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Apr
4

Tiger Trifle Recipe

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Do any of you LOVE brunch as much as I do?  I enjoy it especially at this time of year when the tulips are blooming and fruits and veggies are bright.  Inspired by the thought of sitting down with friends and family to share the mid-morning sun and some great grub, I whipped up this dairy and gluten-free Tiger Trifle.  If you like tiramisu – you are going to love this recipe!  Here’s the run down…

You will need:

2 boxes of gluten free lady fingers

1 cup brewed coffee, cold

2 Endangered Species Chocolate with Espresso Beans bars

1 11oz carton of So Delicious coconut milk

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Juice from 1/2 lemon or 2 tablespoons of red wine

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Start by layering half of your lady fingers in the bottom of the bowl (or pan, it doesn’t have to look pretty!).  If you aren’t into eggs, which are in lady fingers, you can substitute with any vegan and gluten free shortbread cookie or pound cake of your liking!

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Next, chop up one chocolate bar and add half of what you chop to the bowl (this is getting good….really good).

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Pour about 1/4 cup of the cold coffee over your ladyfingers layer.  You can add more or less – it’s all up to you!

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Now we make the cream – my favorite step!  Have you used this cooking coconut milk from So Delicious? It’s a vegan cook’s dream!

You are going to put this, along with the confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a high speed mixer.  After combining, add about 2 tablespoons of the cold coffee.  After mixing again, add your choice of the lemon juice or red wine.   This is for the acidic punch our cream needs to balance all the sweetness going on elsewhere.  The lemon juice will contribute a bit of brightness while the wine will bring out more bold, deep chocolate and coffee flavors.  

Your cream should be fairly stiff.  If not, add a touch more sugar until the consistency is to your liking.  Spread 1/2 of the cream on top of the existing layers in your bowl.

And because one layer isn’t enough, we repeat the exact same steps building up the layers of our trifle.

And because this is the tiger trifle, grab a grater and shave the other chocolate bar all over the top of your delicious creation!

I know it’s a lot to ask, but put the trifle in the refrigerator and step away…..this is best served chilled, the next day.

Enjoy with friends, family, or just a really big spoon.

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Happy Indulging!

Whitney B

Mar
18

Lots About Lemurs

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

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lemur_main__50378_zoomExperts at Lemur Conservation Foundation helped us get our facts straight for the animal info-graphic found inside our Endangered Species Chocolate Coconut Creme Filled Bar. But…you can only fit so many lemur facts inside a chocolate wrapper! Our friends at Lemur Conservation Foundation offered up this broader picture of this highly social, super smart species.

 

Guest post via Catherine Olteanu, Communications and Development at Lemur Conservation Foundation

Ring-tailed lemur Species

Ring-tailed lemurs were first mentioned in western literature around 1625 in Samuel Purchas’s popular ‘Pilgrimages’ or travel logs.  In his writing Purchas describes ring-tailed lemurs as being about the size of a monkey with a face like a fox and having a long tail with black and white rings.   Carl Linnaeus might have been familiar with Purchas’s work, and with the 1729 journal of Robert Drury, an English sailor shipwrecked on Madagascar for fifteen years. Drury’s journal is one of the oldest written accounts of life in southern Madagascar, the home of the Ring-tailed lemur.

Linnaeus looked to the works of Ovid and Virgil for the term ‘Lemur’ and its reference to ‘Lemuria,’ a Roman festival during which ghosts were exorcised.  It is descriptive of some lemurs’ nocturnal habits, noiseless movements, reflective eyes, and ghost like cries and appearance.  Today lemurs are known as ‘ghosts of the forest.’ 

LEMUR 50 I Gunilla DSC_0058ps

photo courtesy of Lemur Conservation Foundation

Lemurs, found only on the island of Madagascar, are some of the most unique and the most endangered animals in the world.  Scientists theorize that they arrived in Madagascar as a result of rare rafting or swimming events that brought them to the island from the African continent.  Once in Madagascar they evolved in ecosystems that rival the Amazon basin in biodiversity.  Among

the 103 species of lemurs only the Ring-tailed lemurs is classified as its own genus. It is the type species for the genus of ‘Lemur.’ 

