July 2011








Halloween Luminaries | Pottery Barn Kids.

I am such a sucker for Halloween! Pottery Barn always has the cutest items in the Pottery Barn Kids–and I adore anything paper-mâché!


Did the USDA Just Deregulate All GMO Crops…Without Telling Anyone?.

How scary is it that American consumers, trying hard to watch what type of toxins, chemicals, genetic disruptors, etc. we ingest–we have to learn about more moves by our USDA to deregulate GMO crops. I guess it’s time to start growing a container garden! : /

…or tallow (beef fat). Or “Fatty Acids” (rendered beef fat). Dryer sheets–those static-removing sheets that we put into the dryer to eliminate irritating static cling–seem an unlikely spot to find animal products. Yet, the sheets may be coated with synthetic fragrances and a nasty helping of beef fat that is used to soften our clothes.


So, now I have to worry about my dryer sheets as well?

You can choose to make your own dryer sheets; however, currently I am enjoying method’s squeaky clean dryer sheets for baby. These sheets are actually moist (not dry) and they can be reused, which is great, since the package has 40 sheets. I’ve successfully used one sheet three times  and my laundry feels/ smells great.

method eschews animal products and instead uses plant-based ingredients to allow for a soft, dried laundry load. method produces the sheets in different scents, including a fragrance-free option. Yet, I love the smell of the rice milk and mallow scent that is particular to their baby products. It really makes my towels smell fresh, and all of my laundry is static-free, soft, and inviting to the touch. More importantly, the laundry is not coated in unnecessary animal fat. The more opportunities I have to use products that are sustainable, and not derived from animals, the better!

You can check out method’s dryer sheets here: http://www.methodhome.com/product/squeaky-green-dryer-cloths/?free__clear  I purchased a pack of 40 sheets at my local Target. Using a coupon, I spent less than $4.00 on the item.

In an effort to pare down my ingestion of corn syrup, I went on a mission to upgrade some of my condiments. Behold, Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup. I absolutely love this ketchup! It has a tart, tomato-vinegar flavor that is fresh and authentic.  Even my picky eaters (two sons) enjoy the flavor. It’s not as sweet as the more popular, mainstream brand that is corn syrup-laden. I also love the fact that the Trader Joe’s  ketchup has its own facebook fan page:


With only a few organic ingredients and an affordable price tag, Trader Joe’s ketchup makes it easy to swap out one HFCS condiment in my  family’s diet. I appreciate the opportunity to eat something that is simply what it SHOULD be–which is a tomato-based product, organically produced, without unnecessary additives. Also, the price (less than $3) is competitive to other brands while remaining easy on my wallet.

Check out Trader Joe’s here: http://www.traderjoes.com/index.asp  For the thrifty, note–they DO accept manufacturer coupons! Note–the company accepts coupons for items NOT under the Trader Joe’s label.

*HFCS=high fructose corn syrup.

**Ingredients in Trader Joe’s Organic Ketchup: Organic tomato puree Organic sugar Salt Organic white vinegar Organic onion powder Organic spices

I’m a fan of Mark Bittman’s writing in general–especially his writing for The New York Times.  Browsing his blog, though, is also rewarding, especially for me–since my cooking chops are fairly limited without recipes, etc. If you haven’t had a chance to read Bittman’s writing concerning food, check out his blog (since you can’t really browse much of The New York Times anymore without having to pay for a subscription. The food photography is sharp and always motivates me to get to my local farmer’s market–if I can just remember that the farmer’s market is back open!

Bittman’s blog & site: http://markbittman.com/