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Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassens, Lassen's, Lassen's Kombucha, Kombucha, Lassens+kombucha

We Have Our Own Kombucha!

Our Latest Great Private Label Offering!

Kombucha is trendy now, but the culture has been around for a long time. So when we at Lassen’s wanted a partner for our Private Label brew, we searched for one with a great track record, high quality standards and deep passion. We will only put our name on products that we would be happy to serve to our own families. Our search took us high into the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Rocky Mountains of Colorado, Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha
Crisp, clean air and beautiful mountains and hills greeted us in Colorado

Brothers Steve and Shane have that exciting combination, and we saw it firsthand as we toured their facility and learned their history. Steve was introduced to Kombucha in the 1990s, and it has become a passion for him. They’ve been brewing their Kombucha using water from one of the cleanest springs in the nation, Moser Springs since 2004. This spring is a “first touch” source — clean and pure. The high elevation and the clean air add to the purity of the brew. Their combination of water, steam, black tea, and pure cane sugar produces strong Scobys — which are placed with the tea in short, wide custom-made tubs to ferment for two weeks. (SCOBY — Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.) We could smell the Kombucha culture even before we set foot in their plant.

Steve calls Kombucha, “Mother Nature’s Probiotic.” There is no shortage of studies on the importance of healthy gut bacteria, and fermented foods such as Kombucha can play a vital role in improving the health of our digestive systems. Kombucha and other fermented foods are bioavailable to the liver and kidneys — the probiotics easily enter the circulation and quickly have an active effect. Steve and Shane start with their heirloom culture which produces a full fermented brew that is high in organic acids and digestive floras. Their probiotics come from fermentation, never from labratory isolated bacteria strains. You can taste the difference!

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY,
Bottles made in America!

Shane and Steve are passionate about the quality of their brew. They use the highest quality ingredients, extracts, and juices in their production. And it doesn’t stop with what is in the bottle. Their bottles are sourced domestically, which eliminates shipping from abroad. They pay their workers higher than minimum wage, and have a caring company culture. They are working to make sure the Kombucha industry is transparent. Their passion became very apparent as we talked with Steve and Shane!

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY,
Hand-made care, through brewing, fermentation, combining flavors, bottling and packaging.

One of the fun things about having Private Label products is that we have input on what we want. Our flavors were hand-picked by the Lassen family and we love them. We are always re-evaluating, and we have ideas in development for future flavors. If you have ideas for custom flavors, please comment on this post and we’ll work with Steve to see if those ideas can come to life.

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY, Kombucha Partner

We had a wonderful time with Shane and Steve in Colorado, and are grateful for our partnership in bringing high quality, authentic Kombucha to our family of Lassen’s branded products. Try some today and let us know what you think!

Lassen's Natural Foods and Vitamins, Lassen's, Lassens, Lassen's Kombucha, SCOBY,
Here are two of our delicious Kombucha flavors! 



New Year, New Better You! Ke·to /kēˈtō/ diet

Certain diets gain immediate prominence or notoriety and others take some time to catch on. At the start of 2018, US News ranked the Keto diet in last place as “Best Diet Overall: [1]  but by the summer it became one of the most popular diets with new grocery items popping up daily.  And with a host of celebrity endorsements, the Keto diet quickly became newsworthy.

It’s big news, apparently, when a celebrity loses weight. But celebrities have a substantial amount of pressure to maintain a certain level of appearance but this is often an intense immersion into a diet for a short period of time.  Fad or not this diet has been around for some time and it is not until now that with lots of endorsements it has come to light.

Years of research and clinical studies support the ketogenic diet, and while most diets are typically associated with the ultimate goal of weight-loss, the ketogenic “KETO” diet was specifically designed to deliver better overall health, addressing issues surrounding epilepsy.  It was engineered to create a metabolic change in your body and deliver you into a permanent state of ketosis, hence the name “KETO” diet.

:The keto diet is very strict when it comes to macronutrient intake. The macronutrient ratios of ketogenic diets are based on years of research which began in 1921.  Dr. Russell Morse Wilder, from the Mayo Clinic, built on the research that ketones were produced by the liver in otherwise healthy people when they were starved or if they consumed a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. [2]  He later coined the term ketogenic diet to describe a diet that produced a high level of ketone bodies in the blood through an excess of fat and lack of carbohydrate. This research shows that our metabolism changes drastically on carb intake below 50 grams per day. The macronutrient ratios on keto look something like this:

By following these nutrient ratios, you are more than likely to enter nutritional ketosis. Nutritional ketosis is a direct result of carb scarcity, resulting in a drop in insulin production, which then stops fat from accumulating. After a few days of eating this way, your body enters the state of ketosis using fat rather than carbs to fuel the body, creating a metabolically flexible system that helps your body switch from sugar burning to fat burning and vice versa. Most people aren’t metabolically flexible which makes it hard for them to lose weight.  The constant state of ketosis creates consistent, long-lasting energy, and helps you to maintain normal weight.

