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Colonized bacteria, found in a bucket of organic hazelnut butter, obviously #crosscontaminated #foodsafety #haacp #macro

Sat, 14 Nov 2015 03:12:00 +0000

Colonized bacteria, found in a bucket of organic hazelnut butter, obviously #crosscontaminated #foodsafety #haacp #macro #foodviaRenCulinaire on Instagram [...]

Special Dinner Plans? Are You Lash Challenged? Do You Hate Falsies?

Wed, 15 Jul 2015 06:37:00 +0000

I am a dabbler, not really someone beauty indulged, or even an enabler for that matter. As time goes on, and occasions arise that require a gal to transform, needs change to something usually thought of as a splurge or non-necessity. I hate using glue to stick false lashes onto my eyelids - absolutely hate, hate, doing it.For those who have shied away, or those of the male persuasion who might read this out of curiosity, using false lashes is an awkward, uncomfortable experience.What generally happens is the tiny, thin band, which holds the false lashes (which runs parallel to your own top eyelash line), has to have glue applied in a thin bead, then you have to try not to get the lashes from sticking to your fingers - which rarely turns out well, while you gently press this alien feeling 'eyelid toupee' to as close to your own lash line as possible (to look more natural). It generally turns out your glue job is crooked, so you end up compensating with extra eyeliner or mascara.Mia Adora 3D LashesPurchase3D Lashes by Mia AdoraFREE Bonus eBook to Get Longer Thicker Eyelashes Than All Your FriendsGirl Gear:I have never used 3D lashes before, or tried lash enhancers. Don't get me wrong, the curiosity has always been there, just never felt compelled to purchase.How do they work? The first tube has whats called "Magnifying Gel", it contains Carnauba Wax and Beeswax, it looks just like standard mascara, and goes on like it as well. You allow it to dry , slightly till it is kind of tacky (sticky to touch), then you apply the "Natural Fiber Lashes", which have an applicator, much like mascara, but instead of a brush wand, it is fury, covered in little fibers. You comb these fibers onto your lashes, which stick onto the Magnifying gel. You repeat these two steps, with 20 seconds of dry time in between, until you are satisfied with the effect.Before use, you want to use a decent eyelash curler, to curl your lashes - which I did, with the Petunia Skincare Eyelash Curler pictured below. If you attempt to curl your lashes with the 3D mascara on, they will tear and you could loose some eyelashes.  Not recommended.I applied the 3D mascara on the top lashes of my eye (left in the photo), to show the effect, in comparison to my natural, non treated eyelashes (without mascara), on the right of the picture. I only did (2) coats, using the two mentioned steps, twice. (Please excuse my glasses pulled down off my face) I have to say it was pretty impressive. It definitely is a good alternative to falsies, for sure!PROs:Contains Green Tea! Helps nourish your lashes. Paraben and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate Free.  Never Tested on Animals.Creates great coverage, saves your lashes from 'Eyelid Toupees'.Natural Fibers.Waterproof / Smudge Proof - these will not come off, during normal wear, even with sweat.Recommended for performers.Washes off esily with warm water.CONs:The fibers have a tendency to fall off of the wand, so be careful during application, as the fibers cause eye irritation. The "Magnifying Gel" will coat strays and help them stay on your lashes and away from your eyes.Like Most lash products, clump-age can occur - use a Q-Tip to wipe of clumps.Some Lash & Curler Tips:Run your hair dryer over your lash curler, just enough to warm the metal (but not too much to burn you!), this will create a longer lasting curl (you do it to your hair, why not lashes!). You can get a smudge-proof application of mascara by using your other hand, cupping a spoon under your eye while applying - the spoon catches the brush strokes and you get a better application. Create Your Own 3D Lash Effect: Apply your first coat of mascara, then dust lashes with baby powder or cornstarch, then apply another coat - keep applying till desired effect is achieved (the powder will grip the mascara, giving you a plumping effect).Professional Eyelash Curler by Petunia SkincareRead my review here.Girl Gear:One of my earliest memories,was playing with my grandmother's eyelash curler, I would sneak into her [...]

Culinary Ninja Skills: Create Your Contingency Plan

Wed, 01 Jul 2015 00:05:00 +0000

Are you a floater? By that I mean do you go through the motions, succumb to the monotony of life, not really worrying about the future - just the things that cause irritation on a daily basis ? If you answered yes  to this question - you just might be a floater.  Are you alone? No, there are millions, maybe billions of floaters out there living, working and surviving.  Unfortunately, in your little bubble, floater - padded with extra goodness no doubt, there is a small margin for error.  Maybe you love your job, and have been there for 3 years. Maybe you have moved up the chain of command for a higher upper echelon title. When disaster strikes, it rarely differentiates between job status, age or saving-up-for-that-really-cool-phone.  Life milestones are somewhat plan-able,  but natural disasters, sudden health crisis and plummeting stock prices are not.Now some of you are probably thinking - Hey, author, wait a minute - you can prepare for and sometimes help curb the effects of those unexpected things. Yes, I agree, you can have a disaster checklist, a cache of emergency supplies or take a CPR / First Aide class. And for those really bad events, you can  draft up a contingency plan.   But honestly - have you thought about the on-the-job "what if" scenario? Do you know what to do when the unwarranted situation strikes your employer? Corporate restructuring, bankruptcy, or hell, being caught on the job, with your unwashed hands , in the food, shoveling edibles into your mouth (cringe!).Caught white-handed by Johan RdIf you admit to being a doer of that last offense, well you have bigger problems, and probably shouldn't be working in the food industry. Please see Safe Food Handling: Food Preparation. You are not a floater, you are a walking Food Born Pathogenic Time Bomb!“A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist.” ― Louis Nizer [...]

My $703.00 deli sandwich! #operatorerror #alwayscheckyourpurchases #safeway

Fri, 19 Jun 2015 08:18:00 +0000

My $703.00 deli sandwich! #operatorerror #alwayscheckyourpurchases #food #safewayviaRenCulinaire on Instagram [...]

Country Does Urban: Does Your Grass Bring Eggs to The Yard?

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 14:46:00 +0000

These days the blogosphere seems to be all abuzz over Urban Farming. And why shouldn't we get excited about connecting with nature, beautifying our environments, turning a hard, grey expanse of concrete or chemically manicured, quilt of lawns into a eye pleasing edible greenscape? With the popularity of ever consuming technological devices, there is a growing digital divide - we as a society, are becoming less in-tune with our surroundings.The growing force behind this country-does-urban  lifestyle is the feeling of less connection with our food sources, a lack of use of our primal "hunting and gathering" skills and just an overall want to be the architects of our futures - using our hands and hearts, not apps and alerts.Now true to everything, comes planning. You might awaken some morning and say "Eureka - I will be an urban farmer!", which is all well and good, but researching best practices and laws in your area are musts before attempting anything. In this instant gratification culture, it sometimes can be disappointing to take things slow and have a thorough plan. Depending on where you live, there are probably city ordinances specific to urban agriculture.  Rights Reserved. Click to view larger.In my city, here in Oregon, you are allowed 6 chickens in a brood, on your premises, within city limits. That means one rooster (male) and 5 laying hens (female) or just 6 hens.Why am I talking chicken? My children, with me in tow, got to be urban homesteaders for a week, minding our neighbors brood, while they were out of the country. We learned the fine nuances of feeding,   habits and behavior, of these odd descendants of dinosaurs.You might be thinking - "Chickens - in my backyard? In earshot of my neighbors? How is that possible." I can reassure you, living just over the fence. That these creatures are less noisy than a barking dog. In fact, I have more trouble with barking dogs down the street than these birds.Getting back to my first hand account, I will tell you that the weather smiled on us this week. We were blessed in the early mornings with bright beautiful rays of sunlight streaming across the yard, throwing looming shadows in striations. And the evenings were dewy and cool.The first thing you must remember about taking care of chickens - wear old clothes and shoes that can be disinfected. If your chickens are "free range", this means an excess of chicken excrement on any surface the chicken can walk or perch upon, which in turn has bacteria, so you do not want your shoes tracking this into your house (those that garden know first hand that chicken manure is beneficial). So, after touching eggs, re-laying hay and feed - be sure to leave your shoes on your porch and wash your hands with soap and water. Toss your clothes in the wash.Chickens, like children, are creatures of routine. They like to rise with the sun, and be told to go to bed. The first chore of the day is to open the hen house in the early morning hours. For precautions most doors are latched at night - to ward off predatory raccoon or possums. The hen house we watched over had no ladder or ramp, the chickens just jumped into, or out of the structure.Rights Reserved. Click to view larger. As the chickens burst out of the hen house and down to freedom, now is the time to check for eggs, or the 2nd chore.Rights Reserved. Click to view larger. This brood shared a nest, and would take turns laying among the 5 of them. These chickens all were of different origins, which made every egg a delightful color. Chickens, depending on age will lay 1-2 eggs on average daily. It is important to note that fresh eggs must be washed, before refrigeration, to limit spread of bacteria. Likewise you must wash hands after this process of handling.Did you know eggs come in different colors depending on breed? Her[...]

