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Edible Coffee: Have Your Coffee and Eat It Too

Coffee Thins

I have discovered something pretty amazing. Something that combines two things that I love the most. Chocolate and coffee!

I know, the marriage of chocolate and coffee is nothing new. I love a good Mocha every now and then. But today I am talking about something a little different. This new chocolate and coffee combination is something new entirely, at least to me. This is morsel that has packed an entire cup of coffee into one delicious chocolate/coffee square. An edible coffee that is easy to pack away in your purse or your desk and eat when the caffeine slump starts to pull you under.

Coffee Thins are USA made and have been developed by Eight O’Clock Coffee Company and Krispy Kreme. Their chocolate bars consist of 3 squares and each square is equal to one cup of coffee.  There are 6 enjoyable flavors to choose from with my favorite being Latte. What is crazy is that they really do taste like a cup of coffee! It is like biting into your favorite cup of joe. The nutrition is equal to an amount of coffee as well.

I am not saying these have taken place of my morning coffee. But they are super easy to pack away and pull out when on the run. Each square is individually wrapped to make it wonderfully convenient. You can order online here or you can find them at your local grocery store.

Pick up a bar today and let me know what you think.

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Small Purchases Make a Huge Impact

I believe the hardest part about moving our purchases to fair trade items come from changing the way we think. The old saying, “Go big or go home” starts to play over in our heads. We think that if we cannot make some large, expensive purchase into fair trade then we feel as if there is no point.

This is simply not true.

Changing one purchase to fair trade can make a huge difference. That one purchase makes a tremendous impact on another person. And that purchase does not have to be large or expensive. It can be small and, in this case, delicious!

Today I am talking about gum. That’s right, gum. Project 7 makes specialty gums and mints that are made in America and have a global impact. Their focus is to aid in 7 Missions through the purchase of their gum: save the Earth, house the homeless, feed the hungry, quench the thirsty, heal the sick, teach them well and hope for peace. In their mission statement, Project 7 states, “Little purchases when added up, can pull many people together and make life changing impacts every day of the week.

What I enjoy most about their gum is all the unique flavors. I recently purchased Birthday Cake which legit tastes like birthday cake. It was amazing and my 4-year-old especially loved it! Now they have Girl Scout cookie flavored mints and gums! My girl-scout-cookie-loving heart is full.

Let the change in our perspective start here. Small changes do make a difference and small purchases do make a huge impact.

You can pick Project 7 gum up at most grocery stores. Give Project 7 a try and let me know what you think.

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These are a Few of My Favorite (Fair Trade) Things

I have had the privilege of blogging with HandUp for over a year. Over a year now! That is crazy! I have loved blogging for everyone and I am thankful for each of you who read my posts each week. Thank you for growing with me through this process. I have learned so much about fair-trade, ethical business practices and American-made products. I love supporting these companies and below I have compiled a list of some of my most favorite products:

1.       Mata Traders

I love clothes. I love patterns. Mata Traders provides both of my loves in one super cute package. What makes this clothing brand even better is how they support those who make their clothes. You can read more about them here or here.


2.       LUSH

LUSH has made me like baths! I know I am a grown up and I am not supposed to care about some of this…but give a girl a bath bomb that makes your water fun colors and has glitter and you have won her heart! This company rocks. 

I have also fallen in love with LUSH make-up. I have talked about this before, but I am a creature of habit when it comes to my make-up. I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to what I put on my face. I just ask one, yes ONE, thing of my make-up: that it STAYS on! Come now, is that too much to ask? Well clearly those at LUSH want the same thing because their make-up does. It stays on! I could go on and on. Just trust me on this. Try it and you will be in love. You can check out more on them here.


3.       Dr. Bronner

This is my most favorite body wash. It smells good, it makes my skin feel awesome. Not only is this product ethically sourced, it is available at just about any grocery store which makes it super convenient to pick up. You can read more about them here.


4.       Coconut Sugar

Yes. It is true. I am totally on the coconut oil/sugar bandwagon. I cannot help it. I love it! My newest obsession is coconut sugar. I have a major sweet tooth and it must be feed daily. If not, I am not responsible for what happens. Now, I am not saying that coconut sugar magically turns into chocolate cake, however it does help curb the sweet I am craving. Put coconut sugar on top of any fruit (my personal favs are strawberry and bananas) and you will be blown away. Promise. Do it! You can read more about this brand of fair-trade coconut sugar here.


