Archives For organic

Have you ever used rice syrup? A few years ago, I had not. I was at Whole Foods, thinking about how to make my traditional pecan pie, when I realized I certainly shouldn’t use corn syrup.

I asked one of the employees what she would do. She immediately pointed out the rice syrup and told me you could use that instead of corn syrup.

So…I tried it. And my family loved the pie that year.

So what is brown rice syrup?

Well, it is an organic sweetener of distilled rice flour with a delicate flavor. It is sold in jars in the baking aisle in especially health food stores…or Tropical traditions can bring it to your doorstep.

This past Holiday season, I tried the Tropical Traditions brand, as I was very pleased with some of their other products. The price is very reasonable and they have quick and reliable shipping.

Some things about TT rice syrup:

  • Gluten Free
  • Certified Organic
  • Ideal sweetener for hypoallergenic diets
  • Easy to digest
  • Great source of sustainable energy
  • Non-distinct flavor
  • Complements a wide variety of foods

After getting my rice syrup, I used this recipe for Maple Pecan Pie. I did leave out the bourbon one time and I liked it better without.

It was fantastic! This is my husband’s new favorite pie. I think Easter will have to have a pecan pie now also:)

While using the rice syrup is perfect for a pecan pie, you can use rice syrup in many ways—pretty much whenever you need  sweetener.

Try it now, while it is on sale: Special Price! – Organic Brown Rice Syrup – 16 oz.

Check it out on Tropical Traditions. You can find lots of recipes on their blog

Find more information on the Tropical Traditions Facebook page on follow them on twitter.

Or, WIN one Jar~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose.  Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. I have given my opinion.

Have you seen these new Phix Energy drink sticks?

I was super curious to try some of these natural energy drink mix sticks. I am perfectly happy with my big glass of water to drink…but I do also count on my morning coffee and afternoon tea. And, if something important is going down, I need more coffee!

I do use organic milk in the coffee, ok? Ha! Well, I know many people use things like coffee and diet drinks and such for pick me ups during the day. My own teens are asking for things like this as they get older and need more stamina for tests, and sports, for example.

Anyway, so the kids have brought home all kinds of energy type drinks. I often fuss at them about all the unpronounceable ingredients on the labels and beg them to find healthier choices.

When I saw Phix Energy, I wanted to try them. I want natural and organic ingredients. I know the kids want flavors. Phix drinks make us both happy. They offer cool flavors like CitronTropic, and Teaberry. And, the little single serving sticks can be used on the go. They even have vitamins and minerals.

Phix says, “Our powders are entirely natural, vegan, and gluten free. All our solutions are good for you and of course they’re completely safe. Just mix with water and drink to your health!”

So, when I got a trial, I immediately tried the organic, gluten free Teaberry.  I liked that one. When dissolved in a glass of water, it had a berry taste. It did have a teeny aftertaste to me. When I tried the Tropic the next day, I read the directions better and decided to use more water. For me, Using about 14 oz of water and letting the Tropic sit a minute worked. It was delicious. I like to use my blender bottle, but you do not have to.

My daughter liked the Tropic, too. In fact, my teenagers all liked them, so I put them into their stockings at Christmas! All in all, they are fun and colorful. I see now, you can even use the Phix as a hot drink in winter. I’ll have to try that.

While I did not give up my beloved coffee for Phix, I liked having an afternoon pick me up with these. I did not have a crash later. Honestly, I am most excited about the kids having a choice that is more natural if they want.

 “Phix does not just rely on caffeine to boost and maintain energy, it was designed by leading naturopathic physicians and licensed dietitians to utilize the body’s natural healing power,” said Brown, “So we can guarantee you’re Drinking In Health.”

Phix also has a calming drink, called Phix Sleep. I tried that Lemon Camomile. I did not like the camomile flavor. It was okay, but I don’t like camomile. I gave it to my husband to taste and he loved it and drank it all. Basically, if you like herbal tea flavors, you’d probably like this one. The 1/2 cup I drank made me sleepy!

Phix is coming out with more flavors, (like sugar-free grape) so keep an eye out for these! You can also get more information on them, like what exactly is in them, and how to order some on their website:

Phix Energy (Teaberry, Citron & Tropic) –
Phix Sleep (Lemon Chamomile) –

You can visit them online at follow them on Twitter: and watch videos on YouTube:

AND, you can win some here to try! Enter below using the Rafflecopter!
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Full of full size USDA organic items

Known for their award winning gift baskets, Gourmet Gift Baskets takes pride in creating specialty gifts. Their baskets are fun and whimsical and stocked with such high quality items. Just looking through the catalog made me so happy! I was delighted to see such attractive organic gift baskets and even gluten free gift baskets in the catalog.

