Choose Wines with Real Cork Stoppers

What is “Real Cork Inside“?

Understanding that the screw cap and plastic are not environmentally sound closures, thousands of people across the country have made a commitment to support wineries that use natural cork.

Not buying a screw cap wine is easy; it can be seen right on top of the bottle. But how do you know what’s inside a bottle with a capsule cover, plastic or natural cork? Unless you’ve had that wine before, you can’t actively choose to buy natural cork, until now.

The Real Cork Inside assurance program eliminates that guesswork. By displaying the acorn logo on the bottle, a winery lets consumers know that the wine they are choosing has been closed with natural cork.

Why the Acorn?

The cork tree is a member of the oak family (Quercus suber), and as such produces beautiful large acorns. These acorns are a valuable source of food for the insects and animals that inhabit the cork forests, as well as containing the next generation of cork oak trees.

Why Participate?

Your winery has made the commitment to use the most sustainable, renewable and recyclable closure, natural cork. With consumers’ heightened awareness for products that are sustainable, the Real Cork Inside assurance program gives them another reason to support your winery. Please contact Patrick Spencer for details of the Real Cork Inside assurance program.


What Does Gardening Have to Do with the #Occupy Movement?


Colleen Vanderlinden
November 21, 2011

Robert T. Bell/CC BY 2.0

My colleagues here at TreeHugger have done an amazing job covering the #Occupy movement. Chris has looked into the idea of #Occupy being a building block to a Constitutional Convention. Lloyd has discussed the issue of police brutality, and Sami has looked at the misconceptions people have about the movement.

I’m here, as always, to look at it with a gardener’s eye. (Stay with me.)

A few weeks ago, my friend and fellow garden writer Mr. Brown Thumb started the #OccupyGardens hashtag on Twitter, kind of as a joke. But the more I looked at it, the more it made sense. Occupy is about fighting greed, about taking control from the corporations and their government cronies and bringing it back to we the people, the 99%.

What is more basic to all of our needs than food?

In Jenna Woginrich’s excellent book, Made from Scratch, she argues that:

“Vegetable gardening has been called ‘the peaceful sedition’ because at the most basic level, when a person can feed and shelter herself, she doesn’t require a government to provide for her. … It’s not about pride or independence, or even connecting with nature. It’s about wanting hash browns on a Saturday morning and being able to run out to the backyard in your bathrobe to grab some potatoes from the garden.”

I would argue that, even more, it means that she doesn’t need a corporation to provide for her. And when we don’t need the corporations, they cease to have the ability to exist — or at least cease to have so much power that the will of the people means nothing. Look at the way we’re fighting for something as simple, as self-explanatory, as GMO labeling. 87 percent of Americans want to know if they’re eating GMOs or not. The hubris of corporate America, and their Congressional lapdogs, is what is keeping us from that knowledge.

“Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks.” — Ian Hamilton Finlay

This is how I’ve come to see my garden, bit by bit, over the years. Where others see a peaceful place to while away a summer afternoon, I see a full arsenal in my fight against corporatocracy. The shake of a seed packet is my chant; rows of chard and beds of potatoes are my weapons.

Roger Doiron, of Kitchen Gardeners International, recently gave a TEDx talk about the power of gardening. It is definitely worth a look:

Every bite of food we grow ourselves, every forkful that comes from our own labor instead of from the troughs of corporate food, is a statement that we are taking our power back. We don’t need them to feed us. Whether from our garden, our farmer’s market, or our local CSA, we can feed ourselves.

#Occupy Wall Street, and L.A., and Detroit. But #Occupy the garden, as well.

Want to get started?

Time To Order Your Holiday Desserts!

Order your Thanksgiving Pies today for pick-up tomorrow!  Gluten and Dairy Free, made with all organic ingredients.  You may also order gluten free pie shells; they are $4.50 apiece

Choices are;

Pumpkin– $16.00

Pecan- $22.00

Apple- $16.00

Apple Crisp– $18>00

Raw pies; Strawberry Banana with Fig-Date Crust and Mango with Coconut Crust- 24.00

Christmas orders need to be in by December 19th.  The choices are;

Muffins- These are sold by the 1/2 dozen; choices are pumpkin, zucchini, carrot cake with raisins, blueberry and plain. $12.00 per 1/2 dozen.

Cupcakes- These are available by the dozen or 1/2 dozen. Available in carrot cake, chocolate or vanilla with frosting. $14.00 per 1/2 dozen and $24.00 per dozen.

Chocolate Almond Biscotti-  Crispy and mildly sweet these biscotti are flavored with chocolate, almonds, cinnamon and cloves. $8.95 for 1/2 Dozen

Almond Berry Tarts – Soft and buttery on the inside, crisp on the outside, these tarts are made with almond meal, real butter, and fresh blueberries. $12.95 for 1/2 dozen

Millie’s Chocolate Almond Macaroons– These chocolate and coconut delights have remained my customers favorite since I first made them. They have a hint of cinnamon. $12.00 a dozen

Pound Cake – This rich buttery pound cake is amazing topped with fresh berries. $28.00

Chocolate Pound Cake– $32.00


Two Layer Cake or Sheet Cake, Frosted $45.00

Fudge Brownies- These are the best brownies you have ever eaten; fudgy, dark chocolate with a light flaky crust on top. 9 large brownies-$28.00

Gran Manier Brownies with Dried Cherries–  9 large brownies- $32.00

Orange Almond Date Nut Bars– Gooey date filling, with crispy crunchy layers $18.95 a 1/2 dozen

The Best Carrot Cake ever!!! –  More like a fruit cake with raisins, dates, pineapple and butter cream’s amazing. It’s the most requested cake for a wedding cake. $60.00

Flour-less Chocolate Cake – this cake is lower on the glycemic index than other flourless chocolate cakes, it is made with coconut cream and butter, dark chocolate, organic vanilla beans. My diabetic clients find this is tolerated well in small amounts. If you are very carb sensitive this is the dessert for you! $45.00

Non-Dairy Cheesecake- This is an amazing cheesecake; rich, creamy, sweet but not too sweet…you will not be able to tell this from a real dairy containing cheesecake..I promise!

