Earth Fare Grand Opening

How nice would it be to be able to walk into your local grocery store and not have to read labels for high fructose corn syrup, antibiotics, artificial colors or preservatives, etc., etc…? Or one that not only appreciates but also emphasizes produce and other food items produced locally? What about a store that promotes family and is active in the community? And regarding customer service…wouldn’t you love to be able to pop open a box of cookies and taste-test them before you buy it? These and more are all exactly what you’ll find at Earth Fare – the healthy supermarket! Our local store, opening today in Noblesville, Ind. at Hamilton Town Center, permitted us into the store for a “sneak peek” tour of the facility (which is the first of its kind in Indiana).

 

 

Visitors to the new Earth Fare location will receive a free Earth Fare bag the first five days of opening. There will be plenty of food and demonstrations throughout the store. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. If do you visit the store during its grand opening, make sure to comment on our blog and tell us what your favorite section was and why! You will be automatically entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Earth Fare! The winner will be announced on our Facebook page.

 

Something you may notice when you first walk in is its “Food Philosophy” banner that proudly hangs from the ceiling at the front of the store.

 

 

It states the following:

  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • No artificial fats or artificial trans fats
  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No artificial preservatives
  • No bleached or bromated flour
  • No antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones in our fresh meat or dairy

What we found most fascinating about this is that these standards go not only for its own Earth Fare branded products, but also for any products sold in the entire store! You truly don’t have to worry about any of these ingredients slipping through the cracks and into your pantry when you shop at Earth Fare! Click here to view the complete list of ingredients that have been “booted” from its stores.

 

Earth Fare sells both conventional and organic produce so shoppers can choose the best option for their needs. Click here for a list of the “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” to help you decide what’s important to you when buying produce.

 

As alluded to earlier, Earth Fare loves to support local farmers. When they open a new store, they reach out and meet as many local farmers as possible. If the producer is within 100 miles and can handle their demand, Earth Fare will purchase their products to sell in store. You may also see signs throughout the store for “Family Producers.” These are producers who are small, family-owned or artisan-operated, but supply and distribute to all Earth Fare locations.

 

After the produce section, you’ll find their food in bulk, including different types of flour, rice, grains, trail mix, nuts, etc. (Now you can finally make that special recipe you’ve been wanting to try without buying a whole bag!) They offer a 10% discount if you decide to purchase a whole case of any of their bulk foods.

 

 

You can even make your own nut butters from their DIY station and fill your own honey…using their containers or your own, making a great holiday gift from your own fun jar! If you’re in a hurry, they have some pre-poured servings you can conveniently take home.

 

 

Something unique they also sell in bulk is frozen ravioli! Scoop your own for $8.99/pound in recipes like pumpkin & sage and vegan garlic and artichoke…Mmmmm….Can’t wait to try them!

 

 

Speaking of “lifestyle foods” like vegan or gluten-free, the store boldly promotes both of these throughout. These items are clearly marked within the product mix with an Earth Fare tomato tag. Wooden shelves are even used in some areas to differentiate the gluten-free products, so those choosing them don’t have to feel like they’re being segregated. They also carry many different dairy and yogurt options/alternatives (i.e. almond milk, coconut milk, etc.), in addition to raw milk and goat milk cheeses!

 

 

 

It is evident Earth Fare lives by a high ethical standard. For example, almost all their coffee is fair trade and/or direct trade. Thrive, a brand they carry, is a direct trade coffee from Costa Rica. When a staff member visited the country, he found this particular coffee bean farmer was not being treated fairly, and Earth Fare worked out a deal for him to receive 50% profit of all sales. All Earth Fare brand coffee is actually Intelligentsia, which provides growers a guarantee of at least 25% above fair trade price, and growers commit to following healthy environmental practices for their high quality beans.

 

Even their pet food is free of any animal by-products!

 

Also of high quality is Earth Fare’s fresh meats. It is free of antibiotics and growth hormones. They also carry organic and grass-fed beef, bison and poultry. Additionally, they do not use any dyes in their seafood. They will even steam and season any of your seafood purchases at no additional charge! What customer service!

 

Speaking of, here are a few other notable points that differentiate this store’s service perhaps from others:

  • You can sample any food item in the store with no obligation to purchase, even if it’s in a sealed bag or box! Just ask a team member.
  • If a customer finds an item in the store whose ingredients inadvertently go against their “Food Philosophy,” the customer can get a $50 gift card for bringing it to their attention and the food item will be taken from the shelf.
  • If you have a specific request for a product not found in the store, tell a team member and they will look into bringing it in-store!