Known scientifically as Lemur catta, and as ’Maki’ or ‘Hira’ in the Malagasy language, they are highly adaptable with a range

covering a large portion of southern Madagascar’s diverse geography. They breed successfully in captivity. Despite their success as a species ring-tailed lemurs, like virtually all of Madagascar’s species of lemurs, face severe challenges to their survival. The 2012 assessment of Madagascar’s fauna by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature documented 91% of lemur species as ‘Critically Endangered,’ ‘Endangered,’ or ‘Vulnerable.’ 

According to Dr. Russell Mittermeier, President of Conservation International and Chairperson of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, lemurs are the most threatened primate on earth. Ring-tailed lemurs are listed as ‘Near Threatened,’ with declining wild populations and habitat that is shrinking faster than any other in Madagascar.  As we observe Ring-tailed lemurs in their natural habitats we can learn what they need to survive as a species and how we can better manage precious resources.

Physical Characteristics

Adult lemur catta are about the size of a house cat which is relatively large for lemurs. They weigh approximately six pounds, and have an average body length of seventeen inches, not including their tails.  Their lower incisors form a ‘tooth comb’ which is used in their oral grooming behaviors. They also have a ‘toilet claw,’ a specialized claw on their second toe that is used to groom fur that cannot be reached for oral grooming. Their long slender frames and narrow faces are covered with dense fur that is white on their chest and throat and grey to dark grey-brown on their backs. 

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photo courtesy of Lemur Conservation Foundation

Beneath their fur ring-tailed lemurs have black skin which is visible on their palms, the soles of their feet, and around the throat where their fur is less dense than on their backs and chest.  Their skin is leathery with dermal ridges on their hands and feet. The dermal ridges, common to all primates, help improve grip and facilitate terrestrial movement.  Their feet are more specialized that their hands with an opposable big toe instead of an opposable thumb.  Ring-tails have feet more adapted to terrestrial movement compared to other lemurs that spend all of their lives in the forest canopy.

The ring-tailed lemur’s distinctive bushy, ‘balancing tails’ that are about twenty-four inches long with alternating black and white bands giving them their distinctive look and popular name.  Tails have twelve or thirteen white bands and thirteen to fourteen black bands, and always e

nd in a black tip.  Ring-tailed lemurs use their tails used to help stabilize their movements in the forest canopy unlike some

primates who use their tails for gripping branches. They also use their tails for communication, and group cohesion. 

Distribution

Ring-tailed lemurs are endemic to the south and southwestern regions of Madagascar.  They have adapted to a variety of habitats from deciduous forests, montane humid forests, scrub, and gallery forests.  Although their distribution is quite wide across southern Madagascar and its variety of habitats today they are only found in a few special protected areas. Their population density varies, often dramatically.

Within their habitats ring-tailed lemurs live in ‘troops’ that average 13 to 15 individuals, although troops of up to 30 have been documented.  A troop needs between 15 to 85 acres of ‘home range’ territory.  Things like troop size, population density and the size of a troop’s home range area vary with the availability of food.

Ring-tailed lemur troops usually stay in a section of their home range for up to four days before moving.  After a few days in one location a troop will move a little more than a half mile inside their home range. 

Diet

The ring-tailed lemur is an omnivore and survives on a varied diet.  They range widely and feed opportunistically form a variety of plants, insects, and the occasional small vertebrate prey.

The leaves and fruit of the tamarind tree can provide up to fifty percent of a wild ring-tailed lemur’s diet along with available fruits, leaves, flowers, herbs, bark, sap, and have been observed eating pollens.

The forests where ring-tailed lemurs live does not have continuous vegetation and they must frequently travel on the ground as they move and forage for food. As they travel the ring-tail’s diet becomes more opportunistic, especially during the dry season.

Behavior

Ring-tailed lemurs are diurnal, with activity taking place both in the day and in the night. Because they live in the desert they take advantage of cooler temperatures after dark. Their troops have a well-defined female hierarchy with a dominant alpha female. Females are usually dominant over males but there is competition among the females for the alpha female position.

