Tips to stay calm as Tax Day looms near

By Mary Gorges for Back to the Roots

bill 1Tax accountant and CPA Bill Ehardt, of San Francisco, Calif., says he uses humor to distract his clients this time of year – especially when they owe money.

“First I get them to breathe, then to relax and then to think about their next vacation,” says Ehardt. “I try to be the voice of calm.” I say, “It’s not so bad, it’s only money.”

That’s easy for Bill to say. The rest of us are either stressing about how to pay our tax bill – or if you’re lucky and getting a refund – making sure you get your return in by midnight April 15th.

So what’s the trick for a calm, healthy approach to this annual ritual? Well, by using the same tricks we use to deal with stress all year long. And remember, when you feel better and are calm, you’re much apt to make fewer mistakes.

Ways to make any stressful situation less …(well) taxing.

Here are some other folks who have figured out what works for them.

honeymooners
Honeymooners Phil and Tiffany:  “We decided on a cruise for our honeymoon.”These Australians visiting the Bay area wanted their marriage to begin on a calm note. So they opted for a cruise from Sydney all the way to San Francisco. They say they wanted all the details taken care of — no deciding where to stay or how to get somewhere. Says Tiffany, “It’s been great so far. We’re still talking to each other.”
jerome4Hair colorist Jerome Molles:“I make my environment very relaxing and comfortable.”Molles just opened his own salon called Studio 323 in San Francisco. And says there’s nothing more stressful than doing a woman’s hair. This is also the first time in his life he’s running his own business. “I made all the colors in the place very warm and picked a place that had great light streaming in.” Added Molles, “My clients think it’s for them but it’s actually for me.”
craig Little league soccer coach Craig Doedden:  “I sit down.”Doedden says forcing himself to sit down during a game keeps him relaxed and focused on the players. “If I stand, then I’m walking around and not really watching the game. My anxiety is playing out.” (I have witnessed this many times. Even during a tie or a tourney, Doedden sits in his chair.)
bus driver
Maurice the ‘Big Bus’ driver:  “I don’t take work home with me.”Maurice drives tourists around all day in downtown San Francisco and (as you can tell) enjoys his work. “I don’t bring the problems of work home with me; otherwise, you show up at work the next day still stewing about stuff that bothers you. You have to get your mind off it.”
bicyclist
Logan the pedicabbie:   “It’s all about controlled breathing.”It’s back to our accountant’s advice of telling his clients to breathe. Logan says it’s all about breathing deeply and “keeping the endorphins firing.”
alicia1
Alicia Kim:  “Spend time at the office relaxing.”Of course, here at Back to the Roots, our favorite way to relax is with an AquaFarm. We always believe in taking time out to enjoy the small things …even when it’s Sammy the Fish. Let us know how you relax this tax season!
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Who says March Madness destroys productivity? You’re just developing your entrepreneurial skills. Nikhil explains how.

basketball head

Nikhil talks about the many parallels between business and March Madness.

Read here in ragan.com

 

 

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Posted in Our Community

It’s officially spring! Flowers that go from the garden to the kitchen.

By Mary Gorges for Back to the Roots

Edible flowers are becoming a popular way to grow your own food, and are quickly going from being the table centerpiece to part of the menu. At some farmers markets, flower petals are mixed right in with the lettuce.

farmers market

Zoe Rosenbeum with Happy Boy Farms from Watsonville, Calif. sells produce at a farmers market in Palo Alto Calif. on Sundays. She says, “People are really divided on them. Sometimes they just want to know if we sell lettuce without flowers  …or flowers on their own. This group of shoppers at the farmers market isn’t sure either.

Chef Jack Amon is executive chef and founder of The Marx Bros Café in Anchorage, Alaska and says he always serves flowers in his salads (in the summer) because they add flavor AND a great splash of color.  He says nasturtiums are his favorite but he also uses edible pansies, Johnny Jump-Ups and even roses.

nasturtiums  pansies  johnny jumpups  roses 1
        Nasturtiums                 Pansies                     Johnny Jump-Ups          The Rose

Amon says nasturtiums taste like horseradish “spicy and really good”. He suggests grinding some up and making them into a butter rub for chicken and seafood. Put a slice on top of food to melt right before you grill.

Here’s his simple recipe:
1 pound of butter
Half a cup of nasturtiums
Roll into a log and put in the freezer (lasts up to a year)

Amon grows edible flowers in his garden behind his fine dining restaurant in the long summer days of Alaska. “Customers love them, especially when they see one of the chefs go out to the garden to pick the flowers, and they end up on their plate moments after.” He says flowers are used as a garnish too to make a dish beautiful …or to make a statement. He says for Valentine’s Day, he makes a sorbet with rose petals that gives it a distinct rose flavor.

After such a long winter for many across the country, thoughts of gardening are downright welcome. But Amon says, “Don’t just go to your garden and start picking petals.” One trick is to try this cheat sheet on what flowers are edible. He also says it’s very important – just like with your veggies – not to treat flowers you’re planning to eat with pesticides or chemicals.

