Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our Healthier Christmas Treats!

Every Christmas since we've been married, Malamute and I have said that we don't have money for Christmas. We've never really gotten each other real presents. We did get a small tree for Duckling's first Christmas and threw a few decorations on it and felt guilty the whole time for the money we spent. This year, we decided to actually have a Christmas. We can't go into debt for anything, but we decided to get Duckling some nice presents and to buy some presents for each other. We got a small tree and I have been adding more homemade ornaments throughout the month and I think it looks lovely. (We also found a hippopotamus ornament at Target! We bought it and added it to the tree too.) We even bought a small tree topper. We also decided to spend some money on our dream Christmas treats.

Buying Christmas treats isn't quite as easy when you love someone who has multiple food sensitivities. But there are options. We bought a nice sampler of dates from Oasis Date Farms. If you think all dates are the same, you are sadly mistaken as there are several different varieties, each with their own taste and consistency. We had a good time sampling all the different types. We can particularly recommend Barhi and Medjool dates as our favorites. Barhis are oh-so good with a caramel-like flavor and nice chewiness. Medjools are nice and big and chewy.

The other thing we decided to do is have chocolates. I LOVE  chocolates and always have. Since going healthier though, it's been harder to come by ones that have better ingredients. Add to that the fact Malamute is extremely sensitive to dairy and chocolates seemed we nigh impossible to come by. Then I found Sjaak's Chocolates. They're a family chocolate company in Northern California that make their chocolates using traditional Dutch methods, but offer a wide selection of vegan chocolates. It's definitely on the pricier side, so we can't get tons, but they are DELICIOUS! We eat them a few at a time, with all of  us taking a bite so we can try each flavor. (Duckling would like to gobble every one of them down all by himself.) Another great thing about Sjaak's is that their chocolates are fair trade, which means that their chocolate comes from farms which are certified as using humane practices for the environment and their workers. Unfortunately, most chocolate that is sold in stores comes from cacao farms that basically use slave labor. Often, the workers on these farms are children who have been sold into servitude by their parents because of poverty. So fair trade chocolate makes Christmas merrier. =) If you're not looking for exotic truffles or don't have food sensitivities, you can easily find fair trade chocolate bars at most health foods stores and even a few regular grocery stores.

Another treat we've discovered is Panda licorice. This is the best licorice candy out there. It tastes great and the ingredients are ridiculously simple and wholesome. If you're not a black licorice fan like me, they make raspberry, cherry and blueberry chews as well. These are probably going to end up in stockings with some of Sjaak's bite-size chocolate candies, a Pro-bar, and an apple.

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