The Dirty Dozen

The following list, courtesy of the Environmental Working Group, can help us all spend our organic food dollars more wisely:

The Dirty Dozen

Also, here is a “recipe” for homemade produce wash (courtesy of

1 cup water
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon baking soda
20 drops grapefruit seed extract

Combine all ingredients in a large container. Then, transfer to a spray bottle with a pump. Spray mixture on produce (avoid using on mushrooms), let sit 5 to 10 minutes and rinse.

Link of the Week: Trappistine Creamy Caramels

This week’s featured link is Trappistine Creamy Caramels.  This candy making operation is the main means of support for the monastic community of 30 Trappistine nuns of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey located in Dubuque, Iowa.  All of their candies are handmade with tender loving care from the finest ingredients.  In 2007, their sweet treats were voted “Best Heavenly Bites” by Reader’s Digest magazine.

For the life of me, I can not remember where or how I heard of this website, but I have been ordering caramels, mints and truffles from these nuns for almost 10 years now.  Every time I place an order for a gift to give to someone else, I have to buy some for myself as well.  You know, “one for you, one (or two) for me”.  Their caramels (vanilla or chocolate) are so incredibly rich and creamy, they are truly heavenly.  Their truffles are beautiful, hand-decorated works of art and their mints are truly melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

If you are looking for a delicious and thoughtful gift idea this coming holiday season, check out Trappistine Creamy Caramels.

Link of the Week: Chantal: LiveStrong

Good Morning All!  I am excited to present to you this week’s featured link, Chantal: LiveStrong.  This is a line of signature yellow products benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation.  The line of serveware includes everything from travel mugs to tea pots and five to ten percent of all proceeds go directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

My favorite items from this line are the LiveStrong Extra Large Plate, which is perfect for use as a platter at parties, and the LiveStrong Snack Plates, which coordinate perfectly along side the LiveStrong Extra Large Plate so that your guests may put their tasty nibbles on something other than a cocktail napkin.

Here are some images from the website:

Can’t you just imagine how strikingly lovely deviled eggs would look on this platter and these plates?

If you’d like your serveware to make a statement while also benefiting a very important cause, check out Chantal: LiveStrong today!

Link of the Week: Maytag Dairy Farms

The people who know me very well, know that I have a fixation on all things Iowa.  Everything from caucuses to cheese.  I’m just joking about the caucuses, but I am serious about the cheese.  My favorite American blue cheese comes from Maytag Dairy Farms in Newton, Iowa.

I first learned about Maytag blue cheese when I was in college (in Iowa) and I was watching Emeril Lagasse on the Food Network cooking with Maytag blue cheese.  I heard him say “…Iowa…” and I was shocked that Iowa made a cheese that I had not yet heard of.  So, the next time I went home for a holiday, my mom and I hunted down this cheese and made ourselves every recipe we could find that called for blue cheese.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  It is the only cheese I use in my traditional blue cheese dressing and Buffalo wing dip.  I also love to make Maytag blue cheese butter to dress up steaks.

You can find Maytag blue cheese in most specialty cheese departments but if you can’t, you can mail order it directly from Maytag Dairy Farms.  Now that football season is here, why don’t you make some homemade blue cheese dip to go with your Buffalo chicken wings?  But be careful, once people taste the Maytag, they’ll want to come to your house every time to watch the game!  That being said, Go Iowa Hawkeyes!