Sunday, February 24, 2013

Simply Suzanne Granola Review

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Hi everyone!  I’m here with a long overdue post about a product I was luckily enough to try recently.  As you know, my cooking and eating habits for myself and my family vary between homey and rich to healthy and all natural.  Basically, we love our fruits, veggies and whole grains, but indulging in homemade cheesecake is ok once in a while too.

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So, I was very pleased to have the Simply Suzanne granola company contact me about trying a few of their products.  Simply Suzanne is an all natural food company that specializes in sweet and savory granola and trail mixes.

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All of their products are certified vegan and Kosher. Simply Suzanne is a Detroit, Michigan company too…love my Midwestern peeps!!

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First up, I tried the Apple Rosemary Pecan Trail Mix

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Now, I have to admit, the idea of rosemary in my granola was a little strange to me.  However, its very subtle and I only tasted the rosemary in about every other bite.  The dried apples are tasty too, more chewy than the usual crispy dried apples.  I’m a nut fan, so I would have enjoyed a few more pecans and a little less raisins, but that’s just personal taste.  Love the short and simple ingredient list of these products…

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Overall, a healthy and delicious snack.  Great for munching right out of the bag.

Next, I tried the Original Sweet & Savory Granola

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This granola is made in small batches and has a peanuty flavor with a hint of cinnamon.  Again, a really short list of great ingredients.  LOVE!

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It was great for topping my homemade yogurt and just eating straight out of the bag.  However, what I really liked was the recipe that Simple Suzanne gave to me for Goat Cheese Granola balls. 

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Basically, I took the granola and put it into a large plastic baggie and crushed it with my rolling pin.  Then, I took small pieces of goat cheese and rolled them into balls.  After that, I rolled them in the crushed granola.  These were a hit a recent WOWN party served with pear slices.  Instead of leaving them in ball shapes, I pressed them into little disks for easier eating.  Yum!

Final verdict?  Well, this definitely is a new take on granola flavor for me and I actually enjoyed the change.  Most granolas that I like are more on the sweet side.  I would recommend these to anyone looking for a healthy treat that is both good for you and tasty.   It’s especially suited to those that are conscious of natural and simple ingredients.  Overall, I would try Simply Susanne again and I’d love to check out the Cranberry Pepita and Dark Chocolate trail mix.

Currently, Simply Suzanne products can be found in Chicago at Kroger stores, several Whole Foods Chicago locations, Arista Foods, as well as Angelo Caputo’s.  They are also in Ohio at Kroger stores and both Jungle Jim’s locations.  I recently found these tasty treats at my local Meijer, another Midwestern grocery chain. 

So, what are your favorite healthy snacks?  Have you ever tried granola that contains savory ingredients?  I’d love to hear your feedback.

Also, stay tuned…I have some very important life changes to announce very soon!

Disclosure: Simply Suzanne sent me products to try and review.  All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Here’s a little story about Breaking Copyright Laws

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blogger copyright

Readers, I’ve always loved you.  Your comments make me laugh, your feedback is always helpful and now you’re even protecting me from content theft.  You see, I was contacted by a very sweet reader not too long ago saying that she was pretty sure an image from my most popular post was being used on someone’s online boutique shop.  Not only was it being used there, but also on their corresponding Facebook page!!

I checked it out and sure enough, there was this image…

It’s definitely low resolution and probably copied and pasted from Pinterest.

Now, this tutorial is very very popular and I know it has been pinned thousands of times on Pinterest.  However, I never thought that this would lead to someone using my image to promote a business.  My image was being used to sell items on someone else’s “boutique” website.  Now, doesn’t that seem strange to post pictures of items for sale that you didn’t even make?  And I’m not selling them either, so how exactly do you plan on selling necklaces that my friends and neighbors now wear?  Just wondering.  <end rant>

My first step was to contact the website and tell them to remove my image immediately.  I informed them that this was breaking copyright law.  The person running the website wrote me back and in a very snippy tone, informed ME that she was an attorney.  She said that the images she used were not copyright protected since they did not have watermarking and there wasn’t a copyright statement on my blog.  There was a whole lot more, but I don’t want to get into it.  Basically, she had the nerve to get defensive with me about using my images without my permission.  Grrrrr.

Then I thought…could she be right?  Did I incorrectly believe all of this time that my blog was protected under copyright law?  That my words, my tutorials and my images were my own and no one else to use?

Well, my husband, also an attorney,  and I spent a great deal of time researching copyright law and how it pertains to bloggers.  At first, I was infuriated with my stupidity.  But then here is what we found:

  • Today, almost all things are copyrighted the moment they are written or images are uploaded to your blog
  • These written words and images are protected by copyright law with or WITHOUT a copyright notice on your blog
  • You can register for a copyright, but it is not necessary.  You are still copyright protected without registration. 
  • Ideas, names and slogans can not be copyrighted
  • Fair Use : a very fuzzy and debatable area of copyright law.  Basically, you can use someone else’s material without permission if you want to provide criticism, make a comment, report it as news or for teaching and research purposes.  However, fair use is controversial and therefore your best bet is to ALWAYS ask permission.
  • Blogger to Blogger courtesy:  Always link back to someone that inspires you.  I’m constantly inspired by other bloggers on Pinterest.  Then, I create something similar and link back to them.  I think it’s the best form of flattery in the blogging world. 

Important links:

U.S. Copyright Law

U.S. Copyright Law FAQ’s

My research also produced some sad stories from other DIY bloggers.  This one from  Addicted 2 Decorating is, as she puts it, infuriating!  You should also check out House of Hepworths experience too.  She has some great ideas for protecting your blog.

So, after this experience and research, I have decided to add a copyright notice to my blog and a terms of use blurb.  Although, under the law, these things are not necessary, they possibly deter those that want to steal your images and words.  Also, I have added more watermarking to my images as well.  That way they will give some credit back to me if/when they are pinned on Pinterest. 

I hope this post helps bring some much needed copyright information to all of you and doesn’t come off as some mean rant.  Until this happened to me, I certainly didn’t know any of the details.  I just wrongly assumed that I was protected and that most people respect the work of others.  Blogging is certainly a fun outlet for me and not a job.  However, I do spend a good amount of time on each post and editing images and therefore when someone tries to use my work without permission, I get beyond frustrated. 

Feel free to comment on any issues you have had with copyright law.  I would love to become more knowledgeable about the law and how it effects bloggers. 

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