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Valentine’s Day is near, fair trade chocolate is here

Valentine’s Day is near, and fair trade chocolate is here!

Give true love to your valentine this year with

chocolate that is making world-wide impacts.

Fair trade chocolate

While we love to enjoy delicious chocolate, it’s important

to know who’s producing it.

In recent years, the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery in the chocolate industry has been exposed.  We shared about some of the issues here and here, and you can find even more up to date information at: Food is Power.org

fair trade chocolate

Fortunately, we don’t have to dwell on the problems of the chocolate industry when so many great ethical options exist.

Here are our top chocolate picks for this valentines day:

Valentine's

1.) We think Barefoot and Chocolate sounds heavenly.  They use fair trade chocolate and DO NOT use any GMO’s, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated and solvent extracted oils in their chocolate sauce. Our V-day pick: Dark Chocolate Almond

2.) We love that Equal Exchange works hard to ensure a fair trade production model that benefits each of their employees while also creating tasty chocolate!  Our V-day pick = Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries

choc

3.) Riot Bars are fair trade and organic, making it a delicious option when you’re looking to make a difference this Valentine’s day. Our favorite? Dark chocolate with a bit of Kickin’ Coconut.

4.) We are swooning over Divine Chocolate‘s worker owned philosophy that gives workers  a share in the profits, a say in the company, and a voice in the global marketplace. Our V-day pick, a classic: The Belgian Chocolate collection.

P.S. We also love their 3 minute guide to Mindfulness and the Art of eating chocolate

This Valentine’s day, purchase ethically made treats, and give love to more than just your sweetheart.

Want more fair trade love? Try this sweet treat from our friends at Equal Exchange!

Spiced Chocolate Oat Cookies

fair trade chocolate recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Equal Exchange Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or demerarra sugar (regular white will do in a pinch)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups oats

Directions 

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

In the bowl of a double boiler, melt butter and water together. When butter has mostly melted, add sugar, brown sugar, molasses and chopped chocolate. Stir just until everything is melted you don’t want the butter to separate or the chocolate to get chunky, so remove the bowl from the heat when everything has melted, even if the sugar granules haven’t fully dissolved.

Off the heat, whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking each time to incorporate. The mixture will start to look shiny. Add the dry ingredients, stirring just until they disappear. Add oats and mix just to incorporate. Scoop your cookies (by the tablespoon) onto parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to several days. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes until just done (they’ll still look quite soft when you pull them out). Use a wide spatula to transfer cookies onto a rack, and cool to room temperature.

 

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Friday Favorites – Products with Impact

 Happy Friday!  October has been a full and happy month for us. :) We have so many new favorite friends and products that are positively impacting the world, we can’t wait to share them all you!  Here are four for today’s viewing pleasure.

 

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 Favorite Art: We love The Bless the Lord Oh My Soul print by Life Lived Beautifully. It’s perfect to hang anywhere! Available at our new favorite place to shop Bought Beautifully ;)

 

 

 

Favorite arm candy: The Leather Wrap Bracelet by 2nd Story Goods. Also available at Bought Beautifully. :)

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Favorite Winter Accessories: Although we are not ready for winter weather, we are totally crazy about Noonday Collection’s Winter line. The entire line is incredible, but these sparkly duds are our favs.

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Favorite Recipe Finds: The Fairtrade Everyday Cookbook. So many ways to make delicious, fair-trade, everyday meals. Pssssst, this would make an excellent Christmas gift!

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Friday Favorites – Fall!

The seasons are changing, we are loving all things roasted, toasted, and cozy! Here are some of our fall favorites on this lovely Friday!

beet galette

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a way to use all that garden/farmer’s market produce?  I will be making this recipe over the weekend.

 

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We love chai no matter the season, but it is ESPECIALLY good when there is a chill in the air.

It gets even BETTER when you make it yourself! :)

You can try the recipe here.

With the approach of fall, we also get NEW and beautiful things from 31 Bits, Krochet Kids and Glorify Apparel!

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Have a great weekend!

 

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Friday Favorites – Summer Specials

Hello again, and happy Friday!

