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Jezebel Decadent Artisan Soaps – Natural and Sassy!

April 16, 2014

SoapsWith a name like Jezebel, you expect some sort of sassiness. Looking at the half-clothed women decorating the artisan body care products, you’ll soon realize that’s just what you get!

Jezebel Soaps is a young and fresh take on creating all natural soaps and body care products that are good for you. Turning its back on the traditional leaf and flower prints of most made-from-nature products, Jezebel Soaps harkens back to the days of burlesque and dares to create packaging with images of seriously sexy women.

As Kara Muller, founder of Jezebel Soaps, said, “My burlesque, risqué packaging is much more than a fun marketing ploy – it reflects my attitude towards my products. I truly believe that handcrafted soaps made from simple, old-fashioned ingredients make sexy and luxurious skin care products.” Indeed.

Body Butter

The body care line, which is just celebrating its first anniversary, takes tried-and-true formulas that have stood the test of time and aims to add a little pizzazz to make them more modern, with the addition of fragrances and specialty ingredients. Castile soaps get a little extra oomph with white clay. Buttermilk bath soaps have sea salt added.

Floozy Bath SoakJezebel’s product line includes soaps, massage oils, buttermilk bath soak, and body butter.  The products come in a variety of fragrances, all made with completely natural oils. Each fragrance is associated with a racy name, including:

Floozy – orange, vanilla and cedar

Harlot – a floral bouquet

Hussy – cedarwood, fir and grapefruit

Strumpet – citrus

Tart – lavender, orange and patchouli

Trollop – Ylang Ylang, patchouli, geranium and sweet orange

I was sent a selection of Jezebel body care products to try. The scents of each product are strong and intoxicating – definitely a bold fragrance that pairs equally well with each name! :) What I liked most was the fact that the ingredient list was small and easy to understand. Everything in these products is simple and natural. The packaging might get your attention first, but the commitment to pure products is likely what you’ll remember.

Products from Jezebel Soaps do NOT contain synthetic fragrances, sulfates, parabens, preservatives, colorants, or palm oils. The products’ sassy packaging is plastic-free and wrapped in recyclable wrappers and containers.

Soap Ingredients

New apothecary soaps – which treat problems such as acne, eczema and psoriasis – might not have the burlesque packaging, but are made with all natural ingredients nonetheless.

Hussy Massage oil

This Canadian line of all natural soaps is a great addition to your own stash of personal care products, but keep in mind that it’s definitely a conversation piece for a gift for a friend!  Think about bridal showers, Valentine’s Day, engagement parties and birthdays. Your friends will be amused, but then thank you for the all natural find!

Save Big on Organics With Bagged Produce

April 15, 2014

Bagged LemonsOrganic fruits and vegetables can be pricey. I am not arguing that. If you find ways to minimize those costs, though, you can score healthy-for-you produce at a fraction of the cost of what you think you might have to spend.

For instance, I’m a big believer in having half of a lemon in a glass of water each morning. It clears out toxins, speeds metabolism, and even my aesthetician just recommended that I do it for clear skin. Lemons are expensive, though. I’ve tried growing them, but a cold snap took out the tree. So it’s off to the supermarket to buy them – at a considerable cost.

Just this week, lemons were on my grocery list. At Whole Foods in Orlando, individual lemons were .69 cents each. That’s .35 cents a morning just for a water additive, but it is improving my health. The cost just didn’t sit right with me, though, especially when I bypassed lemons at Publix, too, because they were 3 for $1.99 – and they weren’t organic.

I was thrilled to see a display at Whole Foods for bagged lemons. I got 10 lemons (a 2 lb. bag) for just $3.99! That’s .39 cents each – a savings of .30 for each lemon. Even better, these are organic lemons, grown by Tomorrow’s Organics and Made in the U.S.A.!

Bagged AvocadoesI was also considering some avocados, too. At 2 for $4 for conventionally grown avocados, and 2 for $5 for organic ones, the price was just a little too steep. I found a bag of organic avocados, though, that brought the price down into doable terrain. Four avocados grown organically in Mexico were $5.99. Still a little steep, but at a cost savings of $1 per organic avocado.