LEMUR 50 Nicole Begley Catta on Branch

photo courtesy of Lemur Conservation Foundation

Females live in the same group all of their lives.  Young male ring-tailed lemurs migrate to a new group when they are 3 to 5 years old.  When they leave their natal group they often travel in pair or groups of three to search for and successfully integrate into a new troop.  If they are successful at finding a new troop they challenge the resident males for access to the females for breeding. 

Their challenges include a unique behavior called ‘stink fighting.’ Ring-tailed males use their wrist and shoulder glands to mark their tails then shake them at the other males.  During breeding season they might also engage in ‘jump fighting,’ a more violent and aggressive behavior than stink fighting.

Both male and female ring-tailed lemurs use scent marking to note the edges of their troop’s home range.  Territorial disputes can occur when ring-tailed groups meet at home range boundaries. The dominant female defends the troop’s home range with behaviors like staring, lunging, and occasionally physical aggression. These encounters resolve with members of the troops moving toward the center of their home range.

Ring-tailed lemur vocalization range from the simple to the complex and can have transitions and variations in the calls. Some sounds are used to alert the troop to predators, infant distress, to mark location, and express contentment and range from meows and purring to clicks, yaps, moans, wails, squeaks and screams.  You can listen to ring-tailed lemur calls here.

Their tails are also used as a form of communication.  Members of a troop hold their tails high in the air while traveling to act as distance signals, keeping the troop together, and as a presence signal, warning other groups to stay away.

Like all lemurs lemur catta engage in the iconic ‘Sun Worshiping’ posture. Females, offspring, and males all sit very still with straight backs and arms stretched out to their sides. This typical morning behavior allows maximum exposure of the chest and stomach to the sun allowing them to warm themselves quickly after a cold night.

Reproduction

Lemur catta females usually give birth first at three years of age and then produce offspring annually.  Ma

ting begins in mid-April and lasts only a few weeks.  Infants are born in August and September after a gestation period of about 135 days.

Single infants are most common but twins are frequent when food is plentiful. The ring-tailed infants cling to their mother’s abdomen for about two weeks.  Then they ride on her back in the ‘jockey-style’ position.  Ring-tail babies grow very quickly. By four weeks of age they are ready to leave their mother and begin exploring their environment.

Females with offspring form a very tight social unit.  They will interact and travel together as well as share babysitting duties, feed & sleep together.  Females and offspring huddle together facing inward with their tails intertwined and held over each other’s back and shoulder forming a tight circle or ‘lemur ball.’ The ‘sleep formation’ is only shared by females and offspring. Mature males sleep on their own. The sleep formation is unique to ring-tailed lemurs. 

LEMUR ring tail 1

photo courtesy of Lemur Conservation Foundation

Threats

The biggest threat to ring-tailed lemurs is habitat loss from encroachment and slash and burn agriculture. Madagascar’s southern forests, the lemur catta’s only wild home, are sparse and easily cleared with even the simplest methods or tools for agriculture and other uses.  Satellite images of Madagascar suggest that their habitat is disappearing faster than any other on the island.  This encroachment is a significant reason for their ‘near threatened’ status on the IUCN Red List.

Responsible Viewing

Be sensitive to local customs and taboos that often involve animals and vary from place to place.

Most parks have ‘circuits’ of varying lengths and corresponding degrees of difficulty. Do not deviate from the routes or engage wildlife. Do not smoke in the forests. Stay on the trails and do not litter. Most areas require a guide.

Do not feed lemurs anywhere that you see them, whether in the forest or in resort or restaurant areas. Feeding can provoke aggression among the lemurs and also towards you. 

Never try to pick up a lemur, and warn children not to try to touch or pick up the animals.  Wild lemurs might approach you but they bite if they are frightened.

Where to View

You can view the ring-tailed lemur at several special protected reserves and in five of Madagascar’s national parks. The national parks in the ring-tail lemurs’ habitat are Andohahela National Park, Andgingitra National Park, Isalo national Park, Tsimananampetsotse National park, and Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. 

