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Early Bird Granola

Grocers are slowly dedicating more space in the cereal aisle to granolas although this oat-based cereal is no longer limited to being a breakfast food. These days we also sprinkle granola over frozen yogurt, gelato or ice cream and eat this healthy treat as a snack. There are dozens of types of granola available as we all have our preferences with mine being heavy on the oats and nuts. So, when I came upon a bag of Farmhand’s Choice Granola by Early Bird Foods & Co., I immediately read the label, which listed the following ingredients:  organic rolled oats, toasted organic coconut, organic pepitas (pumpkin or squash seeds), organic sunflower seeds, fancy pecans, real maple syrup, extra virgin olive oil, organic brown sugar, and salt. Wow, was all I could say. Read more »


“The Dovekeepers”

Two years ago, I traveled with my family to Masada, a remote fortress on a mountain in the Judaean Desert of southern Israel by the Dead Sea. Masada is legendary for being the place where more than 900 Jews killed themselves rather than be tortured, killed or enslaved by the Romans approximately 2,000 years ago. The day of our visit was brutally hot and there was little shade in this fortress that King Herod built as a refuge. As the sun was beating down and I looked in every direction and saw only the dry earth of the desert and the salty Dead Sea in the distance, I remember thinking “why did they die for this?” “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman answers that question. Read more »


The Yoku Moku Cookie

The Yoku Moku cookie is a delicate buttery confection made with all natural ingredients with no preservatives or additives. Made primarily of butter, sugar, egg whites, wheat flour, almond powder and vanilla, the Yoku Moku cookie literally melts in your mouth. Light and crunchy, the Yoku Moku cookies have several variations: Read more »


Twinkle Pops

A Twinkle Pop is a beautiful small lollipop that comes in a variety of colors and shapes. The pop is distinguishable from other lollipops by an extra long hollow plastic stick that not only makes the pop easy to hold but fun to sway back and forth, as well. Holding a Twinkle Pop feels like you’re holding a long-stem tulip only better because it’s edible. Read more »


“By the Iowa Sea”

By the Iowa Sea” is a memoir by Joe Blair, a middle-aged Massachusetts-born motorcycle-lovin’ adventurer who examines how he became so profoundly unhappy with his life, his marriage, and with himself. In the summer of 1989, 25-year old Blair is trying to figure out what to do with his life when he decides to leave his hometown (Boston) and take a cross country trip on his motorcycle. With $1,500 in his pocket he spends two months exploring the US and decides he will always travel, never cave in to convention, or settle down. Read more »


John Kelly Chocolates

John Kelly Chocolates is a California-based company that makes award-winning chocolate fudge products by hand in small batches using premium all-natural ingredients. The company’s signature piece is the Truffle Fudge Bar which combines the rich, creamy texture of a truffle with the intense flavor of fudge. Scrumptious and decadent, the Truffle Fudge Bar is best described as a silky fudge bar coated with a thin layer of semi-sweet chocolate.   Made primarily of sugar, chocolate, evaporated milk, and butter, the bars come in a variety of  flavors: Read more »


Seggiano Pesto Sauces

Several weeks ago, my daughter was grocery shopping with her dad when she called me from Whole Foods to tell me there was no fresh basil to make pesto and asking if Seggiano Pesto Genovese Sauce was ok to buy. She read the label and repeated the list of ingredients to me:  olive oil, cashew nuts, fresh Ligurian basil, sea salt, and pine nuts. Rarely do we ever indulge in a store-bought sauce but after hearing the list of ingredients, I told my daughter to put the jar in the grocery cart; it was worthy of a try. Read more »



Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild”  is a 43-year old writer, wife, and mother who lives in Portland, Oregon.  When Strayed was 22 years old, she lost her 45-year old mother to lung cancer and spent the next four years alternating between trying to preserve her family and her marriage, both of which disintegrated by the time she was 26 years old. Recognizing the need for a change, Strayed (the name she chose for herself after her divorce) set out to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a 2,663 mile trail that lies east of the Pacific coast from California to Washington, and then write about the experience. Read more »


Soliciting Grocery Shoppers for Donations

Over the past week, I’ve been asked 11 times by retail clerks if I want to donate money to a charitable cause. This question has been asked by cashiers in grocery stores and in a variety of retail establishments. Yesterday, I decided to use the self check-out at a Stop & Shop grocery store in Connecticut and was approached by three separate sales clerks asking if I wanted to donate money. After I finished bagging my groceries, I went to the manager’s desk and politely told her that most people want to grocery shop in peace, that the grocery store is one place where the expectation is to be a customer, not a source of donations.  Read more »


Cookies For Grown-Ups

In 2008, a company called Lark Fine Foods started making and selling “cookies for grown-ups” meaning cookies that are full of flavor but not overly sweet.  Using all natural ingredients: flour, butter, olive oil, whole wheat, sugar, chocolate, and spices, Lark Fine Foods makes scrumptious crisp cookies that can be truly appreciated by adults, although kids have been known to devour them, too. Read more »