Giving Spirits

Humanitas Wines
‘Tis the season to buy people presents and to give to charity. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Humanitas Wines gives 20% of your wine’s purchase price to a charity you choose from the company’s approved list, which includes Habitat for Humanity.

Humanitas is a unique winery with a very compelling story. Simply we make wine, sell it, and give the profits to charity!

Specifically, the profits go to find solutions to three very primary issues — hunger, affordable housing and illiteracy — and we’ve chosen America’s Second Harvest, Habitat for Humanity and Reading is Fundamental as our primary charities. However, we try to support whatever charity best addresses these issues community by community.

You see, at Humanitas, we don’t give the funds to the national headquarters of these charities. Rather, we give to the regional chapters in the communities where the wine was sold. In this way, by enjoying Humanitas, you are giving back to your own community!

Wines start at $18 per bottle. You can also join one of their wine clubs and give even more back! Check out the complete charity list here.

So wine with a charity is cool and all, but how does it taste you ask? According to LENNDEVOURS

Humanitas 2006 ‘Oak Free’ Monterey Chardonnay ($16) – is a fine example of why I love unoaked chardonnay so much. The nose offers lemon, apple, and a faint hint of pineapple. On the palate, it is medium bodied and shows loads of apple flavor with just the most subtle tropical notes. There is just enough acidity to bring balance. All in all, this is a nice wine, and this definitely isn’t your typical flabby, over-oaked Cali chardonnay. 490 cases were produced.

Humanitas 2006 Monterey Sauvignon Blanc ($14) – is fresh and delicious. It’s fairly simple, but the clean, pure grapefruit and mandarin orange flavors are well balanced by acidity in a medium-bodied package. At $14 — and with screw cap closures — this is a terrific house white. Fewer than 300 cases were produced.

Ready to buy a bottle for your friends and family or your Secret Santa? Head over to Humanitas Wines and order up some bottles. You’ll be getting people drunk and giving to a charity at the same time. What more could you want?

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What’s Healthy – What’s Not

Beet

Trying to eat healthy? Well make sure you’re doing it right.

Both Men’s Health and AOL chime in on foods that can be healthy but usually aren’t.

They both agree that you should stay away from granola bars.

Most granola bars are simply candy bars in disguise, with very little fiber, lots of processed carbs, and a ton of sugar. You’re better off making your own healthier version from raw oats, chopped almonds, coconut flakes, raisins and a dollop of raw organic honey.

AOL says there’s no need to hold off on the yolk in omelette’s.

No yolks in your omelette’s? That’s just utterly unnecessary. The yolk contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are crucial for eye health. Egg yolks are also an important source of phosphatidylcholine, a nutrient that boosts brain health. Worried about your cholesterol levels? Consider this: Half the fat in the yolk isn’t even saturated.

And if you think farm-raised salmon is good…

You’d think eating penned salmon would be the healthier way to go, but the farm-raised fish are pumped full of antibiotics and are lower in nutritional value than their wild relatives. In addition, wild salmon get their red color from an antioxidant in their natural food source, krill. Farmed salmon get their color from dye.

Sugary cereals are obvious bad, but make sure you’re buying the right ones.

Most supermarket cereals are fiber lightweights and are also loaded with sugar. The best cereals are old-fashioned oatmeal, and a few standouts like Fiber One and All-Bran. Check the labels and choose cereals that have fewer than 5 grams of sugar and more than 5 grams of fiber per serving.

Careful when drinking bottled drinks, like apple juice.

It’s sweet, refreshing and a favorite among kids. But most apple juice is nothing more than sugar water with apple flavoring. One cup of apple juice has no fiber, 117 calories and 27 grams of sugar. And most people consume way more than a cup at a time. Stick to fiber-rich apples and skip the juice.

Men’s Health also advises to stay away from things like baked beans, and suggests red kidney beans packed in water.

Beans are packed with fiber, which helps keep you full and slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. The baked kind are typically covered in a sauce made with brown and white sugars. And because the fiber is located inside the bean, it doesn’t have a chance to interfere with the speed at which the sugary glaze is digested. Consider that 1 cup of baked beans contains 24 g sugar: That’s about the same amount in 8 ounces of regular soda. Red kidney beans, packed in water. You get the nutritional benefits of legumes, but without the extra sugar. They don’t even need to be heated: Just open the can, rinse thoroughly, and serve. Try splashing some hot sauce on top for a spicy variation.

You think yogurt with fruit at the bottom is a smart breakfast? Just pick the right one…

Yogurt and fruit are two of the healthiest foods known to man. Corn syrup is not. But that’s exactly what’s used to make these products supersweet. For example, a cup of Colombo blueberry yogurt contains 36 grams (g) of sugar, only about half of which is found naturally in the yogurt and fruit. The rest comes in the form of “added” sugar — or what we prefer to call “unnecessary.” Opt for Dannon Light ‘n Fit Carb & Sugar Control Yogurt, which has 90 percent less sugar than regular yogurt does.

