Ripe Bites: September Food News & Products

Staff Writer
Baystateparent Magazine

The Food Gift You Need to Give (and Receive)

If there are two words that were ever meant to go together, they’re “chocolate” and “pizza.”

Chocolate Pizza Company ( offers this unique, delicious treat, which can be shipped to the lucky recipient of your choice (yourself included). Starting at $16.95, it fittingly arrives in a pizza box and comes in a variety of flavors and styles, flavors and toppings.

Regardless of the question, you know the answer is always “chocolate.” Birthdays, congratulations, goodies for a kid at college, or getting in good with teachers early in the school year — this one’s a slam dunk.

Panera Makes Kids Meal Promise

Family favorite on-the-go meal spot Panera has announced it’s making a Kids Meal Promise to children who eat at the national chain.

Company officials say the Kids Menu will be:

• Clean. “No artificial flavors, preservatives, sweeteners or colors from artificial sources.”

• Worthy of trust. “No gimmicks. No distractions. No cartoon characters, crazy colors, toys, or toy-shaped food.”

• Full of delicious options. “Let kids be kids. Let them be picky. Let them make their own choices from a menu full of tasty, wholesome options.

• Nutritiously paired. Growing bodies need a meal complete with nutritious sides. Not fries, not onion rings. Options like organic yogurt, sprouted grain rolls, or apples.”

• Drink optional. “Kids meals shouldn’t encourage kids to drink a sugary beverage. Ours never have, never will. Water first, then the option of adding organic milk or 100% juice.”

“As a father of two, I am personally driven to serve foods that I want my own children to eat,” said Ron Shaich, Panera founder, chairman and CEO. “Frankly, the typical restaurant industry kids meal doesn’t serve our kids well.”

As of Sept. 7, the chain’s Kids Menu will be free of all artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and colors from artificial sources listed on its “No No List.” All food served by the company will adhere to the list by the end of this year.

“Just like our No No List, the Kids Meal Promise is a line in the sand,” added Sara Burnett, Panera director of wellness and food policy. “It’s really a rejection of the entire concept of ‘kid food.’ We believe that our cafes should offer the same choices and transparency to children as we do adults.”

Protect Snacks, Drinks On The Go

Sending drinks and snacks to school or toting them along for errands is great — provided they don’t get crushed, smushed, or pop a hole along the way.

Snack in the Box holds 6 ounces and allows parents to pack two snacks in one durable, spill-proof container. With two separate chambers topped with pop-up lids, it’s easy to offer healthy snacks and fruit in the right amounts and get them out easily, too.

Available in 8- and 12-ounce sizes, Drink in the Box is a durable, boxy-shaped drink container that is spill-proof, leak-proof, fits perfectly into lunch boxes, and can hold fruit-infused water, organic juices, milk or diluted juice. More information and how to buy can be found at

Pack a Better Lunch With

This Free App

Nearly 18% of American children are obese according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a sharp rise from the rate of 7% in 1980. Free mobile app ShopWell ( thinks what’s in their lunchbox is to blame. The company found the statistics on school lunches above.

ShopWell, available at the App Store and Google Play, offers “better-for-you” food recommendations based on preferences, allergies, and more.

Removing The Smell of Skunk From Your Pet


Everyone has a “secret way” of removing the terrible smell of skunk. But most of those simple ideas really don’t work. Beer, tomato juice, even douches have all been proven ineffective. But if we apply science to the problem, we can come up with a simple recipe that really works.     

Skunks spray an oily substance that contains thiolsThiols are what gives the skunk spray its terrible smell. They aren’t water-soluble, but if you mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda together, it turns them into a water-soluble combo that will wash out of your dog’s fur.

Paul Krebaum published his solution in Chemical & Engineering News in 1993, and it was republished in Popular Science in 2007 ( I tweaked his recipe so it works great on any kind of pet hair or fur.

Secret Skunk De-skunker

• 1 large bottle of hydrogen peroxide

• 1/4 cup baking soda

• 1 teaspoon castile soap

• 1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol or vodka

• 1 tablespoon hair conditioner

Mix these ingredients together and bathe Fluffy in the mixture. Rinse and repeat. Be very careful to avoid getting the solution in your pet’s eyes. The alcohol will work to cut through the oils from the skunk, but can also dry out your pet’s skin and damage their eyes. You can mix up a second batch of the De-skunker without the alcohol for the second application. If your pet still has a slight smell of skunk, just put a spray nozzle in a bottle of hydrogen peroxide mixed with 1 tablespoon of baking soda and spray him occasionally.