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Browsing articles tagged with " holidays"
Oct
2

The Sweetest Spiders You’ll Ever Meet

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Here at Endangered Species Chocolate we take our jobs very seriously – I mean, we work with the food of the Gods, people!  One could even argue that the staff here at Endangered Species is right up there in importance with doctors, government officials and the President…..right?

Well, no……not at all……most definitely, not.

While some days it may feel like we are running a country or being called to the operating room, the truth is that we at Endangered Species constantly remind ourselves that we are abundantly fortunate to work for a company full of good people that make good stuff for a good cause.  And although we believe that it’s important to make chocolate that brings joy to the people who eat it and the animals each purchase helps save, we also know that we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.  That said, on the first day of October I sent an URGENT, HIGH PRIORITY email to the staff stating this:

EEEEKK! Huge spiders in the break room – enter if you must, but BEWARE!

Our resident spider catcher, Nick, immediately got up from his desk and headed into the infested room.  Not too far behind him our Quality Manager followed, carrying a cup to help assist him in his efforts (we are a catch and release facility).  A few other curious peers cautiously headed that way – if not to see the spiders but to at least witness the catching.  When Nick and the others made it to the break room, they found the biggest, boldest, sweetest spiders they had ever seen……

spidersAllFilled with chuckles, my office mates were happy to see that the email had been both a trick and a treat!

These spiders are not only easy to make, but they are a great activity to do with your little ones in the spirit of the spookiest season of the year.

If you plan on doing this with children, I suggest preparing the cake balls a day ahead.  They will keep on a baking sheet, covered, overnight.  To begin, make one 9 X 13 chocolate cake (from scratch or packaged).  Let the cake cool completely.  Breaking the cake in fours, crumble it into fine pieces into a bowl using your hands or a fork.  Next, make 2 cups of frosting (recipe below, or purchase at your grocery store).  Fold the frosting into the cake using the back of a spoon or a stiff spatula.  Taking 1-2 tablespoon sized pinches at a time, roll out ½ in balls, squeezing and smoothing until all of the balls are formed.  If the mixture becomes sticky or too soft, place it in the freezer for a quick chill and handling will become easier.

The prepared cake balls can be set in the refrigerator overnight, or if you are doing everything at the same time, placed in the freezer to set for up to 45 minutes.  Once chilled, you will begin the decorating.  Melt 3 – 4 Endangered Species Chocolate 72% Dark Chocolate bars, or one full bag of Endangered Species Chocolate Halloween Treats in the microwave.  When the chocolate is completely melted and smooth, stir in one tablespoon of vegetable shortening (this is done to thin out the chocolate for easier handling and creates a better coating that will not crack).  I like to set everything that I will be using out in stations to make assembly quicker.  For the spiders pictured, I used pretzel rods and black sugar crystals.  Eyes can be made from almond pieces, raisins, white sprinkles…and more!  This is where your children can get creative.  If spiders aren’t your thing, these can be made into eye balls (half a marshmallow for the whites), monsters and even pumpkins!  If you are making them for an adult party, maybe just colored sprinkles will suit.  It’s up to you!

To dip your creation, I suggest gently inserting a wooden skewer into the top of the ball, carefully lowering it into the chocolate, tossing the chocolate onto the piece if needed, and lightly tapping the exposed portion of the skewer before placing it on parchment.  Then, using another skewer, carefully remove the rod and tap the coating to smooth.  Alternatively, you can use lollipop sticks and leave them inserted to look like the spider’s “web”!  These set more quickly and keep better if the finished tray of spiders and other creatures are placed in the refrigerator.

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Jan
15

Chocolate Holidays

blog_feature_dec13It’s really no surprise that each and every month has a day dedicated to chocolate. Check out this list of national chocolate food holidays - links within our calendar take you to interesting ways to celebrate (My fav? Dec 16th – Eleven Seriously Weird Chocolate-Covered Foods) or send you to the perfect Endangered Species Chocolate item to indulge in for the day!

