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What is the Price We Pay for Sugar?

May 6, 2013

The Price of Sugar

Do you ever think about who grows and harvests sugar? Grocery aisles are stocked with many types of sugar as well as products that contain sugar. The Dominican Republic has 250,000 acres of sugar cane and has five sugar companies on the island. The sugar is harvested and sent to the United States where it is used to make the cookies and cakes that we enjoy eating.

Far from the pristine beaches in the Dominican Republic there is a hidden secret. “The Price of Sugar” tells the true story of a Spanish priest who visits a sugar plantation in the Dominican Republic. Father Christopher Hartley follows the lives of a group of laborers from Haiti who are brought to the Dominican by the Vicini Sugar Company. The false promise of a decent wage is traded for hunger, poor housing, lack of clean water, education and healthcare.

Father Hartley receives death threats from the natives who believe that their needs are being ignored. At the risk of his own life, Father Hartley takes on the powerful sugar barons and the government to fight for the basic human rights of the Haitians. He helped bring a voice to a group of people whose concerns are ignored and taught the Haitians to stand up for their rights.

At Wholesome Sweeteners, we believe in protecting the farmers who help grow and harvest our Fairtrade honey, sugar and agave products. We work to improve the quality of their lives while paying them a fair price for all their hard work and labor. The Fairtrade symbol on our products means that the producers and traders have met Fairtrade International Standards. The vision of Fairtrade International is a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfill their potential and decide on their future. Since 2005, we have paid more than $8 million in social premiums to our Fairtrade partners.

“The Price of Sugar” can be found on You Tube.

The Future of Food

April 25, 2013

The Future of Food

“The Future of Food” gives an in-depth look at the revolution of genetically engineered food and the effect it has on the United States and the world. “The Future of Food” offers a behind-the-scenes look at the unlabeled, patented and genetically engineered food that has fed our families for the past decade. The film explores the health implications, government policies and the globalization of genetically engineered food. Shot on location in the United States, Canada and Mexico, the film gives a voice to farmers whose livelihoods have been controlled by the large agribusiness corporations behind genetically engineered food.

The film concludes with alternatives to eating genetically engineered food and why it is better to feed your family food that is not genetically engineered. Alternatives include eating organic food, buying fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmer’s markets, and community supported agriculture. It describes how people are becoming more aware of genetically engineered food and are seeking answers to solve the problem. You can find “The Future of Food” on Amazon and Netflix.

At Wholesome Sweeteners, we believe in feeding our families food that is delicious, nutritious and safe to eat. All of our products are Non-GMO Project Verified. We follow the rules and regulations set forth by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Each Wholesome Sweeteners product that bears the organic logo guarantees that you are purchasing something that has not been aided by synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals.

Is My Organic Food GMO Friendly?

March 27, 2013

GMO

Parents have always been concerned about the food they feed their children but now they are demanding to know the ingredients of what they purchase…..rightfully so. Organic food is a popular option for parents who are concerned about what pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and synthetic hormones are used to grow and cultivate the food they feed their families. This includes food that does not contain ingredients that are genetically modified.

Parents are Increasingly Aware of Unlabeled GMOs in Food on the Organic Trade Association (OTA) website explains why labeling food products is important to parents. According to the association, parents are becoming more aware of the presence of unlabeled genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the marketplace. Parents who purchase organic products have come to expect that the products will be labeled by law to not have genetically engineered ingredients. Public outcry continues to grow as more parents become aware of the problem.

Results from the 2013 US Families’ Organic Attitudes & Beliefs Tracking Study indicate that parents will most likely increase their organic purchases if there is a label designating that there are no GMOs. The survey, conducted in collaboration with the OTA and Kiwi Magazine, used data from 1,239 households. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) Organic label is the gold standard for parents to understand exactly what they are purchasing. The survey sites the primary reason parents buy organic food is because they want to avoid GMOs.

At Wholesome Sweeteners we believe in feeding our families food that is delicious, nutritious and safe to eat. All of our products are Non-GMO Project Verified. We follow the rules and regulations set forth by the USDA. Each Wholesome Sweeteners product that bears the organic logo guarantees that you are purchasing something that has not been aided by synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or chemicals. All of the products are processed and produced free of GMOs.

Save the Earth – Eat Organic

March 19, 2013

organic_farmers_market

According to the article Sorry Dr. Oz, But It’s Not All about the Benjamins in Living Green Magazine one has got to look beyond the nutrition labels on the food and beverages that we consume. Nutrition is important but so is sustaining the earth. Dr. Joseph Villa, an Environmental Science professor, discusses an article that Dr. Mehmet Oz wrote in a recent issue of Time Magazine. Dr. Oz believes that there is very little nutritional difference between organic and pre-packaged frozen food.

Villa opposes Dr. Oz’s view because it’s extremely important that we look beyond the nutritional content and instead focus on the impact that eating pre-packaged food has on the environment. The food choices we make should do more than just ease our consciousness; they should also focus on sustainability. Dr. Villa believes that a long-term investment needs to be made in the health of the planet.

We have used more fossil fuel, increased our use of irrigation, and have used more chemical fertilizers and pesticides than ever before. The demand for food also means that we have cultivated more land and developed more productive livestock and crop varieties. While these things are important for our survival it is also important to maintain healthy water, soil, and biodiversity to maintain sustainability for future generations.

With the world’s population growing at an alarming rate, it is critical that we protect those very things that are being degraded and documented as unsustainable. The natural systems that we depend on such as air and water purification, nutrient cycling, climate regulation, recycling waste and plant pollination are being destroyed at an astounding rate. In turn, resources are being depleted, habitats are being destroyed and pollution is taking over the planet.

We take protecting the earth seriously here at Wholesome Sweeteners. Our sugar, Stevia, agave and honey products are cultivated organically. We don’t use synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides in growing and cultivating our organic products nor do any of our products come from genetically modified plants. We believe in saving the environment and protecting the earth for future generations.

What’s Happening to the Honey Bees?

February 25, 2013

In the last several years, there have been various news reports and articles about the rapid loss of honey bee colonies in Europe.  Honey bees are important because they pollinate crops which produce fruits and vegetables for us to eat.  In fact, honey bees pollinate 90 percent of the food that we eat which is valued at $204 billion globally to farmers. The article To Revive Honey Bees, Europe Proposes a Pesticide Ban on the Business Week website explains why food scientists have begun researching the cause of the honey bee loss.  Many scientists lay the blame on the use of pesticides by farmers.  The loss of the honey bees is known as Colony Collapse Disorder, and it has been observed in bee populations at intervals over at least 100 years.  It is no wonder food scientists are alarmed about the staggering loss.

Italian Biologist Marco Lodesani, Director of a honeybee and silkworm research institute in Bologna, has completed countless experiments on the carcasses of dead honey bees.  His team concluded that the bees are dying because of harmful pesticides, commonly known as neonicotidnoids, which are found mainly on maize seeds and are used to prevent sap-sucking pests from destroying the crops.  The group has persuaded Italy and France to ban certain kinds of pesticides and persuaded Slovenia and Germany to do the same in the past.  The honey bee loss has declined since the ban has been implemented.  The European Commission has also proposed a two-year ban on the pesticides that the European Food Safety Authority has declared as unsafe for honey bees.

Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, the makers of neonicotidnoids, think that the study is flawed and are concerned about farmers and the agriculture business. They believe that the agriculture business may lose billions of dollars because of the loss of crops and that 50,000 jobs will be in jeopardy.  The powerful farmers’ unions in Europe oppose the ban as well.

What is the best way to preserve the honey bee population while still enjoying delicious honey products? At Wholesome Sweeteners we believe in protecting both the bees and the environment. Our Fairtrade Organic Amber and Raw Honey are produced on traditional family farms in Mexico and the Northeastern Amazon.  The bee hives are cultivated in organic agriculture zones in Central and South American rainforests.  The plants around the hives are not sprayed with harmful pesticides which in turn protects the environment and the honey bees.

 

 

 

 

Organic…Why it Really Matters

October 5, 2012

Over the last couple of weeks, many of you may have seen the study released by Stanford University regarding the health benefits of organic food. The study questioned the added nutritional benefits of buying organic food versus conventional food. The study’s findings showed little to no nutritional difference between organic meat and produce.

The very important difference the study failed to mention are the layers of dangerous pesticides and gmo’s found on and in conventional foods. Dr. Allan Greene, renowned pediatrician and author says the study got it all wrong. He says that children, infants to age 5, in the United States have lost more than 16 million IQ points from exposure to organophosphate pesticides. Children are exposed to these pesticides almost exclusively through food. Dr. Greenerecently appeared on the Dr. Oz show to provide people with more detailed information on why going organic really matters.

As a mother, I don’t buy organic food because I think it contains more nutrients than conventionally grown food, I buy it because I don’t want my daughter ingesting chemicals whose name I can’t even pronounce. If my daughter gets ahold of a piece of fruit before I get a chance to wash it, I don’t worry about what she might be putting in her body because I know it was grown without the use of harmful pesticides, antibiotics, or genetically modified organisms.

The very informative article by Dr. Greene really puts into perspective how important it is to choose organic for the health of our families. Not only are we protecting the health of our families by choosing organic, we are protecting the health of our air, water and soil.

One very impactful quote from Dr. Greene’s article comes from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA says that protecting children from the potential effects of pesticides is one of its most important jobs. With such widespread use of pesticides and gmos’s and not enough research to show the effects on our children…it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t forget to check out Dr. Greene’s article! He even includes a list of how to go organic on your very next shopping trip-on a budget. It’s easier than you think!

Photo Contest in Honor of Fairtrade Month-Starts Monday!

September 28, 2012

Sweeten Your Day Sweeten the World Photo Contest

Wholesome Sweeteners Sweeten Your Day Sweeten the World Photo Contest kicks-off on Monday!

Did you know that when you use our Fairtrade Certified™ products you help sweeten the world just a little? Wholesome Sweeteners actively promotes fairtrade programs and sells more than 10 fairtrade certified sweeteners, including Raw & Natural Sugar from Malawi and Fairtrade Organic Sugar from Paraguay. In normal trade conditions, farmers and workers at the beginning of the chain don’t always get a fair price for their harvest. Fairtrade certified cooperatives are generally very small producers managing their own farm. Their farming operations are small, but solid. They just need a little help moving into the global marketplace.

