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More Grilled Cheese, Please – Grilled Cheese Invitational 2011

Monday, May 9th, 2011
Boulder Canyon's Chip Tent, aka The Place to Be

Boulder Canyon's Chip Tent, aka The Place to Be

What could be better than bread, butter and cheese? Well, perhaps bread, butter, cheese, habanero salsa, sweet jam and bacon. At least that’s what our Product Manager, Tanner, decided as Executive Judge at the Grilled Cheese Invitational last weekend.

On Saturday morning Tanner drove the Boulder Canyon van to downtown LA to taste 30-40 grilled cheese sandwiches and hand out 10,000 bags of Boulder Canyon chips. How did he get so lucky? For the second year, Boulder Canyon was the official potato chip sponsor of the event – and boy, is it a fun event to sponsor!

Started by Tim Walker in 2003 as a competition between friends, the Grilled Cheese Invitational has grown into an annual event with 200 competitors this year and 30,000 grilled cheese sandwiches. As you can see, these guys have quite the sense of humor from the entertaining opening ceremony to the grilled cheese category names (including Missionary, Kama Sutra and Honey Pot).

As soon as Tanner arrived back at the office it was question time. We needed the scoop.

Best Plain Grilled Cheese (aka “Love, American Style”): “It had lots of cheese, melted perfectly. The bread wasn’t burnt, and it had the perfect amount of gooeyness.”

Could’ve-Lived-Without Grilled Cheese: “The one with stinky cheese, rabbit and onions.” Props to him for even trying it.

Tanner with the two winners who received trophies, a case of Boulder Canyon chips, t-shirts and chip clips

Most Delicious Grilled Cheese: “I gave out an award to my favorite sandwich named ‘Spicy Love Making.’ It was on a roll with a special kind of cheese – I think Gouda – with bacon, habanero salsa and sweet jelly. It was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy.” Y-U-M

Tanner’s Takeaway: “I didn’t know there were so many different grilled cheese sandwiches! I’ve always been more of a cheese, butter and bread kind of guy but now that I see how people have branched out I’m ready to get more creative in the kitchen.”

Maybe it will inspire some new chips flavors?! Habanero…Sweet onion…Spicy bacon? What do you think?

Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

How is it Thanksgiving already? We’re still munching on Halloween candy, and now it’s time to grocery shop for Thanksgiving meal ingredients. Somewhere between stuffing the turkey (or tofu), the pumpkin pie-induced food coma and Black Friday splurging, it’s important to take the time to reflect on what you’re giving thanks for this year.

Here at the Boulder Canyon office we’re thankful for another successful year of chip making, all of our delicious new flavors and the exciting opportunities that next year will bring. More than that we’re each grateful for our wonderful friends and family who make the holiday season so special. However, aside from a fulfilling job and cherished loved ones, we’re also thankful for life’s fun little gifts such as…

My apple cutter. It never lets me down. And pumpkin pie… actually make that pumpkin everything! And Zumba class. -Annie

My iPad (It could be yours: Click Here) and the little bird throwing game, Angry Birds, that keeps me entertained for hours. I’m also thankful for my yard.  I never knew how important grass was in my life until I moved here from Phoenix.  -Tanner

Health is #1, a roof over my head and football.  -Michelle

The crispy edges on anything fried, that first lung full of crisp autumn air, GPS on my phone, meeting new friends, and sharing recipes on the internet.  -Shawn

Sunday morning mountain runs, P90X and hummus.  -Ryan

Muenster cheese, swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, any cheese.  -Greg

So what are you thankful for? Fill out the form below, and we will select one random entry to receive a FREE CASE OF CHIPS by Thanksgiving. Please provide the flavor you wish to receive. Deadline to submit is 4 p.m. MST on Monday, November 22nd.

What are you thankful for?

First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Street Address 1 *
Street Address 2
City *
State *
Zip Code *
I’m Thankful For *

We’re thankful for fans like you!

