Monday, June 30, 2014

How to Make 10 of Your Favorite Sauces the Vegan Way

Many sauces have a meat broth base, and creamy sauces and dips often contain dairy. By using a number of substitute ingredients including vegetable broth, soy milk and pureed tofu, you can create a host of flavorful sauces and dips without animal-based ingredients. These articles will allow you to choose from a wide variety of vegan sauces and dips to prepare for your next meal or party.

In ancient Rome, foods could not be preserved through refrigeration. Food author Linda Stradley of What’s Cooking America suggests that sauces were most likely invented to cover up instances of doubtful freshness. Fortunately, sauces now simply exist to make our foods taste better and to add pleasing texture. Add flavor to pastas, pizzas, stir-fries and casseroles using these flavorful and easy-to-make vegan sauces.

1. Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Restaurant owner Alfredo di Lello invented Alfredo sauce for his wife by mixing together Parmesan, cream and butter in his kitchen. The sauce reportedly restored her appetite during an uncomfortable pregnancy. In this recipe, lots of onion is the secret to this easy, low ingredient and rich alfredo sauce. You will be shocked there is not an ounce of dairy in it!  Traditional Alfredo is full of fat and calories; this vegan version is much healthier.

2. Vegan Spaghetti Sauce

Marinara sauce has its origins in the 16th century. Supposedly, the Neapolitan sailors invented the sauce after the Spanish introduced the tomato, a New World crop, to Europe. A pot of simmering spaghetti sauce will fill your home with delightful aromas. The secret to this recipe is blending sun-dried tomatoes with a scoop of sauce and then stirring it back into the pot. The result is a thick and creamy tomato sauce with a ton of flavor unlike any other tomato sauce.

3. Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce (or Dip)

Peppers are used in many different Italian dishes. For example, many Italians use peppers to make Nduja, which is similar to Andouille sausage. In this recipe, smokey roasted red bell peppers and cashews make up the base of this sauce with red onion, garlic, and a touch of lemon juice. You can also use it in place of salad dressing, as a dip, a tasty spread on sandwiches, or tossed with gluten free pasta and topped with roasted veggies. The possibilities are virtually endless!

4. Vegan Ginger Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce is generally used in cuisine from Africa, Thailand, Malaysia, China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Ginger is a common ingredient, as is garlic, coconut milk and spices. This vegan ginger peanut sauce recipe makes an excellent sauce for stir-fry or a mid-day meal. It’s so incredibly filling and requires just 10-15 minutes of your time. It’s also vegan and gluten free, and for our peanut butter-adverse friends, simply sub in cashew butter or tahini.

5. Vegan Gravy

Gravy is traditionally made by sautéing flour in animal fat to form a roux. Then, cooks add milk or water to make gravy. You can still “pass the gravy” with this vegan and gluten-free recipe that gets its rich flavor and color from sautéed button mushrooms along with hearty spices like sage, thyme, and rosemary. You’ll also know that you’re serving a much healthier version of a rich and beloved classic.

6. Vegan Curry Sauce

Curry with vegetables makes a wonderful, flavorful weeknight supper. This korma-style curry recipe is sweet, mildly spicy, creamy…and just tastes so exotic. Curry is associated with Southern Asia but was actually invented by the British. The term curry was a catch-all for sauces made from butter, nuts, spices and fruits that were poured over rice.

7.  Vegan Enchilada Sauce

The Aztecs invented the concept of wrapping, filling and eating tortillas. The word “enchilada” first appeared in the U.S. in 1885 and literally means, “in chile.” Traditional enchiladas are more of a street snack consisting of a corn tortilla dipped in chile sauce rather than the casserole-like dish that we prepare in the U.S. today. This homemade enchilada sauce, it’s so incredibly easy and delicious and has one special and important ingredient, cocoa! Yes, it’s true. It adds a great complexity and flavor to the richness of the sauce.

8. Vegan Béchamel Sauce

This traditional French sauce usually has a base of milk with a buttery roux. In France, béchamel is known as one of the four meres or “mother sauces” from which all other sauces are derived. This recipe is creamy, "cheesy" and has that genuine delicious white sauce flavor. The trick with this sauce is to finely mince the onion and to make it creamy by sautéing it with some vegan margarine.

