Full Circle Suds Up Bamboo Dish Brush

by Courtney on December 12, 2014 · 0 comments

After folding laundry, doing dishes by hand is my least favorite chore. However, sometimes certain items do help make those unfavorable tasks just a little bit better. As a runner-up chore I’ve managed to make my next least favorite chore, dish washing, just a little bit better.

That is where the Suds Up Bamboo Dish Brush from Full Circle comes in. It’s firm but gentle brushes have yet to scratch any of my cookware or dishes. As one may think that bristles might be harsher than a soft sponge. If you still don’t trust bristles of a brush to your delicate dishware, you’re in luck because you can just pop on a sponge-head instead of the bristle-head.

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Full Circle makes it totally interchangeable with their bamboo handle to pop off the brush and pop on a clean/sanitized one when your brush head has seen better days.

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I think that’s a pretty convenient tool already, but what feature I love even more is the built-in liquid soap dispenser in the handle. I do wish the soap button dispensed more soap per button push. As it seems to me that very little soap is dispense when the button is depressed, I need to press it a few more times for enough soap. I am happy for this extra feature, even though I seem to constantly be refilling it. It is better than separately using a bottle of soap.

Though it may be expected when using a dish brush, but once you’re done with your dishes and stand the brush on it’s handle base, all of that extra water held in the bristles end up running down the handle onto your counter or sink top. So be aware when you do use it, as it tends to make a slight flooded mess. It’s a great product with bristles that have lasted incredibly long in comparisons to what any sponge could do. Just be sure not to submerge the bamboo handle in water and you’ll be all set to tackle those dishes with nearly dry hands.

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SunRidge Farms makes wonderful contributions to the environment with the distribution facility in Royal Oaks, CA. They facility is powered by 2,500 solar panels, which eliminates 1,315,00 pounds of CO2 every year. By SunRidge Farms eliminating that much CO2 is equal to planting 1,800 acres of trees. Many of these actions have helped to verify SunRidge Farms as a Green Business by the Monterey County Green Business Program. Congrats to them, keep up the great work!

SunRidge Farms has always been on a mission to promote healthy living since being founded in 1982. They create this by using biodiesel delivery trucks, supply their sales fleet with hybrid vehicles, offering recycling education classes and even pay their employees $5 per day to use a bicycle to commute to and from work. Their bulk bags contain natural biochemical ingredients and earth-friendly polymers, which help to breakdown in landfills. SunRidge Farms participates in many recycling programs, including recycling office paper, ink-jet cartridges, shrink wraps/plastics and their corrugated cardboard boxes. Also converting manufacturing waste into animal food.

That is a lot of stuff SunRidge Farms is doing to make sure their green commitments are being upheld. As for their products, I can certainly attest to their chocolate peanuts being so good, they are downright addictive! The yogurt peanut clusters were not as addictive but still tasty and neither were filled with chemicals.

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The organic dark chocolate peanuts are nothing like what I expected. I’ve never been a fan of bitter dark chocolate, but this didn’t taste anything like it! Which is wonderful for me, I ate them by the palmful. I secretly kept hoping that these peanuts would turn int chocolate covered raisins as the crunchy texture kept surprising me a bit.

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Certified organic may be the reason why I was gravitating towards these more than the all natural Milk Chocolate variety. Both types were great, but the Dark Chocolate variety were much tastier, as my tastebuds have been used to that flavor for years. The all natural Milk Chocolate peanuts are also Kosher, as are the All Natural Yogurt Peanut Clusters as well as non-GMO. I was also not a fan of the yogurt covered peanut clusters because of the use of palm kernel oil, as SunRidge Farms did not acknowledge if it was harvested sustainably. When it isn’t harvest sustainably it threatens Orangutans by removing their habitats as well as other animals species also. So I would prefer to avoid it since I don’t know the details of how it is harvested.

I have tried SunRidge Farms yogurt covered pretzels in the Galaxy Mix and wasn’t too much of a fan of the yogurt covering. I’m not much of a fan of anything yogurt covered, to me the yogurt is nothing like actual refrigerated yogurt from a container which I enjoy very much.

I’m sticking with chocolate for my sweet fix, as these a great addition to my yogurt and the fun treats I pick out of the trail mixes, so why not have an entire bag of them to begin with.

Find some other SunRidge Farms products I have reviewed:
Organic Sunflower Seeds
Galaxy Mix
Organic Sunny Bears

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Duchy Originals Organic Shortbread Cookies

by Courtney on December 5, 2014 · 0 comments

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As an American growing up in the United States I was aware that the Royal Family of England always positively contributed to society by goodwill actions. Though I never knew that they had started their own food company, Duchy Originals. Back in 1992 Prince Charles of Wales decided to create food that was of the highest quality, with the best natural ingredients, considering sustainable practices and produced in harmony with the environment.

