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Lassen’s Loves to Celebrate Earth Day — It’s Part of Our DNA!

Thank Your Mother (Earth!)

Our motto at Lassen’s is The Best of Everything Good. And one way we live that motto is in the products that we bring into our communities. As we celebrate Earth Day this month, as well as during our Earth Day Events on April 20-21, here’s how we live The Best of Everything Good every day — not just on Earth Day — at Lassen’s.

lassens+motto, the+best+of+everything+good, earth+day

It goes without saying that we at Lassen’s love our earth. Nutritious, healthy food is something good, and it depends on healthy soil, water, and air. That’s one big reason why we are committed to 100% Organic Produce in our produce department. That’s the best.  When our crops are grown without toxic herbicides and pesticides in rich, healthy, organic soil, the whole ecosystem benefits. We’ve been singing the praises of organic food for a long time — almost 47 years! I wrote this post nearly four years ago about organic. Studies showing the benefits of eating organic are piling up! There is some skepticism about what organic means in the USA today, so I wrote a follow-up article clearing things up. Read it by clicking here.

Eating locally grown produce is another good thing! Lassen’s loves to search out and support our local organic farmers as well — that’s how we bring you the best of that good organic produce! Some of our farmers that we have featured here on the blog are Nojoqui Farms in Buellton, Green Gold Farms in San Luis Obispo, Rock Front Ranch east of Santa Maria, Chas Farms Blueberries in Oxnard, Forbidden Fruit Blueberries between Buellton and Lompoc, Las Palmalitas Avocados in Carpinteria, Ojai Olive Oil in Ojai, and many others. (Just search “Local” on the website and you’ll see what I mean!) As we support organic farming, the farmers are encouraged to continue organic farming and to even expand. More organic farming means better soil. This blog post outlines some ways that farming organically may be a way to save family farms and push back the tide of huge Agro-businesses sweeping the nation.

lassens+motto, the+best+of+everything+good, earth+day

 

We also support organic ranchers and egg producers. Burroughs Family Farm just north of Fresno produces Almonds, Beef, Cheese, Dairy, and Eggs, and Lassen’s carries most of their products. Healthy soil is their passion, and everything that they do in all of their endeavors contributes to that goal. To them it’s not enough to produce good productes. They want the best outcome for the environment as well. You have to try their delicious eggs! Diestel Family Farm raises organic Turkeys humanely with access to pasture and open air, and we are proud to carry their luncheon meats year-round, as well as their holiday turkeys. When you buy our Lassen’s brand honey (also produced in Ventura County!), we donate to Honey Love in LA, and Central Coast Beekeepers’ Alliance in the San Luis Obispo area. These organizations support beekeepers in the LA and Central Coast areas. Click here to learn more. Chino Valley Ranchers is another company that is passionate about humane and ethical treatment of their birds, and the quality of their eggs show that care. Smart Chicken is an amazing company that has developed best practices for healthier and tastier chicken, as well as humane animal treatment. There are many more ranchers, fishermen, and other producers that we love to support, and they have the same commitment that we at Lassen’s do — to take care of Mother Earth.  

Lassen’s is passionate about more than just healthy food. Beauty care products, supplements, herbs, and home care products can all be produced in sustainable and environmentally friendly ways. Lassen’s searches out these producers as well. The Seaweed Bath Company is one such company. They produce a really good, clean product, but they are the best at harvesting their seaweed in a manner that encourages continued growth and rejuvenation — thus caring about the health of our oceans. Essential Oils are a big part of many people’s lives, and Aura Cacia pays close attention to every step of their manufacturing process, from seed to bottle. 

Lassen’s believes in something else that is good — nourishing our bodies with great supplements. But what makes us carry the best is that we are committed to high quality herbs and supplements. That’s why you won’t see bargain brands on our shelves. We carry only those brands that test and verify the purity and strength of their products. That’s the best of everything good.  One such brand is Mega Food. They manufacture their supplements from whole foods, and when we visited a few months ago, we got to see — and photograph — their whole process. That’s real transparency — something definitely in the best category!

I could go on and on about our amazing producers and what we are doing at Lassen’s to go from good to best. Lassen’s buyers hold our standards high, and work hard to find the producers who are as passionate about those standards and about the environment as we are.

So Earth Day, to Lassen’s, is more than just a once-per-year homage to Mother Earth. It’s a deep commitment to sustainable and responsible environmental practices every day of the year. It’s bringing The Best of Everything Good to our communities. Yes, we love to throw a big celebration at our Events, but that commitment to our beautiful earth is who we are.

So come into Lassen’s and join in our quest to preserve and improve our environment! 

Love,

Lassen’s

the+seaweed+bath+company, bladderwrack+seaweed, dry+skin, irritated+skin, hydrating+bath+powders, bath+powder

The Seaweed Bath Company has Something Great for You!