9. Vegan Pesto

Pesto means “pressed.” The inventors of this sauce had no access to food processors or blenders. Instead, they pressed the basil and other ingredients with a mortar and pestle. This recipe is kale-based because kale makes a killer pesto. With the addition of walnuts (healthy!), this pesto is basically a Super Sauce and can be used in a variety of dishes.

10. Vegan Mole

Historians believe that mole was invented in the 1680s in a convent in Puebla de los Angeles. The sister superior of the convent supposedly created the dish to honor the archbishop who created a convent for her order. This vegan mole is velvety smooth and decadent sauce with a nice spicy kick and hint of chocolate. Mole’s sophisticated blend of flavors earns it the right to be served as an entree, sometimes with a mere sprinkling on top of your favorite vegetable dish, or simply with rice and beans. It also pairs amazingly well with fruit or your favorite dessert.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cucumber Tips & Tricks You Don't Want To Miss!

  • Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.
  • For a pick me up in the afternoon... Put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and Carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours. Slice some and put in your water bottle.
  • If you rub a cucumber slice along your bathroom mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance. 
  • Place a few slices of cucumber in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.
  • Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemical in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!
  • Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!
  • Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries by European trappers, traders and explorers for quick meals to thwart off starvation.
  • Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.
  • Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!
  • Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water, the chemicals and nutrients from the cucumber will react with the boiling water and released in the steam, creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.
  • Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the photochemical will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.
  • Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but it won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

5 (More) Reasons the Benefits of Organic Food are So Incredible

In many cases, organic food does cost more than the conventional options. But the benefits of organic food for you, your family, the farmers and our environment, make it not only a worthwhile expense, but also a true investment into our future.

Need more reasons to make sure you’re getting all the benefits of organic food? Check out some of these latest stories in the news:

1. Pollinators love Organics: We know that pesticides and herbicides are detrimental to our pollinator friends, especially honey bees. And now, new data published in the journal Animal Conservation finds that pollinators actually prefer organically grown flowers. The insect-flower interactions were significantly and consistently higher in organic vineyards than they were on conventional vineyards.

2. Organic Food Reduces Pesticide Exposure:
Sure, this sounds like old news—one of the original arguments for the organic movement in the first place. But new research published in a recent issue of the journal Environmental Research found that the benefits of organic food reduce pesticide exposure in just one week. Study participants who ate at a diet that was at least 80 percent organic for a 7-day period reduced their pesticide metabolite levels by as much as 96 percent!

3. Everyone Benefits from Organic Food:
Certain “synergistic effects” exist in organic food that have a benefit far beyond your own plate, found researchers at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Conventional foods just don’t measure up to the phenolic compounds and lower pesticide levels in organics, the researchers discovered.

4. Organic Tomatoes Have More Antioxidants: Recent research published in the IOSR Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science found that the antioxidant levels in organic tomatoes were higher than samples of conventional tomatoes.
5. Can Organic Soil Stop Global Warming? Climate Change, Global Warming…whatever you call it, know this: organic soil may help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 40 percent and sequester as much as 71 percent of carbon, finds a report from the Rodale Institute.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!)

Serving Size: 4-6
Total Time: 1 hr 25 mins
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 15 mins


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar (or swiss or monterey jack or American) cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 1/2 ounces spaghetti sauce or 4 1/2 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Add salt to water and boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of water is evaporated.
  3. Remove from fire.
  4. Drain and partially mash lentils.
  5. Scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Stir in onion, oats and cheese until mixed.
  7. Add egg, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper.
  8. Mix well.
  9. Spoon into loaf pan that has been generously sprayed with Pam (non-stick cooking spray) or well-greased.
  10. Smooth top with back of spoon.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown.
  12. Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes.
  13. Run a sharp knife around edges of pan then turn out loaf onto serving platter.
[from SaraFish via]

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Eight Glorious Gluten-Free Cosmetic Companies

If you have Celiac Disease, food allergies or just want to eliminate gluten from your life, you’ve got to check out these gluten free cosmetics brands! Cutting out gluten from your diet might have seemed like a no-brainer but there are some pretty good reasons to use gluten free cosmetics also. Some people report not getting 100% relief just by going gluten-free in their diet and it is possible to ingest gluten from some of the cosmetic products we use. Luckily there are cosmetics companies who make quality gluten free cosmetics and are aware of the risks of gluten.

