August 23, 2012

Make Your Own Soda Recipes: The Artisan Soda Workshop

Sodas used to be homemade at local shops. These soda fountains offered unique flavors beyond the cola we are used to today. Now, thanks to Andrea Lynn, you can make your own unique, homemade, natural sodas.

The Artisan Soda Workshop: 75 Homemade Recipes from Fountain Classics to Rhubarb Basil, Sea Salt Lime, Cold-Brew Coffee and Much Much More is a cute little book that features many great recipes. At first, I was worried you needed a machine, like a Sodastream Fountain Jet Soda Maker, to use these recipes. Fortunately, no machine is required, but you can use one if you have one.

FLAVORFUL FIZZY SENSATIONS Craft amazingly delicious and stunningly creative sodas using natural, gourmet syrups you make at home. Nothing is more refreshing than soda. But why settle for canned carbonation when you can make your own delectable sodas at home? Artisan Soda Workshop shows you how to take soda to the next level by making flavors like:

• Apricot-Cinnamon
• Riesling and Raspberry
• Mango Chile
• Prickly Pear
• Fizzy Cantaloupe Agua Fresca
• Lemon -Thyme
• Plum Vanilla
• Cranberry, Orange and Ginger

With step-by-step instructions and colorful photos, this book's palate-pleasing recipes make it easy to create your own bubbly concoctions from exotic combinations of fruits, herbs and spices. These thirst-quenching drinks serve up parties bubblier, fill hot days with fizzy fun, and impress even the most discriminating of tastes.

These homemade sodas would make wonderful cocktails!

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 26, 2011

Really Natural Cookbooks + Recipe: The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook: Simple Food Solutions for Everyday Meals

My father is a celiac, and I have dappled with a gluten-free lifestyle myself. Once you get started, it is really quite simple to learn to cook gluten-free, whether it is simply a choice or medical need.

The Cooking Light Gluten-Free Cookbook: Simple Food Solutions for Everyday Meals is filled with great recipes and photographs to get your mouth watering!

Here's an example of a recipe:

Cinnamon-Raisin Muffins with Streusel Topping


1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts

1⁄4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons brown rice flour

(such as Bob's Red Mill)

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

11⁄2 tablespoons canola oil or



Cooking spray

3.3 ounces brown rice flour (about

3⁄4 cup; such as Bob's Red Mill)

4.1 ounces potato starch (about

3⁄4 cup)

2.1 ounces tapioca flour (about

1⁄2 cup)

3⁄4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

11⁄2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

3⁄4 cup raisins

1⁄4 cup chopped toasted walnuts

1⁄3 cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 cup plain soy milk

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. To prepare streusel, combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl with a fork until mixture resembles small peas.

3. To prepare muffins, place 18 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups. Coat liners with cooking spray; set aside.

4. Weigh or lightly spoon brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, granulated sugar, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in raisins and walnuts; make a well in center of mixture. Combine oil, vanilla, and eggs in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir in soy milk; add to rice flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle batter evenly with streusel topping.

5. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched lightly in center. Cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm. Yield: 18 servings (serving size: 1 muffin).

CALORIES 201; FAT 8.5g (sat 0.8g, mono 3.9g, poly 3.2g); PROTEIN 2.3g; CARB 31g; FIBER 1g; CHOL 24mg; IRON 0.6mg; SODIUM 149mg; CALC 57mg

I can't wait to try out these recipes!  Many of the recipes are not vegetarian, but it is pretty easy to adapt them, and this cookbook does not claim to be a vegetarian, gluten-free one.  Also, some recipes rely on gluten-free mixes, like Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix, which doesn't both me as it simplifies the recipes, and it is always stocked in my pantry.

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 25, 2011

Really Natural Recipes: The Best Organic Whipped Cream and Cream Cheese Frosting

I've made simple cream cheese frosting, and I've made simple whipped cream frosting. Both are good, but combined is an unbeatable frosting that holds its form but is not overpowering like traditional powdered sugar icings.

