The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

Every one knows that I’m a huge fan of Aldi. I say… bring it on!

Grocery stores are aggressively expanding, and now there’s a glut of food retail space in the US.

Source: The retail apocalypse is coming for grocery stores – Business Insider

REZEPT: glutenfreie Dominosteine | Ein glutenfreier Blog

These are my favorite holiday cookies, but are hard to come by in North America. Dominosteine are a staple in the advent and Christmas season across Germany. This is a great recipe for the gluten free version. I make mine without marzipan.

Source: REZEPT: glutenfreie Dominosteine | Ein glutenfreier Blog

The Long, Lonely Quest to Breed the Ultimate Avocado

Everyone who knows me knows that I love avocados. I had never eaten an avocado until I was nearly 30, and now I simply can’t get enough of them. Until I read this article, I didn’t know much about Haas avocados, but I knew they seemed superior to the larger, greener variety. 

This fascinating story first appeared in Wired, check it out and weigh in with your avocado stories in the comments below.

I love my rice cooker

I’m not a huge fan of rice. I don’t mind it, but it’s carb-y and always seems like a lot of extra calories to me. But, about two years ago, I bought an Aroma electric rice cooker which became one of my very favourite kitchen appliances of all time. The rice cooker steams veggies beautifully and makes perfect quinoa and rice every time. I even learned to make an omelette in it, and posted about it some time ago.

My favourite recipe (that I make all the time) is quinoa with pesto or sauce. It’s so easy:

100g quinoa 1 cup

60ml water 1/4 cup

190g pesto 7 oz

Whatever sautéed vegetables I have on hand (mushrooms, onions, peppers, shallots, etc.) I just dump them in right at the beginning.

Whatever vegetable scraps I have on hand go in the steamer (broccoli, carrots, etc.)

Set to “white rice” and when it’s done, mix the veggies with the cooked quinoa and a spoonful of ricotta, season with freshly cracked salt and pepper and a tiny bit of chopped herbs (basil or whatever is around) or some shredded Parmesan.

It’s easy, delicious, comfort food that literally cooks itself. It’s also good leftover and cold. You can also substitute tomato paste or sauce (or even salsa) for the pesto. It’s all delicious.

Unfortunately, I was using the rice cooker the other night and noticed that the cord, where it attached to the back of the cooker had frayed, and lots of copper wiring was poking out of the back of the cooker. I emailed Aroma, and within a day had a very pleasant response. The Aroma folks—much to their credit—replaced the rice cooker and shipped it at their cost, along with a return label to replace the defective cooker. They even sent a coupon for a free 5lb bag of rice.

Outstanding customer service, speedy reply, and they stand behind their product. Two thumbs up to Aroma and a strong endorsement from me! So if you’re looking for a good Christmas gift for someone, consider picking up an Aroma rice cooker. They are outstanding.

The Best Restuarant

Everyone raves about Noma as “the best” restaurant in the world. Their pop-up restaurants (like the most recent Noma in Mexico) command just short of US$1000 per meal. 

I have to say, I’ve been to Noma twice and several of their spin-off restaurants. I wasn’t impressed. Eating fermented pine needles with froth (about which several critics raved) reminded me of pine needles with frothy saliva spit on them. They tasted like pickles and simply weren’t appetizing. I found the menu to be rigid and limited and frankly, for $1000, it just wasn’t worth it.

Noma “closed” in early 2017, so it didn’t place on the most recent list of the top 50 restaurants

I get it, eating at this level of restaurant is an art that requires a different type of thinking. The meal and its preparation are an art (or science) and are appreciated not for their satiating effect, but for small bites of sensory excitement.

It’s strange to me that all of the restaurants on the list are in or very near major cities. What about the thousands of restaurants that are off the beaten path? One of the most meaningful meals was made at a “restaurant” in Costa Rica, made from scratch by a woman and her daughter for two backpackers passing by (my friend Mark and myself.) I don’t think the restaurant had a name, I know it didn’t have a printed menu, but the food was outstanding and honest.

Housed in a splendid reclaimed warehouse, Aparaat is in a league of top restaurants around the world but their prices are much more fair.

Aparaat in Tartu, Estonia is another restaurant that is off the beaten path. It gets no significant press outside of Estonia, and consistently is one of the very best restaurants that I visit. The prices, on average are about 3300% (that’s not a typo) less than Noma and the meals are no less divine than any other “top” restaurant I have visited, and in fact are consistently creative and outstanding. The menu at Aparaat is flexible and accommodates all manner of eaters: vegans, meat eaters, gluten free eaters, localphiles, and on and on. That’s more than I am able to say for Noma.

I’m not a food critic, and I don’t have a fancy ranking system or list, but for my vote, I strongly recommend Aparaat. If I were making a list it would be at the top in the #1 spot.

Delicious carrot and beet salad with lentils and goat cheese with a local berry and greens sauce.


Is too clean dangerous? This is a compelling article that makes you consider (or re-consider) the ingredients in your shower gel and bath soap. It’s strange, so many of the ingredients and additives that are banned elsewhere in the world are still very much in our soap and personal care products.
Read the original story about triclosan at Quartz.


