conscious cocoa mix



free christmas printable gift for hostess or teacher, hot cocoa


Are you in full holiday scramble mode like I am?! I hate being stuck without a hostess gift or teacher gift ready to go and we decided to do it again this year, cute mugs filled with conscious hot cocoa mix.

What makes it conscious? Including fair trade organic cocoa and organic turbinado sugar. I think a lot of people don’t know where their sugar or cocoa come from, so I have thought if it for them. Now isn’t that a great and thoughtful gift?!
I have included the printable for you to use as you wish, share the joy of conscious food with your friends. I have purposely left the word “vegan” off of the printable, my goal is simply to get people to think about where their food comes from, not cram vegan ideals down their throat. That being said, if people think about where their food comes from, it may lead them to a different point of view and that is wonderful!!

To make the mix:

combine 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/4 cup sugar and dash of salt
*I simply poured each ingredient into a bag and tied it with a ribbon.

combine mix with 1/3 cup water and stir over low heat until dissolved. add 3 cups milk and heat over medium heat until hot but not boiling. serves-4

I hope that this last minute tip, idea and printable will help you this week! Happy Holidays!!!

and HERE is your free printable.

free christmas printable for conscious hot cocoa


workout wear from pvBody

I am not a gym person, never have been. But I do work out a lot, 5-6 days a week every week. Yoga, running and strength training keep me busy and fit and staying motivated can be a challenge. One thing that always gets me going is some new gear. New running shoes, a cute headband or shorts suddenly make working out fun again. I can’t wait to get moving when I have new gear! Then there is the downside of rummaging through the racks at store after store trying to find something that fits my needs, style and budget. I seriously do NOT have time for that.

When I heard about pvBody, I was totally excited. I take a quiz and they pick out an outfit that fits me needs and style then send it to me for under fifty bucks! Now that is just what I need to stay motivated and stylish within my budget. My quiz results were “Wellness Warrior”, totally how I would want to be described.
The big question is, will they get it right? Will they really be able to pick out something that I will like? I am kinda picky, so I was also nervous to see exactly what they picked out for me.
One day, this adorable pink package arrived with my name on it. It’s from pvBody- yeah! I nervously open my package, unfold the tissue paper and….
It’s perfect! The 15 love shirt is just what I would have picked out! I wear mostly gray and black, this shirt is gray and black and so soft, I will be wearing for more than working out. I also got cute black leggings from american apparel, another one of my favorite bands due to their views on social responsibility and quality.

The truth is, I loved the idea so much that I instantly signed up with the program so that I will get a new outfit every month. If I need to, I can easily pause the shipments too.
I think you will love it too, and just to prove it, here is a special offer from them:
Signing up for pvBody gets you a $15 Lululemon gift card, plus 25% off your first month subscription.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy: pvBody is easy. Take the quiz, sign up and boom, an awesome package arrives at your door each month with a hand picked outfit for you!

Every outfit is styled just for you by a pvBody expert. Each month you receive an outfit worth $150, but you pay just $49.95. You’re getting great, quality pieces for a fraction of the retail cost thanks to the relationships pvBody has built.

pvBody is not just another clothing company, but a lifestyle brand. Their blog is a great place to check out tips and tricks for healthy, delicious meals and at home workouts.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of pv.body. The opinions and text are all mine.

old fashioned peppermint fudge

old fashioned vegan christmas fudge ~ sunny vegan


I don’t really eat a lot of sweets, and I don’t normally allow the girls to have them either. There are exceptions, like the Holidays, when I do allow some leeway for something like this old fashioned peppermint fudge. When I decide to have something sweet, it had better be worth it and this fudge is TOTALLY worth it.

Starting with turbinado sugar, fair trade cocoa and vegan milk ( just like we did for the best hot cocoa) ensures a delicious and tasty treat. While I recommend using a candy thermometer, I don’t have one and managed just fine. I have been meaning to get one and it’s on my Christmas list, so I have to see if there is a sparkling thermometer under the tree for me next week.
Most of my recipes are completely original, but this one is based on Hershey’s Kitchen rich cocoa fudge recipe.  Not only is the Hershey version not vegan, it doesn’t address the issue of Fair Trade cocoa which is very important to me. How can I serve my kids a treat knowing that child labor and unfair wages are involved? It’s easy to find the fair trade symbol in the stores, you can read more about it here.

I did cut these into 36 squares, pretty for the photos, but this is so rich, half a square is plenty.