Whipped Cream and Cream Cheese Frosting
Use organic ingredients for best results!


Using a whisk attachment on a mixer, stir until smooth. Then slowly add:

  • 2 cups heavy cream

Continue mixing until sturdy and stiff. Frost a cooled cake. No refrigeration required before frosting.

Photo:  AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by lbell87

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

March 15, 2011

Sunspire Sun Drop Cookie Recipe: M & M Cookie Healthy Alternative

Baking-SunDrops.pngI recently walked into our school kitchen and saw a flashback from my youth: M & M cookies. Luckily, Sunspire makes a natural alternative to M & Ms.  

Ingredients: Dried cane juice & unsulphured molasses, whole milk powder, cocoa butter, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin [a non-GMO emulsifier], pure natural vanilla), SHELL (Dried cane juice, whole rice solids, beta carotene color, beet juice color and caramel color, vegetable & beeswax, pure food glaze [without sugar]

Sunspire Sundrops Plain are delicious to snack on alone, but this week I was inspired to try the recipe on the bag and make cookies. Here is the recipe, with some healthy modifications. I omitted the additional chocolate chips and added spelt flour.

Sun Drop Cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Combine and set aside:

  • 1/4 cup organic spelt flour

  • 2 cups organic unbleached white flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Cream together:

  • 8 ounces organic butter

  • 3/4 cup organic Sucanat (or brown sugar)

  • 3/4 cup organic sugar

Beat into sugar/butter mixture:

  • 2 organic eggs (add one at a time)

  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla

Blend in flour mixture slowly, then fold in:

  • 1 cup Sun Drops

  • 1 cup chopped organic walnuts

Drop by teaspoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes. Yields three dozen cookies.

Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

July 9, 2010

Vegan Garden Recipes: Organic Kale Chip

As summer time temperatures are heating up, I am searching for ways to use up the kale in my garden before it starts to bolt. One super easy recipe that kids love is kale chips. This snack is healthy and a good replacement for potato chips.

Organic Kale Chips

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a cookies sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut or tear kale into bite size pieces and lay out on cookie sheet. 
  • Spritz kale with olive oil and Bragg's Liquid Aminos or soy sauce. 
  • Sprinkle lightly salt and nutritional yeast over kale. 
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, depending on the oven.

You may want to experiment with different spices to flavor your kale chips. They should turn out crunchy and sort of melt in your mouth. Of course, you can buy kale chips, but it is much more fun and easy to make your own.

Image: daveeza

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

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 17, 2009

Really Natural Recipes: Oven Roasted Balsamic Vinegar Cherry Tomatoes

My garden is exploding in produce, and I overplanted cherry tomatoes this year. One quick and easy recipe that uses up a lot of cherry tomatoes (and my daughter adores) is Oven Roasted Balsamic Vinegar Cherry Tomatoes. This vegan recipe is super simple to make and complements almost any main course.

Oven Roasted Balsamic Vinegar Cherry Tomatoes

These oven roasted cherry tomatoes are even good cold in your lunch on the following day!
Jennifer Lance at Permalink social bookmarking

September 28, 2007

Weekend Reading: How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

Bittman-how-to-cook.jpgWe've said it before - vegetarianism is the new prius. (Well, actually, the folks at Treehugger said it, but we totally agree.)

In another sign that eating less meat has become mainstream, Mark Bittman, author of The Minimalist column for The New York Times offers up How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

We're big fans of Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook, which features tasty recipes using minimal ingredients and prep time. Bittman offers up simple recipes and easy-to-follow instructions, followed by numerous variations. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian includes more than 2000 recipes and variations.

How to Cook Everything Vegetarian ships October 15th. We can't wait to pick up our copy.

Order How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

September 7, 2007

Weekend Reading: Adventures of an Italian Food Lover by Faith Heller Willinger

Admit it. Summer's over. Time to head back to school, back to work, back to everyday life. But that doesn't mean you can't dream about being somewhere else.