Food Photography #2: Three Flavors of Light

Thu, 14 Jun 2012 22:53:00 +0000

Today, let's take a look at some of the different flavors of basic lighting: Ambient Lighting, Built-in Flash, Off Camera Flash.“The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives.” - Audre Lorde©2012 Lee/Spinwave PhotographyClick to enlarge photo.                                                    Lighting Flavor #1: Ambient lightingAmbient simply refers to the existing light. Ambient light can come from sources such as the sun, light bulbs, or candles. That doesn't mean the existing light sources can’t be manipulated to suit your needs. You could change the angle you shoot at, turn lamps on or off, move a candle to a different location, or use bounce cards to boost the amount and angle of the light.To see what the ambient looks like, set the camera to “P” mode (it’s just like auto, except you can set the ISO and turn the flash on/off yourself). With the ISO set to 100 and the flash off, the Canon G12 calculated f/2.8@1/25th and took this:Click to enlarge photo.That’s actually a nice photo and most people would be really happy with that (there’s a reason people say, “P’ is for ‘perfect’ “). I see gentle, mostly-even diffused light, adequate detail and texture, with enough specular highlights and shadows for visual depth.There are, however, two things that really bother me. The first is the black-hole-ish area in the lower right-hand corner. This is a natural consequence of all the light coming in from one direction. The other is the blown-out sky that distracts you from the real subject of the photo, the food.So how do we reduce the background brightness? The first thing most people think of is to simply dial down the exposure compensation. That’s moving in right direction, but this is a global adjustment and will darken the subject as well as the background. If only we could separate the two! Oh wait—we can, by setting the camera to manual mode and adding some light with a flash.Lighting Flavor #2: Built-in flashClick to enlarge photo.I turned the on G12’s built-in flash, turned the mode dial to “M”, set the aperture to 2.8 and increased the shutter speed to 100 to darken the background.Whoa! Too much light on the subject! Using the G12’s menu system.I adjusted the flash output as low as possible (1/3 power) and tried again:Click to enlarge photo.Now that’s more like it. Increasing the shutter speed from 25 to 100, darkened the background. But now we have a different problem: the salad is only half-lit due to the position of the G12’s built-in flash.A bounce card could help balance the lighting, but it wouldn’t get rid of the flash reflection in the window. And depending on the angle of the bounce card, a second reflection might show up. Lighting Flavor #3: Off-camera flashTime to bring out the big gun. Flash gun that is (or strobe, or external flash, or Speedlight, or Speedlite). I’ll stick with the term “flash“. We could simply place the flash directly in the G12’s hotshoe. But without a nearby white ceiling or wall to bounce the flash off of (another lighting flavor for another day) this would create a similar effect as the built-in flash. We really need to get the flash off the camera body to control the direction of the light. The easiest method of using a flash off-camera is by using an extension cord. In this case I used a Canon OC-SC2 cord (these were replaced by the OC-E3 a few years ago, but they have the same functionality). When paired with a compatible flash, all the TTL metering info is sent through the cord to the flash for a (hopefully) perfect exposure. Click to enlarge photo.I dialed the flash down to -1/64th power [...]

Food Photography #1: Creating texture & depth

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 22:39:00 +0000

Hello all, my name is Lee and I am honored to guest-post tips on food photography for Renaissance Culinaire. We are going to try to make this a monthly feature, so send us feedback with questions or suggestions on what we should photograph next!Avo-Tuna Cerviche ©2011 Spinwave PhotoToday's post focuses on the attention-sucking feature I like to call "black holes". While shadows are important to creating the illusion of depth, black spots with little-to-no detail will quickly suck a viewer's eye into its vortex of darkness (thus the nickname black hole). Here's how to identify and correct them:Click to enlarge photo.In addition to the black holes, the light flattened the texture of the tuna and avocado chunks. So we added a foam-core reflector close-in, camera-right:Click to enlarge photo.That filled in the large black hole in the center of the food, so you can see the green of the avocado and a bit of its texture. But I felt that we could get a little more texture in the food with another reflector positioned at the front of the lens and angled downward. The reflector was actually closer than illustrated below--it was actually resting on the lens hood. The result:Click to enlarge photo.The second reflector added some specular highlights (a.k.a. "shiny spots" or "shine"), which is the other component of creating the illusion of depth. The effect is less dramatic in the photo as the light was dissipating even faster now as we approached 5pm in the city. The waning light also left one black hole that we could not fill in without resorting to flash (a future post topic).- Lee; Spinwave PhotographyThe Tools: 1. foam-core reflectors (available at Michael's craft stores in various sizes for around $5); 2. Canon 5D MkII used for the food photos, (but any camera with a Manual mode works great); 3. Canon G12 for set-up shots; final settings for food shots are f/2.8 @ 40, ISO 2000.Special Thanks to: Heather of Heather Bayles Photography for assisting; Shigezo Portland for allowing us to photograph in their restaurant and for the wonderful Avo-Tuna Ceviche (Tuna, avocado, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, soy sauce & wasabi dressing). [...]