These prices were in effect April 2014 at Whole Foods, Turkey Lake, in Orlando, Florida.

Sugarcane Plates from EcoProducts

April 12, 2014

Disposable plates, bowls, cups and cutlery in the food service business is a big problem in the waste stream. Billions of take-away food containers and serving pieces are tossed every year, without being recycled. EcoProducts is a company striving to change the face of waste in the food service industry by offering sustainable, greener options that work!

I was able to review EcoProducts’ Sugarcane Square Plates. The large plates would be great to serve up an entire meal in a food service buffet, or maybe at a picnic. The plates are similar to a cardboard or paper plate in feel, definitely not plastic-like. I thought that the sugarcane material might mean that liquids and grease would soak right through, but I was wrong.

EcoProducts Plates

 

I put a hot meat and vegetable dish soaked in olive oil on a plate and let it sit for a few minutes before picking it up. I expected the grease or some liquid to have soaked through the bottom, but was seriously surprised to find nothing had leaked through the plate. Even in the course of eating off of the plate for another 10-15 minutes, there was no evidence of any liquid or grease soaking through the plate.

EcoProducts reclaims sugarcane stalks, which are discarded by companies after extracting the juice, and uses the material that would otherwise go to waste to create a sustainable, disposable food service industry product. The sugarcane plates can be composted in food waste composting bins. Freezer and microwave safe, as well as able to handle hot and cold foods, the sugarcane plates are emblazoned with the EcoProducts logo in the center of the plate, promoting a company’s efforts at sustainability by using EcoProducts.

A variety of other food service industry products made from other natural materials are available, as well. Visit EcoProducts website for more information and to promote your commitment to sustainability through food service programs.

 

How to Find Healthy Snacks on a Budget

April 11, 2014

Odwalla Protein BarsI have a confession. While shopping at Target, I was starving. I wanted something quick, and I happened to be right near the registers. I grabbed a Twix candy bar. It was .79 cents.

A little indulgence every now and then isn’t something bad, even a Twix bar. But I grabbed that candy bar as a meal replacement, and I was hungry soon after stuffing my body with tons of not-so-good stuff.

Having healthy snacks available when you need them takes a bit of planning. Doing it on a budget takes a bit of planning, too. But scouring the sales at a grocery market as you walk the aisles can save you big bucks, and plenty of empty calories.

Most people say healthy snacks are too expensive. After paying .79 cents for a Twix bar, I disagree.

At my local Whole Foods, there was a special this week on Odwalla Protein Bars. The power packed granola-type bars came in several flavors, and have 12-14 grams of protein in each one, plus plenty of wholesome ingredients. The price? Just .67 per bar. Cheaper than a candy bar, and will last you longer, too. This was an incredible sale, but it was easy to stock up on several bars to keep on hand for a while.

Kind Bars Almond CoconutAnother favorite of mine is Kind Bars. The nuts and fruit combos are packed with protein and healthy ingredients. The bars typically retail for about $1.79 each, unless you watch for a sale. The Kind Bars are often on sale at Whole Foods and Publix for $1.25 each. These are often my breakfast, so at just .45 cents more than a candy bar and I get an entire meal, not just a snack, it’s well worth the cost. Keep in mind snack sized bagged chips are nearing $1.25, too, without the health benefits.

Beef SticksWhile I’ve never been a fan of beef jerky (Have you seen the ingredients in the stuff?? And the MSG????), I have just discovered the Vermont Smoke and Cure Beef Sticks. They were on top of the beef counter at Whole Foods, and after looking at the ingredients, I thought I’d try one. Totally impressed, I keep on eating more.

I enjoy the BBQ Seasoning Beef Stick (doesn’t have pork like some of the others) that has just a bit of spice, but not tough or chewy like beef jerky. At Whole Foods, the price is $1.99 each. If I ordered them online, it would be $1.25. Again, super healthy, lots of protein, and just a tiny bit more than junk at the registers at a big box store or gas station.

These are just a few suggestions. Obviously, get something that tastes good to you, has a decent shelf life (at least one month, so you can store some away in a purse or desk drawer to have on hand), and watch for sales. Don’t let the bullies tell you that processed foods are so much cheaper than healthy options.