One Day Adam Noticed…

Yup, it all started when Adam, the founder of the Seaweed Bath Company, noticed that his dry and irritable skin felt better the more he was in the ocean. He had tried a lot of products, but he didn’t like their harsh chemicals or side effects. He was living in Florida and that ocean water just seemed to help.

So he began researching what healing secrets the ocean might hold. His search led him to ocean-based therapies and found that some spas were using seaweed in their skin care. He discovered thallosotherapy — therapy using sea water and shore products for skin care. He learned that a particular kind of seaweed — bladderwrack — was particularly beneficial. He got a big bag or bladderwrack from a spa in Ireland, where it grows in the cool waters, and started experimenting. He developed some topical therapies with the seaweed, and found that soaking in a seaweed bath soothed any skin irritation, redness, or inflammation.

Bladderwrack grows in a harsh environment, so it develops a strong mineral and protective oil profile, including iodine. Adam learned that Bladderwrack grows in the waters off Portland, Maine, and the seaweed is the most nutrient dense in May and June.  He found a fisherman, Tom, who was harvesting the seaweed by hand for his own business. Adam started working with Tom, and their partnership was born.

the+seaweed+bath+company, bladderwrack+seaweed, dry+skin, irritated+skin, hydrating+bath+powders, bath+powder

Adam thought this could be helpful for other people, so he started passing out samples of his seaweed bath powders. People found it very soothing and healing, and kept asking where they could get more! So in late 2010 the Seaweed Bath Company was born. 

When the tide is low, the seaweed is harvested by hand. They cut it at an angle at the base so that the plants will regrow in a healthy manner. It will grow to full size within 36 months. Adam makes sure that they are harvesting in a responsible manner, preserving the coastal environment. They rotate their harvest area between Cape Elizabeth and Casco Bay.  They also do water and plant testing to make sure the seaweed is healthy and free of contaminants. 

After harvesting, the seaweed is dried in nearby Scarborough, Maine, to about a 10% water retention rate. Then the seaweed is milled or powdered, as well as prepared for extraction, since the Seaweed Bath Company’s products uses all three kinds of preparations. 

The first products that Adam, and his wife Allison, developed were the detox bath and the bath powders. Later, as people asked for other items, they added creams, washes, and hair care products. Their main focus is hydrating the skin and hair, since hydration is so healing. They add quality ingredients like Kukui oil, Argon oil, Vitamin E oil, chlorophyll, neem, spirulina, and others. Their products are gluten free, and you’ll notice the thick moisturizing viscosity of their creams and hair products. I love the hair condition to tame my mane!

 the+seaweed+bath+company, bladderwrack+seaweed, dry+skin, irritated+skin, hydrating+bath+powders, bath+powder

Lassen’s is proud to carry products from the Seaweed Bath Company, and you can find something that you’ll love for your skin and hair! Catch the 40% on the entire line during our April 2018 monthly deal! 

It never fails that nature provides amazing solutions when we go out there and search for them! And that’s just what Adam did. 

Love,

Lassen’s

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen

Happiness amidst Turmoil — Oda & Hilmar, Denmark, and World War II

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
Oda and Hilmar on his father’s sailboat

One of my favorite stories about Oda — our founder — was how she met her husband, Hilmar. In the early 1930s, she went to a dance in her hometown of Aalborg, Denmark. She was only fifteen, so when this 20-year-old older man showed interest in her, she knew he was too old and worldly for her. He had been sailing around the world in the Danish Merchant Marine since he was fourteen, and seemed overly confident and maybe even a little arrogant to her. He asked if he could walk her home, and she accepted. But she really didn’t want to encourage his attention, so she excused herself to go to the ladies’ home. Out of sight of Hilmar, she slipped out the back way and didn’t return. This lady always knew her mind and followed her instincts! 

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
Oda and Hilmar and friends (Hilmar is in white; Oda has a white collar)

Despite this brush-off, several years later Hilmar saw her again and the time was right. They started to see each other and their romance blossomed. Hilmar was an accomplished sailor, and had access to his father’s sailboat. Picnics, friends, and sailing often went together. 

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
Beautiful days on the Danish coast. Hilmar and Oda are in the center.

Oda and Hilmar were married on April 15, 1939 at the City Government Building and then her mother hosted a dinner for family members. They moved into a little apartment and started their happy life together. Their oldest daughter was born the next year. 

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
Oda and Hilmar on their wedding day, April 15, 1939

But it wasn’t much longer before war knocked on their door. Less than one year after their marriage, Germany invaded Denmark and the little country was occupied until the end of World War II in 1945. Denmark knew that they stood no chance against the much larger German army, so they agreed — under protest — to the occupation. Oda and Hilmar had a second daughter soon after. 

