September 8, 2010

Really Natural Books: River House

51gkYPQkhHL._SL500_AA300_.jpg
River House: A Memoir by Sarahlee Lawrence describes the author's journey from growing up in a remote region of Oregon, leaving to explore the world, then returning to her roots and organic vegetable farm. The story reminds me of what my own children's lives may be like, since they are growing up in a remote region of northern California. As a parent, I recognize the need for them to leave, get a higher and worldly education, but then I hope they may one day return and appreciate the unique childhood and place they call home.

River House is one young woman's story about returning home to her family's ranch and, with the help of her father, building a log house on the property. Sarahlee Lawrence grew up in remote central Oregon and spent her days dreaming about leaving her small town for world adventures. An avid river rafter through adolescence, by the age of twenty-one, Lawrence had rafted some of the most dangerous rivers of the world as an accomplished river guide. But living her dream as guide and advocate, riding and cleaning the arteries of the world, led her back to the place she least expected -- to her dusty beginnings and her family's home. River House is a beautiful story about a daughter's return and her relationship with her father, whom she enlists to help brave the cold winter and build a log house by hand. Lawrence's father, landlocked on the ranch for decades, is a surfer who longs for the sea. Lawrence, a reformed river rat, has forsaken the water for a spell, determined to build a home. Together, they work through the harsh winter, father helping daughter every step of the way to achieve her dream. The surprise comes when Lawrence sees how she has helped him live his.

River House: A Memoir is available for preorder and will be released October 1, 2010.

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 27, 2010

Really Natural Books: No More Dirty Looks - The Truth About Your Beauty Products

NO More Dirty looks.jpg
Beauty products are notorious for making false organic marketing claims and containing harmful ingredients. From lead in lipstick to phthalates in lotions, consumers are challenged to find truly natural products. A new book has the answers you need. 

 
No More Dirty Looks: The Truth about Your Beauty Products--and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics defines and explains the risks of many common cosmetic ingredients.

It started with a harmless quest for perfect wash-and-go hair. Every girl wants it, and Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt finally found it in a fancy salon treatment. They were thrilled--until they discovered that the magic ingredient was formaldehyde.
Shocked, O'Connor and Spunt left no bottle unturned. If it went on their body (and thus, was absorbed into their skin and bloodstream), they researched it. As it turns out, many of those unpronounceable ingredients in your self-tanner and leave-in conditioner are not regulated and the "natural" on your face wash doesn't mean what you think it does.

Now, with the help of top scientists, dermatologists, and makeup artists, the authors share their compelling findings and the easy way to detoxify your beauty regimen. No More Dirty Looks also reveals the safest, most effective products on the market and time-tested home recipes. Finally, you don't need to sacrifice health for beauty--because coming clean is the best look yet.


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 16, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes

organic chocolate recipe book.jpg
From the makers of my favorite chocolate, comes an incredible cookbook! Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes, Revised Edition is the kind of cookbook that makes you drool. Not only is it filled with incredible organic chocolate recipes, it also gives you an education into cocoa (e.g. growers' associations, education, cultural information).

This is the ultimate chocolate cookbook. It contains 100 recipes to tempt, tease & torment lovers of this food of the gods. Chocolate is one of the most luxurious and satisfying foods, full of texture and flavor, and it is also a versatile cooking ingredient, not only for rich, dark desserts but also a perfect partner for savory and spicy dishes.

Above all, chocolate can be molded to suit every occasion and so the chapters within the book include Abracadabra (quick & easy recipes) and Wicked (irresistible concoctions). Woven into the book are stories about the Maya in Belize who cultivate organic cocoa for use in our chocolate bars as well as tips on cooking techniques and handling chocolate.


Of course, all great chocolate recipes start with fair trade, organic chocolate

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

August 13, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: The Homesteader's Kitchen Recipes From Farm to Table

The Homesteader's kitchen.jpg
Every once in awhile I come across a cookbook that I get really excited about. Homesteader's Kitchen, The: Recipes from Farm to Table is full of delicious, whole food recipes, as well as incredible photographs. It is motivating to me as a gardener to inspire new creations in the kitchen from what I have grown. From Miso Vegetable Soup to Brown Rice Cream with Dates, Cinnamon, and Vanilla, your palate will not be disappointed.