 

 

January 3

National Chocolate-Covered Cherry Day

January 10

National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

january 27

National Chocolate Cake Day

february 1

National Dark Chocolate Day

February 5

National Chocolate Fondue Day

February 19

National Chocolate Mint Day

February 25

National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day

march 19

National Chocolate Caramel Day

March 24

National Chocolate-Covered Raisins Day

April 21

National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day

May 15

National Chocolate Chip Day

June 7

National Chocolate Ice Cream Day

June 26

National Chocolate Pudding Day

July 28

National Milk Chocolate Day

August 4

National Chocolate Chip Day

August 10

National S’Mores Day

september 12

National Chocolate Milkshake Day

september 13

International Chocolate Day

september 22

National White Chocolate Day

October 28

National Chocolate Day

November 7

National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day

December 16

National Chocolate-Covered Anything Day

December 28

National Chocolate Day

 

Jan
8

To a Healthy New Year

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Photo by Whitney Bembenick, R&D manager, Endangered Species Chocolate

January is one of my favorite months.  As we welcome a new year, the “newness” that it brings bubbles over into many aspects of our lives.  In my home, as in many others, when the holiday decorations come down, the entire house gets a full, deep clean and purge.  Clothes that haven’t been worn are donated, office drawers are organized, and all of the laundry gets cleaned AND folded.  Even Mother Nature gives us a sense of “newness”.  Looking out my windows here at the Endangered Species office this morning, there is a refreshing blanket of crisp white snow stretching out into the vast fields of Indiana. 

With all of this newness, comes ambition to revitalize ourselves with healthy eating and living.  Did you know that 2 out of 3 of us make a resolution for change at the start of a new year, but only 8% of us actually follow through?  And with no surprise, of those that resolve for change, most resolve to lose weight.  In those first few weeks of January, it is with great pomp a circumstance that we dump the tins of cookies and bars into the trash to be replaced with fresh fruits and vegetables.  We reach for the water bottle instead of the coffee cup and we turn our noses at the candy aisle.  Then, the inevitable happens.  It’s someone’s birthday in the office and the array of sweet treats re-emerge.  After a few weeks of resisting temptation, you decide to have just a small piece, you’ve earned it…and…burp!…a full slice of cake later you’ve not only got a queasy stomach but you feel awful for breaking your new “diet”.  Why am I telling you this, you ask?  Well, because I have tip for you that will save you from the office birthday party cake catastrophe.  It may seem a bit counter intuitive at first…..but here it goes…..

Eat. Dark. Chocolate.

Now, because I work for a chocolate company, you are thinking, “yeah right, chick,” but please, keep reading, and you may change your mind.

First, let me share with you a few facts about cocoa.  Cocoa naturally contains antioxidants called flavanols.  These compounds act as a defense mechanism to fight off the free radicals our bodies produce from doing daily activities like simply breathing!  That means that when we consume a food that contains these flavanols (like chocolate), we are helping our bodies fight against cell damage that research has proven can lead to things like cancer and heart disease.  But that’s not all!  Multiple research studies have shown the direct link between consuming chocolate and improved mental health, clarity and alertness.  This is credited to cocoa’s ability to aid the body in producing compounds which help us feel good, as well as the natural stimulants which are found in chocolate like caffeine and theobromine.  The darker and less “adulterated” the chocolate the better, as these varieties offer the largest dose of antioxidants in comparison to their sweeter counterparts.

