Wednesday, December 26, 2012

From the Wall Street Journal: Hungering for a Solution to Food Losses

Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, you and I and everyone we know will waste about five million tons of food—enough to fill 125,000 18-wheelers, which would stretch from Chicago to Seattle. In one year, Americans alone waste about 34 million tons. That's a lot of turkey, pie and Christmas cookies ending up in the trash—instead of in our stomachs.

While that might seem good for our waistlines, throwing away food actually has a big impact on the environment and food security.

One of the biggest myths about the food system is that we don't produce enough to feed the world—and that food scarcity is the reason why nearly one billion across the planet are hungry. In fact, we produce enough calories to feed every man, woman and child—and that's on top of wasting roughly 1.3 billion tons of food each year world-wide.

One-third of all food in industrialized countries gets thrown away, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. In developing countries, the problems of poor transportation, lack of storage facilities, mold, pests and bad roads result in 40% of crops being lost. The FAO says that the 1.3 billion tons of food that is wasted would be enough to feed the 868 million people who go to bed hungry each night.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, where more than 265 million people are hungry, farmers are in a battle against post-harvest losses caused by flooding and drought, fungus and mold, or inadequate storage. Annual post-harvest losses for grains, tubers, fruits and vegetables, and meat and milk amount to roughly 100 million tons each year, the FAO reported.

Food waste tends to be pervasive across the food chain: some loss in the field, some loss in storage, some loss in transport—and then wasted at retailers, restaurants and finally by us, at home. In the United States, consumers throw away about one and a half pounds per person daily, the Environmental Protection Agency says. The cost of this waste isn't just to our wallets. As food waste decomposes in landfills it releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas with 26 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide.

There are ways to prevent waste—and hunger—in both developing and industrialized countries alike. Many of the strategies throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America are simple, and often inexpensive, innovations. In Gambia and India, for example, solar-powered dehydrators are used to dry papayas and mangos, reducing fruit going to waste at the peak of the season and providing a great source of vitamin A throughout the year. In Bolivia, farmers are using driers to preserve a number of different crops, such as tomatoes and potatoes, throughout the year.

In Africa, hermetically sealed bags—essentially really big Ziploc bags—protect crops from moisture, insects and fungus. Researchers from Purdue University are working with farmers to protect cow peas, a legume crop that is high in protein, and to help distribute the bags across Niger, Nigeria, Mali and beyond. This technology has the potential to save farmers in the region around $44 million annually.

In Pakistan, the U.N. has helped farmers reduce grain-storage losses by up to 70% just by replacing jute storage bags and mud silos with metal grain-storage containers that protect against moisture and prevent insects and rats from eating grain.

In this country, the California Association of Food Banks launched a "Farm to Family" initiative in 2006 to collect produce from growers and packers in the state that would have gone to waste. By 2011, the program was distributing more than 120 million pounds of 38 different fruits and vegetables across the state. Author Tristram Stuart's Feeding the 5,000 project is showing consumers in the United Kingdom—and soon in sub-Saharan Africa—how to use what Mr. Stuart calls "wonky" (or irregularly shaped or imperfect) fruits, vegetables and other crops to create delicious meals.

So as you dig into your meals this holiday season, think about not piling those potatoes so high and about composting those scraps. And remember the abundance of food is all around us.

Ms. Lappé is the author of "Diet for a Hot Planet" (Bloomsbury USA, 2010) and founder of the Real Food Media Project. Ms. Nierenberg is the co-president of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New Years Resolutions From Food Tank: The Food Think Tank

Food Tank has been thinking about resolutions for the year ahead---both personal resolutions and ways we can all help change the food system for the better.

As we start 2013, many people will be thinking about plans and promises to improve their diets and health. We think a broader collection of farmers, policy-makers, and eaters need new, bigger resolutions for fixing the food system--real changes with long-term impacts in fields, boardrooms, and on plates all over the world. These are resolutions that the world can’t afford to break with nearly one billion still hungry and more than one billion suffering from the effects of being overweight and obese. We have the tools—let’s use them in 2013!

Here are our 13 resolutions to change the food system in 2013:

1. Growing the Cities: Food production doesn’t only happen in fields or factories. Nearly one billion people worldwide produce food in cities. In Kibera, the largest slum in Africa, farmers are growing seeds of indigenous vegetables and selling them to rural farmers. At Bell Book & Candle restaurant in New York, customers are served rosemary, cherry tomatoes, romaine, and other produce grown from the restaurant’s rooftop garden.

2. Creating Better Access: People’s Grocery in Oakland and Fresh Moves in Chicago bring mobile grocery stores to food deserts giving low-income consumers opportunities to make healthy food choices. Instead of chips and soda, they provide customers with affordable organic produce, not typically available in their communities.

3. Eaters Demanding Healthier Food: Food writer Michael Pollan advises not to eat anything that your grandparents wouldn’t recognize. Try eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods without preservatives and other additives.

4. Cooking More: Home economics classes have declined in schools in the United Kingdom and the U.S. and young people lack basic cooking skills. Top Chefs Jamie Oliver, Alice Waters, and Bill Telepan are working with schools to teach kids how to cook healthy, nutritious foods.

5. Creating Conviviality: According to the Hartman Group, nearly half of all adults in the U.S. eat meals alone. Sharing a meal with family and friends can foster community and conversation. Recent studies suggest that children who eat meals with their families are typically happier and more stable than those who do not.

6. Focus on Vegetables: Nearly two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies worldwide, leading to poor development. The World Vegetable Center, however, is helping farmers grow high-value, nutrient rich vegetables in Africa and Asia, improving health and increasing incomes.

7. Preventing Waste: Roughly one-third of all food is wasted—in fields, during transport, in storage, and in homes. But there are easy, inexpensive ways to prevent waste. Initiatives like Love Food, Hate Waste offer consumers tips about portion control and recipes for leftovers, while farmers in Bolivia are using solar-powered driers to preserve foods.

8. Engaging Youth: Making farming both intellectually and economically stimulating will help make the food system an attractive career option for youth. Across sub-Saharan Africa, cell phones and the internet are connecting farmers to information about weather and markets; in the U.S., Food Corps is teaching students how to grow and cook food, preparing them for a lifetime of healthy eating.

9. Protecting Workers: Farm and food workers across the world are fighting for better pay and working conditions. In Zimbabwe, the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), protects laborers from abuse. In the U.S., the Coalition of Immokalee Workers successfully persuaded Trader Joe’s and Chipotle to pay the premium of a penny-per-pound to Florida tomato pickers.

10. Acknowledging the Importance of Farmers: Farmers aren’t just farmers, they’re business-women and men, stewards of the land, and educators, sharing knowledge in their communities. Slow Food International works with farmers all over the world, helping recognize their importance to preserve biodiversity and culture.

11. Recognizing the Role of Governments: Nations must implement policies that give everyone access to safe, affordable, healthy food. In Ghana and Brazil, government action, including national school feeding programs and increased support for sustainable agricultural production, greatly reduced the number of hungry people.

12. Changing the Metrics: Governments, NGOs, and funders have focused on increasing production and improving yields, rather than improving nutrition and protecting the environment. Changing the metrics, and focusing more on quality, will improve public and environmental health, and livelihoods.

13. Fixing the Broken Food System: Agriculture can be the solution to some of the world’s most pressing challenges—including unemployment, obesity, and climate change. These innovations simply need more research, more investment, and ultimately more funding.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Valentine's Cocktails Courtesy of Sparkling ICE and VOGA Italia Wine

The PomBerry Sparkle from VOGA features VOGA Premium Sparkling Wine, vanilla flavored vodka, and a splash of pomegranate juice. This sophisticated concoction shows your partner that you want only the best for them. Garnished with a skewer of fresh berries, this drink looks as good as it taste.

The Frozen Strawberry Lemonade ICE from Sparkling ICE features the sparkling lemonade and fresh strawberries (with a vodka kick!), creating a perfect balance of sweet and tangy for a yummy drink for Valentine’s Day. If you have a few extra strawberries lying around feel free to dip them in some melted chocolate for dessert!

If you are looking for a dessert idea to really impress the one you love (without slaving over a stove for hours!) then this sorbet recipe is perfect. The recipe for Sparkling Blackberry Sorbet is a simple “make-ahead-of-time” dessert that will impress and delight your loved one for sure. Drizzle with warm chocolate sauce for an ultra decadent treat.

Frozen Strawberry Lemonade ICE
4 ounces of Sparkling ICE Lemonade
1 ounce of vodka
5-6 strawberries (hulled)
Berries for garnish

Add Sparkling ICE, vodka, strawberries, and 4-5 ice cubes into a blender. Pulse to get it started and then blend on high for a few seconds until a slushy consistency is reached. Pour into a chilled hurricane glass and garnish with fresh strawberries.

PomBerry Sparkle
4 ounces of VOGA Italia Premium Sparkling
1 ounce of vanilla flavored vodka
A splash of pomegranate juice
Berries and pomegranate seeds for garnish

Add VOGA Italia, vodka, and pomegranate juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake gently. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with pomegranate seed and fresh berries.

Sparkling Blackberry Sorbet

Yield: Approximately 2 ½ cups
Cook time: 15 minutes
Inactive chill and freeze time: 3 hours

Ingredients for the Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 bottle of Blackberry Sparkling ICE (chilled)
2 (6oz.) packages of fresh blackberries
Ingredients for the Puree
1 cup sparkling ice blackberry (chilled)
1/3 cup cold water

Directions • Place 2 cups of Sparkling ICE, sugar, and blackberries in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
• Reduce the heat to a simmer. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and let the syrup sit until it becomes room temperature.
• Pour the syrup into an airtight container and place in the refrigerator until chilled (Approximately 30 – 60 minutes).
• After the syrup has cooled scoop out the fresh blackberries from the syrup and combine with 1/3 cup of cold water in a blender. (Reserve the leftover syrup, this will be used next). Pulse the berries and water together to make a puree. This should take approximately 30 - 60 seconds.
• Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds, and then return the puree to the syrup and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
• Add the remaining cup of Blackberry Sparkling ICE to the mixture for some extra fizz, and the sorbet base is ready.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer instructions.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Ohio's Largest Sustainable Food Conference

Registration is now open for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association’s (OEFFA) 34th annual conference, Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change. The conference will take place Saturday, February 16 and Sunday, February 17, 2013 in Granville, Ohio (Licking County).

