Cookbook author Katie Workman
Cookbook author Katie Workman demonstrated the coffee-making refrigerator at a media event hosted by GE.

Ever thought about pushing a few buttons from your iPhone while still in bed so that you can stumble into your kitchen a have a fresh cup of coffee instantly? You can do that now. A new GE refrigerator has a built-in single-cup coffee brewer and can be controlled from a smartphone app – from your bed, or anywhere else.

When I first saw the news release about this GE Cafe refrigerator with a built-in Keurig K-Cup coffee brewer, my reaction was that this is a bit much, maybe suited only for the luxury set or gadget-lovers. After I saw a demonstration, my tune changed completely. In fact, I started regretting that I bought my own new refrigerator a couple of months ago, before I learned about this fancy fridge, which I found pretty compelling.

The unit, which lists for $3,300 (and is on sale at Lowe’s for $2,969 through Dec. 1,) has all the features one would expect of a modern French door style refrigerator, including adjustable shelves, excellent lighting, touch-screen controls and Energy Star rating. But it also has the Keurig coffee attachment that slips onto the external hot water dispenser, powered by an instant-heating system so that there’s no concern about hot water affecting the refrigeration inside.

“This is the way people are thinking about coffee these days,” says cookbook author Katie Workman, noting that single-serve coffee consumption has doubled in the past two years. Workman was given one of the refrigerators and has been test-driving it for a couple of months and demonstrated it at GE’s media event in New York. She said the energy efficiency was one of the more noticeable features, and her family liked the convenience of being able to choose their own hot beverages and make them quickly, one at a time. (Workman, whose latest book is Dinner Solved, also is one of my cousins. Her 2012 cookbook, The Mom 100 Cookbook, earned wide acclaim and was named one of the Five Best Weeknight Cookbooks of the past 25 years by Cooking Light.)

Indeed, the National Coffee Association found in its latest survey that single-cup coffee brewer ownership has gone from 15% in 2014 to 27% of consumers in 2015. More than half of Americans drink coffee daily, according to Daily Coffee News, a trade publication. Keurig Green Mountain, the maker of K-Cups, has also responded to critics who cite environmental concerns with a plan to make all K-Cups recyclable by 2020 and pointing out that single-serve coffee brewing reduces wasted coffee and wasted water. For a thorough analysis of the environmental issues surrounding K-Cups, read this excellent article by James Hamblin of The Atlantic.

GE's new refrigerator has a built-in single-cup coffee brewer.
GE’s new refrigerator has a built-in Keurig single-cup coffee brewer. (Image courtesy GE.)

Tourism officials report normal situation in Puerto Vallarta after powerful hurricane; no loss of life and limited damage

PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO – SATURDAY OCTOBER 24, 2015 – 1PM (CDT) – Puerto Vallarta has returned to normalcy with all hotels, the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) and cruise port open and operating at 100% capacity. Puerto Vallarta weather is back to its typical clear skies and sunshine.
Jalisco State Authorities and Puerto Vallarta hotels started to transfer tourists and locals back to Puerto Vallarta from the shelters where they had been taken; when authorities determined last night that Hurricane Patricia would not be touching the city and was no longer a threat.
No human loss or infrastructure damages have been reported as a result of Hurricane Patricia.

Source: Puerto Vallarta Back to Normal After Hurricane Patricia

When the egg industry challenged Hampton Creek, a company selling a product it calls Just Mayo, many people scoffed at yet another Goliath v. David battle. According to a report today, the egg industry trade group’s president has stepped down as a possible consequence of her effort against Hampton Creek.

The issue is whether the words “mayo” or “mayonnaise” legally refer to a product that must contain egg. From a legal standpoint, the law seems to favor the egg industry: The federal government established standard definitions of common words on food labels so that consumers have some chance of knowing what is inside a package. “Mayonnaise” is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations at 21CFR169.140, which clearly says that mayonnaise must contain egg and may not include food colorings to simulate egg. What is not so clear is whether the word “mayo” is covered by the same law, which only refers to “mayonnaise.” This is the stuff lawyers love and drives most people nuts.

In the meantime, consumers still can make their own decisions.

Source: Egg Industry Group CEO Steps Down After Vegan Mayo Scramble – ABC News

Thanks to Susan MacTavish Best http://livingmactavish.com for posting this where I could see it.

While nearly all of the Lake County wineries in the fire-affected area have been able to resume operations or should be able to process fruit in this vintage, thanks to the enormous efforts of firefighters. Now, the hard work of restoring damaged lives is underway. 

Peter Molnar from Poseidon Vineyard & Obsidian Ridge Winery talking about the #ValleyFire and the 2015 harvest: “We feel very grateful for this vintage. It will be one we will not forget for a long time.”

Posted by Lake County Rising on Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association, and Lake County Wine Alliance are leading a fundraising campaign, using the social media hash tag #LakeCountyRising.

From their news release:

Individuals and businesses who would like to support this effort can do so by visiting the Lake County Rising page on Facebook and making a donation online. Checks can be sent to:

Lake County Wine Alliance

P.O. Box 530

Kelseyville, CA 95451

Make checks payable to Lake County Wine Alliance, memo “Lake County Fire Relief Fund.”

Other donation options include this Crowdrise fundraiser for the regional American Red Cross Disaster Assistance program. Trione Winery is matching donations up to $10,000.

  

While nearly all of the Lake County wineries in the fire-affected area have been able to resume operations or should be able to process fruit in this vintage, thanks to the enormous efforts of firefighters. Now, the hard work of restoring damaged lives is underway. 

Peter Molnar from Poseidon Vineyard & Obsidian Ridge Winery talking about the #ValleyFire and the 2015 harvest: “We feel very grateful for this vintage. It will be one we will not forget for a long time.”

Posted by Lake County Rising on Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Lake County Winegrape Commission, Lake County Winery Association, and Lake County Wine Alliance are leading a fundraising campaign, using the social media hash tag #LakeCountyRising.

From their news release:

Individuals and businesses who would like to support this effort can do so by visiting the Lake County Rising page on Facebook and making a donation online. Checks can be sent to:

Lake County Wine Alliance

P.O. Box 530

Kelseyville, CA 95451

Make checks payable to Lake County Wine Alliance, memo “Lake County Fire Relief Fund.”

Other donation options include this Crowdrise fundraiser for the regional American Red Cross Disaster Assistance program. Trione Winery is matching donations up to $10,000.

  

 

Smoke forecast
Smoke forecast shows heavy smoke through at least 6 pm Monday. Dozens of wineries are in the affected areas.

 

The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia has been submerged since Saturday in a brown haze of smoke emanating from massive wildfires just south of the border in Washington state. 

Winery owners say this is the worst smoke here since a major wildfire near Kelowna, BC, in 2003. However, they are not yet saying the grapes are in jeopardy. That could change if the smoke conditions continue much beyond two days. At least one winemaker has sent sample grapes for lab work to detect smoke taint.
  
Adding to the concern is a fire near Oliver, BC, that once again is threatening several wineries. Tinhorn Creek CEO Sandra Oldfield says the same wind that brought smoke north from Washington state turned the Oliver fire back towards her winery, one of several put on evacuation warning by fire officials. 

Although the forecast calls for continued smoke conditions, the haze eased sufficiently to allow the Penticton Airport to resume operations, which had been suspended due to low visibility.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that pieces of rubber from a conveyor belt were found in this turkey sausage product that is being recalled.

Gourmet Culinary Solutions, a Statham, Ga., establishment, is recalling approximately 495 pounds of turkey sausage products that are part of a frozen entree that also contains French toast sticks and peaches. The entrees may be contaminated with foreign materials.