Testing Compostable Packaging Claims: Week 4

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

It looks like it might be a landslide in Heidi Tolliver-Nigro‘s compostable packaging test between Boulder Canyon and SunChips. Find out who’s in the lead:

Testing Compostable Packaging Claims: Week 4
By: Heidi Tolliver-Nigro

Oh, the things I do for The Inspired Economist. This is the fourth week of my unscientific test on the compostability claims of Boulder Canyon and SunChips 100% compostable chip bags.

The decaying grass in my compost pile is getting heavier, the pile of eggshells and other kitchen scraps on top is getting heavier, and the mass is getting stinkier. Underneath are Boulder Canyon and SunChips chip bags, both of which claim to be 100% compostable.

The Boulder Canyon bag is soft, quiet, and made of wood fiber. The SunChips bag is loud and crackly and made of “vegetable-based” material.  Both are deteriorating at clearly different rates.

Judging from the look of things, however, I might not have to continue the experiment much longer. There is absolutely no indication of decay on the SunChips bag. It looks as crisp and intact as the Doritos bag below it. The wood fiber-based Boulder Canyon bag, however, is barely recognizable as a chip bag at all. Not only has it lots most of its ink, but not visible in the picture is that it’s lost all of its structure. It’s thin, with no body whatsoever, and appears ready to fall completely apart.

This is after only four weeks in an unattended, unturned compost heap.

SunChips claims that its bag will decompose fully in a “hot, active compost pile” in 14 weeks. Granted, it’s only been four weeks and my compost pile isn’t exactly turned on a regular basis, but with the rapid decay of the Boulder Canyon bag, the SunChips bag better get crackin’. It’s falling way behind.

To view the full article click here.

Berry Simple Smoothie

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

It may seem late in the year for a new smoothie obsession to start, but with the holidays approaching, and the chips tasting better and better, I needed a smart, simple breakfast that could fuel my mornings.

When looking for smoothies, flavor is definitely important, and I also like ones with plenty of protein to keep me full until lunch. As a fan of livestrong.com, I knew it would have some great smoothie options, and I was right! Julie’s Protein Smoothie was it. The recipe is as follows:

It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Instead of Splenda, I substituted a packet of Stevia, and for frozen berries I used the delicious Rader Farms berries I found in the frozen food aisle at Albertson’s. Not only does the smoothie taste good, it’s nutritious, only 187 calories, and with almost 20 grams of protein it definitely kept me full! Now I’ve been busy spreading the word around the office.
What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes? We’d love to know.

Better for You Candy (Gone Bad)

Monday, October 18th, 2010

At the Boulder Canyon office it’s definitely easy to satisfy our salt cravings. However, we have a sweet tooth too which is often neglected and the reason why I was determined to cook up a healthier, more natural candy this past weekend for Halloween.

Disclaimer: Before I go any further, let me assure you that I am not at all involved in the actual making of our delicious chips – I just tell you about them.

Strawberries are one of my favorite foods so I decided to try concocting jelly strawberry candies. My Google search led me to a recipe on About.com for Double Fruit Jellies that looked easy enough.

Ingredients:

  • 12 tbsp sugar, separated
  • 2/3 cup strawberry juice (see note)
  • 2/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 8 tbsp corn syrup, separated
  • 8 tbsp unflavored gelatin, separated
  • Food coloring, optional

I decided to start with the strawberry candies and try the pineapple only if the strawberry jellies proved successful. However, after going through the process of martyring my beautiful rosy red strawberries to obtain their juice, I wished that I had started with the pineapple.

In an effort to make the recipe healthier, I decided to substitute Stevia for sugar, coconut syrup for corn syrup in Round 1 and honey in Round 2, and xanthan gum for gelatin. If you’re an avid cook or baker, you’re probably wincing and/or laughing at these substitutions because, needless to say, things didn’t really work out.

Round 1: I mixed together strawberry juice, Stevia, and coconut syrup and put it on medium heat on the stove. I then added gelatin to this batch just to see how it would taste with the right consistency. Unfortunately, I don’t think anything could have helped the taste of this mix. The Stevia tasted artificial and the coconut was overpowering.