1. Ecco Bella Products

The first gluten free cosmetics company I want to mention is Ecco Bella. This beauty brand creates quality, gluten-free makeup, skin care, hair care and fragrances. They also have a variety of vegan products as well as cruelty-free, non-comedogenic and paraben-free products.

2. Bare Minerals

If you’re a fan of mineral makeup, you’ve likely heard of Bare Minerals or Bare Escentuals makeup. While most of their products are gluten-free, they have a disclaimer on their website stating that they cannot promise that each ingredient in their products was processed in a gluten-free environment. Check out their website FAQ page for a list of products that are free of oat, rye, wheat and barley here:

3. Afterglow Cosmetics

Afterglow is the first certified gluten-free makeup line by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. You can find tons of gluten-free beauty products on their website and if you sign up for their newsletter, you can get 10% off your first order! Some favorites include organic blush, lip gloss and mascara!

4. Zuzu Luxe

Zuzu Luxe is another fab gluten-free makeup company who specializes in creating luxury cosmetics inspired by European spas. Their products are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, corn-free and their ingredients are all natural. Take a look at some of their beauty products like dual powder foundation or mineral bronzer, which all come in eco-friendly packaging!

5. Joelle Cosmetics

Joelle Cosmetics, which is also known as My Mineral Glitters, considers themselves the celiac friendly alternative for natural beauty and the largest gluten-free makeup and skin care solutions store! Browse their online store for tons of options in makeup, skin care and hair care. They’re also creating more gluten-free products for the baby!

6. Intuitive Color

Intuitive Color’s goal is to create quality beauty products formulated with natural, cosmetic-grade ingredients that are safer than traditional, and mineral makeup that doesn’t feel heavy or cakey on your skin. They currently only make foundation that is applied in three steps with three different products to smooth, color and set.

7. Monave Mineral Makeup

Monave makes gluten-free, cruelty-free, 95% vegan and organic makeup that is made of only the highest quality mineral makeup. Choose from a variety of gluten-free lipsticks, concealers, eye shadows and skin care products. Monave prides themselves on creating superior cosmetics that suit women of all ages, complexions and lifestyles!

8. Red Apple Lipstick

Judging from the name Red Apple Lipstick, one would assume that this company only creates lipstick, right? They do make a great lipstick but they also make lip balm, lip liner, lip exfoliator, lipstick and eye shadows. This gluten-free makeup company has a 100% money back guarantee and will even discount their prices if you send in your old makeup!

Now that you’ve been introduced to some amazing gluten-free cosmetics companies, will you try them out? Some people might say that going gluten-free with your makeup isn’t necessary, but if you’re very sensitive to gluten, it can’t hurt and it could help improve the condition of your skin!

What’s your favorite gluten-free makeup brand or product?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Wilderness Dining: Healthy Food for Camping or Hiking

There's something special about eating outside. I don't know what it is, but food just tastes better in the great outdoors, whether that's in the back garden, on a picnic, or during a camping trip.  Packing healthy food for a camping or hiking trip can be tricky and even more so when you're vegetarian or vegan. You want the convenience of pre-made food, but not at the expense of your health. While you may spend several hours prepping all the food to ensure healthy eating on the trails, it's the necessary step to ensure you and your family have fresh, organic foods on the trails.

Staple foods and buy fresh ingredients as needed:

  • Small bottle of olive oil
  • Small jar of Marmite, jam or Nutella in a small pot
  • Tins of beans/chopped tomatoes/sweetcorn
  • Packet of microwave rice
  • Packet of tortilla wraps
  • Bread rolls
  • Small bottle of organic tomato ketchup
  • Small portions of dried herbs/spices in little bags  
  • Tea bags
  • Liter carton of fruit juice, frozen to use as ice pack in the cool box
  • Packet of vegetarian dried burger/sausage mix or frozen burgers/sausages/veggie bacon

Cooking equipment with us:

  • Camping kettle
  • 2 x 1 ring gas stoves
  • Small frying pan
  • Small saucepan
  • Small sharp vegetable knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Can/bottle opener
  • Tongs/spatula/spoon
  • Skewers
  • Foil 
  • Plastic cutlery/picnic set
  • Small chopping board
All of the recipes/ideas below either require no cooking, or can be cooked on a one/two ring camping stove.


