Monday, February 25, 2013

You put what in my what?

When I first laid eyes on Vosges chocolate bars at Whole Foods about two years ago I scrunched up my nose at it. BACON??? In chocolate? Who does that? But for some reason I kept going back. Each time a little less judgemental but still a bit skeptical. A time or two I placed one in my basket only to later think better of it and put it back. Why spend $6.99 on something that may be utterly disgusting? Bacon and chocolate. Pfff!

Then last night I noticed that they had .5 oz bars and I thought to myself, why not? At less than half the price, even if I hate it it’s only a small investment. Aaand it could just be really good...

So this morning I’m sitting at work with a sweet tooth when I remember that the odd confection was still in my bag. I’m always more adventurous at work for some reason. I took just small nibble, you know- just in case. The first thing I noticed is that the bacon is light and crispy and it’s almost like a rice krispies, but it’s much more savory. A perfect combination of sweet and salty (which I happen to love). It’s creamy “deep” milk chocolate and hickory smoked uncured bacon and it’s divine. Literally the best chocolate I’ve had in a long time. No regrets here! And in case you were wondering- there are no nitrates or nitrites in the bacon. Just a little something I look for in my meats...

Hiya, Honey!

As a kid I never much cared for honey. I didn’t care how they dressed it up with in that teddy bear-shaped squeeze bottle, I wanted no parts of it. To me, it tasted like booty or what I thought booty might taste like. It wasn’t until a few years ago when I was suffering terribly with seasonal allergies that I gave it another go. Someone somewhere (I can’t remember who) suggested trying a raw, local honey to help alleviate allergy symptoms via immunotherapy. Basically building the body’s resistance to allergens that had been giving me the blues. Like I always do, I paid a visit to Whole Foods (because that’s where the good stuff’s at, right?) and consulted with one of their employees. I wasn’t looking for flavor in my honey, I just wanted some natural relief in lieu of depending on OTC meds. Of the many varieties of honey, the clerk suggested a local sage honey from Honey Pacifica. I took his word and off I went.

The initial impression was based on looks alone. First of all, it had a honeycomb in it . What was I supposed to do with that? Can you eat that? Weird. I had no intentions of taking a spoonful of this stuff alone, so my grandfather suggested I mix the honey with ground cinnamon and put it in my tea. Again, what do I know? So I did what he said and I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t say that the honey or tea did anything miraculous for my allergy symptoms but what it did for the flavor of my tea was undeniable! I tasted it by itself and it was clear that this honey was something special. It’s sweet like sugar but not at all overpowering and it doesn’t have that artificial/nasty taste that I associate with most other honey varieties.

I started replacing sugar with Honey Pacifica Sage Honey on all sorts of things: My oatmeal, smoothies, cinnamon toast- you name it. In fact, I haven’t purchased sugar in three or four years now. I never figured out the purpose of the honeycomb in the jar (although I’m certain there is one) and it kept getting in the way so I stopped buying that particular variety, which is fine because I found a larger jar sans honeycomb that lasts much longer for about $20. But even with that I’m running through a jar every two months or so.

I’m still learning a lot about this brand that I’ve come to love. Like the fact that it is a real deal family-run business that’s been around as long as I’ve been alive, so they’ve got this thing down. They make all sorts of other products that I’ve only recently discovered like flavored honey in peach, raspberry, lemon, and pear. I haven’t found these in any of the Whole Foods stores I shop at but they are available online at and the local farmers markets they frequent (their schedule is on their website). If you’re able to get your hands on some, I highly recommend it and I’d love to hear your thoughts. Comment away!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Globies are Here!

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! The Globetrotters have arrived in Southern California!! I couldn't be more excited as I've never seen them live but my family and I will be checking them out tomorrow in Anaheim, but if that's not close to you, they'll also be in Ontario and Los Angeles Sunday and Monday. Get your tickets now at and use promo code: USFAMILY to save $7 per ticket.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Until We Meet Again...

Some of you may have noticed I’ve been MIA for the last two weeks or so. Unfortunately we have been dealing with a death in the family and I have been traveling back and forth between Los Angeles and Pennsylvania. I’m just getting settled back into my routine and thought it would be a good outlet to write. Specifically, I want to talk about Mommy.

Belinda Chase was my husband’s aunt on his mother’s side and she was the closest thing to a mother-in-law I ever got to know (K’s mother passed nearly 15 years ago). She helped to raise my husband and his brother while their mother was on tour and treated them as she treated her own children. As such, she treated me as her daughter-in-law and I was grateful for it. In fact, when my husband and I argued, Mommy would often come to my defense and help my husband to see things from a woman’s perspective. He trusted and valued her advice so much so that he semi-jokingly credits her with the longevity of our marriage thus far.

I’ll never forget my first trip to meet my husband’s family; I was so worried about how I may be received- if I would make a good impression or say something stupid. But the moment I met Mommy all of that melted away as I was embraced by her warmth and good-natured sense of humor. She was full of so much love it’s as if it spilled over because she couldn’t seem to help but let you know it in every encounter. She left the world in that same fashion- surrounded by those closest to her, telling them how much she loved them and not to grieve for her because she was happy. Her passing saddens me because I can’t pick up the phone and call her anymore, but I know we’ll see her again. In the meantime, she left behind a group of amazing children and grandchildren with her same positive outlook on life and who love in abundance as she did. I couldn’t ask for a better family to have married into.