LEMUR 1 I Gunilla

photo courtesy of Lemur Conservation Foundation

Madagascar National Parks & Special Reserves

Information about most of the parks and special reserves for watching lemur catta in the wild can be found at the Parcs Madagascar web site. A URL is included for private reserves like Berenty and Anja.

Madagascar’s national parks system was founded in 1990 as a management and conservation initiative for the country’s unique, rare, and often endangered flora and fauna.   There are 12 parks and special reserves in the ring-tails’ habitat. 

Special reserves like the Beza-Mehafaly Special Reserve, Kalambatritra Special Reserve, Ivohibe Special Reserve (part of the Madagascar national Parks system), the Berenty Special Reserve, and the Anja Community Reserve are popular viewing locations and offer unique experiences. Communities like Anja develop opportunities for visitors to come and enjoy Madagascar’s unique flora and fauna. Fees from visitors often are the major source of funding for the reserves.

Anja Community Reserve  

The Anja Community Reserve became a protected area in 1999. It covers 30 hectares and is known for its dense population of ring-tail lemurs.

‘Anja Reserve is the most visited community managed forest and ecotourist site in Madagascar. Anja has become a vital example of how community management of natural resources can both effectively protect the area and benefit the community.’

Berenty Reserve  

Berenty is a small private reserve situated among gallery forest on the Mandrake River.  This semi-arid eco-region in the far south of Madagascar includes spiny forest habitat.  It is a base for students and professional conservationists as well as visitors who want to see lemurs and other wildlife in their native habitat.

The reserve is a two hour drive from Tolangnaro, on the southeast cost of Madagascar. Accommodations are in the forest and there is a network of trails to enjoy.  Berenty the most visitors of any Madagascar nature reserve.

Beza Mahafaly

Beza Mahafaly has a large population of lemur catta as well as several other species of lemurs.  Research is also carried out at this special reserve by several international research organizations. You might see some lemurs with telemetry collars.

The reserve is in the South Western part of the island 35 kilo meters northeast of Betioky. Covering 600 hectares, Beza Mahafaly is the second smallest special protected area in the Madagascar national parks system.  

Ivohibe 

The ‘Peak of Ivohibe’ special protected area is in the south east of Madagascar and connects to Andringitra National Park by a 20 kilo meter forest corridor.  The mountain peak is 2060 meters in elevation.

photo courtesy of Lemur Conservation Foundation

photo courtesy of Lemur Conservation Foundation

Andgingitra National Park 

Andgingitra is known for its rough terrain including Mount Imarivolanitra with an elevation of 2658 m (8,720 ft.) as well as deep valleys and ridges. It is well known for its biodiversity and high concentration of endemic species. Over 200 species of animals are endemic to Andgingitra National Park.

Andohahela National Park 

Andohahela, in south east Madagascar, is the only protected area with both dense and humid forests. The Tropic of Capricorn crosses the park. Its unique geographic location connects the southern and eastern eco-regions.

Isalo National Park

Isalo is the most visited park in Madagascar. It is part of the Commune of Ranohira in the Ihorombe region. The park covers 81,540 hectares.  Significant landscape features include river furrows and a massive continental sandstone plateau dating from the Jurassic Period.

Tsimananampetsotse National Park

Tsimanampesotse is in the southwest part of Madagascar. It is among the original 10 reserves created in 1927, more than seventy years before the modern Madagascar National Parks system was adopted, and 6 years before Madagascar signed the 1933 London International Convention for the protection of fauna and flora in Africa. Tsimanampesotse has a unique saturated sulphate lake. 75 to 90% of its fauna and flora found here are endemic to the park.

Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. 

Zombitse Vohibasia is located in the southwest area of Madagascar.  While it is well known for its rare birds, Zombitse is also home to 8 species of lemurs, including ring-tails. 

The park covers 36,308 hectares organized into 3 parcels that include the forest of Zombitse as well as Vohibasia and Isoky special areas.