When I received our Classic Organic Gift Basket, I was surprised to see all full size versions of USDA Organic treats. What a delicious and healthy variety of snacks! On top of being good for you, the selection had a bit of everything, fruit, crackers, sweets…

I was really impressed with the items, some of which I had not even seen yet, even though I love to browse specialty food stores!

Just look what was in here (from their site):

· Blue Star Farm Organic Crackers by Partner’s – 5 oz. – Light, crispy, and flavorful, these certified organic crackers are sure to put a smile on the face of your favorite organic enthusiast!
· Organic Creamy Peanut Butter by Koeze – 17 oz. – Try this peanut butter once, and you will never go back to grocery store brands!
· Organic Strawberry Jam by Colorado Mountain – 6 oz. – Perfect when paired with the Blue Star Farm Organic Crackers that we have included in these organic gifts, this jam is absolutely delicious!
· Organic Vanilla Bean with Green Tea Sandwich Cookies by Late July – 9 oz. – These incredibly delicious, flavorful sandwich cookies are a revelation in gourmet organic flavor!
· Organic Assorted Fruit Candy Drops by Yummy Earth – 3.3 oz. – This perfectly portable organic candy is incredibly edible and brings sweet organic candy flavor wherever it goes!
· Coconut Bar by Oskri Organics – 2.2 oz. – Let the taste of the tropics transport you to a sunny beach with one of these organic coconut bars!
· Baked Granny Smith Apples by Bare Fruit – 2.6 oz. – This convenient snack pack contains all the rich flavor of the Granny Smith Apple in a convenient and travel friendly bag.
· Organic Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers by Late July – 5 oz. – These peanut all-natural, organic peanut butter sandwich crackers are the perfect bite-sized peanut butter snack!
· 3 Pepper Tortilla Chips – 7.5 oz. – These organic blue corn three pepper tortilla chips are a flavorful fusion of red, black, and white pepper and infused with a touch of onion, garlic, and tomato.
· Mild Salsa by Brad’s Organic – 16 oz.- This certified organic salsa goes perfectly with the 3 pepper tortilla that we have included in these organic food gift baskets!

The Classic Organic Gift Basket retails for $79.99. If you are looking for a special someone, or that hard to choose for someone, do take a look at Gourmet Gift Baskets. There are so many beautiful gift baskets, with a wise range of themes and prices, and still time to get shipped for Christmas!

I received the Classic Organic Gift Basket for my review. I have given my honest opinion.

When I first began buying organic and going gluten-free I felt lost in the grocery store. I wanted to have a personal chef whip me up delicious, healthy breakfasts and dinners.

I was overwhelmed with all the information on what was good for me.

  • Was natural good? (not really)
  •  Should I go vegetarian? (not totally for me).
  • Should I buy only organic dairy? (YES).
  •  Should I buy only organic meat? (YES).
  • Should I buy only organic fruits and vegetables? (we decided yes, but you can also make change more slowly by going by the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 list).

Little by little, I began to feel a bit more knowledgeable about what I should buy and prepare for my family. It also took a long time to mess with the food budget to afford organics for a family of seven.

Do I feel it was hard? (Actually, I do. But TOTALLY worthwhile, and I feel it is becoming easier and you can even find more coupons!)

Everytime I find something delicious, organic and sometimes even gluten free, I get excited. When I first found Nature’s Path Cereal at Costco, I was thrilled. Something delicious, organic and not too pricy. Whoo! Seriously. I get excited.

Anyway, I have used many Nature’s Path products in the past few years. I recently asked them for a little treat for my readers for my Holiday Gift Guide, and they were kind enough to send some products and a cookbook to try out.

And for you, they are offering a bundle of Nature’s Path goodies to one U.S. reader for the giveaway!!

Sweet…and healthy!!

In my goodie box, we had several types of their cereal to try out. I was familiar with all of them, but I had never thought to use them in cooking! The little cookbook they included had some genius ways to use the cereals in recipes, like muffins and such. I especially liked a sweet potato one using the Flax Plus® Pumpkin Raisin Crunch so I made that one. It was so good—the kids didn’t love that one as I think they expected hot sweet potato casserole and this was cold(ish) with pecans and pineapple. My husband and I adored it! I will definitely use these more in cooking. Fantastic idea.

Yes, I *almost* forgot to take a picture! This was easy and very good.

So, go check out the website and see what organic cereals and snacks you would enjoy. They have bars, cereals, waffles, all sorts of things. You can find nutrition facts and such there and also read the minifesto.

I may not have a chef, but now I eat like I have one:) An easy way to eat better!

Click Continue Reading to Enter this giveaway! Continue Reading…

Wholly Guacamole Coupon!

Heather —  November 16, 2011

High Value Coupon, enjoy! They even have Organic products!!