These practices also support worthwhile causes via The Prince of Wales Chartiable Foundation. $5 million has been raised via the sale of these cookies annually, supporting charitable causes in the United States and all over the world. In partnership with the United Kingdom’s premium grocery chain, Waitrose, they are available in 272 stores in the United Kingdom.

All Duchy Originals are 100% USDA certified organic, using non-GMO and all-natural ingredients. They are also kosher and vegetarian. If butter is an ingredient, such as in their all butter shortbread cookies, the butter has no bovine growth hormone.

Duchy Originals not only makes cookies and other treats, they also have a full line of foods. Including free range meat, dairy and eggs, jam and marmalades, bakery products, even including beer and ciders. Most of which were organic products as well!

Hopefully by now you are wondering how they taste, that I can help you with. They are fantastic! Though the oaten biscuits (see photo above) are nothing like what I was expecting, they are nothing like our American oatmeal cookies, which is what I was hoping for. The texture is much more finely ground oats and is very crumbly (dry). Though I believe that their “biscuits” (cookies) are exactly that style, making these very authentically British.

The Highland, Lemon and Ginger All Butter Shortbread cookies were all wonderfully light and also crumbly. Though all of these cookies fall apart when you bite them and my personal preference leans towards a soft chewy cookie. Their ingredient list boasts easily recognizable ingredients, which are common pantry ingredients, which I like.

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The Highland All Butter Shortbread has 5 simple ingredients and a simple tasty flavor that would be enhanced when jelly or peanut butter is added. All of these cookies are pre-sliced so you feel like you’re getting even more cookie from just one serving. It is also helpful to make your cookies into a sandwich cookie too!

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Lemon All Butter Shortbread has a wonderful taste of bright citrus lemon. If you enjoy lemon, this cookie is for you. With the addition of lemon to these cookies it doesn’t need any added elements, which the All Butter cookie would have benefitted from.

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Stem Ginger All Butter Shortbread is quite the spicy cookie. I don’t often get the chance to cook with ginger, so I probably don’t use enough to be comfortable with the taste, but this cookie has enough to make up for that. It’s not spicy hot, but tangy that gives your tongue a nice tingle. It will wake up your tastebuds for sure. Of all of the cookies from Duchy Originals this one is the one with the most flavor.

Overall these cookies are a wonderful treat and in my opinion a much better option (health wise) than many popular brand named cookies available. To order your own cookies and other sweet treats check out their website here.

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Dogwood Farms at Duke Farms

by Courtney on December 3, 2014 · 0 comments

Last Saturday I took a day trip to visit Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey. The expansive over 2,000 acre estate of the Duke Family, including Doris Duke has become a steward for environmental conservation and a popular place to enjoy a nice walk or jog within in their vehicle-free paths. The land was once the private home of tobacco tycoon J.B. Duke and then is only heir Doris Duke. As per Miss Duke’s wishes upon her passing, Duke Farms has become an educational center for preserving the environment, land and animals.

Duke Farms offers public programs for children and adults, which relate to the environment and native animals to the land. In continuing their environmental stewardship they installed a solar array, which allows you to view their current energy stats created on the property via their website.

I wanted to share a little background about this wonderfully environmentally conscious place and will have a full review of Duke Farms in another post. This post is about the great company I came upon while visiting Duke Farms.

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While making a pit stop at the Visitors Center of Duke Farms to grab a trail map I saw a sign indicating later that day there would be a Farmers Market available which featured non-GMO vegetables, hormone and antibiotic free meats both which were grown or raised directly on Duke Farms property. I had visited Duke Farms before and was aware of the community garden on the property but not of any company who created and sold goods there.

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The great company behind that task is Dogwood Farms, owned by Jon Knox and his wife Kim Koziol , who live local to the Duke Farms estate and lease 35 acres of land to produce their veggies and meats. I was so grateful to have met these two and share their wonderful story of doing good of all to enjoy.

Through the Beginner Farmer Program, Jon and Kim were able to start Dogwood Farms to create products without the use of chemicals, herbicide or pesticide, as they believe it should be (and we agree too!) Though they are not currently certified yet, they do product organic foods in the true sense of the term. Which is something I’m glad they believe in too.

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Dogwood Farms set out to create Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for 150-200 members and strengthen their ties with local restaurants within a 30 mile area to deliver fresh local produce every season. Every Saturday Jon and Kim can be found setting up their shop within the Duke Farms Café (or outside of it if the weather allows) from 10am to 4pm to sell their produce and meats among other locally sourced items such as cheeses, canned goods and honey.

