Are you celebrating Earth Day? I am. I love this celebration, but I also think that we can celebrate Earth Day every day, through eating food that’s close to nature, flavorful and unprocessed. I’m working hard to make this happen 🙂
I wasn’t always concerned about what we ate in such a thorough, intentional fashion. To be sure, I’ve never liked processed foods, and I’ve always enjoyed making my own food with fresh ingredients, thanks to my mom and my aunt’s influence on my cooking. Two and a half years ago, however, due to unexpected health issues in our family, I was forced to become intentional, and to completely reassess some of my long-held assumptions. This blog is a record of my culinary journey and of me as a changing human being. Am I “perfect”? Not at all – but I am hoping and striving to be better 🙂
After 2.5 years of reassessment and 1 year of pandemic, I chose to be very intentional about Earth Day this year – hence this blog post covering a variety of delicious and mindful products. This has also been my goal on social media this week: to highlight small and very small businesses that work hard to create healthful products, which serve individuals, communities and the planet in a thorough, clean and respectful fashion. Read on for more information on these companies and for an upcoming giveaway 😉
- Sitka Salmon Shares
This post on Mother Nature cannot be complete without the inclusion of Sitka Salmon Shares. As someone who has researched and has written about Sitka Salmon Shares extensively, I’m in awe this company exists, in the first place! It takes courage to run a business which breaks away from big scale industrial fishing. It takes hard work to push your message across when you know the deck is stacked against you. It takes understanding ears and minds, who are willing to get past the narrative of the moment, and to imagine a different future. The beauty of individuality, the flourishing of community – it’s all there, at Sitka.
My latest experience of cooking with Sitka fish has involved baking their superb Wild Alaskan Lingcod, and serving it with organic linguine in a creamy garlicky sauce, featuring pesticide-free baby dandelion from my garden. My uncle used to eat dandelion and to tell me about its health benefits, and I just followed his example. You can find out more about cooking with dandelion here and here.
You can join Sitka Salmon Shares to recreate this dish which captures the valiant spirit of the ocean and the freshness of the garden beautifully, to eat healthier, to feel better, and to be a part of a greater goal. Join Sitka Salmon Shares now and get $25 off one of their Shares – just use code CLP at checkout! This code expires December 31, 2021.
- NutHouse! Granola
If you’re looking for exquisite granola that tastes fantastic and leaves you feeling energetic and great in your own skin, then look no further than to NutHouse! Granola Co. This California-based small business has a passion that verges on obsession: the obsession to create the most delicious and satisfying granola on the market! Their products are gluten and dairy-free, certified non-GMO and certified kosher – and did I mention they’re loaded with nuts?
Chef Craig Boon uses premium ingredients (starting with organic oats) which are mixed in small batches and slowly roasted to create a rustic, beautiful, bold, exciting, and utterly delicious granola. Smaller batches mean that primary ingredients are purchased in smaller quantities. According to Chef Boon, “this improves rotation and helps maintain freshness.” Moreover, the granola is not stockpiled, which means that every package gets to consumers as fresh as possible!
I loved all of the NutHouse! GranolaCo. varieties I tried. However, if I were asked to pick a favorite, I would pick summer strawberry, which is made with strawberry puree, toasted nuts, seeds, and coconut.
The strawberry puree was a touch of magic! It gave the granola its almost creamy consistency (how can that be?) while also maintaining its crispness and freshness, for a satisfying crunch. I ate this granola straight out of the bag as a snack, with fresh fruit, and mixed with milk for breakfast. As I watched the strawberry puree color the milk a vibrant pink, my mind was at ease knowing that only the freshest ingredients had been used, and that I was eating no artificial colors or preservatives.
Head over to my Instagram account to enter the giveaway I am hosting in collaboration with NutHouse! GranolaCo. Three winners will get the chance to win 2 bags of granola each to make their pandemic days naturally colorful, and utterly scrumptious. Good luck! 🙂
LEMONETTE is a California-based small business which makes lemon-based salad dressings and marinades with a purpose to “celebrate the versatility of the lemon as the foundation for a variety of flavors.” The dressings contain no sugar, no vinegar, no GMOs, no gluten, no soy, no dairy, no artificial colors and preservatives, no MSG, and no cholesterol (a great list of no’s!). Part of their proceeds go to the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer.
LEMONETTE started in the kitchen of a young, newlywed couple, Tenny and Rojeh, who loved to cook together. Their every sauce and every flavor “always started with the same foundation: the almighty lemon. From dressing their salads and creating Mediterranean side dishes to marinating & grilling seafood, poultry, fruits/veggies to topping pasta dishes, the couple’s entire repertoire of sauces was lemon-based.” They decided to bottle their dressings and to share them with the world.
