About Me

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My friends call me the "grammar goddess." Really. ;-) I own a freelance writing, editing and tutoring business. Previously, I served three years as food editor for The Morning Sun in Mt. Pleasant, which kindled my interest in food writing. My other areas of expertise in writing include features, community news, architecture/construction and engraving/personalization. I have a frightening number of cookbooks and watch too many DIY, HGTV, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Antiques Roadshow (BBC and PBS versions) shows. And I tweak nearly every recipe I make.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Product Review: Van's Waffles

I wanted waffles one day. I didn't want to make them and I wanted something healthier than Eggos.

So, as I walked through the frozen section, I saw Van's waffles. I have one word of caution: do not thaw them before toasting (either in a toaster or a toaster oven). The result is not pretty and led to a thorough cleaning of the toaster, something I do as infrequently as possible without causing burnt toast.

So far, I have tried two kinds of Van’s waffles: Wheat/Gluten Free Totally Natural waffles and Organic Flax waffles. (These links include nutritional information.) Both are excellent spread with peanut butter and topped with a little maple syrup. I generally limit myself to one waffle. The peanut butter helps to ensure I'm not hungry for a while. I shouldn't even mention how good they are with Turtle Mountain's Purely Decadent Soy Delicious non-dairy frozen dessert in Cherry Nirvana. It's your call whether or not to try it.

Where to Find Organic and Natural Foods Coupons

After addressing the "Dirty Dozen," or foods you should buy organic, I decided to give some explanation as to how you can buy organic food without blowing your food budget.

In my own experience, I've found some good deals on organic fruits and vegetables at both Meijer and Kroger, including romaine hearts, grapes, strawberries, grape tomatoes and bananas. Just take a glance around your produce section.

I'd like to direct your attention to a few resources:

Staying Lean in Oakland County had a blog post on this very topic yesterday which I could not have researched or written better myself.

Shannon at For the Mommas has a good post about Buying Organic on a Budget (published about a year ago). It's full of great suggestions, such as checking out your local farmer's market and gives links to several companies that feature organic food and have coupons. I didn't check all of the links, but tested the first two, which worked. 

Also, in 2008, the Grocery Coupon Guide did an exhaustive article about where to find organic and natural food coupons, that, although it's more than a couple of years old, is still a good general resource.

Many of the foods you buy, such as Pacific Natural Foods, or So Delicious Coconut Milk products by Turtle Mountain, have signups for their coupons. In the case of So Delicious, I was unable to sign up (probably due to my lovely dialup), so I sent the company an e-mail explaining I wanted coupons. They asked for my address, and I got them in the mail within a couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Product Review: FIT KIDS Instant Oatmeal Cinnamon Toast & Chocolate Chip

Great-tasting, organic food. Do you hear that combination mentioned often?

I don't, but it precisely describes my favorite organic oatmeal: FIT KIDS Instant Oatmeal, made by Country Choice Organic. Being made for kids, it has to taste good.

I've tried Chocolate Chip and Cinnamon Toast, which come in a combined pack. The chocolate chip tastes like a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie fresh from the oven; the cinnamon toast smells just like Gram LaBerge's cinnamon rolls. (Cinnabon can't even come close to those, by the way. Sadly, she didn't measure precisely, so I have yet to replicate them.)

Below are nutrition facts for Chocolate Chip; as you can see, the vital statistics aren't too bad, although the carbs are a bit higher than regular sweetened oatmeal, such as Quaker Oats. On the up side, it doesn't have artificial sweeteners or ingredients.

Serving Size 1 packet (37.0 g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 150
Calories from Fat 23
Total Fat 2.5g
Saturated Fat 1.0g
Sodium 100mg
Total Carbohydrates 28.0g
Dietary Fiber 3.0
Sugars 13.0g
Protein 4.0g