October 24, 2012

Really Natural Cookbooks: Real Food Fermentation

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This is a book I am really excited about, as it is something I have wanted to learn about and make for awhile. Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen by Alex Lewin is a well illustrated, well described book about all sorts of lovely fermented foods.

Preserve your favorite foods through every season with Real Food Fermentation. Control your own ingredients, techniques, and additives. Learn a practical food-preparation skill you'll use again and again. And express yourself by making something unique and whole.

Inside, you'll find:

--All the basics: the process, the tools, and how to get started

--A guide to choosing the right ingredients

--Sauerkraut and beyond--how to ferment vegetables, including slaw-style, pickles, and kimchi

--How to ferment dairy into yogurt, kefir, crème fraîche, and butter

--How to ferment fruits, from lemons to tomatoes, and how to serve them

--How to ferment your own beverages, including mead, kombucha, vinegar, and ginger ale

--A primer on fermented meat, fish, soy, bread, and more

--Everything you need to know about why the recipes work, why they are safe, what to do if they go wrong, and how to modify them to suit your taste


This book even tells you how to cut a pepper!

I wish I had more ingredients in my garden to try these recipes, but the deer has wrecked havoc recently.  The dairy recipes looks great, and I finally know what creme fraiche really is.  

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

October 22, 2012

Really Natural Snacking: Angie's Kettle Corn

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Looking for a snack with simple ingredients? Try Angie's Kettle Corn, Classic made from simply popcorn, corn oil, sugar, and sea salt.

It's the Perfect Balance
Angie's Kettle Corn has a classic kettle corn flavor - not too sweet, not too salty.

It's All-Natural
Angie's Kettle Corn is made with all-natural ingredients and does not contain cholesterol, trans fats, corn syrup, artificial flavors or preservatives.

It's Gluten-Free and Whole Grain
Angie's Kettle Corn is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization.

It's Kosher
Angie's Kettle Corn is certified by Blue Ribbon Kosher out of Minneapolis. BRK is an accepted Orthodox supervision which ensures that all Angie's Kettle Corn products are Kosher parve.


My daughter really likes this snacks. I think it is a little too sweet. Of course, it would be better if it was made from organic ingredients.

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

October 19, 2012

Emily C Necklaces: Keep your rings by your heart

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Are you looking for a unique gift for a loved one? Emily C necklaces are "part puzzle, part magic!", as they allow you to attach a ring without taking off the necklace and unclasping. This is perfect for all those times we take off our rings, place them on a counter or yoga bag, hoping beyond hope they never get lost.

We were sent Scallop Pendant to try:

Every time you take off your ring, you risk losing it. But leaving it on all the time, even while cleaning, cooking, working, and playing leads to a dirty, dull, often scratched or damaged ring. Precious metals begin to lose their shine, and we all know diamonds don't sparkle when they're dirty... Emily C® has designed an elegant and luxurious solution: a ring holder necklace! It takes only a second to attach your ring, and your necklace not only holds it securely but showcases it in a whole new glamorous way.

Emily C® necklaces are a godsend for any woman with a cherished ring! They are an ideal gift, especially for the newly engaged, married, or pregnant, or for those who work in industries where they must remove their rings.


This is a pretty necklace to wear with or without a ring attached. I do not see anything eco-friendly about it, but it can save a lot of heartache and anxiety.  I do not know if the gold or diamonds (available on the couture version) are cruelty-free and ethically-sourced.  

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

October 17, 2012

Toxic Halloween: Gimbal's Fine Candy Full of Artificial Colors and Flavors

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Sometimes, I really wonder how we get certain products sent to us. We are a natural living blog!

Halloween is rapidly approaching. It is a time when children and adults dress up in costumes and consume large amounts of candy. This celebration of ghosts and ghouls does not have to include toxic substances, but unfortunately, for most, the candy they consume is full of chemical colors and flavors.