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
Oda with her first daughter, Birthe

But the Danes are an independent bunch, and they found ways to undermine the occupiers. An active Underground was established and Hilmar and many of his friends were part of that resistance. They received dropped shipments of arms from the Allies and hid them for the time when the Allies would arrive on Danish soil. The Danes could then join with the Allies against the Nazis.  The Danes supplied military intelligence to the British throughout the War. They also refused an attempt by Germany to isolate or round up the Jewish population, which meant that most Danish Jews were rescued and saved from the Holocaust.

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
Hilmar and Oda, with baby Ida and little Birthe

To hear Hilmar and Oda talk about those years was thrilling and frightening. During the War they owned a little neighborhood dairy shop, and Oda would slip Resistance pamphlets into the bags of their shoppers. Hilmar delivered purchases by bicycle, and after one frightening night of soldiers searching their apartment building, he took the guns that had been hidden there by bicycle to a more secure location.

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
It looks like Oda is having the children help her to shuck English peas, her favorite!

It was a difficult time of rationing and fear, but the Lassen family tried to enjoy their lives as much as possible. Children played in the courtyards of the apartments, and Oda did her best to nurture her family as well as she could. After the war she never took fresh fruits and vegetables for granted, and remembered that one year during the war she only had one orange. 

Oda+Lassen, Denmark+in+WW2, Hilmar+and+Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen
May 5, 1945 — the Danish Resistance in Aalborg, Denmark celebrate the capitulation of the German Army

On May 5, 1945, the German Army capitulated, and the occupation of Denmark was over. The Danish Resistance marched openly in the streets with their weapons. Hilmar is shown here proudly marching with his fellow members of the Resistance (in the center about five rows back.) 

The war years were challenging for the Lassen family and for all of Europe. But from that challenge they knew they could thrive in hard times, especially when they bravely worked hard together. Those qualities served them well as they faced new challenges for the next 67 years. 

Thanks for all you taught us, Oda and Hilmar!

Love,

Lassen’s

Oda’s Best Æbleskivers

Delicious Danish Pancake Balls — a Lassen Family Favorite!

I will never forget the first time I had Oda’s Æbleskivers. Warm, buttery, and just slightly crispy outside, they were a delight. Oda, our founder, was a wonderful cook, and was happy to share her recipe with me. I love making them for my family and friends, especially on a cozy Sunday morning. 

There are several tips to help assure that your æbleskivers will be as delicious as Oda’s. 

danish+recipes, danish+pancake+balls, traditional+danish+food, aebelskiver+recipe

First, get a really good pan. I have had several different kinds, but this one is my favorite. It is heavy and conducts the heat evenly. It has a flat bottom, which I think helps heat better. (I got my pans in Solvang.) I actually have three of these pans for when we have to feed a mob! The photo also shows a wooden skewer. I use these to turn the pancake balls. (That’s tip #2) The wooden skewer doesn’t scratch the pan. Oda used a small knitting needle, but I like the wood better. (Sorry, Oda!)

The most important tip is actually the hardest to describe. Many years ago I was listening to the Food News Hour on KNX 1070 News Radio (is that show still on?) and someone called in asking about trying and failing to make æbleskivers. The host got it completely wrong — she said the problem was the recipe. I found myself talking back to the radio, “It’s not the recipe, it’s the temperature!” Cooking æbleskivers is a little tricky. The pan needs to be hot enough to cook the outer edge firm enough to turn, but not so hot that the dough cooks before it can be turned into balls. 

Let’s give it a try! This recipe makes about 20-23 æbleskivers.

You’ll Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 4 TBSP melted butter
  • Butter for frying

Instructions:

  • Put the æbleskiver pan on the stove on medium heat
  • Mix the buttermilk and eggs together
  • Add the dry ingredients, then gently blend
  • Mix in the melted butter, and let rest while you prepare the pan

danish+recipes, danish+pancake+balls, traditional+danish+food, aebleskiver+recipe

  • Check the heat of the pan by shaking a few drops of water on the pan. If it sizzles, the pan is hot enough
  • Unwrap a cube of butter halfway, then hold the cube by the wrapped end 
  • Swirl the butter into each circle of the æbleskiver pan, coating each circle with a thin layer of butter. The butter should sizzle, but not smoke or burn. If it does, your pan is too hot. Take it off the heat and cool a bit
  • Spoon the dough into each circle, filling to the top

danish+recipes, danish+pancake+balls, traditional+danish+food, aebleskiver+recipe

  • Using the wooden skewer, rotate the ball so that each circle now has a raised lip on one side. If the lip just falls back into the circle, it needs to cook a little longer before trying to rotate. You may also need to turn the heat up just a little.

danish+recipes, danish+pancake+balls, traditional+danish+food, aebleskiver+recipe