At Wholesome Sweeteners, we have literally searched the world for the best tasting products. You are helping to make the world a sweeter place when using our Organic, Fairtrade products. Since 2005, Wholesome Sweeteners has paid more than $8.5 million in social premiums to benefit farming and bee keeping cooperatives in the developing world, reinforcing our commitment to make the world a sweeter place. Premiums are paid over and above the price of the product and they must be used by the co-op to benefit the community as a whole. Fairtrade means that farmers can buy land, send their kids to school, and build thriving communities. Premiums paid by Wholesome Sweeteners have helped bring clean water, electricity, schools and health care facilities to villages in Malawi, Mexico, Brazil, and Paraguay. We are always trying to grow awareness of our ethically sourced and sustainably harvested sweeteners.

In celebration of Fairtrade month, every day, starting Monday, Oct 1, 2012 through Friday, Oct 12, 2012, we’ll be giving away $25 to one person. Simply share a photo, via our Facebook contest app, of how one of our products sweetened your day while helping us sweeten the world. Maybe it’s a photo of you getting your day started using our Fairtrade Raw Sugar in your morning cup of coffee, or maybe it’s a photo of delicious chocolate chip cookies you baked with our Fairtrade Organic Dark Brown Sugar  – just be sure to include the sweetener’s container in the photo. Submit your photo using our Facebook contest app, and you’ll have a chance to win that day’s $25 VISA gift card.

Click here for contest details.

Say Goodbye to Summer

September 1, 2012

This Monday marks the unofficial end of summer. While it won’t be getting cold here in Sugar Land anytime soon, signs of fall are everywhere-the kids are back in school, holiday decorations are on store shelves, and tummies are eagerly awaiting fall-themed baked goods. Pumpkin Pie anyone? Even though we can’t wait for fall to arrive, the summer definitely deserves a fantastic going-away party! So, grab your grilling tools, drink pitcher, and sun block and enjoy these tasty recipes. We hope they add a little something extra to your weekend as we wave goodbye to summer and say hello to fall!

Wholesome Sweeteners Hibiscus RecipeHot day, super thirsty? Try this delicious Hibiscus Sangria from the newest addition to our Wholesome Sweeteners family, world-renowned Chef Rick Bayless. This drink will get your party going in no time! We are so honored to share some of Chef Bayless’ world-class recipes with you! Chef Bayless joins the ranks of Chef Marcus Samuelsson, Chef Gale Gand and many other talented chefs, as a member of our Featured Chef’s Circle. For more recipes from Chef Bayless visit his Featured Chef page.

Wholesome Sweeteners Flank Steak RecipeNo summer party would be complete without firing up the grill. Our friends at ASAP BBQ (Always Smoked Absolutely Perfect) have spent years perfecting their delicious recipes. Their grilling creations are so amazing they were named USA Barbeque Champion! Their Belgian Ale Bison Flank Steak recipe will have your guests begging for more.

Wholesome Sweeteners Spiked Popsicle Recipe

Last but not least, end your holiday celebration with a cold treat that’s a little nice and a little naughty. Eating popsicles brings back wonderful childhood memories of swimming in the lake and playing kickball with friends. Now that we are all grown up, how about reminiscing over a Strawberry Pineapple Spiked Popsicle? Serve these sweet little treats at your Labor Day celebration and wait for your guests to gush over this new twist on a classic dessert.

We hope you and your family have a safe and wonderful Labor Day Weekend! Cheers to cooler weather ahead.

Thanks for Playing our Sweet Coconut Retreat Contest

July 30, 2012

Wholesome Sweeteners Sweet Coconut Retreat Contest

Did you guess the locations of our sweet coconut retreats?

We must say we are impressed with our fans’ geography knowledge! Each day, from Monday, July 23, 2012 through Friday, July 27, 2012, we posted one picture of a Sweet Coconut Retreat location on our Facebook and Wholesome Sweeteners Contest page. Our fans were to guess the location of these tropical getaways, and the large majority of our fans guessed correctly. If you were keeping tabs on your guesses, here are the correct answers:

  • Monday, July 23: Prambanan Ruins in Java, Indonesia
  • Tuesday, July 24: Iguaçu Falls in Brazil
  • Wednesday, July 25: Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve in Oahu, Hawaii
  • Thursday, July 26: The Twin Pitons in St. Lucia
  • Friday, July 27: Mount Otemanu in Bora Bora, Tahiti

And congratulations to our five winners of the daily $50 VISA gift card giveaway:

  • Sabrina Price of Lansing, Michigan
  • Kim Dees of Clover, South Carolina
  • Krista Wilder of Lombard, Illinois
  • Amber Gillespie of Wolcott, Vermont
  • Daniel Saylors of Edinburg, Texas

Thank you to all those that guessed, both via Facebook and via email.  If you are interested in learning in which sweet coconut retreat location our organic coconut palm sugar is made, visit this link. Stay tuned for our next contest. We promise, it will be pretty sweet!”

Play the Sweet Coconut Retreat Contest..TODAY!!

July 24, 2012

Can you guess the locations of our sweet coconut retreats?

Play our Wholesome Sweeteners Sweet Coconut Retreat contest TODAY! We’ve circled the globe to bring you photographs of some pretty sweet coconut retreats. Think you can guess their location? Submit your guess of the location of each day’s featured picture via our Sweet Coconut Retreat Facebook app. Simply click the “Sweet Coconut Retreat” graphic tab at the top of our main Facebook page to see the photograph and submit your guess. If you guess correctly you’ll have a chance to win that day’s $50 VISA gift card prize.

Visit Facebook each day during the contest to check out our Sweet Coconut Retreat picture of the day and guess for another chance to win.

Please Note: Anyone that posts a guess on the Facebook timeline or any location other than the contest app or Wholesome Sweeteners official web entry form will be disqualified.

GUESS NOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN $50!

Click here for complete contest rules and details.

Sweet Coconut Retreat contest…COMING SOON!

July 20, 2012

In the spirit of our Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, we’ve circled the globe to bring you photographs of some pretty sweet coconut retreats. Think you can guess their location?

Starting on Monday, July 23, 2012 we will kick-off our Wholesome Sweeteners Sweet Coconut Retreat contest. Each day, from Monday, July 23, 2012 through Friday, July 27, 2012, we will post one picture to our Sweet Coconut Retreat contest app on our Facebook page. Simply submit your guess of the location pictured that day via our Sweet Coconut Retreat Facebook app. If you guess correctly, you’ll have a chance to win that day’s $50 VISA gift card prize.

Be as specific as you can with your guess. Come back each day to check out the Sweet Coconut Retreat picture of the day and guess for another chance to win.

Also, anyone that posts a guess on the Facebook timeline or any location other than the contest app or Wholesome Sweeteners official web entry form will be disqualified.

Click here for contest details and official rules.

His Reason to Race

June 28, 2012

Wholesome Sweeteners Co-Founder and CEO Nigel Willerton is once again subjecting himself to grueling conditions all in the name of helping impoverished children around the world. On August 1, 2012, he will compete in the Ultraman Canada Triathlon, in Penticton, British Columbia. This race will last 3 days and consist of an exhausting 6.2 mile swim, 261 mile bike ride followed by a double marathon (52.4 mile run), for a total of 320 miles.

As most of you know, Willerton definitely enjoys competing in these types of events but he always does so in support of an organization who works hard to help those in need. In 2011, he joined a group of great athletes in the Run Across Ethiopia, where the group completed 10 consecutive marathons to raise money for schools in impoverished communities in the Ethiopian Highlands. All three schools have now been built! Later that year, volunteering for the C-Different

Foundation, he guided a blind athlete, Brandon Adame, through the inaugural Texas Iron Man and, just a few months ago, he guided another blind athlete, Tracy Minish, through the Boston Marathon. A brutally hot day where 58 year old Tracy managed to complete the course in temperatures that caused thousands of  able-bodied runners to drop out.

This year he is proud to compete in the Ultraman Canada in support of Cherish Our Children International, (COCI). COCI began its work in 1993 by establishing programs for abandoned, HIV-positive babies and children in Romania who were doomed to live and die in state homes and hospitals. Since then, COCI has made a significant difference in the lives of Romanian orphans. With the support of generous donors, COCI has been able to expand their life saving programs to the United States, Africa, Bosnia and Serbia. COCI’s main focus is to raise funds that sponsor programs for children in the most desperate situations. The organization identifies key programs that focus on critical issues such as abandonment, neglect, exploitation, disease and institutionalization in places like Romania, Africa, Serbia and Houston.

Help Nigel make a direct impact on the lives of these children by supporting his race. His goal is to raise $20,000 to help COCI to continue its very important work. Every cent donated will go to COCI! Cherish our Children’s work is so vital to the survival of the most innocent and vulnerable children around the world. Support him as he swims, bikes, and runs across British Columbia to give these children hope.

Click here to help make a difference in the lives of these innocent children.

Vicious Vanilla is the Champ!

June 1, 2012

Vicious Vanilla Winner of Agave Flavor Faceoff!

It was a tough match, but our fans have spoken – Vicious Vanilla is the winner of our Agave Flavor Faceoff!  Over a course of nine days, Vanilla beat out Maple, Strawberry and Cinnamon to claim the championship. Thank you to all those that voted, both via Facebook and via email. We had an amazing response with over 40,000 votes. Also, congratulations to our nine winners of the daily $50 VISA gift card giveaway:

  • Michele Barney of Ormond Beach, FL
  • John Varvir of Lakewood, CO
  • Tina Fisher of Sioux City, IA
  • Cindy Hill of Antioch, CA
  • Lisa Knaflewski of Syracuse, NY
  • David Taylor of Newark, OH
  • Sherry Nelson of Bigfork, MT
  • Amanda Gonzales of Grapevine, TX
  • Patricia Pope of Wilmington, NC

If you submitted your vote before we reached 18,000 likes, your samples will be shipped out in five to six weeks.

Stay tuned for our next contest. We promise, it will be pretty sweet!”