We were sent Gimbal's Fine Candies Gourmet Jelly Beans, 41 Flavors:

We want parents and families everywhere to know that Gimbal's Fine Candy is a safe and delicious treat for everyone to appreciate, even despite food allergies. Recent studies show that 1 in 12 children are living with a food allergy, and many parents worry about the contents of food and the facilities in which the food was produced.

Gimbal's Fine Candies products AND facilities are free of the eight most common food allergens (tree nuts, milk, egg, gluten, soy, fish, and shellfish), eliminating the risk of cross contamination. Countless customers have reiterated to us how our for making candy available to them despite their food allergies.


They may be free of such common food allergens, but Red 40, Red 3, Blue1 Lake, etc., are also suspected causes of ADHD and other health problems. Livestrong.com explains:
Behavior Issues
Some children may be particularly sensitive to artificial dyes, including Red 40, and for these children consuming this food coloring can increase behavioral issues and lead to hyperactivity, attention problems, irritability, learning problems, aggressiveness and restlessness. Eliminating these artificial colors from the diet of sensitive children may lower or eliminate their need for ADHD medications, according to a June 2008 article posted on CBSNews.com.
Sponsored Links

DNA Damage
A number of tests have shown that Red 40 given to mice can damage their DNA, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Although some of the tests were negative, those involving the liver, colon and glandular stomach were positive. These results may not carry over to humans, but do show a potential harmful effect from consuming Red 40.

Cancer
The Center for Science in the Public Interest notes that the tests done in the 1970s using mice were problematic and not conclusive as to the potential cancer risk of consuming Red 40. Compounds in Red 40 have been linked to cancer, according to Columbia University Medical Center, including 4-aminobiphenyl and benzidine. Tests have also found cancer-causing contaminants in this food coloring, including p-cresidine and aniline.


The outside of the Gimbal's package promotes the products as "Made with real fruit juice" and "A good source of antioxidant vitamin c". I think it should come with a warning about chemical colorants.

We were sent more than just the jelly beans, but I am so disgusted, I won't even list them here.  I will not try this product. I will not let my children consume it either.

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

October 15, 2012

Soft Gear My Booster: Recycles Raw Materials, Made in the USA

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Booster seats can be helpful for little children sitting in big chairs at big tables. Soft Gear My Booster Seat is made from some synthetic material that makes it firm yet squishy, as well as tactile enough to stay on a chair.

Soft Gear My Booster is made with our exclusive closed cell foam technology and is mold-resistant and latex free. The patent pending suction cups on the bottom of the booster and the hand holds on each side help to prevent your child from slipping and falling. Plus, it's anti-microbial so microorganisms won't degrade your booster or affect your child's health. My Booster is lightweight and transportable so your toddler can avoid germs from public booster seats. Carrying case included.

Booster seats can get pretty nasty, as little kids drop food all over them; however, I am afraid of anti-microbial products. I think they weaken our immune systems, create super bugs, and often contain nano-technology.

On the back of the package, My Booster states, "By purchasing Soft Gear products you are also helping to reduce your carbon footprint." The reasoning given is each product is made in the USA reducing fossil fuel consumption in transport, and the facilities recycle raw materials. Both are commendable actions, yet I do wonder about the actual materials used in the product and whether they could also be made from recycled content.

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

October 10, 2012

Handmade, Organic Knit Toys by Zubels

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Super soft and sweet, Zubels makes organic knit toys that are handmade with love. We were sent the Zubels Frog Freddy Hand-Knit Doll. I appreciate the handmade organic fibers, as well as the low impact dyes of this toy. The price of $20, although seeming high for the doll itself, is not considering it is not made in China in a factory.

What are eco-friendly dyes?

Zubels uses only eco-friendly low impact dyes. Low impact dyes are eco-friendly for several reasons.
1) They don't contain toxic chemicals or mordants (used to help set the dye)
2) They have a high absorption rate (which leads to less water needed during dyeing)
3) They use low temperatures during dying (which saves energy)
4) They are more expensive (which means that they are reclaimed and not wasted)

The doll is not 100% natural, as it contains polyester fiber fill.

