Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Wow, it's the 8th of December -- Hanukah begins this Friday the 11th, and Christmas and Kwanza are but 2 weeks away too. It's never a bad idea to give a healthy gift -- no matter the size, big or small.

Gifts Under $12.00
Checkout any of our Organic Assortments at the Berkshire Grain Store, starting at $11.50, plus shipping.

Berkshire Grain Organic Granolas are different -- a unique mix of ingredients, like Chia Seeds -- Did you know Chia Seeds have more Calcium than Cow's Milk, and are a rich source of Omega 3's? Each 1 oz serving of our organic granolas contain over 15g of Organic Whole Grains.


Plus each Berkshire Grain Organic Granola is low fat, and a good source of dietary fiber. Our granolas have a long shelf life -- so not to worry if a gift is gong to a single person, or family -- it will be consumed long before any expiration.

Stocking Stuffer Ideas:
2oz Berkshire Grain, Granola Grab 'n Go 6-pak
These Grab 'n Go are the most convenient way to eat healthy anyplace, anytime. Perfect for backpacks, desk drawers, car glove boxes, lunch boxes. Headed to the airport? -- just Grab.........a small portion pouch of your favorite blend of Berkshire Grain Organic Granolas -- Grab 'n Go. Available in all varieties: Cinnamon Toast, Cranberry Pumpkin Seed, Krunchie Munchie and Blueberry Crisp. This sampler has 6 pouches of one variety. Each pouch is 2 servings Price: $11.50, plus shipping.

Grab 'n Go All Variety Assortment,
Organic Assortment includes 3 resealable 2 oz pouches of each variety -- Cinnamon Toast, Cranberry Pumpkin Seed, Krunchie Munchie, Blueberry Crisp. There's something here for everyone , or just a variety selection for you. These make a very thoughtful gift, and shows someone you really care. Hint: With a pretty ribbon tied around 4 Grab-n-Go Treats -- you now have 3 Stocking Stuffer gifts for....
Price: $21.00, plus shipping.

Berkshire Grain Organic Granola For A Month, 6-12 oz resealable pouches
Routine is good. Diet, Rest, Exercise............so we thought we'd help you stay on your program with a month's supply of your favorite granola varieties. Granola for a Month comes with your own assortment of our granolas, 6 resealable 12 ounce pouches. You get to choose which granola varieties. Only available in Cinnamon Toast and Cranberry Pumpkin Seed. Hint: Break this up into 3 or 6 small gifts.
Price: $34.50, plus shipping.

Each cereal bowl is hand thrown, decorated and kiln fired by Berkshire Artisan Michelle Lydon. Made from Sheffield Clay, each unique stoneware bowl can be used for eating and baking.
Conventional Oven, Microwave, and Dishwasher Safe!
Perfect for Granola to Chili! Make Great Gifts. Something very "organic" when the bowl is cradled in the palm of your hand and eating -- delicious, quality foods!
Available in blue or green design: Price per Bowl: $19.00, plus shipping

Orders received before 12pm are shipped the same day, anything after 12pm ships the next business day. Upon shipping you will receive a confirmation email from Fedex with a tracking number so you can see the progress w/o contacting us. Of course if you have any questions regarding any order with Berkshire Grain -- call our Hotline, or write via email customerservice@berkshiregrain.com.

Orders received before 12pm are shipped the same day, anything after 12pm ships the next business day. Upon shipping you will receive a confirmation email from Fedex with a tracking number so you can see the progress w/o contacting us. Of course if you have any questions regarding any order with Berkshire Grain -- call our Hotline, or write via email customerservice@berkshiregrain.com

Shipping Info:
We offer ground and express shiping options -- it is all pretty easy to follow at checkout time from our store. A easy to use Fedex Utility is available and you be charged the actual shipping amounts, and not a flat rate.

Special Instructions:
Gifts can be sent directly to a designated recipient along with a gift card -- if a note and special greeting is your preference, just send us an email to: customerservice@berkshiregrain.com, Subject: Gift Card, along with your personalized greeting, don't forget to put in your note what name should be included "to and from" -- also reference the order by order# so we can get it right for you.

Happy Holidays to you from all of us at Berkshire Grain

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Roasted Beets Salad with Organic Granola

Ever read a recipe and get inspired to make it right away. One of our staff in our Test Kitchen is a huge Beet Lover. You just have to mention Beets and she's in the mood. Good thing Beets are so healthy for you.

