Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nature's Earthly Choice Three Continent Blend

A week and a half ago, I attended a meditation retreat in the peaceful woods of south Jersey. I had the privilege of working with a vegan chef and instantly became inspired to get creative in the kitchen after returning home. I did some grocery shopping, and purchased a new grain blend by Nature's Earthly Choice called Three Continent Blend. This blend includes amaranth, red quinoa, white quinoa, wild rice, and brown rice. I got it at the bargain price of $3.99 for a 14 oz. package. The recipe for what I made with it is below...

Mixed Grains with Lentils
makes about 6 side servings

1 cup Earthly Choice Three Continent Blend grains
1/2 cup lentils
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cilantro, chopped
Salt and garlic powder or minced garlic to taste

Rinse the lentils well under cold water, then place in pot covered with one inch water. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and garlic powder to your taste, then bring to a boil. In a separate pot, heat the remaining olive oil and saute the shallot in it for about 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Add the white wine and stir until absorbed into the shallot. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Pour in grain mix, and bring temperature down to low and cover the pot. Cook for about 12 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and grains are chewy and tender.

When grains are cooked, stir in the lemon juice and lentils. Serve alongside fish, or salad to keep it vegan, topped with some of the freshly chopped cilantro. This side dish also tastes good cold.

Citrusy Cilantro Dressing

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp cucumber, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp agave syrup or honey
1/2 tsp freshly ground sea salt

Place all ingredients into a food processor, then process for 20-30 seconds until smooth. Add more ingredients to your taste. Serve over salad. I had this over red leaf lettuce, radish, and cucumber.

I had never tried Nature's Earthly Choice before, nor even heard of the brand, but I was definitely pleasantly surprised. I have been trying to incorporate more healthy grains into my diet and my family's diet, and I have tried quinoa many times, but in this combination, it really shined. The addition of the white wine in this recipe made it especially tasty and savory. 

The one thing that disappointed me about Nature's Earthly Choice was that I could not find any information on how the grains are harvested. I wanted to know if their farmers were paid fair wages, if they supplied from small farms, what their labor standards are, if they are grown using Earth-friendly means, etc. There was nothing on their website, the Environmental Working Group didn't say anything about Nature's Earthly Choice, and no one got back to me after I left not 1, but 2 emails with their customer service, AND left a voicemail on their customer service line. Hmm. Yes, I am not pleased.

That being said, I almost didn't want to blog about this product, but I feel it is even more important for consumers to know when a product may not be as completely fabulous as it seems. Yes, this is a quality product that tasted very good, and is clearly a healthy source of food. But, it's not organic (although Nature's Earthly Choice does offer some organic products as well), and I'd like to know if it's GMO (probably is). It would be nice to have this information easily available to customers and potential customers, and it would be nice if SOMEONE could respond to my emails. 

The only tier this product hits on the Greensumer Tier of Truth is that it's vegan! There was a brief testimonial located here that said "all of their food products are non-GMO", but no where else on the site was that confirmed. Very suspect.

So, the choice is yours, dear readers! Whether you decide to purchase this product or not, you are now informed!


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