - is one of their Simply Vanilla marshmallows. Pillowy and sweet right out of the package, the marshmallows melt in your mouth. Better still, if you can stand the wait, they melt right into your hot chocolate, creating a smooth sweet marshmallow foam that's pure heaven.

Taza Chocolate's Velo Rouge Chocolate Drink is available at Taza Chocolate. If you live in Massachusetts, visit Taza's open house next Sunday, February 11th from 1-4 at their Windsor Street studio, or stop by their Chocolate Lounge on Thursday nights at Mariposa Bakery in Cambridge.

Tiny Trapeze's Simply Vanilla marshmallows are available at Whole Foods. If you're vegan, don't despair. Tiny Trapeze also makes a vegan marshmallow that is out of this world. (Call your local Whole Foods to see if they carry it.)

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

February 1, 2007

Bach's Rescue Remedy

B0009POTSU.01-A2701FG002WN6Z._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_V59575601_.jpgOur friend Julie recently turned us on to Bach's Rescue Remedy, a homeopathic remedy for stress and anxiety. Put 4 drops (or a couple of spritzes) in your mouth, in a glass of water, or even on your wrist, and Bach's flower essence formula will provide courage, stress relief and peace of mind. All natural formula is safe for children, and even pets.

Ingredients: 5 x dilution of flower extracts of Rock Rose, Impatiens, Clematis, Star of Bethlehem, and Cherry Plum in a grape alcohol solution. Free from artificial additives and suitable for vegans

At Bach's Rescue Remedy Stress Relief Spray.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 29, 2007

Newman's Own Organic Microwave Popcorn

Can you say guilty pleasure? Newman's Own Organics redeems microwave popcorn with this tasty organic version.
Newman's Own Organics Pop's Corn Light Butter Flavored microwave popcorn features organic corn and organic palm oil. Consumers concerned about fat consumption will appreciate that no partially hydrogenated oils or trans fatty acids are used -- and it contains half the total fat per serving of Newman's Own Pop's Corn regular popcorn. Organic palm fruit oil is not hydrogenated, contains no trans fatty acids, is lower in saturated fat than butter, and has no cholesterol.

Buy a case. It won't last long.

At Newman's Own Organics Pop's Corn Light Butter Flavored Microwave Popcorn. Yum.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 24, 2007

Go Go Organic Rice Bowls II: Harvest Rice

We've written before about the convenience and simplicity of GoGo Organic Brown Rice Bowls.

GoGo's Harvest Rice Bowls take the original pre-cooked organic brown rice bowl and add lentils, dried mango and spices. Like the original, the microwaveable bowls are ready in 90 seconds. They're also gluten-free, vegetarian, and certified organic; and they contain no preservatives or cholesterol.

At GoGo Rice Pre-Cooked Organic Steamed Harvest Rice Bowl

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 18, 2007

Rub My Tummy: Palmer's Cocoa Butter Tummy Butter

B000GHDPF4.01-A3HDDZD5V5HUQV._AA220_SCLZZZZZZZ_V65892629_.jpgSo, what soothes itchy pregnant skin, helps reduce the appearance of stretch marks (never too soon to start fighting them!), and smells so good your husband will come up behind you and give you kisses?

Well, if you're me, it's Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Tummy Butter for Stretch Marks.

The packaging is decidedly unappealing - especially compared to all those $30 body butters being marketed to the pre-mommy set. But I'll tell you, once you get past it and dig your hands into the sweet smelling balm, you'll be totally sold on it.

Available at drugstores and from Palmers.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 16, 2007

Moral Fiber: Gnu Foods' Flavor and Fiber Gnu Bar

GroupShotAD.jpgLooking for a way to break out of your afternoon snacking rut? A tasty, all natural alternative to your Balance Bar? Or maybe you're searching for something to spice up your morning when the bowl of Kashi with blueberries just isn't cutting it. Something healthy, low calorie, high fiber, and quick -- that you can grab and go, eat on the run, and feel good about. Well, we've recently come across something that moves us - in all senses of the word - the Chocolate Brownie Flavor and Fiber Gnu Bar from Gnu Foods.

Gnu Bars
are billed as "functional foods" - designed with health and dietary benefits in mind. Each bar contains 12 grams of dietary fiber (about half the recommended daily value). Plus, they're low fat, contain no high fructose corn syrup, and have only 140 calories per bar. (Compare that to a Balance Bar, which has 200 calories, high fructose corn syrup and other sugars, and contains only 1 gram of fiber per bar.) For those counting Weight Watchers points, Gnu Bars weigh in at 2 points per bar, compared to 4 points for my beloved Luna Bar Lemon Zest, and 5 or more points for the Balance Bar - yikes!

medium-orngcranpack.jpgGnu Bars come in four flavors: Chocolate Brownie, Cinnamon Raisin, Orange Cranberry and Banana Walnut. We did a taste test here at the office, and consensus was -- well, they're actually all surprisingly good. Chocolate Brownie was the hands down favorite (except for the non-chocolate lover), followed by Cinnamon Raisin, Orange Cranberry and Banana Walnut. The taste was characterized as "somewhere between Power Bar and Lara Bar, but really good," "flavorful and chewy," and "definitely more filling than a Luna Bar." Plus, we all agreed that with 50% of the recommended DV of fiber, and no added sugar (except in the Chocolate Brownie Bar, which has real chocolate chips), this bar actually qualifies as a healthy snack.