So…proven by research, chocolate is good for the body and soul.  Do I have your attention now?  Back to that New Year’s resolution tip I mentioned before.  What if, instead of focusing on what you want to limit yourself on, you focus on what you want to indulge in more?  Because of all the healthy reasons listed above, we know that dark chocolate is a great option when the mood for indulgence strikes us.  By giving ourselves that small treat, we are sustaining a more positive mood and fighting off the “bad guys” at the same time.  So when the office party strikes, you’ll feel less inclined to reward yourself, because you’ve already been rewarded with a sweet square of your favorite Endangered Species chocolate bar.  Which reminds me, it’s time for my daily dose of indulgence J

One last thing…with all this “newness”, Endangered Species has something new to share as well!  Keep an eye out for my post next month where I’ll talk about my love affair with chocolate and our brand new filled chocolate bar line.

Healthy Indulging!

Whitney B.

R&D Manager, Endangered Species Chocolate

 

Dec
17

A Sea Otter Christmas

By Guest Blogger  //  Species in Need.  //  No Comments

blog_feature_sept13There are several opportunities to help contribute to conserving sea otters and their populations this holiday season! Friends of the Sea Otter is involved in these efforts to make giving during the holidays a “win-win” situation for sea otters.

Monterey County Gives Campaign

The Monterey County Gives campaign during this holiday season runs from mid-November through midnight December 31 and is a way to stretch your donation further through a portion of your contribution getting matched by the Community Foundation of Monterey partnering with the Monterey County Weekly for this campaign.

 

Thanks to the matching fund, your donation can have a bigger impact to Friends of the Sea Otter and to helping protect sea otters and their habitat. Click here to view our donation page.

 

Amazon Smile

Using Amazon for your holiday shopping? Want to help protect sea otters for no extra charge while purchasing gifts?

Amazon will donate 0.5% of purchases to an organization of your choice. Please remember Friends of the Sea Otter when filling your Holiday baskets by choosing us when you visit: https://smile.amazon.com/

 

Friends of the Sea Otter Holiday Gift Store

Share a Gift and Help Sea Otters! Friends of the Sea Otter is the world’s oldest sea otter organization dedicated to conserving sea otters and their habitats. Your purchase in the gift store will be used in support of Friends of the Sea Otter’s efforts to protect sea otters and their habitat in a number of ways. You can buy individual gifts or purchase our gift bundles as a membership package. We have a select number of bundles, each with their own unique gifts. Your donation will go towards Friends of the Sea Otter’s mission to conserve sea otters and their habitat. If you would like to make a donation, but would not like to receive a gift please use the donate button at the top.

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Zazzle Store

If you are looking to buy someone that special gift for the holidays, there are a variety of items in Friends of the Sea Otter’s Zazzle Storefront.  Many of the items were designed using specially made artwork by Kelly Lance, done exclusively for Friends of the Sea Otter. And, if you are still decorating the Christmas tree, be sure and check out the Christmas ornament in the store.  A percentage of your purchase in our Zazzle Storefront will go towards Friends of the Sea Otter’s mission to conserve sea otters and their habitat.

You can follow FSO on Facebook and Twitter and learn more about what FSO is doing and how you can help at www.seaotters.org.

Article by guest blogger, Jim Curland, Advocacy Program Director and Frank Reynolds, Program Manager for Friends of the Sea Otter

Friends of the Sea Otter (FSO), founded in 1968, is an advocacy group dedicated to actively working with state and federal agencies, scientists, educators, and the public to maintain, increase and broaden the current protections for the sea otter, a species currently protected by state and federal laws and having two populations on the Endangered Species list.

Dec
4

To: Nature | From: You

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Why not put the planet on your gift-giving list this season? Here are 3 conservation organizations we know and trust to fight for at-risk species and habitats!

Send support to the sea

SEETurtle Holiday Gift Pack

Make a year-end $110.00 donation to SEE Turtles and receive a gift bag filled with ocean-friendly loot to commemorate your generosity!

SEE Turtles supports community-based sea turtle conservation projects worldwide. Your donation will help protect 100 baby turtle hatchlings.