By now you might be thinking Beets?? What this has to do with Berkshire Grain Organic Granola -- good question. By substituting one ingredient, 1/2 cup of chopped pistachios, with 1/4 cup of Berkshire Grain Organic Cranberry -Pumpkin Seed Granola we're able to reduce some of the fat and also increase the fiber of this yummy recipe.

Nutritionally this is what we did:

Original Recipe
1/2 cup Pistachio Nuts
350 calories, 26g fat

Replaced with:
1/4 cup Berkshire Grain Organic Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Granola
130 calories, 3g fat

Roasted Beet Salad and Berkshire Grain Organic Granola

Serves 4

- 4 medium beets, roasted, peeled, and sliced
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 1/4 cup Berkshire Grain Organic Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Granola
- Greens

1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
- 1/3 Cup olive oil

- Pinch of salt and pepper

To roast the beets, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Just brush off any dirt. No need to wash them since we are going to peel them later. Cut off the tops and set them cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake them for about an hour or until a knife will easily pierce one.

Let them cool for a few minutes and then peel and slice them.

The inspiration for this healthy salad came from a recipe we received in a blog we subscribe to. We recommend this blog to you -- great passion for food, interesting recipes and great step by step instructions and photos. For a look at the original recipe and more http://www.macheesmo.com/2009/12/a-meat-and-potatoes-date/

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gratitude Day

Not an original idea but one that is worthwhile repeating and passing on.

Dateline, November 26th, 2009, 7:00am EST
At this moment all across the U.S. people are in various stages of preparation for a holiday feast. Chefs and their kitchen staff, mothers, fathers, grandparents, children too......wake with great excitement and anticipation.

There is another story that seldom gets told, or only as an after thought -- mothers, fathers, grandparents, children too..........waking homeless, hungry and will not be part of a joyous feast, elders in a nursing home may not have any visitors, soldiers overseas everywhere not with family........maybe you can add people you know in your own community -- that homeless person that helps people carry their groceries to their car at the market for spare change, the pan handler who is there everyday when you get off the highway returning from work, the man with the sign "Will Work For Food". The list of those less fortunate for whatever reason is endless, and in these times is growing faster than those wishing to live some "American Dream."

Not being part of this other group the images may be fuzzy for the rest of us to imagine what that might be like. Most of the time we here at Berkshire Grain are concocting new product ideas, creating interesting new ways to add more Organic Whole Grains to your daily diet.

This morning we just want to spread the thought of "BE IN GRATITUDE"...........What are you grateful for?

Several years ago when our children were younger a group of us went to a local church in our community that had a food pantry that prepared Thanksgiving meals for those less fortunate. It was a great experience for our children at 6 and 8 years old -- it was quite the contrast from a life with X-Boxes and iPods. When we called to inquire this year if we could help -- we found the Soup Kitchen Closed due to lack of funds.

Here at Berkshire Grain, in the next few days we will be announcing our plans to offer our GRATITUDE in our own communities.

Have a Happy, Healthy, Safe Holiday and mix in a big spoon of GRATITUDE somewhere between those mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, asparagus..........think about what you can do as an individual to give something back and make a difference. You may find yourself with a smaller bulge in your waistline, and a warm-swelling near your heart :)

Here's something interesting to share with all of you -- Heard on NPR,11/25/2009 -- share this with others -- again it's a perspective some of us can't imagine -- National Day of Listening

Peace Everywhere

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Get Stuffed -- Organic Granola Whole Wheat Bread Stuffing

What is Thanksgiving without a nice big Turkey, and what is Thanksgiving Turkey Feast without some delicious stuffing?

You'll be glad to know the Berkshire Grain Test Kitchen crew agrees, and has been thinking about this very thing. The staff has been having a yummy time researching and testing various recipes in search of our very own stuffing recipe.

This one is bursting with apple cinnamon toast flavor that will be the perfect side to your turkey this Thanksgiving.......... of course if you're a practicing Vegetarian, then skip the Turkey and head right to the stuffing -- just remember to share with the "omnivores."

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 min

  • 2 apples, peeled,cored and chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Berkshire Grain Cinnamon Toast or Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Granola
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 3 tablespoon Earth Balance spread or butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cup whole wheat bread, cubed
  • 1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1/3-1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice

  1. Saute apples,granola, onion and celery in Earth Balance or butter for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in spices and seasonings.
  2. Toss with bread cubes and raisins or cranberries.. Stir egg in 1/3 cup apple cider; toss into bread/granola mixture.
  3. The stuffing is now ready to placed directly into the open cavity of the turkey.
  4. For Vegetarian Stuffing -- Add more cider if needed. Bake in lightly greased baking dish covered, for 30- 40 minutes.
Best of all each Berkshire Grain Organic Granola contains over 15g of Organic Whole Grains in every serving. So if your guests are normally reluctant to try stuffing -- let them know this recipe is a little different than the rest :) Bon Appetit!