Hit the Grill this Memorial Day!

May 25, 2012

Even though the official first day of summer isn’t until June, Memorial Day seems to be the unofficial start of summer for most people. With summer right around the corner, this weekend is a perfect time to celebrate the last few days of National BBQ Month by cooking up some scrumptious grilled dishes. No need to have boring hamburgers and hot dogs on your weekend cookout menu, Wholesome Sweeteners has you covered with three recipes that will impress guests.

ASAP BBQ St. Louis

Our good friends and USA Barbecue Champs, ASAP (Always Smoked Absolutely Perfect) out of St. Louis, created some amazing dishes using our sweeteners that are just perfect for your backyard bbq. Keep in mind, these recipes are much more than just tossing some hot dogs on the grill, but I promise you, it will be well worth it. Most people don’t think of using sweeteners to make savory barbecue, but the ASAP team have truly perfected it. Check out these delicious recipes for proof.

Apricot Pork Tenderloin

1.5 lb. Berkshire Pork Tenderloin
Sweet Apple Brine (Recipe Follows)
Backyard BBQ Rub (Recipe Follows)
Apricot BBQ Sauce (Recipe Follows)

Sweet Apple Brine
3 Cups Apple Juice
½ Cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Light Brown Sugar
¼ Cup Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
3 Springs Fresh Thyme
3 Fresh Sage Leaves

In a pan over high heat bring the ingredients to a boil. Stir occasionally as needed.
Remove from the heat and let cool before using. More

Belgian Ale Bison Flank Steak

 1.25-1.5 lb. Bison Flank Steak

Belgian Ale Marinade (Recipe follows)

Molasses Steak Sauce (Recipe follows)

2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt

2 Teaspoons Ground Black Pepper

Belgian Ale Marinade

2 Cups Belgian Ale

½ Cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Light Brown Sugar

½ Cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Honey

1 Tablespoon Ground Yellow Mustard Seed

2 Sprigs Fresh Lime

Combine ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil for 10-15 minutes. Let the marinade cool before using (refrigerate if necessary). More

Lemongrass Kabobs

 1 lb. Boneless Beef Top Sirloin

4 Bell Peppers

1 Large White Onion

Soy-Ginger Marinade (Recipe Follows)

3 Bunches of Lemongrass

Soy-Ginger Marinade

4 Cups Soy Sauce

2 Cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Dark Brown Sugar

2 Cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Honey Organic

1 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar

½ Cup Fresh Ground Ginger

3 Tablespoons Crushed red Pepper Flakes

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well mixed. More

Strawberry Agave Sangria

And last but not least, no summertime bbq would be complete without some cold and tasty beverages. Here is a refreshing sangria recipe that is so good your guests will be begging you for more. We hope you all have a wonderful, safe, and relaxing Memorial Day filled with family, friends, and food!

1 bottle (750 ml) of Spanish rosé (or for a twist, a crisp white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio)

1/4 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave

1/3 to 1/2 cups strawberry lemonade

1 cup sliced strawberries (preferably fresh but you can substitute frozen berries)

2 cups ginger ale More…

Who will be the champ? You decide!

May 22, 2012

Starting tomorrow, May 23rd we will kick-off our Agave Flavor Faceoff! Who will be the champion? Cinnamon? Maple? Vanilla? Strawberry? You decide.  Vote once daily from 5/23 through 5/31 via our Facebook page to help make YOUR favorite flavor the champ and for a chance to win $50.  All participants will receive a free Wholesome Sweeteners Agave Syrup Sampler Box plus coupons. Click here for contest details.

Celebrate Mother’s Day with 3 Fantastic Recipes

May 11, 2012

Mother’s Day is just a few days away and if you are like most people you still have not decided what to buy for mom. Well, have no fear,Wholesome Sweeteners to the rescue. While there is no doubt mom would love anything you get her, why not do something a little different?  Let mom kick up her feet and relax while you cook and bake some yummy dishes. The last thing mom wants to do on Mother’s Day is to cook and clean. I promise, she will appreciate a day off from cooking more than a framed picture of your smiling face.

Start the morning off right with these delicious Strawberry and Cream Muffins with an Almond Streusel Topping from our favorite ladies, Jenny and Heather of Spork Foods. You will definitely impress mom with your baking skills after whipping up these yummy treats.

Maple Agave Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

For lunch fire up your grill and cook up mom’s favorite fish, veggie, chicken or meat. Don’t forget to slather them in this sweet and savory Maple Agave Chipotle Barbecue SauceThis sauce will add a terrific flavor to anything you put on the grill.

Avocado & Strawberry Trifle with Agave SabayonAnd finally, end the day the right way–with a spectacular dessert! How does a Avocado & Strawberry Trifle with Agave Sabayon sound? Sounds pretty AMAZING to me!!  Chef David Cordua of Houston, who will be traveling to NYC next week to cook with his dad at the prestigious James Beard House, created this to-die-for dessert that mom will love.

So, after you have flexed your culinary muscles, make sure to clean up the mess you made making these wonderful dishes, and most importantly don’t forget to tell mom how much you love and appreciate her.

Happy Mother’s Day from Wholesome Sweeteners!

Happy Cinco de Mayo

May 4, 2012

Just in time for your Cinco de Mayo festivities. Beat the heat and enjoy this delicious and refreshing raspberry margarita. This margarita is so good you may not want to wait until tomorrow. Try having one tonight. I know I will!

Fun fact: Did you know that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day? Cinco de Mayo is actually the celebration of the Mexican army’s victory against French forces at the Battle of Puebla way back in 1862. Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on September 16.

Have a great weekend everyone, and don’t forget to enjoy responsibly. Cheers!

The Robey Raspberry Frozen Margarita

Ingredients:

4 oz. Of your favorite Margarita Mix

2 oz. raspberry puree

2 oz. Wholesome Sweeteners Light Blue Agave Syrup

2 oz. Of your favorite tequila

2 oz. Grand Marnier

1 oz. Triple Sec

2 oz. Chambord

Optional: Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar to rim glasses & Limes for garnish.

Directions :

Add all ingredients to blender. Add ice to fill blender, leaving about 1 inch space at the top (this is to prevent spills).  Blend until desired consistency is achieved. Pour and enjoy responsibly!

Yields 1 pitcher-4 drinks. A special thanks goes out to Wholesome Sweeteners employee and master mixologist Melissa for this awesome recipe!!


Run Nigel Run!

April 27, 2012

Wholesome CEO Nigel Willerton at Boston MarathonCongratulations to our CEO Nigel Willerton for completing the 116th Boston Marathon on April 16. Completing the Boston Marathon in above average temperatures is a feat in itself, but completing the 116th Boston Marathon leading a blind athlete, is on another level. Willerton continued his work with the C different Foundation by guiding blind runner, Tracy Minish, over 26.2 miles of Boston pavement. The above average temperature in Boston, 86° in mid-April, resulted in more than 4200 runners opting out of the race, but not Willerton and Minish.

Minish said he would not have finished the race without Willerton. He said Willerton and fellow runner Triny Aguirre provided him with “cliff” sightings and funny jokes.  “They got me from mile to mile,” said Minish. “Next thing you know I was running the last mile of the Great Boston Marathon.”

Willerton, an accomplished runner, regularly leads blind athletes in races and marathons across the country. In May 2011, he guided blind athlete, Brandon Adame, through Texas’ first Iron Man Competition. No stranger to grueling running conditions, Willerton completed a 250 mile, 10 day ultra-marathon across Ethiopia in early 2011. The Run Across Ethiopia, sponsored by the On the Ground organization, was conceived to bring awareness to the need for educational funding for the children of Fair Trade Farmers in Ethiopia. The successful run has already helped fund three schools. The latest school, in Kololo, is in the last stages of construction. Soon children will be finally be able to attend school in a proper building with water, floors, books and a bathroom.

Congratulations again to Nigel, Tracy, Triny, and the rest of the Team With A Vision for completing the Great Boston Marathon!

Enjoy a Margarita without the Hangover!

April 11, 2012

Wholesome Sweeteners Blue Agave MargaritaIt’s no secret that I enjoy an ice-cold margarita now and then, most people in Texas, heck most people everywhere do. The problem with a margarita is that you can’t enjoy one in the middle of the day while sitting at your desk at work. After a late night of baking fun, we have figured out a way to quench your thirst for a margarita and satisfy your sweet tooth, all without getting in trouble with your boss for drinking on the job. How can this be done you might ask? Well, with a Margarita Cookie of course.

Salted Lime

The idea for the Margarita Cookie was very simple….find whatever was in the pantry and create a deliciously unique cookie. Unfortunately I can’t take all the credit, or any credit for that matter, for this cookie. After I tested a couple of other recipes at home, my husband was convinced he could develop something better. Knowing that he probably could, I egged him on with the hopes that I’d get to eat some fantastic cookies.

The end product is a fabulous cookie that really tastes like a margarita. The modified sugar cookie has the lime flavor we all know and love from a traditional margarita, a light sweetness from the raw agave syrup balanced by a hint of cilantro,  and the coarse salt sprinkled on top of the cookies. The simple recipe takes about 30 minutes from start to first bite.

Margarita Cookies

The cookies were such a hit at the office that one team member, who shall remain nameless, ate practically every single cookie. The few lucky team members who were able to wrestle a cookie away from our office cookie bandit loved the Margarita Cookie. They loved the sweet and saltiness paired with the cookie’s light texture.

Margarita Cookies

The Margarita Cookie is the perfect treat to bring to the many summer parties we will all be attending in the coming months. Your friends will be impressed with the dessert spin on a classic cocktail. Don’t forget to visit our extensive recipe library for the complete Margarita Cookie recipe. Happy Baking!

We Heart Carol Kicinski & Expo West Recap Pt. 2

March 28, 2012

During our trip to Natural Products Expo West earlier this month, the Wholesome Sweeteners Team had the pleasure of spending time with the wonderful Carol Kicinski.  For those of you who don’t know Carol, it’s about time you do! First of all, she is an acclaimed chef and author. She is also the brain child behind the highly successful website, Simply Gluten-free. Her website, which receives more than 500,000 hits per month, is a heaven–sent resource for anyone who looking to live a gluten-free life. You can check out her website for delicious gluten-free recipes (and photos), recommendations on products to use, and great blog entries.