 

Earth Fare also wants to promote a sense of family within the communities it serves. It uses its in-house eatery to do so, including a full hot bar, olive bar, salad bar, soup bar, pastry case (where most of their fresh goodies are baked in-store) and even a yogurt and sorbet bar. It even includes a “home sliced” pizza and sandwich shop serving wholesome food with no nitrates or hydrogenated oils.

 

 

Every Tuesday night is Prime Rib Dinner Night for $9.99, which comes with two sides.

 

 

Every Thursday night is Family Dinner Night, where up to six kids can eat free with the purchase of a $5 adult meal. This includes a choice between eight menu items.

 

 

While eating in the dining area, you may notice a big events calendar on the back wall, which will display community events around town.

 

There are also local discounts to be had. You can text NBL to 71700 to get coupons sent directly to your phone 1 to 2 times a week for local offers, and text EAT to the same number for national offers. You can also sign up online to receive email offers. So cool…you only need to show the cashier the text or email on your phone in order to get the discount – no paper coupon required!

 

 

Every month, the “Wall of Value” at the front of the store exhibits steeply discounted items, some of which may change out weekly.

 

For the holidays, you can reserve your “never frozen” bird, and when you pick it up, you’ll receive free shrimp! At Christmas, they will offer coupons for their rib roast.

 

In addition to food items, Earth Fare also has a nice selection of health and wellness products, including soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, etc., as well as herbal supplements and other homeopathic items. In mid-December, they will be doing a stocking stuffer giveaway every day from this department. Items include peppermint scented Zum Goat soap and aromatherapy sleep scents.

 

So stop by and get your free Earth Fare bag and enjoy free samples and demonstrations at the Noblesville location this week during its grand opening! And don’t forget…make sure to comment on our blog and tell us what your favorite section of the store was and why, in order to be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card to Earth Fare! The winner will be announced on our Facebook page.

 

Popcorn on the Stove – Recipe

Who doesn’t love a good bowl of popcorn??  Microwave popcorn is so easy and convenient to make, but surely by now almost everyone has heard of the dangers of microwave popcorn.  There are so many chemicals in a bag of traditional microwave popcorn that we have stayed away for quite some time.

 

We moved to the air popper, which works pretty well.  Just fill with kernels, melt some butter, sprinkle on some sea salt, and you have a really tasty snack!  However, in my opinion, air-popped popcorn just lacks something… I think it’s that crispiness that only comes from kernels heated in oil.

 

I have been meaning to try making popcorn on the stove for quite some time.  Rather than using some vegetable oil to make it (such as canola, which contains free-radical producing PUFAs when heated), I was going to make it with coconut oil.

 

I finally tried it, and it is delicious!!!  And so easy!

 

First, get a big pot (I use a large soup pot) and heat some coconut oil in the bottom over medium heat.  Make sure the bottom of the pan is covered in oil once it’s melted.

 

Once the oil is heated, add the kernels.  You can add enough to almost fill the bottom, but make sure all the kernels are in the oil (and are not sitting on top of each other).

 

Put the lid on the pot.  I shake the pot back and forth every so often to make sure the kernels do not burn.

 

Soon you will hear your popcorn start to pop!  Continue to shake the pot regularly so the popcorn doesn’t burn.  Remove from the heat when you hear the popping starting to slow, just like when you make microwave popcorn.  :)

 

Season with salt or other seasonings and serve!!

 

Devour.  :)

 

My kids like popcorn from the air popper, but they LOVE this.  They both told me it tastes like movie theater popcorn.  :)  And all I do is add some sea salt.  My daughter asked me, “Did you put butter on this?”  When I told her ‘no’ and asked her if she wanted me to melt some on there, she said, “No way!  This is so darn good the way it is!”

 

One more thing to mention, I ALWAYS by non-GMO popcorn.  If you buy organic popcorn, by definition it will be non-GMO.  But I have also used non-GMO popcorn that wasn’t labeled organic.  Around 90% of all corn is genetically modified, so I always make sure that what I buy isn’t GM.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Popcorn on the Stove
 
Ingredients
  • 1-2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • About ¼ Cup Non-GMO Popcorn Kernels
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a tall pot over medium heat so that it covers the bottom nicely when melted.
  2. Add kernels and cover the pot with a lid. Shake pot often to prevent burning.
  3. Continue to shake pot every so often as popcorn is popping. Once popping slows, remove pot from heat.
  4. Season with sea salt or other seasonings!