5.       Sweet Maria’s

My husband loves to roast his own coffee and I, being the team player that I am, love to drink freshly roasted coffee. So if you are looking for ethically sourced green coffee beans, Sweet Maria’s is a fantastic choice. You can check out more about them here and here.


6.       Texas Sweet Tees

This American-made t-shirt company has become one of my favorites. Their t-shirts are soft and comfortable, they fit great, and they are super fun. They always have the cutest and funniest sayings. I currently own 3, but that will be greatly increasing as I add to my capsule wardrobe. My favorite is pictured below.


7.       TOMS

I have been a huge TOMS fan since before I was even really aware of what fair-trade was. I just loved the concept of this company: that for each pair of shoes I buy, they donate a pair to a kid in need. I loved that missional-mindedness of this company. Now, of course, it has since grown and now encompasses so much more, from eye glasses to safe baby deliveries to coffee. While the fair-trade stamp is not on TOMS, they do adhere to California Transparency in Supply Chains Act and they are committed to fair labor practices within their supply chain (you can read more about that here).

8.       HandUp Global Goods

Saving the best for last: my most favorite fair-trade jewelry company is HandUp Global Goods. I love our story. I love our artisans and how hard they work on their craft. I love each and every person that works and volunteers for HUGG. Our Spring collection is getting ready to debut and you do not want to miss out!


Hope you enjoyed. Try these companies if you have not and message me about any other fair-trade and/or American-made company you love.

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Vanilla Goodness that You Feel Good About

Naturally, I’m not drawn to cooking.  I cook, but it is not something I enjoy really.  Instead, it’s more of a chore than a hobby.  But baking—I love to bake!  Baking makes my kitchen smell amazing and I love when something yummy and sweet comes out of the oven.  I also love that everyone gets excited over freshly baked items coming out of the oven.  It is like a universal sign for hospitality.

Want to meet someone new?  Bake them bread.

Want to meet a new neighbor?  Bake them brownies.

Maybe this is just a southern thing, but baking is the way to most people’s hearts.

(For those of you that are not big sweet eaters or  that do not care for desserts that much, there’s a quote that always comes to mind from the wise words of Jessica Day, “I find it fundamentally strange that you’re not a dessert person. That’s just weird and it freaks me out.”) Get it together guys!

But, back on topic, a key ingredient in most sweet recipes (and no, it is not love…that is cheesy, even for me) is vanilla. It can totally make or break a recipe!

I have been looking into fair trade vanilla lately, and unfortunately, it can be difficult to find!  There are a few companies out there where you can order it online (here, here—this is wholesale only—, or here), and even fewer where you can buy it at the store.

There’s an interesting article out there called, “Is Fair Trade Vanilla Really Fair.”  Since vanilla beans are very difficult to grow, there are only a small number of vanilla bean farmers.  In fact, it takes around 3 years for a vine to produce a vanilla bean.  And, when it is time to pick the crop, it must be done by hand.  Vanilla beans are also extremely sensitive to weather changes.  Because vanilla has a standard of quality, it can be difficult for farmers to receive a consistent price for their crop.  Because of these things, plus wanting to make sure the farmers have a fair wage, the price of fair trade vanilla can be somewhat more expensive than other forms.

Fortunately, I did find one fair trade vanilla that is available at your local grocer – Rodelle. Besides HEB and Kroger, Rodelle vanilla extract can be found at Costco, Whole Foods, Randall’s, and many other stores.  Rodelle was established in 1936 and offers a variety of vanilla products.  Recently, they partnered with a vanilla farming association in Madagascar that works to ensure both the preserving of the environment and fair wages with the farmers. The association is an employee owned co-op and gives 100% of the profit back to the farmers. I have tried their vanilla extract in several items already and it is really good.  Plus, I can pick it up at the grocery store which makes life much easier.


I would love to hear what you think about Rodelle. Pick some up, bake something yum and share!

Recipe of the Week—Sopapilla Cheesecake

This is an all-time favorite of mine and is usually a go-to dessert during the holidays.

