March 10, 2010

Really Natural Books: National Geographic's True Green Life in 100 Everyday Ways

It's exciting to announce the latest book in National Geographic's True Green series: True Green Life: In 100 Everyday Ways

This colorful, practical book presents scores of completely new tips for simply yet surely transforming everything from our vacations to our health to our celebrations. Ten chapters, liberally illustrated with 100 color photographs, present a wide cross-section of useful and uncomplicated ways not only to help the environment, but also to save money through smarter use of resources. Surprising facts, easy-to-understand advice, and a dynamic presentation follow the style of the previous True Green titles: friendly, familiar, and sure to be this season's favorite among the many readers who already know and love these books.

This title will be released next week on March 16, and we were lucky enough to receive and advance copy for review. The presentation of True Green Life: In 100 Everyday Ways is very user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. I love the information on "recycling holiday cheer" and don't mow it away". From light green to dark green, everyone can learn something from this resource.  The book ends with the reminder:

Treat the Earth well: it was not given to you by your parents,
it was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
we borrow it from our children.
-Ancient proverb

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

February 26, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Bob's Red Mill Cookbook: Whole & Healthy Grains for Every Meal of the Day

We've long been fans of Bob's Red Mill products and were delighted to receive a copy of this great company's cookbook.

f cooking healthier meals at home is your new resolution, look no further than Bob's Red Mill's extensive collection of high-quality grains, flours, and other mouth-watering products. The Bob's Red Mill Cookbook will help introduce new whole-grain ingredients into all of your daily meals, without a huge investment in pricey, difficult-to-locate, limited products that do more to take up space than change nutrition habits. Whole-wheat flours, brown rice, whole beans, and legumes have become prevalent in supermarkets everywhere, but among the hundreds of products milled at the Bob's Red Mill plant are also blue corn flour, quinoa, amaranth, teff, and all varieties of nuts and seeds, and they can be integrated seamlessly into any diet to delicious effect.

The unique, family-owned mill has been in the business of producing healthy whole-grain products for over 30 years, and they provide here more than 350 recipes for all sorts of everyday meals: morning food, snacks and sides, main courses, soups and stews, and sweets, with plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. This practical and comprehensive cookbook is an outstanding collection of reliable recipes that reflect the Bob's Red Mill product quality, product diversity, and dedication to healthful eating. Becoming a more inventive cook is a stepping stone to a healthier outlook, incorporating better ingredients for a better life.

Bob's Red Mill Cookbook: Whole & Healthy Grains for Every Meal of the Day includes many wholesome recipes. From zucchini chocolate muffins to wheat berry minestrone, you are sure to find many inspirations to add more whole grains into your diet. This cookbook also includes "Gluten-Free Baking Fundamentals", as well as many recipes safe for Celiacs.

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this cookbook. No prior assurances were given as to the positive or negative nature of the review in exchange for the product.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

February 24, 2010

Really Natural Books: Watch This Space: Designing, Defending, and Sharing Public Spaces

Watch This Space: Designing, Defending and Sharing Public Spaces is a wonderful book that teaches children (and adults) about the importance of shared, public space.

This unique and timely book introduces youth to what public space is, why it is important and how best to use it. It also underscores the need to create, preserve and protect public space. Readers will learn what makes successful public spaces work, the ins and outs of sharing and designing them, the issues surrounding teenagers in public spaces and much more.

Watch This Space answers the question, Why is public space important? It s important because this space belongs to all of us.

From a historical perspective to modern day movements like Critical Mass, this book explores many issues surrounding public spaces. Watch This Space is a great resource for educators and home school parents, and ends with the question of "How would you build it?" and ideas for "Fighting for public space".

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this book. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 29, 2010

Really Natural Cookbooks: Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar

Mmmm, I love cookies! Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar: 100 Dairy-Free Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Treats is a handy book filled with great recipes for vegetarians and omnivores alike! From Tahini Lime Cookies to Whole Wheat Fig Bars, you can't go wrong with these delicious recipes. Great images of the finished products make you drool and motivate you to get into the kitchen and start baking.

Caramel Pecan Bars

For the crust: 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon baking powder A big punch of salt 3/4 cup nonhydrogenated margarine, slightly softened

For the pecan topping:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup nondairy milk
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
2/3 cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons melted nonhydrogenated margarine
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure the foil completely covers the sides of the pan, with about 2 inches folded outside over the edges. Spray the bottom and sides of the pan generously with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare the crust:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Use a pastry cutter or two knives held together to cut in the margarine until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pour crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press down evenly and very firmly, making sure to press the mixture all the way to the edges of the pan. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes until firm and very lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside.

Prepare the topping:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and nondairy milk until foamy. Stir in the the dark brown sugar, brown rice syrup, melted margarine, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Fold in the pecans and pour the mixture onto the crust, using a spatula to spread the topping evenly.

2. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is rapidly bubbling. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then move to the refrigerator to finish cooling and setting. Chill for at least 2 hours or, even better, overnight.

3. To slice completely cooled bars, grab ahold of the foil and carefully lift the whole thing out of the pan and onto a heavy cutting board. Peel away the foil and cut bars with a heavy, sharp knife.

Disclosure:  I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

January 11, 2010

150 Great Ideas to Get Kids Outside and Into Nature

Get Out!: 150 Easy Ways for Kids & Grown-Ups to Get Into Nature and Build a Greener Future is a budget-friendly, easy to pick up book about ways to engage your child in nature and combat Nature Deficit Disorder.

