With Power Comes Great Responsability

Slavery_Cocoa_IC

 

Ignorance might be bliss, but only for the ignorant person.  I might be ignorant in many respects but I still believe  education is a powerful tool that enriches our lives.  I really hate being a Debbie Downer but sometimes you just have to take a stand and choose knowledge over ignorant bliss.

Today I was browsing my Facebook “news feed” when a post by a dear friend called my attention.  It was a link to an article about child slavery and the chocolate industry.  After reading the article I was moved to watch the documentary The Dark Side of Chocolate.  And now I am urging you to take 45 minutes of your day and watch it.  I know we are all busy, I know we can’t fight every fight but I also know for every person that decides to take a stand a change will occur in the world.

The issue with child trafficking and slavery in the chocolate industry is one of those things we can easily take a stand on.  You do not have to go to Africa and save the children, you do not have to stand in front of Nestle, Mars or Hershey’s headquarters and protest, you do not have to go to the President of the United States and discuss the issue;  but you can stop buying chocolate from manufacturers that source from child slavery.

I love chocolate as much as the next girl but I am going to go ahead and say it, chocolate is not a necessity.  No chocolate treat is worth a child being taken from his home and being abused.  And no company is exempt from being held accountable for where their product comes from.  You would think that a company that makes billions of dollars a year could afford to know and choose fair trade sources, but you would be wrong.  I am sure there are a lot of politics and money involved but there should be zero tolerance for slavery, period.

As a parent I am horrified by this issue.  As a human being I am enraged and saddened by all this cruelty and indifference.

When a child is tortured in order for your child to have a “kiss” of chocolate it is time to start reconsidering things.

I want my children to know the difference between right and wrong.  I want my children to be safe, healthy and happy.  I want my children to be fair and kind.  And I want my children to enjoy the bliss that comes from being mindful, not ignorant.

What can you do about it?  You can visit Stop the Traffik to find out about this issue and what chocolate manufacturers practice fair trade.  Visit Food Empowerment Project to see how your food choices affect the world and use their free app that includes their chocolate approved list.  And you can make better choices when purchasing your chocolate.

We have to start being the change we want to see in the world, or no change will come.  We can do it!

 

For more information:

Child Slavery: The Bitter Truth About the Chocolate Industry

The CNN Freedom Project

Hasta siempre

IMG_3272

 

Last night at 9:30 my beloved Abuelo drifted into his next adventure.  He always said he wanted to leave this world in his sleep and that was why he constantly napped  during his Platinum years.  He was a flawed and wonderful man and I love him with all my might.  He was a tall and intimidating individual but his heart melted when ever he looked at me.  He used to call me “lagrimita” because I cried at the drop of the hat but deep down I knew he was the same way.  He was always extra kind to me, extra tolerant, extra supportive, extra devoted.  I could see that in his eyes I was a wonderful treasure and he made sure to care for me as such.  I didn’t always agree with him, in fact I mostly disagreed with his opinions and choices, but I always loved him.

IMG_3281

A few weeks ago I had the chance to go visit Abuelo in Puerto Rico.  He was on his way out, I could tell.  His arms shook uncontrollably, his words were unintelligible  and his eyes were empty pools.  But I still saw him, the man he was in my heart, full of unimaginable love and strength.  In that body, he was there, waiting for release. I hugged him, I held his hand, I talked about the weather, about my undying love and I thanked him for making me his princess all these years.  My last visit was the hardest, I held him and cried and eventually had to leave.  My heart broke that day as I walked away from him, knowing I would never see him again.

Today my broken heart is like an open wound.  And I hurt in a way I can not explain.  But in the mist of all this feelings I feel love.  I feel love never-ending.  I feel gratitude and love, love and more love.

Life is a treasure.  Life is all this things that happen.  Life is exhilarating joy and pain.  But mostly life is love.  And love, well, there is nothing as powerful as love.

So today I invite you to love.  Love hard, love fast, love strong and love without fear.  Even if your heart is broken, love.  Because true love is all that is good. True love will heal your deepest wounds.  True love will elevate you to heaven.   Sure with love comes pain, but also the ultimate gift.  Because you will never be stronger than when you are surrounded by love.   Because when all else is gone, love will remain.

One day we will all depart to our new adventure.  Till then make sure you fill every day with love, with kindness, with laughter and acceptance. Do what ever you need to do, what ever is important to you and do it with love.  In this life, and after,  love is all there is.