On to Round 2: Instead of coconut syrup, I used honey and instead of gelatin, I used xanthan gum. While the honey slightly improved the taste, the xanthan gum left me with a pasty pink salad dressing that would likely suffocate and destroy even the best tasting salad. Perhaps I should have searched harder for a gelatin substitute, such as agar?

At this point, I decided to give up for the evening as I didn’t think I could taste another sugary treat gone bad. (It also really made me appreciate our Boulder Canyon chip taste tests.)

Do you have any advice or ideas on better ingredients, tastier recipes or healthier sweets that our office would enjoy?

Promotion Survey Results

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Thank you to everyone who submitted their feedback and ideas for future promotions! It will really help us in developing future promotions for you. We thought we would share some of the results with you.

Good to see people wanting Boulder Canyon products and willing to enter a photo to win them! We also want to share some of our favorite promotion suggestions:

“Instant win games or picture contests where customers take a picture of themselves with a boulder product and fans vote on their favorite”

“Win a Boulder Canyon Party: You could pick 4 different kinds of chips, dips, etc…Even win a t-shirt from Boulder Canyon to wear at your party.”

“Dude Ranch trip; rock climbing adventure; rafting in Grand Canyon”

“Recipes for salads, main entrees, cookies or crackers using chips, accompanients for chips (dips, blends)”

“Free bag once month for a year”

“How do you eat them?”

“Pair Bounder Canyon with a local event, like Ignite Boulder, to give the brand some lively presence. Tell the story of the brand. Maybe you could team up with other local brands (Oogave, for example) and produce local care packages that could be given away to people flying into town for the Mountain.”

Check back soon to find out which ideas we picked and which ones we’ve been thinking up on our own!

8 Composting Tips from Boulder Canyon Natural Foods

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Since the introduction of our new compostable chip bags on Earth Day, composting tips have been circulating the office. Each of us composts a little differently, but that’s the great thing about composting:  It can fit any lifestyle. Whether you’re in an apartment with a small compost bin on your patio or live on hundreds of acres with a sprawling compost pile, it all basically works the same. Below are some of our tips for making composting a little easier:

1)    Cut it up. Many people keep a small kitchen compost keeper under the sink to avoid frequent trips to the compost pile. However, if it happens to be near your kitchen, keep a bowl on the counter for leftover food scraps, and cut them up into smaller pieces to speed up the composting process.

2)    Worms are the way. If you’re limited on space, an indoor compost bin using worms offers a great solution called vermicomposting. Don’t worry though, there’s still no mess or unwanted household odors.

3)    Helps to have a pet. After brushing your pet, save the leftover hair and add it to your compost. Also, dog food makes a great compost ingredient since its rich in protein.

4)    Add a hint of lint. Instead of throwing away all that dryer lint, put it to good use by turning it into nutrient-rich soil along with the rest of your compost.

5)    Moisture is a must. It’s important to water your compost, or if it’s uncovered, make sure it gets enough rain. However, if your compost starts to smell bad, it’s probably too wet. A rule of thumb from University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture is that compost should be “about as wet as a wrung out sponge.”

6)    Talk to your local coffee shop. Coffee grounds and tea bags make great additions to any composting bin or pile so talk to your local coffee shop and ask if you can have any of their leftovers.

7)    Raid the office kitchen. Keep a ziplock bag in the kitchen at work to collect coffee grounds, fruit peels, expired refrigerated items, etc. to take home to compost.

8)    There’s always automatic. If you want to be eco-friendly, but you don’t have much time or space, these automatic composters are a great alternative to do-it-yourself! With NatureMill composters, all you have to do is add waste items, and within two weeks it will compost the material for you. Plus, it’s still great for the environment with energy use at just 5 kwh / month, or about $0.50/month!

What is Compostable Packaging?