2 cans crescent rolls

1 ½ cups sugar

3 packages cream cheese (8oz each)

1 tsp Rodelle Vanilla

1 stick butter, melted

½ cup sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

Cream together 1 ½ cups sugar, cream cheese and vanilla in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl mix together ½ cup sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Grease a 13×9 inch baking dish. Unroll (1) can of crescent rolls and place on the bottom of the dish. Smooth the cream cheese and sugar mixture on top of the crescent rolls. Unroll the other can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture. Melt butter and pour over the top of crescent rolls. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the butter evenly.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!

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Lake Champlain Cocoa Powder



Whether you are a coffee lover or not (aka a crazy person), today’s post is for you. What better warm drink to enjoy with the whole family than hot chocolate on cool, holiday nights? It is a classic family-friendly beverage that consists of milk and sweetened or unsweetened (see recipe below) cocoa powder. Deliciously rich, hot chocolate. Yum!

I also think the way a person takes their hot chocolate says a lot about their personality.  For instance…

Are you a purist when it comes to your hot chocolate? Just milk and cocoa? Then maybe you are someone that enjoys the simpler things in life.

Do you prefer marshmallows, “the more marshmallows, the better”? Maybe you like to live on edge a little…you know, have an adventure.

Or do you prefer something totally crazy like spicy hot chocolate or lots of whip cream and sprinkles? Maybe you have a super refined palate and enjoy all the luxuries that life has to offer.

This is a super scientific personality test, of course.

But now that I have you craving this velvety mug of chocolaty goodness, I want to make sure that the cocoa you use in this hot beverage has a Fair Trade base.  So, today I bring you fair trade cocoa powder by Lake Champlain Chocolates. Now, cocoa powder can be used in so many awesome holiday recipes, but one of my favorites is hot chocolate.

Lake Champlain Chocolates, established in 1983, is based out of Vermont and is a family-run company that sources both locally and globally from a fair trade certified third party. They are also officially fair trade certified through Fair Trade USA. Lake Champlain is now in partnership with cacao farmers around the world to help fund the World Cocoa Foundation Scholarship to empower women and education youth in Africa. Check out their website as they have many, many other delicious-looking chocolate products that I guarantee will make your mouth water.  Products can be purchased directly from their website or at Amazon.



Tell me, how do you take your hot chocolate?

Made from scratch hot cocoa recipe:

2 cups powdered sugar

1 cup cocoa powder

½ cup dry milk

1 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Add any special topping you see fit and enjoy! Perfect for a cold night or given as a cute present.


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Ethically Made Cinnamon for Delicious Baking

Happy October! This year is just moving right along and I feel like I can barely catch my breath. In a blink, Christmas will be here.

I am rather excited about the month of October here on the blog.  I love to bake and feel like this time of year gives me an excuse to do just that.  What better way to bake than to do so with fair trade ingredients?  So, today’s post focuses on delightful and wonderful-smelling cinnamon.

Frontier Natural Products

Frontier Natural Products wholesales organic and fair trade products. They produce various spices found in most grocery stores.  Or, purchase them online at Frontier, established in 1976, operates as a member-owned cooperative. Their mission statement is simple: “Nourish people and planet. Always be fair.” In addition to being fair trade, they also give 4% of their annual net savings to various charities and to improve life in communities around the world.

I don’t know about you, but for me, cinnamon is a staple ingredient in most of my holiday baking. So, when you shop for cinnamon (or other spices), pick up some Frontier Natural Products.  In addition, if you are looking for something new to bake, enjoy the recipe below!


Apple Dumplings with Sprite (or Mountain Dew):

Now, I am not sure where this recipe originated from, but this recipe was typed out by a friend of a friend many years ago. I attended my friend’s graduation party and the hostess made this dish.  I devoured it! It has since become a go to recipe when I am looking for something different and delish all at the same time.

  • 4 Granny Smith apples, cut into ¼ each, peel and core
  • 2 cans crescent dinner rolls (open and separate)
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 12 oz can Sprite (or Mountain Dew)
  • 1 ½ sticks butter

In a 9×13 baking pan (spray with pam), wrap each piece of apple in crescent roll and place into baking dish, core side down. Next, mix sugars and cinnamon together and spread evenly over apples. Cut butter over top, then pour Sprite (or Mountain Dew) around the edge of the baking dish. Bake at 375 until nice and brown (about 45 minutes).

Serve warm and if you are feeling extra healthy, add some ice cream on top of that awesomeness! Enjoy!