An Honest Review With No Additives

20120620-192637.jpgA few weeks ago I wrote about eFoodsDirect and their awesome emergency pantry foods. Through the generosity of eFoodsDirect, I received a package containing their Tortilla Soup, Creamy Potato Soup, and Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.

The Tortilla Soup was very delicious. As I mentioned in my review of the Tortilla Soup, it was so good that I ate three bowls. The next item I decided to review was their Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.

The directions for making the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole were quite similar to the directions for making the Tortilla Soup. Bring water to a boil, whisk in the contents of the pouch, and cook for a few minutes. Does it get any easier than that?

20120620-193233.jpgAs I poured the pouch into the boiling water it smelled really good. Like any other packaged rice meal, I knew it was going to take a bit of time for this one to cook. I lowered the heat and settled in to read one of my textbooks while it cooked.

With five minutes remaining on the timer, I decided to check it, and I was a bit disheartened to see that the mixture had not thickened up as much as I thought it would have. The Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole contains rice, cheddar cheese, peas, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and sea salt. It also contains autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed corn protein. This matters, and I will tell you why in a few moments.

This product took much longer to cook than the directions indicated. After 25 minutes of cooking, it was nowhere near cooked, in fact some of the rice was still crunchy. I had to cook it an additional 15 minutes, at which point I decided to take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Even then, it needed an additional 10 minutes before it thickened up enough.

20120620-194145.jpgAs I waited for the food to thicken, I finished reading the package. It contains 912mg of sodium, 7 grams of protein, 14 mg of cholesterol, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of saturated fat. The sodium content is much higher than that of the Tortilla Soup, and I was a bit nervous that this product would taste a bit salty.

The first bite was quite delicious. My first thought was, “This is real good, I could eat this everyday, forget emergencies.” The texture was just right, given the amount of cooking time, and I continued to eat the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.

Four or five bites in, I noticed a strange aftertaste. I picked up the package to review the ingredients and that is when I noticed the autolyzed yeast extract and the hydrolyzed corn protein. As someone who suffers from adverse affects of eating foods that contain processed free glutamic acid, I have to be careful not to eat too much of those foods. Ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid are autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn protein, and the more commonly known ingredient, monosodium glutamate.

20120620-195819.jpgI did not suffer from an adverse reaction to the processed free glutamic acid, and I never figured out what was causing the strange aftertaste following each bite, but I decided not to push my luck by eating any more of the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole. I did not suffer from a reaction when I ate the Tortilla Soup either, which also contains both ingredients. The mere presence of those ingredients does not mean I will always suffer from a reaction, but I was not taking any chances.

In summary, I think the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole serves its purpose as a food stored for emergency preparedness, but it did take much longer to cook and the strange aftertaste left me a bit perplexed. eFoodsDirect asked for my honest opinion about their products, and I honestly hope they work to remove additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed corn protein from their ingredients for these products.

Food For Thought

When the economy tanked, we were lucky. Oh sure, I lost my job, our finances were ruined, and eventually we lost our house, but we were lucky because we had taken some time to can foods over the weeks and months before I lost my job.

My wife had taken an interest in learning to preserve foods, so we were going all out. By the time I was laid off, we had corn, peaches, pears, pickles, pinto beans, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, blackberry jam, blueberry jam, muscadine jam, apples, potatoes, and a few other things on our shelves.

I cannot stress the importance of having some sort of food reserves on hand, in case of financial or natural disaster. I have been under- or un-employed for the past three years and those reserves came in very handy during the times we literally had nothing else to put on the table. As a volunteer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, I can tell you that the number of people who are facing a food security crisis in our community is staggering.

20120603-202437.jpgeFoodsDirect is a company that provides an excellent solution for those people who want to build up their food storage whether it is for economic reasons, disaster preparedness, health considerations, or just overall food security. I recently received a package containing three free samples and decided to write a review for each product in the package.

I received a package containing their Tortilla Soup, Creamy Potato Soup, and Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole. Each meal comes in it’s own envelope, which you add to boiling water, and is ready to eat in under 30 minutes. Each envelope contains four one-cup servings (or two hearty servings). The envelopes are durable and have a shelf life of more than 20 years. The Tortilla Soup would not expire until February 13, 2027, if I had not eaten it this afternoon.

20120603-202655.jpgWhen I opened the envelope for the Tortilla Soup my nose went nuts. It smelled absolutely delicious. The aroma was quite similar to many fresh tortilla soup recipes I have tried in the past, so I was actually excited to try it. Twenty minutes and four and a half cups of water later, I was eating delicious Tortilla Soup.