IMG_0472

 

Pumpkin Cake

IMG_3330

Pumpkin, pumpkin I’ve been thinking you are the finest one I see.  Soon you will be an awesome cake, just in time for Halloween!

IMG_3323

We had to do a selfie, because I hear they are trendy :)

We had to do a selfie, because I hear they are trendy 🙂

My super fly pumpkin picker

My super fly pumpkin picker

This weekend we went on a pumpkin picking adventure.  It was not so adventurous but it was kind of fun.  I mean, we had to because it is pumpkin season.  And because it keeps my kids busy for a whole 5 minutes.  I am not kidding, Lucas picked his super special pumpkin one minute after stepping into the pumpkin patch.  It was ok by me because it was crowded, but my dear husband had to stand in the line as soon as we got there.  It was a really, really, really long line, so by the time Lucas selected his pumpkin David was a whole one step closer to the register.  Not so long story short, we picked a pumpkin, a big one.  We decorated that one but there are still a lot of pumpkins in my house.

What to do with this pumpkin extravaganza?   Of course, cake!  If you are not a pie lover, like me, this is a good alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie.

That is not canned string cheese on the top, its pumpkin frosting :)

That is not canned string cheese on the top, its pumpkin frosting 🙂

What you need:

1 cup of sugar, I use 1/2 xylitol and 1/2 sugar

3/4 cup of coconut oil

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 cups of pumpkin pure.  Here is how  you make it, don’t be scared its easy and way healthier than that stuff that comes in a can.

3 eggs

2 cups of flour, I use 1 1/2 sprouted spelt and 1/2 coconut flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12×18 inch pan or line cupcake pan. Sift  the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl combine sugar and coconut oil. Then add vanilla, pumpkin, and then the eggs. Add flour mixture gradually.

Spread batter into  pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Take out of the oven and let cool before adding frosting.

I made the frosting with butter, some of the pumpkin pure and powdered sugar.  I kind of winged it so I have no recipe, but I’m sure you could also make this frosting even better with cream cheese, pumpkin pure and powdered sugar:)  I also recommend not putting too much frosting on your pastries, a little can go a long way.  Besides it is a good way to avoid feeding your kids too much sugar, they will still love it without a whole cup of frosting per serving.

lightly frosted and ready to eat :)

lightly frosted and ready to eat 🙂

Happy baby!

Happy baby!

 

Butternut Squash Muffins

IMG_3289

 

With Fall a lot of squash and pumpkin are coming my way.  Growing up in  Puerto Rico I didn’t eat any of the traditional fall favorites, like pumpkin pie or anything pumpkin for that matter.  So this year I have decided to learn how to prepare a variety of dishes using these abundant fall crops.

This weekend I tweaked a Jamie Oliver recipe of butternut squash muffins.  It was approved by the whole family so I am passing it on.

Here is what you need:

14 oz butternut squash, cut into pieces with skin on

3 eggs (free range and organic would be best)

2 1/2 cups of flour.  I used 1 1/2 cup of sprouted spelt flour and 1 cup coconut flour, these are healthier alternatives to regular flour and are easier to digest.

2 teaspoons of non-aluminum baking powder

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 cup of coconut oil

1/4 cup or plain, whole milk yogurt

1 cup of sugar.   I used half organic sugar and half xylitol because I try for our pastries not to cause too much of a wreck on our blood sugar.  Xylitol has little impact on blood sugar and does not feed yeast, at the time it is touted as a healthier alternative to sugar.  Of course keep in mind that, as with anything else, you need to get it from a good source and that studies on sugar substitutes are constantly changing.  In any case use any sweetener in moderation.  For more information on the subject you can click here.

1/2 teaspoon of celtic sea salt

1 to 2 spoonful of  chia seeds

 

Pre-heat oven to 350 and line your cupcake or muffin tray

Throw squash in food processor and whiz until finely chopped (you do not have to cook the squash prior or remove the skin)

Add the sugar and eggs to food processor and whiz again 🙂

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Pour mixture into lined pan.  I had to use a spoon because the mixture is a little thick.

Place in oven and bake for 25 minutes, them remove muffins from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

And that is all folks.  These muffins are a healthier alternative to sugary and nutrient depleted cupcakes.  And they are very filling; so they keep you satiated longer, a good thing coming this cold weather that makes us want to eat constantly and hibernate :).

 

IMG_3287

 

This recipe was well received and approved by both Lucas and Marcos.

 

IMG_3298 IMG_3297 IMG_3296

 

Hope your family enjoys it too!