Saturday, December 31, 2011

#Review - Tsp Spices, Spice Sets

The first things that struck me as soon as I opened up the parcel and caught sight of the Organic Sun Shine - lemon zest and orange zest spice set and the Organic Herb Sampler was how wonderful these to would be to give or receive. It has gift written all over it. The packaging resembles that of a CD or small book box set. The lines are clean and I'm fond of the chocolate with white trim on the boxes.

Inside the Organic Sun Shine spice set is 2 tins, one containing 12 - 1 tsp packets of Lemon zest and the other containing  12 - 1 tsp packets of Orange zest.

Inside the Organic Herb Sampler are 24 packets in total of 6 different spices: Basil, Dill Weed, Oregano, Rosemary, Tarragon, Thyme

First of all I have to say that I find the whole idea behind tsp spices really interesting, because they are individually wrapped, the spices keep their potency longer. So there is a lot less wasted spice. I find the spices much more flavourful than any conventional spices I have recently purchased. It has a homegrown taste and I know any gardener will be pleased with that notion. I learned while browsing the tsp spices website that not only did a spice need to be free from pesticides and insecticides, but to be considered organic a spice had to be pure... or free from debris like twigs, fillers and other foreign matter. Tsp Spices supports sustainability and healthy farming practices. Actually, I have really enjoyed browsing through their website and I encourage you to do the same.

Disclaimer: I received a couple spice sets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and are based upon my own experience with the product.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

#Review - Organic Sencha Mint Green Tea

Those who have graced my door know all too well how big of a tea drinker I am... every few months I stock up my cupboards with classic teas and current favorites and a couple new treats to sample. When I have company over I'm quick to make everyone a hot beverage and yea I can be a bit of a tea pusher. When I approached Eden Foods about doing a product review, they offered me a selection to choose from and as soon as I seen the words "Sencha Mint Green Tea", I instantly became excited. In case you are wondering, Sencha Mint is a unique blend of Japanese organic green tea leaves, with Egyptian organic spearmint and organic peppermint leaves.

This box arrived last week and it is almost gone. I have made pot after pot of this tea and shared it with friends. I haven't encountered one tea drinker yet who didn't care for it. I serve it without milk or any kind of sweetener. The sweetness of the spearmint and mint are enough. The brew is very strong and I can re-steep the same bag a few times.

One thing I noticed about the packaging that caught my eye and made me feel all warm inside was that not only was the box printed on recycled cardboard, but it was printed with vegetable ink!

 Their catalog has over 250 items listed and you can download a .pdf or request a print copy here. With that large of a selection, I wonder what their other products taste like!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Product Review: Hugo Naturals - Essential Mist

I received a lovely amber bottle of Essential Mist in Calming French Lavender to review. You might remember my review of the Indonesian Patchouli & Sandalwood Massage and Body Oil. Hugo Naturals also sent that wonderful product.

The Essential Mist is a great all over body spray for after bath or shower. A few spritzes cools down my skin and is a great way to add quick hydration. This blend of purified water and essential oils can also be used as a fabric refresher. Consider spritzing a few pillows, a stuffed animal or a babies blanket in a nursery with this calming lavender scent. Even spritzing the furniture in the living area to give that calming effect throughout the house. You can even spray your hair with it if you like. Since there is no carrier oil you do not need to worry about greasy hair. I really love the quality of the products at Hugo Naturals. I love that they are cruelty free, vegan and gluten and Soy free.

One thing that I really love about the product is that they do not use any artificial colors or synthetic fragrances. I am allergic to yellow #5 and it bothers me to no end when companies needlessly add cheap synthetic dyes to a product that is going to be placed on the skin and absorbed into the body or ingested into the body. More and more people are developing sensitivities to these ingredients and suffer side effects from an accumulation of these toxins in the body over a period of time. So, I embrace companies that are conscious of that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Product Review: Nature Balance Wellness - Part 3 of 3

Over the last few weeks I have posted 2 different reviews about various products from Nature Balance Wellness. You can read the review for the facial collection here and the second review can be found here. This is the third and final installment of this review series. I have been thrilled with the quality of these products and would have no objection to working with these company in the future. They have been a privilege to work with and I really encourage everyone to pay them a visit.