  • Wait a couple of minutes and rotate again. You will repeat this step until balls are formed
  • Once the pancake balls are complete, turn several times to make sure each side is golden brown and just a little crispy
  • Poke the skewer into the center and then pull out to see if any uncooked dough sticks to the skewer. If so, continue turning and cooking until the center is completely cooked. Be careful to not let any sides burn
  • Keep warm in the oven while cooking the remaining dough
  • Serve with powdered sugar and jam

danish+recipes, danish+pancake+balls, traditional+danish+food, aebleskiver+recipe

Sometimes I have seen æbleskivers with chocolate or jam inside. That is how Josh, our grocery buyer, likes to make them for his boys! (Just put a few chocolate chips or a 1/2 tsp of jam in the center before rotating the first time.) But the traditional way to serve Danish pancake balls is with jam and powdered sugar. 

danish+recipes, danish+pancake+balls, traditional+danish+food, aebleskiver+recipe

Peter was pretty excited when he came home and I was turning the æbleskivers on the stove! 

These make a wonderful addition to a spring brunch. You’ll get a real tast of Denmark with these æbleskivers!

Love,

Lassen’s

expo+west, new+products, natural+foods+products, organic+is+non-gmo+and+more, chuao+chocolate

Catch the Excitement of Expo West!

It’s a Yearly Boost!

We just got back from the biggest trade show of the year, full of excitement for new products and ideas! Here are just a few of the exciting products that we were able to see and sample this year.

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Coconut and lemon! Yum!

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These are going to be a fantastic snack to fit in my purse or bag — they’ll help me resist the sugar that is everywhere!

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Popcorn has become so much more than a movie snack!

Expo+West, new+products, natural+foods+trade+show

These are not your mother’s banana chips — The Thai Sweet Chile is delicious!

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I just loved this display of colorful pasta!

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I love how there are so many more healthy prepared meals available now!

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Watch for these — our buyer loves them!

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Chuao Chocolate now has this dark chocolate line — super beautiful as well as delicous!

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There were lots of new sodas and infused sparkling waters — again, how great to help us get away from the junk!

Expo+West, new+products, natural+foods+trade+show

Edemame puffs? Yes, please!

Expo+West, new+products, natural+foods+trade+show

I am so glad that there are convenient, appealing, and healthy baby foods available.

Expo+West, new+products, natural+foods+trade+show

We’re aways on the lookout for great bread as well.

Expo+West, new+products, natural+foods+trade+show

Want an easy way to grow your herbs? Watch for these Indoor Gardening Kits!

Expo+West, new+products, natural+foods+trade+show

I love these, and I’m so glad that I can throw these into my backpack and I have a healthy meal whether I’m backpacking or at work.

Expo+West, new+products, natural+foods+trade+show

I love that there are so many more Organic products these days! We love supporting organic!

expo+west, new+products, natural+foods+products, organic+is+non-gmo+and+more

I was thrilled to see these signs as a reminder throughout the show. All too often people think that when we buy non-GMO we are supporting the best agricultural practices. But non-GMO is just one characteristic of Organic! Non-GMO could still be grown with pesticides and chemical fertilizers, so when you have a choice, choose Organic!

Hopefully we’ll be able to get some of these great new prodcuts in soon!

Love,

Lassen’s

Oda+Lassen, Danish+Culture, Danish+Food

A Love of Good, Healthy Living Started in Denmark

Quality First!

If you have ever been to Solvang in the Santa Ynez Valley (between Santa Barbara and Santa Maria), you’ve had a taste of Danish culture, and hopefully Danish food! Æbleskivers (round pancake balls, eaten with powdered sugar and jam), Pølser (sausages) and Kartofler (potatoes, usually boiled), and Smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches) are easily found in the Danish Village. Oda, our founder, grew up with these traditional Danish foods in Aalborg, Denmark.

When Hilmar (Oda’s husband) turned eighty, we gathered all the fixings for a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich Smörgåsbord. Oda and Hilmar were happy to pose for us — and he was wearing his Danish sweater! (I think Oda was making a joke!)

Oda+Lassen, Danish+Culture, Danish+Food

This is not an advertisement for Solvang, but if you’ve eaten in a nice restaurant there, you may have tried the kinds of foods the Lassen children grew up with, even after they came to America.  Meats, carefully prepared, potatoes, and spectacular gravy were on the table regularly. For someone who grew up in a casserole kind of household, this was a revelation to me when I entered the Lassen family. (Don’t get me wrong; I had a very health-conscious upbringing. But seeing this traditional way of cooking very regularly was new.) I loved learning how to make many traditional Danish dishes, and our children grew up on many of them too. I have already shared a couple of Danish recipes here (click here for Oda’s Danish Dumpling recipe, and here for her Danish Red Cabbage side dish recipe.) Each month I will share another of Oda’s recipes on this blog, so keep coming back!