Carb intake is extremely low and is likely to induce ketosis. Eating more than 700 calories worth in protein can prevent ketosis due to a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis (metabolizing proteins into glucose).

The keto diet provides additional benefits beyond weight loss. The keto diet doesn’t just melt fat, it has a powerful effect on the way your whole body works.

What to Eat on Keto

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Credit Name: Carnivore Style

  • Fatty cuts of high quality (preferably organic, grass-fed) meat: beef brisket, beef ribs, T-bone steak, and sandwich steaks are good examples. Ground beef is also high in fat.
  • Fatty fish (preferably wild caught): salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring are great options to boost your omega-3 fatty acid intake. Omega-3s are deficient in our diets. We need them for cardiovascular health protection and normal brain functioning.
  • Full-fat (grass-fed) dairy: butter is a keto staple. But cream, cheese, and full-fat yogurt are also good. Dairy is an important source of calcium for keto dieters.
  • Low-carb vegetables (preferably organic): broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, cabbage, and asparagus are all low in carbs but high in fiber. It’s important to eat vegetables on keto to meet your demands for essential vitamins and minerals but also fiber. Just make sure they’re always low in net carbs.
  • Berries (preferably organic): Berries are allowed on a keto diet but only in moderation. They’re usually low in carbs and high in health-boosting antioxidants. Examples of keto berries include blueberries, boysenberries, and raspberries.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, butter, and lard are all great on a keto diet. Avoid refined oils and margarine.
  • Substitutes: Almond flour, coconut flour, coconut milk, almond milk, and stevia replace high-carb ingredients to bring versatility to your keto meals.

Keto Grocery Staples


Rebel Ice Creamketo ice cream

Lilys SweetChocolate chips, chocolate bars

Primal Kitchen – Avocado Oil, Bars, Salad Dressing, Unsweetened Ketchup

Kalahari Bilton

Epic Provisions Bone Broth, Duck Fat, Pork rinds

Eating Evolved chocolate cups

Birch BendersKeto Pancak & Waffle mix

Bob’s Red MillAlmond flour

Bullet Proof Collagen bars

Chosen FoodsAvocado Mayo

Lakanto Maple Syrup, Monkfruit sweetener, Brownie Mix

UnBunketo buns

Know BetterFrozen Waffles

Caulipower Pizzas

Boulder Riced Caulifower

Outer Aisle Caulifower crusts

Ancient Organics Ghee




Keto Recipes

Skillet Chicken with White Wine Sauce

Keto Chicken Enchilada Bowl

InstaPot Lemon Chicken With Garlic

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Easy Keto Tomato Feta Soup

Instant Pot Beef Bourguignon

Keto Chicken Pot Pie

Easy Stir Fry Kimchi & Pork Belly

Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Mediterranean Low Carb Broccoli Salad

Keto Honey Mustard Dressing

Sun-dried Tomato & Feta Meatballs

Slow-cooked keto pork roast

Keto lamb chops with herb butter

Plant-Based Keto

15 Best Keto Recipes

Sample Meal Plan:

Breakfast:Mushroom and feta omelet with full-fat yogurt.

Lunch:Tuna salad served on keto bread.

Dinner: Garlic butter chicken with asparagus on the side.

7 Day Keto Meal Plan






evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

From the Appalachian Mountains to New Orleans to You!

This Water Doesn’t Just Travel a Long Distance!

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans
I love the gorgeous architecture and plantations!

The Evamor story doesn’t start in Lousiana — but that’s where we went to learn about their naturally alkaline water. This delicious water starts in the Appalachian Mountains as water and snow. The water flows down through bedrock,  filtering out impuries as it goes.  As it travels south toward the Gulf of Mexico, it becomes naturally alkaline. The limestone gives this water a ph between 8.8 to 9.1, so the Evamor folks don’t need to add a thing.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans
A swamp tour was a must!

