Wholly Canadian is a social enterprise promoting whole-life local living
...a breath of fresh air for those with a heart for local /fair-trade living, & inspiration for those intrigued...
                                     

Wholly Canadian Blog

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Milk Chocolate Easter Treats: Fair-trade meets Local

Happy Easter Season! In the spirit of Easter (celebrating New Life), Wholly Canadian is excited to share how to bring life & community to your Easter treats.

By the way this recipe is wholly wonderful all-year round! You can simply make chocolate bark, or use other festive/ holiday candy moulds.



Instead of buying the cheap sugar-laden chocolate bunnies made with cocoa beans harvested by workers earning third-world wages, make your own with this oh-so-simple fair-trade recipe. . .with only 4 ingredients.



You can pour the chocolate in candy moulds, or simply make bark.


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Canadian-grown raw hazelnuts
      • alternatively you can use any nut of your choice
  • 1 soft plump Level-Ground trading fair-trade vanilla pod
      • alternatively you can use 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup locally-farmed cream (I used organic Harmony unhomogenized whipping cream)
  • 2 bags of Camino semi-sweet fair-trade chocolate chips; approx 16 grams total
      • alternatively you can use bitter-sweet chocolate chips if you desire less sugar

 Many fair-trade ingredients can be found at Ten Thousand Villages

This recipe is a variation of our Valentine's Dark Chocolate Bark



Step 1: Wholesome Food Prep

  • Soak & deyhydrate the hazelnuts

You can skip this step if you do not wish to do this to soak the nuts.


 

Step 2:  Putting it all together

  1. You can make a bark, or else pour chocolate in candy moulds.
    • Bark: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving a small overhang. If you are not using a stoneware pan, you may want to grease the pan prior to placing the parchment paper, so that the paper is easily lifted later. Set the pan aside.
    • Candy moulds: prepare and wash them. Make sure they are completely dry.
  2. Extract the vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod (or alternativley pour in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract once chocolate is melted)
    • See this link as a resource, or see this video for help on extracting the vanilla seeds
    • Research the many ways you can use the remaining vanilla pod
  3. In a double boiler, begin to melt the chocolate chips.
    • Add the coconut seed paste from the vanilla pod.
    • Add the 1/4 cup cream
  4. Chop/grind the nuts into smaller pieces--as desired
  5. Continue to stir the chocolate. Make sure no water gets into the pot or the chocolate will seize.
  6. Pour the mixture:
    • Bark: Spread the chocolate over the prepared sheet with a spatula; it may not reach to each corner of the pan. That's okay. Create a "puddle" of chocolate according to how thin you want your bark.
    • Candy Moulds: Pour in the chocolate. Tap the mould on a hard surface so as to remove any air bubbles.
      • Fill as many moulds as possible. You may also use the remainder of the chocoalate for bark as I did--in a small bar pan.
  7. Liberally sprinkle the chopped nuts on the warm chocolate. Gently press, with your fingers, the nuts in the chocolate using a tiny bit of pressue.
  8. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes; or freezer for 15 min.
  9. To serve:
    • Bark: Break into bite-sized pieces.
    • Candy Moulds: remove the chocolate and wrap attractively

 


Step 3: Enjoyment

To store, place in an air-tight container, or freeze for longer shelf-life.


Wrap them up to give as gifts.

Enjoy these bites of pure pleasure!



Easter decor:

  • vintage glass hen, vintage milk glass bowl, heritage eggs naturally coloured, and a re-purposed crate.
  • I planted wheat kernels (the same wheat that I mill for baking bread) 10 days prior to these pics.


 

Why makes this recipe outstanding?

1. Nourishment: Whole Nutrition

    • whole cream--no modified milk ingredients
    • simple ingredients--most chocolate treats and chocolate chips have added soy lecithin, but not this premium chocolate!
    • recipe uses organic non-GMO ingredients, but it doesn't end there. . .
    • this recipe also involves traditional wholly nourishing food preparation; this quality of product is generally not available on grocery shelves
      • the nuts have been soaked using traditional methods to aid digestion; eliminating the anti-nutrients (phytic acid)  that contribute to gas and digestive pain associated with seeds and grains


2. Social Justice: Community Orientation

    • this recipe uses all local and/or fair-trade ingredients. . .
    • every bite is a bite of community & goodwill. . . rather than buying what is "cheapest for me," it thinks "we". . . giving way to true joy
    • for a good resource on why this matters see "Why localism"; many of the same principles also apply to fair-trade

 

 


What type of Easter treats do you have planned? Share with our readers.


 

Make sure to check out all our Easter posts. . . here and here.

fair-trade finger puppets


  Check out this Canadian-made Easter bunny that hopped here from Saskatoon, SK. . . . lovingly made by Mary Grishchenko of Mashenka Rose.


Happy Easter!