Oda+Lassen, Danish+Culture, Danish+Food

Oda started to become a really terrific cook when she was a young woman in Denmark.  (And she had a way with hats, didn’t she?) One thing I noticed about her cooking was that she wasn’t interesting in experimenting. There was a way that things were supposed to taste and look, and the goal was to make a dish as delicious and beautiful as possible. Gravy, in particular, had to be exactly right — smooth, the right consistency, and without any specks or flecks of debris. I learned to strain the broth. And the first time I saw Hilmar (who was also a really good cook) add cream to gravy, I was stunned. No wonder their gravy was so delicious! Quality, quality, quality. 

It’s Not All About the Food, Though

Map+of+Denmark
Map from geology.com

As you can see from this map of Denmark, the sea is incredibly important in every aspect of Danish life. The Lassen family came from Aalborg, up near the north of Denmark, and the Danes love to sail in the fjord. Sailing, walking, and cycling were everyday activities. I love this photo of Oda (on the right) with some relatives on the sailboat Else when she was a teenager.  (And she now has a granddaughter named Else!)

Oda+Lassen, Danish+Culture, Danish+Food

Family is terribly important to the Danes, and whenever we have traveled to Denmark, they roll out the red carpet for us. The photo below shows Oda (on the right) with her sister Irene. Her son Freddie (along with his wife Jette and their children and grandchildren) have become wonderful friends as well as relatives. 

Oda+Lassen, Danish+Culture, Danish+Food

Christmas is a really important holiday to the Danes, and I will share some of the Lassen traditions in December. But as a teaser … think the Whos down in Whoville!

This year we continue to celebrate 100 years since Oda, our founder, was born. The culture in which she was raised is certainly part of that celebration. That culture helped to shape who she was — an amazing, brave, and strong woman who thrived through World War II in Europe, immigrated to America in the 1950s, and raised a family. And then she went on to start a little Health Food Store in 1971. That business  has now grown to one of the largest independent chains of Natural Food stores in California. Lassen’s insistence on high quality and care all started with Oda. Thank you!

Love,

Lassen’s

 

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

Danish Red Cabbage — Rødkål

A Tradition!

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

Whenever the Lassen family gets together for a traditional Danish meal, we love to include this taste of Denmark — Rødkål — Red Cabbage. It is delicious hot, warm, or cold, and makes a wonderful side dish. It’s sort of like the cranberry salad next to turkey on a Thanksgiving table, but much better (in my humble opinion!)

It’s easy to make and can be made ahead of time — even 4 or 5 days ahead. Oda, our founder, taught me how to make this easy and yummy Danish dish.  You’ll love it!

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

Danish Red Cabbage 

You’ll need:

  • 1 head red cabbage (about 3 lbs)
  • 2 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup butter (you could use coconut oil, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used natural cane sugar, but you could use agave syrup)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup lingonberry preserves

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

Instructions:

  • Wash the cabbage head, and then cut into quarters and remove the core
  • Slice thin and then cut the slices into halves or thirds
  • Sprinkle with vinegar, set aside

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan, add the sugar and salt
  • Add the cabbage/vinegar combination and cook 15 minutes, stirring regularly

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

 

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

 

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

  • Add the lingonberry preserves and mix in well.
  • Turn to lowest heat and gently simmer uncovered for about 90 minutes, stirring occassionally and then more regularly as the moisture evaporates. (This step may take up to two hours, depending on the cabbage moisture content.)

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

  • Watch carefully the last half hour to make sure it doesn’t stick.
  • When the moisture is cooked off, remove from the heat and serve or cool until ready to serve.

I love having this on hand for fancy dinners, but it’s delicious as a side with a sandwich as well!

love,

Lassen’s

danish+recipes, danish+red+cabbage, rødkål, lassens+recipes, traditional+danish+recipes

what+is+cbd, what+is+cannabidiol, cv+sciences, stuart+tomc, san+diego+companies, cbd+companies

CV Sciences on the Cutting Edge

CBD from CV Sciences

What+is+CBD+Oil, CBD+Oil, CBD+Superfood
Image from pluscbdoil site

When I visited CV Sciences in San Diego, it was quickly apparent that there’s a lot I didn’t know about CBD (cannabidiol). I came back determined to learn more, and in a previous blog post I shared some of what I learned. But even though I didn’t know much about CBD when I got there, during my visit I became so impressed with what CV Sciences is doing in the field of CBD research and development.  I want to shine a light on their company.

cbd+oil, cv+sciences+cbd oil, cv+sciences, what+is+cannabidiol, what+is+cbd

I met Stuart from CV Sciences at a seminar at Expo East, and he was very excited when I mentioned that I’d like to come see their operation.  Arrangments were made, and I went to San Diego to meet the CV Sciences team. Stuart met me at the door, and escorted me to the lab.