As a treat for Expo West attendees, Wholesome Sweeteners hosted a book signing with Carol. The first lucky 100 fans would get a copy of Carol’s new book, Simply Gluten-free Desserts, and a bag of our newest product, Organic Coconut Palm Sugar, which isn’t even available in stores yet.  Carol happens to have created the yummy recipe on the back of the Organic Coconut Palm Sugar bag. Her recipe for Gluten-free Sweet and Salty Brownies is to die for. So, people went nuts for a Carol’s new book and our new sugar! With a line curling around our booth, Carol graciously spent time with each fan, signing her book and giving people tips on how to use the Organic Coconut Palm Sugar. Here is a picture of Carol with another Wholesome Sweeteners supporter, Marilu Henner.

We really can’t say enough good things about Carol. It was truly inspiring to hear her fans talk about how she has helped them or their family members make the transition to a gluten-free life. Whether being gluten-free is a choice or a necessity, Carol helps guide her fans along the path to better health.

Thanks Carol! We<3 you and Thom! We look forward to many, many more delicious recipes.

In our last blog entry we talked about some of our favorite companies and the fabulous products they showcases at Expo West. We wanted to mention a few more that we loved.

Honest Tea is just plain good. With yummy flavors like Classic Green Tea and their new Honest Ade’s, we can’t get enough!

Pamela’s Products has always been a good friend to Wholesome Sweeteners. We stopped by their booth to see what delicious, gluten-free products they were showcasing. Their Chocolate Chunk Cookie mix is one of our all-time favorites.

Cascadian Farms had a beautiful booth. They showcased their extensive line of granolas. Try the oat and honey granola; it’s my personal favorite. Add some fresh, seasonal, and organic berries for a sweet touch.

We can’t wait to see all of our old friends and new friends at Natural Products Expo West 2013.

Spring Has Sprung! Expo West Recap of Our Favs Pt. 1

March 20, 2012

Happy 1st Day of Spring! Hopefully the weather where you are is much better than they day of rain we’ve had here at the Wholesome Sweeteners home offices in Sugar Land, Texas. The first day of Spring brings feelings of a new beginning, and of course eating delicious food and sipping yummy beverages on outdoor patios in perfect spring weather.

NEW Organic Coconut Palm SugarBefore the first day of Spring made its way to Wholesome Sweeteners, the entire team traveled to Anaheim, California for the 2012 Natural Products Expo West show. This event showcases the latest in natural, organic and healthy products. Wholesome was exited to attend the show and launch two new products–Organic Coconut Palm Sugar and the World’s 1st Fair Trade Organic Agave Syrup. These two products are a perfect addition to our innovative line of sustainable sweeteners. Organic Coconut Sugar has been all over the place lately. Dr. Oz recently named it the best NEW Sugar Alternative. It has a delicious brown sugar taste, contains potassium, iron, vitamins, and has a medium glycemic index. You should be able to find Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Coconut Palm Sugar in a store near you soon!

World's 1st Fair Trade Organic Agave Syrup

We are so excited about the launch of the world’s 1st Fair Trade Organic Agave Syrup. Hard working agave farmer cooperatives will now be able to  sell their harvest for a living wage. Visit our website for more information about our newest cooperative partner. This new product, with the same delicious taste and low-glycemic index, will be available early summer 2012.

In between launching these two amazing new products at Expo, we took a little time to visit some friends. These friends are great supporters of Wholesome Sweeteners, and we love them too! Many of them were launching new products or supporting a worthwhile cause. Check out our great photo montage below.

Guayaki Yerba Mate New ProductThe wonderful people at Guayaki kept the Wholesome Sweeteners group caffeinated with their yummy Yerba Mate. Their new Classic Gold Organic Sparkling Mate is so amazing! I must have drunk 12 cans. Check out their website for stores where you can find this delicious drink and other Guayaki products.

Nature's Path Love Crunch

We could not get enough of Nature’s Path NEW Love Crunch Premium Granola. This stuff really is to die for. It’s safe to say our staff is addicted. It comes in four different and equally delicious flavors-Dark Chocolate & Berries, Aloha Blend, Carrot Cake, and Apple Crumble. There is definitely a flavor for everyone’s taste buds.  Check out Nature’s Path website for the sweet story of how this yummy treat came to be.

Stonyfield Organic

Nothing catches your eye more than a 15 foot high giant yogurt cup! Our friends at Stonyfield had one of the best booths at Expo West. With their wide range of yogurts including new Oikos Nonfat Greek Frozen Yogurt, Stonyfield continues to produce the most delicious and healthy yogurt possible. We truly admire their socially and environmentally responsible business model. Check out Stonyfield’s website for their inspiring story and more new products.

California Ballot Initiative to Label GMOs

A hot topic at the Natural Products Expo West Show was the California Ballot Initiative to Require Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods. Since the show was held in California, there was a big push to get California residents to sign a petition to secure the initiative on the November 2012 ballot. With 800,000 signatures need and only about a month to get them, these dedicated volunteers were pounding the pavement in the name of GMO labeling. We all have a right to know what we are eating and feeding our families. If you are a resident of California please visit labelgmos.com for information on how to sign this petition.

We had such a great time at Expo West. It is always great to see our friends. We can’t wait for next year! Don’t forget to check out our Thursday blog post for more of our favorites from Expo West 2012.

Sláinte!! It’s St. Patrick’s Day!

March 16, 2012

Did you know that the color blue was originally associated with St. Patrick’s Day? I sure didn’t. Like me, most people think St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17 and is all about drinking copious amounts of alcohol. I decided to do a little research and found some very interesting information. Check out this great article on Wikipedia to expand your knowledge of St. Patrick’s Day.

In honor of the feast day of St. Patrick of the 4th century, I decided to post some recipes that celebrate Irish traditions and one that celebrates the long-standing tradition of drinking green colored beverages on St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patty's Day Drink RecipeLet’s get this blog started off right. The first recipe is for a drink called the St. Patty’s Day Glimer. This drink is just the right amount of sweet, and of course it’s green. If you are not a fan of gin try substituting vodka.  The Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave Syrup gives this drink that something extra that makes this drink so tasty.

To create this super simple drink first gather all of your ingredients: gin (or vodka, organic if you can), melon liqueur, fresh organic lime juice, and Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Blue Agave Syrup.  Next, pour your gin, and melon liqueur into a shaker filled half way with ice. Then, using a citrus juicer, squeeze the juice of 1 organic lime into the shaker followed by a shot glass full of organic agave syrup. Finally, close the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour this delicious concoction into a martini glass rimmed with Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar and garnish with a maraschino cherry if you like. For the complete recipe with exact portions please visit our website.

The second recipe I’d like to share is especially close to my heart since I am most definitely addicted to bread. Mother Linda’s Irish Soda Bread is just plain delicious! In traditional Irish Soda Bread the flour used comes from soft wheat. Soft Wheat flour is lower in gluten than bread flour. And get this, traditional Soda Bread bakers don’t knead their dough…pretty interesting. Try slathering some organic butter on the bread for an even yummier treat.

The last recipe today comes to us courtesy of our good friend Marilu Henner. This dish, featured in her book Party Hearty, is delicious and perfect for vegetarians. With a name like Lucky Irish Stew, you will be lucky to get a bowl before it’s all gone. This stew is hearty, healthy and quick. It is a simple one pot dinner!

We hope you enjoy you all of these amazing St. Patrick’s Day themed recipes. Start your evening off by mixing a fun cocktail. Then take some time to bake some traditional Irish soda bread that will go perfectly with your scrumptious Lucky Irish Stew. With these three recipes you have the makings of a perfect St. Patrick’s Day.  Have a safe and responsible St. Patrick’s Day! Sláinte!!

Food Allergies a Problem? There’s Help on the Way!

February 7, 2012

Those of us with food allergies or food intolerance know it can be hard to find delicious and satisfying allergy free foods. It can also be hard to find resources out there that help people with multiple food allergies/intolerances. And let’s all face it, many people out there with food allergies or an intolerance, have more than one. But that is all about to change.

Lauren David Style, an allergy free company dedicated to being your resource for living a happy, healthy, allergy free life has just launched a brand new and FREE allergy free resource that you have to check out. http://laurendavidstyle.com/survivalkit

It’s the Allergy Free Survival Kit and it includes:

  • Mouth-watering allergy free samples you must try
  • Money saving coupons
  • Informative brochures
  • Allergy free recipes
  • Flyers
  • Information from allergy free professionals
  • And much more

There are over 30 different (and the list is constantly growing) companies dedicated to helping people with food allergies and intolerances. And guess what?!  Wholesome Sweeteners is one of them! We’ve provided our Organic Stevia which is low-glycemic and gluten-free, our Fair Trade Organic Raw Honey-the purest honey you can find, and our very popular Organic Light Blue Agave nectar in 7 g individual packets-a proven low-glycemic sweetener, to the kit and you can get it absolutely free.

Find out more about the kit and reserve your own by visiting Lauren David Style’s website – did we mention there are only 100 Allergy Free Survival Kits and after that the orders go on back order?

So if you want yours ASAP… make sure to sign up today (and the first 100 orders get some other special gifts)!


Are You Ready for Some Meatballs?

February 3, 2012

Football is great but the food at Super Bowl parties is even better. We realize that Valentine’s Day is the big holiday this month but we didn’t want to forget about our readers who are scouring recipe websites for the perfect football friendly food for this Sunday’s big game. Whether you are rooting for the Patriots, Giants or just tuning in for the awesome commercials, you will love this recipe. Wholesome Sweeteners employee Alexandra created this recipe just a couple of hours before a big party. She needed a sauce to pour over frozen meatballs in a crock pot for a quick and easy appetizer. Not only is this recipe quick and easy but it is delicious. I mean really delicious. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce 2/3 cup packed Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Dark Brown Sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Molasses

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

Directions:

Combine tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, and the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Or Combine ingredients in a bowl, mixing thoroughly, then pour over meatballs in a crock-pot and let cook on low for 3 hours.