In The Homesteader's Kitchen, author Robin Burnside presents wholesome recipes and motherly advice for preparing nourishing meals, tasty embellishments, and luscious desserts. Her focus is on using fruits and vegetables from the family garden or the nearby farmers market. She teaches how to turn these local, organic foods into snacks, meals, and treats that nourish the soul as well as the body. From Multigrain Blueberry Pancakes in the morning, a Creamy Mango-Coconut Smoothie for a snack, a crisp Asian Cabbage Salad for lunch, an evening meal of Grilled Wild Salmon Fillet with Thai Cilantro Pesto, to a dessert of Spicy Pear Pie, Burnside offers mouthwatering recipes that are fun to prepare and a joy to eat.

My only criticism is with the title. The recipes do include some exotic items, like pineapple, so if the audience is intended to be North America, which is my assumption, than the ingredients truly aren't from your own homestead garden or local farmer's market. These ingredients are an exception in the cookbook that mostly favors items you can find seasonally grown in your local community.

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

July 12, 2010

Really Natural Books: Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America

off the grid.jpg
I live off the grid, which if you are not familiar with the term, refers to homes that are independently powered by solar, wind, and/or hydro and is not connected to the utility power grid.

Off the Grid: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America is a new book that will be released on July 27, 2010.

In OFF THE GRID: Inside the Movement for More Space, Less Government, and True Independence in Modern America (Penguin Original; On-Sale: August 2010; ISBN 978-0-14-311738-4; $15.00) award-winning documentary filmmaker and part-time off-gridder, Nick Rosen, takes readers on a fascinating and complex journey through a seemingly simple lifestyle. Nick traverses the US, encountering both luxury hideaways and harsh environs, to investigate the growing trend for off-the-grid living. His adventures take him from one overlooked part of the country to another, in rented cars that often double as hotels and on public transit when his subjects demand it. He spends time with all sorts of individuals and families striving to live the lives they want-- bathing in hot springs, forgoing municipal power and amenities--in the ultimate search for freedom from government and its far-reaching grasp.

The stories in this book are really fascinating, but I have to take offense with the cover. Picturing a half-painted shack with a vicious dog caged in the front yard pushes the stereotype that to live off the grid you have to be a little whacky and primitive. Sure some of the people in the book are those types, but already many mainstream folks believe you can't have a normal home off the grid. The text of the book addresses these concerns:
The people featured in OFF THE GRID, as within the movement at-large, are not always the into-to-the-wild recluses that one might expect, although a few such are profiled, including the rustic character made popular through Elizabeth Gilbert's The Last American Man and gun-toting novelist Carolyn Chute as well as cult author Alan Weisbecker. To the contrary, many of those living off-the-grid have built communities of like-minded people, often families with young children who are committed to helping one another. There are groups of devoted environmentalists who see this lifestyle as the only responsible way to counteract the massive energy consumption prevalent in ordinary American life. Others live this way rather unexpectedly, after finding urban and suburban lifestyles in conflict with their personal ethics, and still others were forced into their situations by economic factors beyond their control.

I've shown the cover to other people that live off the grid, and their reaction is the same. In fact, one person said they wouldn't buy the book because of the picture. I know you aren't suppose to judge a book by the cover, but it's hard not to.

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 16, 2010

Really Natural Books: Wisdom of the Last Farmer

wisdom of the last farmer.jpg
Early in my gardening years, a friend gave me Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons on My Family Farm. I was moved by this family's tale of Japanese internment, organic farming, and the Sun Crest peach. In fact, I planted a Sun Crest peach in my orchard so I could experience this incredible fruit that is difficult to market in today's grocery store monoculture. Now, David Mas Masumoto has written a new book Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land.

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

farm to fork.jpg
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

May 10, 2010

Really Natural Books: Recipe for Raising Chickens

recipe for raising chickens.jpg
Many of my friends have recently purchase chicks and are raising backyard chickens in their urban environment. I remember my neighbors growing up had backyard fowl. Raising your own chickens are an easy way to become an urban homesteader.

Minnie Rose Lovgreen's Recipe for Raising Chickens: The Main Thing Is to Keep Them Happy is an easy to read handbook with everything you need to know to raise chickens. Written by Minnie Rose, an Englishwoman who was scheduled to travel on the Titanic but "hopped" an earlier boat, this book is full of humor and simple wisdom.