For this week’s favorites we thought we would give summer one last hoorah!

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If you’re planning one last get together for the summer, add these cutlery tags from Eat Drink Chic to your set up! It’s an easy way to decorate for FREE. You can download yours here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Who doesn’t love s’mores?

They are easy, delicious, and the flavor combinations are endless!

Try adding a s’mores station to your party! Our favorite add ons are: peanut butter, caramel, and fruit!

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Summer wouldn’t be summer without… ICE CREAM! Our final Friday favorite is this plum ice cream recipe from Brooklyn Supper. Try your hand at ice creamery! See the recipe here.

 

 

 

Happy Weekend!

 

 

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Confessions of a Chocoholic

A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend who mentioned that she read this blog.  While she said that she enjoyed reading it, later in the conversation she admitted that she didn’t always enjoy reading it and that sometimes she felt judged.  My heart sank.  I couldn’t believe that I had  made her or anyone  feel that way.

So, I want to start by apologizing, if this blog has ever, in any way made you feel judged or discouraged – I am  sorry as that has never been my intention. More than anything I want this to be a place of encouragement and inspiration. We sincerely just want to share the journey that God has taken our family on, how we feel that we have been able to make some positive impacts in the world through our purchases and how we have found deeper purpose in these simple everyday actions –  a bit of holiness in our everyday humdrum.

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It’s definitely not easy and we are far from perfect.

I know that God calls us all in different ways, at different times, to different things.

That is why I love learning from and sharing experiences with other people.  The best, most profound, and precious lessons I have learned aren’t from famous teachers or preachers but are from the real people in my life, doing the real things they have been called to do…Like my friend who was brave enough to share her real feelings with me!  I am so thankful to have friends who are truthful and transparent. Her honesty was a good reminder that is the type of person I want to be; someone who is open, honest, real and transparent. So, today I’ll start with a little honesty.

On Wednesday, I posted about how we are re-thinking certain aspects of Halloween and that this year we would only be buying and consuming ethical chocolate.  This post was definitely not intended to make anyone feel judged about their Halloween candy choices but rather share information about an issue we care about and to be faithful in an area that we know God is calling us to respond to, but that doesn’t mean we always respond with the right heart attitude or even right away.  Change can be slow in this household and attitudes can be stinky.

Photo from MindThis

Photo from MindThis

The chocolate issue is actually something that our family has worked on for a while now. I wish I could say that our experience with ethical chocolate has been all smiles, laughter and fair trade chocolate chip cookies, but that wouldn’t be honest.  A more accurate description would be that it has been full of unintentional and intentional slip ups.  I admit that I over the past year I loved seeing a  candy jar at doctor offices because it offered a bit of anonymity as no one knew about my commitment to fair trade chocolate so I didn’t feel as guilty about having a piece…or 5.  In addition, a few tears have been shed, there have been a few arguments and there might have been one incident that involved a 30-year-old woman throwing temper tantrum at Dairy Queen on a family vacation when her husband kindly mention that the Chocolate Extreme Blizzard she just ordered probably had chocolate in it.  Let’s just say it was not my finest hour.

Many times we wonder if it even matters, making small decisions like this that we never may see an impact from…but once God has brought light to the darkness, or knowledge where there was ignorance, the worst thing one can do is go on pretending it never happened.

Sunrise

We are trying and often failing.  But we aren’t giving up because we know that God is not demanding perfection, rather sincerity of heart, mind, and action.

Surprisingly, that has been the hardest part; not  how often we fail but how often the state of my heart and the motives behind my actions fall far short of bringing Him glory.

So, what am I doing with this? Well, since I can’t be perfect, I decided that I can at least be joyfully imperfect.

Meaning, I will strive to follow God’s prompting to make personal decisions that show a love for His people across this world. I will rejoice when I do make a decision that I know in my heart is the right one.

I sincerely believe that every good choice I make matters and will have a positive impact – so why not celebrate and focus on these?

A wise friend recently said –

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I am pretty sure she is right.

