Doing Good in Yosemite

Sometimes even the most pristine places need a little TLC. Take Yosemite National Park. Nestled among California’s Sierra Nevadas, Yosemite National Park includes nearly 1,200 square miles of tall waterfalls, deep valleys, ancient giant sequoias, beautiful meadows, and a vast wilderness. Much of this land is cared for by a team of incredible park rangers and staff, but with more than 4 million visitors annually, an extra pair of helping hands can make a huge difference.

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One of our favorite annual traditions is the Yosemite Facelift volunteer event, celebrating its 15th year! Each year we send a group of Toads to the Valley to join fellow outdoor companies for a weekend of trash-picking and TLC. The event is organized by the Yosemite Climbing Association, a 1% For the Planet member and longtime supporter of Yosemite conservation.

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We set out early Friday morning – Anthony, Drew, Wendy, Steve, Michaela, and baby Dylan – up Mist Trail. Teetering on the side of rock staircases, we carefully collected forgotten plastic water bottles, flyaway wrappers, and even some very old socks (Cheryl Strayed, was that you?). On a gorgeous hike, we took time to appreciate Mother Nature’s insane beauty and tried to do our part to leave her a little better than we found her.

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All told, volunteers at this year’s event removed a total of 8,745 pounds of micro trash! But it wasn’t all work and no play – there were panel discussions, live music, epic hiking, and family dinners. It was a great weekend spent doing good and sweet baby D’s bright eyes said it all – conservation of our public lands is good for plants, animals, and all living things. See you next year Yosemite!

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PS – Camp tacos are a Toad favorite. Easy, delicious, and as spicy as you want ‘em. Here’s our favorite recipe.

The En Fuego Grilled Cheese

 

For those unfamiliar with 5th Annual Toad&C0 Grilled Cheese Smackdown, it’s the biggest cooking competition west of Paris and it happens at Toad HQ. With competitors prepping and practicing grilled cheese creations for weeks before the competition, it’s the finest iteration of bread and cheese in the known universe. This year the Santa Barbara Fire Department let the fire burn with their sandwich, aptly named En Fuego! A combination of spicy peppers, two types of cheese, and tequila-buttered sourdough (yes, tequila butter), the only thing hotter than the sandwich was the firefighters themselves! Spice things up but proceed with caution – this delicious combination of bread, cheese, and peppers is highly flammable!

The En Fuego by Santa Barbara Fire Department

Ingredients:
Tequila-lime-cilantro butter
Sourdough bread (fresh made is best)
Homemade guacamole
Fire roasted pasilla chiles, red peppers and green jalapeño peppers
Queso fresco
Mexican cheese blend
Jalapeño mustard

Instructions:

  1. Combine 1 shot of tequila, 1 stick of melted butter, and finely diced cilantro. Whisk together and let sit until butter firms up.
  2. Liberally apply butter to two pieces of sourdough bread.
  3. On the non-buttered side of bread, evenly apply a moderate amount of jalapeno mustard
  4. On top of the jalapeno mustard, liberally apply homemade guacamole.  
  5. Press fire roasted pasilla peppers and jalapenos into the guacamole.
  6. Add queso fresco and mexican cheese blend to the top of the guacamole.
  7. Gently sandwich two pieces of bread together.
  8. Grill until cheese is melted and bread is crispy. Ole! 

 

Wear Green or Get Pinched!

 

You know why we love St. Patrick’s Day? Because you gotta wear green – and not just the color, the ethos. We think “green” means sustainably sourced, responsibly made, eco-friendly clothing. Luckily, we’re chock full of it!  Making a T-Shirt doesn’t seem too complicated. Source some fabric, sew it up, throw it in a package and off it goes. This “simple” process is repeated each day by clothing manufacturers all over the world. When you do it the responsible way, it’s a lot more complicated than that.

Sustainable manufacturing techniques are few and far between. To keep costs low, clothing companies will source cheap materials and manufacture in unregulated facilities. These methods can have severe impacts on local environments and local communities. Choosing sustainability isn’t always the easy route, but for us it’s the only route. We call it eCo.

Look for our eCo tags to call out all products that get the sustainability stamp of approval.

For us, it all starts with sourcing good materials. We strive to use sustainable fibers, so you’ll see a lot of organic cotton, recycled polyester, Tencel® and Modal® in our products. We do our best to use bluesign® approved fabrics to trace the environmental impact of a fabric from sourcing to final production. bluesign® is a third party auditor that examines each step in the textile supply chain to approve processes and materials, ensuring they are safe for the environment and factory workers.

When we partner with a manufacturer, we look for manufacturers taking steps above and beyond to promote human rights, sustainability and community culture. Our partner in Turkey, for example, manages the entire manufacturing process, from organic cotton farming to making fabrics to assembling the final garments. Total processing within one country has many benefits: It dramatically reduces the environmental footprint associated with material transportation and increases traceability on all production platforms. They’ve taken their commitment to sustainability one step further by switching to solar energy at the factory – a transition that has reduced their carbon emissions by half.  We are proud of the long-lasting relationships we have with many of our vendors and  believe that you could visit any of our factories and leave not thinking less of Toad&Co or our products.