Minnie Rose, a chicken lover and gifted storyteller, had always wanted to write a book on raising chickens, but was always too busy. Then in Nov., 1974, soon after her 86th birthday, she was diagnosed with cancer. Her friend Nancy Rekow took the ferry into Seattle, appeared in her hospital room with a tape recorder, and said, "Minnie Rose, now we're going to write your book." And they did.

Minnie hand-lettered and illustrated her book.

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 14, 2010

Really Natural Books: The Earth's Best Story: A Bittersweet Tale of Twin Brothers Who Sparked an Organic Revolution

Screen shot 2010-04-10 at 9.08.10 AM.png
When I wasn't making my own baby food, I served my children Earth's Best organic baby food. The Earth's Best Story: A Bittersweet Tale of Twin Brothers Who Sparked an Organic Revolution is the story behind the company that feeds so many babies.

On the face of it, our story is the tale of a journey to launch the first organic baby-food company in the United States. While of course true, our inspiration soared beyond baby food to a grander, multidimensional imagining, an imagining where the face of agriculture was transformed and the chemically dependent agribusiness paradigm was reduced in its prominence.

We envisioned a world where organic foods would become dominant, with an organic avenue right through the mainstream food thoroughfare. And in our dreams organic baby food would be a catalyst for that paradigm shift: a shift that would support and protect our fragile ecosystems, safeguard farm workers and their families, and walk the talk about doing right by those who are most vulnerable and precious to us?our children.


Truly, these twin brothers are brilliant! Many people I know, including family members, only began their journey into organic food (which eventually leads to a greener lifestyle in general) when their first child was born. After feeding this pure little being the best food on earth (breastmilk) parents approach chemically-grown solid food with hesitation and trepidation. Earth's Best, found in almost every grocery store in America, offers an affordable, organic option. Thanks to the Koss brothers, an organic revolution really did begin with the babies!


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 7, 2010

Really Natural Books: Animal Factory

Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment by David Kirby is an eye-opening, informative account of how factory farming is negatively affecting our health and environment. I have not read this book cover to cover at the time of this review, but I am very impressed at its thoroughness and message.

Animal Factory is a thoroughly-researched piece of investigative journalism, in which Kirby sets out to approach factory farms differently from 'Fast Food Nation' or 'Eating Animals'. As his powerful and provocative books shows, the supermarket price of milk, pork, steak and chicken do not reflect the actual costs of mass-producing meat and dairy, which are passed on the to surrounding communities, including:

  • Airborne feces sprayed by farms, covering neighboring homes, fields, and towns

  • Recalls of dangerous meats, fruits, and vegetables caused by farm pathogens

  • Increasing public health crises, including asthma and MRSA infection, and possibly swine flu and leukemia and other cancers in communities adjacent to these farms

  • High levels of feces and nitrates in public water supplies near these farms. The New York Times recently reported that "19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from drinking water contaminated with parasites, bacteria or viruses." (9/15/09)

  • Massive fish kills in local waters from pig and cow manure lagoon spills

  • Immense costs to clean up hazardous farms, absorbed by taxpayers or individual farmers, rather than by the corporations that profit from such practices

  • Dead zones spreading miles out to sea, where marine life is suffocated by algae growth stimulated in part by factory farm pollution


In Animal Factory, Kirby follows three American families in different regions of the US, whose lives have been utterly changed by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs. Weaving complex science, politics, business, and the lives of everyday people, Kirby documents a crisis that has reached a critical juncture in the history of human health and our larger global environment.

I like how Kirby tracks factory farms affect on families, as it gives a human touch to a story that is truly overwhelming to contemplate.

As a vegetarian, my life is still affected by factory animal farms. No one is immune. We must support local, traditional farms as consumers to really bring about change, as well as make sure our politicians are aware of the consequences of factory farming. Anyone that has visited or driven by a large factory farm, like Harris Ranch on I-5 in California, knows, the situation is not good for animals or humans.


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

Mailing List
Enter your Email


Powered by FeedBlitz
Subscribe - RSS

facebook_badge.jpg twitter_badge.jpg

Site Navigation

Visit our other properties at Blogpire.com!

Recent Reviews
welcomeArchives

EcoPire

This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 6.2.4
All items Copyright © 1999-2016 Blogpire Productions. Please read our Disclaimer and Privacy Policy