The state’s largest sustainable food and farm conference, the event draws more than 1,100 attendees from across Ohio and the Midwest, and has sold out in advance the past three years. This year’s conference will feature keynote speakers George Siemon and Nicolette Hahn Niman; more than 90 educational workshops; two featured pre-conference events on Friday, February 15; a trade show; a fun and educational kids’ conference and child care area; locally-sourced and organic homemade meals, and Saturday evening entertainment.

“This conference will be rich with information and networking opportunities, drawing on the expertise of both nationally recognized agricultural professionals and local farmers and educators,” said OEFFA Program Director Renee Hunt. “Whether you’re a full-time farmer, backyard gardener, or local food enthusiast, this conference has much to offer you.”

Keynote Speakers
George Siemon—Presented by Northstar Café Saturday evening’s keynote address features George Siemon, one of the nation’s foremost organic agriculture advocates for nearly two decades. As Organic Valley’s CEO, Siemon, is best known for his leadership in organizing farmers and building market support for organic agriculture.

His keynote address is titled, “Organic: Changing a Broken Food System.” He will also be presenting a Saturday morning workshop, “The Cooperative Model,” where he will examine the how a cooperative model works and the opportunities they offer for farmers.

In 1988, Siemon joined a group of family farmers in Wisconsin to found the Cooperative Regions of Organic Producer Pools (CROPP). More commonly known by its brands Organic Valley and Organic Prairie, CROPP has grown to become the largest organic farming cooperative in North America with 1,700 organic farmer-owners and 650 employees who share in the profits from their company’s $850 million in annual sales.

Siemon was instrumental in developing the national standards for organic certification; initiated Farmers Advocating for Organics, the only organic-focused granting fund in the U.S., and currently serves on the boards of directors for The Organic Center and Global Animal Partnership. In 2012, Siemon was awarded the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Growing Green Award in the “Business Leader” category, and the Social Venture Network’s Hall of Fame Impact Award in the “Environmental Evangelist” category.

Nicolette Hahn Niman—Presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill
Sunday’s keynote address, “Eating as We Farm (And Farming As We Eat),” will be provided by Nicolette Hahn Niman.

Hahn Niman is an attorney, rancher, and author of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms. She is an accomplished author and speaker who has been featured in Time Magazine, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. She is a regular blogger for The Atlantic, and has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, Cowboys & Indians, and CHOW.

Previously, she was the senior attorney for Waterkeeper Alliance where she was in charge of the organization’s campaign to reform the concentrated livestock and poultry industry, and, before that, an attorney for the National Wildlife Federation.

She lives in Bolinas, California with her son, Miles, and her husband, Bill Niman, founder of Niman Ranch, a natural meat cooperative supplied by a network of more than 700 farmers and ranchers.

The conference will also feature more than 90 educational workshops and cooking demonstrations with topics including: livestock grazing and management, tree and vegetable grafting, cover crops, school gardens, weed and pest management, food preservation, urban agriculture, community gardens, agriculture policy, fruit and vegetable production, organic lawn care, food labeling, herbal medicine, wildlife exclusion, building soil health, poultry processing, homeschooling, product marketing and farm business management, composting, companion planting , transplanting systems, organic grain production, beekeeping, alternative energy, permaculture, and more.

In addition, the conference will offer a four part grazing workshop track. Jeff McCutchen of Ohio State University Extension and Bob Hendershot, retired from the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, will educate producers in the art and science of grazing management and improve their ability to successfully manage their farm’s natural resources.

The events will also offer the following featured conference and pre-conference guests:
- Troy Bishopp—Known as “The Grass Whisperer,” Bishopp has been a passionate promoter and practitioner of grazing management for more than 26 years. He raises grass-grazed dairy and grass-finished beef cattle on his family’s fifth generation New York farm and is a grassland conservation professional and free-lance agricultural writer.
- Chris Blanchard—As the owner and operator of Rock Spring Farm in Iowa since 1999, Blanchard grows 15 acres of vegetables and herbs for a 200 member community supported agriculture program, food stores, and a farmers’ market.
- Guy Jodarski, DVM—A practicing veterinarian in Wisconsin for more than 25 years, Dr. Jodarski serves as a staff veterinarian for Organic Valley’s CROPP Cooperative. He treats organic and sustainable livestock with an emphasis in dairy cattle herd health, and also works with ruminant livestock producers raising beef cattle, sheep, and goats.
- Mark Shepard—Shepard is the owner and operator of Forest Agriculture Enterprises, the Restoration Agriculture Institute, Shepard’s Hard Cyder winery, and New Forest Farm, a 106 acre perennial agriculture forest in Wisconsin. Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark is a well-respected certified Permaculture designer and agroforestry teacher and has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of forest derived agricultural products.

Pre-Conference Events The conference will also feature two full-day pre-conference events on Friday, February 15:

Post-Harvest Handling, Food Safety, and GAP: Making It Work on a Real Farm Farmer and food safety expert Chris Blanchard of Rock Spring Farm will teach participants how to establish or improve food safety practices. Blanchard will review post-harvest handling practices and share methods for meeting Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) documentation and record-keeping requirements in a way that flows with the work on the farm, rather than existing as a separate set of tasks and requirements.

From our Grazing Experience
Delve into the intricate art of grass farming with Troy Bishopp, and a panel of experienced graziers including Eric Grim of Grim Dairy, Gene DeBruin of DeBruin Family Dairy, Michael Putnam of Grassland Dairy, and Dough Murphy of Murphy’s Grass Farm. Participants will learn about lengthening the grazing season using a grazing chart, specific grazing and feeding strategies, and balancing ecosystem processes with business profitability. This comprehensive workshop will also cover soil health, animal nutrition, transitioning to organic production, and maximizing profitability in pasture-based systems.

Additional Features
The conference will also feature a kid’s conference offering a variety of exciting workshops for children ages 6-12; a playroom for children under 6; book signings by Nicolette Hahn Niman, Mark Shepard and The Contrary Farmer, Gene Logsdon; an exhibit hall offering an interesting array of information, products, services, and resources that relate to sustainable agriculture; a raffle; a non-denominational Sunday service; and Saturday evening entertainment, including a performance by The Back Porch Swing Band and a film screening and discussion of American Meat, presented by Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Holiday Cheer Begins with Fine Flavor Chocolate

Raising The Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate (Wilmor Publishing Corporation; October 2012) has consumers dreaming of a chocolate Christmas, but not just any chocolate. The new book is an inside look at fine chocolate products and documents the global journey from cacao gene and cocoa bean to chocolate bar and bonbon. When paired with a box of fine chocolates, Raising The Bar will help your favorite people discover the sweet truth about chocolate.

While many people around the world would consider themselves “chocoholics,” there is actually a great deal of information that consumers don’t typically know about chocolate, especially fine flavor chocolate. According to the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, here are the five ways to differentiate a fine flavor chocolate product:

1. Cacao origin and post harvest processing: Chocolate is an agricultural product whose character and flavor are dependent on genetics, climate, soil and processing practices to yield a finished product. The higher the quality and care taken along the route from bean to bar, the better the finished product will taste.
2. Chocolate manufacturing practices: Both traditional chocolate manufacturers and craft chocolate makers control the quality and flavor of their chocolate products by bean selection and methods of roasting, milling and conching.
3. Non-chocolate ingredient quality: The quality of the added ingredients in both bars and bonbons is an important component of flavor.
4. Technical expertise: A combination of passion, training and experience enable the chocolatier, craft chocolate maker or chocolate manufacturer to make the proper technical and flavor decisions that produce fine chocolate.
5. Artistry and presentation: Whether they are bars or bonbons, fine chocolate products will be well-crafted and perfectly made.

All this and more are discussed in greater detail in Raising The Bar, and craft chocolate makers featured in the book such as Theo Chocolate in Seattle and Askinosie Chocolate in Springfield, Missouri, are furthering this consumer education by offering tours to guests and leading Chocolate University programs for local high school students.

“They soaked it up,” says Askinosie Chocolate Founder Shawn Askinosie of the students who participated in his Chocolate University. “I don’t know that there has been anything more gratifying for me as a person.” Raising The Bar looks at the future of the world's finest chocolate as seen through the eyes of people like Askinosie who live chocolate every day and strive to preserve its richest, most complex and endangered forms for future generations. An ideal gift for the foodie who has everything, this book will help readers appreciate where their cocoa comes from and discern the true chocolate artisans.

About Raising The Bar:
Co-authors Pam Williams and Jim Eber educate and entertain through interviews with the world's top chocolate experts, and scientists from the Cocoa Research Unit and the USDA weigh in with the latest in genetic research. Discussions cover almost every fine flavor growing region including stories and interviews from Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, The Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Peru, Southeast Asia, Costa Rica, and more.

Williams has been involved in the industry since 1981 and founded Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts in 2003. Most recently, she has been instrumental in promoting the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative (HCP), a partnership between the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to create the first-ever genotype map with a focus on flavor cacao trees. Along with Eber, a veteran writer and collaborator specializing in food and business marketing, Williams has indeed raised the bar, and our awareness, of the promises and pitfalls ahead for fine flavor chocolate, while unwrapping the possibilities for the millions and millions of us who believe that life without the very best chocolate is no life at all.

Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate (Wilmor Publishing Corporation; October 2012; Hardcover; $19.95; eBook; $9.95; ISBN: 978-0-9691921-2-1 (Print); 978-0-9691921-3-8 (eBook).

Friday, November 30, 2012

Successful Breast Cancer Campaign Helps Breast Cancer Survivors

Klosterman Baking Company, a family-owned bakery headquartered in Cincinnati, wrapped up its Pink Ribbon Loaves campaign benefitting The Pink Ribbon Girls, on October 31st 2012. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Klosterman Baking Company donated $0.10 to The Pink Ribbon Girls for every Pink Ribbon Loaf sold throughout the month of October. In its first year, the campaign saw great success by raising $7,500 for the Pink Ribbon Girls. In the first week alone 30,000 loaves were sold.

“We are thrilled to see such success with this campaign in its first year,” said Kim Klosterman, CEO, Klosterman Baking Company. 100% of the proceeds raised went to The Pink Ribbon Girls, an outreach mission aimed to provide breast cancer awareness to young women. With the proceeds raised, they aim to launch new educational and support efforts to expand young women’s knowledge on breast cancer. “It is great to see companies such as Klosterman’s get involved with important causes and we were thrilled to partner with them for the Pink Ribbon Loaves donation campaign,” shared Tracie Metzger, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Pink Ribbon Girls. “Support like this is vital to expanding our efforts and reaching the younger community of women that need education on Breast Cancer Awareness.”

“We were excited to support such an important and meaningful cause and to see the success that came from our efforts is very fulfilling. We hope to continue this campaign and continue sharing the importance of breast cancer awareness, healthy living and nutrition for women by selling Pink Ribbon Loaves.”