 

Earth Day Cocktail Recipe with Casa Noble Tequila

April 10, 2014

Casa Noble Crystal TequilaEven your cocktails can be natural and earth-friendly! It’s a pleasure to find companies that put quality first and foremost, and Casa Noble is certainly one of the best tequila makers out there - and it’s USDA Certified Organic!!

If you’ve ever had a bad tequila, you know how it can ruin your night. That’s because you’re drinking crap. Literally. Many companies use chemicals in distillation and chemical additives.

Not Casa Noble. The 100% natural distillation process of this tequila producer located in the area of Mexico that gives the spirit its name means that you are getting a pure spirit without nasty chemicals. A triple distillation process (most makers only distill twice) ensures the highest quality product – and you can tell with just one sip. The tequila has been certified organic since 2009. Casa Noble represents 200 years and 7 generations of tequila-making history.

I received three samples of Casa Noble tequilas – Crystal, Reposado, and Anejo. After making a cocktail with Casa Noble Crystal tequila, I knew that I was drinking a pure spirit. The tequila didn’t overshadow the flavors, but rather, complemented them. It was a smooth taste. And I didn’t regret it the next morning (always something important to note!)

I was happy to come up with a personal cocktail to celebrate Earth Day, because being good to the planet means that you should enjoy yourself along the way, too! Here’s my recipe for a cocktail I’ve named Spicy Madre, in honor of Mother Earth. Hope you enjoy!

 Spicy Madre Tequila Cocktail

This take on a classic margarita has a spicy kick. Add just a little of the red pepper to see how spicy you enjoy your cocktail, adding more with subsequent creations of The Spicy Madre!

cocktail ingredientsIngredients:

2 oz. Casa Noble Crystal Tequila

1 oz. organic orange juice

1/2 tbsp. agave

Red pepper flakes

1/2 organic lime

Smoked sea salt

. . . . .

Add the agave and red pepper flakes to a glass. Muddle the agave and red pepper together until the flakes have broken up a little bit.

agave and red pepper flakes

Add ice to the glass. Pour tequila and orange juice over the ice and gently stir.

Squeeze half of a lime into the glass, reserving a slice of the lime as a garnish.

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Sprinkle a pinch of smoked sea salt on top to add a classic margarita touch.

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Why Organic Farming Matters at Cascadian Farms

April 10, 2014
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What does organic farming look like? It looks healthy and natural. You might be wondering what it takes to raise an organic crop. Let Cascadian Farms show you how it’s done.

A video tour of the care and harvesting of an organic crop at the company’s Skagit Valley Home Farm in Washington showcases why organic is important – and that’s it not that different from conventional farming. There’s just more passion and soul behind it, which is a good thing when it comes to the people who are raising your food.

The organic farming done at Cascadian Farm’s Home Farm, and other farms that supply organic ingredients for their products, means that no chemicals have been used on the food you are putting into your body. Farmer Jim Meyer said “the soil is the stomach” of the garden. You wouldn’t put a bunch of crap in your body and expect it to be healthy, so why should you expect any different when it comes to producing the foods that will soon be in your stomach?

Cascadian Farm Home Farm Really Exists!

April 8, 2014

Cascadian Farm LogoMy family has been enjoying Cascadian Farms products (especially the granola bars) for many years now. I assumed their familiar logo with a vast farm was just a pretty picture, but it turns out that this farm really does exist – and they want to show it to you!

Cascadian Farm’s product selection of 75 different items includes not only granola bars and cereals, but frozen fruits and veggies, jelly and relish, too.

Enjoying organic food is obviously so important for your health, yet you want it to taste good, too!  And Cascadian Farms delivers on that promise, it’s why it’s been in our pantry since the very beginning.

The company is adding two new products this year. The first are granola bars with 9 grams of pea protein added. The flavors are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Honey Roasted Nut, and they taste great!! Another new addition is Graham Crunch cereal, which I’ll report on later.

Cascadian Farms started on a family farm in the Skagit River Valley of Washington. Yes, it is a real place! Check out this video with great imagery of the farm home run by Jim Meyer and see why he calls it the “Magic Factory!”

Have you tried Cascadian Farms products? What did you think?