On the Ground-1 Year Later and So Much Progress

January 31, 2012

As most of you know, in January of 2011 Wholesome Sweeteners CEO, Nigel Willerton, joined nine American and six Ethiopian runners to  create awareness of the need for educational funding for the children of Fair Trade farmers in Ethiopia.  The 16 runners ran 10 consecutive marathons (26.2 miles, sometimes more) over 10 straight days at extremely high altitudes.

By running the grueling 250 mile trek across Southern Ethiopia these amazing athletes hoped to raise $200,000 to be used for the construction of schools to serve as many as 1500 children, fund a nutrition program to help children get the food they so desperately need, provide wages and job training for a group of 10 street teenagers, and support the work of the Tesfa Foundation and the Oromia Cooperative Farmers Cooperative Union.

A mere nine months after the run was completed, the On the Ground team returned to Ethiopia to see the amazing progress made with the $206,000 that was raised.  Check out this truly touching video and see how the Run Across Ethiopia has changed the lives of the these villagers forever.

Supporting Fair Trade Farmers and their families is why Wholesome Sweeteners pioneered Fair Trade Certification for Sweeteners in 2005. Since then, Wholesome Sweeteners has paid more than $6 million in Fair Trade premiums to our farming and beekeeping cooperatives in the developing world. Fair Trade premiums paid by Wholesome Sweeteners have helped bring clean water, schools and health clinics to villages in Africa, Mexico, and Brazil.

Baking with Stevia-Part 2

December 22, 2011

After last week’s successful entry about making chocolate chip cookies with Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia I decided that I would try another recipe, with Organic Stevia, and share it.  I am normally not a baker, but the holiday season has inspired me to be creative and since so many people are curious about baking with Organic Stevia, I figured–why not?

Baked Pie CrustDuring this time of year everyone is so busy that I knew I needed to choose a relatively simple recipe. I settled on a Cinnamon Cream Cheese Pie, made with Organic Stevia of course. This recipe takes less than one hour from start to finish and includes only a few ingredients. The first step is to preheat your oven and bake the pre-made pie crust according to the directions on the package. Make sure before you bake the pie crust that you take a fork and poke holes in the crust. This allows air to escape and prevents bubbles in your pie crust. Once your pie crust is done set it aside and continue on with the rest of the recipe.

Okay, now time for the fun stuff. Start by making your whip cream. Pour your heavy cream into a bowl and whip with a hand mixer. Once it has reached a consistency you like add the vanilla and Organic Stevia packets and whip for another minute or so. Whipped Cream Be sure to taste the whip cream, if it is not as sweet as you would like go ahead and add more Organic Stevia. Just remember that you will be adding Organic Stevia to the cream cheese/cinnamon mixture, so be sure no to over sweeten the whip cream. Start by adding one packet and then taste. Once you have finished making the whip cream set it aside. It’s probably best to place it in the fridge until you need it again.

In a small sauce pan, and I mean small, combine the milk, water and cinnamon. Continuously stir on low heat for about 2 minutes. It might actually be a good idea to use a small whisk instead of a spoon so you can ensure the ingredients are completely mixed.  I had a fe Cinnamon/Milk Mixturecinnamon lumps that a whisk would have taken care of with no problem. While your milk/cinnamon mixture is on the stove go ahead and pull out another bowl and add one package of unflavored gelatin. Add your warm milk/cinnamon to the gelatin and whisk. Try and get as much of the gelatin to dissolve as possible. Once you are satisfied, grab a small strainer and another bowl. I know, I know, how many bowls do you need to make this dessert? Believe me, I hate getting a bazillion kitchen utensils dirty, but I promise this is the last one. Place the strainer on top of the bowl and pour the milk/cinnamon/gelatin mixture into the bowl. Using the whisk or a spoon, to push the remaining mixture in the strainer through the strainer.

We are almost done! Place the softened cream cheese into the bowl with the mixture and beat on low until you get a smooth Pouring Mixture into Pie Crustconsistency. Now you can add the remaining Organic Stevia packets, mix again and then taste. Baking with Organic Stevia is a very subjective thing, so be sure to taste along the way to achieve the perfect amount of sweetness for your taste. Once you have achieved the optimum texture, grab your whip cream from the frig and fold in 1 cup. Take this mixture and pour it into your baked pie crust, make sure to even it out. Now spread the remaining whip cream onto the top of the pie and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place the pie in the fridge for at least 2 hours and enjoy.

Finished Cinnamon Cream Cheese PieThe end product was so yummy with a really nice texture. The pie was not as sweet as I would have liked but I adjusted the recipe to make it a bit sweeter. It was much easier to make this Cinnamon Pie than I thought it would be so I will definitely we making this pie again. Check out the Wholesome Sweeteners website for this recipe. Enjoy. From our Wholesome Sweeteners Family to yours Happy Holidays!!

Baking With Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia

December 13, 2011

The holiday season has officially arrived. And with the holidays comes delicious and sweet-smelling baked goods. Nothing says holidays like walking into a kitchen and inhaling the smell of yummy, sweet goodness. Because people seem to be getting their bake-on this month, we Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Steviahave received many customer calls about baking with our Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia. People are looking for a low-calorie sweetener to use in use in their traditional holiday recipes. Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia is a wonderful option for those seeking a natural, organic alternative to artificial sweeteners. It’s perfect for those managing calories and blood sugar levels. And, it’s calorie-free, gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan friendly and Non-GMO verified. Unlike other stevia products, Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia is an enzymatically enhanced full spectrum Stevia leaf extract, holistically extracted from the plant through a natural process giving it a smooth, mellow sweetness. Wholesome intentionally uses the full spectrum extraction of sweetness from the whole stevia leaf in order to retain the micronutrient properties of the stevia that is usually extracted during conventional processing.

Okay, back to my adventures in Organic Stevia baking. Never having baked with Organic Stevia before, Sifting the flour, baking powder, and salt. I decided to do some experimenting. I picked out a simple chocolate chip cookie recipe from a Stevia cookbook. I figured I couldn’t mess it up too badly. I gathered all of my ingredients and began to bake. First I preheated the oven to 350 degrees.  I started by sifting the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Next, I pulled out the big guns, the Kitchen Aid Stand Up Mixer, and began combining the eggs, stevia, and vanilla. Once you start combining the flour and butter together the batter is going appear at bit gummy, don’t be alarmed. Sugar normally Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Stevia plays a few roles in the baking process. It not only acts as a sweetener but in large amounts slows yeast fermentation. Sugar softens dough and batter. It also helps baked goods brown.  It’s the sugar in cookie dough that causes spreading to occur during baking. These are all things you will not see happen when baking with Organic Stevia. But like I said, don’t be alarmed.

Now it’s time to fold in the chocolate chips. I switched up the recipe just a bit, opting for fair trade, organic chocolate instead of the typical semi-sweet chips. I simply cut up the chocolate bar into bite size pieces and folded it into the flour/butter mixture. Chocolate Chip Cookie MixBefore I started spooning the mixture onto pre-greased cookie sheets I added a few more ingredients-1/2 cup of pecans and 1 Tbsp of orange zest.  Not 100% sure how this recipe was going to turn out I decided to spruce up the recipe just a little, just in case. Once you have dropped heaping teaspoons of the cookie mixture onto the sheets you are ready to go. Set the timer and leave them in the oven for about 22 minutes. Like I mentioned before, you are not going to see these cookies spread so don’t leave them in the oven longer in hopes they will. You will only end up with burnt cookies.

Finally, the timer rings and the Organic Stevia cookies are ready. Just like any other cookie make sure to place them on a cooling rack for a few minutes before you dig in. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I bit into the cookie. The texture was light, much like a scone, but Organic Stevia Chocolate Chip Cookievery flavorful, not overly sweet, and definitely no aftertaste that you often get when baking with the pink, blue or yellow artificial sweeteners.  Baking with Organic Stevia is great because it gives you room to experiment. If you wanted to add more moisture to your recipe you could add 1/4 of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Agave or even a 1/4 of Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Honey. Both of these sweeteners would be a fantastic addition to this classic recipe. Just make sure you make a test batch to your liking first before you make a large batch for everyone to enjoy. Here is the recipe I used for these yummy cookies. Try it out and let us know how your cookies turn out. Happy Baking!

Fair Trade Your Holiday

November 30, 2011

It’s been almost a week since Thanksgiving and while most people are still nursing a holiday hangover others are starting to think about and prepare for their next holiday meal. If you are looking for a way to create a delicious holiday meal and make a difference for those less fortunate, you might consider using Fair Trade products while preparing your feast. Just to give you an example of how simple it can be to incorporate Fair Trade products into your meal here is my experience. During Thanksgiving I thought it would be great to use as many Fair Trade products as possible while preparing a humongous meal for 15.

Mixing the batter for the Fair Trade Cake.

Practically everything on the menu contained a Fair Trade product so I will just highlight the extra yummy dishes. The first thing on the list of things to make was the delicious Chocolate Mousse Cake with Cardamom SwirlThe recipe was created during Fair Trade Month by Top Chef Desserts alum Malika Ameen, using Wholesome Sweeteners products.  This recipe includes Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Light Brown Sugar along with Fair Trade coffee, chocolate and vanilla extract. The recipe was easy to follow and took no time at all to prepare. The finished cake looked great and tasted even better.

Delicious cake made using WS Fair Trade Light Brown Sugar.

Green Beans with Roasted Onions prepared with WS Fair Trade Sucanat.

The next thing on the menu prepared with Fair Trade products was Green Beans with Roasted Onions. This recipe is one of my favorites because I absolutely love green beans and onions. I was a little nervous that my 5 nieces and nephews would shy away from this onion heavy dish,  but surprisingly they all loved it. The Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sucanat balanced the dish perfectly. It is definitely a dish that I will be making again for Christmas dinner–simple, sophisticated and delicious.

Amazing Orange Glazed Turkey using WS Fair Trade Dark Brown Sugar.

And last but not least, the pièce de résistance of the meal…the turkey! Using the Orange-Glazed Roast Turkey recipe we created the most delicious, moist and flavorful turkey ever. We actually substituted the Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Light Brown Sugar for Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Dark Brown Sugar.  The substitution provided a richer flavor with a molasses note.