The Lemur Conservation Foundation

The Lemur Conservation Foundation, a 200 acre private reserve located in Myakka City, Florida, holds six species of lemurs, including ring-tails. Our free ranging colony lives in native forests in multi species groups much like they do in Madagascar.  We are dedicated to the conservation and preservation of lemurs through captive breeding, education, art, observation based research, and partnerships.  LCF is a managing member of The Madagascar Fauna Group and two species survival plans, including the SSP for lemur catta.

Mar
7

Rainforest Mint Cupcakes

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Spring, is that you?    to fight away that cabin fever!

Historically, cabin fever is at it’s peak by the end of February.  We have all said enough.  Enough of the snow, enough of the bitter cold, enough of the salt covered cars and boots.  Then, March comes along and with it brings hints at the hope of warmer temperatures, sunny skies and green shoots of tulips and daffodils.  Not this year.  Nope.  Winter storm Titan has made his path across much of the United States leaving more cold and more snow behind.  So in order to help ease the fever around the Endangered Species office, I whipped up these chocolatey, minty fresh cupcakes with our very own Rainforest mint chocolate bars.  They are incredibly easy to make (thanks to my list of ingredients to cheat with) and will have you clicking your heels together while looking for that pot of gold.  Here’s the run down:

You will need:

 Cake1

1 package gluten free cake mix (I like Bob’s red mill chocolate)

2-3 cups Silk original soy milk (or vegan substitute for dairy milk of your choice)

1 ½ cups vegan butter

¼ cup hot water

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 Endangered Species Chocolate  Dark Chocolate with Forest Mint bars (6 oz)

2 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp Flax Meal (I like Bob’s Red Mill) + 6 tbls hot water, mix and set aside

3 cups(+) powdered sugar

First, pre-heat your oven to 350 F (375 F for gas ovens).  Line muffin tin with baking cups and set aside.

Next, prep your flax meal.  This is to replace the 2 eggs that are traditionally found in a cake recipe such as this.  If you would like, you can use eggs instead, but the recipe will no longer be vegan.

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Cream ½ cup of your vegan butter in a large mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add in the cake mix, lemon juice, 1 cup of soy milk (or substitute of choice), vanilla and flax meal mixture.  Mix until combined.  The batter should look very sticky.  Heat ¼ cup of water for 30-45 seconds in the microwave, and mix it in on high to create and more smooth appearance (this won’t take long!)

 Now it’s time to take an OK chocolate cupcake to it’s more daring, fresh, indulgent version…….

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Break up one, 3 oz bar of Endangered Species dark chocolate with mint.  And don’t worry about that square you ate right out of the bowl before popping it in the microwave – I’ve adjusted the recipe to take sudden urges for chocolate into account J

Microwave the chocolate, stirring every 30-45 seconds until smooth.  Then, pour the melted chocolate into the mixer bowl containing the batter.  With your spatula, fold the chocolate in.  Take care not to over stir as this can result in “flat” cupcakes.

Fill the cups 2/3 full.  Place in the pre-heated oven for around 18 minutes to bake until a tester comes out clean.

While the cupcakes do their magic, we can get started on our frosting.

Start by creaming 1 cup of vegan butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle.  Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla.  Mix on medium high until smooth. 

Next, chop the other 3 oz rainforest mint chocolate bar into very fine pieces.

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Dump the pile straight into the mixer, leaving some of the “dust and bits” on the cutting board for later.

Now we will work on getting a pipe-able consistency of our frosting.  Start with about ½ cup of soy milk and another ½ cup of powdered sugar.  Mix well and see if stiff peaks begin to form.  Continue alternating with soy milk and powdered sugar until a stiff but spreadable frosting is formed.  It’s all about your own preference for feel and taste – so go with what feels right!

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With your frosting ready and cupcakes cooled, you are ready to assemble.  Place the frosting in a piping bag or just a big zip-loc.  Cut the tip wide so that the chunks of chocolate will go through.  Swirl the frosting however you like on each pillow of cake.  Or skip the prettiness and smear the frosting on with a butter knife.   These babies won’t last long enough for it to matter how they look!

Remember that dusting of chocolate on your cutting board?  Yeah.  That’s going ON TOP of the frosting.  Pour, I mean, sprinkle your chocolate dusting on each cupcake for a 3rd layer of goodness. 