Growing what you can eat

Anthony Vigil, of Summerwinds Nursery in Mountain View, Calif., says this year in particular — especially in the last few months — a lot more customers have been asking for edible flowers. He says not everyone wants to buy all their food at a grocery store.

Just as a sprig of parsley was once seen as only decoration and now consumed for its great nutritional value, flowers are having a renaissance of their own. It’s spring! Plant now to add color and taste to your dishes later.

Let us now what flowers you find make the best ingredients!

Posted in The Movement

Forget the Guinness. Try drinking (and eating) your green for St Patty’s Day today.

By Mary Gorges for Back to the Roots

You can make a sport out of making things green for St Patricks Day. People go all out for this greenest of holidays that’s full of revelry and ideas, and add green to almost anything — especially foods — including ones you never thought could be green.

M&Ms       pancakes       deviled eggs
(Green M&Ms are thought to be lucky year round.)

Since we hope to court our own luck of the Irish, here are some ideas for adding green to foods …with a focus on nutrition. And since St Pat’s is all about libations …our first two are drinks (using herbs).

wheatgrass

A glass of wheatgrass:  Wheatgrass is extremely cleansing, detoxifying and nutritious, and why — despite its strong flavor –people will find a way to add it to their diet. If the taste continues to be too strong for you, chase it down with pineapple or orange slices.

mint

Mint:  Use this popular herb to flavor your milkshakes (and tell the kids they taste just like the ones from McDonalds). Here’s the recipe. Adults use mint to cleanse the palate, but its smell is so smoothing that some people swear it relieves congestion when you have a cold.

pesto

Pesto:  Pesto sauce can turn almost any pizza healthy. It’s made with olive oil – which is loaded with heart-healthy fats – and basil, which includes phytochemical nutrients that act as antioxidants to fight cancer-causing free radicals.

green peppers

Green peppers:  Turn these into natural food holders and fill with anything green. Green peppers are known for being a rich source of antioxiants and vitamin C.

spinach

Spinach: Spinach has tons of antioxidants and is considered one of the bright green ‘super veggies’ — along broccoli and kale. Fool the kids and get them to eat spinach by making spinach banana smoothies.

kiwi

Kiwis is another food loaded with antioxidants as well as Vitamin C. It’s sweet but doesn’t create a strong insulin rush like other fruit with high sugar contents.

broccoli

Broccoli:  Beer-Battered Broccoli is a sure-fire hit for St. Patrick’s Day. Fry these in a healthy oil (like Canola) to get all the nutritious value of eating broccoli.

cabbage

Cabbage:  And what’s a St. Patty’s day without green cabbage? Try this recipe for Sautéed Irish Cabbage with Noodles. Cabbage is loaded with antioxidants and fiber — and if you serve it with dinner — no one around the table will get pinched!

Tell us how you’ll get your green on for St. Patty’s Day, and enjoy the holiday!

 

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Just like the Iditarod mushers, we all need energy boosters.

By Mary Gorges for Back to the Roots

In a dramatic finish at the wee hours of the morning last night (4am Alaska time), musher Dallas Seavey pulled from third place to finish first  in the 42nd Iditarod when howling winds stopped the frontrunner within 22 miles of Nome. It’s a testament to what our energy reserves can do for us.

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 9.38.33 AM

Winning musher Dallas Seavey

Natural energy boosters

Increasingly, herbs are becoming popular as a way to boost our stamina, our mood and even our ability to cope w/ stress (ideal for the Iditarod …or that next big job interview. Here’s our list of five with special energy-boosting qualities. The first three are called adaptogens (not to turn you off!), and these are particularly good at helping us deal with stress.

ginseng

1. Ginseng:  This one is very popular among endurance sports athletes. Neil Bernardi-Wright, an acupuncturist in the Bay area, who often prescribes herbs to his patients, says, “Ginseng builds your chi (your energy) and nourishes your yang (warmth and vitality).” But adds not to take it if you drink lots of coffee. “It’ll overheat you because in Chinese medicine, it’s considered a ‘hot’ herb.”‘

eleuthero

2. Eleuthero:  Pronounced e-lou-thro, this herb is a second cousin to ginseng (and formerly    called Siberian Ginseng). It’s for anyone overstressed, undernourished but overfed, doesn’t get enough sleep or exercise, and has dark circles under their eyes — basically, anyone come Monday morning. It nourishes the adrenals, glands that regulate key hormones.

 

Rhodiola 3. Rhodiola:  This one’s pronounced rho-di-o-la and is often used by athletes to improve athletic performance and to shorten recovery time after long workouts. It’s an easy one for the mushers to find — it’s native to the arctic regions of Europe, Asia …and Alaska.