Remember, using Fair Trade products is about more than crafting sumptuous dishes, it is about helping other people. By using Fair Trade products like sugar or honey you are helping farmers in developing countries compete with factory farms, buy land, send their kids to school and build thriving communities.

For more great holiday recipes be sure to visit Wholesome Sweeteners Recipe Library. 

Is Your Honey Even Honey?

November 18, 2011

Bees, busy making delicious organic honey.

In the last couple of weeks there have been a flood of news reports and articles about honey. Is it safe? Where does it come from? Can the bear you buy at the grocery store even be called honey?  Food Safety News released a report of their findings based on independent testing done on 60 brands of honey purchased in ten different states and the District of Columbia. The samples were then taken to a leading melissopalynologists, which is a fancy name for a scientist who looks at the pollen in honey.

What he found was pretty surprising. 76 % of the tested honey purchased at grocery stores had absolutely no pollen, 100 % of the tested honey purchased at drug stores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS had no pollen, and 77 % of the tested honey purchased at big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target also had no pollen. So, why is this important to you? To make a long story short, honey that has no pollen undergoes a process called ultra-filtration – water is added to the honey and filtered under high pressure, then the water is removed. According to the FDA, what is left has no pollen and can’t legally be called honey. It is also impossible to trace.

Again, why is this important to you? Well, if you can’t trace the honey you buy there is no way to tell if came from China. A few years back, China’s bee population became infected with a virus that killed millions of colonies. In order to stop the mass death the Chinese began treating the bees and hives with an antibiotic. The antibiotic is dangerous, even deadly, if ingested by humans so it has been banned in the United States and Europe. Unfortunately there have been instances where the contaminated honey has made its way into the U.S. food supply.

Organic beekeeper tending to his hives deep in the untouched jungle of southern Mexico.

So, how can you tell if you are getting safe honey? First, make sure to buy organic honey. The Food Safety News report states that you have a better chance of getting honey that isn’t ultra-filtered when you buy organic.

The good news is that there is a non-ultra-filtered, certified organic, Fair Trade™ Certified honey on the market. In fact, Wholesome Sweeteners Honey is the first Fair Trade and Organic Honey in the United States. Our mission is to give you the choice of safe, flavorful, organic and natural honey that is produced with respect for the environment, human welfare, food safety, and your health and nutritional needs.

 

We have literally searched the world over for the best tasting products. Our organic, Fair Trade Certified Amber and Raw Honey are produced on traditional family farms in southern Mexico and in the north eastern Amazon. The beekeepers tend to their hives deep in the dedicated organic agricultural zones in Central and South American rainforests, far from any exposure to GMO’s or pollutants. The honeybees forage only on the wild jungle’s natural flora. Our honey is 100% free from chemical residues as the plants surrounding the hives have not been sprayed with pesticides, herbicides or antibiotics. The honey is minimally filtered to retain the honey’s abundance of natural pollens and enzymes.

Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Honey is straight from the hive. It is minimally filtered and creamed to produce the rich spread consistency. It is very gently heated to allow it to pass through the filter. It is never heated above 110 degrees so it maintains its vital nutritive values.  (The honeys are only minimally filtered to remove natural organic matter that gets trapped in the honey during the in-field harvest)

Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade, Organic Amber and Raw Honey.

Raw honey naturally contains catalase enzymes which help the body fight free radicals, and flavanoids which help the body attack allergens, viruses, and carcinogens. It also contains other vitamins and minerals including small amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium and zinc.

When you purchase Wholesome Sweeteners organic, Fair Trade Certified Amber and Raw Honey you are getting the best tasting honey and making the world a sweeter place. Fair Trade Certification ensures that a fair price is paid directly to the beekeepers tending the hives; it means they can protect the quality of the hives and jungle areas and build thriving communities. By protecting the hives and forage areas, Fair Trade encourages biodiversity and helps the forests thrive, too!

For more information about Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade, Organic Honey or for great holiday recipes using our honey please visit our website: www.fairtradehoney.com

Sources:

“Most honey sold in U.S. grocery stores not worthy of its name.”  CNN.com, November 9, 2011 http://eatocracy.cnn.com/2011/11/09/most-honey-sold-in-u-s-grocery-stores-not-worthy-of-its-name/

Schneider, Andrew. “Tests Show Most Store Honey isn’t Honey.” Food Safety News. November 7, 2011. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/

Honey Filtration FAQ. The National Honey Board. November 8, 2011. http://www.honey.com/nhb/about-honey/frequently-asked-questions/

Pudding. Who doesn’t love pudding?

November 10, 2011

We love our friend Marie Oser of VegTv but we especially love her recipe for Rich N’ Creamy Chocolate Pudding. It is an easy, quick and delicious recipe that you can make in just a few minutes. It is a great alternative to store-bought pudding. You can enjoy this silky treat with no guilt-it is dairy free and has only 1 gram of fat. Everyone in your family is sure to love it!

Check out Marie in action making this awesome treat. You can also find this recipe on our website. Try it out this weekend and let us know how it turns out.

Study Shows More Families Buying Organic

November 2, 2011

According to a study published today by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), more families than ever, 78 percent to be exact, are choosing organic food. Even with a slow economy, lower wages and high unemployment consumers are showing just how important organic products are by putting them in their grocery cart each week.

So, even with such crummy economic conditions why are people making the choice to buy organic? Well, for health reasons of course. 48 percent of the 1,300 U.S. families included in the study say the number one reason they buy organic products is because they believe organic products are better for themselves and their children. Many of the families expressed concern over the effects of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics on their children. For these families staying away from conventionally grown products is a conscious decision made with the well-being of their family in mind. Like many Americans, most of the families surveyed in the study, done in partnership with Kiwi Magazine,  say they also choose organic products to avoid processed foods.

The study points out that even though many people are aware of the Organic Industry and the benefits of organic products more outreach and education is necessary to spread the word about the proven advantages of organic products and farming.

The Organic sector is a vibrant, growing, job-producing industry powered by consumer choice and demand. At Wholesome Sweeteners,  we are so proud to be apart of an industry that draws attention to consumers right to feed themselves and their families healthy and sustainable food.

For more information about organics and this study please visit the Organic Trade Association website.

1Haumann, Barbara. “Seventy–eight percent of U.S. families say they purchase organic foods-Consumers vote with their dollars despite economic difficulty”.  Organic Trade Association. November 2, 2011. http://www.organicnewsroom.com/2011/11/seventyeight_percent_of_us_fam.html

Support the Organic Industry–Act Now!

October 25, 2011

Join the Organic Trade Association in their fight to protect the Organic Industry. As we all know, massive debt reduction is on the horizon and countless programs will be feeling the effects of the budget ax.

The Organic sector is a vibrant, growing, job-producing industry! Congress has the National Organic Program, critical organic farming research, and certification      assistance up on the chopping block.

Contact your Congressman and let them know how important organics is to you and your family. Ask them to support organics in the next Farming Bill.

Visit the Organic Trade Association website for more information on how to make your voice heard. 

Does Natural Really Mean Natural When it Comes to Cereal?

October 18, 2011

Just this week the Cornucopia Institute released a report about potential false claims made by companies who say they are selling “Natural” cereals. The report, Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label – A Look Down the Cereal and Granola Aisle, says several major national cereal brands, produced by giant corporate agribusiness, but hiding behind the façade of familiar natural cereal names  are romancing their “natural” labels while force-feeding their customers pesticide-contaminated grains and Monsanto’s genetically modified organisms.

Check out this video for more information. 

 

A Tale of Two Breads

November 17, 2010

The bread on the left is made as called for in the original recipe; the bread on the right is gluten-free and sweetened with Wholesome's Cinnamon Agave.

Well, to be honest, it’s one recipe and two variations. A few years ago, our friend Lori Wyman sent us a recipe for Pumpkin or Winter Squash Bread, sweetened with Organic Zero and Raw Blue Agave. It’s an easy recipe and yields a quick bread that instantly became a family favorite.

We thought we’d replace the original recipe’s agave and cinnamon with our new cinnamon-flavored agave syrup, and since we’re celebrating the holidays with a special eye toward gluten-free, also replace the original recipe’s wheat flour with Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking & Pancake Mix.

It’s been a long, tempting day smelling the bread baking in the kitchen, but now we can confirm our verdict: both are fantastic. Really. The crumb is tender and moist, the texture is just the right kind of chewy, and the flavors are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. If you weren’t the cook, you would never know one was made with whole wheat flour and the other with a gluten-free baking mix. Our hats are off to Pamela!

Here’s the original recipe’s ingredient list : 

  • 4 cups pureed pumpkin or winter squash (or 2 cans)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Zero
  • 1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Amber Honey or Organic Raw Blue Agave nectar
  • 4 large cage-free eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins (soak them in a little water to plump them up and use the water later)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flax meal
  • 2½ cups whole wheat flour

Here it is using Pamela’s Gluten-Free Baking & Pancake Mix:

  • 4 cups pureed pumpkin or winter squash (or 2 cans)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Zero
  • 1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Cinnamon Agave syrup
  • 4 large cage-free eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins (soak them in a little water to plump them up and use the water later)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flax meal
  • 2½ cups Pamela’s Gluten-Free Pancake & Baking Mix

The prep is simple:
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Combine eggs, oil, sweeteners, and pumpkin. Add nuts and raisins. Then add baking powder, soda, and spices. Fold in the baking mix, the corn meal, and flax meal. Stir gently until all the dry ingredients are blended - don’t over beat or you will get a doughy consistency.

Bake in two oiled loaf pans for one hour, give or take. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the bread cool thoroughly. Enjoy as breakfast, an afternoon snack, or a perfect morsel at the end of the day.  (And it freezes very well.)

Note: Just need one loaf? It’s a simple recipe to divide in half and bakes just as well either way.