cbd+oil, cv+sciences+cbd oil, cv+sciences, what+is+cannabidiol, what+is+cbd

The scientists at the lab showed me the strict procedures and testing that they practice as they take the raw CBD materials all the way to the final product ready to be bottled and put on the shelf. 

cbd+oil, cv+sciences+cbd oil, cv+sciences, what+is+cannabidiol, what+is+cbd

CV Sciences complies with pharmaceutical standards, so everything is incredibly clean and controlled. Their scientists test at every step of the process. They test the raw materials coming in to make sure it is not only what is on the label, but that it is of the highest quality with no contaminants. 

plus+cbd+oil, what+is+cbd, waht+is+cannabinoil, cv+sciences, cbd+oil

They also keep samples of every batch in case there needs to be further testing.

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It was great meeting Stuart and all the folks at CV Sciences! 

Love,

Lassen’s

our+founder, oda+lassen, our+story, strong+and+brave, lassens+story

Growing Up to be Strong and Brave

Those Characteristics Appear Early!

As our founder, Oda Lassen, grew up in post-World War I Denmark, she was surrounded by loving family and friends. Her father was a seaman, and her mother was lovingly nurturing her three boys and three girls. Those years between the World Wars were years of growth and happy memories. Oda and her family lived in an apartment building with a courtyard in the back, and she remembered playing hour after hour with her siblings and friends. She told me about calling up to her mother that she was hungry, and her mother would toss down a sandwich wrapped in paper for the children to catch. She told her grandchildren this story as she made them sandwiches just like her mother had made for her.

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Oda’s brother Jens, her father Thomas, and Oda

Oda loved school. She learned easily, and particularly enjoyed math. We saw that quickness in her many years later as she could look at sales and quickly analyze the trends.  We also saw that in the fact that if we owed her money, she remembered what we owed to the penny! 

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Denmark is a very flat country, so cycling was — and still is — a very popular means of transportation. There were bicycles everywhere, and that caused Oda a bit of trouble that she had to deal with for the rest of her life. When she was a young elementary school child, she was about to cross a street close to her school when an older child on a bicycle knocked her over, hurting her knees. She had pain, swelling, and later arthritis, in those knees, until finally Oda had double-knee replacement at age 82. Even at her age she tackled the Physical Therapy with determination. Talk about brave!

When Oda finished compulsory school, she entered the workforce at a Textile Factory. She didn’t really talk much about this stage of her life, but she once told me how terrible the men were at the factory. She didn’t mind the work, but the workplace environment was difficult for a young women. I think after that experience she was determined to be respectful of everyone.  

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Oda and her family, along with the rest of Denmark, were able to enjoy this respite for a few more years, but by the time she was in her late teens, the rumblings of war were beginning to be heard once again. It was in this world that Oda really honed her strength and bravery, as a young wife and mother in a country occupied by Germany.

I have loved learning about Oda’s experiences, since they shaped her into who she was as a mother, friend, entrepreneur, and businesswoman. She laid the groundwork for the best of what Lassen’s strives to be each day, and into our future. We are grateful for her!

Love,

Lassen’s

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danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings, cardamom+recipes, cardamom+dumplings, cardamom+spice

Try These Real Danish Dumplings!

These are Definitely Not My Mother’s Danish Dumplings!

My mom knew her way around the kitchen, and was willing to try lots of recipes. And our family loved her delicious soups. Occasionally she would make Danish Dumplings, which I liked, but I preferred noodles.

When I joined the Danish Lassen family, I was introduced to real Danish dumplings! I am sure the recipe my mom used had been Americanized to the point of not having much Danish left in them. This recipe comes straight from the motherland, complete with a dumpling press — a bollesprøjte — to make uniform little dumplings. 

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings
This dumpling (bolle) press belonged to Oda Lassen, our founder. I use it every time I make Danish Dumplings!

Oda’s Danish Dumplings

The Lassen family  makes a delicious soup — they call it Captain’s Soup — every New Year’s Eve. The broth is a two-day process, with bones, vegetables, and seasonings.  Meatballs and dumplings are made separately, and each year various people make different parts of the soup. For the last several years, my job has been the dumplings. I think this year I finally got the process down to a science, and they were the best ever. 

Oda’s recipe calls for cardamom, which is very Scandinavian. You’ll love the distinct taste that cardamom brings to these dumplings! 

This recipe makes 6-8 servings.