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Totally Natural Compostable BagWhen it comes to compostable packaging,  there are many misconceptions about its benefits and how it’s used. At Boulder Canyon, we want everyone to have a better understanding of composting so you can join us in protecting the environment.

Compostable is defined by three criteria:  biodegradable, ability to disintegrate, and toxin-free. For a material to be biodegradable, it must be able to break down into carbon dioxide, water, biomass within 90 – 180 days. Not only will these materials break down, they are able to disintegrate into the compost without any distinguishable traces left behind. In compostable materials this biodegradation does not produce toxins so that it is able to support plant life.

So what’s the difference between compostable and biodegradable then? Put simply: All compostable materials are biodegradable but not all biodegradable materials are compostable. Both processes need to be in an environment which includes moisture, heat and microorganisms. However, there is no time requirement for biodegradable – it might break down in 90 days or 5 years. Additionally, biodegradable materials may include toxins and heavy metals.

Compostable packaging, when composted correctly, is very beneficial in reducing landfill waste and producing nutrient rich soil. However, there are different types of compostable packaging. Here’s how Boulder Canyon’s stands out:

Our bags are made from cellulose which is mainly from wood pulp from managed plantations. Unlike corn and starch-based compostable bags, the wood pulp mitigates any potential negative impact on existing food supplies.

They are sourced from plantations that have Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) or similar certification.

Additionally, our bags are made from materials that are certified to meet the “Specification for Compostable Plastics” standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Best of all, they can be composted in home or industrial composters, recycled through approved organic recycling programs, or incinerated at modern incineration plants.

For more information on our new compostable bags click here.

Guide to Gluten Free

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

With lots of buzz surrounding “Gluten Free” right now we thought we would try to clear up some of the confusion…

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin found in grass-related grains, such as wheat, rye, and barley. Because of gluten, certain bread items like pizza dough or bagels have a dense, chewy composition. Additionally, gluten will retain gases in the baking process which is why bread rises.

Why Gluten Free?

According to the Center for Celiac Disease at the University of Maryland, one in every 132 people in America has celiac disease, and nearly 152 times that number—up to 15 percent of the world’s population, or one in seven people—have a non-celiac gluten intolerance. Common symptoms of both celiac disease and non-celiac gluten intolerance include:

· Indigestion

· Bloating

· Diarrhea

· Fatigue

· Nausea

· Swelling

· Skin rash

· Nutrient deficiency

· Bone density loss

· Irritability

· Depression

In fact, celiac disease can have over 300 symptoms and yet some people experience none until something like high stress or trauma from an accident triggers symptoms. This is the main reason why diagnosis of the disease is difficult. If you have been experiencing any of the symptoms listed above visit your doctor for a simple blood test to find out if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

The only cure for celiac disease and gluten intolerance is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Yes, we know, your immediate reaction is probably “No more bread?!” and “LIFELONG DIET?!” But trust us – Thanks to brands like Boulder Canyon living gluten-free doesn’t have to mean no more delicious food. A gluten-free diet still allows you to eat almost every fruit and vegetable, a variety of grains and legumes, your pick of dairy products, fresh meats and fish and lots of yummy gluten-free snacks, like Boulder Canyon kettle cooked chips!

What Makes a Product Gluten Free?

At Boulder Canyon Natural Foods we provide many gluten free products so we require documentation from our ingredient suppliers to ensure we meet the following FDA standard for gluten free:

“Any product that does not contain greater than 20 ppm of the following prohibited grains: wheat, rye, barley, cross-bred hybrids, and possibly oats.”

Tips for Living Gluten-Free

Living gluten-free can be challenging, but once educated on gluten ingredients, you can start living a normal life and feel better too. Just as it’s hard to follow a low-carb diet when you have Girl Scout cookies stashed in the freezer, it’s difficult to start feeling better without ridding your pantry of everything gluten. Below lists some food items you should keep in the kitchen, as well as some that are better of being chucked to the curb.


