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GIFT IDEA: Dog Macarons From Bonne et Filou

If you know a pet with a penchant for Parisian pâtisserie, check out these Dog Macarons from Bonne et Filou.

Nothing says pet pâtisserie better than macarons, a treat for the most royal of dogs.

The delicious dog macarons are made from all-natural human-grade ingredients, and unlike human macarons, they are healthy!

They’re available in a dozen flavors:

  • Birthday Cake
  • Cheese
  • Crème Brûlée
  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pumpkin
  • Raspberry
  • Rose
  • Salted Caramel
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    What would your favorite dog prefer?
     
     
    ABOUT BONNE FILOU

    The name of the company, Bonne Filou, was inspired by the tale (tail?) of French King Louis XIV.

    For his favorite pups, Bonne and Filou, Louis created dog heaven at Versailles. Those pups certainly led the royal life.

    It is recorded that Bonne hunted by day and Filou lounged until night, both always sporting their diamond collars (which must have sparkled nicely in the Hall Of Mirrors).

    They slept on satin sheets and had—no surprise—their own personal chef.

    We don’t know if their chef made macarons, but no matter what, the king’s canines had nothing to bark about.
     
     
    GET YOUR DOG MACARONS

    Treat your dog like royalty and get a few boxes.

    Head to BonneFilou.com.

    There’s also a Dog Advent Calendar with 24 treats.

    And mark your calendar for:

  • National Dog Day, March 23rd
  • National Macaron Day, March 20th
  •  
     
    > The history of macarons and the difference between macarons and macaroons.

     

    Bonne et Filou Dog Macarons
    [1] Yum yum, woof woof, dog macarons (all photos © Bonne et Filou).

    Bonne et Filou Dog Macarons
    [2] Get an extra box to share with a friend.

    Dog Macarons With Raspberry Fillling
    [3] A box of raspberry Dog Macarons.

    Dog Advent Calendar
    [4] The Advent Xalendar.

     
    Dog with Bonne et Filou Dog Macarons

     
     

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    GIFT IDEA: Tea Towels With Many Uses In A Tea Towels Subscription

    Tea towels have many uses beyond drying dishes.
    [1] Soft linen tea towels were originally created to dry fine china (photo © Tracey Hocking | Unsplash).

    Tea Towels
    [2] Examples of the designs in the 2022 year’s tea towel collection (photos #2, #4, #4, #5, #6, and #7 © Eat Drink Lucky).

    Dishtowels
    [3] Flowers.

    Dishtowels
    [4] Strawberries.

    Dishtowels
    [5] Birds.

    Tea Towels
    [6] Seashore.

    Tea Towel With Pomegranate Design
    [7] Pomegranates.

     

    We’ve seen many a food-related gift subscription over the years, but this one is different: a subscription to a series of contemporary artist-designed tea towels. For certain queens or kings of the kitchen (and the environmentally conscious), it’s a unique gift.

    This is the third year for this series from Eat Drink Lucky, featuring 12 original designs created by Maine-based artists. They elevate the utilitarian dish towel into works of functional art.

    There’s more about the subscription below, but first: What’s a tea towel?

    A tea towel is a more elegant dish towel.

  • Tea towels are a soft cloth made of linen, cotton, or a blend. The softness enables them to polish or dry delicate items. They usually have an imprinted or woven pattern or design.
  • Dish towels are made from thicker and more absorbent terry cloth.
  • Both are approximately the size of a bathroom hand towel, ranging from 16″ x 28″ to 18″ x 30″.
  •  
    The history of tea towels is below.
     
     
    WAYS TO USE TEA TOWELS

    You can never have too many tea towels. They’re used for much more than drying dishes. For example:

  • Decorate the tabletop.
  • Dry your washed produce, keep greens crisp in the fridge, line the crisper drawer.
  • Line a bread basket or serving tray.
  • Line drawers and shelves in any room of the house.
  • Set out as guest bathroom towels.
  • Stack between plates, pots, and pans to prevent scratches.
  • Use as bibs on spaghetti night, e.g.
  • Use as hot pads or potholders.
  • Use as napkins and placemats.
  • Wrap baked goods, wine bottles, pillar candles, or other small gifts as an “extra gift” instead of paper gift wrap.
  •  
    For Worn Or Stained Towels

    Don’t throw them away—they still have a long life!