 

I hope you give this a try, it makes a delicious snack!  Enjoy!

Soap Dreams Beer Soap – Review

We were recently contacted by Jamie at Soap Dreams to see if we would like to sample her handmade Beer Soaps.  Well, of course we would!  Natural soaps are something I think we’re all still feeling out, trying to find a good one.

 

All the ingredients in the beer soaps are listed both on the soap packaging and on the website for each product.  Why beer, you ask?  In addition to it being a bit of a novelty, Soap Dreams states that using beer as a base for soap is great for cleansing, lathering, and moisturizing.

 

I know one of the ingredients we were all wondering about on the labels was ‘sodium hydroxide’ – in case you are also curious, according to Jamie at Soap Dreams, sodium hydroxide is actually the lye used in the soap making process.  The final product no longer contains lye, as it is not left in the soap after it has cured for 4 weeks.  I have seen this ingredient on other natural soaps before as well, and the same ‘note’ was attached… sodium hydroxide is not in the final product.  Just in case you were wondering what that un-natural-sounding ingredient was.  ;)

 

This soap comes in lots of yummy scents.  There may be different therapeutic qualities to the different soaps as well.  Some have said, for instance, that the charcoal beer soap is great for acne-prone skin.  The plain beer soaps and the carrot beer soap do not contain fragrance oils, so they are safe for most people to use on their faces.

 

Jamie was generous enough to send each of us some samples of her handmade beer soaps to try.  I’m a sucker for cute packaging, and I thought these little blue bows were a cute touch…

 

 

Here is my (Angie’s) review of the Beer Soap…  I think this soap is great!  It is definitely moisturizing, and it lathers GREAT.  These soaps smell great, too.  One other thing that I really noticed is that my full bar lasted a really long time.  I wish I would have actually tracked how long the full bar lasted because it was pretty amazing.  I used it every day in the shower, and I also used it on my face!  (Even though my full-sized bar was Strawberry Rhubarb, I still used it on my face in the shower and didn’t have any issues).  I had a smaller sample of the Carrot Beer Soap, and I used that on my face at the sink.  In the daytime, I actually didn’t even need moisturizer after I used this to wash my face!  Overall, I think these soaps are unique, good-for-you, and are great at lathering, moisturizing, and cleansing.

 

 

From April… I love this soap!  I had the full bar of the Honeydew Melon to try.  Oh, it smelled so good!  It has such a light clean smell.  At first I was using it really sparingly, just in my nighttime baths.  I then started trying it on my face, thanks to Angie’s suggestion, and it worked well as a face wash too.  It lathers really well and was moisturizing too.  I would love to try the Carrot soap, which is supposed to be the best one for your face. The Honeydew Melon did not disappoint though!

 

 

From Shannon… I first tried natural soap about 6 months ago and I haven’t looked back.  I thought I would have a difficult time transitioning from my typical Dove bar soap but I didn’t at all!  The Curry Almond Beer Soap by Soap Dreams was so nice!  It created a much better lather than any other natural soap I’ve tried.  This particular scent also has little bits of almond in it so it’s great to use if you want to exfoliate a bit, too! :)

 

From Katie… Testing out the soap samples from Soap Dreams was the first time I had tried any sort of natural soap. Having said that, I didn’t think it would have much of a lather, but (as you’ve read above), it really does lather great and seems to be quite moisturizing. Here are some of my favs… The most fragrant one I tried was the Chamomile Beer Soap. I loved the flowery scent. There are some large bits of actual chamomile laced in the soap that I didn’t totally love, but other than that, I would say this was my favorite. The other really great scented one was the Cornmint and Green Tea Beer Soap – it smelled as if I was walking out of an aromatherapeutic spa after showering…ahhh! The soap that caught me by surprise a bit was the dark gray Bergamot Charcoal Beer Soap bar. My first thought was, “Um…I’m going to be bathing in charcoal???” And although the light gray tinted lather can be slightly off-putting for a soap, you get over it pretty quickly after smelling the fragrant bergamot essential oil. And, as I’ve learned from the product’s web page, bamboo-activated charcoal actually cleanses and moisturizes better! This definitely also ended up being one of my favs. :)

 

Thanks, Jamie, for letting us try your awesome soaps!  If you are interested in purchasing Beer Soap from Soap Dreams, you can check out their retailers page to see if there is one in your area, or you can simply order from their website.