You’ll Need:

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 5 TBSP salted butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

To Make the Dumpling Dough:

  • Bring the water and butter to a boil in a saucepan
  • Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together (flour, cardamom, sugar, and salt) and set aside
  • Also, crack the eggs into a bowl, and set aside
  • When the water/butter has come to a boil, reduce the heat and add the dry ingredients all at once
  • Mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until the dough holds together and is shiny
  • Remove from the heat
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix thoroughly. The dough will break up when the eggs are added, but just keep stirring with gusto! The dough will be soft, but should hold together.
  • Cool for about an hour

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

To Cook the Dumplings:

The Danish Dumplings of my youth were cooked right in the soup, but that’s not the real Danish way. The Danes cook the dumplings separately in salted water. This prevents the soup from having bits of dumpling broken up in the broth. It just looks so beautiful this way! So follow this procedure. It seems complicated, but the finished dumplings are tender yet hold together — delicious!

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

  • Bring water to a slight boil in a 2-quart pot, add 1/4 tsp salt
  • Put the dough in a Danish dumpling press (it’s like a cookie press), press the dough through the press and use a knife to cut the dough off in 1/2″ dumplings. If you do not have a bollesprøjte, use two spoons and drop teaspoon-sized dumplings into the water. Only put one layer of dumplings into the water at once so they cook uniformly and don’t bump into each other as they cook (I got a little carried away and added too many, as you can see in the photo above.)
  • Here’s the tricky part:
    • Bring the water almost to a boil and then at the point where the water is about to boil add 3-4 ice cubes to cool the water.   You will do this three times.
    • After the third time, use a slotted spoon to gently lift the dumplings out of the water
    • Drop the dumplings in a bowl of ice water to cool quickly. While they are cooling I add the next batch of dumplings to the water
    • Remove the first batch out of the ice water and drain in a colander
    • Cook the rest of the dumplings the same manner
  • You can refrigerate the dumplings until needed, and heat them gently in a warm oven before serving. (I wouldn’t keep them refrigerated longer than a couple of days.)

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings

To serve, put the dumplings in a bowl, and then add hot soup.

While the Lassen family traditionally has these dumplings on New Year’s Eve, there’s no reason they can’t be enjoyed any time of the year! Now, if only we’d have some soup weather, I could make them again!

danish+dumplings, traditional+danish+food, delicious+dumplings, cardamom+recipes, cardamom+dumplings, cardamom+spice

Love,

Lassen’s

 

My+Magic+Mud, Charcoal+Tooth+powder, activated+charcoal, turmeric+and+cacao+tooth+powder

A Black Powder to Whiten Teeth? That’s Some of the Magic in My Magic Mud!

From Mainstream Mom to Entrepreneur

My+Magic+Mud, charcoal+tooth+powder, activated+charcoal
Tooth Powder(image from mymagicmud.com)

Jessica thought of herself as a “mainstream mom” — just using name and national brand products for her family. But she noticed that many of her friends were into using more thoughtful, natural products.  So when her daughter was dealing with weak and sensitive teeth, Jessica started to think and act differently.  She tried all kinds of toothpaste, but there was nothing on the market that did everything that her daughter needed.

Jessica and her husband Justin grew up in Ventura County (Simi Valley and Ventura) and their families shopped at Lassen’s. So when I called Jessica to learn more about her story, she was pretty excited to connect — and so was I! Because she had some familiarity with natural remedies, when nothing on the market helped her daughter, Jessica started searching for home remedies that might work. Salt, baking soda, calcium bentonite clay — she tried lots of ingredients in her quest to find a solution. She found that calcium bentonite clay was particularly valuable, since it is high in mineral content which strengthens enamel. She came across an article about how the Ancient Egyptians used Activated Charcoal, and was intrigued. She learned about its toxin-fighting properties and was excited to add it to her formula. She uses coconut shell charcoal, which is particularly helpful in removing stains. Organic mint and orange peel extracts are added for their anti-inflammatory and whitening properties. 

This formula turned out to be exactly the mixture that Jessica was seeking. Her daughter’s teeth were stronger and whiter than ever before. She actually posted “before and after” photos on facebook which got a lot of attention. Soon Jessica was inundated with inquiries about her tooth powder. 

It’s been about five years since Jessica settled on her formula. And she’s gone from putting sample jars together for friends to international distribution. That journey went through lots of Farmers’ Markets, and to Justin’s mother (who had a successful career in sales) taking samples to local health food stores. 

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Now in toothpaste! (image from mymagicmud.com)

Now based in Texas, My Magic Mud now has not only the original tooth powder, but toothpastes in four flavors (spearmint, peppermint, wintergreen, and cinnamon clove). Jessica did not want to make a toothpaste since she felt that the powder was the best formula possible. But her husband prodded her for two years to figure out a toothpaste formula, knowing that it would be a hit. The proverbial straw that broke that camel’s back was when Jessica’s mom told her that she didn’t like the messiness of the powder. So Jessica started to figure it out. It took her a full year of tinkering to get the right ingredient mix to meet her high standards. She wanted really clean ingredients that kids would like. She didn’t want to just throw something together; she insisted on staying true to her core beliefs and values.