Today's children spend an average of 6.5 hours per say staring at computer and TV screens, and very little time out-of-doors. This book aims to change that with 150 ideas for enjoying nature and being eco-friendly. Ranging from window gardens to birdhouses, from family bike rides to hikes, these suggestions are sure to spark the interest of all! For kids, families, schoolgroups.

One of my favorite ideas is to have a daily "green hour", no matter the weather.
As e.e. Cummings wrote, the world is "mud-luscious" and "puddle-wonderful".

Other ideas go beyond the outdoors to how your family can become green consumers and get involved.

Disclosure: I was sent a sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

November 18, 2009

Environmental Books: Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming

climate cover up_0.jpg
Written by the some of the great folks at DeSmogBlog, Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming explores how such a large portion of Americans have come to believe that climate change is just a hoax. Authors Hoggan and Littlemore explain how the climate "debate" is actually a "public relations creation" and support their claims with proof, including corporate strategy papers. Unfortunately, such debate "cripples public policy and paralyzes public action".

It seems that there are no safe compromises to be made in dealing with climate change. Denying it was wrong. Delaying action is dangerous. People who say otherwise should, at some point in the very near future, have to stand accountable for their recklessness.

It's time to drop the hype around climate change and deal with it now. Exposing those who are responsible for creating confusion on the issue, such as Exxon Mobil that "has funneled tens of millions of dollars into denial", is the first step, but it should also not hinder or confuse progress on true environmental policy. Thankfully, as Hogan and Littlemore write, "That tide is turning."
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 30, 2009

Really Natural Books: The Up Down Day

When I first read The Up Down Day by Brian D. McClure, I wondered why this book had been sent to Really Natural. It is a children's book about the world being turned upside down (literally), and a boy realizing you can't assume the world exists as you believe. The rhyming text is cute, but the examples of things going topsy turvy do drag on a wee bit, but overall this is a great children's book. The book ends on a very positive note emphasizing the universal nature of being, which is how I see the book tying into natural living.

Why do people live naturally? Many make changes for health reasons, but others recognize their relationship with nature is not dominion but interdependence. The Up Down Day emphasizes this oneness with everything. Author Brian D. McClure believes in this message so much that he donates 100% of profits from his children's books to "The Forgotten Children", and organization providing relief to children in Africa. Brian has even created a "universal flag" mean to unite rather than divide people of the Earth. McClure's organization is a recognized 501c3 Non-profit Organization.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 28, 2009

Natural Cooking: Food and Wine Cookbooks

Almost every cookbook uses whole foods in their ingredient lists, which makes it easy to learn to cook naturally. Using organic ingredients ensures your food is the healthiest possible for your family. Recently, I was sent two new cookbooks by the editors of Food & Wine. Even though I am a vegetarian, and there are many meat recipes included, it is always easy to omit the meat and create great meals.

  • Food & Wine Quick From Scratch Italian Cookbook: As a working mom, I appreciate recipes that are quick, but I also want to create meals for my family starting with whole foods (i.e., "from scratch"). One recipe that looks particularly good to me is "potato pie with tomato and fontina". This recipe only takes 10 minutes to prepare, and it bakes for 50 minutes. I also love how each recipe comes with a wine recommendation!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 21, 2009

Really Natural Books: Flat Belly Diet Cookbook Features MUFA recipes

What's MUFA? MUFA stands for "super-health monounsaturated fatty acids" that are supposed to flatten your belly. I can't tell you whether Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook diet really works, but I can tell you the recipes look delicious and are quick to prepare. It is not a vegetarian cookbook, but there are plenty of recipes for veggie heads like me, including a whole vegetarian chapter.  In addition, there are many recipes that can easily be adapted for meat-free eating. For example:

Chickpea Curry with Cashews
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 can (15 ounces) no -salt-added chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
4 Tablespoons fat-free Greek-style yogurt

1. Whisk the cornstarch in a small bowl with enough of the broth to dissolve. Set aside.

2. Combine the oil, onion, curry powder, salt and pepper in a large skillet over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until the onion is softened.

3. Add the remaining broth to the pan along with the reserved cornstarch mixture. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened. Add the chickpeas and cashews. Simmer for 5 minutes for the flavors to blend. Stir in cilantro. Serve with a dollop of the yogurt.

Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook claims you can lose up to 15 pounds in 32 days! Whatever the veracity of this claim from the editors of Prevention magazine, you will at least eat well while trying!

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 16, 2009

Really Natural Books: The Girl Who Rode Dolphins

You can't choose a better title than The Girl Who Rode Dolphins to appeal to my daughter! The Girl Who Rode Dolphins by Michael J. Gans is:

A novel of epic adventure, treacherous risk, and resolute hope.


He has come to fulfill a solemn promise made to a comrade-in-arms killed in the mountains of Tora Bora. He is the consummate warrior, bold and courageous, daring to the point of recklessness. But fate intercedes, and Jake Javolyn finds himself the protector of the most incredible life forms the Earth has ever produced...


A beautiful girl and her Haitian mentor are not prepared for the violence and greed about to overtake them.

This book won the 2009 Green Book Festival's Science Fiction Genre Award. The Green Book Festival "honors books that contribute to greater understanding, respect and positive action on the changing worldwide environment". The book includes many modern issues, such as global warming and terrorism, while entertaining readers. The introduction gives background into the story's setting of Haiti, "currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, a Carribbean nation beleaguered by economic strife, dismal squalor, and political instability, a land of defoliation and ecological ruin." Gans writing style is easy to read and has received rave reviews.
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

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