9.24.2012

{when to buy organic}

organic has been all the rage in recent years.
i first considered buying organic foods after having kids, because i only wanted the best for them. but, it was overwhelming trying to shop for and plan organic meals, not to
mention hard on the wallet. so i wanted to know,
when exactly do i need to buy organic?
 
 
every year, the environmental working group (ewg) tests for pesticide residue on produce and compiles a list of the most and least contaminated fruits and vegetables.
 
here's 2012s dirty dozen:
(buy organic when possible)
 
1) apples
(also consider applesauce and apple juice)
2) celery
3) sweet bell peppers
4) peaches
5) strawberries
6) nectarines - imported
7) grapes
(also consider grape juices and wine)
8) spinach
9) lettuce
(also consider kale, collards, and green beans)
10) cucumbers
11) blueberries - domestic
12) potatoes
 
here's 2012s clean 15:
(save money on these, no need to buy organic)
 
1) onions
2) sweet corn
3) pineapple
4) avocado
5) cabbage
6) sweet peas
7) asparagus
8) mangos
9) eggplant
10) kiwi
11) cantaloupe - domestic
12) sweet potato
13) grapefruit
14) watermelon
15) mushrooms
 
source: ewg.org/foodnews
 
*     *     *
 
some other things to consider are milk (because it's a big part of a child's diet), coffee & chocolate (the coffee/cocoa beans may be grown in countries that do not regulate use of pesticides), and foods in jars or boxes vs. canned varieties (the lining of the can has chemicals that may leak into foods).
 
and finally, a great rule to follow is to buy organic versions of your favorites. buying organic versions of things you eat or use the most will greatly reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides and chemicals.
 
what's your thoughts on buying organic?

photo: random google search


9.13.2012

{tipping: the owner}

while researching tipping etiquette, i was surprised at the many different views people have on this subject. there are some who tip for everything and some who think tipping is getting out of hand with tip jars popping up everywhere. discussing all the different situations in which we can/should/don't tip would be quite lengthy, so i'll break it down into morsels. a question that i hear all the time is,
do you tip the owner of a hair salon?
answer: yes.

old thinking was, no, because the owner already gets the profits of the salon. but nowadays, people are tipping owners the standard 15-20% when he/she provides the service, and the owners are accepting the tips. in the event that they don't, thank them for a wonderful job and consider passing your tip on to assistants who may have helped you.

(i always say...when in doubt, tip!)

what are your experiences with or thoughts on this?

photo: random google search

9.05.2012

{the dinner party}

recently, i've been attending a lot of dinner parties, and
i'm always faced with the question of what to bring.
after researching the web for etiquette and ideas,
here's five ideas i love:

photo/source: gq.com
top shelf olive oil
a top shelf olive oil or flavored oil is something your host probably wouldn't buy for themselves but will greatly appreciate.

here are some names that kept coming up:
Frankies
McEvoy Ranch
A L'Olivier

photo/source: martha stewart
gourmet coffee
a bag of good quality beans + breakfast pastries is something the host/hostess can enjoy the morning after.

two of my favorites:
koko krater coffee roasters kona peaberry (roasted locally)
starbucks coffee caffe verona

photo: random google search
vintage books
a vintage cookbook or unique book about a hobby they love.

try this site:
Best-selling out-of-print books


photo: random bing search / source: la times
olives + almonds
nice table olives + marcona almonds can be set out for guests in the event the host is running behind.

here's a couple with pretty packaging:
1880 Marcona Almonds
Superior Nut Company Gift Tin

dog treats
is there a pampered pooch in the house? bring treats for the dog. (or if they have kids, a little something for them.)

these have cute packaging perfect for gift giving:
Orvis Comfort-Food Treats
Polka Dog Bakery Meatlover's Can

*     *     *
of course, these take some planning/ordering ahead. wine is perfectly fine for those last minute get togethers. i usually go with a red in the $25 - $40 range. what are your thoughts? do you have any unique ideas? 

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