We were invited to New Orleans to learn about — and experience — the Evamor story. Lassen’s has recently brought this artesian water into our stores. They are part of a four-generation family food company. About twenty years ago they decided to share this delicious water by starting Evamor.  They drilled into the aquifer, and trucked the water to their bottling facility in New Orleans. This required a drive across the nearly 24-mile bridge (the longest in the United States) over Lake Pontchartrain.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

But when hurrican Katrine wiped out much of New Orleans in 2009, including their facility, the Evamor folks took the opportunity to move their bottling facility. They built it right on top of the well in Covington, Lousiana.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

It doesn’t look like much, but the proximity of the wells to the bottling faculty helps fulfill their desire to not disturb the water any more than necessary. As they told us, “Water has a memory.”

Evamor artesian water is a blend of two sources, drilled deep into an aquifer that was the source of the springs that helped sustain the Native Americans that lived north of Lake Pontchartrain. The aquifer is found 1, 681 feet below the surface — about a half mile deep. Evamor blends the water from the two drill sources to balance the ph level. The depth of the well also protects it from surface water. Because Evamor’s source is an aquifer deep underground, the water is not only naturally alkaline but also rich in minerals and electrolytes.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

Once the water comes into the facility, it goes through several filters and testing meters. If the ph drops below 8.8, the line immediately stops to find out what is going on. We can be assured that their water is always at least 8.8ph! It is tested quarterly by a third party to assure quality. In fact, during the process required to certify the equipment when they opened the new facility, they ended up giving away 940,000 bottles of water to the needy. And they are always ready and willing to do the same whenever disaster strikes.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

One interesting feature of the Evamor bottling facility is that they form their own bottles. They have unformed “blanks” which are easier to handle than millions of pre-formed bottles. The machinery takes those blanks, heats, forms, and then fills the bottles with the filtered water. Labels are added, and the bottles are bundled into cases to be  shipped.

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

Of course, it wouldn’t be a trip to New Orleans without enjoying their scenery, amazing food, and unique style!

evamor+water, alkaline+water, New+Orleans

Thanks, Evamor, for a wonderful trip!




Lassen's+Natural+Foods, 2018+Expo+East, 2018+Natural+Products+Expo+East, Expo+East, Cauliflower+Bites, Delicious+Healthy+foods

Finding New Products at Expo East!

We’re on the Hunt for Great New Products!

September has brought us to Baltimore for the Natural Products Expo East Trade Show. We love attending seminars and meeting producers — it’s exciting to see the creativity and great new products!  Here are some of the fun and delicious things we’ve see at this show!

Natural+products+Expo+East+2018, 2018+Expo+East, Natural+products+expo, expo+east, lassens+natural+foods+store

I love DEET-free repellents!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

There are a lot of great new entrants in the drink category — this watermelon was delicious!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Tasty new dressings!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

This brand has new offerings — Yum!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

New offerings in the Chip Aisle

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks are a lot of fun — and healthy, too!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

This company had these biodegradable cloths — one towel replaces 15 rolls of paper towels. And they biodegrade in less than 3 months!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Want an easy side dish? Craving Tater Tots? Try these Cauliflower bites. From Freezer to oven to table. We are definitely bringing these into Lassen’s!

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Grain-free offerings were abundant at Expo East, and this one was tasty, for sure.

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Hu Chocolates’ new products feature cashews, almonds, and dried fruit. Delicious.

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

Dahlicious has new Cashew drinkable yogurt, and their almond yogurts are smooth and creamy.

lassens+natural+foods, 2018+Natural+products+expo+east, Expo+East, 2018+Expo+East

This French Yogurt was very tasty — I liked the Pressed Lemon in the ceramic container. The flavors were very subtile and the creamy texture was divine.

Watch for the new products coming up soon at a Lassen’s near you! I didn’t get a photo of Justin’s new Cashew Cup, but it should arrive soon in the stores. It is delicious!






danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage

Danish Creamed Cabbage

The first time I had Oda’s Danish creamed cabbage was at Christmas time. After a fancy Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day offered a more laid-back menu — Danish Frikadeller (meatballs) and creamed cabbage.

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage

Cabbage is one of those nutritional unsung heroes — full of dietary fiber, vitamin C, K, and B6. It’s also a great source of potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, and folate, to name a few. It’s versatile and delicious, too! The Danes use cabbage in many recipes, and this side dish is one of my favorites.