 

Ashwagandha

4. Ashwagandha:  Try saying this one out loud. Ash-wag-an-dha is from India and is a very common herb used there for general health. Wright says it’s one of the few calming adaptogens and has traditionally been used for anxiety, bad dreams, mild OCD, insomnia and nervous exhaustion. He adds that it’s very easy to grow.

ginger

5. Ginger:  This is particularly good at increasing your ‘inner warmth’ or middle (your digestion and stomach). Chinese medicine says you want to be in the middle — not too excited but not too calm.
You can bet Seavey and the other mushers ignored that advice on the Iditarod trail – it was all excitement. Leave us a comment below to let us know what herbs you’ve tried for an energy booster. Thanks!

 

Posted in Our Community

Celebrate Oscars night with food inspired by films up for Best Picture

It’s the Super Bowl for Hollywood this Sunday night when millions tune in for the Academy Awards.

And as the mushroom guys, we’re offering some recipe suggestions to show off your own dramatic flair for tasty mushroom dishes that fit the personality of each film nominated for Best Picture. They all include our oyster mushrooms, because as any cook knows, the secret to any good dish is fresh ingredients!

The envelope please …

American Hustle:
Warm Endive, Ramp, and Oyster Mushroom Salad

Just like the stars in this movie famous for its 70s backdrop, you’ll be hustling your party mates who will be left wondering …is this really a salad? It is.
And it stands up a whole lot better than Christian Bale’s hair bogged down by too many hair products.

Captain Phillips:
Oyster Mushroom Soup (Mock Tripe Soup)

This dish is so tasty, your friends will want to take it hostage. Wolf them down with coffee (what Tom Hanks drinks lots of on the ship) but no need to try your own fake Irish accent.

12 Years a Slave:
Oven Baked Chicken Tenders with Pickled Oyster Mushrooms and Ginger Carrot Salad

This is a true baker’s dozen (made with 12 chicken tenders). But read ‘baked’ …no pan fried here, even for a film straight out of the Bayou.

Dallas Buyers Club:
Cholesterol Busting Oyster Mushroom Okra Medley

Any Texan will recognize okra as a top food in the Lone Star State. But just because Matthew McCaughney was good at smuggling, don’t try it with these. They won’t last the trip.

Hmm, we don’t see much food (or drink) in this science fiction thriller. But at only 63 calories per serving, this is one dish that will practically float in space.

Her:
Marinated Tofu with Tahini Asparagus and Pearl Oyster Mushrooms

This dish will fit right in with the decor of the futuristic Los Angeles. And guests are sure to find it much more socially acceptable than dating a computer operating system.

We couldn’t suggest a recipe without potatoes for this British and Irish film. And anyone who’s proper will tell you how good they are.

Nebraska:
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

Just another soup with bleak coloring? No way. Mushrooms make this dish look like a million bucks!

The World of Wall Street:
Oyster Mushrooms Rockefeller

A vegan take on a rich, excessive classic. Be sure to pair it with an expensive wine.

Now it’s time to pick your own winner! Vote for your favorite recipe in the comments below. And happy cooking!

Mary Gorges for Back to the Roots

Posted in Recipes

Martha Stewart American Made Tastemakers!

Martha Stewart just selected the Mushroom Kit and AquaFarm as part of her top 10 American Made products for this holiday season!!

This is a really exciting moment for our team and a huge motivation to keep working hard everyday. Thank you!

Posted in Our Community, The Company

Carolyn Malachi “All Right” Feat. AquaFarm

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Carolyn Malachi “All Right” Feat. AquaFarm

In honor of the AquaFarm making it’s music video debut in the “All Right” video, we sat down with Grammy-nominated artist Carolyn Malachi to talk about her partnership with Back to the Roots.

Q. Why did you decide to partner with Back to the Roots?

A. Back to the Roots and I share a common purpose. We manufacture inspiration. Our products (they make AquaFarms, and I make music) encourage growth both literal and figurative. I feel that we are tethered to the same dream: to do well while doing good. Partnering with BTTR has been an honor and a real treat.

Q. Why did you want to feature the AquaFarm in your music video?

A. Just as a self-cleaning fish tank can grow food for your next meal, so can a sixty-minute album spark your next big idea.

Q. How can we get involved – we love your music and the AquaFarm!

A. Join in on the fun. Watch the “All Right” music video, guess the secret code, receive BTTR’s discount (10% off), and get growing! Here’s a clue for the discount code: My album title + BTTR product = the discount code. Combined words, no spaces. You can find the album title in the video too!

Support Carolyn by checking out her album here on iTunes!

Posted in Our Community, Uncategorized

Back to the Roots Company Update

Posted in The Company, Uncategorized

For The Holidays: Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable_Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

The holidays are coming up, meaning you’re probably going to end up entertaining friends and family members in your home at some point during the month.  When you’re cooking for a crowd, you don’t want to stress yourself out with a complicated or time-consuming meal, so keeping it simple is always a good call.

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Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized
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