  • Fried eggs/omelette/baked beans/veggie bacon/veggie sausages/hash browns/tinned spaghetti with fresh bread.
  • Warmed croissants/crumpets/mini pancakes/waffles/pastries.
  • Scones with jam.
  • Cereal with or without milk/non-dairy milk.
  • Cereal/flapjack bar.
  • Fresh/tinned fruit.


  • Filled sandwiches/baguettes/bagels.
  • Tinned/packet soup and bread.
  • Baked beans/tinned spaghetti and crusty bread.
  • Instant noodles.
  • Crudites, breads and dips - Buy tubs of dips (hummus, tzatziki, salsa etc), bread-sticks, pitta bread etc. Make cucumber, pepper and carrot crudites.
  • Pittas stuffed with ready-made felafels and salad.
  • Veggie burgers, hot dogs or sausages in bread rolls.
  • Ready-made onion bhajis/vegetable pakoras/samosas with naan.

One Pan Camping Meals

Garlic mushrooms - heat a drop of oil/butter in a pan. Add sliced mushrooms, a chopped red pepper and a large clove of crushed garlic. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve on warm ciabatta or garlic bread.

Quick veggie chilli/curry - Fry a chopped onion in a drop of oil. Add either 2-3 tsp mild chilli powder/fajita seasoning OR 1 tbsp curry powder/paste. Add a tin of ratatouille (or some chopped veg and a tin of chopped tomatoes) and a drained tin of beans/chickpeas/lentils. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.  Serve with wraps/nachos or naan bread.

Macaroni cheese - Buy a pot of 'fresh' cheese sauce and a bag of fresh pasta. Cook the pasta and drain. Pour the sauce over and heat through.
(Vegan option - use a tub of 'fresh' tomato and basil sauce and egg-free pasta.)

Quorn & vegetable pilaf - Make a simplified version using packet rice: Fry a chopped onion in a little oil, add some chopped veggie sausages or meat-free pieces and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1-2 packets of flavored microwave rice and a drained tin of sweetcorn. Heat until piping hot, stirring regularly.

Vegetable fajitas - Make these with paneer/halloumi cheese, or Quorn pieces. Simplify spices by just using mild chilli powder or fajita seasoning.
(Vegan option - omit the cheese and add extra beans.)

Veggie couscous - a drop of oil in a pan. Fry 1 chopped onion until soft. Add a drained tin of chickpeas and heat through. Stir in 1 or 2 packets of instant Moroccan flavored couscous. Add the required amount of boiling water, cover and leave to heat through as directed.

Sloppy Joes - Make using ready-made bbq sauce.

Quick Mexican quesadillas/burritos
- Heat a tortilla wrap in a pan, spread with some tinned refried beans a dollop of tomato salsa and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Roll up the wrap and flip over to warm through. Or try these green vegetable burritos or the very tasty Hawaiian quesadillas  (vegan option - use vegan melting cheese.)

Middle Eastern pittas -  Heat a wholemeal pitta in a pan, split open and spread the inside with some olive paste. Fill with a few ready-made falafels, a chopped tomato and some crumbled feta cheese. Pop back in the pan to heat through. (Vegan option - omit the feta.)

Pesto spaghetti - Don't panic, I realise that pesto generally contains Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, which contain rennet, but I've found that the cheaper supermarket brands contain vegetarian 'hard cheese' instead (eg: ASDA smart price pesto.) Cook some fresh or dried spaghetti. Drain and add a good dollop of pesto. Stir through and serve.
(Vegan option - use vegan pesto or sun dried tomato paste.)

Cheese fondue - Add a glug of dry white wine and a handful of Gruyere cheese to a tub of fresh cheese sauce. Heat until bubbling gently. Alternatively, double wrap a whole Camembert cheese (plus box) in foil and cook on the bbq or stove for around 15 minutes, turning once or twice. Serve with chunks of ciabatta or breadsticks to dip in. 