Every time we choose to buy ethical chocolate, support an organization that does meaningful work, buy the fair trade latte even though it costs a little more, forgo buying new shoes and donating to the homeless shelter instead, it makes a difference and is worth noting and celebrating.   The more joy we find in these choices the more we will want to choose them.

And the next thing we know we will be  growing a fair trade, ethically produced, slavery free, sustainable garden!

Will you join me celebrating like this?  I hope so!

 

 

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Halloween – How bitter-sweet it can be…

Last week, I shared with you all about how we are re-thinking Halloween around here.  I wasn’t worried about finding a costume for Hudson, but now all I have to do is decide between the three super-cute (and gently used) Halloween costumes that were given to us. Sweet! Thanks Cindy, Dan, and Rosemary for sharing the Halloween love!

Costume

So, that leads us to our next Halloween re-thinking:

Candy and The Bitter side of Chocolate

Those of you who read our family’s first blog know that I have written about chocolate before and that  a little over a year ago our family started making some changes and embraced what we affectionately (and sometimes not so affectionately) call the Chocolate Challenge. I will actually be sharing more about my personal experiences with this later this week in my Confessions of a Chocolate Craving Activist. But today I am  going to just stick to the facts.

It is no coincidence that I am sharing this post today, as it is actually National Blog Action Day and this year’s theme is Human Rights.

You may be asking what do Halloween, Chocolate, and Human Rights have to do with each other? Well, let’s find out…

The National Confectioners Association reports that Americans will buy more than 600 million pounds of candy this year for Halloween (about $2.4 billion).  The most popular Halloween candies contain chocolate.  Even though chocolate tastes so good going down, the production and harvesting of cocoa beans is not nearly as sweet, as you’ll gather from some of the stats below.

 Most Chocolate is a product of child labor.

Photo from MindThis

Photo from MindThis

~ West Africa produces around  75% of the world’s cocoa.

~ UNICEF estimates that nearly a half-million children work on farms across Ivory Coast.

~ According to the British Broadcasting Company hundreds of thousands of  these children are purchased or stolen from their parents by traffickers and brought to work as slaves in the cocoa farms on the Ivory Coast.

~ The International Labor Rights Forum, reports that these child slaves will endure hard manual labour, averaging about 80-100 hours of work per week.

“Cote d’Ivoire’s child laborers are robbed not only of their freedom but of the right to a basic education.”

International Labor Rights Forum

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Photo from Food Empowerment Project

Urgh. The facts really are heart wrenching. If you have 45 minutes watch this documentary:

Beginning in 2001 there have been several national and international efforts to try to stop the use of child labor and slavery in the cocoa production but due to the scope of the problem and the complexity of implementation and regulation, these efforts have not seen much success and the problem persists. But that doesn’t mean that we have to be part of the problem.  As consumers we have power and we can be part of the solution. We have the power to say – “Sorry Hershey,  but as long as you support child slavery we don’t support you!”  Sooner or later they will start to listen.

So this Halloween we will be putting our money where our hearts are and only buying and consuming chocolates from companies that are selling ethically made chocolate.

Here are some examples of the awesome products available:

Halloween Treats

1 Mama Ganache Chocolate 2 Equal Exchange Halloween Kit 3 Divine Dark Chocolate 4 Endangered Species Chocolate 5 Newman’s Own Chocolate 6 Sjaak’s Halloween Bite Bag

I will be the first to admit that the consumption part will be easier for us as H has never been Trick or Treating and doesn’t know what he will be missing (but I will – oh how I love Twix bars!).  However, I am pretty sure that whatever Halloween activity we decide to take part in there will chocolate treats all around.  To help resist the temptation, I will definitely be bringing my chocolate treats with me!

If you want for more information on chocolate, check out these links –

CNN -The Freedom Project ,   Simple Mom – Chocolate – The Industry’s hidden Truth,

Food Empowerment Project – Chocolate,  World Cocoa Foundation,

 

 

 

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Britta’s Shower – Thirsty Anyone?