Gnu Bars are recommended (and, in fact, designed for) people who are trying to get more fiber into their diets. (And honestly, whether we're willing to admit it or not, all of us should be.) If you're not quite ready to come to terms with your fiber needs - I, for one, am NOT ready to start drinking Metamucil (though I do check the daily fiber in my breakfast cereals) - they're a great way to make sure you're getting the fiber you need without mixing up a glass of that telltale orange powder. They're a great snack to keep in your desk -- way better than cookies or other so-called "nutrition bars" -- and at least according to two of the parents in the office, they'd be great to pack in lunchboxes.

Available at GnuFoods.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 15, 2007

Penguin Humidifier: Breathe Easier

B000GWJD0A.01._AA280_SCLZZZZZZZ_V60821586_.jpgYes, I know there are probably better humidifiers on the market. But tell me, are they this cute?

Found this little fellow at Target this weekend and couldn't be happier with him. He silently pumps mist into the air (through the his beak, of course), and the one gallon tank seems to last forever (18 hours, according to the box). You'll breathe easier, and you'll smile every time you look at him.

Crane's Penguin Humidifier available at Target.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 10, 2007

Warm it Up: Maine Warmers Polar Bear Heating Pad

bears3.jpgTime to share with you my favorite gift of the holiday season - a present from my friend Jane. (Okay, full disclosure: we were strolling along Huron Avenue in Cambridge and found a basket full of these critters in Gray Mist, fell in love with them, and each bought one for the other. A perfect holiday gift-giving strategy.)

It looks like a wooly little polar bear -- snuggly, cute, filled with something that feels like an oversized Beany Baby. It's actually a microwaveable (and chillable) heating and cooling pad. You pop it in the microwave for two minutes, and out it comes, all toasty and warm, ready to soothe your achy muscles, relieve cramps, warm the bottom of the bed, or just snuggle up to you and make you feel warm and cozy.

Made in Maine by a company called Maine Warmers, the bear is actually filled with whole corn kernels, so when you heat it, it smells faintly of popcorn. The soft Berber covering is removable and machine-washable. When heated (or chilled), the bear stays warm (or cool) for about an hour -- perfect for warming you up, and releasing the stress of the day.

If the Cozy Bear isn't your cup of tea, it also comes in Wooly Lamb, Fuzzy Bunny and extra long Daschund for wrapping around your neck or waist.

Available at Maine Warmers.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

January 2, 2007

EO Organic Hand Sanitizer and Sanitizing Hand Wipes

EO Organic Hand Sanitzier.jpgLooking for an organic alternative to those anti-bacterial hand sanitizers? I was pleasantly surprised to discover that EO Organic, makers of some of our favorite hand soaps and moisturizers has come out with two organic hand sanitizing products, both scented with organic lavender essential oil. Both products are made from organic ingredients and are not tested on animals.

EO Organic Hand Sanitizer

EO Organic Hand Sanitizer uses organic (non-GMO) alcohol to kill germs on contact; lavender essential oil to make your hands smell nice, and aloe vera to nourish, moisturize and protect them.

Available at The Vitamin Shoppe.

EO Organic Sanitizing Hand Wipes
EO Santizing Hand Wipes.jpg

EO's handwipes use the same ingredients in a more portable form - handwipes - so you can take them wherever you go. Put some in your pocketbook, your gym bag, your car, your stroller. Regular handwipes are filled with chemicals; the EO version is totally organic. For an added bonus, the towelette is made of wood pulp, so it's totallly biodegradable.

Available at The Vitamin Shoppe.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

October 25, 2006

The Ginger People Ginger Soother

Editor's Note: Earlier this summer, we posted a brutally honest review of Synergy Trilogy Kombucha Tea. As you may remember, we (ahem) weren't crazy about it. So, what are we drinking these days? Funny you should ask....

Within the stomach, loins and lung,
Praise of hot ginger rightly may be sung
It quenches thirst, revives, excites the brain,
And in old age awakes love again.

This poem, from Toussaint-Samat's A History of Food, appears on the back of Ginger Soother, a new ginger, honey and lemon flavored drink from The Ginger People. We can't vouch for the awakening of love in old age bit, but one sip definitely has us singing the praises of this tasty little drink.

Made with Chinese yellow ginger, Ginger Soother has 19 grams of ginger per serving. Ginger is a powerful antioxidant with a number of healing properties - soothing sore throats, warming internal organs, and easing nausea. Better yet, it's delicious -- refreshing, spicy, not too sweet. Could be just what the doctor ordered to get you out of your beverage rut.

Available at The Ginger People.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

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