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“Tenth of December”

George Saunders is a master short story-teller whose talent is skillfully displayed in The Tenth of December, a collection of ten short stories that was recently published (2013). A writer who seems to be writing about the mundane aspects of life – work, buying a puppy, planning a birthday party, or picking the kids up from school – Saunders is, in fact writing about the big picture: parenting, corporate greed and power, entitlement, human rights, mental illness, and despair. With George Saunders, there is always a message that says something about our culture and what we value and that’s what makes his short stories so thought-provoking, hilarious, and often heart-breaking. Read more »


Storage Solutions: The Mason Jar

There are only a few products as useful today as they were 150 years ago and the mason jar is certainly among the elite group of old-fashioned products whose innovative design still stands strong. Invented by John Landis Mason in 1858, the mason jar was awarded a patent because the glass body with the 2-piece lid (the flat top and hollow screw-top lid)- provide a hermetic seal allowing fresh food – especially fresh fruit and vegetables – to be preserved for future consumption. Read more »


Organic and Natural Sugars

Until recently, I didn’t think there was really that much difference between refined sugar and organic sugar but there is a big difference and one worth knowing about.  Bone char (which are primarily pelvic bones from cattle that have been ground, heated, and charred) is often referred to as a natural carbon and is widely used by the industry to filter sugar through an absorption process giving sugar cane that “pure” white color we’re all used to seeing when we open a bag of refined sugar. Not all sugar companies use bone char to process sugar – some use other carbon systems – but many do so the easiest way to avoid bone char is to buy organic and natural sugars.  Read more »


The LenkaBar

York, Pennsylvania may be well-known as “The White Rose City” but many people don’t know that York is also the home of Lenka’s Fresh Snacks, the maker of LenkaBars: granola bars made with organic granola and fresh, natural ingredients. It all started in Mom’s (Lenka’s) kitchen six years ago with her recipes for homemade granola bars that called for the freshest ingredients. The popularity of the bars grew and although LenkaBars are now made in a commercial grade kitchen, Lenka still makes the bars using her unique recipes in small batches. Read more »



Pastoralia is a collection of six short stories by George Saunders, a professor at Syracuse University who teaches creative writing in the MFA program, and a writer of essays, short stories, novellas (a narrative that is longer than a short story  but shorter than a novel) and children’s books. Published in 2000, Pastoralia is Saunders’ second short story collection  (the first being CivilWarLand in Bad Decline published in 1996) and my first introduction to his work.  After reading Pastoralia, I was blown away and had several thoughts: Read more »


Sorghum: The Hearty Grain

Sorghum is a small circular grain that is often referred to as the traditional grain of India although it originated in Africa thousands of years ago. Popular in geographic areas that can be prone to drought, sorghum is hearty and has a chewy texture making it a staple grain in India and Africa. The flavor is neutral although some varieties are slightly sweet which allows spices and seasoning to shine through in a dish. In the west, sorghum is more often cooked and then added to soups, salads or used as an alternative to rice in recipes although more recently sweet sorghum flour has become a popular ingredient in gluten-free recipes.  Read more »


Erewhon Supergrains: Buckwheat and Hemp Cereal

A big part of everyone’s day is breakfast and what better way to start the day than with a delicious bowl of cereal?  With most grocery stores devoting the whole side of an aisle to cereal selections, there is usually something for everyone.  But, what if you’re looking for a delicious, nutritious cereal that has simple recognizable ingredients with no artificial colors or additives? Look no further because there is a new cereal on the market called Erewhon Supergrains: Buckwheat and Hemp that not only tastes incredible but is also nutritious.
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The Chocolat Moderne Bar

Chocolat Moderne Bars – six exquisitely flavored chocolate bars – are the invention of Joan Cuokos, one highly educated Chocolatier who earned a degree in French and Russian from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Chapel Hill before studying chocolate and confectionary arts with a coterie of French, Belgian, Swiss and American chocolatiers in New York and Las Vegas. Read more »


“The Whore’s Child”

Readers often ask me who my favorite writers are and although the question is tantamount to asking what my favorite foods are (there are many; where should I start?), I usually answer “Jonathan Franzan, John Irving, and Richard Russo” because the trio represents an elite group of writers whose prose never fails to keep my interest. Each author has his own writing style but they all share the traits of great writers – sentence fluency, character depth, memorable word choice, and an interesting story to tell. Read more »


Holy Crap!

When Corin Mullins couldn’t find a healthy great tasting breakfast cereal that addressed her husband’s food allergies and sensitivities, she created her own and called it Hapi Food cereal. At the local farmer’s market on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Corin started selling her bagged cereal and when one of her first customer’s tasted a sample and said “Holy Crap…this is amazing,” the name of the cereal was changed to Holy Crap. That was May of 2009 and since then, the popularity of Holy Crap has skyrocketed  (literally, to the International Space Station where Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield enjoyed it during his five month mission earlier this year). Read more »