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Since I visited at the end of the season they have more of a selection of winter vegetables and greens. Which is something I really enjoy, cooking within season with what you have available. Though the vegetable season may be coming to a close their 2014-2015 CSA Meat Share is still available. You can pre-register for their 2015 Spring Veggie CSA membership as well as 2015 Summer Meat Share. Pricing details can be found on their website. Their vegetables are grown from seeds that have not been genetically modified, beef and lamb are all grass fed and pork and chicken that have been fed only organic grain. None of the animals are given any hormones or antibiotics either.

I am so very glad to have met Jon and Kim to learn about their great company and how they envision working with local community to provide healthy food items from which all can benefit. Click here to watch a short video that tells a bit more about their farming story. If you are local to Hillsborough, NJ or Somerset County, NJ I certainly recommend taking a visit to Duke Farms. If you’re not local, I also suggest taking the drive; the views and food are certainly worth the trip.

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Leafygreen.info in the News

by Courtney on December 1, 2014 · 0 comments

We’ve been a bit quiet on the blogging front, but I’m happy to share that we have been quite busy on the social media front. Specifically creating an Instagram feed for Leafygreen.info. It’s a place where I share small reviews/opinions of eco-friendly products that may not warrant a larger review on the site. But they are something I certainly want to share with all of you, good or bad. I’ve also begun to use our account to feature some outdoor/nature activities and earth responsible tasks as well as the great veggies we grow in our organic garden at home (when in season). I hope you will follow our feed to check out some great products that will be featured only on Instagram.

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Besides creating our own social media page, there have been several other bloggers who couldn’t wait to share about their enthusiasm for Leafygreen.info. We’ve been featured in good company along with other eco-bloggers on PlushBeds.com’s “Most Influential Green Living Bloggers for 2015” (check out our review of their eco-friendly pillow here).

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Lastly, we have been featured on the UK eco-friendly website Greenmatch.uk.co as one of 15 Environmental Blogs for their 2014 awards. We are very grateful to be have been selected and featured among other wonderful eco bloggers such as Earth911, National Geographic Energy Blog, Treehugger and World Wildlife Fund among others. Please feel free to check out their post featuring us and Green-Oriented Businesses in the UK as well as 10 DIY energy saving websites.

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Natural Products Expo East 2014 Recap

by Courtney on September 26, 2014 · 2 comments

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2014 was my second year attending the Natural Products Expo East event, always in search of my new favorite natural products.  Though i was only able to attend the expo for the last day, saturday, I still found several new companies that deserve some special attention.  I’ll be doing more in-depth reviews of these products in coming weeks, but for now I wanted to give a small recap of the items that really stood out in my opinion.

The very first vendor I encountered Saturday morning was a lovely Father/Daughter team from Ultra Green.  I spoke with the daughter, Zoe about their different products, including a party set of utensils made from corn (which includes utensils, plates, cups and napkins made from sugarcane fiber) as well as their paper products featuring toilet paper, tissues and paper towels made from 100% bamboo fiber.  They are a wonderful small company that is really going to make a difference and not just in this business to make a profit.  I found this to be the case with many vendors, they truly want to make a difference in this industry with their products.

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Green Bee Soda is a company that is not very different from Ultra Green in terms of a small family run business. Owner Chris Kinkade informed me of this when I stopped by his booth to try some of his honey sweetened soda from his own bee-hives.  It is a fact that I do not like soda, especially not mainstream brand soda and I’ve even found natural sodas to be too sweet and too carbonated.  However, I was pleasantly surprised how much Green Bee Soda did not taste like what I’ve come to know soda as.  It was light and barely carbonated (not as if it’s gone flat) as well as only a hint of sweetness.  I was able to try the Lemon Sting flavor as well as the Half and Half – which was revealed at the expo for the first time.  Half & Half is Organic Green Tea and Lemon Sting, which happened to be my favorite flavor!  The short ingredient is a bonus too!  No “natural flavors” hiding behind a generalized ingredient.

It was only 9:30am by the time I passed the Blue Marble Ice Cream booth.  If you are offered organic ice cream no matter what time it is you shouldn’t pass it up.  That was the case when Jennie from Blue Marble offered me some Sea Salt Caramel Organic Ice Cream, I of course said yes.  Then proceeded to try several more flavors (Vanilla & Mint Chocolate) and loved each one.  That was certainly because it was so so deliciously creamy without antibiotics, hormones, pesticides or anything artificial.  Blue Marble is even doing great things internationally with work in Rwanda by helping to open the country’s first scoop shop run by the women of Rwanda.