3 cups turbinado suger
2/3 cup fair trade cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegan milk – I used non gmo soy
1/4 cup Earth Balance – I used the buttery sticks
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1/4 cup crushed vegan candy canes


combine sugar, cocoa and salt in heavy 4-quart saucepan, stir in milk. cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to full rolling boil. next, boil without stirring, until mixture reaches 234°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water, forms a soft ball which flattens when removed from water. *bulb of candy thermometer should not rest on bottom of saucepan    remove from heat, add earth balance and vanilla. DO NOT STIR. cool at room temperature to 110°F (lukewarm). beat with wooden spoon until fudge thickens and just begins to lose some of its gloss. Quickly spread into prepared pan and sprinkle with crushed candy canes; cool just until set then cut into squares. store in tightly covered container at room temperature. makes about 36 pieces or 1-3/4 pounds.


the best vegan hot chocolate, with Torani!

easy vegan hot chocolate recipe for the holidays with peppermint


Now I know a lot of people who use packets of “hot chocolate”, but once you you see how easy it is to make it from scratch you’ll ditch the packets for good, I promise!

The best taste comes from the best ingredients, which only you can control when you make it yourself. If you have a packet of hot chocolate at home, take a look at the ingredients and please post them in the comments below.
Now take a look at what we use: non gmo vegan milk, fair trade cocoa powder, organic vanilla and turbinado sugar.

I love when a product available in the mainstream world is vegan. Torani syrups actually have a LOT of vegan flavors like  Butterschotch, French Vanilla, Peppermint and Gingerbread but you can use their allergen chart to determine exactly which flavors are vegan. The flavors are so varied and delicious, I can’t wait to try more recipes with them for the spring and summer too.
Don’t forget, Torani Syrups are available at your local coffee shops and grocery stores across the country making it super easy to buy and use. You may flavor each cup of cocoa individually so that everyone can have a different kind. Super fun for the kids, and me!

Ingredients: 4 servings

4 cups vegan milk – we use soy or coconut
1/4 cup fair trade cocoa powder
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon Torani Suryp per serving, we used Peppermint.


warm milk in saucepan over low heat, gradually whisk in remaining ingredients. simmer 2 minutes, serve immediately.







About Torani:
Since 1925, 3rd generation family-owned Torani has been crafting great tasting flavored syrups that coffeehouses use to make their flavored drinks taste so delicious. With over 120 flavors in Regular and Sugar Free varieties, Torani flavored syrups are perfect for flavored lattes, mochas, coffees, cocoas, Italian sodas, teas, lemonades, cocktails and smoothies. Coffeehouse professionals choose Torani flavors because they are expertly crafted and made with the highest quality ingredients, like natural flavors and pure cane sugar. The Sugar Free flavors have no calories and are sweetened with Splenda. Now, Torani flavored syrups are widely available at retail so you can easily create authentic coffeehouse quality drinks at home.

This is a sponsored post by Torani and SheSpeaks, the thought are completely mine.  

April 15, 2013 - 3:21 pm

misskitty914 - Holy Grail of Cocoa:  i adore cocoa so much that i drink it year round, cold in the summer.  so when i became vegan i was distraught that every alternative milk i tried tasted terrible with cocoa.  think of it like painting walls with red paint – it seems like a dark color but in fact, it’s the sheerest and if you don’t use dark primer, it will never look right.  likewise, chocolate seems like an intense flavor but it is easily overwhelmed by anything other than cow’s milk, often leaving behind an aftertaste of rope (despite so many recommendations of adding cinnamon/cayenne) or too watery.

finally, in desperation, i tried the very last alternative milk on the market, Pacific Brand’s non-dairy OAT milk.  cocoa nirvana at last:  it’s creamy enough, doesn’t compete with the taste of cocoa and leaves no aftertaste.  i sweeten mine with a PINCH of organic stevia (man, that stuff is potent!).  NOW try all those vegan cocoa/hot chocolate recipes!

if you just adore soy milk or some other variety, add all the cocoa to it that you want.  but if what you want is the pure, unadulterated cocoa/hot chocolate, Oat Milk is your ticket to enjoying a true cup of cocoa sans dairy.

southwestern black bean soup


vegan tomato black bean soup with corn

Wow- things have been crazy busy. So busy that I haven’t had time to cook anything which makes me quite cranky, well enough is enough. I had to create something and fast, so a southwestern black bean soup with corn was born. As you may have noticed, I like to keep my food simple and full of fresh flavors. The key here is to use fresh limes and cilantro for a soup that is way beyond what the canned versions give you.

This was a really surprise hit last night. I expected my husband and I to like it, but both girls loved it too! The great thing about soups is that if you simply add a salad or sandwich, you have a complete meal. It’s also easy and keeps well so everyone can eat when they want to. We needed this convenience with homework, soccer practice and kid showers. I was able to throw everything into the pan and eat when we all made it to the table, perfect for a busy hungry family.

Do you have a favorite kind of soup?


1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic- minced
1 14 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
2 14 ounce cans organic black beans- rinsed and drained
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup cilantro – roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup frozen corn
1 teaspoon chili powder          * reduce or omit if serving to children
salt – to taste
pepper – to taste

optional- tofutti sour supreme, lime wedges, additional cilantro, hot sauce


in large pan, heat olive oil over medium low heat. add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, add remaining ingredients and simmer 20-30 minutes.

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