Enjoy Your Feast, and Look For More Recipes and Ideas at www.berkshiregrain.com
Healthy is the New Delicious™

Friday, November 13, 2009

Local Foods Make Thanksgiving Special

All over the world people are adopting a custom that was part of the original tradition of Thanksgiving. The TV Food Network has a "100 mile challenge" -- more and more citings all over the internet advocating the same thing. Whether your focus is a sustainable local economy, or supporting local quality foods from your own region, or that it's your assumed responsible to reduce your carbon food print -- in essence it's all the same.

In New England and other parts of the country as well, we've seen our local farms disappear through land grabs and overzealous building. Climate issues, a downward spiraling economy, rising fuel costs, health care and other labor costs, are only some of the other issues that affect small businesses, especially food producers whose margins are slim, and not to forget "real food" is perishable.

This Thanksgiving we should all do whatever we can to think about our local/regional food growers and manufacturers. One doesn't have to go to an extreme to make a positive impact. It's more important to take the first step this year, and use this year's celebration as a time to plan to do more come this time next year.

Here at Berkshire Grain we have tried to get creative and offer you the following delicious dessert for your Thanksgiving table -- We present.........Easy Apple Crisp, using Berkshire Grain Granola produced right here in Western MA, next we use delicious Apple Pie Filling jarred at the source by Out on A Limb, of Lamoine, ME. Top the whole thing off with fresh made Whipped Cream from High Lawn Farm, Lee, MA

Berkshire Grain, of Lenox, MA - is comprised of a small group of people with a love of Organic Whole Grains, Nuts and Seeds. Some of the ingredients found in Berkshire Grain Granolas are unique and not found in other similar products. Like Organic Chia Seeds which contain 6x more Calcium than milk. Chia Seeds, pure and simple are a Super Food. Organic Okara, comes from Organic (Non-GMO) Soybeans and is a by-product in the production of Soymilk. Both Chia Seeds and Okara are rich sources of protein and fiber. Berkshire Grain granolas are gently roasted at slow temperatures that infuses a delicate taste that is not too sweet, yet full of flavor -- you'll know this is true with the first bite of our Apple Crisp.

Out On A Limb, Lamoine, ME - a home-based company owned by Lori and Tim Jordan, in Lamoine, Maine offers 42 fruit-based products created by Tim that are either low sugar or have no sugar added. The original idea came about because of diabetics in the family who were unable to eat the mass-produced versions of jams / jellies / syrups on the market. Voilá, Out On A Limb was born. Lori and Tim have been creating their special products in their Lamoine kitchen for six and a half years. They grow strawberries, rhubarb, pumpkins, raspberries, crabapples and apples on their property and they do all the jarring, labeling and production in their home.

High Lawn Farm, of Lee, MA -- has been in continuous operation since before 1900. The proprietorship was assumed by Colonel H. G. Wilde and Mrs. Marjorie Field Wilde in 1935 from Mrs. Wilde’s family, and today it continues under the ownership and guidance of the next generation. It is the last remaining, complete dairy farm in the Berkshires - producing, bottling and delivering its own milk - representing over 100 years in the same family. The Jersey herd, for which High Lawn Farm is nationally recognized, dates to at least 1918, with official production records continuous from 1923. Certain cow families in the present herd trace direct lineage across 15 generations to the original herd of 1918.

Click the following link to view the Apple Organic Granola Crisp Recipe

The recipe is wonderful and easy to make -- it was prepared fresh the other day and served as part of a Thursday evening community event at Whole Foods in Hadley, MA. Funny thing happened that the Berkshire Grain associate was in the store serving Apple Crisp to shoppers, when she looked at the time, and dashed off to the in-store kitchen to discover part of the Apple Crisp missing and being enjoyed by the store staff -- so be careful , set your timer and guard your oven.

If you decide to try our recipe please write us a comment, and during your dinner service add conversation about where the various foods came from, sprinkled with interesting information either about the food or the people behind the food. By doing so we can all give thanks.