  • Buff and polish silver, glassware, and other items.
  • Dust cloths.
  • Mirror/window cleaning.
  • Spot cleaning on clothes, rugs, or upholstery.
  • Shoeshine cloths.
  •  
     
    GET YOUR ARTIST TEA TOWELS

    Bring more color and fun to someone’s kitchen with a tea towel subscription in three, six, and 12-month options. The first monthly tea towel for the 2023 collection will arrive in mid-January.

    Each towel is individually wrapped, accompanied by a note introducing the artist.

    Some recipients buy a subscription for themselves and keep them all, while others keep them on hand as last-minute hostess gifts, birthday gifts, teacher gifts, etc.

    And as previously noted, the gift is environmentally conscious, as tea towels reduce dependence on paper towels.

    Head to Eat-Drink-Lucky.myshopify.com.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF TEA TOWELS

    Dating to 18th-century England, tea towels were originally created to use to insulate teapots, catch drips from the spouts (hence the name), and dry fine china. They were designed to match the rest of the household’s table linen.

    They grew to be utilized not just for these purposes, but in tea ceremonies and rituals, as souvenirs, and as a utilitarian drape to keep breads and cakes fresh.

    Upper-class ladies used their needle skills to create beautiful heirlooms to be passed down through the generations. Girls used tea towels to practice embroidery, often gifting friends and family their tea towels stitched with flowers, initials, or other designs.

    During the 19th century with the Industrial Revolution, the tea towel became a more widely available consumer item. Machines could quickly weave designs, and produce them in more affordable cotton (although linen, softer to the touch and twice as strong as cotton, was preferred by those with means).

    Tea towel trivia: Vincent Van Gough painted some still lifes on tea towels, one of which sold for £2.1 million at auction in 2000. Why did he paint tea towels? At times he ran out of canvas and used whatever he could get ahold of [source].

    How about buying yourself a very affordable version of a Van Gogh sunflower on a tea towel?

    In previous centuries, American housewives with limited means would often reuse rough cotton animal feed sacks or flour sacks by cutting them up into dish towels. But they made them attractive by embroidering them, despite the difficulty of pushing a needle through the coarse weave of the sack.

    The 20th Century & Beyond

    Styles change, and by the 20th century, many tea towels were made with striped or checked cloth for a more contemporary, decorative touch.

    But the tradition of hand-decorating tea towels survived in home crafting for self and gifts.

    Then came paper towels.

    Paper towels were first invented in 1879 by the Scott Paper Company for sanitary medical use. In 1931, the company realized that paper towels had huge potential in the home.

    They created a new grocery category with rolls of paper towels manufactured specifically for kitchen use. Even with their higher cost, given the convenience they brought to the average household, paper towels began to replace cloth towels [source].

    In the latter part of the 20th century, paper towels—disposable but bad for the environment—replaced tea towels and dish towels in many homes. (Here’s why paper towels are bad for the environment.)

    But tea towels and dish towels are found in kitchens and homes across the globe.

    And most recently, couples have used them to print creative wedding invitations, or as favors at the reception.

    Thanks to The Radical Tea Towel for a substantial amount of this glimpse of history.

     

     
     

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    Healthier Bread Options For National Bread Month

    November is National Bread Month and we admit: We’d rather have great bread than a steak! We received an email from nutritionist Dietitian Desiree Nielsen about healthier bread options, and we’re passing them on to you.

    Bread often gets a bad rap with fingers pointing to it for empty calories, refined carbs, diet-unfriendly and more.

    Desiree offers some myth busters so you can feel no guilt about enjoying bread in your diet. Disclosure: She partners with Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery, so these tips focus on sprouted grains.

    But sprouted grains are great! Silver Hills sprouted breads were our Top Pick Of The Week earlier this year. We found Silver Hills breads to be much tastier than other brands we tried.

    It’s not just sliced bread. Silver Hills also makes bagels, buns, and tortillas. We just had one of the bagels for breakfast!
     
     
    MYTH: Whole Grain Breads are the Healthiest

    This statement is largely accurate. We know that whole grains are healthy. But what many of us don’t know is that sprouted whole grains are even better, unlocking more nutrition your body can use. Sprouted grains:

  • Have increased microbiome-boosting fiber to aid digestion while keeping you full and satisfied.
  • Offer an anti-inflammatory boost thanks to higher antioxidant activity (300%-470%) due to with flavonoids and other anti-inflammatory nutrients such as vitamin C and manganese.
  • Make minerals more bioavailable, including zinc and selenium which are immune-supportive minerals (and help you to help stay healthy this winter).
  •  
     
    MYTH: All Bread is Vegan

    Beyond the basic flour, water, and salt, many breads contain additional ingredients. These can include fats; sweeteners such as corn syrup, honey, or sugar; eggs; or dairy-based ingredients like butter or whey. Read the labels, and if you want bread that is 100% plant-based, choose brands that are certified vegan.
     