As the story goes, “meanwhile, Frank, an 89 year old Hollywood producer, would have lunch at his office and drench his salad in LEMONETTE every day. He loved the lemony taste and couldn’t get enough of it. He put LEMONETTE on his salad, sushi, pastrami, rice, chicken- you name it! Frank liked it so much he wanted to be part of the excitement, so his daughter, Jehan, joined forces with Tenny. Today, LEMONETTE is a two family, women-owned and operated business.”
It’s hard *not* to get inspired by Lemonette dressings, their heartwarming life story, and their clean-eating philosophy. Their certified non-GMO dressings are fresh, vibrant, and full of Mediterranean-packed vibes, with lemons delivering a satisfying assertiveness in combo with other wholesome ingredients, such as cumin and garlic. I was equally impressed with the LEMONETTE glass packaging, a welcome alternative to leaking toxic plastic. How awesome is that?
You can purchase LEMONETTE on their website and at stores throughout the United States. I highly encourage you to give these dressings/marinades a try: they are wholesome, bright, and the flavors are great! Their versatility is a plus, and the lack of “nasty” ingredients is an amazing benefit. When life gives you lemons, you make lemon-based dressings – that’s how the LEMONETTE story goes 🙂
- Brew Naturals
Brew Naturals was born out of founder Samara Mendel Price’s passion for flavors and her overall desire to create a tasty product that provides health benefits to consumers. As Samara explains on her website, elderberries “are rich in Vitamin C, packed with antioxidants and cytokine modulators, and contain antiviral and antibacterial properties which are said to support the immune system and contribute to an overall sense of well-being – especially when taken during the winter cold and flu season.”As soon as Samara started making elderberry syrup, the word spread out and her syrup was on demand. After hosting an Elderberry Syrup fundraiser for her son’s school in 2018, Samara’s dream became clear: “I knew that I wanted to share this tasty and nutritious natural food with my community in a larger way and Brew Naturals was born!”
I used Samara’s elderberry syrup mixed with my daily fruit juices and over oatmeal. Moreover, to celebrate the arrival of spring and the awakening of nature around our house, I decided to serve the syrup in a unique way, in white chocolate&bee pollen shot “glasses.” To make these chocolate glasses I used Wilton’s silicone shot glass mold.
Featuring elderberries but also honey, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and organic lemon juice, this syrup is a joy to the senses. The zest from the ginger and lemon is counteracted by the mildness of the elderberries themselves, whose fruity aroma lingers on with a pleasant aftertaste.
I felt good using Brew Naturals elderberry syrup. Not only was I drinking an amazing product full of wholesome ingredients, but I was also learning more about an energetic small business, and helping to raise its profile as much as I could. Nothing could be more rewarding to me. Keep up the amazing work, Samara 🙂
- Mother Kombucha
If you’re a kombucha fan like I am, you’re going to be happy to discover that there’s a new innovative product on the market: Mother Kombucha’s Agua Bucha aka kombucha infused sparkling water.
As explained on Mother Kombucha’s website, “Agua Bucha is sparkling water. But unlike other sparkling water, it’s infused with kombucha. Which means you’re getting a crisp, refreshing bubbly beverage with the added benefits of B vitamins and organic acids. Best of all, it’s low in calories and sugar, all organic, and easy to enjoy. Just a delicately flavored sparkling water with lots to love and nothing to hide. Featuring naturally occurring organic acids and B vitamins, it is only 4 calories and 1 gram sugar.” USDA organic certification verifies that Mother Kombucha’s products are free from artificial ingredients and synthetic pesticides, and are GMO-free.
Mother Kombucha know exactly where their teas come from: they partnered up for their teas with Teatulia, a certified B Corp company which cultivates a 3000 acre regenerative, organic farm in Bangladesh that is bringing a community out of poverty. I was equally pleased to discover that all spent teas and cultures from Mother Kombucha’s brewing process are composted with local community gardens located primarily in Title 1 schools in Pinellas County, Florida, where the company is based.
Agua Bucha comes in Meyer lemon, grapefruit, and key lime flavors.
I thoroughly enjoyed all Agua Bucha varieties, and the grapefruit in particular. I loved how sparkling and refreshing the drinks were! The added kombucha infusion provided extra zest and freshness – perfect during spring and summer in particular, when you need quality drinks to quench your thirst and to replenish your body with nutrients while also restoring your hydration. Great flavors and packaging, an utterly satisfying zest, and a forward-thinking approach – what’s not to like? 🙂
*Disclaimer: While I received complimentary products to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed here are my own.