Healthy is the New Delicious™

Friday, November 6, 2009

Brrrrrr.........Cold Mornings -- Hot Granola Yummm! -- FREE RECIPE & FREE GRANOLA OFFER

Well the last of the leaves have fallen but will not be forgotten -- all the fall cleanup has found it's way to our compost container......more about that in the spring. Now we'd like to share that here in the Berkshires - we finally experienced our first snow fall - and although it was just a "dusting" as we say in these parts -- it is none the less the beginning -- shoveling, plowing, skiing, ice skating, snow shoeing, ice fishing -- and Cold Winter Mornings.

Here at Berkshire Grain we are big advocates of starting the day right -- and that means a nutritious breakfast -- and as much as we love a delicious bowl of granola with milk or yogurt and plenty of fresh fruit -- if you live in a place where the typical temperature this time of year is closer to freezing well we've got a treat for you.

Berkshire Grain Hot Granola

Berkshire Grain Hot Granola is not like other hot cereals -- because our products are not just plain oats. It starts with a complex assortment of different grains, nuts and seeds -- all offering not only a unique taste -- but also the different textures translate into an interesting experience with every spoonful. FREE BERKSHIRE GRAIN HOT GRANOLA RECIPE

Taste the Difference

As part of our manufacturing process the granola mix is evenly coated with a collection of unrefined sugars, nectars and natural flavorings -- then oven roasted at low temperatures. When the granola is cooked as a hot cereal -- the infused flavor bursts -- if you dare to get your nose close enough to the pot you will know what we mean, and if you're anything like us -- you'll have a sampling spoon nearby to test it right from the pot :)

Hot Granola and Fresh Fruit

If you haven't tried this on your own here's a neat trick. Just before your pot of Hot Granola is ready to come off the heat throw in your own assortment of cut up fresh fruit, stir and talk about bursting with flavor...........one of our favorites is adding a mashed banana -- gotta get that potassium hit.

Free Granola Offer

We would like to introduce as many people to Berkshire Grain Granola -- Hot or Cold! So we're giving away 2 ounce samples free, for a small handling fee of $1.00. PROGRAM DETAILS

Friday, February 20, 2009

Breakfast, Obesity and Juvenile Diabetes Part2

A 4 Part Series from Berkshire Grain

Part 2 of 4: Breakfast, Metabolism, Weight Management

How it Works 

How does it all work??  Skipping Breakfast will put the pounds on. 

Our bodies are like these very efficient computers.  Most of us are familiar with the term “Energy Star” which is an early green technology implemented in all types of smart electronic devices that reduces power to conserve energy.  In essence the computer processor shuts down non-essential activities thereby allowing basic functions to be maintained and monitored.   

Biologically our bodies has it’s own unique “Energy Star System” – skip breakfast and your body goes into a reduce energy cycle.  So if you look at the list in Part 1 of this Article Series -- Which human functions would you choose to reduce? – unfortunately when a person skips breakfast they give up those rights, and the bodies “Energy Star System” kicks in to place and overrides even our conscious commands.  We feel sluggish, and fuzzy, rather than sharp and alert.  In this state running for the school bus or commuter train, forces your body to deplete stored nutrients and throws your Blood Glucose Levels into the danger zone – and depending on one’s present health condition in these emergencies the bodies reaction can be scary (more about this in the 3rd installment).

 Your body has a name for it’s “Energy Star System” it is called Metabolism.  Another explaination for Metabolism is -- the rate at which your body burns calories.  There is no easy way to cover the plethora of information and the dynamic correlations of Weight Management and your Metabolism – the internet is a great wealth of information -- click on the link above and if you have school age children sit with them and read it together.

 Breakfast which is essential to fuel the start of another day – resarch shows that those who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who skip it.  Your metabolism slows down while you sleep and it doesn’t speed back up until you eat again.  If you don’t eat until lunchtime?? – your body won’t burn as many calories as it could during the morning period. 

Your bodies BMR  is dynamically affected by several factors.

  • Age
  • Body Type
  • Genetics
  • Activity Levels
  • Diet 
The higher the BMR the better, and sedentary lifestyles have lower BMR's which makes it more difficult to keep weight off.

Making Your Metabolism Your Friend

 There are 2 biochemical processes working independently in the body called Anabolism and Catabolism.  The results of  these 2 processes is what we call the Metabolism.  In the simplest terms Anabolism is the buildup of molecules into energy, while Catabolism is the breakdown of those "energy molecules."  

