Updated: Feb 5, 2020
After rolling over 1100 bites (thank you to my elves aka mom and sister), I couldn't not recipe test some new seasonal offerings as we head into one of my favourite months and "holidays" of the year. In the process of doing so, I stay committed to finding better alternative ingredients and being aware of how I'm sourcing and who I'm supporting.
To me, ingredients in the food we buy should be accessible, but as consumers, it's not always our first thought. We (a) either don't care, or (b) trust it as is, but it gets tricky when financial wealth of businesses becomes prioritized over health. Ingredients cost money, and businesses need money. I believe it's critical that we all have an understanding of what we're truly eating on the daily, which is why I like to be transparent about the ingredients and the sourcing, so here we goooooo:
Introducing, Local Love.
FLAVOUR: RED VELVET
meet the team
local beets, coconut milk, cocoa powder, maple syrup, chia seeds, coconut flour, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar + cashew frosting
the three stars
i. the local beets
Red velvet baked goods typically include artificial food dye that's increasingly becoming known as a health risk, but there's none of that here folks. With almost a cup of local, organically grown beets in a batch, it's the main ingredient - but you can look forward to the fact that it doesn't actually steal the show. Sure, some might say it adds a liiiiittle touch of earthiness, but consider it a way to connect to your food and to nature. We could all do that a little more anyways.
The wonderful thing about the compounds in beets such as nitrates, betalains, and betain have been studied for their positive effects on cognition, oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, cardiovascular health (hypertension + atherosclerosis) and even athletic performance.
Valentine's and heart-health? Sounds like a match made in heaven.
ii. cocoa powder
What is red velvet anyways? Kinda-chocolate-y-kinda-vanilla-y.
Well, considering the health upgrades I've made to the classic recipes out there (full of margarine, milk, eggs, sugar, food dye) the cocoa powder holds that classic red velvet taste.
iii. cashew "cream cheese" frosting
Most 'vegan' cream cheese icing recipes called for vegan butter, but when I looked up store-bought vegan butter to make life easier, I wasn't a fan of the ingredients...so I made my own from scratch. AND THEN: when I went to look up the ingredients of store-bought vegan cream cheese, I wasn't a fan of the ingredients...so I made my own from scratch. So lemme tell ya, this icing was, hands down, made for people who truly care about the ingredients they eat - and don't eat.
SOURCING OF THE GOODS
Like I said many times over, I want you to trust what you're eating, therefore I also need to trust the ingredients I choose - which is why I've sourced my goods from local organic farmers at the market, or local waste-free groceries including Full Circle Foods or Zero Waste Bulk. So far, 100% of the dollars I've spent on ingredients has supported small local farmers or businesses in the Waterloo Region, and the only waste produced thus far was the single can of coconut milk to be recycled.
If the opportunity is there to support local and to go waste-free, I'll take it.
SELF-LOVE or SHARE THE LOVE?
Remember when you used to spend precious time creating your Valentine mail-slot out of shoe boxes or tissue boxes, pick out the perfect cards for your classmates and write extra personal messages to your besties and then have a fun little Valentine's themed classroom party? Remember when Valentine's Day was for everyone; your friends and your crushes? Well, I want to do the 'adult' version. Choose to purchase for yourself (self-love) or order as a Valentine for a friend, co-worker or romantic partner (share the love). Add your details in the order form, including any creative arrangements you'd like to make for your "Valentine."
Happy almost February! Find the good. Share some (local) love.