Frittata - Fry a chopped onion and a pepper in some oil. Add a drained tin of sweetcorn and break in 4 eggs. Mix well and cook for a few minutes until the eggs are cooked through. Serve with crusty bread.

Patatas bravas - Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan/frying pan. Shallow fry some (partially-defrosted) frozen potato chunks until cooked. Throw in 1 jar of tomato and chilli sauce and heat through.

Two Pan Camping Meals

Noodles and stir fried vegetables - Buy a pack of stir fry vegetables, a sachet/jar of black bean or sweet and sour sauce and 2 small packs of 'quick noodles'. Boil a pan of water. Add the noodles, bring back to the boil, cover and remove from the heat.  Meanwhile, heat a drop of oil in a pan. Fry the veg for 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce and heat through. Drain the noodles and top with the veg and sauce.

Sausage and bean stew -  Chop an onion and fry in a drop of oil. Add some chopped veggie sausages and brown for a few minutes. Add a tin of tomatoes, a tin of baked beans, a small tin of sweetcorn and some mixed herbs. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile make up some instant mash, or cook some pasta, new potatoes or rice.

Mexican rice burritos - Fill wraps with a combination of Mexican rice, refried beans and grated cheese.

Top 10 Reasons to Raise Chickens

Here are the top reasons more people are turning to backyard chickens.

Chickens make great pets. They have personality galore, and they're extraordinarily easy to care for. They're bright, funny, quirky, friendly, loving little balls of feathers-and they're entertaining, too. When you have a flock, you'll find they have their own friends, their own cliques, their own favorite nests. Chickens come in such an array of colors, patterns, shapes, and sizes that some of them look more like exotic tropical birds-or even alien life-forms-than farm animals.

Keeping chickens is a lifestyle choice; you keep chickens if you want to try to live in a more sustainable way. Having chickens helps fulfill a positive, back-to-the-farm way of living that's about becoming more sustainable. It's also a way to celebrate local, slow food, and reestablish a constructive connection with your neighbors and your neighborhood.

Raising chickens allows you to have more control over the type of food you put on your table
. You want organic? You want non-GMO? You want cruelty-free? These choices are all yours to make when raising your chickens.

Chickens will eat your table scraps and convert them into eggs on the one hand, and fertilizer on the other. If you grow vegetables or flowers, you'll find that composted chicken manure is great for your home garden, adding organic matter and nutrients to the soil. Plus, chicken manure from layers tends to be relatively high in calcium, which is helpful for plants, warding off blossom-end rot on tomatoes, for example.

Chickens will cut down on the number of insects in your yard. Anywhere chickens are allowed to forage, they'll snap up spiders, ticks, beetles, grubs, worms, grasshoppers, and more. They love to dig through lawn clippings and yard waste, too.

The eggs from hens raised with access to your backyard will be tastier and more nutritious! Research shows they're not only higher in omega-3s, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, D, and E, but they're lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.

They taste better, too. It's something you can see: All that extra nutrition gives backyard eggs a dark orange yolk-not the pale yellow color you see in store-bought eggs.

You'll be eating really fresh eggs—sometimes just minutes old-as opposed to the eggs you get in a grocery store, which can be 6 weeks old or more.

You'll be giving your children positive values
. Just as with other pets, keeping chickens can help kids learn about responsibility. But because chickens give back in such a tangible way-eggs!-your kids can also learn about reciprocity and how the care they provide impacts their pets directly. Once they taste the eggs, they'll also come to learn that store-bought isn't always better. Some things are worth doing yourself.

You'll have control over how humanely your wonderful egg producers are treated—and how healthy and clean their environment is.

Chickens are so easy to care for. No walking, no pooper-scoopers, no grooming, no boarding when you go away; they won't scratch up your furniture or chew your favorite slippers.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Buzzing About Bee Free Honee

Bee populations have been dying at a rate which the US government says is economically unsustainable. Honey bees pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of US consumer foods. In fact, some recent articles have said the rate of honey bee losses in the US are ‘economically unsustainable'; according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture, losses of managed honey bee colonies in the US totaled 23.2% last winter. 