Family Stroll and Tow: When Eating Out Requires Tools

Mon, 14 Feb 2011 23:06:00 +0000

Imagine yourself on a crisp winter day - the sun streams through the half sleeping trees bathing everything above earth in a golden, unearthly webbing of light. The air is alive with a slight chill, but the sun warms where it's beams have haphazardly landed.Photo ©2011. Renaissance Culinaire. All Rights Res.The first bulbs have bravely climbed out of their loamy tombs, careening their paper white heads toward the sky.You are on your way to a local eatery, with your family. You are enjoying the sun, having spent many days enduring the gray, often times rainy blah weather that comes with winter. You want to eat food which doesn't require sullying your kitchen and a load of dishes. You are aching for an evening outside of the house - you and the family have cabin fever.This friends is not a fairy tale - this was my sentiment, this was my afternoon. I got the extreme honor to review a Inglesina 'Avio' stroller. And this transport was perfect for having my 3yr old boy in tow, especially when taking him to a local eatery. For any parent who has ever ventured with children out into the public, there is a allot of preparation. More so when you are on foot, and parenting a 3yr old child.What's In the Box:When I received the Inglesina Avio Stroller in the color black, it arrived  in several parts - the seating area, harness, stroller hood and storage basket all had to be attached to the main base/ frame of the stroller. The product Manual included comes in every language imaginable. There is a rain shield included. There is also an included adapter, for those of you that have babies and want to use the Inglesina Avio Bassinet (a.k.a "Carrycot"), which is sold separately, or clip on infant car seats (brands that work: Graco, Peg Perego and Britax) .I was very impressed with the quality of the materials used to make this stroller. Everything is solid and durable.Handling:The Inglesina Avio Stroller is touted as 'the perfect stroller for on the go urbanites'. Translation - this stroller is best for strolling on sidewalks and smooth developed indoor or paved outdoor surfaces.What I have discovered is that the Inglesina Avio stroller is different than allot of less-expensive non-jogging strollers in that it's wheels actually have ball bearings. This gives the stroller the ability to roll very smoothly with hardly any vibration within the stroller seat, with minimal pushing. The wheels are fixed in position, so the turn radius is not that sharp - it will make a smooth turn however, within a 5 foot radius.Standing at 5'5", I am very conscience of handle placement. The Avio stroller's handle is in a position comfortable enough to hold, but I really wished the handle had an adjustment option.My husband however is nearly 6 foot tall and said "This stroller is perfect for dads who are 5'11" - 6'2", very smooth ride and will put the toddler to sleep on a rough night within 10 minutes". He experimented with the Avio while taking the evening walk when our son was over-tired and fighting sleep.Stow-ability:Let me say that I have owned at-least 5 strollers between the years 2003-2011, starting with my first child. 4 out of 5 had the capability to be folded for stowing. The latest being a Jeep Overland Limited 'Music on the Move' Jogging Stroller.Of all the strollers I have owned, though, the Inglesina Avio Stroller is able to fold into the most space saving compact shape of all (I am not including those cheap umbrella strollers, that are a dime-a-dozen, in this category.).The mechanism to fold this stroller is great (see photo at left, demonstrated by my husband) - It is reminiscent of a crossbow, when pulled back it creates tension and gathers enough backward force so you can lock it into place.Think of it like the pulling motion when starting a lawn mower, instead of a "pull c[...]

Spa Pampering at Home Using Food Based Ingredients

Wed, 02 Feb 2011 14:57:00 +0000

The daily grind. Whether you are a high powered executive or working a minimum wage job, or stay at home parent - everyone has their stressors. Factoring in lack of sleep, deadlines and financial woes can make for one un-happy, sleep deprived camper.If you watch television or read magazines you are sure to have seen the segments devoted to 'spa rejuvenation', whether or not it is geared for females, the theme seems to be pampering yourself. Popular media likes to flaunt this term, as it is conducive to the high-end, trendy "jet setter" lifestyle most average people dream of - the thinking behind it is simple, those who have the means put indulgence at the forefront.Photo Courtesy of samthehamsmomYou don't have to be a jet setter to experience a spa style session. In-fact you don't even have to purchase expensive high end concoctions in a jar - no, you can make them yourself and be satisfied knowing all the ingredients are natural and safe for your use.For some of these recipes I consulted one of my favorite sites, Spa Tip: You've heard the adage "Never cook with wine you wouldn't drink." This holds equally true for home spa remedies. Never use ingredients for your home spa treatments that you wouldn't want to eat. Your skin, the largest organ on your body, breathes and is porous. It will absorb the properties of the ingredients you are using. Don't "clean out the fridge or pantry" to create your home skincare remedies. Use fresh, high quality ingredients for the best results, and do not store the treatment longer than the shelf life of the most perishable ingredient. - This is great advice, true of beauty or cooking!Relaxation Techniques:The key to achieving  total relaxation  is the act of brushing aside any woes or obligations for at least 10 minutes and giving yourself time to reflect on relaxing.  There are several ways to get you started :Do meditation: something repetitive and quiet (kneading dough, knitting etc) focus your thoughts on the act, the movement. If your thoughts start to wonder, allow them to float away and get back to the task. If you don't feel doing "something" is very meditative - then try using visualization: envision yourself in a serene spot or tropical setting, concentrate on the sounds in this setting - birds or waves crashing. Or think of something soothing, such as a favorite quilt - take time to relive the textures of the stitches and the feeling of the fabric against your skin.Rhythmic breathing is another technique to put you in a relaxed state. Lay on your back in a comfortable position, and slowly inhale, lips pursed, counting to 3 - watch / feel your diaphragm move inward. When you reach 3 slowly exhale - imagine your breath fanning outward. Repeat 10 times, allow yourself to become more relaxed each time.Spa Props and Eats:Once you have become more relaxed using one of the techniques above it is time now to gather some "spa props" - Aromatic candles,  relaxing music. Most of us have these things tucked in a drawer. For an even more sensual experience try fresh rose petals spread on a bed or atop the bath water. And for ideas on how to create some yummy, exotic spa eats - or mood elevating cocktails (see "Spa Index Recipe Collection").Spa Treatment Recipes:To create our food based "spa treatments" there are a variety of recipes. (FYI: These aren't just for women!)Photo Courtesy of MarkAndMarinaOne ingredient you may not have considered is Arm & Hammer Baking Soda - sure you know it is an ingredient in cookies, or toothpaste, but beauty treatments? Yes!After months of bathing your hair in styling products and your normal shampoo regimen - which is&nb[...]

Suffering From An Irrational Fear of Cooking?

Mon, 20 Dec 2010 21:18:00 +0000

Do you, or someone you know, suffer from CPD (Culinary Performance Dysfunction)? What is CPD? It is the aversion to cooking, in a kitchen, anything besides microwave burritos or jarred spaghetti.Photo Courtesy of  gregpphoto © All Rights Reserved.People who have CPD have an irrational fear that they can't use culinary techniques to crank out a fabulous tasting meal. People with CPD, when faced with cooking, in the kitchen, conjure up horrible disasters that will unfurl if they attempt a recipe. Ingredient experimentation is a extreme anxiety trigger for people suffering CPD. It is far worse that attempting to follow a recipe.If this sounds like you, or someone you know, there is help. As Shakespeare mused:  "Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt." The mind is a powerful tool, which can be both helpful and damning. But CPD sufferers can overcome their aversion to the culinary world. Exposure is the key.In a recent article published by Globe and Mail (see "Cooking as Therapy"), Julia Belluz, delves into the emotional and psychological healing aspects that cooking affords those who are open to the subtle nuances found in participating in the simple acts of prepping, creating and presenting their food.A wonderful cookbook that I feel can bridge the gap between "aspiring" to be successful in the kitchen, but fearing it,  and actually being successful, is Entertain Like a Gentleman, by David Harap. This cookbook while geared for the testosterone set (i.e men), can be a nice addition to any cooking library. David presents the recipes and contents of  this cookbook in a very logical manner.David Harap gently eases the reader into entertaining and cooking, with the first section entitled "Entertaining 101", which gives tips on stress-free entertaining, tools, metric conversions, and even talks about the 10 assumptions of all recipes.The next 15 sections are devoted to assembling, cooking and creating a mood in 15 different entertaining scenarios: Scotch Tasting AffairSuper-bowl / March MadnessCheese and Wine PartyThe Initial Flame (grilling)Pool PartyTailgating in StyleOktoberfestCooking With KiddosDouble Date NightRomantic Dinner (Spring/Summer)Romantic Dinner Another Night (Fall/Winter)Breakfast in BedBrunch with the In-lawsCocktail Party Finger FoodPoker Night With The BoysEach of the 15 sections include tasty, innovative recipes which include appetizers, entrées with complimenting sides, and a delicious dessert to complete the themed experience. The recipes are written in an easy to understand fashion, intended to help aid in a less-stressful entertaining experience.  Included in the book are shopping and equipment lists, with blank pages  after every section to allow you to jot down thoughts or notes - making Entertain Like a Gentleman perfect for the cooking inept or the seasoned culinary traveler.So hopefully when you are looking to find gifts this season, think of those who suffer from CPD, and try to  enable them, into the culinary world, which they fear so well. Encourage them, and give them the tools to inspire confidence. But over all, be supportive.The view expressed here are mine & mone alone. I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Parent Reviewers. I received a "proof copy" of Entertain Like a Gentleman, so that I could provide my honest feedback. Please read more about Renaissance Culinaire's Disclosure Policy. [...]