The Marigold Magic Body Butter is one of's best selling products. It is great for eczema sufferers and those with sensitive skin. It is remarkable on really dry and even cracked skin. I get really dry feet in the winter and this did a fantastic job of breathing some life back into those tired feet and elbows. I like to put it on after a bath, my skin just soaks it right up. The sweet orange softens the skin and the calendula heals the skin and promotes skin growth.  Sweet orange oil also promotes optimism and calendula helps heal stretch marks! This cream is even gentle enough to use on babies

The Love Me Lavender Body Scrub is one of my favorite products hands down. Lavender is amazing for the skin. I use this product nearly every time I shower and a little goes a long way. I especially love to use this product on problem areas on my legs and bikini area. Some areas need a little more love, especially if you are a frequent shaver. Speaking of shaving, I was told that this product also doubles as a shaving oil. Use it first to exfoliate and then wait and you can use the extra moisture to shave. It really does keep the skin terrifically moisturized and give you a close shave without all of the ingrown hairs, but the downfall is that it gunks up the razor quickly. Perhaps I need to adjust the time in between exfoliating and shaving. Immediately after using this product I watch as the water beads right off of my skin. The smell is so calming, I'm in love.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Product Review: Eden Botanicals - Essential Oils

I received a few samples of essential oils from Eden Botanicals a US company located in Hyampom, California. The samples included:  Sandalwood, Lemon, Lavender and a tiny Sample of Jasmine Absolute.

The samples included a note about how each oil was collected, its place of origin and the plant part that contains the essential oil. In the case of the tiny sample of Jasmine, the oil is collected from the flowers. In the case of lemon the oil is collected from the peels. The potency of these oils is impressive, I can distinctly smell each one through the tiny sample vial without opening it. Since the samples were shipping in clear containers I have been storing them in a dark spot in my home where the light won't reach them.

Certain methods of extractions are more costly then others but these costly methods help preserve more of the plants essential oils. These things help determine the cost of the oil. The Jasmine for example is a more expensive oil so the sample size was much smaller than the Lemon, Sandalwood or Lavender oil.

I recommend stocking up on some oils because not only to they offer terrific aromatherapy benefits but certain oils also have medicinal properties. Tea tree for example is a powerful antiseptic... Thyme oil is a wonderful disinfectant. Look to Eden Botanicals as a source for pure wholesale essential oils and even rare ones!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tsp Spices - Spicy Nachos

I received a few different products from Tsp Spices to sample and I was very fortunate to have been sent some organic mild ground chili pepper. So, I decided to make nachos. I did use ground beef in this recipe, you can substitute the ground beef for ground turkey or opt out of the meat portion of this recipe all together. If you choose to opt out of the meat, might I suggest adding the chili pepper and splashes of hot sauce to the salsa. The salsa can be homemade or store bought, it is entirely your preference.

I used ingredients that I had on hand and I did not put any sour cream on my nachos because sour cream holds my hand and carries me into a world of pain. As you can imagine, "world of pain" isn't a prime vacation spot.

Ingredients: ground beef, 1 package kettle nacho chips, Salsa, Jalapenos, Choice of Olives (we used green and black), Cheddar, onions (green and regular), hot sauce, 1 tsp pkg of ground chili pepper.

While the ground beef was cooking we added the Chili Pepper courtesy of Tsp Spices and some hot sauce to taste. Spicy foods are high in request in this house during the colder months of the year.

Afterwards the children helped me scatter the prepped ingredients (except the salsa) onto 2 baking pans. I don't include the salsa in this step because it really does make the nachos too soggy. So I usually put the salsa on the side as a dipping sauce for the nachos or over them after they have been baked.  

 I bake them in the oven long enough for the cheese to melt and the chips to get warm and a little crispy. Allow to cool temporarily and enjoy.

These nachos were very spicy and that is to be expected when you put jalapenos on your nachos. I managed to sample the chili pepper when I first added it to the hamburger and I must say. There is a distinctive freshness to this product like no other in my spice cupboard unless it is homegrown and has been dried properly.

Product Review: Hugo Naturals - Massage and Body Oil

Have you ever heard of the company Hugo Naturals? If not I recommend that you take a peak at their product line. They have a wonderful selection of products for both mother and baby and even products for the men in your life. I received a couple products from Hugo Naturals to review. Today I am going to write about the Indonesian Patchouli and Sandalwood Massage and Body Oil.