Just as orange is the new black, dirty is the new clean.

Sustainability starts with us, but it continues with you. That’s why you’ll find written in the care tag inside all Toad&Co garments the reminder to “Wear more, wash less. Wear it out or pass it on.”  Studies suggest that 58% of the energy and 45% of the water that goes into a garment happens post-purchase, so we recommend that you wear your clothing multiple times before washing to conserve natural resources and prolong the life of your beloved Toad&Co clothing.


Our eCo products pair well with Red or White, smiles guaranteed.

Currently 90% of our line is considered eCo and there is always room for improvement. Every season we strive to improve our sustainability efforts and reduce our footprint even more.  So when you wear Toad&Co clothing, you’re supporting ethical manufacturing and sustainable business. Together we are a force and together we can affect the future.

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7 Steps to Becoming a Wine Expert

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November is the perfect month to brush up on your wine know-how and impress friends and family at holiday dinner tables. You don’t have to be a wine expert to swirl your glass and talk about wine, but it helps to have a few phrases in your arsenal. Reds, whites, rosés, champagnes – you’re bound to encounter your fair share this season so you might as well get to know them. Go ahead, embrace your inner sommelier. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you started:

  • Start With Your Favorites: Stick to what you like to develop your palate. If you don’t like super-sweet white wines, don’t try them just yet. You’ll be inclined to notice the difference in wines if you stick to the types you like. Like red wines? Try a whole flight of reds then narrow in and try different bottles of one type.
  • Swirl, Sniff, Swish: You may feel silly at first, but this is the best way to get all the “notes” of wine just by using your senses. Is it a viscous wine? What does it smell like? Is it tangy, sweet, spicy when it hits your lips? Slow down the tasting process and you’ll notice the differences.
  • Use your own words: Think it tastes like pomegranates? Picking up hints of nutmeg? Perhaps a bottom note of tennis ball? Believe it or not, there’s no wrong answer when it comes to describing what wine tastes like. Without looking at the descriptions, see what you come up with. Try identifying 2 fruit flavors and 3 other flavors. Trust us, your descriptions will become more creative the more wine you drink!
  • Go to a winery: Field trip! Fall is a great time to visit a winery because it’s generally less crowded and the grounds offer a stunning display of fall. For most wineries and tasting rooms, November falls between busy seasons so winemakers and sommeliers are generally happy to spend a bit more time answering all your questions. And you’ll have a lot of them…
  • There are no dumb questions:
    • What’s the difference between varietal and regional wines?
    • What sorts of grapes grow in what sorts of weather?
    • What kinds of barrels are used for fermentation? How long does it ferment in the barrel vs. in the bottle?
    • Is this an early or late harvest wine?
    • How do you get bubbles into sparkling wine?
    • Why do you use different bottles?
  • Eat, Eat, Eat: Maybe you’re of the old adage that you’ll drink what you like no matter what’s on the table. But with such packed tables (food wise and guest-wise), use your newfound knowledge to suggest exceptional pairings. Sweet potato sides go great with a bright pinot noir, while a buttery chardonnay will bring out the best in turkey. Test your own combinations or use the guide below. And remember, champagne pairs well with just about everything!
  • Exude Confidence: You don’t have to spend crazy money to know what you like. And that’s the beauty of wine – there’s no wrong opinion! So bring your latest favorite to the next holiday gathering and explain why it’s your go-to wine. No matter the type or the price, all wine pairs well with good company.
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Need more info? Check out winefolly.com

 

 

Easy As Pie: How To Lattice Pie Crust

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There’s something about a homemade pie that just makes you feel good. It smells divine, it’s always festive and even the “mistakes” are delicious. When it comes to spreading joy, it’s easy as pie. Everyone’s got a family pie recipe stashed in a book somewhere, but add your own twist with a lattice pie crust. Our friend at Luci’s Morsels breaks it down in just five simple steps.

  1. For a 9-inche pie, you need two pie crusts (store-bought or make your own). Roll out one crust and lay in the bottom of your pie dish. Fill with desired pie filling.
  2. Roll out second pie crust between two pieces of parchment or wax paper into a circle. Using a butter knife, slowly cut the dough into strips. The strips can be any size you want, but they MUST be the same size. Wider strips mean less weaving but smaller strips will really hit the lattice design home.
  3. Now the tricky part: Carefully lift the first strip with the back of your knife and lay across the side of your pie. Gently press one end into the bottom piecrust. Pick up strip two and lay at a ninety-degree angle to strip one. Gently press edge into bottom crust.
  4. Place the next strip parallel to strip one, about a half inch away. It should lay over the top of strip two. That’s the lattice! With each strip, alternate weaving it over and under the other strips, always at a 90-degree angle. It’s ok if the strips hang over the sides or begin to fall apart- it’s easy to patch.
  5. When you have all the strips woven over the pie, cut off extra dough and use remaining pieces to fill in. Pinch lattice strips into bottom pie crust. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the pie and bake according to the family recipe!

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