I'm Famished - Takes On New Meaning During 2010

Mon, 06 Dec 2010 17:46:00 +0000

The United States to outside eyes is one of the most extravagant, wasteful , "media-hore"- loving cultures in the world. But in reality what the media hugely magnifies and the general public readily eats up (mainly in a desperate need to placate humane curiosity or escape the mundane.), is a very small example , say a micro-percentage of what the other large percentage of regular people in the US really surmounts to.However there is a problem creeping into the general population, American culture, which is fueled by the media. It is a shift, mainly a obtuse growth of false entitlement that leaves the act of daily, common courtesy let alone  important humanitarian causes, fall slowly to the wayside. Every generation now seems to edge toward a self-centered existence who feels a constant need for digital gratification.Being a blogger I cannot help but get swept up in this culture cult. With the growing competition to set myself apart by showcasing my creativity through visual images (enter the digital camera and better tools for editing and special effects) and  social media being a driving force in the success of a blog or website (enter the smart phones to keep up with different sites), it seems that I am apart of this reality regardless of whether I choose to or not . But isn't that the clincher - technology offers society the tools to allow for further advancement in so many areas. I struggle sometimes to not over analyse food blogging  - there is quite a disparity between the opulence and indulgent manor that some popular food bloggers tout as food culture and the real problems that American's are facing - having to choose between groceries to feed their families, or, paying their utilities or rent to keep their families sheltered.In 2006, 25 million Americans, including 9 million children1 were being fed annually through the help of  Feeding America's network of Food Banks. Fast forward 4 years  to 2010 - present day America, and that number has grown 46 percent1 ! Can you believe 37 million Americans, including 14 million children1 are utilizing their local food banks across the US?  These aren't just homeless individuals, these are average people, maybe your neighbors. In fact 37 percent of this total have a full-time wage earner in their household1. If you live in the United States,  use the widget below, you can enter in your zip code and you will be taken to a page which give you statistics regarding your state on how Food Bank resources are utilized, and will give you the contact info for local food banks in your area.Food Bank LocatorAs a food blogger I think it is important to get the word out about organizations that help to feed people in our neighborhoods. The is a non-profit doing just that - Share Our Strength.  They have been a driving force behind the hunger movement for 25 years. They have launched a campaign called No Kid Hungry, which has a goal to end childhood hunger by 2015. They have partnered with many food corporations that have pledged to give a percentage of their profits to the campaign.  When you are shopping this holiday season, I hope you will considered purchasing from corporations that are dedicated to helping end hunger.On that note I wanted to review one of these companies' products - Hickory Farms, which is committed to donating $5 of every purchase of their Party Planner Gift Box to the No Kid Hungry campaign. Alternatively they encourage customers who aren't purchasing the above product,  to donate $1.00 of their order to the campaign, through 1/31/2011.The product I received to review was the Home For The Holidays Gift Box.Contents:2 - 10 oz. O[...]

Baking is Poetry

Tue, 10 Aug 2010 22:02:00 +0000

What is Baking mean to You? Here is a poem I just jotted down in an effort to get back to food blogging again.  I want to hear from my readers --- is baking a smell, a sight or sound? A memory?BakingIt is patienceIt is understanding theebbandflow  Of ingredientsOf Environmental factors  It is flirtingwith formulationsto achievethe ultimatein taste combination -Whether that result achievedissimplisticor quite complicated.Baking is the warmth of a stack oven Of the freshlyde-panned product.Baking is the satisfactionOf creation. Of the tears which well in their eyeswhen a taste, a smellinvokes memoriesof home, Of a loved onethat haspassed on.Baking isthe alcoholic fumespermeatingfrom a containerthathoused your starter -your poolish -your biga -or your mix.Baking is intoxication. Amber ©2010. All Rights ReservedI also experimented with a new add-on  for GIMP called "Polar Inversion" - so I used it on the pic below. I think it encapsulates production quite well, you know, the total process seems full circle. [...]

You Voted Best Entertaining Tip - Entertaining Guru Announced

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 03:48:00 +0000

I have had an overwhelming response to my previous "You Be The Judge -Who Wins Best entertaining Tip", the current comment count is 155, but I have about 212 comments that await moderation.I would like to thank everyone who voted, or who noted their choices and especially to those of you who added your own entertaining tips. This was a pretty successful contest, and I plan to do more like this. As a recap I wanted to give you a snippet of the original post that spurned this contest.The most successful host & hostesses have an arsenal of tricks they have tucked away in their little entertaining hats. Cabinets and pantries stand at attention year-round, stocked with dinnerware, decorations and edibles. These entertaining geniuses can layout their hospitable spreads within moments of a surprise pop-in or short notice dinner party.If you are one of these people - lucky you, you have mastered the art of snatching a mini quiche from the masters' hand IMDB. For those of you who aren't entertaining gurus - you have much to learn, and remain the grasshoppers W of social hospitality. - Dec. 11 2009That was really the spirit behind this contest -  with 12 bloggers inputting a total of 16 entertaining tips, I asked readers to vote for their favorite tip. The tip that stood out among the rest  for readers was YESIamblond's second contribution.YESIamblond "Buy Fortune Cookies. Have each guest read fortune out loud to group adding "in bed" at the end of reading their fortune, as in "You will find much bed". Makes for a funny gut-busting mixer, really gets the party rolling."YESIamblond has won a coupon for a  free Nancy's Frozen Appetizer. Congratulations & thanks so much for participating in the "Entertaining Guru" contest!The view expressed here are mine & mone alone.Please read more about Renaissance Culinaire's Disclosure Policy [...]

You Be The Judge - Who Wins "Best Entertaining Tip"?

Thu, 07 Jan 2010 21:10:00 +0000

On the first week of December 2009, I had written a review on Nancy's Appetizers and challenged readers to add their best entertaining tips in the comments.  If they posted correctly, I promised I would publish their tips including a link to their site, and create a poll that you the readers would vote on, to chose the best entertaining tip from those submitted. The Best Tipper will win a free Nancy's Appetizers product.The most successful host & hostesses have an arsenal of tricks they have tucked away in their little entertaining hats. Cabinets and pantries stand at attention year-round, stocked with dinnerware, decorations and edibles. These entertaining geniuses can layout their hospitable spreads within moments of a surprise pop-in or short notice dinner party.If you are one of these people - lucky you, you have mastered the art of snatching a mini quiche from the masters' hand IMDB. For those of you who aren't entertaining gurus - you have much to learn, and remain the grasshoppers W of social hospitality. - Dec. 11 2009                                                                Photo credit azrainmanHere are what the self-titled  entertaining gurus recommend:"Buy Fortune Cookies. Have each guest read fortune out loud to group adding "in bed" at the end of reading their fortune, as in "You will find much bed". Makes for a funny gut-busting mixer, really gets the party rolling.""Mini Olympics. Take whatever games you have ping-pong, Foosball, Wii, gameboys, darts, etc. and set up a mini Olympics for a party. Tell people that they must have a different partner for each game and that they must try to play against different teams each time. Give them a tally sheet to record game played, Won or Lost, and score. Tally up who won and award a girl and guy prize. Excellent way to get people mixing!"  -YESIamblond"Once a year I have Wild Women Day. Each friend brings a friend, a food that begins with the same letter as her first name(ie Julie brings Jello) and we bring new and gently used children books that I donate to a Detoit Public School." -Diane Baum"I always pick one signature cocktail so as not to become a bartender for the evening. I also have white & red wines available.""I hate to run out of appetizers, so I always have extra put away in the freezer. If I see I am running low, I can just pop them in the oven." - DEBIJOT   "A 15 ounce an of refried beans, a cup of shredded, sharp cheddar cheese, a tablespoons of hot sauce, and 1/4 cup of milk can be combined and heated to make a quick and popular dip."-Belinda "Soft music is always nice to have playing as there may be lolls in conversations by the guests and the silence will have been broken" "Always have finger foods readily available and in convenient places to take along with napkins and small plates" - electricisland"Download a whole selection of music onto your mp3 player specifically selected for your theme or your particular guests. Then play it during the party. Mix it up and be eclectic, go from slow ballads to instrumentals to dance music to keep your party moods changing and bubbling." - heaventrees"Some cut up velvetta and a can of chili beans (drained) heated up in the microwave makes a fast and easy dip. Doesn't taste that bad either. Adding meat makes it better but that also adds to the time to prepare."- Barb"I think it's fun when ther[...]