Grandma was right about the honey …

November 12, 2010

Have you seen those ads? They show up on TV every year about this time–the ads with the little animated kids with little red noses scurrying all over their faces, running away from the tissue? That’s me at the moment. It’s day three of a cold, and, well, you know how that feels …

The seasons are changing and many of us are suffering colds or from the flu–and there’s that nasty stomach bug going around too. While complaining about it all to a friend, she said, “Well, Wholesome sells honey. Amber goodness: Fair Trade Organic HoneyDon’t you have any on the shelf?” She looked at me as if I’d just grown a third ear. “Of course,” … and then I remembered … my grandma always said “a spoonful of honey” could cure a cold, as well as settle adolescent nerves (she made me drink honey-sweetened tea before my first prom) and make my skin smoother, softer and pimple-free.

Last night I began experimenting with Grandma’s advice. Back when, she recommended hourly doses of honey (I’m using Wholesome’s Organic Raw Honey, of course) mixed with just a drop of lemon juice.

Today, I’m feeling, oh, so much better. As it turns out, honey has been a favorite folk remedy for thousands of years.* We’d never want you to use this information as medical advice or in place of seeing your doctor, but we found claims of honey’s properties fascinating …

To heal an abrasion or burn, dress the wound daily and cover it—honey has natural antibacterial properties that help keep wounds clean and heal more quickly. The New Zealand Dermatological Society is conducting research into broader medical applications. (Read more at http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/honey.html). Inspired and maybe just a little desperate for relief, I tested it on my poor nose (it’s been rubbed red and raw from sneezing and blowing). To my delight, raw honey worked (certainly better than any of the petroleum-based “cooling” salves or rubs), and it smelled good too!

To treat a cold, Ayurvedic texts suggest mixing honey with cinnamon; to clear sinuses, mix fresh ginger juice with honey and take a teaspoon a couple of times a day; to soothe an upset tummy, mix equal parts honey and lemon juice and sip slowly. In fact many others believe that honey and cinnamon can cure everything from pimples to certain cancers.

The American Chemical Society reported in 2004 that perhaps a little honey everyday might increase the antioxidant capacity of our blood plasma (and it’s so much sweeter than garlic). The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a report in 2008 that honey might even help our bones hold calcium.

Besides that, multi-floral honeys, like Wholesome’s, are loaded with B vitamins and vitamin C (think about all those antioxidant properties), and they include traces of iron, calcium and potassium. If it’s ORGANIC, then you know that you don’t need to worry about any pesticides or herbicides in the honey … the bees are protected from chemical “nasties.”

I’m feeling better already … now off to drizzle honey in tea. Time for a Friday afternoon pick-me-up!

To your sweet health!

(* And please, no matter what anyone else says, PROMISE to never ever feed honey to a child younger than 12 months.)

It’s Fair Trade Month: Fair Trade YOUR Town!

October 20, 2010
Together our purchases matter, whether it’s the cup of Fair Trade Certified coffee you sip each morning, or the fruit you cut up on your breakfast cereal, or the sugar or honey you use to sweeten it all. Millions of us begin our day as Fair Trade supporters, and we know that our individual purchases can make a difference. But not all purchases are made by individuals, many of our most important purchases are made as a community. What impact would we have if we made Fair Trade more than a personal commitment? Think about it … what if your hometown committed to Fair Trade? So far 20 US towns have stepped forward and committed to Fair Trade. Many more are working toward that goal. With a little work and a shared commitment, we can expand Fair Trade’s impact for the growers and for our own hometowns. Is yours next?
 
Imagine the Fair Trade “possibilities” within your own circle … your church coffee hour, or the chocolate fundraiser offered by your school, in the office cafeteria or the local coffee cart’s service. The possibilities are in big institutions and small cafes–and all of it combined can have an even greater impact than our purchases as individuals. When you bring together your town’s churches, schools, community groups and retailers in support of Fair Trade, you are not just building community in your town, but helping Fair Trade farmers and workers around the world to improve their access to education, health care and economic development in theirs.
 
The Fair Trade Towns USA campaign is driven by a group of dynamic and energetic people working in their home communities in support of Fair Trade. They’re taking the message to social clubs, community groups, local media and bloggers. They’re organizing programs to educate consumers about the benefits of Fair Trade for producers, to ask more stores to carry Fair Trade products and to encourage more people and organizations to think about what they buy.
 
It only takes one person to get the ball rolling on a campaign to declare your town a Fair Trade Town. We are looking for just 100 people across the US to commit to hosting the first meeting of a new Fair Trade Towns campaign in honor of Fair Trade Month. The Fair Trade Towns USA site has resources and tool kits to get you started. Now the only question is are you in? (And since not all of us are community organizers, do you know someone who is?)
 
Sign up to start your own Fair Trade Town campaign today! Every one of us matters.

Whence comes the honey …

October 12, 2010

Granted, “whence” is an old-world term, but it’s perfect … it refers to an origin, source, or location. All of its points are part of this particular posting.

We saw this a while ago: FDA Seizes More Than $32,000 Worth of Bulk Honey From Philadelphia Distribution Center? We’re horrified that contaminated honey got so far; we’re so happy it was discovered before it reached store shelves and our kitchens. But even for reasonable people, this news calls to mind all sorts of questions about food and its sources. It would be easy to panic, but it’s really not necessary.

How do we know what we’re buying?! How do we trust what we’re buying?

Assurances are on every label if you know where to look. It takes a just a bit more time and effort on our part, but it’s more than worth it.

Learn about the sources of the foods you eat by knowing the product and the company that brings it to you, or knowing your local farmer. While a handshake and friendly conversation is often the best way to get to know a farmer, the best way to learn about any packaged product you’re buying is to read labels. A food’s label will tell you many things …

  • The ingredients
  • The nutritional values
  • And if it’s “USDA Organic,” it must also include the country of origin and the certifying agency.

For comparison’s sake, and in light of our present concern about contaminated honey, let’s look at a jar of Wholesome’s Fair Trade Certified Organic Raw Honey:

The USDA Organic logo means that our honey is produced to USDA National Organic Program (NOP) standards (no synthetic chemicals used in the production of the honey, in or near the hives, and there are no additives to the honey itself).  The USDA rules also require companies to include the country where the products are sourced (our honey comes from Mexico and Brazil) as well as the name of the organic certifier (in our case, Quality Assurance International) on the label as well. For more information about our honey production, please see The HoneyMakers.

Wholesome tracks every single product from the fields to our distribution center, and from there, to your local market. Everything must pass muster or it’s simply thrown out of our system. Whether it’s “USDA Organic” or “Fair Trade Certified,” transparency and honesty are part of Wholesome’ s commitment to you. Remember, if there’s something on a label that stirs questions or concerns, please ask!

Wholesome Sweeteners and the Non-GMO Project

August 26, 2010

Think about the last time you were in a supermarket. Did you notice how shoppers studied the labels? Bet you were one of them, making an informed choice.

Product labels tell consumers a lot: where the food comes from, who made it, what’s in it and how it’s produced.

In essence, a label speaks volumes about a company’s business beliefs and practices. It’s a disclaimer, and even perhaps, a corporate character assessment all in plain view, right there on the grocery shelf.

As a company specializing in organic and all-natural products, Wholesome Sweeteners welcomes a close, careful read of labeling for its sugars, syrups, nectars and honeys. As vice president of marketing, Pauline McKee figures an informed consumer is the company’s best competitive advantage.

For example, the natural goodness of Wholesome Sweeteners’ products recently was verified as being Project Non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) compliant, she says. This verification makes it the first sweetener company to be classified this way. (http://www.nongmoproject.org/)

According to its website, the non-profit Project Non-GMO is made up of “manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed companies and consumers” – all of whom share the belief that consumers should know if their food is genetically altered or not.

The magnitude of this global issue is top of mind with Wholesome Sweeteners. “Moving forward, consumers will be showing an increasing concern over genetically modified food ingredients,” says McKee. “This new verification simply reinforces our long-standing position to always be GMO free.”

For the food industry, movement in this direction is needed now more than ever, she believes. “As more of our grains and crops become genetically modified and deliberately mixed with the non-GMO crops, it is very difficult for consumers to exercise their right to choose between GMO and non-GMO foods.”

The recent verification status adds to Wholesome Sweeteners’ market distinction of also being the only Fair Trade™ certified sweetener company in the United States, McKee points out.

The Fair Trade certification label, which appears on the company’s products, means farmers who produced the food – usually poorer farming communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia – are being given a fair shake in the marketplace.

“We have been working diligently for months to become non-GMO verified, too,” says McKee. “Besides our company website, the new Project Non-GMO logo will begin to appear on our literature and on product packaging.”

From the ISC Newsroom

Congratulations! Chef Samuelsson’s the TOP CHEF MASTER

June 11, 2010

Congratulations to Executive Chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit, Riingo, and Red Rooster, New York, winner of Bravo TV’s Top Chef Masters competition.

Chef Samuelsson’s winning dishes told his life story–born in Ethiopia, adopted by Swedish parents, growing up with his Swedish grandmother who inspired him to cook–and how he is now rediscovering his African heritage and bring it back to the USA via his new culinary style. Marcus won $100,000 for UNICEF’s Tap Project(R), which brings fresh water to children in Africa.

Chef Samuelsson is a fabulous advocate for our company, products and the social and environmental values we represent. He is especially committed to our Fair Trade Certified products. “By choosing Fair Trade Certified sugars,” he says, “you can have a direct, positive impact on the lives of cane farmers–and enjoy some of the highest quality natural sugars in the world.” Chef Samuelsson is featured on Wholesome Sweeteners’ Fair Trade Certified Raw Cane Sugar (Marcus’s Ginger Citrus Cookies) and Fair Trade Certified Natural Cane Sugar (Marcus’s Coconut Cookies).

Wholesome Sweeteners’ advocate and agave-user Chef Rick Bayless of Chicago won Top Chef Masters 2009 when his 27-ingredient Mole sauce, which took him 25 years to master, propelled him to the top slot. Both Samuelsson and Bayless have been honored to serve the Obama Administration as White House guest chefs during recent state dinners for Mexican and Indian heads of state.

Soothing Summer Ices

June 1, 2010

It’s getting hot out there–and the markets are filling with sweet, vine-ripened fruits.

