It’s Possible! We can bring Trader Joe’s Thai “Dry” Chili Paste back!!

Trader-joes-thai-dry-chili-paste-jarI reviewed Trader Joe’s Thai “Dry” Chili Paste a while back and a few readers have commented how they couldn’t find it in their local store.  So we just figured it was a seasonal item or discontinued.  Then today I got a comment from a reader Eugenie and she told us this:

I just used the Trader Joes Product Information form on Contact Us asking about this product. They said sales didn’t meet quota but if there was adequate outcry fro customers, they’d consider bringing it back. So fill in the form! You never know…

That’s so great to know!  You betcha I filled it out right away.  You can find the form here.  If you feel as strongly about the Thai “Dry” Chili Paste as I do, please fill it out!!

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar - exteriorAqua Sushi + Juice Bar was a last minute dinner decision one night because Six suddenly had to go away for work for 4 weeks, so we only had time for a 30 minute dinner before he had to leave.  In this case, take-out was the way to go.

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar makes all their sushi with nutritionally superior brown rice instead of white rice.  In fact, when Six was looking at the menu, he commented “Oh….this is one of those healthy places…”  Not sure if he was disappointed or not, but it was a funny comment.

Oh, and as the name says, they’re also a juice bar.  We didn’t get any though, so that’s all I got to say about that.

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar - interiorI found Aqua’s prices to be quite reasonable, despite being “one of those healthy places“.  Their most expensive sushi roll was $9.  THey also have quinoa sushi cones, low carb no-rice rolls, vegetarian picks, as well as sashimi and some starters.

Aqua Sushi + Juice Bar - Spicy Wild Salmon Roll & Aqua RollWe ended up getting three rolls.  Actually I had two and he had one.  Six picked the Spicy Wild Salmon Roll ($5, left) and it’s made with kale and green bean.  The first of my rolls was the Aqua Roll ($5.50, right) made with wild salmon, avocado, mango, green bean.

Not too sure if I’m fond of the green bean in either rolls.  It does impart a fresh crunch, but the sushi as a whole was quite bland.  I think the rice could’ve been seasoned a bit more with vinegar.  The mango from the Aqua Roll did give a good sweetness to the roll but that’s about it.

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Mercola Sprouting Seeds Review

mercola-products-titleI love gardening.  I really do, so I was especially excited when Mercola contacted me to sponsor a review on their Sprout Doctor Starter Kit (minus the sunflower seeds).  I will note here that I received seeds and products from Mercola for free, however I was not compensated in any way and all opinions are my own.

Mercola Sprout Doctor Starter Kit - Pea and Broccoli seedsI’ve always germinated/sprouted my seeds before I planted them in my balcony garden.  However, I have yet to sprout seeds for consumption.  I’m sure many of you have already heard the claims of the immense nutritional value of sprouting your own seeds.  If you haven’t, Mercola has a good page here to tell you all about it.  Now I can’t attest to the claims but nonetheless I’m sure there’s some truth to it and it’s got to be healthy somehow, just by the fact of how fresh your produce will be.  Plus it’s fun, so it’s a win-win situation!

I was provided with 2 packages of sprouting seeds, one for pea shoots, the other for broccoli sprouts.  I also received sprouting trays top and bottom (top one has drainage holes), plus an 11L bag of Sprout Doctor Soil Enhancement.

The seeds were sourced from High Mowing Organic Seeds as Mercola does not “manufacture” their own seeds.  I actually just bought some tomato seeds from High Mowing too!  For next year though haha.

Seed sprouting soil setupI thought the tray was going to be too large for my use, so I decided to do my project in a clean plastic tray.  I just recycled one from when I bought roasted chicken from Costco.  They’re perfect for all my seed starting needs since it comes complete with a clear vented domed lid.  I have three of those lying around for Spring time.