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Save the date - Free Pancakes at IHOP on February 5

Batter up, breakfast lovers! IHOP®, one of America’s most popular family-friendly restaurants, known for “everything you love about breakfast,” will once again invite guests to enjoy free pancakes during National Pancake Day on February 5, 2013, while celebrating Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ 30th Anniversary. On this day, the restaurant chain hopes to raise $3 million as the first national fundraising campaign to kick off the 2013 fundraising year for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

During National Pancake Day, the company’s largest philanthropic event of the year, more than 1,500 IHOP restaurants across the country will invite guests to enjoy a complimentary stack of IHOP’s signature delicious buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Guests will be encouraged to make a voluntary contribution to the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital or other local charities. One hundred percent of the donations will help local charities provide vital equipment, life-saving procedures and critical care for sick and injured children.

This will mark the eighth year that IHOP has held National Pancake Day, which to date has raised more than $10 million dollars for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities. In 2012 alone, IHOP raised more than $3 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other charities.

“Millions of free pancakes served on National Pancake Day mean millions of miracles for those in need,” said Julia Stewart, Interim President, IHOP and CEO of the parent company, DineEquity, Inc. “The concept is simple, but our mission is ambitious; to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. For the past eight years, it has been a pleasure and a privilege for all of us at IHOP to participate in this worthy event, and each year our guests have proved to be incredibly generous, helping us not only reach but surpass our goal. We look forward to continuing that trend this year as we plan to once again flip and serve about 4 million free pancakes for charity.”

Guests visiting participating IHOP restaurants in support of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will also have the option to purchase “Miracle Balloons” for $1 and $5 each, throughout the month of January leading into National Pancake Day, with all proceeds going to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Participating restaurants will display the balloons in celebration of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals’ 30-year anniversary. Those who buy a $5 Miracle Balloon will receive a $5 off discount that can be credited toward their next visit.

For more information on National Pancake Day, or to learn about Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and make an online donation, visit

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile has arrived in the Cincinnati-Dayton area!

Date of Event: 11/27/2012
Time of Event: 12-2pm
Location of Event: Kroger, 7300 Yankee Road, Middletown, OH 45044

Date of Event: 11/27/2012
Time of Event: 3-5pm
Location of Event: Kroger, 3420 Towne Boulevard, Middletown, OH 45005

Date of Event: 11/29/2012
Time of Event: 12-5pm
Location of Event: Kroger, 1425 Columbus Avenue, Lebanon, OH 45036

Date of Event: 11/30/2012
Time of Event: 11am-1pm
Location of Event: Kroger, 3165 Dayton Xenia Road, Xenia, OH 45434

Date of Event: 11/30/2012
Time of Event: 2-4pm
Location of Event: Kroger, 530 E. Stroop Road, Kettering, OH 45429

Date of Event: 12/1/2012
Time of Event: Parade begins at 10am
Location of Event: The Very Merry Madison Christmas Parade, Madison IN 47250. The parade route will run West along Main Street.

Date of Event: 12/3/2012
Time of Event: 11pm – 3pm
Location of Event: Kroger, 1023 S. Main Street, Centerville, OH 45459

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lady Alice Apples Go Nationwide in 2013

Rainier Fruit Company announces the largest shipment yet of the Lady Alice® apple, coming to stores nationwide in 2013. Lady Alice® apples will be available from late February through May, or while supplies last. The unique Lady Alice® brand apple is like a fine wine –they get more flavorful and complex with age. They are characterized by its banana-yellow color and sweet, crisp, dense flesh with a hint of tartness. Production of this apple has increased since its introduction just three years ago as its appeal with consumers has taken off.

“The Lady Alice® apple is a welcome addition for consumers who love apples and are looking for something new in the late winter and spring. It is delicious with its sweet bite that offers a hint of tartness that lingers on the palate,” Rainier spokesperson, Suzanne Wolter says. “We at Rainier strive to grow only the highest quality fruit – Lady Alice® offer versatility, while maintaining a unique quality we have been committed to for more than a century.”

The versatile Lady Alice® is an excellent choice for snacking, baking and cooking. Unlike many varieties of apples, the Lady Alice® is slow to brown when cut – making it perfect for salads and fruit trays. Lady Alice® can also be used in a variety of cooking and baking recipes. Its distinctively dense flesh helps the apple retain its texture when heated at high temperatures. Just like fresh cherries, Lady Alice® has a short season, yielding a limited supply of this delectable fruit.

More about Lady Alice® apples
Description: This new and distinct apple variety possesses several unique and desirable characteristics such as having a distinct pink stripe over a creamy-yellow background, which distinguishes it from other known varieties. The background color deepens to a banana-yellow after harvest. Lady Alice® apples possess a distinctive taste and its dense flesh is sweet with a hint of tartness. The shape of the Lady Alice® is round and somewhat broad with a shallow, slightly open calyx.

Parentage: The Lady Alice® apple was discovered as a chance seedling in Washington State and is therefore a *Washington Original*.

Availability: Available February through May or while supplies last.

Nutrition: The Lady Alice® apple contributes to a healthy lifestyle and compliments a variety of recipes. According to the USDA, apples are among the top 20 foods with the highest antioxidant content per serving. Rich in antioxidants, apples can help boost weight loss and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

History: Lady Alice® apples were named after Alice Zirkle, the co-founder of Rainier Fruit Company. It was discovered, quite by chance on a farm near Gleed, Washington in 1978 when a grower accidentally cut an apple tree with his farm equipment. A chance seedling grew from the base and over the next 25 years, steps were taken to preserve and propagate the distinctive characteristics of Lady Alice® apples. Over the last few years production has been sufficient to commercially offer Lady Alice® to the general public.

About Rainier Fruit Company
Rainier Fruit Company is one of the largest growers of fresh apples, pears and cherries in the United States. For more than 100 years, Rainier Fruit Company has been growing premium Northwest fruit that consistently appeals to consumers. The company is committed to growing the highest quality of fruit, while running their business honestly, ethically and efficiently. For additional information about Rainier Fruit Company and the Lady Alice® apple, please visit:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Celebrity Chefs Inspire Food & Wine Event “Start Spreadin’ the News” to Benefit Hurricane Sandy Victims

Celebrity chefs with roots in both New York City and Las Vegas have inspired a unique food and wine extravaganza to benefit victims devastated by superstorm Hurricane Sandy.

"When it comes to the hospitality industry, Las Vegas and New York City are really sister cities," said Michael Severino of Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada. "This is just a small way all of us in Las Vegas can help those that have been affected by these monster storms”.

The event will take place on the New York-New York Hotel & Casino Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday, December 9, 2012 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A partial list of the chefs/restaurants invited to participate in “Start Spreadin’ the News” includes: Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Scott Conant, Todd English, Bobby Flay, Charlie Palmer, Nobu, Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, Palm Restaurant, Smith & Wollensky, Rao's, Stage Deli, Nathan's, Carnegie Deli, Old Homestead and many others. Great wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails will be provided by Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada. 100% of the proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Tickets are on sale now for $100 and can be purchased by calling the New York-New York box office at 866-606-7111.

All attendees will receive a commemorative chip reading, "When the 'chips' were down, Las Vegas stepped up to help those who were dealt a bad hand by Hurricane Sandy, 12-9-12."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Following Up National Coffee Day

Coffee language can be so confusing. Vocabulary lessons in school didn’t include words like macchiato, latte, or frappe—so most of us are at a disadvantage when attempting to order a coffee treat just because we don’t know what all those terms mean. In honor of National Coffee Day on September 29th, Eight O’Clock Coffee, America’s Original Gourmet Coffee, is demystifying coffee jargon—and explaining how to make a great-tasting specialty coffee drink at home, no fancy machines needed. Behold, your guide to creating a café coffee experience right in your own kitchen, courtesy of Eight O’Clock Coffee!

Latte- Traditionally, this is made using espresso and foamed milk. The milk to coffee ratio is 3:1. Make It At Home! Use a strong coffee, like Eight O’Clock Coffee’s Dark Italian Roast, and brew regularly. Pour some milk into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk milk as it heats to make it frothy. Pour some of the coffee into a mug, add some hot liquid milk and spoon the foamed milk on top.

Café Mocha- This is simply a latte with some type of chocolate flavor added in. Make It At Home! Prepare using the latte instructions. Before adding the coffee and milk, pour 2/3 cup of hot chocolate mix into the bottom of the mug, add coffee and milk and stir until the mix has dissolved.

Café au Lait- Similar to a latte, but usually uses strong brewed coffee instead of espresso and has a 1:1 ratio of coffee to milk. Make It At Home! Brew Eight O’Clock Coffee’s Dark Italian Roast, steam the milk and add equal parts milk (add this first) and coffee to your mug.

Cappuccino- Usually made with equal parts espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. Make It At Home! Follow the same instructions as the latte, but pour equal parts coffee and steamed milk into the mug and top with frothed milk. It’s great with cinnamon or chocolate sprinkled on.

Macchiato- A traditional macchiato is a shot of espresso with a bit of milk foam. We usually think of the caramel macchiato, which is very popular at coffee shops in the US. Make It At Home! Make a tasty caramel macchiato using Eight O’Clock Coffee Dark Italian Roast. Heat milk in a saucepan and whisk until frothy, add a few pumps of vanilla syrup to your cup of coffee, top with milk froth and drizzle with caramel syrup.

Frappe- A frappe is a cold blended coffee drink with chilled coffee, sugar, milk or cream and ice blended together. Make It At Home! All you need is 6-8 ounces of cold coffee (we like Eight O’Clock Coffee Original Blend), 2 Tbsp milk, 3/4 cup crushed or cubed ice and sugar to taste. Combine ingredients in a blender. You can also add 2 Tbsp of your favorite syrup—caramel, chocolate, vanilla—some people even add ice cream to make it thicker. The possibilities are endless, so get creative!

Pumpkin Coffee- Virtually every coffee shop has some kind of limited-time-only pumpkin coffee, a delicious fall flavor. Make It At Home! Brew your own pumpkin coffee this fall or any other time of year you feel a craving coming on. Use 2 tsp of pumpkin spice for every 3 Tbsp of Eight O’Clock Coffee Original Blend. Combine the pumpkin spice with the coffee grounds and brew. Sweeten to your desire.

