Tag Archives: Organic

Giveaway deadline EXTENDED!

Hi Everyone! So as you know – I’m running an awesome giveaway on my blog for 479° Gourmet Popcorn! The original deadline was today, Saturday at 11:59pm. But one of my readers very smartly pointed out that she doesn’t tend to read email or be around her computer during the weekend (which is probably a good thing!) And so she missed my giveaway last time and only by chance was able to check it out this time.

And so – for her and everyone else who “unplugs” during the weekend, I’m extending my giveaway deadline to: Thursday, December 9th at 5:00pm PST! So now you have tons of time to enter my giveaway!!

I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday (December 10th) morning when I launch my next giveaway 🙂 Be sure to enter soon and tell your family/friends! For directions on how to enter, and more details about the 479 gourmet popcorn you’ll receive, click here.

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Foodie Friday Giveaway: 479° Gourmet Popcorn!!

Woohoo – it’s Friday! That means – the weekend is only a few hours away, no work for 2 days, my hubby and I are FINALLY seeing Harry Potter, and it’s time for another GIVEAWAY! And I promise, this giveaway is really awesome 🙂 But first things first: who won the last giveaway? Well, that would be the wonderful Amanda – congrats!!

Amanda – you should be receiving your honey very soon. Thanks so much to all of you who entered – I really appreciated your comments and support! 🙂 And now you have a chance to win again – with 479° Popcorn! I met the awesome owners of 479° a few weeks ago, and they were kind enough to send me the Globetrotter sampler pack to try.

Isn’t their packaging super cute? 🙂 And I have to say – it is seriously some of the best popcorn I’ve ever had. Their flavors are really inventive, and their popcorn is popped to perfection – they actually bake every batch to order – which means that you’ll always end up with super fresh popcorn when it arrives at your doorstep! And not only that, all of their popcorn is organic, made by hand in small batches, local / sustainable, and of course – amazingly flavorful! I’d highly recommend trying out this product – you won’t be disappointed!

The Globetrotter sampler pack comes with FIVE different flavors of popcorn:

  1. Chipotle Caramel + Almonds: smoky, spicy, rich and sweet – and the almonds add a wonderful crunch!
  2. Ginger Sesame Caramel: ginger infused caramel also gives you that great sweet and spicy flavor, and the sesame seeds give it a great nutty finish!
  3. Pimentòn de La Vera: smoky Spanish paprika with bursts of ripe organic tomato and onion – you’ll never taste popcorn like this!
  4. Black Truffle + White Cheddar: a great twist on a classic – the black truffle oil adds such an aromatic flavor to the popcorn
  5. Madras Curry Coconut + Cashews: reminds me of something I’d get in India – the curry is colorful and fragrant and the cashews are a savory treat 🙂

And one lucky reader will WIN the Globetrotter Sampler Pack as part of this giveaway! I think my favorite flavor was the Chipotle Caramel + Almonds – but they’re all amazingly good! Here’s what the popcorn looks like out of the bag – doesn’t the caramel just call out to you? 🙂

Now the important part:

To Enter: You can enter in one of three ways –

  1. Subscribe to The Picky Eater via RSS or via email
  2. Follow me on Twitter (@pickyeaterblog)
  3. Like The Picky Eater on Facebook

Leave a comment letting me know which option above you chose, and I’d love to hear any inventive popcorn flavors you have tried as well! Note – if you already are a subscriber, follower, or like The Picky Eater on Facebook, just leave a comment indicating that – it will count as one entry :)

For Extra Entries:

  • + 1 Entry if you share this post on Facebook or Twitter
  • + 2 Entries if you invite 5 or more of your friends to like The Picky Eater on Facebook!

This giveaway will close on Thursday, December 9th at 5:00pm PST. I will be selecting the winner at random and will contact them via email. I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday, December 10th when I launch my next giveaway!

Be sure to enter – it’s super easy and this gourmet popcorn is totally worth it! :)

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Thanksgiving in Portland and Dinner at The Farm Cafe!

Hi Everyone! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and the weather is nice and sunny (not like it is here – super rainy and gloomy!) So since we can’t really do anything outside, I figured it would be a good time to write about our trip to Portland for Thanksgiving. While we usually spend Thanksgiving in the Bay, this year we decided to visit my sister/brother in law and our nephews – we left Tuesday night and got back late last night – and had an awesome trip!

