Sunday, October 28, 2007

these apples are delicious...

This summer, Steve and I took our first serious foray into organic produce. We purchased a half share of produce from Plan B Organic Farms. Since the beginning of June, we have been enjoying an incredible array of fresh and tasty organic fruits and vegetables.

This was really a huge step for us. Steve and I are both very bad at consuming balanced meals. Protein? No problem! Load us up with meat and cheese and we are happy campers. Throw a salad in front of us and we go out for chicken wings. So committing to a weekly supply of fresh veggies was huge.

I'm proud to report, that we have done pretty well. Much better than I expected. I can't say that we have consumed everything before it became too wilted or moldy to eat, but we tried harder to not throw out too much. Partly it was the psychological aspect of paying a rather large sum of money up front ($450 for 20 weeks) rather than a few bucks every week. But the bigger reason was that this stuff tasted so much better than what we bought in our local grocery store. Flavours were more intense and everything seemed so much fresher.

These tomatoes actually tasted like tomatoes rather than cardboard. I can't remember the last time I ate a store bought tomato that had flavour. Steve borrowed a recipe from our friend Samantha in Regina. He chopped up the tomatoes, put them in a casserole dish, threw in some olive oil and fresh herbs and baked it in the oven. What emerged was delicious, roasted tomato goodness that we ate with pasta. (Thanks Sam!)

I'm not much of a raw carrot eater, but these carrots along with some sweet potatoes and onions (from the first picture) made a delicious soup.

Perhaps the yummiest peppers ever! Slightly sweet with a bit of heat. Steve sliced them, stir fried them with some garlic and when these were cooked, added a few spoonfuls of sour cream until heated through. Yummy!

And by the way, the organic garlic we received (see first picture) is the best garlic ever!!! So intensely flavourful.

Time to head back into the kitchen. These apples are about to become apple crisp.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

lip service

I'm a lip balm junkie. Always have been. So I decided to pull a few of my favourites out of the bathroom drawer to see how the rate on Skin Deep.

Bad news. Carmex came in at an awful 7 out of 10 with phenol and salicylic acid as its major hazards. Health Canada lists phenol as a prohibited ingredient in cosmetics. Salicylic Acid is a restricted ingredient on Health Canada's list. Both ingredients are associated with carcinogenic and developmental/reproductive toxicity issues. Enough for me to stay away from the Carmex.

Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm and Moisturizer
I picked this up at Sephora a while back and fell in love with it. It really moisturizes and softens my lips. And it has a yummy strawberry flavour. Not that I eat it on purpose, but you can't help but taste it when it's on your lips. I was thrilled to discover that it rated 1 out or 10 on the Skin Deep website. I'm happy to not be throwing this one in the trash!

C.O. Bigelow The Classic Rose All Purpose Salve
I love this one! Unfortunately, I can't buy this one in Canada. I picked this up at Bath and Body Works in Chicago. It's similar to the Rosebud but with more of a lip gloss texture. Slightly more goopy and with more shine. This one wasn't rated on the Skin Deep site so I ran it through the new function that allows you to rate products that are not currently unrated. It also did really well, rating at a low hazard level with a score of 1 out of 10.

Philosophy Empower Mint Lip Shine
This is another one that I bought at Sephora. A great lip gloss that is very moisturizing. And with a great minty scent. This wasn't rated on the Skin Deep site so I plugged in the info. It ended up with a 3 out of 10 and a moderate hazard rating.

Recently I picked up 2 new lip products at Whole Foods.

Green Beaver Apres Ski Winter Lip Balm
My new favourite! It's incredibly long lasting and gives my lips a beautiful shine. And it's highly moisturizing. I ran it through Skin Deep and it came out with a score of 1 out of 10. Excellent! And it's made in Canada! (I've picked up a couple of other products from this company that I will review in future posts.)

Badger Tangerine Breeze Lip & Body Balm
A great daily lip balm with a yummy flavour. It also works really well under lipstick. I have very dry lips and find that lipsticks last longer on me with a layer of lip balm underneath. I went with the tangerine because of my love of citrus but it also comes in Chai Rose, Cinnamon Bay, Ginger & Lemon, Highland Mint and Lavender & Orange. It is also a low hazard product with a rating of 1 out of 10 at Skin Deep.

So there are a lot of great lip balm options out there that are safe and work well. Even though I have a few in my stash that I love, I'm sure it won't stop me from testing others...