Over the weekend, Karen, our Chicago-area blogger, took an evening walk around her neighborhood, ending up at Miko’s Italian Ice in Logan Square. Now in Chicago, Italian ices are as much a part of summer as baseball, thunderstorms and fireflies. Miko’s ices are delicious, but with just two shops in Chicago, the sweet, cooling ices are unavailable to most of the rest of us. Since Miko won’t share his recipes (and we’d honestly never ask), we found a few recipes on our own. We also found the first strawberries of the summer, and we wanted to play with our NEW Flavored Agaves (available at Amazon.com and making their way into grocery stores as we write). We mixed and mashed and puréed and came up with this not-too-sweet, not-too tart-variation. We think it’s perfect for a summer’s evening treat.

Wholesome’s Blue Agave enhances flavors, brightening the fruits’ essence while adding a smooth texture, and the Organic Vanilla Flavored Agave adds a perfect, elegant touch. Because you’re using less agave than sugar, you’ll shave a few calories off as well.

Strawberry Ice

1 pint strawberries* (fresh or frozen), trimmed
1-2 tablespoons Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Vanilla Flavored Agave** (use more or less, depending on your preference)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups ice cubes (about 11)
mint (for garnish)

Put a 9-or-10 inch metal cake pan and metal fork in the freezer. In a blender, purée the strawberries, agave, and lemon juice until the mixture is smooth. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and return it to the blender. Give it a quick taste. If it needs more sweetening, add just a touch more agave. Add the ice cubes, process until it is smooth, and pour it into the cold pan. Freeze the mixture for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is frozen around the edge but still soft in the center. Stir the ice, mashing the frozen parts with a fork, and repeat a couple of times. (The agave won’t crystallize, so the ice will have a smooth, creamy, soft-serve texture). Spoon it into bowls. Garnish with mint. Serve and enjoy.

*This recipe is incredibly adaptable. Try it with mangos, pineapple, raspberries, even oranges (be sure to peel the bitter membrane away from each section).

** Want to amp up the ice’s “strawberry-ness”? Use Wholesome’s Strawberry Flavored Agave instead of the vanilla.

It’s National Devil’s Food Cake Day!

May 19, 2010

May 19: National Devil's Food Cake Day.

 

Chocolate lovers rejoice!   

In our little chocolate-loving, hearts-of-hearts, we’re so glad there is a day set aside just for devil’s food cake. Our mouths water thinking about its moist sweetness–not too cloying, not to bitter,  just right. It’s made even better by those delightful endorphins chocolate releases into our systems. (Eating chocolate sometimes just feels so good.)   

While thinking about Devil’s Food Cake and an appropriate recipe for our celebration, we came upon this recipe at bonappetite.com. We tweaked it, baked it and, oh, my … it is “goodness” (or “devilishness”?)  indeed! So, without further delay …  

Wholesome’s Devil’s Food Cake
(featuring Fair Trade Organic Brown Sugar and Organic Vanilla Flavored Blue Agave)  

INGREDIENTS (we always recommend Fair Trade Certified and Organic or sustainably produced ingredients)   

Cake   

Frosting   

  • 8 ounces high-quality milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (if you’re feeling especially indulgent, use plugra butter–it has a higher fat content than regular butter)
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Wholesome Sweeteners Vanilla Flavored Organic Blue Agave Syrup
  • Organically grown edible flowers (roses are especially lovely!)

Equipment   

  • Two 5″ dia x 2″ deep cake pans
  • Whisks
  • Electric mixer (while a stand mixer is convenient, it’s not necessary for this recipe)
  • No-stick cooking spray
  • Parchment paper

    

To make the cake:   

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray (or butter) the pans. Line the bottom of the pans with 5″ discs of parchment paper and spray those, too.   

Combine cocoa powder and milk chocolate in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 cup boiling water. Stir until the milk chocolate has completely melted. Whisk in buttermilk.   

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the brown sugar, blue agave syrup, oil, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the flour and chocolate, and mix until smooth. (The batter will be thin.) Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and tap the pans gently on the counter top to help release any air bubbles.   

Bake the cakes in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick test yields a few crumbs on the stick (a clean, dry stick will mean a dry cake). Cool pans on a rack for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out and remove the parchment.  Turn the cakes over again and cool completely.   

To make the frosting:   

Place the milk chocolate in a double boiler (or make your own but simply placing a metal or Pyrex bowl over a boiling pot of water–be sure the bowl’s rim is wider than the pot’s rim, and that the bowl doesn’t slosh boiling water over the pot’s edges).  Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove the pan (or bowl) from the boiling pot. Add the butter, and stir again until melted and mixed. Add the sour cream and blue agave syrup and continue stirring until well blended. Let the frosting cool to room temperature.   

Using a serrated knife, cut the rounded tops off the cakes, leveling their tops. Then cut each of the cakes horizontally into two layers.  Place a bottom layer on a cake plate, then spread about 1/4 cup of the frosting on it (try to leave about a half-inch unfrosted border on each layer), then add the top half of the same cake and frost, repeat with the second cake to build a four-layered cake. Spread about 1/3 cup frosting over the cake’s top and sides. Set in the refrigerator and chill until the frosting sets, at least 30 minutes, then spread the remaining frosting over the base frosting layer.   

 Serves 6-8.   

If you’re in the mood to play … spice it up by adding a little cinnamon or cayenne pepper to the flour mix, or use Wholesome’s Cinnamon Agave instead of Vanilla Agave.   

Many thanks to Bonappetit.com and Rochelle Palermo for providing such devilish inspiration.

Hello Sweet World!

May 11, 2010

It’s our first blog posting. If you’re new to Wholesome Sweeteners’ world, welcome! If you’re an old friend, we’re glad to see you here! Either way, please, pull up a chair and sit with us a spell. We’ve got lots to talk about!      

But first, we’d like to introduce ourselves (forgive the indulgence) …      

Fair Trade & Organic Sugars make the world a sweeter place.

 

We supply sweeteners, but they’re not the conventional kind at all. Oh, they’re delicious and perfectly sweet, with amazing flavor profiles and textures, but they’re also USDA Organic and Fair Trade Certified, which sets them apart from the majority of other sugars, syrups and honey you’ll find on the shelves. We’re committed to the planet and its people (including you). We don’t make a move without first thinking about our environmental and social responsibility. And we don’t just talk the talk, we really do walk the walk.      

Wholesome Sweeteners is a young company with generations of experience and expertise behind it. In addition to bringing the best organic natural, unrefined sweeteners to the North American market, Wholesome pioneered the Fair Trade certification process for sugars and honey. Today, Wholesome Sweeteners is the leader in Fair Trade Certified, organic and natural sugars, syrups, blue agaves and honey, all produced from nature’s best resources.       

In fact, Wholesome leads the way with our Fair Trade Certified products. It all began in 2002 …      

Nigel Willerton had just taken the helm as Wholesome Sweeteners CEO. With years of experience in the British sugar trade, Willerton understood the difference Fair Trade could make for the people and for the planet. “Wholesome Sweeteners has a proud record of sourcing from environmentally and socially responsible suppliers. We wanted to take our commitment a step further and deliver more value directly back to our growers,” Willerton says. He believed that Wholesome could make a significant difference in the everyday lives–and futures–of cane farmers and their communities. It was time to set new rules for the industry.      

Inspired by the emerging Fair Trade movement, which until then had been primarily the domain of coffee and cocoa, Willerton started working with TransFairUSA to establish Fair Trade standards for sugar cane cooperatives and mills. “After three years of negotiation and hard work,” he says, “we launched our Fair Trade Certified sugars and molasses. Just months after Willerton and the cane farming cooperative signed the first agreement, money began flowing back into the co-ops. A couple of years later, we added the First Fair Trade Certified honey to the mix. Consumer support of Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Certified products has meant that, in the years since their launch, we’ve sent more than $2,000,000 in social premiums to our Fair Trade co-op partners in Costa Rica, Malawi, Mexico and Paraguay,” Willerton says. “Each quarter, we’re able to send more than the quarter before. We’re more than pleased by it all.”      

As a general rule, Fair Trade Certified co-ops include very small producers managing their own farms on limited income and with their own hands; their families are their labor force. In many cases, while the spirit and drive to succeed are there, the farmers lack the practical experience to move their sugar into the global marketplace.      

Your support of Fair Trade Certified sweeteners brought something as basic as safe drinking water to kids in Malawi.

 

 Through Fair Trade programs, cane farmers earn a better income for their hard work–allowing them to hold on to their land, send their kids to school and develop the quality of their harvest while sharpening their business acumen and strengthening their communities. Fair Trade agreements set trade prices, remove unnecessary middlemen (who, in the past, have taken a significant percentage of farmers’ income) and provide access to pre-harvest lines of credit for cooperatives.      

Wholesome wires the premiums directly to the co-ops’ accounts each quarter. (There are no middlemen skimming money away from the co-ops.) The premiums stay within the co-ops … co-op members invest in clinics and schools, equipment and other resources, education programs, communication systems and water wells.      

Within the Fair Trade Certified co-ops, oppressive labor practices really are history (as in “long since passed”). As a condition of certification, co-ops guarantee fair labor conditions for farm workers, freedom of association for all and democratic decision-making processes. Self-determination and mutual respect are essential parts of the plan. The co-ops have regularly scheduled meetings and each co-op member, man or woman, has a say in the co-op’s investments and activities.          

Neutral third-party organizations keep watch over both the suppliers and their customers to assure and protect the hard-fought Fair Trade values and standards. TransFairUSA, Wholesome’s partner in developing the program, today serves as an independent monitor, protecting the social and democratic standards established for Fair Trade, and maintaining environmental standards that foster sustainability. The standards specifically prohibit synthetic chemicals, GMOs, and practices that further damage the environment, such as burning and harvesting methods that remove precious topsoil.      

In the few years since Wholesome rewrote the standards for environmentally and socially responsible sweeteners, a new group of cane growers and beekeepers have emerged. Now, more than ever, the industry aims to break the old cycles. There is still much work ahead, but a new cycle is emerging in sugar and honey production. If you’d like to learn more about our Fair Trade programs and their impacts, please visit http://www.wholesomesweeteners.com/fair_trade.html.      

Thanks to you, Fair Trade really is making a difference.      

PS: Check in often, or better yet, link to our RSS Feeds or subscribe to our email service. We’ll just let you know when we’ve added a post.

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