The report, produced with industry group the Bee Informed Partnership, showed that the death rate for October 2013 to April of this year was better than the 30.5% losses for 2012 to 2013, but worse than the 21.9% in 2011 to 2012. Prior surveys found colony losses averaged 29.6% over the last eight-year span.

So what do we as consumers do? There really hasn't been a very good eco-friendly option for honey-like products out there in the market....until now. Enter Bee Free Honee - a local family-owned, green company based in Minnesota leading the movement to create a "honey" free of bees. Bee Free Honee is made in Minnesota and using strictly US grown, organic apples.

According to the company's website:
Bee Free Honee is the brain-child of Katie Sanchez.  Katie’s love of cooking started when she was young.  Growing up in Mound, MN, her family had an apple orchard in their front yard and her father (ironically) was a bee keeper.  For her tenth birthday gift, she asked to be able to cook dinner for her family, on the stove and by herself.  Cooking has been her passion for as long as she can remember.

Pastries were her preference, but at the time pastry schools were far less common and much more expensive.  So she decided to go to cooking school in Louisiana.  She worked on a line while looking to get her foot in the door of a pastry department.  That opportunity came at D’Amico Cucina, in Minneapolis.  There she had the privilege of working as the assistant to Pastry Chef Leah Henderson and under Chef Jay Sparks.  After three years, she left to go to work at an all natural bakehouse in St. Paul.  There she worked with vegan products and learned about the all natural foods world.  On more than one occasion she wished she could use honey in some of the vegan items.  The vegan sweeteners were so strong they would often mask subtle flavors such as vanilla or hints of lemon.

One day in 1999, while trying to make a less sweet version of apple jelly and being a novice with jelly, Katie accidentally created something that was definitely not jelly.  Not wanting to be wasteful, she ‘canned’ it only to discover in the morning, that what she had was honee!

Years later when she heard about the decline of the bee population, she asked herself two questions, could she reproduce her honee and was there a market for it?  She went back to the kitchen and after much trial and error she was able to say that she had a solid recipe.  Four years later, when she entered the market she did so with a website, a distributor, and three stores that carried her product.  We are excited to see what is to come and we are thrilled that you are along for the ride.
Bee Free Honee is taking the right steps to become a cost effective solution to the continued pollinator crisis that ties into an agriculture crisis. However, they (and we) don't want to just stop more about What We Know About The Bees...And Other Pollinators on their website and tell your family and friends about the ongoing crisis, get sweet on BFH by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and of course find a retailer near you to try out some Bee Free Honee for yourself!

30 Amazing Uses and Healing Powers of Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most incredible healing tonics you will find anywhere, period. I’m not even exaggerating, I don’t have to. The results that you experience as you put it to use will demonstrate enough that you don’t need a “peer reviewed journal” to tell you that it’s a miracle juice. The proof is in the pudding.

Here’s a graphic with 20 uses for Apple Cider Vinegar, but to be honest with you, they’re not even the cream of the crop. Wait until you see the list BELOW the picture, that will blow your mind so hard you’ll probably run straight for the pantry and start mixing it into everything before you even finish reading the article.

Okay, as promised, here are 10 more uses for Apple Cider Vinegar that will forever blow your mind and change the way you see this tantalizing tonic.

21. Apple cider vinegar can detoxify your home.

This is an acidic mixture which is ridiculously strong, which means yes: It is in fact a cleaning agent. You can use it straight or mix it with water and other soaps to create your own household soaps and detergents to use on your floors, windows, clothes, and dishes. Hell, you can even put it in your hand-soap bottles! With that addition, you save tons of money on cleaning supplies, and drastically reduce the amount of chemicals and toxins in your home.

22. It can make your hair shine.

Apple cider vinegar can be used as a rinse for your hair after shampooing, and will boost your hair’s body and shine. I recommend recycling an old shampoo bottle, then filling it with 1/2 a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of cold water. Pour the solution through your hair after shampooing several times a week for dramatic results.

23. It can remove stains from teeth.

Rub teeth directly with apple cider vinegar, and rinse with water. Simple enough instructions to follow, am I right?