If nothing else, this story should give pause about using commercial products and perhaps prompt you to consider making some soap of your own!

My friend makes her own soap (which is fantastic) and the main ingredient is coconut oil. She uses the recipe you can find on Mommypotumus. 

I Love SLA!

My “Green” Bowl (with shaved Parmesan).

One of the highlights of any trip to The Netherlands is a stop (or two, or ten) at SLA. SLA is a healthy-eating/salad joint that I just love. SLA has a special way of building a salad, which believe it or not, makes a big difference! 

Even a driving rain couldn’t keep me away from SLA!

SLA focuses on clean and healthy eating in a sustainable and environentally responsible way. Their shops are no-nonsense and comfortable and the food is consistently delicious. On my last visit, I bought the SLA cookbook, and many of the dressings and salad ideas have become staples and favourites.

According to the SLA website, SLA opened in 2013 as a family business – Jop, Nina and Ida – in Amsterdam. The SLA business focus on having as many people taste, experience and share how conscious eating affects life positively. 

“We believe that you are what you eat and that food can be a drug. SLA is our way of heart, head and hands to create an environment that inspires and encourages healthy habits.”

SLA has a new cookbook, SLA Easy, that came out recently. I’ll add it to my birthday list. You can get the cookbook here!

Check out SLA here. #ILOVESLA


One Pie Can

I am a sucker for supermarket history and I love to stumble across old-school labels and products. There’s something amazing when a product is so reliable that the label doesn’t change for decades.

I was stumbling around my favorite local store tonight picking up a few items that aren’t available at Aldi (wax paper, washing soda) and I stumbled across this gem. I couldn’t resist snagging a can just because of the great label.

The 10 Year Search for the Perfect Water Bottle

Throughout my day, I drink about a gallon (or two) of water. I’ve had a miserable time finding a water bottle that I like. I started with a SIGG which was a disaster. The bottle started smelling musty after about a week, and started tasting musty about a week after that. No matter what I tried, the bottle was disgusting, and it leaked. Plus the little loop at the top seemed handy, but was actually not all that convenient to grab and go.

Sign bottle that I used about 10 years ago.
Sign bottle that I used about 10 years ago.

After the OXO bottle, I tried the outrageously expensive S’well Matte Army Green bottle. I loved the look of the bottle, but it was remarkably difficult to deal with. The Swell bottle did keep beverages cold (or warm) for hours, but that was its only benefit. The bottom of the bottle had this funny dimpled effect it (similar to a Coke bottle). that, in conjunction with the unbelievably top-heavy lid, made the bottle incredibly unstable. I felt like I was constantly picking the bottle up from the floor, because it constantly was falling over. Plus, there was no way to grab this bottle quickly. You need to dedicate a whole hand to carrying it around, and that—for me—was a no go. After about a semester, the bottle started to smell, which wasn’t so swell, and because there was no easy way to clean it, I moved on.

S'well bottle. Not so swell. Looks great, but not functional.
S’well bottle. Not so swell. Looks great, but not functional.

Then, I found this great, clear OXO bottle that screwed apart in the middle for easy cleaning. I LOVED this bottle and loved the handy wire cap connector, which made for easy, one-finger, grab and go. I also loved that it was clear, so I could see how much I had left in the bottle.

The OXO unscrews in the middle for easy cleaning.The OXO Strive Advance unscrews in the middle for easy cleaning.

I loved this bottle so much that I bought two. They mistakenly got put in the dishwasher once, and that was the end. Somehow, the dishwasher made the latex seal in the bottle fail, and they leaked horribly after that. Despite the leakiness, I still used the bottles for a while, but then the wire cap holder started to rust.

OXO Bottle that I loved until it leaked.
OXO Bottle that I loved until it leaked.

Then, after the OXO bottle, I went total hipster and just used a Mason jar for a year. It was great because it had a generous capacity, wasn’t precious (so it was easily replaceable if I left it behind somewhere), and was easy to clean. It just wasn’t very portable.

Hipster standby.
Hipster standby.

So, completely on a whim, I bought an ecoVessel Bold.

ecoVessel Bold, is taller than it looks.
ecoVessel Bold, is taller than it looks.

Instantly, I really liked this bottle. The loop makes it easy to grab and carry. The lid screws apart in two places, one big mouth, one little mouth, so that’s good and makes it easy to fill and clean. It’s durable, but somehow after using mine for a few months, I cracked the metal on the big lid. Not a problem, I contacted ecoVessel, and they were able to send me a replacement (three, in fact) to ensure that I’ll be able to use this bottle for a very, very long time.

Unfortunately, the ecoVessel Bold model has since been discontinued (of course), but the ecoVessel Boulder line looks just as sleek (if not exactly the same), comes in a variety of colors, and is triple insulated.  I like the fact that they sell replacement parts and that  their customer service was attentive and polite. I would recommend ecoVessel highly.

Finally! My search for a decent water bottle is over… I think!