My+Magic+Mud, Charcoal+Tooth+powder, activated+charcoal, turmeric+and+cacao+tooth+powder
Turmeric and Cacoa Tooth Powder (image from mymagicmud.com)

And now Jessica is really excited to introduce her next products — Turmeric and Cacao Tooth Powders! Available in Peppermint, Spearmint, and Cinnamon Clove, these formulas are great for strong teeth and gums.

And coming up soon — a natural, aloe vera-based mouth rinse. It is alcohol- and sting-free, with two flavors, classic mint and cinnamon clove. Watch for it in the next few months! 

Jessica is now in a position to have My Magic Mud tooth powder in clinical trials, which is a great step in the progress of her company. She already knows that there is nothing harmful in her products, and is looking forward to seeing the whitening and strengthening properties validated. Many dentists now recommend My Magic Mud to their patients. Here’s a link to the “Science” section on the My Magic Mud Website. Every ingredient in My Magic Mud is food grade, and can be swallowed. As a matter of fact, Activated Charcoal has been used internally for many years to detoxify and absorb gas (see our blog post on the benefits of using Activated Charcoal here.)

One thing that was so thrilling to me as Jessica and I talked was how enthusiastic and grateful she is about what she has created and accomplished. She said, “I love the drive that started this business.” She has learned just how powerful that drive to find a solution can be. It has been exciting for her to find that her solution could also to help others.  She talks to many women about how they too can make positive changes for their families. 

My+Magic+Mud, Charcoal+Tooth+powder, activated+charcoal, turmeric+and+cacao+tooth+powder
Image from mymagicmud.com

Brushing your teeth with a black powder or paste may take a little leap of faith, but I think you’ll find the results pretty exciting! As always, if you have any questions about our products, please talk with one of our helpful Health and Beauty Aids Team Members. This is a really exciting product line, and if you haven’t taken a look, try some soon!

Thanks, Jessica, for partnering with Lassen’s!

Love,

Lassen’s

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

Made from Food — MegaFood!

Plain and Simple — Supplements Made from Food

When Mega Food started in 1973, they wanted to keep it simple — to “produce superior whole food supplements for those who care about their health and well being” (from the Mega Food website).

They found a wonderful little red house in Derry, New Hampshire, and went to work.  When we visited the Mega Food headquarters with several of our Supplement Managers, they had recently moved from the red house into a new state-of-the art facility with testing labs and impressive procedures.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
Here’s the Lassen’s crew with at the Mega Food plant!

One remarkable characteristic that actually kind of surprised me was their amazing transparency. They call it:  

Mega+Food, Big+T+transparency, whole+food+supplements

And they really mean it. I have toured a lot of facilities, and the vast majority of the time I have to leave my camera in the car. But not with Mega Food. They wanted me to take pictures of all of the processing and testing. 

That’s not all — Anyone can take a look at Mega Food’s facilities as well. Just go onto their website and find the Live Facility Cam (Click here) and you can see what is happening in each step of the production. (Just remember that they are on Eastern Time, so you won’t see much if you log on at 8:00 pm!)

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
He’s showing us the machine that crushes and blends the foods before they are dried.

Mega Food’s focus has always been “Food First,” and so they find the foods that best deliver vitamins and minerals. Mega Food is really proud of their farmers, and they include them on their website. Click here to see their farmers!  Those foods are crushed and pulverized, and tested to make sure they deliver the nutrients promised. Some batches require the addition of some vitamins and minerals to bring them to the label amounts. In an amazing set of machines, the pulp is then cool dried. 

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
It looks a bit like a smoothie!

The pulp looks like a thick smoothie as it is spread onto the dryers. The temperature stays low and air is circulated around the pulp to dry it very thin.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

After it slowly went through the machine, we were able to sample the crispy product!

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

Mega Food values consistency in their products, and they want to make sure every tablet contains what is on the label, so they blend the materials in a beast of a machine called the  Bear Claw. We were lucky to see it at work when we were there!

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food
The Bear Claw tipped every which way to blend all of the product!

Next comes tableting, coating (so that the tablets hold together and are protected from moisture and air), bottling, and then shipping.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food

We also spent some time with Mega Food scientists/product developers, and were able to taste their upcoming products — Vitamin C Gummies and B-12 Gummies. It was fun to give them our opinions! Watch for these products within the next year.

Mega+Food, whole+food+supplements, vitamins+and+minerals+made+from+food, minerals+made+from+food, vitamins+made+from+food
Coming Soon to a Lassen’s near you!

We had a fantastic time with some of our valued team members visiting Mega Food in New Hampshire. Since Lassen’s started in 1971, just two years before they did, we have been partners with this wonderful company almost from the beginning! Their high quality and commitment to integrity and transparency makes them leaders in the industry, and we are proud to carry their amazing products. 

Thanks, Mega Food, for your hospitality!

Love, 

Lassen’s