24. It can soothe sunburned skin.

Add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath, and soak for 10 minutes to eliminate discomfort from sunburn. Alternatively, if you want to rub it on without a bath, PLEASE mix it with water first. The intensity and strength of ACV if directly put on your skin could really hurt, although afterwards there’s no doubt you’d probably feel freaking fantastic ;)

25. It’s an all-natural massage treatment.

Rubbing apple cider vinegar on your hands and feet will give massage-like benefits and relief to tired hands and feet.

26. Apple cider vinegar can aid in weight loss.

For daily weight management, add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 16 ounces of water. This concoction can be sipped throughout the day. Data shows some limited, yet significant, weight loss benefits from sustained daily intake of acetic acid (which is a main ingredient in apple cider vinegar).

In a 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, it was found that subjects that consumed acetic acid for 12 weeks experienced significant declines in body weight, abdominal fat, waist circumference and triglycerides. Triglycerides contribute to the bad cholesterol that we want to avoid.

27. Apple cider vinegar will balance your entire inner body system.

The body constantly strives to achieve a state of equilibrium. Apple cider vinegar helps the body maintain a healthy alkaline pH level. Research shows that higher acid levels (lower pH level) leads to a lack of energy and higher incidences of infection. Hence, my desire to sip some a few times a day for a natural boost of energy.

As part of balancing the body’s pH, apple cider vinegar creates an overall detoxification of the body. Research shows that it can help stimulate cardiovascular circulation and help detoxify the liver.

28. The use of Apple Cider Vinegar is effective in repelling fleas on your pets.

One part vinegar and one part water can be sprayed on your pets fur and rubbed in generously to the skin. Saturate the entire coat, and continue every day for a few days to a week. Any flea infestation will surely be gone.

29. It can help your body get rid of candida.

This vinegar is rich in natural enzymes that can help rid your body of candida—yeasts that are attributed to thrush in humans. Candida also is blamed for creating symptoms of fatigue, poor memory, sugar cravings, and yeast infections.

30. It’s an all-natural room freshener.

Apple cider vinegar will clean your toilets and leave your bathroom smelling like apples! Just pour apple cider vinegar into the toilet, and allow it to sit overnight. Bada-Bing, Bada-Boom!


(there is so much good info, I have to include it all!)

Bonus 1. Catching Flies

Flies are so bothersome… Take some ACV in a jar or a glass with a plastic lid or some kind of lid. Poke a few holes in it so the air can escape and flies can go through. They’ll get stuck in the drink and you’ll be free from their pesky bothersome ways.

Bonus 2. ACV is great for your lymphatic system.

This miracle vinegar helps to break up mucous throughout the body and cleanse the lymph nodes. Believe it or not, research suggests that apple cider vinegar can help with allergies because of its ability to reduce mucous and sinus congestion. When reducing the effects of allergies, it can also help stave off sinus infections and their related symptoms, such as sore throats and headaches.

Bonus 3. It Cures Athletes Foot Altogether

I have only recently found this one out, but I have personally witnessed it happening right before my eyes. Within a matter of days, with a single daily rubbing of ACV on a foot that has athletes foot, the foot is healed in its entirety, leaving nothing but a few lines as to the old effected area… and even they faded away within a day or two after that.

This stuff is seriously incredible. Give it a try, and you will see what I’m talking about ;)

Monday, June 2, 2014

8 Beers That Contain GMO’s Or Other Harmful Chemicals

Here are the 8 beers that are commonly found in bars in United States that you should stop drinking immediately.

Many of us choose what we eat very carefully, or at least dedicate our minimum attention to it. But when it comes to drinks, especially alcoholic beverages, we do little to make the best decisions for our health. Which is a HUGE mistake. All the work for your body can be ruined in a weekend out. While foods and non alcoholic beverages are required to list their ingredients and are monitored by the FDA, beer does not belong in either. Alcohol industry had lobbied for years to avoid labeling its ingredients. Some to protect its recipes, but most – to hide harmful ingredients.

Here’s some harmful ingredients that are commonly found in beer:
  • GMO Corn Syrup
  • GMO Corn
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Fish Bladder
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
  • Natural Flavors
  • GMO Sugars
  • Caramel Coloring
  • Insect-Based Dyes
  • Carrageenan
  • BPA
  • & lots more!