     
    MYTH: Bread Doesn’t Have Protein

    For those looking to up their protein intake, turn to sprouted bread. When grains begin to sprout, vital enzymes are released, breaking down starch stores and digestive inhibitors.

    This is why sprouted grains have lower glycemic index levels as well as increased soluble fiber and protein. Some, like Silver Hills sprouted breads, have 6–7g of protein per slice.

    And by the way, the flavor of sprouted breads are more complex and flavorful than standard white or whole wheat breads.
     
     
    Bread Isn’t Diet Friendly

    Not all carbs are created equal. Eliminating bread carbs across the board means eliminating some great sources of fiber and nutrients.

    Whole sprouted grains have complex carbs. Essential nutrients, like B vitamins and vitamin C, are made more available to the body, giving you a boost of focus, mental alertness, and greater energy to power through your day.

    Are you ready to take a bite?
     
     
    > What are sprouted foods?

    > The history of bread.

    > The different types of bread.
     

     

    Silver Hills Bakery Sprouted Grain Bagels
    [1] The sprouted bagels are a real treat (all photos © Silver Hills Sprouted Bakery).

    Silver Hills Sprouted Grain Bread In A Toaster
    [2] Morning toast will be tastier and better for you.

    Vegan Burgers On Silver Hills Sprouted Hamburger Rolls
    [3] A sprouted roll for your burger is so much more flavorful than typical white bread rolls.

    Meatball Sub On A Sprouted Grain Roll
    [4] Enjoy your meatball sub on a sprouted roll.

     
     
     

     
     
     

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    Painterland Sisters Skyr Yogurt For National Greek Yogurt Day

    Painterland Sisters Skyr With Fruit
    [1] A bowl of skyr with fresh fruit is a protein-packed breakfast or lunch (photos #1, #2, #3, #6, and #7© Painterland Farms).

    Painterland Sisters Skyr
    [2] In a store’s yogurt section.

    Painterland Farms Organic Skyr
    [3] Close-up on a cup.

    Comparing The Thickness Of Skyr vs. Greek Yogurt
    [4] Compare the thickness of skyr on top, versus Greek yogurt on the bottom (photo © Cook’s Science).

    Bowl Of Plain Skyr
    [5] A bowl of thick, creamy skyr. It was eaten this way—plain, unflavored, unsweetened—until recent times (photo © Icelandic Provisions).

    Painterland Sisters
    [6] The Painter sisters.

    Peanut Butter Dip Recipe
    [7] Peanut butter apple dip with plain skyr. Here’s the recipe.

     

    November 9th is National Greek Yogurt Day. We’ve written lots about Greek yogurt, and much less about its Norwegian-Icelandic cousin, skyr (pronounced SKEER).

    With both Greek yogurt and skyr, more of the water is strained away, creating the extra-thick, creamy texture and mouthfeel.

    Skyr is thicker than Greek yogurt and less tangy-an option for those who find plain Greek yogurt a bit too tangy (photo #4).

  • Greek yogurt is yogurt, made from regular milk (whole or skim) that’s been cultured with specific bacteria and then fermented. It is then triple-strained, draining away the watery whey, which results in a much thicker consistency than regular yogurt.
  • Skyr is an Icelandic-style strained yogurt made with milk (whole or skim) that is heated; then skyr-specific cultures (bacteria) are added. Over time, the cultures activate and begin to ferment the milk, forming curds and whey. At this point, the whey is removed, leaving a thicker, creamier paste—more concentrated than Greek yogurt and higher in nutrients.
  •  
     
    MEET PAINTERLAND FARMS SKYR

    Painterland Farms is a fourth-generation organic farm owned by the Painter family. Sisters Stephanie and Haley Painter, who manage the yogurt business, are two of the four siblings of the current generation.

    In the rolling hills of north-central Pennsylvania, they aim to preserve, showcase and utilize their family’s organic dairy and crop farm. They practice regenerative farming.

    Painterland skyr is absolutely delicious. The sisters have created a brand of whole-milk skyr with five flavors, each high in protein and probiotics, and low in sugar (the total sugar in sweetened varieties is 7g).