One of the best things about Portland is the FOOD – and this trip was no exception. Other than the amazing food my sister (technically she’s my sister-in-law, but I really just think of her as my sis, so we’ll just call her that 🙂 ) cooked, we also ate at the coolest restaurant the night we got in – The Farm Cafe!

The Farm Cafe actually reminded me of a less-fancy Chez Panisse – and they actually have a very similar mission: organic, locally sourced food, totally veggie friendly and super flavorful dishes!

We were pretty hungry when we got there, so we ordered a few appetizers right away (and I ordered a soup for myself hehe). First up: The Williams Baked Brie which is made to order and comes out melty, cheesy and piping hot! The brie was served with warm, toasted sugar, roasted hazelnuts, bosc pears, and a fresh baguette. It almost felt like dessert – but in a good way!

We also ordered the Hummus Plate which came with an antipasto olive mix, roasted red peppers, pepperoncini, and warm Greek flatbread. The hummus was sprinkled with sesame seeds and tasted really fresh – like it was made right at our table!

And the soup I got for myself was the “soup of the day” and was a white bean soup served with fresh crostini. The soup was super flavorful (even though it was simple) – it definitely had some garlic and good crushed black pepper in it, was very warming, and had a creamy / chunky texture to it which was just perfect.

For our entrees, I think most of us ended up getting one of two things: the first was a Herb Crusted Tofu with Mushrooms Marsala which was served with garlicky mashed potatoes and a crimini mushroom marsala (the sauce was divine!)

And the second favorite entree of the night: the Butternut Squash Stuffed Ravioli – handmade ravioli stuffed with butternut squash, ricotta and pecorino cheeses, caramelized onion, and crushed hazelnuts, and was drizzled with a brown butter sauce.

And of course, we couldn’t pass up dessert! We ordered two for the table – first: The Sunken Chocolate Souffle with Coffee Ice Cream

The souffle was dense and had the richness of dark chocolate, the center of the cake was molten and melty, and the coffee ice cream was a perfect complement to the warm cake 🙂 Our second dessert was absolutely amazing too – The Marscarpone Cheesecake  with Pecans and Dulce de Leche Sauce…

O.M.G. Seriously – the most amazing cheesecake ever!! The cheesecake itself was fluffy and light, had the hint of vanilla and was baked on a shortbread sweet crumb crust. Toasted pecans were delicately placed on top, and the caramel sauce was to die for! All in all, an amazing meal that was the perfect start to a great weekend 🙂 I can’t believe our trip to Portland is already over! It totally flew by – we had a wonderful time and a great Thanksgiving.

We got back late last night, and have spent most of today doing laundry, errands, and groceries (to prep for the awesome dinner I’m making tonight – Corn & Quinoa Chowder! but more on that later). I’m definitely trying to enjoy the rest of the long weekend as much as possible (and we’re seeing Harry Potter tomorrow which I am so excited about!)

Stay tuned for a post on the dinner I’m making tonight, and don’t forget to enter my giveaway today as well – you only have until tomorrow at noon! 🙂

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Amazing dinner at Chez Panisse!

On Monday, my amazing husband passed his oral exam for his PhD. After 3.5 years of studying, he finally moved from PhD student to PhD candidate! Hooray! 🙂 So, to celebrate, I decided to surprise him with dinner at Chez Panisse, which is seriously one of the most amazing restaurants in the Bay Area.

For those of you who don’t know, Chez Panisse is an all organic, locally sourced restaurant with an inventive menu that changes daily. Alice Waters is a pioneer in her field – and I greatly respect her for the work she’s trying to do for the school lunch program and The Edible Schoolyard (but that’s for another post 🙂 ). My husband was obviously super excited when he heard that we were going to Chez Panisse. I’m not usually good at keeping surprises for months at a time (I had to make this reservation months in advance!) But this time I did – which made it even more of a surprise for him 🙂 Our reservations were for the cafe upstairs, because there were more vegetarian options for us there.

I love the warm, inviting ambiance of this restaurant! We were already starving when we got in, so we went right to ordering – after they brought out their fluffy, warm, homemade bread with the tastiest all-natural butter I’ve ever had!