While I am not a masseuse, (someday!) I absolutely love giving massages. It brings me great joy to help people heal their physical and even emotional pains and stresses whether it be in council or just in providing a calm, relaxing atmosphere for the people in this home and our loving guests. This oil is the perfect blend of masculine and feminine scents. Sensual is indeed the perfect description of this scent experience, the patchouli is strong but the sweet woodsy notes of sandalwood provide a delicate balance. I often find myself dabbing a drop of this oil on my wrists to use it as a nice perfume. Sweet Almond and Jojoba oils are the base oils so this product is great for skin. Naturally, to protect the oils from sunlight (which causes it to rapidly oxidize) it comes in a lovely amber bottle to filter out some sunlight. What I love about this product is it doesn't leave you feeling like you immediately need a shower like many other massage oils on the market.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Product Review: GoGo Quinoa - Granissimo Pilaf

As you know I received a few different products from GoGo Quinoa to review. Last week I reviewed the Granissimo Paella and this week I am going to review the Granissimo - Basmati & Wild Quinoa Pilaf.  Did you know that GoGo Quinoa is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization?

A quick rundown on the Pilaf. It is organic, gluten free and vegan. A great source of Iron, the Pilaf contains 5 grams of protein per serving. This 200 gram box has a suggested serving of 4.

We actually used this as a side dish and in hindsight I regret that decision. Don't get me wrong. It was delicious, although the kids didn't care for it nearly as much as I did. In their defense it is bland and they probably won't appreciate that as much as I do for another 10 years. Not to mention the oldest has been tremendously picky as of late. I blame his current tween phase for this finickiness. I added a little bit of homemade Greek vinaigrette for flavor and I really enjoyed it, of course that inspired me to think about how delicious this would have been mixed with a Greek Salad and stuffed into a nice giant pita. I'm drooling just thinking about it. You could stretch it further that way too. Again, like the Paella, I loved the consistence.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Product Review: Nature Balance Wellness - Part 2

I reviewed the facial collection for oily skin by Nature Balance Wellness . I had also received a few extra products at that time that I decided to review separately. So I could pay a little extra focus to each of these well deserved products without having a ridiculously long blog post. Today I'm going to review the Beach with Lime Body Wash, the Desire Body Lotion and the Healing Balm for Burns, Scrapes and Rashes.
Crisp, refreshing and lightly foaming, Beach with Lime Body Wash is the perfect embodiment of the ocean and the scent of that lime wedge on the side of whatever your drink of choice might be. I love using this in the shower and the smell has an invigorating effect on my spirit. I feel so uplifted and fresh every time I use it no matter how funky my mood might be at the time. Nature Balance Wellness seems to have a masters degree in developing luxuriously potent scent-scapes.

The Desire Body Lotion is absolutely amazing. It is very hydrating and not greasy whatsoever. It is gentle and it smells divine.  Unisex, the hubby and I have both been using it regularly. He tried to claim dominance over it when he first smelled it. Cute. It is also gentle enough to use as an eye makeup remover. I have nothing but good things to say about this product and the scent combination is so brilliant. I am a big patchouli and orange lover to begin with the addition of Jasmine and Sandalwood this is a truly spectacular blend.
What a great little soothing stick of wonder. The Healing Balm for Burns, Scrapes and Rashes provides a protective barrier for those who may have dry itchy skin like my youngest boy. It smells good too! My neighbor and good friend Travis tried some and he found the scent very much reminded him of a balm from Burts Bee's that he used to use as a child. It brought back good memories for him. One of the main ingredients in this balm is Chickweed!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Organic Alert: Product Review: GoGo Quinoa - Granissimo Vegetarian Paella

I received a few different GoGo Quinoa products to try out! Among this products were the Granissimo Vegetarian Paella, 3 Grain Pancake Mix, 4 Grains Hot Cereal, Granissimo Pilaf (in Basmati and Wild Quinoa), Mushroom and Quinoa Cream Soup and Minestrone Soup.

Today I will be trying out the Granissimo Vegetarian Paella. The cooking instructions are fairly simple...

"Add 2 cups of water (or broth) to package contents and bring to a boil. Let simmer uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 3 minutes before serving. "

My first impression is that for only 10 mg of sodium it is extraordinarily flavorful... its so good! I'm burning my mouth because it tastes so good and it is still too hot to eat!  The smell is enticing and the texture of the grains is pleasing.

GoGo Quinoa are currently offering $5 shipping for the month of December for Canadians which I completely welcome. Any break on the pocket book, this time of year or any other is certainly appreciated by my household.

You can connect with GoGo Quinoa on Facebook and Twitter.

Disclaimer: I received this product free for the purpose of this review. I was not compensated in any other way.