The ULTIMATE TURTLE LOVERS’ GIFT PACK includes:

  • 3 Endangered Species Chocolate bars
  • 18oz. Klean Kanteen bottle
  • Organic goat milk soap ‘Cause Bar’
  • Sea turtle garden flag
  • Koteli reusable shopping bag
  • Glass Dharma glass drinking straw
  • 3 baby sea turtle postcards

Get your gift that gives back direct from SEE Turtles and The Ocean Foundation.

For the bees (and other pollinators)…

xercesOur 10% GiveBack Partner, The Xerces Society, is at the forefront of invertebrate protection worldwide, harnessing the knowledge of scientists to implement conservation programs.

Join The Xerces Society in combating unnecessary pesticide use and advocating for pollinators. Make a year-end donation to The Xerces Society – you’ll receive a bi-annual subscription to Wings: Essays on Invertebrate Conservation to keep you informed of your donation at work!

Go in on a joint gift with Betty White!

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Elephants have a secret weapon against poachers – Betty White! Join the Golden Girl in a quest to protect African wildlife by making a donation to our 10% GiveBack Partner, African Wildlife Foundation. Ms. White will double your gift when you give before December 20th.

Act now and double AWF’s resources to fight to save Africa’s rare and precious wildlife! With your donation you’ll receive

  • 16-month calendar with stunning African wildlife photography
  • AWF’s quarterly newsletter
  • The pride that you are making a difference for Africa’s wildlife, wild lands and community.

Chocolate Gifts Supporting Species

Want to combine a charitable donation with indulgent chocolate? We can help with that!

Pick one of our AWFliongiftAWF ADOPTION CHOCOLATE COLLECTIONS.

African Wildlife Foundation works to support 80+ species every day. We’ve paired their purpose with Endangered Species Chocolate bars for gifts that give back in a big way.

Your AWF Adoption Collection purchases send a $15, $25 or $40 donation to African Wildlife Foundation and gives you a delicious chocolate assortment, cute plush animal, and a 1-year AWF e-membership – all wrapped up in a great gift box.

 

SAVE THE SEA TURTLES GIFT PACK
Save sea turtles and savor chocolate! With this purchase, a $10 donation is made to SEE Turtles, a conservation tourism project that supports seeturtle giftcommunity-based sea turtle protection efforts.

Your purchase supports work in Costa Rica, Baja California Sur and Trinidad – vital nesting habitats for endangered sea turtles. Each pack bundles three 3oz. Natural Dark Chocolate with Blueberries chocolate bars with a card acknowledging your SEE Turtles donation.

What a sweet gift (that gives back)!

 

 


Oct
15

Chocolate Bar Costumes

Some Endangered Species Chocolate Bars (like the Wolf, Bat, and Panther) already have a Halloween vibe about them…featuring creatures that prowl in the night. But other flavors (think Otter, Chimp, Sea Turtle) aren’t exactly the type of treat you’d give to a friend on Halloween…UNLESS you gave it a costume!  Here are two simple ways to dress up your chocolate bars for Halloween.

THE BAT BAR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll need:

  • Black construction paper
  • Scissors
  • 3oz. Endangered Species Chocolate Bar
  • Glue
  • Goggly eyes (or draw your own!)

Cut your black construction paper in a bat shape using this template (or freehand it if using a chocolate bar that is a different size).

Lightly glue chocolate bar into the center of the bat shape.

Affix googly eyes to the head of the bat with glue.

Finally, fold the wings in over the chocolate bar and spot glue them into place.

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Mummified Chocolate Bar

Now that you’ve mastered the Bat Wrap, give this mummy chocolate bar costume a try! Instructions can be found at The Idea Room, a great place to get all sorts of fun, crafty inspiration!

Helpful Mummy Tip: cut crepe paper in half lengthwise to make a skinnier “bandage” – makes it much easier to wrap around the chocolate bar.

We’d love to see your costumed creations! Share them with us on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.