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

October 6, 2012

Bitsy's Brainfood: Unique Snack Combinations Full of Omega-3 and DHA

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Are you looking for an interesting snack for you children that sneaks in flavors and goodness? Bitsy's Brainfood does just that in a pleasantly surprising way.

Bitsy's Brainfood was started by two new moms who shared a simple belief -- that healthy bodies and healthy minds are connected, and that learning to eat smart should be fun.

The fact is that certain foods are smarter than others. So the idea was to create Bitsy's Brainfood, a line of smart snacks... bite-sized treats packed with the good stuff to help support developing bodies and brains, like vitamins and Omega-3, and packaged with content that's educational and oh-mega cool. Plus, we've yet to meet a kid who doesn't love snacks or a parent who doesn't crave nutritious, on-the-go options.


We were sent a lunch bag with two flavors:

The packages of organic snacks are affordable ($2.50/box). The lunchbag and water bottle that accompanied our samples is very cheap. Even if BPA free, I wouldn't let my children drink from such weak plastic. The website, which is largely designed for children, is somewhat annoying. Furthermore, our samples were sent in an enormous box!  The snacks themselves are unique and a great way to get children a little extra nutrition between meals.

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

October 2, 2012

Organically Grown AllGood Provisions Perfect for Healthy Snacking

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Looking for a quality organic snack? AllGood Provisions can keep you supplied with their eco-friendly packaging and affordable prices. We were sent two packets to try:

ALLGOOD is an original brand of organic, nutritious, and earth-friendly snack foods. Good, natural food, it's that simple.

ALLGOOD foods are certified organic and free from harmful pesticides, growth hormones, and synthetic fertilizers.

Each of our products contains rich vitamins and minerals important to a healthy diet. Good, natural nutrition from the earth.

At ALLGOOD we are continually exploring ways to reduce our ecological footprint and operate in an earth-friendly manner.

It is our firm belief that businesses have a responsibility to do their best to create positive social and environmental change. AlLLGOOD has been a proud member of 1% for the Planet since our inception.


I like how they say right on the packaging what state the food originates from boldly.


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

September 21, 2012

Clif C Bars: 70% organic and all natural for healthy snacking

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Clif is synonymous with energy bars. Clif C bars are double-layered fruit and nut bar that looks delicious. Unfortunately, this is another box that got buried in the office, so these samples had expired before I could taste them.

Clif C Bars come in four flavors: blueberry, raspberry, apple, and cherry pomegranate.

NEW CLIF C is the first double layer fruit and nut bar
Using only a handful of ingredients, we lightly bake our bar, sprinkle it with nuts and add a hint of sea salt to make the flavors dance
Fruit, Nuts and Sea Salt - our dedication to the best nature has to offer
70% organic and all natural
One serving of fruit in every bar
Good source of fiber (contains 4.5g total fat
We source ingredients that are not made using gluten, soy, dairy or wheat
No trans fat, no GMO's
Certified Kosher
Vegan and vegetarian

They are currently unavailable on Amazon, and they are backordered on Clif's site.

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

September 19, 2012

Safety 1st 98.79%-99.98% Naturals Baby Beauty Care

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You may be familiar with the brand Safety 1st for their baby proofing products, like cabinet latches and outlet covers. Safety 1st also makes a line of 98.79%-99.98% natural baby beauty products called Naturals. Each product clearly states on the front what its percentage of natural ingredients content is. We were sent the following products to try:

Only two of these products have been scored by the Environmental Working Group. Both received a hazard score of five, with greatest ingredient of concern being fragrance. I'm always concerned when a product says fragrance on its label. What exactly is that fragrance? If it is an essential oil, why not just come out and state it?

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

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