And watch out for fat-free salad dressing.

Cutting out the fat reduces the calories that a dressing contains. Sugar is added to provide flavor. But perhaps more important is that the removal of fat reduces your body’s ability to absorb many of the vitamins found in a salad’s vegetables. Ohio State University researchers discovered that people who ate a salad dressing that contained fat absorbed 15 times more beta-carotene and five times more lutein — both powerful antioxidants — than when they downed a salad topped with fat-free dressing. Choose a full-fat dressing that’s made with either olive oil or canola oil and has less than 2 g carbs per serving.

And for another list of the 10 worst foods (like a Starbucks Venti Caffè Mocha) and the 10 best foods (like Uncle Ben’s Microwaveable Brown Rice) click here.

Pretty bummed by now? Well try some suggestions from Men’s Health for the best foods you aren’t eating, such as beets, cabbage, guava, Swiss chard, cinnamon, pomegranite, goji berries, dried plums and pumpkin seeds. All of these are packed with nutrients. They even suggest an Asian Slaw Salad:

  • 4 Tbsp peanut or canola oil
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha, an Asian chili sauce you can find in the international section of your grocery store
  • 1 head napa cabbage, finely chopped or shredded
  • 1/4 cup toasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and sriracha. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Refrigerate for 20 minutes before serving. The slaw will keep in your fridge for 2 days.

Photo from Flickr.

Stuffed.

Stuffed!

Stuffed as in plush toys, not Thanksgiving.

I’m a little late on this, but from now until Dec. 2, if you’re in LA stop by Munky King in Hollywood for STUFFED a plush food show!

The show will be comprised of 3 main sections. The first is “The Feast”. The Feast will center around a plush turkey designed by Shane Geil of Purple Flavor and will be rounded out with lobster, sushi, pizza and many more mouthwatering food favorites. The second section is the “Dessert Cart” which will be spilling over with sweets, cakes and pies made of delicious looking felt and fabric. The third section is the “Grocery Store” which will have bountiful baskets of all different kinds of colorful plush foods that can be purchased and taken home starting on opening night! The Grocery Store will house fortune cookies, apples, doughnuts and more fun treats.

From the über-realistic cupcakes made by Kenta Shibusawa (Japan) to the cartoon-esque bread and butter of Heidi Kenney of My Paper Crane (USA) STUFFED lampoons the traditional American holiday food spread and combines humor with art.

Plush and food themed art will be for sale the night of the event and throughout the exhibition.

I haven’t been yet, but hopefully I’ll make it before it’s over. I think I may have to grab these plush cereal boxes.

Munky King
7308 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 620-8787

UPDATE: In case you can’t make the show or don’t live in Los Angeles, check out this Flickr set.

Fresh.

Herb Savor

As much as I like buying fresh herbs, I hate it. They seem to always go bad as soon as you use them. And saving them in the fridge is always a pain in the ass and never seems to keep them fresh either.

You really only have a couple options to solve this. You could go to a site like this one and attempt to follow one of the 7 different herb-keeping methods. Or you could head over to the A + R site and take a look at some of their well-designed herbal solutions.

First, check out the Herb Savor ($34).

We love to shop at the farmer’s market, and carry home big baskets of fruit, veg and herbs. But the truth is those gorgeous fresh herbs do not stay that way for long. After a few days (even wrapped up in the fridge) they loose a lot of their vigor. Enter this clever device from brand-new designers Prepara in New York. Simply place your fresh herbs in the removable stainless steel herb basket and fill the base with water. The herb stems sit slightly submerged in the water of the water-well, keeping them fresh and prolonging their life for up to three weeks. The Herb Savor’s slimline shape means it easily finds a place in your fridge (or fridge door) while its modern form showcases the natural beauty of the herbs within. A perfect gift for any cook!

Or if you want something you can keep on the counter, check out the Fresh Herb Pot ($18).

Scandinavian in its simple, unadorned and practical design, this ceramic pot from Sagaform is an ingenious way of enjoying fresh herbs much like flowers: Insert a bunch in the enlarged opening, and keep hydrated by pouring water into the corner hole. The broad base ensures that all those little stalks have access to water, while allowing air to circulate so herbs keep from becoming limp and waterlogged. Easy to take apart for cleaning. And at this price, you can buy several and surround yourself with the scent of freshly cut herbs.

Seems like either option would work better than bagging your herbs and will save you some money in the long run.

Still Life

Still Life

Great looking shirt from a site I just discovered called Design By Humans. It’s similar to Threadless, where people design shirts, they’re voted on, and then they become a real shirt, but rather than waiting a week for a handful of new shirts to appear, Design By Humans puts a new one up 5 days a week.

These shirts also seem to have a bit more freedom in their design, ie., they wrap around the back, they use some nice foils, etc. And their pricing is decent. $15 for the simpler shirts, and up to $24 for more complex ones.