Espresso: A concentrated coffee brewed by forcing a small amount of nearly boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans. Make It At Home! Espresso machines are typically very expensive, but you can come close to the real deal with your regular coffee pot. Choose a dark roast, like Eight O’Clock Coffee’s Dark Italian Roast, and grind the beans as finely as possible. Double the coffee filter, and pack down the coffee grounds into the filter (use 1 tbsp for every 1/4 cup of espresso). It’s a great option that replicates the strong, bold flavor espresso and cappuccino aficionados love.

PERSONAL NOTE: Eight o'clock coffee-Is not at all what I expected... it is much more. This coffee is a rich, full-bodied coffee that is mellow enough to make you want to enjoy a second cup. This coffee works well in all types of coffee makers. I have enjoyed it all week in my French press pot, yummy! I can hardly wait until eight o'clock to drink another cup! Eight O'Clock Coffee is a serious player in the gourmet coffee market. Give it a try.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

TV's Favorite Con Artists Prepare to Steal Christmas and More In Five All-New Episodes of TNT's Leverage

For five years, television's coolest gang of con artists have used their unique skills to help level the playing field for people whose lives have been destroyed by the rich and powerful. This winter, things are going to get personal as TNT's hit series Leverage returns with five brand new episodes. Academy AwardÒ winner Timothy Hutton stars in this clever and compelling drama, along with Gina Bellman, Christian Kane, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge. Leverage is set to begin its winter run Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), following an all-new episode of Rizzoli & Isles.

Leverage focuses on a team of five top-notch specialists out to give everyday people a helping hand against the machinations of corrupt bigwigs. Leading the crew is mastermind Nate Ford (Hutton), a former insurance investigator whose son died when his employer refused to pay for life-saving surgery. Sophie Devereaux (Bellman) is the team's resident grifter, a brilliant con artist who shares a long and complicated history with Nate – both professionally and romantically. Eliot Spencer (Kane) provides muscle as the team's bone-crunching retrieval specialist with a passion for gourmet cooking and a soft spot for the underdog. Gadget and technology wizard Alec Hardison (Hodge) provides the team with everything from communications and video surveillance to target dossiers and virtual environments, rarely getting the credit he feels he deserves. And Parker (Riesgraf) is the team's thief, a slightly off-center charmer who gets giddy at the thought of rappelling off a building or cracking an unbreakable safe.

With the rallying cry, "Let's go steal a…," Nate and his team set out each week to tackle corrupt executives, politicians and other big shots by taking something they hold dear. The team has since "stolen" everything from an airplane to a baseball stadium. They've even stolen a country. And this winter, they're going to steal something they've never gone after before: a man's dreams.

Winter will also pit the Leverage crew against the ruthless manager of a discount store whose tactics threaten not only her employees but also the town itself. They'll target a corrupt winery owner whose workers are collapsing. And in a special holiday episode, the team will try to steal Christmas in order to prevent an unscrupulous toy company CEO from unleashing a dangerous product into the market. In addition, the team will once again face their nemesis, insurance-investigator-turned-InterPOL-agent Jim Sterling (guest star Mark Sheppard).

With each and every case they handle, Nate, Sophie, Elliott, Hardison and Parker prove themselves to be more than just a league of extraordinary con artists. They are a family. But in Leverage's gripping season finale, the bond that holds this family together could be torn apart permanently with an extremely risky case involving the death of Nate's son.

Since premiering in 2008, Leverage has been a solid hit, averaging more than 3.8 million viewers in its fifth season, with 1.4 million adults 18-49 and 1.7 million adults 25-54. Leverage is executive-produced by Dean Devlin (Independence Day, TNT’s The Librarian movie series) and creators John Rogers (Transformers) and Chris Downey (The King of Queens). The series is produced for TNT by Devlin’s Electric Entertainment.

Cincinnati Orange Leaf Stores Host PJ Drive

WHAT: Cincinnati Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt stores are collecting donations from customers this holiday season as part of the Orange Leaf Pajama Drive to benefit City Gospel Mission, a mission in Cincinnati whose goal is to empower men, women and at-risk youth to break the cycle of poverty and despair.

Customers who donate one new pair of pajamas at participating Cincinnati Orange Leaf locations will be rewarded with 3oz of free froyo in exchange for their donation.

The Orange Leaf Pajama Drive is a community-giving initiative that will take place in participating stores nationwide. With more than 200 stores across the country, each market has selected its own local nonprofit to receive the donations of brand new pajamas.

WHEN: Friday,Nov. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012

Where: Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt All participating Cincinnati locations

WHY: “Orange Leaf is an unconventional brand – and we wanted to do something different from the more traditional food or coat drive this holiday season,” said Reese Travis, CEO of Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt. “Memories of cozy pajamas during the winter months warm our souls. Through our Pajama Drive, Orange Leaf is hoping to help thousands of people stay a little warmer this winter, too. Sometimes it’s the simple things like a warm pair of pajamas that can really make a difference.”

About Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt is a self-serve, choose-your-own-toppings frozen dessert chain with more than 200 locations from coast to coast. Ranked one of the fastest growing limited service chains by Technomic, Orange Leaf’s pro-franchisee culture encourages owners to become a part of their communities and provides them with the necessary ingredients for success. Orange Leaf offers a multitude of delicious, traditional and original flavors, including no-sugar-added, gluten-free and lactose-free alternatives. Customized with a generous selection of do-it-yourself toppings, Orange Leaf provides an innocent indulgence, self-served in a stimulating atmosphere. For more information and franchise opportunities, visit, like Orange Leaf Yogurt on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @myorangeleaf

About City Gospel Mission
Serving Greater Cincinnati since 1924, City Gospel Mission empowers men, women and at-risk youth to break the cycle of poverty and despair. They collaborate with local churches to offer a variety of one-to-one, relationship-focused programs and services to equip those in need with the spiritual, emotional and physical skills and resources to achieve life transformation.

City Gospel Mission annually serves nearly 116,000 hot and nutritious meals and provides 28,000 nights of safe shelter to the homeless and hurting.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Bourbon Women Association announces holiday event lineup

The Bourbon Women Association recently announced its event schedule for the holiday season. The first of three events, which are designed to entertain and educate guests on Kentucky’s signature spirit, will be held on Thursday, Nov. 15 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at The Party Source in Bellevue, Ky. The evening is sponsored by Woodford Reserve and The Party Source. Subsequent events will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6 in Louisville, Ky. and on Thursday, Dec. 13 in Lexington, Ky.

Each tasting event will feature Bourbon Women’s sponsors’ bourbon, holiday cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and generous discounts on spirits and party goods. Attendance is free for Bourbon Women members. Current members may purchase gift memberships through Monday, Dec. 24 for $25 each. Gifted memberships include attendance to holiday events and a year membership to Bourbon Women. For more information on Bourbon Women or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, please visit

The Bourbon Women holiday event schedule is as follows:

Thursday, Nov. 15
The event will be held at The Party Source in Northern Kentucky, located at 95 Riviera Drive in Bellevue, Ky. from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The evening is sponsored by Woodford Reserve and The Party Source.

Thursday, Dec. 6
The event will be held at Springhurst Liquor Barn, located at 4301 Towne Center Drive in Louisville, Ky. from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The evening is sponsored by Four Roses and Liquor Barn.

Thursday, Dec. 13
The event will be held at Plaudit Liquor Barn, located at 1837 Plaudit Place in Lexington, Ky. from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The evening is sponsored by Woodford Reserve and Liquor Barn.

Raising The Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate Helps Consumers Consider the Origin of Their Cocoa and Reveals Why Chocolate Artisans Won’t Sacrifice Quality for Profit

This month marks the last minute production rush for the fine flavor chocolate industry. Unlike mass producers, top tier chocolatiers cannot make their products six months to a year in advance in order to prepare for the busy holiday season. Fine artisan chocolate products feature fresh ingredients and do not contain preservatives; therefore, their short shelf life often results in grueling hours for chocolatiers and distributors.

“Chocolatiers and chocolate makers in the fine chocolate industry are working overtime to keep up with demand as Christmas approaches,” says Pam Williams, president of Ecole Chocolate Professional School of Chocolate Arts. “Fine flavor manufacturers are selling to a generation that wants pleasure fast.” This is one of the many challenges that the fine chocolate industry is currently facing, which Williams and her co-author Jim Eber are educating consumers about in their new book, Raising The Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate (Wilmor Publishing Corporation; October 2012), by documenting the global journey from cacao gene and cocoa bean to chocolate bar and bonbon. This book looks at the future of the world's finest chocolate as seen through the eyes of people who live chocolate every day and strive to preserve its richest, most complex and endangered forms for future generations.

In order to convey the reality that the best tasting chocolates in the world are poised for extinction, Williams’s and Eber’s book explains the merits of fine chocolate products and the specific processes necessary to achieve these delicious treats that are in such high demand around the holidays. Raising The Bar serves as the voice of the conscientious chocolate makers around the world and helps readers discern the true chocolate artisans.

“Consumers must understand the amount of work that goes into producing quality cocoa if it is to survive in the future,” says Williams.

According to ABC News, the demand for chocolate increases by about 2.5 to 3 percent annually, which means about four million more tons of cocoa are needed every year. Since the average American eats around 11 pounds of chocolate in a year, and more chocolate is consumed in winter than any other season, the annual gains for Christmas chocolate sales are expected to continue many years to come.

While chocolate flying around the room may seem like a dream to most consumers, the weeks leading up to December are more of a nightmare for chocolatiers who are trying to produce last minute orders and ship the last of their products for the year. Retail clients of these artisans often underestimate holiday sales and end up requesting last minute shipments and overnight deliveries. As difficult as it may be to turn out product under such pressure, fine chocolatiers are hard pressed to say no when a large portion of their yearly sales are made between the months of October and December thanks to gift-giving season.

In Raising The Bar, Parisian chocolate artist Patrick Roger reflects on how process is often not important to his customers during the holiday rush, only the chocolate is: “At my shop in Sceaux, there are 700 customers a day at Christmas who are buying my little chocolates. All the ingredients are listed, but this doesn’t mean anything to them. I have the refined palate that I pass on to them. I am the one who must guarantee the quality of my work.”

A disconnect exists between cocoa bean farmers, chocolate manufacturers and consumers purchasing the finished product: consumers do not see all the work being done from the ground up, and few consider the origin of the bean when eating chocolate.

These are just some of the factors keeping cocoa beans the most highly undervalued fruit crop in the world, but the chocolate experts featured in Raising The Bar are helping consumers understand the importance of demanding more fresh alternatives to shelf-stable supermarket chocolates year-round and not just around the holiday gift-giving season.

