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Natural Food Colors, Sprinkles, and Sparkles

It’s that time of year when many of us start dreaming about cookies: rolled cut-out, springerle, snowballs, pinwheels, gingerbread, crescents and more. Most holiday cookies have some type of decoration which led me to start thinking about what I was putting on top of my cookies. As I went through my baking cabinet reading labels, I was surprised to learn that nearly all the bottles of food coloring and jars of sprinkles and sparkles contain artificial colors and additives  so I tossed them in the trash. I knew there had to be healthy alternatives out there so I set out to find food coloring, sprinkles and sparkles made with natural ingredients. Read more »


Theo Salted Almond 70% Chocolate Bar

Seattle-based Theo Chocolate makes one of the best tasting dark chocolate bars on the market:  the Salted Almond 70% Chocolate Bar. The company starts with the finest 70% dark chocolate made from organic, fair trade and non-GMO certified cocoa beans (that come primarily from the Congo, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Peru) and adds organic almonds and a touch of Fleur de Sel to produce the ultimate sweet and slightly salty chocolate bar that has a crunch in every bite. Read more »


KUR Delights

KUR Delights are, for lack of a better word, delightful organic individually wrapped sweet treats that are easily packed in a lunch box, backpack or purse. Ideal as a mid-day snack – with absolutely no added sweeteners – Delights are naturally sweetened with organic raw dates (a fruit with a natural sugar content of about 80%) to which four to seven other raw and organic ingredients are added to make the three flavors: Brownie, Dark Chocolate Mint, and Coconut Cream. Certified USDA Organic, Gluten-free, Non-GMO verified, and Kosher, Kur Delights are a pure and healthy product for those who have a passion for dates. Read more »


“How To Be Alone”

I wonder if our current cultural susceptibility to the charms of materialism – our increasing willingness to see psychology as chemical, identity as genetic, and behavior as the product of bygone exigencies of human evolution – isn’t intimately related to the postmodern resurgence of the oral and the eclipse of the written: our incessant telephoning, our ephemeral e-mailing, our steadfast devotion to the flickering tube. Read more »


Peppermint Peppies

Last summer, while attending the Fancy Food Show in New York City, I reluctantly tasted a sample of peppermint bark (after all, it was June) that made me stop, pause and reconsider my aversion to eating “holiday” candy in the summertime (it was dumb logic, anyway). The delicious treat was called a Peppermint Peppie: creamy white chocolate blended with peppermint oil, cloaked in rich, dark chocolate and then sprinkled with red and white peppermint crunchies. Rich and decadent, Peppermint Peppies give a new modern meaning to peppermint bark. Read more »


Those Dang Chips!

Dang Chips are toasted coconut chips with a strong, sweet aroma, a very satisfying crunch, and a sweet, slightly salty taste that will make you say “Dang, that’s good.” Made of three ingredients: coconut, sugar, and salt, Dang Chips are made in Thailand where Vincent Kitirattragarn’s mother, Dang (hence, the product name) grew up. Read more »


Penne with Butternut Squash and Zucchini

Butternut squash is a colorful and nutritious vegetable but also a bit bland and mushy which is why this year-round vegetable is often used as a base for soups or served mashed. Combining butternut squash and pasta may seem like a double mushy idea but the addition of seasonings for flavor, green zucchini for color, and toasted almonds for crunch make for a delicious main course or side dish. Easy to make in a large skillet, the dish takes 30 minutes from start to finish (with 20 minutes of the time allocated to cooking). Read more »


“You Are Not A Stranger Here”

You and all the inheritors of wealth who think life is a matter of perfected sentiment. You are wrong.

Adam Haslett’s first published book, You Are Not A Stranger Here was a both a finalist for the National Book Award in 2002 and the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. –  a notable achievement that few writers attain. A collection of nine short stories, You Are Not A Stranger Here was written by a master storyteller who skillfully weaves psychosis, devotion, death, clairvoyance, neglect, suicide, abandonment, and homosexuality into the lives of his characters. Cleverly written, many of the stories contain a train wreck the reader rarely sees coming which is the beauty of Haslett’s writing – the element of surprise. Read more »


Nature’s Path Qi’a Superfood Breakfast Cereal

Nature’s Path Organic Qi’a Superfood Breakfast Cereal is more aptly known as Qi’a (pronounced Kee-ah), a trio of seeds and grains – chia, hemp, and buckwheat – full of plant-based protein, fiber, and Omega 3’s. Certified gluten-free with no added sugar or salt, Qi’a is also certified organic, non-GMO project verified, and vegan. Loaded with protein – 6 grams per 2 tablespoon serving – Qi’a also provides 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving with no added sodium. Read more »


Charles Chocolates Bars

Charles Siegel is the creative genius behind San Francisco based Charles Chocolates, a company with a total passion for producing the finest confections.  Established in 2004, Charles Chocolates makes a variety of sweets:  truffles, cremes, nuts, pralines, caramels, orange twigs, gourmet S’mores, chocolate covered nuts, edible chocolate boxes (really!), and my favorite: the Charles Chocolate Bars. Made by hand in small batches using the finest ingredients – chocolate, organic herbs, fruits, organic cream and butter, and nuts – and traditional artisanal techniques, Charles Chocolate Bars are decadent, rich, and deeply satisfying. Read more »