Monday, December 31, 2007

Immersed in Chocolate

On Solstice we received the gift of water and chocolate from our niece. She did a superb job of putting together a gift package to embrace the health benefits of both from a physical and metaphysical standpoint. Very nice indeedy! The chocolate selection included not only dark, rich candies made from high percentages of cacao, but also raw cacao nibs. Then lo and behold, more rich chocolate came our way via our son's gift to Coop. So, being curious as to how I might put the nibs as well a some of the chocolate to use, I searched recipes. I found a few fairly easy recipes, even a couple that integrated the Aztec tradition of combining cacao with chili powder and/or peppers. The Aztec bark uses semi sweet chocolate as opposed to raw nibs. I can't wait to try the nib rub!

cacao nib drop cookies

chococlate shortbred with cacao nibs

Aztec Chocolate Bark


Sunday, December 30, 2007

Chipotle Mexican Grill is Nation's First Chain to go Entirely rBGH-Free

Survey Shows That 81 Percent of Consumers Would Prefer to Purchase
Dairy Products Produced without Added Hormones

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 5, 2007--Before the end 2007, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG and CMG.B) will no longer serve any cheese made with milk from cows treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). That will make Chipotle the first national restaurant chain to eliminate rBGH entirely from items on its menu.

Chipotle began serving 100% rBGH-free sour cream last year, and has begun shifting to rBGH-free cheese over the last several months, a move it will complete by year-end, making 100% of its cheese rBGH-free. It also serves rBGH-free, organic milk at some of its locations.

rBGH, also called recombinant bovine somatotropin or rBST, is a synthetic hormone that stimulates milk production in dairy cattle. Use of rBGH has been banned in a number of countries, including 25 European nations, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Since its approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993, the use of the hormone in this country has been controversial for many reasons, including potential health concerns for humans and the animals treated with the hormone.

"We want to change the way the world thinks about and eats fast food," said Chipotle Founder, Chairman and CEO, Steve Ells. "Serving our customers cheese and sour cream without rBGH is the responsible thing to do. It's better for our customers, better for the animals, and better for the food system."

Today's announcement represents the latest development in Chipotle's Food With Integrity mission - a commitment to making socially responsible, gourmet food available and affordable so everyone can eat better. To that end, Chipotle now serves more naturally raised meat than any restaurant in the world - meat raised humanely without antibiotics or added growth hormones, and fed a pure vegetarian diet. Beyond naturally raised meat and rBGH-free dairy, 25 percent of the black and pinto beans Chipotle serves are organically grown.

"We care about the quality of the ingredients we are serving," said Ells. "Everyone should have access to great-quality, great-tasting food. So, we look for ingredients that are grown and raised with care and respect."

According to the results of a recent survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, 81 percent of respondents would prefer to buy dairy products derived from cows that do not receive synthetic hormones, assuming little or no pricing difference. Other findings from the Opinion Research Corporation survey include:

  • Of those who said they would not prefer to buy rBGH-free dairy products, 64 percent said that they would buy rBGH-free dairy products if the synthetic hormone was linked to health issues with humans, and 42 percent said they would if the use of rBGH was linked to health issues with dairy cattle.
  • Fifty-eight percent of respondents were aware that many dairy cows in this country are treated with rBGH.
  • Nearly half of those who had no preference said they would prefer to buy rBGH-free dairy products if they knew the hormone was banned in a number of other countries.

"Chipotle has been making positive changes to the food supply system for a number of years, and we're extremely pleased that they've chosen to make being rBGH-free part of that commitment," said Rick North, director of the Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility's Campaign for Safe Food, a non-profit group that's been collaborating on a nationwide education campaign opposing rBGH. "As consumers become more aware of the issues associated with rBGH use and the alternatives companies like Chipotle are providing, they are clearly stating their preference for rBGH-free dairy products."

About Chipotle

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG and CMG.B) offers a focused menu of burritos, tacos, burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of Food with Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food not only from a variety of fresh ingredients, but ingredients that are sustainably grown and naturally raised with respect for animals, the land, and the farmers who produce the food. Chipotle opened its first restaurant in 1993 and operates more than 670 restaurants today. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chris Arnold, 303-222-5912

SOURCE: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Flying Spaghetti Monster Cookies

Originally uploaded by fsmcookies

For the Pastafarians out there...wish I had seen this prior to the holidays! But would make a tasty treat for any Friday. Arrrr! :)))

Friday, December 28, 2007

Can New Kind of Chocolate Make People Happier?