Oct
3

Swap This Halloween

Halloween is right around the corner.  Time to start thinking about costumes!  Instead of buying, consider a more eek-o-minded approach.  Saturday, October 8th is National Costume Swap Day™ – a planet friendly way to get kids recycling in the funniest way possible – trading (reusing) princess gowns, witch’s hats and superhero capes!

Costume swaps or making your own costumes from materials you have on hand means less resources, less packaging and less waste.  Wrap your mind around this fact: swapping (aka reusing) just half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons!  It also means you can be original and decide exactly what you want to be for Halloween.  Imagine trying to find a tornado costume at a big box store!

DIY Tornado Costume

  • black t-shirt and pants
  • masking tape
  • assorted small tornado victims (leaves, toy tractor, barnyard animal figures)

Wrap masking tape up one pant leg (crinkle tape a bit for authentic tornado texture!). Repeat with t-shirt, wrapping tape in a spiral up to neck.  Tie assorted toys and figures to short bits of fishing line.  Tie fishing lined tornado victims to random spots on t-shirt and pants. Muss up child’s hair and brush a bit of dusty brown eyeshadow across face to complete the transformation!

Swaps can be as simple as getting together with a few neighbors or as large as a citywide event; check Costume Swap’s site to find local swaps you can attend.  No matter the size of your event, a costume swap is the perfect way to save the resources it takes to create new costumes.  Plus, trading costumes saves you money!  Check out this incredibly cute video; twin brothers, Tristin and Tyler, show you how it’s done.

Find more ways to green up your holiday at Green Halloween®.

Apr
11

An Eco Easter Basket


With Earth Day (April 22) so close to Easter, join me in nixing the traditional basket filler and hunt for goodies that encourage an appreciation of nature.  I’m pretty confident my outdoorsy, totally-curious-about-the-world 4-year old son will love it.

Reducing by Reusing

It really surprises me to learn that lots of folks trash their baskets after Easter.  Think of all of those sad, pastel baskets sitting in landfills for eons – discarded and forgotten.  And don’t get me started on those (soulless) cellophane wrapped pre-filled baskets you see in big box stores!  The Easter Bunny is way more creative and nature-conscious than that.

Growing up, my brother and I always reused the same baskets year after year.  Lots of memories tied to those baskets!    It was like seeing an old friend when my parents would pull my basket out of the attic each spring.  Believe it or not, my mom also saved and reused our Easter basket grass from year to year.  Her reasoning was rooted in saving money and getting the most use out of everything.  My mom’s example fits right in to my environmental outlook on life (not to mention my budget).  I bought a sturdy natural woven basket and a couple of bundles of green recycled paper grass for my son’s first Easter – and – four years later, we are still making holiday memories with them.

Gifts that last

As I set out shopping to help the Easter Bunny find gifts to fill my child’s basket, I noticed that some stores set out a dizzying array of disposable trinkets as filler for baskets.  The Easter-specific toys I spied seemed like they’d last a week before breaking.  Needless to say, I was uninspired.

With Earth Day in mind, I aimed to seek out items that would be fun, useful and encourage our kid to get outside and commune with nature.  Here are some of the ideas I thought up; share yours  too – I still have some room in the basket to fill.

Books about bugs, butterflies, birds can open up a young one’s eyes to the importance of conservation.

Springtime is a good time to replenish art supplies – a quality sketchpad and colored pencils could help a young artist to bloom.

A colorful water bottle can keep your kid hydrated and keep plastic out of landfills.

Encourage your young one to dig nature by tucking a few flower, herb or vegetable seed packets into their basket.

Look for organic, all-natural sweets made with ingredients sourced with care.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Endangered Species Chocolate’s organic, dark and milk chocolate Bug Bites.  *smile*  It’s chocolate that not only tastes indulgent and contains ingredients I can feel good about giving my child – it funds species conservation, promotes fair trade and encourages sustainable cacao farming.

Comment below and tell us how you green up Easter!  Or add other eco-minded Easter basket ideas to our list.

THE TWEET FEED