Ergobaby Carrier – Review

There are so many baby products on the market and it is so hard to decide on what you really need, even the second time around.  I had a carrier with my first son and never used it because it hurt my back and he never seemed happy in it.  I even had a friend loan me her ‘wrap’.  Wow!  I could never figure out how to wrap it the right way, hold the baby and make it comfortable for both of us.  So needless to say I have not been into “babywearing” in the past and felt they were such a waste of money.  My thinking has totally changed with the Ergo! This carrier is AWESOME!

 

Ergobaby Carrier

 

I had actually never seen or heard of this carrier until my chiropractor told me about it and how she uses it with her little girl.  It is really good for the baby’s spine and yours.  The thick cushioned band that snaps around your waist is the key.  My little guy loves being carried in it.  It is like I am holding him and/or giving him a hug.  He is now almost too heavy for me to carry in the car seat carrier anymore, so this is a great alternative to just sticking him in the front of a shopping cart.  I put him in the Ergo and my hands are free, he is happy that I am holding him and often takes his morning nap in here when running errands.  I can honestly carry him for hours and not experience any pain or discomfort.

 

 

Ergobaby Carrier

 

 

On our recent trip to the beach in SC, the Ergo was a life saver!  I was able to go on long walks with my husband and 4 year old, while my 8 month old napped in the Ergo.  It was so peaceful and I was not on the beach lugging a stroller and then stuck pushing it around. You can wear the Ergo three ways, with you baby facing you in the front, on your hip or on your back.  I have never used it on my back, yet, as I know my guy would be pulling my hair.  Here are lots of images of how you can use the Ergo at all the baby stages.  It is so sweet having your little one snuggled on you.  I cannot resist kissing his head or cheeks when carrying him.

 

You can purchase the infant insert, heart 2 heart, that will allow you to start using this carrier right away.  I sure wish I had known about it then.  I did not purchase mine until my son was about 6 months old.  It will carry them until 45lbs. so I knew I would still get lots of use out of mine.   I knew it would be invaluable on walks, at the park and on vacation.

 

There are lots of options when it comes to the Ergo and I found this YouTube shopper’s guide to be very helpful when trying to decide between the 5 collections.  I went with the Organic collection, in plain black, that uses organic materials and dyes.  This was actually one of the best in pricing options when I was shopping around.  I was able to get it on Amazon with free shipping at a better price than anywhere else, at the time.  The material is super soft.  I also added the teething pads as my son is a drool monster and chews on everything, right now.  These are nice to keep your Ergo clean and you can just throw these in the wash when needed.  The Ergo is also machine washable, but I did not want to be washing it after every use.

 

So of all the baby stuff I am not sure how I lived without with my first son, this is definitely #1 on my list!  I find myself thinking of all the times I would have benefited from the Ergo and how happy I am to have it now.  They grow up so fast, so carry them and love on them while they let us, right?  This would make a GREAT gift for any new mom’s in your life!

Spaghetti Squash – Recipe

Isn’t squash just one of those things that is synonymous with Fall??  Spaghetti squash makes a really good side dish and also a pretty good stand-in for noodles due to its spaghetti-like nature (under chili, spaghetti sauce, etc.).  If you’ve never made it before, it is super easy.

 

Poke holes all over the spaghetti squash so it won’t burst while baking.  I use a shish kebob skewer.

 

I usually poke 4-5 holes and rotate it.  The ‘poked’ squash should be in a baking dish.

 

Bake the squash at 375° for 1 hour.  Let it cool down until you can handle it without burning yourself!  Once it’s cool enough, I cut the top off first so I don’t have to cut through the stem.

 

Next, cut it down the middle lengthwise…

 

… and open it up.

 

Next you need to scoop the seeds and pulp out.  I find it’s easiest to start with a knife and cut out the bulk of the seeds.

 

After the seeds are out, just use a fork to shred the spaghetti squash.

 

 

Just scoop it into a bowl!

 

My favorite way to enjoy it is with a little olive oil or fresh butter and some sea salt and pepper.  :)

 

Enjoy!!

Spaghetti Squash
 
Ingredients
  • Spaghetti Squash
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Poke holes all over squash. Place in a baking dish.
  3. Bake for 1 hour.
  4. Let cool until squash can be handled. Cut off the top, cut lengthwise down the middle, and remove seeds.
  5. Shred squash with a fork and scoop into a bowl.
  6. Serve with your toppings of choice! Try olive oil/butter and sea salt and pepper, meaty chili, spaghetti sauce, Parmesan cheese... the possibilities are endless.
  7. Enjoy!!

 

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