About Raising The Bar:
Co-authors Pam Williams and Jim Eber educate and entertain through interviews with the world's top chocolate experts, and scientists from the Cocoa Research Unit and the USDA weigh in with the latest in genetic research. Discussions cover almost every fine flavor growing region including stories and interviews from Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, The Dominican Republic, Madagascar, Peru, Southeast Asia, Costa Rica, and more.

Williams has been involved in the industry since 1981 and founded Ecole Chocolat Professional School of Chocolate Arts in 2003. Most recently, she has been instrumental in promoting the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Initiative (HCP), a partnership between the Fine Chocolate Industry Association and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to create the first-ever genotype map with a focus on flavor cacao trees. Along with Eber, a veteran writer and collaborator specializing in food and business marketing, Williams has indeed raised the bar, and our awareness, of the promises and pitfalls ahead for fine flavor chocolate, while unwrapping the possibilities for the millions and millions of us who believe that life without the very best chocolate is no life at all.

Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate (Wilmor Publishing Corporation; October 2012; Hardcover; $19.95; eBook; $9.95; ISBN: 978-0-9691921-2-1 (Print); 978-0-9691921-3-8 (eBook).

21c Museum Hotels and Executive Chef Michael Paley Open Metropole Restaurant in Cincinnati

21c Museum Hotels, the award-winning boutique hotel, contemporary art museum and restaurant group, is pleased to announce the opening of Metropole, located at 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, at 609 Walnut Street in Cincinnati, Ohio (513.578.6660;; the hotel is scheduled to open in the coming weeks. Under the direction of executive chef Michael Paley, previously of Proof on Main in Louisville, KY, Metropole’s menu revolves around a custom-built wood-burning fireplace, emphasizing the city’s European roots and celebrating the region’s local farming and sustainable agriculture.

Paley, also executive chef and a partner in Louisville’s Garage Bar, which features pizza from a wood-fired oven, country ham and fresh oysters, was inspired to create a menu cooked almost entirely by wood-fired heat.

“I became interested in fireplace cooking after working with the wood-fired oven at Garage Bar, and really like the challenge of bringing this ancient cooking method into a modern restaurant kitchen,” says Paley. “Our menu at Metropole reflects Cincinnati’s robust, European-rooted culinary heritage. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the 21c team on another project in a culturally rich city like Cincinnati.”

Building on the foundation he learned at Garage Bar, Paley’s menu focuses on dishes cooked in a custom, eight-foot-wide, wood-burning fireplace that he developed. Paley worked with Craig Kaviar, a Kentucky-based blacksmith and artist, to create cast-iron cranes that are bolted into the fireplace and that swing over the wood-burning fire, allowing Paley to use a variety of unique fireplace cooking techniques. Showcasing Ohio’s producers and farmers, Paley has developed a menu of string-roasted meats, ash-cooked vegetables, and house-made charcuterie. The restaurant’s beverage menu favors American craft beers and bourbon.

Metropole is open daily for dinner with an accessible menu that allows guests to build a meal from various categories. House-made charcuterie, vegetables, salads and small plates are ideal dishes for sharing, including Leek and Celeriac Soup with hearth-baked oysters, bacon, and crème fraîche; Foie Gras topped with toasted pretzel breadcrumbs and served with house-made mustard and sweet and sour onions; Vinegar-Poached Beets, charred in the fireplace and served with bitter greens, fresh goat cheese, farm radishes, and garlic chips; Ash-Baked Pumpkin, served with fresh fall greens, pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese; and an Herb Tea Poached Egg, accompanied by cannellini bean gratin and sautéed winter greens.

The savory portion of the menu is rounded out with a selection of entrees, which features meat and fish dishes that are braised in cast-iron pots hanging over the wood fireplace, roasted on open spits, and sautéed on flat-top grills set over wood embers. The Shelton Farm Pork Confit is complemented by roasted leeks, mustard broth, and chestnut honey; Grilled Swordfish is plated alongside ash-roasted peppers and bulgur wheat; and String-Roasted Chicken is accompanied with dripping-pan vegetables and grilled lemon.

The dessert program concludes the menu and features specialties such as Espresso Pudding Cake with malt, rye, walnuts, and ashed cherry ice cream; Smoked Pear with pomegranate ice cream, brown butter madeleine, black tea and toasted oats; and Caramelized Citrus Caramel with angel food cake, crème sorbet and sea salt.

The beverage program, developed by food and beverage director Melanie Tapp, an alum of Proof on Main and Garage Bar, focuses heavily on a rotating selection of American craft beers on tap. Oskar Blues Beers, which are new to the Cincinnati market, are included on the menu alongside local draft favorite, Blank Slate American Session Ale. Bourbon and rye will be the main focuses at Metropole, paying homage to the original 21c Museum Hotel’s Kentucky roots. A variety of Kentucky’s finest bourbons and ryes will be highlighted on the menu, as well as local Ohio distillers such as Oyo Vodka and Whiskey and Watershed Vodka and Gin. A frequently changing list of specialty cocktails includes Don & Dirty made with Old Grand-Dad, chapa-roasted cranberry, orange, and raw sugar bitters; and The I.T. with OYO Honey Vanilla, jalapeño, lime and soda.

Metropole features a unique bread, coffee, and tea program, tapping into local artisans to offer fresh and ever-changing offerings. In addition to regular coffee service, a rotating menu of locally roasted coffees will be available in French Press to highlight the city’s roasters and micro-roasters, with the first offerings being Tazza Mia and Carabello Coffee. The restaurant’s loose-leaf tea program will feature teas from Kentucky’s leading tea producer, Elmwood Inn, offering guests the chance to taste a variety of the country’s finest teas. Metropole is sourcing all of its bread from Blue Oven Bakery, located in Williamsburg, Ohio. Committed to the use of local farm products and quality ingredients, Blue Oven Bakery makes all bread by hand to deliver an authentic, organic product that will continuously rotate at the restaurant.

Designed by Deborah Berke & Partners Architects, Metropole is housed in the 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati, formerly the Metropole Hotel, a 100-year-old historic landmark in downtown Cincinnati. Building on its mission of engaging the public with contemporary art and supporting the revitalization of downtown Cincinnati, the new 21c Museum Hotel restores the architectural and historical landmark into a beautiful public space. The open kitchen and wood-burning fireplace create the focal point of Metropole’s warm 90-seat dining room, 14-seat bar, an intimate lounge, and 12-person private dining room, creating an inviting environment for locals, visitors and hotel guests alike. Many of the original elements of the space were preserved including the original mosaic tile floors, arched windows and historic molding and ceiling plaster. Natural tones of cream, brown and eggplant are used throughout the space, and incorporated into decorative accents such as textured, leather banquettes, a copper bar highlighted by a hanging antique mirror, and glazed tiles behind the bar. The space will also feature rotating, curated exhibitions of contemporary art. The restaurant’s opening exhibition, OFF SHOOT: Serial Explorations, presents a wide-ranging investigation of identity, history and the barely perceptible space between fantasy and reality. The exhibition will feature works from artists Sanford Biggers, Loretta Lux, Kay Ruane and Annie Kevans as well as local artist Jay Bolotin and Louisville-based photographer Sarah Lyon.

Through his unique passion for sustainable agriculture and local farming, Paley has created his own, exciting cuisine – one defined by a seamless integration of simple ingredients to create boundary-pushing dishes. With culinary tenures working under noteworthy chefs and operators, such as Daniel Boulud and Drew Nieporent, Paley was able to gain extensive classical training before becoming an executive chef. In 2005, Chef Paley was tapped to open Proof on Main in the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, KY, and remained executive chef there until moving to Cincinnati to take the reins at Metropole. At Proof on Main, Paley’s flavor-focused cooking inspired by the culinary traditions of Italy and the American South inspired an accessible and exciting menu that paid homage to the bounty of the Ohio River Valley.

Metropole is open daily for dinner, with lunch and breakfast service to follow. The restaurant is located in the 21c Museum Hotel, at 609 Walnut Street in Cincinnati, Ohio. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling (513.5786660). For more information, please visit or

Monday, November 12, 2012

Local Boy Does Good... What A Crock!

This November, the Crock-Pot® brand is leading the charge, encouraging all Americans to exercise their right to vote! After receiving a bountiful harvest of entries during last month’s submission phase of the brand’s first-ever Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star contest, the Crock-Pot® brand has identified the three finalists and is asking Americans to visit to vote for the grand prize winner.

Passionate slow cooking enthusiasts in search of instant slow cooking fame turned on their Crock-Pot® slow cookers, turned up their culinary creativity, and submitted their most unique and delightfully unexpected original slow cooker recipes for a chance to be named the Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star, and win a coveted guest appearance on Cooking Channel’s From The Kitchens Of special show to air on January 20, 2013.

The three finalists of the Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star contest were selected based on originality, creativity, and overall appeal. All finalists demonstrated savvy slow cooking abilities, successfully capturing the appealing aspect of versatility that slow cooking affords today’s busy lifestyles. The finalists are:

April McKinney, Murfreesboro, TN, Caribbean Chicken Stew
Stephanie Nuccitelli, Sacramento, CA, Mini Salted Caramel Mocha Cheesecakes
Mark McDonald, CINCINNATI, OH, Ancho Chili & Lime Pork

Consumers may vote once each day for their favorite finalist/recipe by visiting from November 12th through November 25th. Only votes received at during this time period will determine which of the three finalists will win, so vote early and vote often!

“All of our finalists are uniquely qualified to be the first-ever Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star,” stated Matt Ragland, Vice President of Marketing for the Crock-Pot® brand. “Through their original recipes, they have successfully demonstrated the versatility our Crock-Pot® slow cookers provide today’s consumers. They are all deserving, so we are letting America determine the winner.”

After voting on, consumers can take time to explore the newly designed, interactive site, which features new and exclusive products, more than 800 recipes as well as an all-new “Daily Dish” section where consumers can share stories about their favorite recipes, family photos, entertaining ideas, and more.

Consumers who visit the all-new will be among the first to see the hottest new products for fall 2012 including the new programmable Crock-Pot® Create-a-Crock™ Slow Cooker. Consumers can personalize their slow cooker by uploading their favorite photos and are now able to choose from any of the 50 new designs. Also this fall, football fanatics will be able to support their favorite team on the field and in the kitchen with the new NFL Crock-Pot® Cook & Carry™ Slow Cookers in any of the 32 teams now available. The perfect gift for friends and family this holiday season, the limited-edition NFL Crock-Pot® Cook & Carry™ Slow Cookers are available exclusively at while supplies last.

Crock-Pot® slow cookers can be purchased online at the all-new and at retail stores including Wal-Mart, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. Don’t forget to “Like” the Crock-Pot® brand on Facebook for special product offers and upcoming news on the Ultimate Crock-Pot Crock-Star contest.