Now, we indulge.

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Just sit back, take a bite and enjoy the euphoric trip into spring the bright taste of mint and chocolate will take you on.  Heel clicking and rainbow hunts optional.

Enjoy this fresh indulgence!

- Whitney B

A food scientist with a focus on healthy living, Whitney Bembenick is Research & Development Manager at Endangered Species Chocolate. A Purdue University graduate, Whitney has over five years of food industry experience and extensive chocolate training. However, it’s not just chocolate that she’s passionate about; a self-proclaimed foodie she likes to explore new recipes while cooking and baking at home.  She also enjoys experiencing all of the wonderful food the local chefs are putting on their menus whether it be in Indianapolis or wherever her travels take her.

 

Feb
11

CA, Tax Time, Sea Otters

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

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Photo credit: Cindy Tucey, landscape and wildlife photographer

It’s that time of the year…Tax Season. While sea otters don’t pay taxes, we can help them when we pay ours.  Since 2007, sea otters in California have benefited from over $2 million in taxpayer contributions that go towards efforts to protect and recover sea otters in California. This funding is critical because currently there is no other funding source for sea otter research and conservation efforts in California.

Each year the California Franchise Tax Board sets a minimum amount needed for each check off to meet in order for the Fund to appear on tax forms in the following year. This year the California Sea Otter Fund needs to reach $277,666.

So, please help sea otters in California during this tax season. They are dependent on any contribution you can make.  Just seek out line 410 on your California Tax income form and give as little as $1. 

2012 Form 540 -- California Resident Income Tax Return

You can find out more information on the California Sea Otter Fund and how the money has been used in the past by clicking here.  Spread the word to your California tax-paying friends that they can help sea otters too.  Thanks!

Article by guest blogger, Jim Curland, Advocacy Program Director, Friends of the Sea Otter

Friends of the Sea Otter, 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.

 

Feb
4

My Chocolate Love Affair

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Friends, I have a confession.  In the spirit of the month for love, it’s time that I come clean: for the past year, I have been cheating on my favorite Endangered Species chocolates!

Despite my love for the grizzly bar, the puffin and even our forest mint, I just couldn’t resist something new.  It is dark, mysterious, exciting and oh…so….creamy.  And it’s not just one new love…..it’s six.  (Gasp!)  For the past year I have been secretly having a chocolate love affair with our new line of dairy free crème filled chocolate bars!

Now that the crème filled line has been launched, I can finally tell you what I love about each unique flavor, and why these chocolate bars will be the way to my heart, and hopefully yours, this Valentine’s Day.

First is the Lovebird.  Bursting with the freshness of lime and spiked with the sharpness of sea salt, one square just isn’t enough.  I choose this one when I’ve had a spicy meal and want to finish with the perfect bite.

Next, the Bumble Bee.  Oozing with bright blueberry and warming vanilla, I am taken back to memories of blueberry cobbler on the fourth of July.  I reach for the Bumble Bee when I need to feed a late morning craving.

Now we get to the Lemur and the Red Panda.  The richness of the coconut in the lemur bar is perfect when I am looking for something extremely indulgent.  As for the raspberry orange, the combination makes my mouth water just thinking about it. 

The Monk Seal has a certain power of transportation that takes me to a calm, relaxing place each time I enjoy a square.  Maybe it’s the journey of taste I experience that makes it so special, starting with sweet garden mint, stumbling over the hint of soft lavender and being left with a cooling, refreshed moment.

Rounding things out, the striking beauty of the Ocelot evokes a luxurious feeling before I even open a wrapper.  Then, I reach the rich, salty filling with just a hint of smooth vanilla that awakens my taste buds.  I go for the ocelot when I need an afternoon pick me up.

I hope that this Valentine’s Day you too fall in love with one or all of our new crème filled chocolate bars.  Or maybe, you will share the love with someone very special.  Hey, even the Mayan’s gave chocolate as a special gift, why break a tradition that’s been going for centuries?

Indulge in a little love,

Whitney B 

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.

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