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage

Danish Creamed Cabbage

Serves about 8

You’ll Need:

  • 1 head green cabbage (about 3 lbs)
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 6 TBSP flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Reserved cabbage water, about 1/2 cup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cinnamon sugar or nutmeg or cardamom

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


  • Wash cabbage head, cut in quarters, removing stalk
  • Cook in covered saucepan with 1″  salted water until tender
  • Drain, reserving water, then press out moisture ( I use a wooden spoon)
  • Chop and squeeze out more moisture
  • Make white sauce:
    • Melt butter, add flour and whisk
    • Add milk a little at a time and whisk until smooth
    • Add reserved cabbage water a little at at time until sauce is the right consistency, stirring constantly. You’ll want to keep it a little on the thicker side, since the cabbage will give up some moisture
    • Season with salt and pepper to taste
  • Add cabbage to white sauce, stir to combine
  • Serve with cinnamon sugar to top ( the traditional Danish way) or salt and pepper. I’ve also seen some people sprinkle nutmeg or cardamom on top.

danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage


danish+recipes, Oda's+recipes, cabbage+recipes, danish+creamed+cabbage, creamed+cabbage




We Call it Dessert, and it’s Perfect for Summer!

A Delicious, Rich, Summery Treat

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts, Kærnemælkfromage

I love to make this Danish dessert whenever we have guests come to dinner because it is different from anything they have ever had. We always make a game of having them guess the main ingredient, and they can never figure it out. It’s simple to make and so delightful — rich, and yet light.

So, drumroll…

The secret ingredient is buttermilk! Kærnmælk, in Danish.

So here is it is: kærnemælkfromage, Buttermilk Dessert


You’ll need:

  • 1 TBSP unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 3/4 to 1 cup sugar (depends on how sweet you like your desserts)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup cream, whipped until stiff


  • Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water in a 2-quart saucepan, and then put on the stove over low heat.
  • Stir constantly until disolved (which will take less than a minute), then add the sugar and stir until dissolved
  • Remove from heat and add the vanilla, orange juice, and buttermilk; stir to blend well
  • Place the saucepan in the refrigerator to cool and gel
  • Check in about 30 minutes. When the mixture starts to firm, whip the cream
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture into the whipped cream, and blend with a wire whisk until smooth
  • Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until firm, about an hour
  • Serve with Danish Strawberry Pudding (Jordbær Grød — the recipe can be found here). It’s also wonderful with fresh berries

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
I like Great Lakes Kosher Gelatin (we carry this in our Supplement Department, so you should be able to find it there) or Knox, which is found in our Grocery department

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
Dissolve the gelatin and the sugar over low heat, stirring constantly

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
Add vanilla, buttermilk, and orange juice and stir to blend

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
After the buttermilk mixture stiffens (it doesn’t have to be this stiff — it gelled really quickly this time!) whip the cream, pour the buttermilk mixture into the cream and blend  with a wire whisk until smooth

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
Pour into a bowl to chill

Danish+recipes, danish+dessert+recipes, buttermilk+desserts, summer+desserts, creamy+desserts
It looks like ice cream, but it’s a totally different experience! You’ll love it!

Try this amazing dessert!




health+ade+kombucha, focus+on+local

Still Focused on Being the Best Tasting and Highest Quality Kombucha!

Where We Check Back in with Daina, Justin, and Vanessa

It’s hard to believe that it’s been three-and-one-half years since I last interviewed Daina at Health-Ade (read about my visit here) so recently a few of us headed to Torrance for an update. What we found was amazing! They have gone from a little three-person start-up in 2012 to a massive operation, but the spirit of small, hand-crafted quality still permeates everything in the building.

health+ade+kombucha, focus+on+local
image from

This time Vanessa showed us around. She, Daina, and Justin started brewing kombucha in a closet just a few years ago, and now they are a national company. They brew 120,000 bottles of kombucha every day! 

health+ade+kombucha, focus+on+local
Daina, Justin, and Vanessa in 2014

The forces that drove these three when they first started Health-Ade are the forces that still drive them today. They still brew in 2 & 1/2 gallon glass jars — 60,000 of them every week. No plastic! They still use the highest quality ingredients possible. Their ingredients are Organic! They filter their water. They source responsibly. The leftover tea bags, SCOBYs, and juice pulp are all composted. And so much more. 