The Newcastle beer has been found to contain caramel coloring. Class 3 and 4 caramel coloring is made from ammonia, which is classified as a carcinogen. While alcohol is a carcinogen itself, drinking it in moderation may decrease your chances at developing cancer. However, more added carcinogens will have the opposite effect. “The one and only” beer with extra cancer causing qualities.


One of the most popular beers, or most advertised is Budweiser. Budweiser contains genetically modified (GMO) corn. In 2007, Greenpeace discovered experimental GMO rice in Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) beer.


Corona’s commercials were always so peaceful and relaxing. That is until I found out that the beer contains GMO Corn Syrup and Propylene Glycol. Propylene Glycol is controversial, and is said to may be potentially harmful to your health.


This is another very popular beer in America that contains GMOs. Miller Lite contains GMO corn and corn syrup. It’s “GMO time”.


Less popular but still readily available Michelob beer, should be eliminated from your choices. This beer has been found to contain a genetically modified sweetener (GMO dextrose).


Guinness is often praised for it’s smoothness.  However, several investigations proved that Guinness ingredients are quite disturbing. The beer contains isinglass, an ingredient which comes from fish bladder and high fructose corn syrup has been long banned from many stores and drinks.

Update: Good news! We’ve contacted Guinness and they have stated that they no longer use high fructose corn syrup in any of their beers.


Coors light is a drink that is very popular at bars and among college students.  Mostly because its cheap. The beer contains GMO corn syrup.


Pabst Blue Ribbon contains GMO corn and GMO corn syrup.


So when it comes to beer you have to be very careful. Your best option is to find a microbrewery that you can trust. As with everything, try to avoid cheap, low-quality products. Bars may offer Coors Light, Miller Lite or Budweiser specials, but they are cheap for a reason. The rest of the world is banning GMOs everywhere, while USA is lagging years behind, and only several states offer GMO labeling laws. Choose organic beer. Beers that contain 100% organic labels, have to have ingredients that are all 100% organic. While an “organic” label just means 95% of it will be organic.  European beer is most likely to be safe from GMO ingredients but unfortunately, most other beer contains GMO artificial ingredients, stabilizers, grains and preservatives, plus, HFCS. Check out this List of New Organic Beers for 2014


Organic Beers (Unpasteurized & Unfiltered)
  • Wolaver’s – all beers
  • Lamar Street – Whole Foods label (brewed by Goose Island)
  • Bison – all beers
  • Dogfish Head (organic when ingredients available)
  • Fish Brewery Company – Fish Tale Ales
  • Lakefront Brewery – Organic ESB
  • Brooklyn – (organic when ingredients are available)
  • Pinkus – all beers
  • Samuel Smiths – Samuel Smiths Organic Ale
  • Wychwood – Scarecrow Ale
Non-Organic Beers (Unpasteurized & Unfiltered)
  • Sierra Nevada – all choices
  • Duck Rabbit – Brown Ale, Porter, Amber Ale, Milk Stout
  • Dogfish Head- 60 Minute IPA, Shelter Pale Ale, Chicory Stout
  • Shipyard – Summer Brew
  • Victory Brewery – Whirlwind
  • North Coast – Blue Star
  • Bridgeport – IPA (Bottle conditioned)
  • Ayinger – all choices
  • Royal Oak – Pale Ale
  • Fraziskaner – Hefeweisse and Dunkel Weisse
  • Weihenstephaner – Hefe Weissbier
  • Maisel’s – Weisse
  • Hoegaarden – Belgian Wit
  • Heineken
  • Steamwhistle
  • Amstel Light
  • Duchy Original Ale Organic
  • Mill Street Brewery
  • Fuller’s Organic
  • Nelson Organic Ale
  • Natureland Organic


It’s important to expose companies that use harmful ingredients in our products. This information is hidden from the public with millions of dollars of false advertising, laws, etc. You can always vote with your money. As this information about GMO beers spreads, we will see a decrease in production of these beers and the companies may eliminate the harmful ingredients altogether. Most importantly, when you hang out with your friends, you will be able to share beer that’s more delicious and healthier.