Anyway, check out this one titled Still Life, which features a bowl of fruit. However, this fruit isn’t your ordinary fruit…

Elvis Pearsley, Marilyn Lemonroe, Albert Pinestein and more all appear as faces on the fruit. Pretty damn clever.

Six Pack Wine Rack

6-pack Wine

This holiday season, spread the joy with giving a friend alcohol. Lots of it. 6 bottles of wine in fact. And to do so, pick up one of these Six Pack Wine Racks from Elsewares.

Made from naturally renewable and recyclable materials, this wine rack holds up to six standard wine bottles and collapses flat for easy storage (or gift-wrapping!). 100% wool felt. 100% awesome. Made in Massachusetts with European wool. Approximately 17″ x 5″ when flat.

It ships the week of 11/20 and gift wrapping is available for $5. The Six Pack Wine Rack will cost ya $40.

Free Rice

Free Rice

Wanna improve your vocabulary and help world hunger at the same time?

Head over to FreeRice.com. It’s technically a game but it’s much more than that…

FreeRice has two goals:

  1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise on this site.

Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your vocabulary can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide.

Still confused? All you do is pick which word from a list of 4 is the same as the word presented to you, and the advertisers who’s names appear at the bottom will donate rice.

Why doesn’t FreeRice just donate all this rice they have? Well technically, they don’t have it.

FreeRice is not sitting on a pile of rice―you are earning it 10 grains at a time. Here is how it works. When you play the game, advertisements appear on the bottom of your screen. The money generated by these advertisements is then used to buy the rice. So by playing, you generate the money that pays for the rice donated to hungry people.

The site launched on Oct. 7, where that day they gave away 830 grains of rice. Yesterday (Nov. 7) they gave away 188,987,290 grains. To date, the site has donated 1,519,627,180 grains of rice.

If you’re still not sure what’s going on, just go visit FreeRice. Play the word game and help feed those in need. I’ve even added a banner towards the bottom right of this site that you can click on in case you forget where to go.

Great find from NOTCOT.

Dude! You’re getting a drink!

Dell

Remember this guy? He was that really annoying slacker/stoner spokesperson for Dell.

Apparently he did a bunch of these commercials, then he got busted for weed in 2003 and then took up off-Broadway acting. And now? Well according to AdFreak via New York Mag…

Ben’s behind the bar at Greenwich Village’s Tortilla Flats, a place known for its raucous bingo night and 2 a.m. happy hour, if my foggy memory serves. The good news: He’s in a better place. “There were times when I made boatloads of money as an actor, but here I can be myself,” he says.

There’s a short interview posted on New York Mag’s Grub Street site. Apparently he gets recognized every day.

Well, if you happen to be in the area and want to run up to the bar and do your best “Dude, you’re getting a Dell!” impression, here’s the address:

767 Washington St., New York, NY 10014
at 12th St.
212-243-1053

Photo from Grub Street (Melissa Hom).

WineM – The Visual Wine Organizer

WineM

WineM by ThingM is being unveiled at Wired’s NextFest and it a pretty genius idea. It might be a little much for personal use, but it’d be a great interactive wine cellar for a restaurant or wine store.

The rack uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to track and update wines in real time. Watch the video for a better explanation, but you pretty much use a pad to select the combination of wine you’re looking for (ie., by year, region, color, etc.) and the RFID lights accordingly.

According to their press release

WineM solves the problem of remembering all the information about the wines in a large wine rack, cellar or cabinet, or searching through that data. This smart wine rack makes that information always accessible and updatable. With WineM identifies the wines of a certain class, and where they are in the rack, without requiring users to consult paper wine logs or spreadsheets. A bottle can never be misfiled, and a wine rack organizer no longer has to choose a single organizational scheme. The wine in a collection can now be dynamically reorganized by any combination of year, region, price, or any other information axis that interests the collector or sommelier.

For example, a collector planning a dinner party could specify they want to see all of their 2003 Napa Chardonnays whose current market value exceeds $50. WineM will identify and light up just the bottles that match those criteria. ThingM co-founder and creative director Mike Kuniavsky explains, “A single bottle of wine exists as two kinds of objects, an informational object and a physical one. WineM unites these. It explores what everyday objects can be if computers and networks become ubiquitous, as we believe they soon will be. WineM’s unique cabinet is designed to make the process of selecting wine simple, elegant and entertaining, whether in your living room or your favorite restaurant.”

At the moment its just a prototype so keep your fingers crossed.

Check out the videos here and the ThingM site here.

Celebs Cooking

Seems like there’s a new fad on the web, and it’s watching celebs cook.

I’ve posted a couple times on the subject, once with Christopher Walken cooking and another with Robert Rodriguez.

Well here are two more. For you viewing pleasure…

Chef Paul McCartney

Paul

And Chef Ron Jeremy…

Ron J.

Now you’ve seen everything.