You have to see it to appreciate the scale of this operation. There is fifty-thousand clean, organized square feet of activity that pumps out 320,000 cases of Kombucha per month — that’s just a bit of an expansion from the 35,000 cases per month they were producing in 2014! 

health+ade+kombucha, focus+on+local
image from

And each batch rests for 1-3 weeks while the kombucha develops just the right amount of bubbly probiotics that are so crucial for a healthy gut.

 image from

Thanks for hosting us, Vanessa — We love Health-Ade! It’s great to see how you’ve grown!

 image from 



Hilmar+Lassen, Oda+Lassen, Origin+story, Danish+Immigration, Lassen+Construction

From Immigrants to Entreprenuers

When the Hilmar and Oda Lassen family immigrated from Denmark to California in the early 1950s, their first order of business was to find a way to earn a living. Hilmar and Oda had always been hard workers, and the trial of the German occupation of Denmark during World War II had strengthened their persistence in even the most challenging times. In preparing to immigrate, Hilmar learned the bricklaying trade  in Denmark before they set sail. When they got here, however,  he found that the American method of laying bricks was different from the Danish way. So the best job he could find was a bricklayer’s assistant. He took the job, learned the American method, and struggled to learn English.

They settled in the San Fernando Valley, and the girls entered school. Hilmar and Oda took English lessons — he didn’t like to study, but she did. Oda told me that she would do Hilmar’s homework for him. She was very motivated to learn, probably because she was not out in the working world and wasn’t about to have the practice that he did. There were no dual language programs in the 50s, so Bee, Ida, and Doris had to just learn on their own. For the first six months they felt completely lost, and came home crying from school every day. But within a year they were pretty much fluent English speakers.

Hilmar+Lassen, Oda+Lassen, Origin+story, Danish+Immigration
Hilmar Lassen and the five younger children. Left to right: Anna, Peter, Hilmar, Jimmy, John, and Doris. 1964

The years went by and Oda and Hilmar had three American-born children — Anna, Peter, and James (Jimmy). Hilmar earned his Contractor’s License and they became American citizens. Hilmar traveled all over Southern California, building everything from block walls to custom homes.

Hilmar+Lassen, Oda+Lassen, Origin+story, Danish+Immigration, Lassen+Construction

The Lassens began to live the American dream, even buying a house in San Fernando. In 1963, Hilmar decided to build a spec house in the little Ventura County community of Camarillo. It was mostly avocado and orange orchards then, and there was only one stop sign in town. One Sunday Hilmar brought the family to Camarillo to see the house, located behind the Catholic Church on Las Posas. They attended church in town, and liked the community so much that they decided to not sell the spec house, but instead to sell their house in the Valley. So in December 1964, the family moved into that house and began to sink their roots deep in Ventura County.

Hilmar+Lassen, Oda+Lassen, Origin+story, Danish+Immigration, Lassen+Construction
Hilmar was never afraid of heights, as shown here. He worked on 25-foot high scaffolding well into his 70s, even at age 76 when he built the fireplaces on our home

Hilmar stayed busy in the construction business. He became not just a bricklayer, but a craftsman — even an artist. When I first came into the family in the early 80s, we would often take Sunday drives and Hilmar would show us what he was building, and also point out other jobs he had done over the years. He built the first Taco Bell in Camarillo on Arneill Road, which is now Hector’s Fresh Mexican Food. He loved to tell how he built the fireplaces and other brick and stone work in Ronald Reagan’s house in Pacific Palisades.

Hilmar+Lassen, Oda+Lassen, Origin+story, Danish+Immigration, Taco+Bell+Camarillo, Lassen+Construction
One of Hilmar Lassen’s Masonry jobs — the first Taco Bell in Camarillo

All the while, Oda was very busy holding down the fort at home with those seven children. She nurtured and taught them, and ran them to and from their activites. The Lassen siblings enjoyed their family life, learned, and grew. John enjoyed scouting, eventually earning the rank of Eagle. Peter especially loved the American pastime, baseball. The older ones left for college, married, and the grandchildren began to arrive.

Lassens+origin+story, Hilmar+Lassen, Oda+Lassen, Peter+Lassen, Immigration+from+Denmark, Lassen+family
Peter in Little League — probably about 1967

Once all of the children were in school, Oda began to work outside the home. She had always been interested in the area of health, and one of her jobs was at a local Health Food Store. The job was short-lived however, as she was fired — mostly because, according to Oda — the owner wanted to hire a “younger, more attractive” woman. But even if Oda had not been let go, she was disgusted with the way the owner ran the business — selling healthy items right next to processed and definitely unhealthy foods, and smoking big cigars in his office. She was ready to strike out on her own.