Chew It:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Fresh meats
  • Fish
  • Poultry (make sure any marinade you use is wheat-free)
  • Most dairy (no blue cheese, Gorgonzola)
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato)
  • Wine
  • Any products labeled “gluten-free”

Chuck It:

  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Farina
  • Graham flour
  • Semolina
  • Durham
  • Bulgur
  • Kamut
  • Kasha
  • Matzo meal
  • Couscous
  • Spelt (form of wheat)
  • Triticale
  • Soy sauce
  • Imitation seafood
  • Textured vegetable protein (veggie burgers, soy dogs)
  • Beer

Remember: Always check food labels for the words “gluten-free” and for wheat-related ingredients, such as dextrin, malt flavoring or extract, wheat starch, etc.

Celiac and gluten intolerance awareness are on the rise meaning there’s lots of resources available to the public. Check out gluten-free web forums and blog posts to stay updated on new gluten-free news, tips, and recipes. Social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, are also full of gluten-free related content concerning holiday meals, the latest research, and support for all of those who still crave gluten-packed goodies.

Natural Foods 101

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Boulder Canyon Natural Foods has been producing great-tasting, all natural snacks for over 15 years and is taking the leap with our first blog. The Boulder Canyon blog will be both informative and fun with some inside looks into the life of a natural food producer. Therefore, it seems only fitting to begin with our answer to one of our most frequently asked questions: “What does All Natural mean?” Seems like a simple question, but for most people the answer doesn’t come so naturally.

According to FDA policy, “natural” means the product is free from synthetic or artificial ingredients. The USDA agrees that food can only be labeled “natural” if it contains no artificial flavor or flavorings, coloring ingredients, or chemical preservatives. They also state that the product should be minimally processed. Instead of using artificial flavors, the food is made with only natural ingredients derived from natural resources. You might be thinking, “Well, doesn’t everything have to essentially come from natural resources?” Not exactly. Some ingredients are made in a lab while others come directly from the earth. For example, soybeans and corn provide lecithin to maintain consistency, and beets provide beet powder, used as food coloring.

To fully appreciate natural ingredients, you have to gain a better understanding of their arch nemesis: artificial ingredients. Processed foods are full of them. Artificial color additives are used to make processed foods appear fresh and appealing. According to Eric Schlosser in Fast Food Nation II, the food coloring Titanium dioxide can be found in processed candies, frostings, and icings to make them appear bright white. It is also used in women’s cosmetics, as well as white oil paints and house paints. Not exactly the ingredients I am looking to put into my body. Schlosser also points out that certain chemicals can make processed food taste like just about anything. For example, methyl-2-pyridyl ketone can make something taste like popcorn, and ethyl-3-hydroxy butanoate can make it taste like marshmallow! Well, I’ll let you in on a fact that Boulder Canyon customers have know for years: Our potato chips are from …… potatoes and our oil is from sunflowers and our salt is from the sea. And if you’re eating Rice and Adzuki Bean Chips, they’re made with rice and adzuki beans – not some chemical called mycardboard-4-real.

One of artificial ingredients’ greatest villains is MSG, monosodium glutamate. MSG has been known to cause extreme headaches, reproductive disorders, endocrine system imbalances, appetite control problems, and nervous system disorders. If you’re not careful, MSG will take over your diet, whether you’re eating healthy or not. It disrupts your appetite control system so that even when you’re physically full from eating, your brain tells you you’re still hungry. Don’t let MSG take over your body and make you overeat. Show MSG who’s boss by eating natural foods to help your endocrine system return to its natural, healthy state. Furthermore, processed foods in general do not help build healthy bodies or brains.

We know it’s hard to decipher what is truly natural or healthy, but products like Boulder Canyon and along with natural food retailers are working hard to make it easier. In addition to being a catchy phrase, “You are what you eat” does offer a high degree of truth. Read nutrition labels and scan down past calories and grams of fat to the ingredient list. Look out for monosodium glutamate, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and other scary artificial ingredients. The less artificial foods you eat, the healthier you’ll be and “naturally” you will feel better.