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:00 AM 3 Comments

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Household Disinfectant Spray--Wholly Canadian

DIY: Wholly Canadian Household Disinfectant Spray

This homemade disinfectant spray has a story.  When my husband and I were preparing to join our earthly belongings into one household a few weeks prior to marriage, I came across his cleaning products. The contents of his conventional cleaning products were laden with chemicals. In my mind, they had to go. And I proceeded to toss them. “But the smell of pine makes me think it’s clean,” he said.  “Well,” said I, “clean doesn’t have a smell.”  Needless to say the conventional products disappeared somehow. . .



I later came to appreciate that clean is often associated with smell.  So for us, it’s just switching up the source of smell. Instead of it being chemical derived, we use the real-deal. God’s gift to us is bottled as essential oils.  Why not enjoy a smell with cleaning?  Why not enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy? 

My homemade spray has three wholly Canadian essential oils (spruce, fir, and pine), and a lavender tea. Not only are they all naturally antiseptic and anti-fungal, but they also support the respiratory system, i.e. you receive a natural tonic from cleaning, simply from it being sprayed in the air.  Not to mention, lavender is also a relaxant. Yup, that’s a great deal. Your house, health, and pschye are boosted in one simple spray. Did I already say simple? Yes, it’s extremely simple to make.

Here are some benefits (by no means exhaustive) in terms of cleaning:

  • Spruce: anti-infectious, anti-parasitic, stimulates thymus (boosting immune system), and supports the nervous and respiratory system
  • Pine: anti-infectious, anti-fungal, and and antiseptic. Hippocrates (father of western medicine), used it for its benefits to the respiratory system.
  • Fir: antiseptic, and has respiratory benefits
  • Lavender: antiseptic, relaxant


Made in Canada Essential Oils?

Finding made-in-Canada essential oils is another story.  Many essential oils are labelled as “made in Canada,” but if one does further research, one discovers they are simply bottled in Canada. I kept searching for essential oil companies in Canada. When I inquired if they had essential oils made in Canada, they would reply, "yes, all of ours." “No,” I said, “I mean actually distilled in Canada.”  “Oh,” they would say, “yes, we have a few.” I then would ask if they distilled them, they would tell me they got them from another company. If I asked which company, they wouldn’t tell me. It makes sense, because they didn’t want to lose my business.

But I wanted to get to the “root” {pun intended} of it, so I could give credit where credit is due. So after tons of research I finally found an essential oil distillery in Canada . .and what a great find: Alixsir. Located in Quebec, they are both a producer and importer of essential oils. The key, for me, was that they were a producer.

Finally I could make a wholly Canadian, 100% Canadian, disinfectant spray.

Recipe:

  • 1 Part Water or Lavender tea (see instruction below on lavender tea)
  • 1 Part Vinegar (vinegar is another natural antiseptic ingredient whose smell dissipates when it dries)
  • 10 drops of essential oil per cup of solution (approx divide the 10-15 drops between the essential oils you use)
  • Mix well in a bowl
  • Pour solution in a spray bottle (preferably glass).
  • Shake before each use.
  • Store extra solution in a glass jar in a dark closet.    

 




Why Lavender Tea?

I like using the lavender tea instead of water because lavender is my favourite smell! And I love its healing and antiseptic properties.

Why not just use essential oil of lavender? Good question. Well, you could. But in my case, I wanted to use only wholly Canadian ingredients.  To my knowledge, there is no lavender essential oil that is distilled in Canada.  The reason for that I’m told is that different geographical areas have optimal growing conditions for distilling plants, i.e. you can’t beat the lavender in France, and the roses in the Middle East, etc. So using grown-in Canada lavender buds is my way of living locally and still enjoying the smell & benefits of lavender. I use Bleu Lavande tea, grown in Quebec.

Making Lavender Tea: 

  • For the purpose of this disinfectant, the stronger tea, the better. Adding increased lavender buds per cup will enhance the benefits and aromatheraphy. {smile} 
  • Use a very fine mesh strainer to contain the buds. You do not want particles floating in your solution.
  • Pour boiling water on the buds
  • Steep for desired strength

Uses for the Disinfectant Spray:

  • Bathrooms: sinks, toilet, etc
  • Countertops (test a patch on granite or marble first)
  • Windows--the vinegar ingredient ensures a good clean
  • Room Freshener--spray around the house to neutralize nasty smells
  • Baby puddles on the floor {yup!}
  • Spray around garbage can

A 100% truly Wholly Canadian disinfectant spray. {Clapping}  Yes folks, you can celebrate. Local life is possible!

Regressing back to clean having a smell. . yes, clean, can have a smell. And clean can have so many more benefits, too. Now my husband has his pine smell, and I have lavender. {Joy} 


What are some of your own cleaning tips?



Posted by Wholly Canadian at 7:06 AM 4 Comments