Available through Nov. 20, 2011


Inside Out Coconut Peanut Butter Cups By Michelle, Diggins, MO (taken from Tropical Traditions Website)

By the time I heard about the peanut butter shortage, I already could not find my organic peanut butter at my usual store. Bummer!

But, every obstacle usually brings some benefit…and learning curve. {grin} So, when I got a chance to try another Tropical Traditions product I chose the Coconut Peanut Butter.

I figured my kids would like it and I might be able to cook some sweet things with it for the Thanksgiving Holiday. And, I like coconut and I was craving organic peanut butter.

The first day we had it, my daughter and I had Coconut Peanut Butter sandwiches (yeah, that wasn’t hard!) I really enjoyed the flavor. It was not as sweet as I expected – not sure why I expected sweet – but it stirs up to a nice texture and it so peanutty with a bit of coconut. I immediately began thinking of ways to cook with it. (This tells you an item is delicious, if I bother to cook with it!)

While I was searching for a recipe, a facebook friend who has lots of great recipes on her blog (aren’t they awesome??) told me to try mixing it with a bit of honey and coconut and dip it into chocolate, making little chocolate balls. You know, like all the Holiday Peanut Butter Balls—but filled with only organic things. Whooo! What a wonderful, easy Holiday Treat! I have dibs on the dark chocolate ones.

Then, I saw the recipe pictured above. NOW, that’s an easy Holiday Treat!  Either way, perfect!!

You can purchase Coconut Peanut Butter here (and they are having a sale right now, too!):  Organic Coconut Peanut Butter – 16 oz glass jar

And, I get to giveaway one 16oz. Jar of Coconut Peanut Butter!

To enter, please click on Continue Reading, below:

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Sometimes I know I make my life too hard. Like trying to come up with fancy organic treats for the kids.

All they really want in the Summer is a popsicle!

I wavered a bit about buying the plastic molds, but these are BPA free, so hopefully, not too bad to use.

So, My secret recipe? Stock up on Santa Cruz organic juice, preferably on sale. (or ANY organic juice the kids like–often stores carry Natures Promise organic lemonade cheap)

Pour into popsicle molds. Stick in freezer overnight or at least several hours.


Enjoy ~ you just did organic:)

For tons more information and ideas about feeding your children organically, check out the Easy Organic Living Group on Babycenter!

Whole Foods Holiday Gift Boxes.

Heather —  November 8, 2010

I love gift boxes!! Honestly, my favorite treats are gift baskets. It is even better when the mailman comes…and you don’t know what you’ll find inside…I just love the anticipation with this kind of gift!

Anyway, suffice it to say I’m a sucker for the Holiday gift boxes and baskets. So, when I saw that my favorite store, Whole Foods, is offering Holiday Gift Boxes this season, I got, well, a bit over-excited. Those of you who know me, know that I did.

So is it wrong to have that kidlike eagerness?

Nah. Enjoy life, right?

And, if you want to treat friends and family…but not load them down with foods with artificial preservatives, flavors and hydrogenated fats, this is a great way to go. All the products inside the gift boxes meet the Whole Foods Quality Standards.

I may just order myself another one. Or two.

As you can see in my video, I got the Ciao Down Package. This is a great one for large families—A healthy, full meal, with a special appetizer and bit of dessert!

I loved the selection of Whole Foods Gift Boxes. You can choose from:

  • The Gift of Grub – Summer sausage (with no artificial nitrates!), shortbread, nuts, caramels, chocolate and more.
  • You’re Zenzational — Lotions, bath salts and other personal care products.
  • Get Warm, Get Fuzzy – Coffee, tea and cocoa together with plenty of sweet treats.
  • “You Rock” Box o’ Choc – A tremendous amount of chocolate, including bars, cookies and brownie bites.
  • Ciao Down – Pastas, sauce, pesto and other classics combine for easy Italian feasts.

I can’t decide which other one I’d really want. Shortbread vs. Coffee? Spa products? Who decided what was to be in the boxes? They are geniuses. The only hard thing about giving these gift boxes is making the choices. Seriously. (If you really cannot decide, they have gift cards, too)

Also, how often have you felt badly when you get tons of packaging? I was impressed that my package was sturdy but not overpackaged. Whole Foods says that they went green for these gift boxes. Want specifics? Here you are:

“By using a higher quality corrugated cardboard in one box instead of lower quality in two, we were able to use fewer resources. And the cardboard we did use is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (license code FSC-C101601).”And, for packing materials, they use 15% post-industrial waste shredded paper that is compostable and recyclable.

Prices range from $40 to $60 (plus shipping).

You can’t get these in-store—they are only available online. You can also check out Gift Box FAQ!

I received a Ciao Down Gift Box from Whole Foods for my Review. I have given my honest opinion.