    Painterland skyr is thicker and creamier than the Greek yogurt standing next to it on the shelf. That’s because it has 6% milkfat instead of the typical 5% of whole milk Greek yogurt. (As with, say, 0% skim milk versus 1% versus 2%, you can taste the difference added by each percentage of fat.)

    Each 5.3-ounce cup has:

  • 16g protein (18g for Plain)
  • 12 billion probiotics
  •  
    The five flavors include Blueberry Lemon, Meadow Berry, Plain, Strawberry, and Vanilla Bean.

    Painterland skyr is organic, non-GMO, lactose-free, and gluten-free. The brand is certified OU Kosher (Dairy).

    One of the things we like best about skyr versus Greek yogurt is that skyr has less sugar in the sweetened flavors. Painterland uses organic cane sugar, but not that much of it.

    It may not be the liking of those with a sweet tooth, who prefer a more preserves-packed yogurt. But we’re very content with the low level of sugar in Painterland skyr. It engenders a more subtle flavor that lets the clean, pure, creaminess of the yogurt shine through.

    Here’s a store locator.

    Discover more at PainterlandSisters.com.
     
     
    THE HISTORY OF SKYR

    Skyr is a yogurt-like product that has been around for more than 1,000 years, since the days of the Vikings. (Greek yogurt has probably been around since )

    It originated in Norway and became a diet staple in Iceland as well.

    It’s believed that some version of skyr predates the Viking settlement of Iceland in 874 C.E. (although perhaps it was as early as 800 C.E.—here’s more about the Vikings) [source].
     
     
    The Modern Progression Of Skyr

    Icelandic skyr was and is made from skimmed raw sheep’s milk or cow’s milk.
     
    Skyr remained a product known largely to Scandinavians until 2005. That year, it was first exported to the U.S. and sold at Whole Foods Markets. Licensed production began the next year in Denmark and Scotland.

    The commercial distribution of skyr outside of Iceland increased in the 2010s. Marketing positioned skyr as a low-sugar, no-fat, high-protein product consumed as a snack. (In fact, it can be consumed in any way that yogurt is consumed, at every meal of the day.)

    In 2012, 80% of exported Icelandic skyr went to Finland and 20% to the U.S. [source].

    Skyr changed slightly in America: Some producers made it from whole milk in addition to or instead of a skim milk variety.

    It was also made without rennet, an organic substance that contains the enzyme rennin. It can be obtained from certain animals and plants. And it is an essential component of cheese: it coagulates milk into curds and whey.
     
     
    Is Skyr The Same As Yogurt Cheese?

    You may hear of skyr being called a yogurt cheese. Some skyrs are made with rennet, which makes them technically cheeses. Why use rennet? It’s a natural coagulant that makes the product thicker.

    The category of spoonable dairy products can be broken down into technical cheeses and non-cheeses.

    The use of rennet turns skyr, and other products such as fromage blanc and quark, into cheese.

    This is technically so, even though they look the same (relatively speaking) as yogurt, sour cream, or other soured and or cultured milk product that is made without rennet and is not a cheee.

    You can’t tell the difference between these “cheeses” and “non-cheeses” by looking at them or tasting them. It’s all in the recipe.

    ‘Nuff said?
     
      
     > The history of yogurt.
     
     
    > The different types of yogurt.

     

     

     
     

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    GIFT OF THE DAY: Hot Sauce For A Cause

    Heat With Heart Hot Sauce
    [1] Smile Farms sells red and green varieties of hot sauce(both photoa © Smile Farms.

    [2] The first step is planting the seeds.

      Heat with Heart™ hot sauce is a feel-good stocking stuffer or party favor. The red and green hot sauce varieties are composed entirely of chile peppers grown by Smile Farmers.

    Smile Farms’ mission is to provide developmentally disabled adults with meaningful work opportunities at farms, urban gardens, greenhouses, and farm stands where they can grow and sell flowers, plants and produce in their local communities.

    More than 250 farmers recieve valuable educational, vocational, and paid employment opportunities, tending to their crops with incredible care and pride.

    In the hot sauce initiative, they experience the deep satisfaction of seeing their chile peppers go from seed to shelf, turning the literal fruits of their labor into a marketable product.

    When you purchase Heat with Heart hot sauce, 100% of the proceeds fund jobs and training for these individuals.

    All hot sauce orders are fulfilled by paid Smile Farms employees as well. It’s a wonderful endeavor.
     
     
    GET YOUR HOT SAUCE

    Head to SmileFarms.org.
     
     
    > The history of chile peppers.

    > The history of hot sauce.

    > The different types of chile peppers.

     
     
     
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