Our first entree was the hand cut herb pasta with wild mushrooms – which sounds simple, but it was the most flavorful pasta I’ve ever had! I’m pretty sure they added a lot of garlic and a variety of herbs to the sauce, along with what was probably a healthy helping of butter and olive oil 🙂 Soo tasty though!

I also ordered a ginger orange soda – which looked like rose wine when it came out! It was a really interesting drink – the soda wasn’t too sweet at all – it was actually quite refreshing with a nice hint of ginger to it.

But back to our entrees. In addition to our pasta, we ordered the pizza with wild nettles and pecorino. My husband didn’t even know what nettles were before the pizza came out – and I had only had them once before and didn’t really enjoy them (nettles can be kind of bitter if they aren’t cooked properly). But these nettles were crispy and really flavorful – with hints of garlic, crushed red pepper and probably a host of other spices that I couldn’t identify 🙂

Yummy! And of course, we couldn’t leave without ordering dessert. We ended up getting the Sierra Beauty Apple and Cranberry Tart with Cinnamon Ice Cream. The tart wasn’t too sweet and you could really taste the apples and whole cranberries! The cinnamon ice cream just had a hint of cinnamon and when paired with the sweet crust of the tart and the “tart” filling, rounded out the dessert perfectly.

As usual, and amazing meal at Chez Panisse! My husband and I left very full, content, and happy. And of course – he was relieved that his exam was over! It was the perfect dinner celebration 🙂

 

 

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When should you buy organic foods?

Organic foods are everywhere these days! Oftentimes they cost more, and they are definitely marketed to be healthier. The skeptics say that there’s no difference between an organic apple and a regular apple, or organic milk vs. regular milk – that it’s just a ploy to extract more money out of consumers. If that were the case, it would really be sad – all of us health-seeking consumers getting duped into buying more expensive food products without any additional value! The good news is – there have been lots of articles recently touting the benefits of organic foods – but also providing realistic guidelines about when it’s “worth it” to buy organic. This article at MSNBC.com is great – it gives a comprehensive overview of what organic means and what all the different labels mean – and what foods make sense to buy organic. I’m including the highlights in my post below, as well as some tips from another article from Shine that doesn’t focus on organic food but foods that are high in chemicals to avoid if possible.

So – what should you buy organic? There’s a simple list of 12 fruits/veggies called the “dirty dozen” – that if possible, you should absolutely buy organic. They have the highest amounts of pesticides among all the produce out there. They are:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes, imported (Chili)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach

Milk, poultry, and meat are also “recommended” to buy organic if possible.

7 other foods to avoid are:

  • Canned tomatoes: The resin linings of tin cans contain bisphenol-A, a synthetic estrogen that has been linked to ailments ranging from reproductive problems to heart disease, diabetes, and obesity
  • Corn-fed beef: A recent comprehensive study conducted by the USDA and researchers from Clemson University found that compared with corn-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, vitamin E, omega-3s, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), calcium, magnesium, and potassium; lower in inflammatory omega-6s; and lower in saturated fats that have been linked to heart disease
  • Microwave popcorn: Chemicals, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in the lining of the bag, are part of a class of compounds that may be linked to infertility in humans, according to a recent study from UCLA. In animal testing, the chemicals cause liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer
  • Non-organic potatoes: Root vegetables absorb herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides that wind up in soil. In the case of potatoes—the nation’s most popular vegetable—they’re treated with fungicides during the growing season, then sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines before harvesting. After they’re dug up, the potatoes are treated yet again to prevent them from sprouting. 
  • Farmed salmon: Nature didn’t intend for salmon to be crammed into pens and fed soy, poultry litter, and hydrolyzed chicken feathers. As a result, farmed salmon is lower in vitamin D and higher in contaminants, including carcinogens, PCBs, brominated flame retardants, and pesticides such as dioxin and DDT
  • Milk produced with artificial hormones: Milk producers treat their dairy cattle with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST, as it is also known) to boost milk production. But rBGH also increases udder infections and even pus in the milk. It also leads to higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor in milk. In people, high levels of IGF-1 may contribute to breast, prostate, and colon cancers.
  • Conventional apples: Apples are the fruits most doused in pesticides – see the dirty dozen above 🙂

Hope these guidelines are helpful – happy healthy eating!

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