$45.00 plain

$60.00 flavored

Cheesecake Flavors Available: Kahlua, Chocolate, Pumpkin, Chocolate Polka Dot, Brownie Squares, Key Lime Cheesecake with Macadamia Crust, Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Crust and Gluten-free Oreo Cheesecake.



This gluten free pecan pie has no sugar, but is really sweet, a great alternative to that gooey sticky bad for you southern pecan pie we grew up on.

Pie Shell;

1 cup butter
1-3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1-3/4 cups rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1-1/2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon GF vanilla

Cream together butter, eggs and sugar in food processor. Add remaining dry ingredients. Mix well, and spread about 1/4 inch deep on bottom and sides of your pie pan. A deep dish pie pan is best, because this crust takes a little more room than the regular kinds of piecrusts. You will get at least 2 large 1-crust pies out of this.

Bake in 350 degree oven until golden brown.  Use a pie chain to keep the crust from puffing up.


3/4 cup dried apricots
3/4 cup pitted dates
2 cups apple juice
2 T. agar agar flakes
pinch of salt
1 1/2 T. kuzu dissolved in 1/4 cup cold apple juice
1 t. vanilla
2 cups roasted pecans

Combine dried fruits with juice, agar and salt in saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes.  Add kuzu and stir until clear. Puree fruit mix in food processor and then add pecans and buzz lightly until pecans are in pieces but chunky.  Do not over blend.

Allow to cool.  You may decorate top of pie with additional roasted pecans if  desired.


Yoga; A Bad Backs Best Friend

Strengthening yoga postures like this Four-Pointed Staff

© Renata Ferraz is  pictured in can lend to a healthy back.

Nothing makes you feel older than a stiff back. That’s what I remember thinking as a recent post-grad in my early twenties. It was exhilarating getting my first salary and a gig at a prestigious company– it was debilitating sitting at a desk for eight hours, plunked down another four hours for my daily train commute. I started scheduling bi-weekly chiropractic adjustments to cope. I was just one of countless Americans, “spending $50 billion a year on medications, physical therapy and related costs” for back pain alone as the New York Times‘ Well Blog reports.

That’s until I met yoga. My back pain is nevermore and now science has just corroborated the same. Yoga is a bad back’s best friend.

Start chatting up other yoga practitioners. They’ll likely tell you the same. My yogi boyfriend found himself literally stuck on his back for a month or more after working for an advertising firm. Hours were long, hard and yes, at a desk and in a car commute. He had started practicing yoga earlier but was in a period of intermittency.

The Science of Yoga and Back Care
No, you don’t have to jump ship from your career for the life of an aspiring yogin, but you can jump in and obtain the body-soothing findings from the latest study published in the
Archives of Internal Medicine.

228 participants suffering from chronic low back pain were randomized and divided into 12 weekly classes of yoga (92 patients) or conventional stretching exercises (91 patients) or a self-care book (45 patients). After 12 weeks, the patients were given a questionnaire and asked to rate their pain using a numerical scale. The results: yoga practicing patients felt better than those using the self-care book, but conventional stretching methods — when combined with strengthening exercises — were just as effective as yoga.

Skip the Meds! Build a Yogin’s Back
The yoga group was given only 5-11 yoga postures. I’m convinced that if the yoga group were given a more comprehensive practice, they would have outshone the stretching group.

If you’re looking to build a strong iron-clad back through yoga, look for a quality instructor (even better if they’ve had a history of back challenge) or class that’s offering just as much strengthening postures and transitions as it does stretching, and commit to a thorough, consistent practice. It requires discipline, but man is it worth it.



Coconut Apple Crisp

photo at: Kate in the Kitchen

The topping is browned separately and the apples are cooked stove-top in this recipe. The two are then combined and finished off in the oven.

Apple Filling

2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 5 medium)
2 pounds McIntosh apples (about 4 medium)
1/4 cup Demarara sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup coconut cream or buy canned coconut milk, use just the creamy part, after letting the can settle.

Streusel Topping

1 cup Rice flour
1/4 cups Tapioca flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoon cornmeal
7 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
1 1/3 cup grated coconut

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.

2. For the apple filling: Peel, quarter, and core apples; slice each quarter crosswise into pieces 1/4-inch thick. Toss apples, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in large bowl to combine. Heat butter in large Dutch oven over high heat until foaming subsides; add apples and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until apples are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in raisins; cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until Granny Smith apple slices are tender and McIntosh apple slices are softened and beginning to break down, about 5 minutes longer.

3. Set large colander over large bowl; transfer cooked apples to colander. Shake colander and toss apples to drain off as much juice as possible. Bring drained juice and coconut cream to boil in now-empty Dutch oven over high heat; cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and wooden spoon leaves trail in mixture, about 5 minutes. Transfer apples to 8-inch square baking dish; pour reduced juice mixture over and smooth with rubber spatula.

4. For the streusel topping: Combine flour, sugars, and cornmeal in medium bowl; drizzle with melted butter and toss with fork until evenly moistened and mixture forms many large chunks with pea-sized pieces mixed throughout. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spread streusel in even layer on baking sheet. Bake streusel until golden brown, about 5 minutes; cool baking sheet with streusel on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle streusel evenly over pie filling. Set pie plate on now-empty baking sheet and bake until streusel topping is deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack and serve.