One of my  favorite parts about Britta’s shower, besides the decor and togetherness which I shared about here, was the food and drinks! The menu ended up being perfect: delicious, easy and not too stressful to prepare.  I highlighted a few of the recipes and ingredients in earlier posts – Spinach Goat Cheese Salad, Caramel Sauce, if you are interested in trying something out.

However, everyone knows the secret ingredient to the perfect shower menu is, of course, the drinks!

Craft CoffeeWe were so lucky to have connections in high places as we were searching for the perfect coffee to serve with dessert.  Our cousin Lili connected us with Craft Coffee as she knew they were featuring a coffee that would fit in perfectly with the Bought Beautifully Shower Theme.  *Lili was unable to attend the shower :( but her presence was felt as the aroma of coffee drifted through the air :).

Craft Coffee is a unique company that offers monthly coffee subscriptions, delivering different high quality coffee roasts to your doorstep! We were able to sample Mountain Air Coffee, a delicious direct trade coffee.  Click here to read more about direct trade and how and why it is another good choice when buying coffee. Here are some of the other details on the coffee:

Mountain Air Roasting

Craft Coffee sounds pretty wonderful, right? Well, we have two ways for you try them out for yourself…

We want to say a special thank you to Nate and everyone at Craft Coffee for letting us sample this amazing coffee. We loved it!

We thought you might also, so Craft Coffee is generously giving our blog readers a special discount:

All Bought Beautifully readers can receive 10% off anything on the Craft Coffee website!!! Enter this coupon code: BOUGHTBEAUTIFUL

What a great deal. If everything on their site is as good as Mountain Air Coffee, you won’t be disappointed.

However, if you are like me and like to sample things before you commit to buying them, you can enter to win a sample of Craft Coffee – Mountain Air Roasting – and this beautiful Chevron table runner from the shower:

Free Gift!To enter: Simply enter your email below to subscribe to receive Bought Beautifully Posts by email.

Enter here:

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Winner will be chosen at random.

Again, another special thanks to Brooke Photography for sharing her wonderful photos with us!

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Britta’s Shower – Cindy’s Homemade Fair Trade Caramel Sauce

Watch out caramel lovers – this recipe is dangerously delicious!!!

More Ice Cream

I am not even a caramel person, I prefer chocolate over caramel (and pretty much every other food on the planet) and would normally never chose caramel if chocolate could be used instead.  However, I had one taste of this caramel sauce passed on the chocolate just about every night last week.  It really is that good!  Since no Ice Cream Sundae bar is complete without a wide selection of toppings, we will be serving both chocolate and Caramel sauce at Britt’s shower, so I won’t have to choose between the two :).

Ice Cream

Here is the recipe (from bhg.com):

Fair trade Sugar

Ingredients –

3/4 cup whipping cream (organic – if possible)

2 tablespoons water

1 cup Fair Trade sugar  (we use Wholesome sweeteners)

1/2 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a small saucepan heat cream and 2 Tbsp. water until steaming hot; remove from heat; set aside.

2. Place the 1/2 cup water in a 2-quart saucepan; pour sugar and salt in a thin stream in center of pan to form a low mound. Don’t stir; use your fingers to pat the sugar mound down until it is entirely moistened. Any sugar touching edges of pan should be below the water line. Cover and cook over medium heat without stirring until sugar is dissolved and syrup looks clear.

3. Uncover and continue to cook without stirring until syrup begins to color slightly. Swirl pan gently (rather than stirring) if syrup is coloring unevenly. If syrup gets too dark, it will taste bitter. Use a skewer to drop a bead of syrup on a plate from time to time. When a drop of syrup looks amber (about 13 minutes), remove pan from heat. Holding pan away from you, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Stir over low heat to blend the caramel into the cream mixture. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.

4. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Let cool until slightly thickened (220 degrees F-222 degrees F). Serve warm with Walnut Cake with Caramel Whipped Cream. Or store, tightly covered, in the refrigerator up to a week – but it won’t last that long!!!!

Happy

 You really shouldn’t spend another summer night not eating this caramel! It will make you happy.

P.S. – I am still on the hunt for the perfect chocolate sauce, does anybody have the perfect recipe? Please share it with me in the comment section!

Happy Monday!

em

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