Women Geared Scholarship Empowers & Puts Pro Camera Gear Into Your Hands

Sun, 27 Dec 2009 15:37:00 +0000

For most food bloggers, showcasing their food images is a thing of pride and mostly of beauty. People have a love affair with food and photography. I like polished shots (my pic on upper  left), but I think I get a real kick out of food in action - such as motion blurs from the act of creating scones (my pic on bottom left), or a mixer in a hardcore whirling motion.The act of creating food, sparks my interest maybe more that tasting it. I love to see the way that true culinarians immerse themselves in their work - it is something very magical, echoed in the expressions and precise movements of their hands and in their body movements. I acquaint it to a dance. Working in close quarters among a crew in  a commercial kitchen or bake shop, it takes the best choreography,  to make time most efficient and productive.But when you are able to capture those flashes of  creativity and of proficient knowledge, the outcome of your photos become all that more interesting.If you are a woman aged 21 yrs or older (regardless of your foodie status) , living in the US, and have ever dreamed of taking your blog or picture taking abilities to the next level - the SOAR! Scholarship from ME KA ROH Photography can do just that. The three SOAR! recipients will be given thousands of dollars of camera gear, services and mentoring. But throughout the next twelve months, they will also be given something you can’t quantify. They will be given the gift of guided challenge—challenge to CLIMB heights they have never imagined. They will gain strength which will lead to empowerment. When they have made the leaps of risking over and over again, our goal is that they will be empowered to catch the wind. And we will not only witness them take flight, but we will see them SOAR! Imagine being a winner and having not only pro photography gear put in your hands, but tons of professional software (like photoshop CS4), pro classes and training, mentoring and your own PR - see the whole list of prizes.For me this would be a dream come true, I would love to delve into professional photography, and have all the expensive tools and be empowered to use them.There will be 3 grand prize winners chosen on January 1st, 2010. The winners will have an intensive 12 month schedule aimed at sculpting them into photography business pros.All you need to apply is fill out the application, then submit a 2 minute video on "why you are worthy of receiving the SOAR Scholarship"You can learn more about contest rules/regulations, by visiting . [...]

Series: Teaching Kids The Value of Money

Mon, 21 Dec 2009 21:48:00 +0000

Teaching Kids The Value of Money, Sustainability & Eventually Food Costing. When kids look at food they only see the visual or sensory aspect of foods - the thought that ingredients or that a meal costs something couldn't be furthest from their minds. Children see food as a either a thing of joy, or as a yucky substance to avoid. Even though there are quite strong feelings toward food, children are however for the most part, ready and willing to learn about where the food they eat comes from.Where to begin?  Lets start with teaching the concept of money. Trying to talk about money right out of the gate might be a little preachy and not quite as interesting. Kids are interested in rhythmic melodies and beats and research shows melodic song improves and stimulates how children's brains absorb knowledge (See: The Mozart Effect).  Knowing that I was about to bridge this theme, I was thrilled to be able to review and introduce a great video that accomplishes teaching the value of money in a melodic fashion : Munchkin Math: Counting Money. Format: Animated, Color, DVD, NTSC # Language: EnglishRegion: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1Ages: 3-9yrsRun Time: 22 minutesASIN: 0979901332 Website: Miller, the creator of Munchkin Math, teaches unique rhymes, chants and hand motions to enable a lasting impression while making the subject of money entertaining, with the help of her kid assistants.  The main objective of this DVD is to help build "The Money Worm" using different US coinage, as illustrated on the cover . My 6yr old , who is really getting into money lately (she got an electronic piggy bank as a present) was very interested in the video - she thought that having the older boy (which I am guessing is 10 yrs old) in the video, was very "cool", and thought learning the songs was fun. She got into the mathmatics - shouting the answers to the screen. The first time she watched the DVD, she was moving with the beat and had learned the words on the 3rd go around. Even my 2 yr old had mustered a decent attention span - enough to point out the quarters & follow along with the narrated ques.Pros:Through rhythmical, visual and kinesthetic cues this video will help your kids absorb the core information - such as US coins - shape, size and values ; Plus math formulas they will use throughout school and life. It is short enough to interest even the shortest attention spans, keeping kids engaged and entertained.Cons:I found the sound quality very good, but recorded at a very high volume (even louder than most videos) - be prepared to to adjust the volume immediately when hitting play. Conclusion:If you are looking for ways to educate children aged 3-9 yrs old, about US coinage, while providing a fun and entertaining way for learning, then Munchkin Math: Counting Money is a good DVD to invest in. It will present core math and money skills that will make a lasting impression.More Teaching Money Resources:Money Instructor: TEACHING KIDS MONEY SKILLS "We have money worksheets, money lessons, money lesson plans, and interactive money exercises to help". This site is great. There are age appropriate sections for preschool through 10th Money - A whole lot of links dedicated to different facets of financial education. Great resources!Once your children have a basic understanding of coin values, then you can move onto teaching more complicated subjects - such as ingredient or grocery costs. Have some insights into teaching children the value of money? Share them!Be on the lookout for the next article[...]

A Foraging We Will Go, Mushroom Hunting in Oregon

Sat, 19 Dec 2009 03:37:00 +0000

Here in the Pacific Northwest we are lucky to have such lovely forests, as I mentioned in an early post, I found a mushroom hunter from Eugene, OR - who was interested in guest posting here on Renaissance Culinaire. Please note the orange icons with skull & cross bones, these reference poisonous or un-edible species of mushroom. Here is his post:Hello, chanterelle hunters! The problem with yellow footed Chanterelles (Hygrophoropsis aurantiacaW) is that when they are plentiful, the price falls. Everyone with a vehicle is suddenly a Chanterelle hunter. Get 'em while you can, because soon you will not see a chanterelle until next fall. I love hunting chanterelles, but making money with them is hard. When Chanterelles are abundant, more people go picking and the price drops. For me, mushrooming is not about money. It is about finding those perfect beautiful patches in the forest. Hunting is about finding one chanterelle and then looking around and seeing a hundred more chanterelles. It is a beautiful sight. Hunting is about getting our side in the rain and being active. There are easier pickings in the mushroom patch than chanterelles, but this takes more knowledge.  In the fall, what  I go after is the Common Meadow Mushroom (Agaricus campestris W -) that grow on lawns and fields. Meadow mushrooms are abundant between rains when the soil humus takes off. (photo right - credit Lee Norris)The Meadow Mushroom is listed as choice by the National Autobahn Field manual. The manual says that they grow in late August and September, but I have found meadow mushrooms much later in the season in late September throughout October. The National Autobahn manual does not say anything about meadow mushrooms growing in rings, but I have seen them growing that way.                                                        Do not confuse the Meadow Mushroom with California Agaricus (Agaricus californicus). Both are similar in appearance but California Agaricus will make you sick.  (On  left Photo by Lee Norris; Right, Photo  Credit © Fred Stevens)As you look at the two pictures, the left has older  California Agaricus mushrooms and the picture on the right features a  younger version of California Agaricus - this species  has a very noticible identifier - a ring (looks kind of like a skirt) higher on the stalk (which may appear broken or ragged as the mushroom matures), this is the best indication as to what variety they are. The Meadow Mushroom has a half ring, faint ring or even no ring, where the California Agaricus' ring is much fuller. The Felt Ring Agaricus (Agaricus hondensis Murr),Yellow-foot Agaricus(Agaricus xanthodermusW)and Western Flat-topped Agaricus(Agaricus meleagris) are other species confusable with the Meadow Mushroom that are poisonous. Sometimes mushrooms can be identified by the odor, feel and even the mass. Some grow on in fields and lawns and others only in wooded areas. If you go out and identify, you will get to know what they are.(photo credit Wikipedia)I like Waxy Caps. (see: Hygrophorus Agaricales W, Hygrocybe coccinea, Hygrophorus chrysodon, Hygrophorus occidentalis). Waxy caps favor colder weather and grow much later in the season. Waxy caps have a slimy cap to the touch and there is no other species confusable [...]

Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My! Part 3 - Foraging Edible Plants

Sat, 19 Dec 2009 02:39:00 +0000

This post references cookbooks,  publications, lectures and industry focused literature - on foraging Edible Plants. I was re-reading a previous post Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My!, and thought I should split up the Foraging , Truffles & Mushroom Hunting Publication list into 3 posts (Truffles, Mushrooms and Foraging Edible Plants, so that it would be more user friendly. Enjoy!    Wild Edible Plants Harvest & IdentificationThe Wild, Wild Cookbook: A Guide for Young Wild-Food Foragers(1982)The Neighborhood Forager: A Guide for the Wild Food Gourmet(2000)Eating And Healing: Traditional Food As Medicine (Crop Science)The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: How to Find, Identify, and Cook Them(2004)The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants(2006)The Illustrated Guide to Edible Wild Plants(2009)Edible Wild Plants and Herbs: A Pocket Guide(2001)Euell Gibbons' Handbook of Edible Wild Plants(1979)The Complete Outdoorsman's Guide to Edible Wild Plants (The Scribner library : Emblem editions)(1978)Basic Essentials Edible Wild Plants and Useful Herbs, 3rd (Basic Essentials Series)(2007)Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants (Field Guide)(1986)Edible Wild Plants(2007)Edible Wild Plants and Useful Herbs(1986)Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate(2010)EDIBLE WILD PLANTS AND HERBS(2008)Handbook of Edible Wild Plants and Weeds, Vol 1, Handbook (Incredible Edibles Series)(1999)Wild Harvest: An Outdoorsman's Guide to Edible Wild Plants in North AmericaGather Ye Wild Things: A Forager's Year(1995)Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants [FGT EDIBLE WILD PLANTS 2/E]Handbook of Edible wild Plants and Weeds, CD-Rom Edition(2001)Edible Wild Plants of the Cyprus FloraEDIBLE WILD PLANTS(1957)The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants   [FORAGERS HARVEST] [Paperback](2006)Cookbook on Native Foods and Edible Wild Plants(1986)Wild Edible Plants of Mother Nature: A Guide to Eating Hardy on Plants Common to 48 StatesWild Edible Fruits and BerriesWild Teas, Coffees and CordialsFat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century ForagerWild Edibles Industry Focused:Harvesting wild edible mushrooms in Washington: An issue paperBiology, ecology, and social aspects of wild edible mushrooms in the forests of the Pacific Northwest a preface to managing commercial harvest (SuDoc A 13.88:PNW-GTR-309)Wild medicinal plants of the United States, (U. S. Bureau of Plant Industry. Bulletin 89)Wild plants: are they edible or poisonous?: An article from: Prairie GardenWild volatile-oil plants and their economic importance: I.-Black sage ; II. -Wild Sage ; III. -Swamp Bay (Bulletin - United States, Bureau of Plant Industry)Wild rice: Its uses and propagation (Bulletin / U.S. Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry)The wild onion (Bureau of plant industry)Wild collected botanicals; Creating global standards is imperative before societies lose the plants they depend on.(FROM THE CORNERS OF THE WORLD): An article from: Nutraceuticals WorldCrop Wild Relative Conservation and Use (Cabi Publishing)The storage and germination of wild rice seed (U.S. Bureau of plant industry. Bulletin)The wild alfalfas and clovers of Siberia, with a perspective view of the alfalfas of the world (U.S. Dept. of agriculture. Bureau of plant industry. Bulletin)Cultivated and wild hosts of sugar-cane or grass mosaic, ([Contribution from Bureau of Plant Industry])Wild Product Governance: Finding Policies that Work for No[...]

Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My! Part 2 - Mushrooms

Sat, 19 Dec 2009 02:18:00 +0000

This post references cookbooks,  publications, lectures and industry focused literature - on Mushrooms. I was re-reading a previous post Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My!, and thought I should split up the Foraging , Truffles & Mushroom Hunting Publication list into 3 posts (Truffles, Mushrooms and Foraging Edible Plants, so that it would be more user friendly. Enjoy!Mushroom Hunting & Identification:Taming the Wild Mushroom: A Culinary Guide to Market Foraging (1993)Foraging for Edible Wild Mushrooms (1978)The Edible Mushroom Book: A Guide to Foraging and CookingThe Practical Mushroom Encyclopedia: Identifying, Picking and Cooking with Mushrooms(2000)100 Edible Mushrooms(2007)Mushrooming without Fear: The Beginner's Guide to Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms(2007)The Ultimate Mushroom Book: The Complete Guide to Identifying, Picking and Using Mushrooms-A Photographic A-Z of Types and 100 Original Recipes(1995)The New Guide to Mushrooms: The Ultimate Guide to Identifying, Picking and Using Mushrooms(1996)Mushrooms Demystified(1986)How to Identify Mushrooms to Genus II: Field Identification of Genera(1977)Mushrooms of the World(1998)Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms of the World(1996)Hallucinogenic and Poisonous Mushroom Field GuideField book of common mushrooms;: With a key to identification of the gilled mushrooms and directions for cooking those that are edible (Putnam's nature field books)The New Savory Wild Mushroom (1987)The Mushroom Trailguide(1991)Celebrating the Wild Mushroom: A Passionate Quest(1986)How to identify mushrooms (to genus) using only macroscopic featuresMushroom collecting for beginners (Publication / Canada Dept. of Agriculture)Mushroom Hunter's Field GuideMushroom Hunt: 2 (1983)Mushrooms, Wild and Edible: A Seasonal Guide to the Most Easily Recognized Mushrooms(1980)How to collect, handle, and ship fungi (mushrooms) for identification (Stations circular)Safe-pik mushroom identification cardsHow To Identify Edible Mushrooms(2007)The Mushroom Book. a Popularguide to the Identification and Study of Our Commoner Fungi, with Special Emphasis on the Edible Varieties, the Nature Library X(1910)The Mushroom Book How to Identify, Gather and Cook Wild Mushrooms and Other Fungi(1996)Our edible toadstools and mushrooms and how to distinguish them;: A selection of thirty native food varieties, easily recognizable by their marked individualities; ... for the identification of poisonous species,Edible MushroomsOur Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms and How to Distinguish Them: A Selection of Thirty Native Food Varieties, Easily Recognizable by Their Marked Individualities, ... Identification of Poisonous Species [ 1895 ]Publication - Spanish - EspaniolLas setas/ Mushrooms: Guia Ilustrada Para Identificarlas Y 100 Deliciosas Formas De Cocinarlas/ an Illustrated Guide for Identifying and 100 Delicious Ways of Cooking (Spanish Edition)(2008)Las principales plantas y hongos comestibles de Europa y America/ The Main Edible Plants and Mushrooms of Europe and America (Spanish Edition) (2000)Pacific Northwest / West Coast  / North Central - MushroomsMushrooms of the Pacific Northwest: Timber Press Field Guide(2009)Mushrooms of Colorado and the Southern Rocky Mountains(1997)Wild mushrooms: Enjoy them in your national forests and national grasslands of the Rocky Mountain RegionKnow Alaska's mushrooms (Extension publication / Cooperative Extension Service, University of Alaska)Alaska's Mushrooms: A Practical Guide (Alaska Pocket Guide)(1994)Chanterelle: A Rocky Mountain Mushroom[...]

Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My! Part 1 - Truffles

Sat, 19 Dec 2009 01:26:00 +0000

This post references cookbooks,  publications, lectures and industry focused literature on truffles. I was re-reading a previous post Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My!, and thought I should split up the Foraging , Truffles & Mushroom Hunting Publication list into 3 posts, so that it would be more user friendly. Enjoy!Specialty Fungi - TrufflesA Gourmet's Guide to Mushrooms and Truffles(1991)Taming the Truffle: The History, Lore, and Science of the Ultimate MushroomThe Truffle BookTrees, Truffles, and Beasts: How Forests Function(2008)The Truffle Hunter (Children's Books from Around the World)(1999)Truffle Book(2006)Truffle hunt with Sacheverell SitwellMUSHROOMS AND TRUFFLES: Botany, Cultivation, and Utilization.(1961)Mushroom and Truffle BookMushrooms and Truffles: Botany, Cultivation, and Utilization(1987)Gourmet's Book of Mushrooms and Truffles (The Gourmet Series)Ectomycorrhizal fungi: Interactions of mushrooms and truffles with beasts and treesThe truffle and its cultivation =: (La truffle et sa culture)Taming the truffle; the history, lore, and science of the ultimate mushroom.THE ORDERS, FAMILIES, AND GENERA OF HYPOGEOUS ASCOMYCOTINA (TRUFFLES AND THEIR RELATIVES).All about trufflesUse Of Fungi As FoodTruffles - Black TrufflesThe black truffle: Its history, uses, and cultivationTruffle: The black diamond : an historical, botanical, agricultural, economic and culinary perspective of Tuber melanosporum, the edible black mushroom and gourmet's delightTruffle The Black Diamond(2005)Truffles: Earth's Black Diamonds(2009)Truffles - White TrufflesWhite Truffle UtopiaBook Language: Italian - Italiano Funghi e tartufi;: Descrizione, coltivazione, conservazione (industriale e domestica)Book Language: Spanish - EspaniolTrufas/ Truffles: Historia, ciencia, cultivo, recoleccion/ History, Science, Cultivation, Harvesting (Spanish Edition)(2009)Book Language: French - FrançaisLa truffe (French Edition)Le grand livre de la truffe (French Edition)Truffles - Industry FocusedSummary of trade and tariff information: Mushrooms and truffles : TSUS items 144.10-144.30 (USITC publicationThe 2009 World Market Forecasts for Imported Fresh or Chilled Mushrooms and TrufflesThe World Market for Fresh or Chilled Mushrooms and Truffles: A 2004 Global Trade PerspectiveThe 2007 Import and Export Market for Unpickled Mushrooms and Truffles in ItalyThe 2009 Import and Export Market for Fresh or Chilled Mushrooms and Truffles in FranceThe 2009 Import and Export Market for Dried Mushrooms and Truffles in ItalyThe 2007 Import and Export Market for Unpickled Mushrooms and Truffles in United StatesThe World Market for Unpickled Mushrooms and Truffles: A 2006 Global Trade PerspectiveThe World Market for Dried Mushrooms and Truffles: A 2004 Global Trade PerspectiveThe 2009 Import and Export Market for Unpickled Mushrooms and Truffles in Asia Truffle Editorials & LecturesGrowing consumer demand.(truffles): An article from: Mushroom NewsTruffles, Death Caps & the Chanterelle Revelations from Third Kingdom, Fourteenth Annual Faculty Lecture Santa Barbara City College 1992-93 ( LECTURE Mushrooms, Fungi, Fairy Rings, ETC )For the love of fungi.(Food)(Oregon's truffle season is in full swing as fans of the treat pay a steep price to indulge): An article from: The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)(2007)TRUFFLE LOVE.(Festivals)(Devotees sniff out the delicacy as part of a three-day festival): An article from: The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)Festival planned for truffle aficionados.(Festivals)(A fan of the Oregon fungus wants[...]

Harvesting, Foraging and Mushrooms - Oh My!

Fri, 18 Dec 2009 00:40:00 +0000

I am lucky to live here in Oregon, where the ancient forests sprawl down into the valleys , whose spindly branches of Oak, Myrtle, Maple and evergreens outwardly stretch, as their canopies tower above roadsides - whose greenery throws shadows onto cars -  filtering sunlight into a flickering dance of light onto the winding roads which disappear into the green mossy-lined darkness.Among those trees hidden in the shadows and bark of decomposed logs, or livestock pastures  and typical wasteland -  little gems of edible goodness are lurking. Mushrooms! I have always wanted to go foraging for them and the other forest edibles, but haven't gotten a chance yet. So as one of my resolutions for the New Year is to learn to identify edible wild plants and forage. And to celebrate this theme, I have found a mushroom hunter, Lee M. Norris, to share some of his knowledge on edible mushrooms found in Oregon. Even though he mentions some species found in Oregon - his comments on hunting them as a whole are not Oregon specific, and anyone interested in foraging might learn some helpful tips.While editing his guest post: A Foraging We Will Go, Mushroom Hunting in Oregon, I thought it would be lovely to give some links on guides for mushroom hunting, which led me to a list cataloged by region, continent and by specialty. Hopefully these list of books will give everyone a new perspective of those little fungi  and other plants growing and thriving around us.See the Foraging , Truffles &  Mushroom Hunting Publication list in it's entirety. Read: Part 1 - Truffles, Part 2 - Mushrooms, Part 3 - Foraging Edible Plants  [...]

Not Your Mamma's Clorox - Now Eco-Friendly & Green

Sat, 12 Dec 2009 04:01:00 +0000

A growing trend for established trusted brands seems to be going green or at least trying to add some Eco-friendliness to their image. As more and more consumers become aware of ingredients and chemicals used to manufacture many of the products on grocers shelves, a new urgency to find natural based alternatives has moved from what was once considered a frivolous choice to a well thought-out lifestyle change. Clorox, a well known manufacturer of household bleach and disinfecting wipes, heeded the cries from consumers for a laundry detergent and line of cleaning products that were natural, safe and effective. Their product line Green Works, with new formulations full of plant based derivatives helped to propel their brand  into the Eco-friendly arena.Green Works Natural Laundry DetergentAvailable in 3 different scents Original Scent, Lavender Scent and Free & Clear.Green Works Laundry Detergent boasts an impressive list of why this detergent is eco-friendly.  Features:Made of plant based, biodegradable ingredientsNever tested on animals.Container: made of 25% post-consumer recycled plastic, classified as #2 (HDPE)W Recognized by the EPA for safer chemistry.Safe for all machines including  High Efficiency.In partnership with Sierra Club, signifying Clorox's commitment to sustainability.Green Works Natural Stain Remover Available in Original Scent.Not only is this stain remover natural, it has earned the prestigious Good House Seal. Features:Made of plant based, biodegradable ingredientsNever tested on animals.99% natural Container:  classified as #2 (HDPE) Recognized by the EPA for safer chemistry.In partnership with Sierra Club, signifying Clorox's commitment to sustainability.ProsGreen MonsterGreen Works product line is creating a green buzz - like something fierce. I liked that both the Laundry Detergent and the Stain Remover have plant based ingredients. Recyclable and recognized by the EPA as safe chemistry make for a product you can feel good about purchasing.Cleaning MachinesGreen Works Natural Laundry Detergent worked better than I expected. It loosened ground-in dirt and made the clothes feel soft - unlike some other eco detergents I have tried, which used heavy amounts of starch, and made the clothes have a stiff scratchy feel. It was extremely concentrated, which will save you money in the long run.Green Works Natural Stain Remover rivaled one of my favorite enzyme based stain fighters - I was pretty impressed by it's ability to break up dried-on stains - and  remove them, without a second run through the wash cycle.  The scent was pleasant and subtle.Skin FriendlyI have mentioned before in my posts about my eczema, which makes my skin sensitive to different chemicals, essential oils or perfumes. Both of these products did not cause my eczema to flair up - which usually happens if a product contains harsh ingredients. Even when I added too much to a load - it still didn't irritate my skin.ConsConcentrated Means BusinessRead the directions carefully - Green Works Laundry Detergent is very concentrated - use the amount specified for the size of your load. The essential oils used to scent this product can become very strong, when cycling through the wash.I found this out the hard way and accidentally used a full cap instead of half of the cap, and the overpowering smell gave me a headache.ConclusionClorox Green Works Natural Laundry Detergent and Natural [...]