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Popcorn and chips seemed to dominate the food aisles of Expo East this year.  Though many vendors were your average chip, one company’s chips really did stand out for me.  However, one company’s chips really did stand out for me.  Way Better Snacks, has a line ofsprouted corn tortilla chips and pita chips.  Many of which include chips made with many funky ingredients like Black Bean, Sweet Potato or “Punkin Cranberry”.  They were very tasty, light but crunchy chips that would pair well with dip.  They also offer three flavors of “Pita-ahh Chips”, which are even more crunchy as well a soon to be available line of flavored crackers.

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I don’t have much info about this next product, but I was really pleased at the potential for how eco-friendly it could be.  Cooler on the Go is a fold flat cardboard box with a thermal insert to keep your beverages cold and it’s completely reusable.  This product eliminates the need for styrofoam coolers, which usually become one use items since they don’t always hold up to the strength they should.  Cooler on the Go is customizable too!  If you had a family reunion or get together you could make personalized ones.  Unfortunately they don’t sell them on their website, but you can buy a case of them on eBay.  Perhaps you’ll come across a retail vendor that carries them.  If you do please comment below and let us know where you found them, we’re on the look out too.

On my way out of the expo I almost passed up a chance to try Freekheh – Roasted Green Wheat and it’s a good thing I didn’t, it is wonderful.  I have never heard of roasted green wheat before, I found out it has great nutritional value when harvested while still green and absorbs other food flavors just as quinoa does.  It truly reminded me of barely or a food cousin of quinoa that was a bit more dense.  It was combined with many vegetables and a bit of olive oil which made for a flavorful snack that I wish I had more of that day.  You can search for Freekheh at your local food store here.

I also wanted to mention that I visited a lovely company that I met at the NYC Green Festival back in April, Emmy’s.  They are makers of wonderfully soft and chewy macaroons and non-GMO super cereals, Sweet Buckwheat was my favorite!

There are several other companies that I haven’t mentioned above that I will be doing in-depth reviews of their products soon to come, including Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder, Beanfields‘ new flavors of bean chips: Barbecue and Ranch, Primal Pit Paste Deodorant and World Centric wheatstraw fiber bowls and toilet paper.  I enjoyed my day trip to Expo east and met many fantastic vendors.  IMG_4290Many of these vendors, as well as countless others, donated their undistributed samples to local food banks, a great idea for a great cause.  I look forward to reviewing all the products i received over the weekend.  Check back soon to read about some of the other green products I’ve found at this year’s expo.

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Chameleon Organic Cold-Brew Vanilla Coffee

by Andrew on September 24, 2014 · 0 comments

 

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This past weekend, at Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, I had the opportunity to pick up some cold brewed coffee from Chameleon.  I was given several samples as I was making my way towards the exit.  At the time I didn’t have a chance to speak with the vendor about what made their product unique.

I awoke this morning in need of a good pick-me-up coffee, something to start my morning right.  Fumbling in my bag of ‘goodies’ from the show, I grabbed the first coffee I could get my hands on: Chameleon Cold-Brew Vanilla Coffee.  The package said to keep the glass bottle refrigerated, which I had not, but it was still cold so I decided to give it a try.  Ingredient wise I liked what I saw: organic coffee beans (fair trade, of course,) organic cane sugar, and natural flavors, all in filtered water.  No chemicals, preservatives, or things I couldn’t pronounce.  Chameleon uses simple products to produce an outstanding coffee.

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I usually drink my coffee with milk and sugar; this particular drink required neither.   It tasted fairly bold, though a bit watered down, as if it had been iced coffee that had melted a bit.  This did not bother me at all.  The gentle hint of vanilla was not as overpowering as other brands I had tried before, yet provided the gentle sweetness the coffee needed.  As promised on the bottle, this coffee from Chameleon was indeed “low-acid” as it did not produce that odd almost metallic taste that regular coffee leaves in your mouth.

I’d say that my first experience with Chameleon cold-brew coffee was a positive one, and I look forward to trying the other products they provided to me at the show.

 

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Our Guide to Backyard Composting

September 19, 2014

    With the end of summer here I wanted to share some tips on backyard composting for the fall and winter that will surely benefit your garden come next year’s spring. For those of you who have heard of composting but aren’t quite sure what it is and why you should do it check […]

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Caldrea Blackcurrant Mint Candle

September 17, 2014

When I was first presented a candle to review made by Caldrea, I was unsure what made a candle “eco-friendly.”  Why would this candle be better for the environment than other candles?  Well many scented hours later, with a bit of research, I have my answer. The Caldrea candle I was asked to review is […]

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