Personally, I'm headed to Italy, with a copy of a beautiful cookbook and set of stories from Faith Heller Willinger called Adventures of an Italian Food Lover.

Willinger, a contributor to Epicurious who lives in Florence, has compiled stories and recipes from friends across Italy into a sophisticated and highly readable book that pays tribute to warm, talented people, fresh local ingredients and the meals you can enjoy when you bring them together. With listing information for restaurants and buying information for products as well as recipes, it comes off as part cookbook, part guidebook, and part love letter to a country that Willinger has gotten to know through its cuisine.

ArrowContinue reading: "Weekend Reading: Adventures of an Italian Food Lover by Faith Heller Willinger"

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

August 1, 2007

Recipe: Nonfat Yogurt Smoothie

Here's a recipe for tasty smoothie that's high in calcium, low in fat (no fat, actually) and packed with fruit and fiber. As someone who sometimes struggles to get enough servings of fruit in my day, this is one of my favorite summer breakfasts. Experiment with fruits and juices to get a flavor and texture you like -- or to use up fruits from your last trip to the grocery store.


1 cup nonfat yogurt (I like Stonyfield Farm Organic for taste and its eco-friendly promotions)
1 cup frozen blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
1 banana
1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds
1/2 cup orange juice
Optional: peaches, kiwis, frozen mango

Instructions: Add ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

June 14, 2007

Recipe: Sauteed Radishes and Wilted Radish Greens


Fresh-picked radishes taste like summer. And sauteed baby radishes with wilted radish greens? Well, they just taste delicious. Here's the recipe Russ and I used to cook up the bunch of radishes included in our CSA share.

1 bunch of baby radishes with radish greens
1 Tablespoon butter
salt and pepper

1. Wash radishes in cold water. Cut off the greens and set 'em aside.
2. Slice the radishes thin, and saute them in melted butter.
3. Add the greens (still wet) and saute until wilted (less than 1 minute).
4. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

June 6, 2007

Recipe: Oatmeal Pancakes from Cooking with Aloha


ReallyNatural's founder Jay Brewer recently returned from a trip to NYC where he met Ann Hall Every, the author of Cook with Aloha. We like the section of her site dedicated to Good Food, Good Health, where we found this recipe for oatmeal pancakes.

Cooking with Aloha Oatmeal Pancakes

1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) rolled oats
2 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves
3 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla or almond extract
Canola cooking spray

ArrowContinue reading: "Recipe: Oatmeal Pancakes from Cooking with Aloha"

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

May 1, 2007

Miriam's Low-Fat "Magic Brownies"

Our friend Miriam, a terrific cook, is always looking for ways to make recipes healthier. Here's a low-fat brownie recipe she adapted from Cooking Light. It uses prune puree instead of butter, so the brownies are, well, almost good for you. They're also a great source of fiber -- an added benefit if you're looking to add some fiber to your diet.

Miriam's Low-Fat "Magic Brownies"


1/3 cup Prune Puree (see Note below)
1/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso granules
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups unsweetened cocoa
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Vegetable cooking spray


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the first 5 ingredients; stir well, and set aside. Combine cocoa and next 4 ingredients (cocoa through salt); stir well, and set aside.

Combine sugar and egg whites in a large bowl; beat at high speed of a mixer 3 minutes or until mixture resembles marshmallow creme. Add Prune Puree mixture; beat at low speed until well-blended.

Sprinkle flour mixture over egg white mixture, and fold in. Fold in chocolate morsels. Spread batter evenly into a 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 325 degrees for 25 minutes or until brownies spring back when touched lightly in center. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Makes 35 brownies. I suggest enjoying them with a big glass of skim milk!

Note: To make prune puree, combine 1-1/3 cups (8 oz.) pitted prunes and 6 T water in the container of a food processor. Pulse on and off until prunes are finely chopped. Makes 1 cup.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

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