The soup contained black beans, red beans, potato, cheddar cheese, onion, carrots, green chili, garlic, corn, sea salt, red peppers, and of course, pieces of tortilla. It did not look the greatest, but I think that is to be expected with a bean soup of any kind. As with many packaged products, the sodium content was a little high at 451mg per serving, but it contained 4 grams of protein, zero cholesterol, 3 grams of fiber, and only 0.5 grams of saturated fat.

20120603-202251.jpgThe product was very tasty. It was so delicious that I ate three bowls. With the first bowl, I followed the package directions and included some butter for additional flavor. I did not add butter to the second bowl, because I would not have butter on hand if I was facing some financial or natural disaster, and I wanted to give an honest review for the product. Either way, the soup was absolutely delicious.

To tell you the truth, when I received the package I was a bit skeptical, but after trying the Tortilla Soup, I honestly believe eFoodsDirect delivers a good product and I can hardly wait to try the other two. Through a special offer from eFoodsDirect, in remembrance of the disaster in Japan last year, you can save 50% on their 7-day Pantry Pack, or 40% off their Soup and EntreĆ© pack. Just make sure you use coupon codes ‘Food50’ or ‘Food40’ when checking out. Where else can you get 7 days worth of food for $24.95? Over the course of the next few days I will be reviewing the other two products separately, giving my honest opinion about each one of them as well.

I Told You So!

I hate to say it, but…

I told you so!

The U.S. economy added fewer jobs than expected in November and the unemployment rate rose, dashing hopes that the recovery is gaining momentum.

Sure enough… Once everyone looked at the numbers and did the math, it was obvious things were no better today than they were three days ago when local officials here in our area said, “the local economy is on the uptick“.

The truth is, non-farm payrolls rose by 39,000 jobs even though private-sector employers actually added 50,000 jobs. The unemployment rate rose to 9.8%, the highest level since April.

And that my friends is how it works. When you remove people from the unemployment rolls and you remove people from the workplace, the numbers have to show it. Period.

Of course all of the so called “experts” will forget this in about 28 more days when they start talking about next months unemployment numbers.

Unemployment: Local Shock And Awe

It seems that people within our government, both local and national, have forgotten the very basics about mathematics. You see, no matter what they want to tell you unemployment numbers cannot drop if the workforce is declining and jobs are not actually picking up.

Carroll County unemployment numbers for October are significantly down from last year, a sign local officials say is indicative that the local economy is on the uptick.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, the jobless rate for last month was an even 10 percent, which is down nearly a point from the 10.9 percent rate of October 2009. While the total labor force has shrunk in the last year, going from 52,040 last year to 51,307 as of last month, and the total number of employed residents has also declined, the latter figures haven’t declined as sharply, dropping only from 46,346 to 46,179.

Officials claim the unemployment rate has dropped from 10.9% to 10% over the course of the past year. Meanwhile the size of the workforce has dropped from 52,040 to 51,307 was well. The reduction in the workforce just happens to be 0.986%. Do you notice anything about these figures? Unemployment has “dropped” 0.9% while the size of the workforce has also dropped 0.9%.

They don’t account for all the people who have utilized the full extent of their unemployment benefits and have dropped off the official unemployment rolls, nor have they accounted for the fact that the only reason the numbers seem to have dropped is because employers are not hiring as many people.

These local officials who are in awe that the unemployment numbers are “dropping” are going to be the ones who are shocked on the day the news breaks that unemployment has “unexpectedly” risen again.

When FREE Means $85.95

I received an email yesterday that told me I could order a NASCAR BEANIE BABY for FREE! It sounded too good to be true, but who doesn’t love FREE? I couldn’t resist. Well, yes I could. Let me show you why.

 

Although the e-mail ad (shown above, click to enlarge) said the NASCAR BEANIE BABY was FREE, the word FREE was nowhere to be found on the website. The NASCAR BEANIE BABY was now going to cost $1.95 for shipping and handling.

 

That’s just not right. The e-mail stated that the NASCAR BEANIE BABY was supposed to be FREE, but the website was states that it actually costs $1.95. Again, the word FREE was nowhere to be found. At the bottom of this page, I noticed the little disclaimer about the NASCAR BEANIE BABY.

“NASCAR® is a registered trademark of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. NASCAR, Inc. is not a sponsor of this promotion. This promotion is not affiliated with nor endorsed by any NASCAR driver. All product images are subject to change without notice.”

Say what? The product images are subject to change without notice? Well, heck. The price of the item changed without notice (in the click of the mouse) so why should anyone expect to receive the actual NASCAR BEANIE BABY they choose at the time of ordering?

At this point, I almost closed the browser, but I was interested in what might appear on the next page. So, knowing the NASCAR BEANIE BABY was going to cost $1.95 and could change without notice, I filled out the form and clicked the “Confirm Your Order” button.