Spring cocktails from VOGA Italia

Here are a few spring cocktails from VOGA Italia to shake off those winter blues:

Strawberry Fields

3 oz. VOGA Sparkling
.75 oz. Strawberry Liqueur
2 oz. Strawberry Puree
0.5 oz Lemon Juice
1.5 Tsp. Sugar
Strawberry and Raspberry for Garnish

Combine VOGA Sparkling, strawberry liqueur, strawberry puree, lemon juice and sugar in a glass. Stir and garnish.

VOGA Spring Sangria

1 Bottle of VOGA Moscato
1 12 oz. bottle of Peach Beer
3 oz. Triple Sec
2 sliced peaches
2 sliced apricots
1 sliced Granny Smith apple
1 sliced lemon
1 sliced lime
1/2 liter club soda

Pour VOGA Moscato and beer in a large pitcher and add sliced peach, apricot, apple, lemon and lime. Next add triple sec and stir gently. Chill mixture for at least one hour, and top with club soda and stir before serving.

Spicy Mimosa

1/2 Bottle of VOGA Sparkling
5 1/2 cups orange juice
2 3/4 cups pineapple juice
1/2 tablespoon finely grated ginger

Mix orange juice and pineapple juice in a pitcher. Pour VOGA Sparkling into pitcher. Add ginger. Stir and enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

3 Holiday Gift Ideas

SUSHIQUIK- Lots of people love sushi, but unless you’re a pro… making sushi rolls..may NOT be so easy. SushiQuik is a true “I want that!” Sushi Quik is a Sushi Roller that makes it easy to make all types of sushi at home. Don’t like raw fish? Sushi rolls can also be made from many other ingredients like chicken rolls, steak rolls, veggie rolls and desert rolls, the combination of ingredients are endless! One thing I love about Sushi Quik is it helps people eat healthier too.. The SushiQuik! kit comes complete with a training frame to help properly measure the rice, a non-stick paddle to help spread the rice, two end caps which can also be used as sauce soy holders to dip your sushi roll, a SushiQuik Roll Cutter which will guide your knife and save your fingers! The Kit also includes a complete SushiQuik ebook with over 25 sushi recipes from the good old California Roll to the Chicken Roll.

To see SushiQuik in action go to

COOKIE THING –- Have you ever looked at the pictures of beautifully decorated rollout cookies on the covers of magazines and cookbooks, and wanted to make them? . . .Susan Butler’s fascination with those wonderfully, buttery, beautifully decorated rollout cookies led her to develop the Cookie Thing! Her past work in a ministry with helping the underserved community to learn how to bake cookies for profit, brought the need for a tool to make it possible for those that had little baking experience. With the Cookie Thing, Susan was able to make rollout cookies to perfection in size, and the tool enhanced the flavor tremendously because of not using too much flour!

What is the Cookie Thing? It is a baking tool made with solid maple that helps you roll out all sorts of dough to the exact thickness you need. The wooden roller is specific in design of size as well as the four variations of the measuring boards included. The measuring boards give you the depth of dough you need. The measuring boards for the 1/8th inch thickness is perfect for pie crust as well as thin, crispy cookies. The 1/4" size is the most commonly used for rollout cookies, but some bakers like them thicker, so the set includes the 3/8". The 1/2" size completes the set to be very useful for thicker items, such as biscuits. The process of using the Cookie Thing helps any baker of any experience prepare dough easier, with less mess and without too much flour.

Susan’s brilliant idea is up for consideration at Williams Sonoma to be sold in their stores.

To check out this cool new product go to

THE FRESH 20 - The Fresh 20 is a meal planning service like no other. It’s about buying less and making more. It’s about loading your dinner table with delicious, preservative free food. It’s about saving that takeout money for something more rewarding than takeout! The meal plans rely on simple, healthy and homemade dinners using just 20 fresh, seasonal ingredients per week. No more grocery lists with 80 items that will eventually go to waste. The meal plans are carefully created to utilize everything on the list so you can stop throwing money down the drain. They don’t just grab 5 random recipes and call it a meal plan. The Fresh 20 mixes and matches a small list of ingredients to create 5 balanced dinners that play off each other. Included are detailed guides to meal prep, original recipes everyone will enjoy (even picky eaters) and motivation to help you stay the course on busy weeknights. The Fresh 20 can also help dieters stay on track with their plan. The Fresh 20

Cookbook is coming out in April 2013 published by Harper Collins.

Find out more about The Fresh 20 by visiting

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Superfood Kitchen

Experience the Superfood revolution! In Superfood Kitchen, Julie Morris combines nutrition science with nature’s rainbow of flavors to create healthy masterpieces. The delicious recipes in the book are composed of plant-based, nutrient-dense whole foods that energize and nourish. Each recipe artfully blends ingredients rich in antioxidants, protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids resulting in mouthwatering dishes that make you feel as good as they taste.

From Goldenberry Pancakes to Quinoa Spaghetti with Cashew Cream Sauce and Chard—the pages glow with beautiful color photographs that will inspire home cooks to add nutritious superfoods to their culinary routine. Superfood Kitchen is not an ordinary cookbook, and superfoods are not ordinary ingredients. The chia seeds, goji berries, maca and other nutrient-dense foods highlighted in the book embody the saying “food is medicine.” Their remarkable powers to heal, energize, and promote radiant good health and high performance – both mental and physical – have been celebrated by cultures around the world for centuries.

In this definitive guide to cooking with superfoods, you’ll get: more than 100 plant-based superfood recipes; full-color photography; tips for natural and raw cooking techniques; and recommended product sources. You’ll also gain a guide to more than 20 top superfoods that details their specific health benefits, how they taste, traditional native use, and what dishes they’re best suited for.

Navitas Naturals is sponsoring a book launch party (Nov. 8) that celebrates Los-Angeles’ leading plant-based, superfood cuisine experts at an exciting new venue. The event is hosted by renowned raw food chef Matthew Kenney at his new plant-based restaurant and culinary academy in Santa Monica. The party’s snacks and appetizers will feature organic superfoods from Navitas Naturals, the leading superfood brand.

Superfood Kitchen By Julie Morris
Sterling Epicure • ISBN: 978-1-4549-0352-9 • HC • 256, pages • $24.95

About Julie Morris
Julie Morris is a Los Angeles-based natural food chef and author. Her mission is to share recipes and nutrition tips that make a vibrant healthy lifestyle easy to achieve and delicious to follow. Julie has worked in the natural food industry for a decade as a recipe developer, culinary writer and cooking show host. She is a spokesperson and executive chef for Navitas Naturals, the leading organic superfood company.

About Navitas Naturals – The Superfood Company
The mission of Navitas Naturals is to provide the finest organic superfoods that increase energy and enhance health. Health-conscious people choose their organic superfoods because they’re a diverse whole-food source of antioxidants, protein, essential fats, minerals, vitamins and other key nutrients. All of their products are certified organic and use methods such as freeze-drying and low temperature processing to ensure maximum nutrition and flavor. Organic is important for ensuring the integrity of their foods that people eat, and for protecting the environment and health of farmers.

Monday, November 5, 2012

November is Chocolate Heritage Month on Saint Lucia

In recognition of the role cacao and its beloved byproduct chocolate has played in its history – and current on-island experiences – Saint Lucia has declared November “Chocolate Heritage Month.” The month-long celebration will delve into Saint Lucia’s cacao roots offering travelers opportunities to experience the island’s rich heritage through plantation tours, exclusive chocolate-inspired spa treatments, specialty menus and more. A newly created interactive Chocolate Heritage Trail map is available at Launched for Chocolate Heritage Month, it highlights key sites, offers and history to guide travelers through the island’s sweet spots. “The history of cacao dates back to the early 1700’s when it was a thriving industry. Now, hotels and resorts are tapping into Saint Lucia’s heritage to create truly astounding chocolate indulgences for visitors, including hands-on agritourism experiences,” said Lorne Theophilus, Minister for Tourism, Heritage and the Creative Industries. Leading chocolate connoisseurs at Boucan by Hotel Chocolat have focused their efforts to revitalize Saint Lucia’s cocoa industry. Through cooperative initiatives like the Engaged Ethics Cocoa Program, the resort employs more than 140 farmers on island guaranteeing purchase of their crops above the market rate to help stimulate growth of the industry. The resort has fully infused properties of cocoa and chocolate into every aspect of their business, from spa treatments to cuisine. Pioneered by Rabot Estate, a private plantation owned by Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, the “Tree to Bar” tour leads guests through the estate groves, selecting ripe cocoa pods to create their own chocolate bar. The tour is priced at $65 and for more information visit While the island has enjoyed a resurgence of cocoa and chocolate products, Saint Lucia has maintained its reputation as a top quality cocoa producer. In addition to Boucan by Hotel Chocolat, large companies such as World's Finest® Chocolate, based in Chicago, source cocoa beans from the Union Vale Estate in Choiseul, according to Theophilus. The interactive Chocolate Heritage Trail map on Facebook provides details of participating hotels and plantations through pop-up technology, enabling travelers to browse the hot spots in Saint Lucia by simply scrolling their mouse over the icons.

Specialized cocoa tours are available at a variety of locations throughout the year including the Marquis Estate, Anse Mamin Plantation, Emerald Estate, Morne Coubaril Estate and La Dauphine Estate. At Fond Doux Estate visitors can take part in a tour and lunch package, which includes the ability to assist estate workers in the “cocoa-rina dance,” a technique used to polish the Cocoa beans before roasting. The lunch and tour package is priced at $30 per person and available from 11am to 2 pm daily.

The Chocolate Decadence Tour provided by Island Routes Tours every Wednesday sails guests on a luxury catamaran from Castries port to the Rabot Estate to take part in an all-day tour, creating delicious chocolate from scratch. A gourmet lunch with touches of cocoa is included followed by a leisurely afternoon at the Sulphur Springs’ mud bath. The tour is priced at $145 per adult.

Jade Mountain Resort will host its 4th annual “Discover Chocolate” festival this year from December 13 through 16. The four-day event will treat guests to an all chocolate-inspired menu, cocktail party featuring a chocolate martini and savory finger foods, a tour of Emerald Estate and a “chocolate” breakfast in bed.

“This annual festival lets our guests indulge in chocolate in so many tasty and unexpected ways, from specially created menus and culinary demonstrations to pampering and healthful spa treatments,” said Karolin Troubetzkoy, Executive Director at Jade Mountain Resort. “All the chocolate used comes from Cacao trees grown on our plantations, Anse Mamin Plantation and Emerald Estate.”

