October 6, 2008

Readers Stock Up on Ideas for Reusable Shopping Bags

Thanks to everyone who called and e-mailed in their comments and ideas about reusable shopping bags. It's encouraging to hear about more and more people toting cloth bags on their shopping trips.

A few readers led me to organic cotton net produce bags (pictured) from www.reusablebags.com ($3.95 each; volume discounts). The bags are a bit heavier than plastic bags available in produce sections, so you might want to empty the produce onto the belt before weighing.

Or try the lightweight European-style market bags ($39.95 for a colorful set of five plus a holder at www.reusablebags.com).

Dawn Goldberg of Gurnee suggests nylon mesh bags from www.coolhats.com ($9 for three).

If you're not in the position to spend money on cloth bags, reuse the ones you bring home from the store, suggests Barbara Gere of Prospect Heights. "When I get home, I empty the bags and put the used plastic into my cloth sacks so that I am ready for my next trip," she says.

Mom's day bouquet: Aside from a call from their children, flowers and candy rank as popular Mother's Day gifts. This year, you don't have to decide between a box of luscious chocolates or a bouquet of fresh blooms.

Check out the chocolate caramel daisies from Moonstruck. Milk chocolate and a soft honey vanilla caramel center will surely brighten Mom's day ($5; Oakbrook Center).

If chocolate isn't Mom's thing, pick up bright yellow Peep tulips. Look for three- and nine-count packs in the candy aisle.

Top of the hops: Raise a glass to local breweries that brought home medals from the World Beer Cup competition held last month in San Diego.

Rock Bottom Brewery (Warrenville, Lombard, Chicago) earned a gold medal in the American-style stout for its Terminal Stout.

Silver medals went to:

Emmet's Tavern and Brewing Co. (West Dundee, Palatine, Downers Grove), Emmett's Belgian-style Dubbel.

Goose Island Beer Co. (Chicago), Matilda, Belgian- and French- style ale; 312, English-style ale.

The World Beer Cup competition, sponsored by the Brewers Association, is held every two years and attracts 1,500-plus brewers. For a list of winners in each of the 91 categories, head to www.beertown.org.

Taste of Home goes healthy: The reader recipe-driven Taste of Home franchise is getting bigger - and healthier.

The popular cooking magazine and book company recently launched a bimonthly magazine dedicated to healthy versions of home-cooked favorites.

The magazine sticks with its time-honored formula - reader recipes tested and photographed by the editors. All recipes include nutrition data, diabetic exchanges and icons to identify those that are low-fat, low-carb, low-sugar, etc.

Recipes in the premiere issue ($3.95 on newsstands) include zucchini fritters, cheese straws, and a ham and corn souffle. A special section on gluten-free baking offers recipes for carrot cake and chocolate chip muffins.

Entertaining with ease: Get tips and tricks to make your summertime entertaining easy and unforgettable with help from Bloomingdale's and St. Francis Winery.

From 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, celebrity event stylist Amanda Puck will share her A-list secrets while wine expert Sarah Powers will guide you through an extensive selection of fruit-forward, luscious and full-bodied Sonoma County wines.

Head to the housewares department at Bloomingdale's Medinah Temple store, 600 N. Wabash Ave., Chicago. The event costs $25 (given back as a $25 Bloomingdale's gift card). (312) 440-4515.

- Deborah Pankey

- Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at (847) 427-4524, [email protected]@dailyherald.com or c/o Daily Herald, P.O. Box 280, Arlington Heights, IL 60006.

(c) 2008 Daily Herald; Arlington Heights, Ill.. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.