Suddenly, it all made sense. Although I knew it before I clicked the original link in the e-mail, the next page out everything into perspective.

 

Check out section three. It seems, once you pay $1.95 for the NASCAR BEANIE BABY, you get a BONUS GIFT. How awesome is that? $1.95 not only gets you the NASCAR BEANIE BABY, but you get a BONUS GIFT as well!

So what is the bonus gift? A Risk Free 30 days in the Official NASCAR Members Club! Do you have that tingly feeling yet? You get 30 days FREE membership in the “Official NASCAR Members Club”. Okay, now wake up! Dream time is over. Snap out of it!

Once you give them your credit card information, they bill you $1.95 for the FREE NASCAR BEANIE BABY and thirty days later they bill you $84 for the annual membership fee in the Official NASCAR Members Club.

At the end of 30 days, your Official NASCAR Members Club benefits will automatically continue for $84 and will renew each year at the same annual rate. We will bill or deduct the annual membership fee to the credit card or debit card you registered. The benefits of the Official NASCAR Members Club may be enhanced or modified at any time without prior notice. If you are not completely satisfied at any time, simply call the Official NASCAR Members Club at 1-877-696-2722 to let us know you wish to cancel your membership benefits. If you cancel at any time within your 30-day review, you will not be billed. If you cancel at any time within 30-days after you have been billed, you will be able to receive a full refund. No refunds will be available after 30 days of being billed

It doesn’t stop there. If, by chance, you’re fool enough to place the order, you also opt-in to receiving their DAILY email newsletter containing each day’s NASCAR’s headlines!

So, let’s review.

That FREE NASCAR BEANIE BABY, along with the ensuing membership in the Official NASCAR Members Club, just cost you $85.95 and you’re going to be reminded of your mistake every day via e-mail “for the majority of the calendar year”.

Read the fine print people. Nothing is free. I knew that. You knew that. Get over it.

Is Campbell’s Pandering To Muslims For The Money?

After my post on October 13th titled, “Mmm. Mmm. No. Not So Good“, where I pointed out that Campbell’s Soup uses no other religious “dietary” designation on their labeling, I was contacted by Amanda Heisey from Newsy.com.

Hey Michael,

I just read your blog post about Campbell’s soup going Halal. I really appreciate how you went on Campbell’s website and actually looked at the different headings and categories for their soups. All I can say to your question about why Campbell’s is catering to Muslims is for the money. It’s a demographic not many North American brands are covering and they’ll become a lot more popular with Muslims and groups that feel strongly about diversity and equality. In a way, if you think about it, it’s not a bad marketing ploy. Here’s a video I think you might find interesting that covers this story from a few different angles.

http://www.newsy.com/videos/campbell-s-soup-supporting-terrorism/

I hope you’ll check out the link and consider embedding or linking this video on your blog. It’s informational and may help inform others about what’s happening with the boycotting and what sparked this controversy in an easy format. Newsy covers a wide variety of topics. It offers multiple sources and views on an issue in a short video clip. If you have any questions, let me know. Thanks!

Amanda Heisey
[e-mail address removed because you don’t need to spam her]

When I wrote about this whole “Halal” labeling issue, I did so because I thought it was odd that Campbell’s Soup would cater to one specific religious group, and that’s it.

I did mention the connection with ISNA, which the Campbell’s Soup website itself refers too, and is the focus for many who are boycotting the company. While that aspect does concern me, it was not the focus of my post, nor the intended subject matter.

This issue affects only the Canadian market (at this time) and I simply want to know why Campbell’s Soup is catering specifically to Muslims with their dietary labeling.

Amanda says the decision to cater specifically to Muslims is “for the money”, however, Muslims represent just 2% of the Canadian population (based on Canada’s 2001 census), which is just under 600,000 people.

Granted, the economy is sluggish and there are more Muslims living in Canada than Jews (approximately 350,000), but this just doesn’t seem like a good marketing plan, does it? If you’re going to market to 600,000 people, why not add a “Kosher” designation and reach an additional 350,000 while you’re at it?

Twenty percent of Canadian women (50% of pregnant women) and three percent of Canadian men are iron deficient. Wouldn’t it make more sense to market an iron-rich product to a larger demographic?

Seriously, if this is nothing but a marketing plan to reach a specific demographic, there are many more demographics out there which represent a much larger segment of Canadian society.

Honestly, I still don’t see adding the ‘Halal Certified’ designation as a significant financial “win” for Campbell’s Soup. In fact, I think Amanda’s theory doesn’t hold water, however, I did promise her that I would post the video from Newsy.com, so here it is.

 

In summary, I still want to know why they are specifically catering to Muslims.

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