Mini Quiches in Review & Nancy's Product Give Away!

Fri, 04 Dec 2009 18:25:00 +0000

The most successful host & hostesses have an arsenal of tricks they have tucked away in their little entertaining hats. Cabinets and pantries stand at attention year-round, stocked with dinnerware, decorations and edibles. These entertaining geniuses can layout their hospitable spreads within moments of a surprise pop-in or short notice dinner party.If you are one of these people - lucky you, you have mastered the art of snatching a mini quiche from the masters' hand IMDB. For those of you who aren't entertaining gurus - you have much to learn, and remain the grasshoppers W of social hospitality. Photo Credit WordRidden I mentioned quiche - what is quiche? In French cuisine, a quiche (IPA: [ki:ʃ]) is a baked dish that is based on a custard made from eggs and milk or cream in a pastry crust. Usually, the pastry shell is blind baked before the other ingredients are added for a secondary baking period.W Generally quiche are savory flavored with herbs, meats or vegetables. O.K, entertaining grasshoppers - listen up and rejoice, have I got a trick for expanding your entertainers' hats. Frozen appetizers. Some of you out there are cringing as you read those two words - fear not, no-one will shun or chastise you for taking a shortcut every now and then.Even caterers and other culinary professionals have shortcuts they utilize when in a pinch. Rule one is to always have a backup plan - in case a disaster happens.Before I start the reviewing of a product, I always like to do a little background on the company.Nancy Mueller started in the '70's making appetizers in her own kitchen. People started referring her to their friends and eventually she started small production, supplying them to local grocers in San Fransisco, Ca.In 1977, Nancy's Specialty Foods was born, ever since they have been producing on a large scale the company has successfully established partnerships with leading grocers & warehouse clubs nationwide. Nancy's has a full product line of frozen appetizers, desserts and entrées.The Review:Today I am reviewing Nancy's Petite Quiche, in the Lorraine (Swiss Cheddar & Real Bacon) and Florentine (Swiss & Spinach). I served these to family, which varied in ages 2 - 62yrs of age, while we watched U of O Ducks & OSU Beavers' civil war football game.The quiche were packed in their own plastic recyclable tray with individual cups holding each mini quiche. There are microwave (for softer crust) & oven (for flakier crust) directions. I chose to use the oven directions which asked for a preheat of 375° F. Onto a cokie sheet I placed them 1/2 " apart. They baked for 14 minutes. After cooling them a bit they went on a serving tray.Appearance:They looked edible, the crust was a nice golden brown with hints of carmelization in the right spots , the crust didn't sag. The filling looked appetizing and you could see pieces of the spinach and bacon laced throughout.Texture / Mouth Feel: The crust was very flaky and light, when bitten into it was thin. The quiche filling had a good texture - you couldn't distinguish whether these quiches were commercial or not just by biting into them. The bits of spinach, onion or bacon was obvious, and natural.Taste: Both quiches had a buttery crust with just enough salt. Thin crust enough not to overpower the quiche filling. Eggy-ness did not envelope the overall flavor, each quiche had a distinct flavor profile.Lorraine (Bacon/Swiss): Very nice flavor, the filling had minced onion bu[...]

Holidays: Will They Be A Time of Joy - or Of Tragedy?

Sat, 07 Nov 2009 18:42:00 +0000

What do you want out of life? What do most people want out of life? Some kind of happiness --- whether that means finding the love of their life; having small attainable goals, or doing something meaningful in society - like working with the hungry and poor.Throughout life there are a lessons learned and embedded into our psyche; Ones that leave a lasting impression and that shape us as individuals , dictating choices we make for the future.These impressions come from a variety of sources - the neighborhood we lived in; people in our lives - from our parents, friends or teachers - to that stranger on a street corner. Each memory is a misshapen piece that indelibly will coincide and be interwoven with other pieces to complete the complex puzzle, of the self, in each of us.Yet it isn't just impressions that shape us - it is more primal than that. Our makeup is derived by genes who are manipulated and tousled, surviving generations after generation. Where do these genes come from? From our descendants - passed down from our families.For allot of us, even in the most dysfunctional of circumstances - family means allot. Having a need for family to gather around us in celebration is a need that is echoed across cities, states --- for that matter across the globe.But it can be those same joyous occasions with the right conditions that can trigger a deadly domino effect. When you have a family, their safety is important. When tragedy strikes it can rock your world. No one wants to be affected by an intoxicated driver. Yet everyday in the United States 36 people die and 700 people are injured from alcohol related crashes1. Those statistics are sobering.I have first hand experience of a loved one being injured by a drunk driver - It doesn't matter the extent of injuries or there severity. Once an unknowing car is struck - whether broadsided, T-boned ,clipped or Rear-ended ---their lives and their families lives are changed forever.The scary thing about alcohol is that teen drivers are the most vulnerable. Teens push the envelope when it comes to vehicle safety, there is a tendency to underestimate and not recognize dangerous situations4. When any alcohol is involved , teens risk of crash /fatalities is far greater than any older age groups2. In 2005, 3 out of 4 teens who were killed in alcohol related crashes were not wearing their seatbelt3 . In 2005, male drivers aged 15-20 yrs old who were involved in fatal crashes %38 had been speeding and %24 had been drinking5,6. Because of the importance of educating our teens, MADD - a non-profit organization aimed at giving needed support to DUI victims and preventing underage drinking, has stepped up to the plate this season, conveniently as this December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month to unveil their campaign entitled: The Power of Parents.Did you know - %74 of teens turn to the parents for guidance on drinking? The Power of Parents campaign aims to give parents of teens tools, and access to resources which can help empower them when talking to teens about underage drinking.You will find on The Power of Parents site: Expertly written videos, guides and pamphlets available via download. There is also "Ask an expert" section for all your questions, plus an online community where you can network with other parents and share experiences.Right now as of the recent launch, there is a section specifically for parents of highschool aged teens. But check [...]

Thanks For Reading!

Wed, 04 Nov 2009 07:48:00 +0000

I know that this site hasn't been updated for a while. But readers kept leaving comments & sending me feedback. And following RC - whether it was through feedburner, google friend connect, or Twitter, or via the Renaissance Culinaire facebook fan page , the followers don't quit. I would like to say thanks - I really appreciate it.I have big plans instore for this blog, and my goal is to update everyday - starting now. So be on the look out for new content. I plan to have some giveaways soon too! [...]