As you can see, there’s plastic wrap on half the tray.  That’s because the scientist in me wanted to test the Sprout Doctor Soil Enhancement properly, via a “scientific method” of sorts.  The naked half is just potting soil alone.  The wrapped half has the soil enhancement mixed in.  I would like to see if there’s going to be a difference in growth.

I say a “scientific method” of sorts since not all variables were controlled.  I couldn’t be bothered to make sure there’s the same number of seeds on each side (as over or undercrowding could be a factor in growth patterns), nor can I really control the amount of water each side gets.  But temperature and amount of light will be the same.  I even made sure that I washed my hands after handling the amended side before touching the non-amended side.

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Top 5 Healthy Products at Healthy Family Expo 2015

The Healthy Family Expo was held at the Vancouver Convention this year and I was extended the opportunity to attend. As the name of the expo implies, most if not all of the vendors at this event had to do with healthy living, whether it’s in regards to food, exercise, health, environment, etc. I was glad to find that there were many food-related vendors there, but there was also other categories such as “Eco-friendly Living” (ie. cleaning products as represented by AspenClean) and “Active Living” (ie. Fitness on the Go, GoodLife Fitness, etc).

Indoor Rock Climbing Hamster Ball Experience Bobs and LoloIt was great fun for the whole family. Young kids got to try out rock-climbing, see a mini-concert by Bobs and Lolo, crawl into and roll around in a huge blow-up hamster ball (I actually wanted to try that but was afraid I would get stuck, or worse…hurt my joints lol). There’s also lots of food samples to taste and purchase.

And now, I’m happy to report back to you, my top 5 picks at this year’s Healthy Family Expo.  Let’s get to it!  Here’s my….

Top 5 Healthy Products

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Gardening – 5 Things I’m Growing This Year

5 Things I'm Growing This YearSince I moved to my own place, I’ve developed an interest and love of growing edibles.  Each year I try to grow at least 5 things.  This year’s no different.  I’m by no means a master gardener of any sort (in fact, my attempt at growing radishes, which are supposed to be one of the easiest to grow, failed miserably), but as a speaker at a talk I once went to said, “Gardeners are eternal optimists.”, I will try and try again.  Plus, there are so many things to choose from to grow, there’s got to be a few out there that will become my favorites.

I haven’t really blogged about gardening much but I thought it’s about time I do, as it does bring me a lot of joy.

This year’s gardening season has begun for me.  I always enjoy starting my own seeds because then I get to watch the whole life cycle of my babies, and there’s a certain sense of accomplishment to seeing your seeds germinate to a seedling, then a young plant, then a producing mature participant of your gardening family.  And eventually, you get to eat them, watch them die, clean them up, then start all over again next year!

There are usually 2-3 things I always grow, plus a few new trials. Here’s my list for this year.

5 Things I’m Growing This Year

#1: Ground Cherries

Ground Cherries

This would be my third year growing Ground Cherries.  They’ve always been a success for me and despite my lack of fertilization and somewhat frequent neglect, the ground cherries have always given me a fruitful harvest.

Ground cherries are part of the genus Physalis.  They are closely related to tomatoes and look more like tiny tomatillos.  Ground cherries grown within a papery husk and when ripe and ready for eating, falls from the plant onto the ground, hence their name.  They’re sweet and taste tropical.  Some people describe their taste as between pineapples and strawberries.  I personally think they taste more pineappley.

 #2: Tomatoes

TomatoesI actually always have at least 3 different types of tomatoes growing each season.  There’s just so many to choose from.  Since I live in a condo, I try to scope out the balcony kinds, which grow shorter and bushier, but still (or so they say) manage to give me enough tomatoes for a sandwich here and there lol.  But mostly I enjoy growing the cherry type, as they’re super sweet.

This year’s rotation are Iditarod RedAl-kufaHahms Gelbe Topftomate, and Mohammed (a super dwarf variety, small enough to be grown in a 1 gallon pot).  Last year the hahms failed on me…I only got one measly flavorless tomato out of it.  This year I’m actually going to try to fertilize and see how that fares.  See?  Eternal optimist =)

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