A simplified example of how this works is imagine a storage bucket.  Everything we eat gets evaluated in the Anabolic process -- molecules that can create energy get incorporated into larger mass and stored in this "Energy Bucket", the size of which is determined by your BMR. The Catabolic process breaks down the stored energy from the "Energy Bucket" as the body creates demand -- the more active a person is the greater the demand.  If due to a combination of factors the demand for Energy throughtout the day is insufficient to empty the "Energy Bucket" and more calories are consumed the body converts the molecules in the "Energy Bucket" into fat in order to make more room in the "Bucket."  Body Fat is how the body stores Energy for "Long-Term Storage."  And when caloric intake is insufficient to meet the body's demand for  energy it begins to consume that stored fat/energy, thereby potentially initiating weight-loss or reduction in body mass.  Lastly when everything is in balance the body's weight remains unchanged.

From this can you begin to understand why a person might feel sluggish with no energy??  If you guessed poor diet offering too little sustainable energy you are correct -- this condition is almost entirely diet related.  More on this in the last installment, part 4 of this article (due next week)

As children we receive encouraging suggestions from adults……….eat your veggies, drink your milk……if you want to grow up to have a healthy strong body.   These are good lessons to adopt -- and this loving suggestion is a life long lesson to once learned to be practiced everyday. 

As adults people tend to take better care of their automobiles than their bodies.  They use the right grade of gasoline, the correct type of oil, brake fluid, spark plugs – it’s all clearly spelled out in the owners manual – ah-ha!  No “Human Manual.” 

A good friend likes to use an expression “My Body is My Temple” – that seems to work for him.  Why not make Your Metabolism Your Friend?  It’s a good place to start. 

If we refer back to the Anabolic and Catabolic processes – the body needs good quality and correct amounts of specific food types for these processes to work efficiently.  Simple Carbohydrates in the form of refined sugars (white sugar, high fructose corn syrups) enriched flours, other forms of processed grains work against the body.  Processed foods have many of the vital nutrients essential to sustain our daily needs stripped away in manufacturing, and in the long-term produce the results – Obesity and Insulin Resistance (leading to Diabetes).  Many breakfast cereals targeting children -- that are frosted, artificially flavored and artificially colored offer little opportunity for "sustainable energy."

Breakfast Foods that offer a good choice of Whole Grains, Quality Lean Proteins, and Healthy Fats is the best way to start the day.  Feeling good is contagious and unconsciously your body and mind will begin to attract more right choices throughout the day. 

Conversely processed foods offer too few essential nutrients if any in comparison to their calorie count, and so the body doesn’t convert these to energy.  Unfortunately starting your day with poor choices and your body will push you towards further, like choices throughout the whole day -- pushing you further into low energy, irritability, depression, lack of focus and worse.....Ever feel thirsty and just can't quench that thirst? ah-ha! same thing keep feeding the body sugar and processed foods

The following plan is an example of poor habits that is almost guaranteed to result in worsening health issues, which wil be discussed in the 3rd part of this 4 part series: 

  • Eating lots proceesed foods with little nutritive value
  • Little or No Exercise
  • Skipping Meals (not just breakfast)
  • Eating too close to bedtime 

The above plan will over time develop High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Insulin Resistance.   Without any remediation these conditions will lead to Inflammation in the body , sometimes referred to as “Heat”, and Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals, “Rust.” 

Likewise here is the list of good practices to support a “healthy” weight management system.  

  • Eat a balanced good quality lean diet, balanced between protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
  • Eat Small meals every 2-4 hours through out the day
  • Reduce your caloric intake
  • Exercise 3-4 times/week (every other day) a combination of cardio fitness exercises like walking/running/swimming, and weight resistance approximately 40 minutes in duration.
To be continued...............
Part 3 of this article will begin to look at the effects of poor diet, and lack of exercise.  Major contributors of inflammation in the body, especially Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, "Hardening of the Arteries", High Blood Pressure, Hyper Thyroidism.

Keep reading, don't let yourself become upset -- for most it's not too late -- poor health due to poor diet/nutirition is almost always reversible through diet, supplements, and when necessary prescription medication.

Disclaimer: Everyone’s body is different and this is at best a very challenging subject to discuss in this short space.  The comments, statements, any claims need to be evaluated on an individualized basis.  The author recognizes that pre-existing health and medical conditions may be present that must be properly incorporated into any changes to diet, exercise and caloric intake.  A good practice is to meet with your healthcare provider and discuss your concerns as the first step -- this applies to everyone, whether you consider yourself in good health or not.