Category: Fair Trade


How to make vegan chocolates with Christmas foil colors.

Wrap your own chocolates in recycled candy foil instead of throwing it away!

This was the most fun I’ve ever had in a kitchen, and really quick too.  You could choose to melt your own block or bar of vegan chocolate, or use shaped vegan or close to vegan dark chocolates that already come in shapes.  I’ve done both, but I don’t yet own any holiday-themed candy molds.  So I used Divine dark chocolate Christmas trees, and had my husband Ryan eat some Hershey kisses wrapped in colorful holiday foil.  We saved the wrappers from the kisses, brushed off any chocolate crumbs inside the wrappers, flattened them a bit, and then I used them to wrap these little Christmas trees!

Hint: after you wrap your shaped chocolates, use your fingernail to press into any grooves or designs on the chocolates, so they look less like blobs and more like the shape they’re supposed to be.

Check out these recipes for planet-friendly treats!

The latest issue of The Free Weekly is out today, and Making Ripplesis all about baking and goodies that aren’t secretly baddies. Here are some recipes from Ripples to help you get started eating green and baking with organic, fair trade ingredients:

Try baking Solar Cookies with the recipe of your choice!  Here’s a how-to video from YouTube.

Want soup? Go vegan and try out this Vegan Cheddar Baked Potato Soup. Warm and comforting!

I love pancakes, and this recipe from Ripples is great for putting autumn flavor into your breakfast: Gluten-Free Vegan Pumpkin Spice Pancakes with Apple Butter

Just for fun, our friend Chris and his students from Colombia want to teach you how to make gluten-free Peanut Butter Cookies with your host, Piggy. :)

Fall into the day with the perfect pancake breakfast!

Ryan & I just discovered the solution to a vegan’s longing for holiday milk flavors: it’s called So Delicious Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk (no, it doesn’t taste like coconuts – they mean “coconut milk” like “almond milk” or “cow’s milk” which doesn’t taste like cows, of course!) When combined with our pancake recipe, adapted for the vegan and gluten-free diet, and topped with Bekemeier’s Caramel Apple Butter, this breakfast is perfect for autumn. I ate the last of the pancakes this morning while basking below a sunlit sky sprinkled with falling golden leaves. This made my morning tai chi session very tasty :) Ripples shares recipes with ya’ll whenever they represent a sustainable, fair trade, or unique experience we’ve had on our journey off-grid. Whether it’s growing cilantro or devouring these pancakes, we want to share what we’ve created and learned. Enjoy! View full article »

On Ripples’ developing homestead, we’re trying to consume less sugar.

Even though we’re not giving up sugar for good yet (after all, I do have a home baking business!) we’re open to sugar substitutes and only want to buy fair trade or organic products.  Several of my friends from various states in the US have already given up sugar either completely or severely restricting it in their diets.  Such positive peer pressure is making me eat even less sugar than before, which was already low compared to the average American. View full article »

The Fayetteville Farmers Market offers unique wooden cutting boards.

Bamboo tea strainer next to chai tea mix and great northern white beans.

To get the gluten completely gone from our kitchen, we had to address common sources of cross-contamination, such as the pasta strainer and cutting board.  We gave  our old (still rather new) cutting boards to friends, and at Saturday’s market I bought a new one for $40.  Purchasing a cutting board like this not only keeps my gut healthier by eliminating any potential gluten, it also takes us one step closer to the off-grid homestead by supporting a local family, and envisioning the type of kitchen we want to build (natural materials). I also bought a bamboo tea strainer a little while back from Ozark Natural Foods, and am really happy that I don’t need to worry about rust which ruined my last tea strainer (admittedly due to not cleaning it properly). Here’s a picture of the bamboo strainer, fun to use and easy to dry! View full article »

The dress in my dreams finally manifested into my reality.

For two years, I’ve been having this dream about walking barefoot through the yard of our homestead towards the mailbox to check the mail, along a row of bamboo blowing in the breeze.  100% of the time, I’m wearing a dress.  You know, the kind of Hippie, artsy and slightly exotic sundress that half the women at the Farmer’s Markets usually wear? View full article »

Come check out an excellent festival on healthy local food!

Ripples will have a table all day Saturday, March 3rd, at the UA Global Campus Center on the downtown square.  You’ll have the opportunity to attend movie showings, classes, a seed swap, and of course, sample food donated from several local restaurants.  To learn more, click here and check out the Dig In! festival schedule and details.  The reception and movie showings begin Friday night.

Get a Coupon!

On Saturday, if you stop by Ripples’ table you’ll get a $1 off coupon for your next sustainable cookie order! Hope to see everyone there!  But if I’m not at the table, it’s likely because I’m attending the classes on Beginner Gardening & Composting, Good Bugs Bad Bugs, Basic Canning and No-Till Farming.  There’s a lot to see and learn, so come check it out!

A delicious way to make a difference on Valentine’s Day!

Ripples now sells fair trade organic chocolates as well as cookies!  The chocolates come from high-quality dark chocolate bars bought at ONF, certified organic and fair trade.  They’re placed into handmade origami boxes, 4 chocolates per box, and come in a variety of shapes including hearts, bunnies, roosters and more!  You pick the shapes and can choose between a standard box or heart-shaped box (see pictures below).

There’s still time to place your order to be ready by Valentine’s Day!

Just call and leave a message at (931) 532-0639 or Email: AmandaBancroft@Gmail.com

Swirled design in cream cheese frosting!

Organic Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies!

Chocolate dipped cookies!

Melting chocolate

Origami Heart Box for your chocolates!

Imagine, greeting cards that come with a special tea bag inserted inside!

Wrapped tea bag is inserted into cup!

A long time ago, a very special art mentor of mine named Linda was teaching me all about watercolor painting.  As an amazing artist, she could reproduce china teacups with just a brush, water and paints.  At the time I was just stretching my artists’ wings, and did not yet realize that water color painting would soon go into that category of dreams where lives “figure skating, Disney animator, and flying with birds”.  I was really into it.  So I saved her cards, very special cards with tea bags inserted into the painting of the cup (see images).

This year, I began thinking about what kind of cards I want to sell along with the cookies in my social profit.

Watercolor Tea Card

I wanted the cards to be environmentally friendly, so I bought banana paper.  But there it sat on the shelf, without inspiration of the designs I wanted to do. Then it occurred to me: tea goes with cookies, why not make tea cards?  True, I cannot do masterfully painted watercolor teacups, but I can draw teacups and use recycled materials to make creative collages.

As a supporter of fair trade, I’m going to include (as a start) Irish Breakfast Black Tea, Fair Trade Certified, with each card.

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Scavenger hunts, snowman cookies, free coffee, and gifts galore!

Kelsy & I on the scavenger hunt.

One of the reasons I love Fayetteville is that I can hang out around town with the coolest people, some of whom I know, some who know me somehow, and others I’ve never met who quickly embrace what Ripples is all about and start sharing their journeys with me.

Over the weekend, I met various people who were living without a fridge, who made birdhouses from pottery, build a home from recycled grocery store freezers, who lived in a yurt, or off-grid, or who hauled their own water for 20 years.  There are impressively hard-working, resourceful and sustainable-minded  people here.  View full article »