Saint Lucian chefs have found countless creative ways to infuse cocoa into the cuisine, making it more than just a delectable dessert. The ingredient brings a unique taste to the table, playing off both savory and sweet flavors, with added health benefits, like the power to increase serotonin levels and fight heart disease. Boucan by Hotel Chocolat folds cocoa into even the smallest details of the dining experience, including cocoa grinders next to the salt and pepper mills on the dining tables to enrich the flavor of any dish. Boucan has designed complete menus which boast unique cacao dishes like Cacao Gazpacho and Tomato, Chilli and Cacao Ravioli.

“The concept of using cocoa in savory dishes dates right back to pre Aztec civilizations, but it can be heavy, like Mexican Mole. At Boucan by Hotel Chocolat we have created a contemporary 'cocoa cuisine' where we treat the cocoa like a spice, infusing flavors in an elegant harmony with other local ingredients. From our launch a year ago, every dish on our menu has a cacao connection - we are cocoa farmers after all!” said Executive Chef Jon Bentham.

Throughout Saint Lucia, chefs have developed distinctive dishes and uses for cocoa and chocolate. At Calabash Cove Spa & Resort the Pan Roast pork tenderloin on chick peas is covered in a chocolate powder rub. Coconut Bay Resort and Spa offers a "chocolate extravaganza" buffet for their guests on Sunday evenings between 9pm and 10pm to sample a variety of chocolates. The luxurious Cap Maison, located in the northern tip of the island, offers a “A Study on Chocolate:” a special dessert of mixed chocolate recipes engineered by Executive Chef Craig Jones of the Cliff at Cap restaurant.

A popular hot beverage on Saint Lucia, particularly on Sunday mornings, is cocoa tea made from freshly grated cocoa sticks. Food vendors at the Castries market, in the heart of the capital city, steep bay leaves, cinnamon, nutmeg and grated cocoa sticks together in huge pots all day to serve to customers. The market is open Monday through Saturday from 6 am to 5 pm.

Cocoa has also become a popular spa ingredient as its natural properties help stimulate endorphins, add minerals, and absorb anti-oxidants. Chocolate-themed spa packages are available at several locations on-island including the Chocolate Package, priced at $120, at Ti Kaye Village Resort & Spa which includes a Chocolate Body Scrub, Chocolate Wrap and Chocolate Massage. Kai En Ciel Boutique Spa at Jade Mountain Resort offers the Chocolate Delight, priced at $150, adding a mix of warm and cooled chocolate layers to revitalize skin. Chocolate Body Scrub’s are available at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, priced at $100, which uses Dead Sea salts, essential oils and 100% organic cocoa leaving the skin hydrated and the La Mer Spa at Bay Gardens Beach Resort & Spa, priced at $75. CocoaJuvenate Spa at Boucan Hotel & Restaurant uses “NanoCacao”, finely ground cocoa from the Rabot Estate in the Cacao Facial at $95, the Cacao Massage starting at $50, and the Cacao Body Exfoliate at $90.

For more information about Saint Lucia, please visit, call 1-800-4STLUCIA or become a fan on Facebook at

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Anderson Valley Brewing Company And Wild Turkey

As part of an exclusive partnership, the Anderson Valley Brewing Company and Wild Turkey® Bourbon announced today that they will be teaming up to develop world-class bourbon-barrel aged craft beers. As part of the partnership, Anderson Valley Brewing Company will be using repurposed American oak barrels from the famed bourbon brand’s Wild Turkey Distillery in Kentucky.

“I’ve been familiar with Anderson Valley Brewing for some time, and I’ve always admired the pride and care they take in crafting and brewing their beer,” said Jimmy Russell, Wild Turkey Master Distiller. “It’s similar to the approach we take with our bourbon, which made this partnership such a natural fit. Now I finally have a good excuse to drink a great craft beer!”

“The opportunity to partner with the Bourbon Hall of Fame Russell family and Wild Turkey is tremendously exciting,” said Trey White, Anderson Valley owner and CEO. “We have done some trial brews with a limited number of Wild Turkey barrels over the past several months and the beers to date have been awesome. We cannot wait to create some truly special craft beers utilizing barrels from the distillery. The relationship we have developed with Wild Turkey provides Anderson Valley with a world class, consistent source of barrels. Anderson Valley Brewing will work alongside the Russells to explore new frontiers in barrel aged craft beer.”

The initial production from this first-of-its-kind collaboration will be a Bourbon barrel aged Stout featuring Anderson Valley’s award-winning Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. Aged to perfection for three months, the resulting beer will be deep ebony in hue with a beautiful mahogany head, an aroma of fresh-baked bread, toffee, and espresso mingling with the woody vanilla notes of Bourbon whiskey and the rich roasted flavors wrapped with Bourbon.

“We chose to work with Wild Turkey not only because their whiskey is so outstanding - they are also the only major Bourbon producer to use a #4 ‘alligator’ char on their barrels. This helps to introduce way more flavor to the Bourbon, and therefore way more flavor to our famous Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout,” continued White.

This draft beer will be released in the fall and will be followed by bottled products in early 2013. Anderson Valley and Wild Turkey will work together in the coming months on a variety of exciting promotional opportunities to engage fans and introduce them to the quality and authenticity of Bourbon barrel aged products. Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout draft will be available in several states including: California, New York, Oregon, Colorado, Kentucky, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and New Jersey amongst others by the end of the year.

More information on Anderson Valley Brewing Company can be found at;; Information on Wild Turkey can be found at, or

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In Praise of Green Bean Delivery

You may have seen their delivery vans around the area and wondered, "What the heck is Green Bean Delivery?" Just like it sounds, Green Bean is a delivery service of fresh produce and foods right to your door.

They gave us an opportunity to try it and they now have a new customer! A standard produce bin cost $35 (medium is $42 and large $49) and can be delivered once a week. Less often if you prefer. The standard bin has a variety of fresh produce including locally grown and organic products. Once you have set up an account, you can make alterations to the bin and/or make additions to your delivery. They have a number of other interesting food and beverage items available for delivery as well.

Looking for an alternative to candy oriented vending machines for your place of work? Green bean also offers Break Room Bins for local delivery that offers a healthy variety of fruits and veggies to chips and chocolate.

Well worth a serious look, you can find everything you need to know at their web site:

You may spend a little more than you would at your local mega-mart, but you won't find the variety and convenience. It's well worth your serious consideration. As I stated earlier, we are now a customer... 'nuff said!

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Cyber Monday: Caribbean Liquid Sugar Shares the Gift of Pure Sweetness at a Cheerful Holiday Price

October 22, 2012 — Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday) in 2010 marked the largest day in online shopping history and the first day that online sales exceeded $1 billion total.[1] In 2011 that record was surpassed with $1.25 billion dollars in sales, up 22% from the year before. Now that history has proven itself, ambitious retailers are all vying for consumers’ attention on the biggest online sale day of the year. Caribbean Liquid Sugar ( is getting in on the action and offering a 15% discount on its two organic cane sugar syrups that are GMO free, gluten free, vegan and kosher. “Hey Shuga!” and “Lil’ Shuga!” are dynamic sweeteners that are beautifully packaged in glass bottles with charming labels making them the perfect gift for anyone on the holiday shopping list including those typically challenging to shop for such as grandpa, dad or a boss.

These versatile sweet syrups are made via a delicate and natural enzymatic process that bio-mimics the one that bees use to naturally produce honey. “Hey Shuga!” is a pure sugar cane syrup and “Lil’ Shuga!” is a blend of both cane sugar and Stevia. These “Shuga” syrups pour more easily than honey and are wonderful for baking, as condiments, and effortlessly blend into hot and cold beverages.

“Hey Shuga!” is a 12 oz. glass bottle of potential. It works well as a syrup condiment on pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, cereal and many others dishes. The syrup encourages almost any culinary whim. “Hey Shuga!” makes coffee and tea in the morning a breeze. Just pour any beverage over “Hey Shuga,” and with no stirring necessary, and you’re out the door to start the day. One of best capabilities of this syrup is its baking benefits. Professional bakeries love “Hey Shuga!” because it takes approximately 30% less time to bake. The baking community reports their baked goods taste better, stay fresh longer, have better texture, and show superior browning. Anyone who bakes must take “Hey Shuga!” home and see what all the professionals are raving about.

“Lil’ Shuga!” is the 8 oz. smaller sidekick to its larger companion. “Lil’ Shuga!” has all the same baking, condiment, and blend-able advantages of “Hey Shuga!” with one more punch- it has only five calories per serving! The flavor is identical, with the same honey-like consistency, but “Lil’ Shuga!” is a combination of pure cane sugar and natural organic Stevia. Slightly sweeter than sugar, Stevia lightens “Lil’ Shuga!” up and comes in a smaller bottle. A “Lil’ Shuga” syrup goes a long way.

Caribbean Liquid Sugar
In 2004 Caribbean Liquid Sugar was created in Don Tejada’s kitchen, driven by a passion for healthy foods, good nutrition, and love for natural products. The dream of developing an all-natural, artificially free sweetener gave birth to “Hey Shuga!” and “Lil’ Shuga!” Both of which are vegan, GMO-free, gluten-free and above all, delicious, Caribbean Liquid Sugar brings natural sweetness while striving to promote sustainability and a healthy planet. For further information about Caribbean Liquid Sugar, please visit

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Smirnoff Reveals Iced Cake and Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka for the Holidays

With the holiday season kicking off at the end of the month, SMIRNOFF® Vodka is introducing two new flavored vodkas – Iced Cake and Kissed Caramel – giving adult consumers a reason to raise their glasses and celebrate every occasion this holiday season. As the world’s number-one selling and most awarded vodka brand, these decadent new flavors are the best way for consumers and fans of SMIRNOFF to honor every event, big or small.

Created from award-winning SMIRNOFF No. 21 Vodka, SMIRNOFF Iced Cake and SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel flavored vodkas join SMIRNOFF Fluffed Marshmallow and SMIRNOFF Whipped Cream in the brand’s increasingly popular line of confectionary flavored vodkas. Just as there are two faces of the moon, two edges of a sword, and two sides to every story, SMIRNOFF is offering consumers two smooth, creamy tastes to experience: the sweet flavor of Iced Cake and the sultry essence of Kissed Caramel. To indulge either side this Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years, and every holiday in between, try whipping up the Upside-Down Cake cocktail with SMIRNOFF Iced Cake or the Caramel Candy Apple cocktail with SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel:

Upside-Down Cake 1.5 oz. SMIRNOFF Iced Cake Flavored Vodka
1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. pineapple juice

Build in a Highball glass over ice and top off with Club Soda. Garnish with sprinkles, a cherry and an orange twist.