Lassens+origin+story, Hilmar+Lassen, Oda+Lassen, Peter+Lassen, Immigration+from+Denmark, Lassen+family
Here’s the Lassen family in front of the home that Hilmar built. He is holding their first grandchild, Nancy, and all of their children are in the photo. Their son-in-law must have taken this picture! Left-right: Bee, Doris, Anna, Ida, Oda, Peter, Nancy, Hilmar, John, Jimmy. About 1965.

Next Month — Oda the Brave decides she can do a better job herself, and  leaps into another adventure!



Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+story, Lassens+origin+story, immigration+from+Denmark

The Lassens Immigrate to America — A Leap into the Unknown

The End of the War

Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+story, Lassens+origin+story, immigration+from+Denmark

The end of World War II was a huge relief to the Lassens and to all of Denmark. They were able to relax a little and resume their lives. They had another little girl, Doris, and Hilmar started a business making, repairing, and selling canvas tarps.

Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+story, Lassens+origin+story, immigration+from+Denmark
When we visited last in 2000, This courtyard still looked pretty much the same as it did in the 1940s, as in this photo. Hilmar, with oldest daughter Birthe (“Bee”), is showing off his foot pedal (treadle) sewing machine!

Oda was always a people person. She made friends easily and nurtured those friendships. This is a photo with her friend Gerda soon after they met in the late 1940s. Gerda often talked about how they met and always praised Oda for how kind and helpful she always was to her and her children. After they both came to America, they would visit one another as often as possible, even though Gerda lived hundreds of miles away. They wrote letters and talked on the phone often.  Oda and Gerda remained friends until Gerda’s death in the early 2000s.

Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+story, Lassens+origin+story, immigration+from+Denmark

I never asked Oda about this photograph, but I love how she and the girls were all dressed up. Maybe they were going to church on a gloomy overcast day!

Oda+Lassen, Hilmar+Lassen, Lassen's+Origin+story, Lassens+origin+story, immigration+from+Denmark

In December of 1950, the Lassen’s welcomed their first son into the family, John. The family is still amazed that petite Oda was able to give birth to a 12-lb baby! To the annoyance of several members of the family, Oda said that he was her prettiest baby.

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I love everything about this photograph. The girls’ matching dresses, their expressions — from pensive or shy to posing, Oda’s quiet confidence, and John’s little raised eyebrows.

Even though things were much better in Denmark than during the war years, there were still worries. Oda told me that one of the factors that they took into consideration when contemplating coming to America, was that the Soviet Union was so close to Denmark. She said that she felt real fear of a Soviet invasion.

So when John was just a baby, they made the decision to immigrate to America. They found a sponsor — the father of a church friend — who was willing to vouch for the family. They started to sell most of their belongings and got ready to uproot everything that they had ever known. They thought it unlikely that they would ever see Denmark or their families again.

Doris was just five years old when they immigrated, but she remembers selling their furniture, toys, and dishes in order to have enough money to purchase passage on a ship. They travelled to Copenhagen to receive their passports and other documents, as well as to go through the screening and interviews needed.

When the photographer came to their apartment to take their passport photos, he also took a few extra pictures. John was just shy of a year old, and the photographer caught him taking his first steps!  Here is one of the entire family. From the left, Ida, Oda with John, Doris standing in front of Bee, and Hilmar.

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They packed all of their belongings into a trunk and three suitcases and they had fifty dollars in cash. In December of 1951, they visited their families for the last time, waved goodbye, and boarded the ship Gripsholm, headed for New York.

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This is a postcard that Hilmar sent to his father. It was given back to him after his father died.

Hilmar always liked to say that he carried John across the Atlantic ocean. John, who had just begun to walk, did not like the moving deck of the ship and refused to be put on his feet.

There are many more stories of their travels as they made their way from Denmark to New York City, and then across America by bus to the west. Within a few months they were in California, where Hilmar got a job working as a bricklayer’s assistant. All along the way, they gathered their courage when times were tough, as they were for quite a few years. None of them really knew any English, and that alone was daunting. But they took lessons and practiced, and the older girls went to school and helped everyone learn.

The Lassen family has a strong heritage of grit and drive, and nowhere can that be seen better than in their courage as they immigrated to a new country. We strive to have that grit and drive in our business, too, and to always remember our roots!



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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.

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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!

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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. 



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

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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! 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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!



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.

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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


  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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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.

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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 taste of Denmark with these æbleskivers!