This company is seeking people who want to test a new kind of chocolate (all natural) derived from the way the ancient Mexicans made their legendary cacao drinks. It's free but you have to give them feedback.

read more | digg story

Thursday, December 27, 2007

post Yule

It has been awhile. I am hoping everyone had a very happy and safe Yule.

I am in an odd place…have been for the most part since Thanksgiving…kind of a blah mood. I probably can contribute some of that to the lack of sunshine and the shorter days. For the most part I’m feeling a lack of energy and a need to sleep more than normal. I’m in a foggy place, with the desire to be doing something but having a lack of focus and energy. Perhaps I feel somewhat out of pace with the rest of the world during the holiday season. Hopefully I’ll return to a more energetic level soon.

The holiday season was a very, very good one despite my state of being. Lots of unexpected goodies came our way. Our daughter and son in law had already purchased a new alternator for my 93 Eagle Summit, so we didn’t expect anything more. But lo and behold, a bag of goodies to boot! My favorite was a basket full of all natural hand and body lotions and creams as well as a foot scrub. How nice! Then I had the surprise of my life when my son and family gifted me with a 16 quart pressure canner. Now, I know not everyone would be as touched and excited as I was over this. But, you see, I have been wanting one for quite some time and even more so recently as we are now back to gardening and preserving each year. I was so surprised, touched and elated when I opened it, I couldn’t contain the tears. My family did great, giving us very useful or consumable gifts. And to top it of, our daughter in law made lemon sponge pie. This is a recipe my mother in law used to make and which we loved. We have not had lemon sponge pie since a year or two prior to my MIL’s passing about five years ago. It was SO good! In fact it was perfect. Needless to say, my intention to eliminate most of the sugar from my diet will have to be postponed until the pie is finished!

To all our family and friends I want to say a big “Thank You” again. Your generosity is incredible and so very, very much appreciated. We had a wonderful time gathering with each and every one of you and feel and are so very blessed by your presence in our lives and the love you express in word and deed.

As for our gift giving, I was delighted to see such appreciation for the hand crafted items we gave. Even the little ones were delighted to open their new hats and scarves. For my two oldest grandsons, I had also made crocheted medicine pouches to wear around their necks. In each one I placed a gemstone heart. Luke, who is six, said, “Grandma, this will remind me how much you love me.” He definitely got the message, bless his heart.

Now, after all the giving, receiving and overindulging I am in the process of purging my environment. Along with putting the new things away, I seem to have the irrevocable need to eliminate other stuff, asking myself, “do I really need this?” and “have I any real use for this?” It seems for me this is a constant, ongoing process. So today, in between loads of laundry and napping, I cleaned out and organized the bathroom cabinets and the medicine cupboard. Tomorrow perhaps I’ll accomplish a little more. Baby steps.

To all my readers, I wish you a very safe and joyous new year.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Poinsettias-dispelling the "poisonous" myth

According to an article in the Dec. 13th issue of Farm and Dairy, poinsettias are not toxic to animals and other living things. In fact, the article states that humans are far more likely to harm a poinsettias than vice versa. However, if exposed to it, the milky sap has been known to cause skin irritation to some folks, according to Ward Upham, who heads the Master Gardener program at Kansaas Sate Research and Extension. The biggest risk is in the fact that the leaves are very fibrous, so they could result in choking if someone got them lodged in their throat. Odds are against that happening because the leaves are said to have a terribly bad taste. Upham also goes on to say that the American Medical Association has never received a confirmed report of any serious or fatal results stemming from poinsettia ingestion. He also cites a study at OSU which found that if a child of fifty pounds ate 500 poinsettia bracts (the leaves that look like flowers), said child might develop a slight stomach ache.

So, all you folks who have feared poinsettias in your home over the holiday season can rest a little easier now. Having poinsettias around the holidays as well as having two housecats has never been a problem for us anyhow since my cats have never had a hankering to bother the plants, but it’s good to know that if they did, I have little if anything to worry about.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Meaning of It All

"There is a fundamental disconnect that people have between their money and the way they live their day to day life. They view money as something separate and distinct, something to be managed. [...] It is that disconnect, that separation, that has led to a sense of our money being completely out of our control."

read more | digg story

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Magic of the Season

I awaken to another dawn
and bid good-bye the night,
and find, as I was sleeping,
a shroud of the purest white
has crept in, in stillness,
without effort or a sound,
and softly tucked the world in white,
the trees, the roofs, the ground.
And in this still and softened landscape
I remember… and once again I find,
the magic of the season,
the touch of the sublime.

©s. cooper 2007