Kissed Caramel Appletini

1.5 oz. SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel Flavored Vodka
1.5 oz. apple juice
25 oz. lemon juice
25 oz. simply syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with think apple slices and a caramel rim.

“As pioneers in the world of cocktail culture, we’re always experimenting with new tastes and trends to expand our portfolio and give consumers delicious, high-quality flavored vodka options suitable for all responsible drinking occasions,” said Dan Kleinman, Brand Director for SMIRNOFF. “SMIRNOFF Iced Cake and SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel make the perfect base for any celebratory cocktail; whether it’s a birthday, an engagement or a promotion at work, these flavors work so well with those key moments that call for raising a glass.”

Formerly reserved exclusively for the characters of VH1’s hit scripted television show Single Ladies, SMIRNOFF Iced Cake and SMIRNOFF Kissed Caramel are now available for consumers of legal drinking age at liquor and grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $12.99 for a 750mL bottle.

Old Farmer's Almanac Everyday Baking cookbook is here!

The Old Farmer's Almanac is proud to announce the latest title in its Everyday cookbook series-Everyday Baking, a collection of specially created recipes that make baking easy as pie. Available this fall wherever books and magazines are sold, Everyday Baking features 118 original recipes by celebrated baker and longtime Almanac collaborator Ken Haedrich. A winner of the Julia Child Cookbook Award, Haedrich may be best known as the author of Pie: 300 Tried-and-True Recipes for Delicious Homemade Pie, which was recently named one of the best baking books of the past 25 years by Cooking Light magazine.

Everyday Baking, with its handy reference section and time-tested advice sprinkled throughout, demystifies the art of baking and will inspire home bakers of all skill levels to make delicious breakfast treats, after-school snacks, and impressive desserts The easy-to-follow recipes in Everyday Baking don't demand unusual ingredients or abstract cooking techniques, but rather just a desire to make delicious home-baked goods completely from scratch.

The Old Farmer's Almanac Everyday Baking answers the burning questions with which bakers are faced each and every time they turn on their ovens:

What's for breakfast? The most important meal of the day can be made sweet with Big-Batch Fresh Raspberry Muffins or savory with Bacon-Blue Cheese Scones. In the fall, make the most of seasonal flavors with Pumpkin Sugar Cake, one of several coffee cake offerings.

Is it possible for corn bread to be too rich? Yes, and Everyday Baking has the recipe (it's delicious, we promise), alongside others for quick breads such as Glazed Lemon Coconut Loaf, Pumpkin Cranberry Bread, and Wheaten Irish Soda Bread-all of which can be made in under an hour.

What to do with all this fresh fruit? Easy . . . put it in a crisp, cobbler, crunch, grunt (hint: a steamed cobbler), or pandowdy. No matter what's in season, Everyday Baking has a recipe to suit, with offerings for Maple Apple Crisp, Blueberry Peach Cornmeal Cobbler, Fall Fruit Pandowdy, and more!

Which cookie goes best with milk? Try Triple-Chocolate Pecan Cookies, Pumpkin Spice Cookies, Really Old-Fashioned Gingerbread People, or one of the over two dozen recipes in Everyday Baking's cookies section. Pie or cake? Everyday Baking features chapters for both types of sweet treats. Let them eat cake with recipes for Carrot Coconut Layer Cake, Cherry Vanilla Tea Cake, and Mississippi Mud Cake, among others. While there's a cake for every occasion, that doesn't mean that we skimp on the pie-Haedrich is a world-class pie-maker who lays out techniques and recipes for flaky, foolproof crust. "Pie-riffic" recipes include Best Ever Coconut Cream Pie, Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Coconut Crumb Topping, and Chocolate Chess Pie.

The best way to use eggs is . . .? At room temperature. Cool eggs affect the consistency of butter and other room-temperature ingredients in the dough. This is just one of the dozens of recipe-saving tips included throughout Everyday Baking.

For a sample of recipes from Everyday Baking and more Almanac favorites, check out The Old Farmer's Almanac cooking blog.

Need more pie? Tips, that is? Sign up for classes with Dedicated to the idea that anyone can make a great pie, Ken Haedrich's site provides step-by-step video tutorials, recipes, and tips on the best tools.

The Old Farmer's Almanac Everyday Baking is produced by Yankee Publishing Inc. of Dublin, New Hampshire Its parent publication, The Old Farmer's Almanac, has been delighting readers since 1792. Everyday Baking is the third title in the Everyday cookbook series, joining The Everyday Cookbook and Everyday Recipes. The Almanac cookbook family also includes The Garden-Fresh Cookbook.

Always "useful, with a pleasant degree of humor," The Old Farmer's Almanac is known for home, garden, and food advice, as well as for its 80 percent-accurate weather forecasts for the United States and Canada. The Old Farmer's Almanac family of publications includes themed calendars for 2013 (Gardening, Weather Watcher's, Country, Recipe, and more), a collection of cookbooks, journals, The All-Seasons Garden Guide, and The Old Farmer's Almanac for Kids.

The Old Farmer's Almanac Everyday Baking is available for only $9.99 wherever books and magazines are sold. Folks who can't find it in bookstores, supermarkets, or kitchen stores can order individual copies at or by calling 800-ALMANAC.

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Knauss Foods Expedites National Rollout of PJ’s All Natural Beef Steak

While Knauss Foods’ management was methodically rolling out PJ’s All Natural Beef Steak in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, they were somewhat surprised when consumers outside the tri-state region started to ask for it. Since the product is not widely available in stores across the country, some potential customers were unable to find it. People as far away as California from Knauss Foods’ Pennsylvania headquarters were learning about PJ’s through Facebook, Twitter and blogger reviews. When they asked where they could buy it, Knauss Foods’ Chief Operating Officer, Joseph Bucara, had to come up with a quick solution. The digital age had created the buzz, and a digital solution was in order—expediting the introduction of a responsive online store.

“Sometimes it’s a slow process to gain in-store placement for a new product,” says Bucara, “and in this case consumer demand has outpaced our grocery and convenience-store distribution. It’s an excellent problem to have, and we want to make sure that we meet consumer needs as quickly as possible. Expediting the introduction of an easy-to-use online store takes care of immediate demand as we continue to grow our brick and mortar distribution.”

So what’s all the excitement about? PJ’s All Natural Beef Steak, a gluten-free alternative to beef jerky, is made by marinating and cooking the beef over a seven-day period. This compares to national beef jerky brands that dry the beef in several hours and blend in a concoction of ingredients, including preservatives. “PJ’s result,” says Bucara “is a naturally tender and flavorful treat.”

There are several reasons why the interest in the beef snack grew so quickly. Some beef jerky fans learned about PJ’s as they read reviews from bloggers like Kaysi, who comments “It is clearly not beef jerky. It’s just a really great beef snack.... your taste buds will be jumping for joy.” Others are drawn to the product because it’s healthy. For example, bloggers who write about gluten free foods are covering it because unlike most beef jerky products, it’s gluten free. This makes it a perfect snack or meal supplement for people suffering with celiac disorder who are on gluten free diets. It has also gained favor with parents of autistic children, some whose children are on gluten free casein free (GFCF) diets and others who find it challenging to persuade their children to eat enough healthy protein. Finally there are athletes and dieters who want a low-calorie, high-protein energy boost to keep them going.

PJ’s All Natural Beefsteak tempts the taste buds with three flavors—Original, Cracked Pepper and Teriyaki. For easy snacking it’s packaged in 3.25 ounce re-sealable pouches as well as 1 ounce pouches for on-the-go school children and adults. Customers can select tenders, a chunky cut, or slices. To learn more about PJ’s Beefsteak and to buy the product online, visit or call 800-648-4220 to learn whether it’s available at a store near you.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Crisco® Pie Hotline Helps Make Holiday Baking As Easy As ... Pie

Stuck in a pie predicament? Call on the experts! The Crisco® Pie Hotline (1-877-FOR-PIE-TIPS) is back for a seventh year to offer around-the-clock advice and inspiration to help consumers on their way to pie baking perfection. Whether mastering the traditional pie crust or looking for new inspiration, the trained pie professionals staffing the Crisco Pie Hotline are available during extended holiday hours to help home bakers conquer their most perplexing pie problems.

Information and tips on the Crisco Pie Hotline are available 24 hours a day, to help solve some of the most common pie-baking challenges – from baking a flakier pie crust to preventing a pie crust from shrinking. Live pie experts can also be reached year-round Monday through Friday (9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET) by calling 1-877-FOR-PIE-TIPS ((877) 367-7438). During the busy holiday season, live pie experts can be reached Monday through Friday (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET) from November 12-21 and (8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET) from December 10-21, 2012.

In addition, the Crisco Pie Hotline will feature tips and trends from award-winning pie expert and author, Michele Stuart , the owner of Michele's Pies (located in Westport and Norwalk, CT) and the author of the best-selling cookbook Perfect Pies (Random House, 2011).

"Whether you're an experienced or novice baker, baking pies during the holiday season can be stressful," explains Stuart. "Every year, thousands of home cooks struggling with their pie crusts rely on the Crisco Pie Hotline as a one-stop resource to help ease the stress of holiday baking."

In April, Michele took first place at the 2012 American Pie Council and Crisco Professional National Pie Championships® in the "Mini Pie Category" for her Orange Creamsicle Pies. Below are Michele's expert pie-baking tips and trends for this year's pie baking season:

Double Duty Pie Crust: Once you're done making a pie, use leftover pie dough to make a variety of savory appetizers and fun treats to share with guests. Leftover pie dough can be dusted with sweet flavors like cinnamon and sugar, sprinkled with savory flavors like Parmesan cheese, filled with salsa or mashed potatoes and even made into tantalizing fruit empanadas.

Less is More: The miniature trend is still going strong and it's a fun way to sample a variety of pie favorites during the holiday season. Instead of making one 12-inch pie, let guests sample from a diverse variety of small 5-inch pies.

Ingredient Inspiration: Once a traditional fruit pie recipe - like apple or peach - is mastered, don't be afraid to experiment with fruit combinations like Peach Blueberry, Apple Raspberry or Strawberry Rhubarb. Add a new flavor to a classic pie by including an unexpected ingredient like nuts, fresh seasonal fruit or a crumb or caramel topping. This is a great way to be creative and discover new flavors that are sure to impress. For more information about the Crisco Pie Hotline or for additional tips, recipes and how-to videos, visit Join the Crisco community on Facebook at or on Pinterest at