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Easter is coming up fast - can you believe it’s next week?  I’m sure many of you are wondering how you’re going to manage a time that is so centered around sweet treats! How can you still use your cultures and new habits when the kids want chocolate? I’ve put together some ideas and information that I’m going to be applying to my Easter holiday time.

I have been playing around with using a peppermint essential oil to add to my Easter chocolates. I’ve been making them for the kids and they taste amazing!

You’re going to need:

  • 1/2 cup of raw cocoa butter or buttons
  • 1/2 cup of raw cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil
  • 2 drops of pure peppermint essential oil (be sure not to use the regular store-bought peppermint oil as it has alcohol and all sorts of nasty’s in it)
  • 2 drops of liquid stevia

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan melt the raw cocoa butter gently stirring until smooth.
  2. Add the coconut oil and stir until melted.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the cocoa powder, peppermint and stevia.
  4. Combine until all the ingredients are smooth.
  5. Pour into chocolate moulds (I prefer non-toxic moulds made of silicone) and freeze.
  6. Remove your chocolates and enjoy!

NOTE: Raw homemade chocolate melts differently when compared to store-bought chocolate, so be sure to keep it in the freezer and watch out for drips when you are eating.

This week I’m going to play around with wrapping each one to get ready for our traditional Easter egg hunt that we have when we are away camping with friends.



HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Are you going away and worried about how to travel with cultures?

Or how you’ll cope without using cultures at all during the time? Don’t worry! You can still get outdoors and enjoy a great camping trip, like I’m going to, with some of your great new foods in tow. It’s all about planning and preparation.

Here are some tips on how to prepare for your getaway:

  • Tip 1: Freeze your yoghurts in pre-prepared little pots. This way they’ll last for a long time in your cooler box or esky.

  • Tip 2: Make a extra large batch of kefir before you leave and take it with you. That way you won’t have to ferment while you are away. I put my kefir in flip top one-litre jars which fit in the esky and are easy to pour from. I also wrap them in a towel to keep them from breaking when you are travelling. 

  • Tip 3: Fermented vegetables are easy to transport and are also great snacks for when you are away.

Interesting Fact:

Did you know that the purest cocoa goes through a fermentation process? Once again, this is why I love fermented foods!!

The coating on raw cocoa is both sweet and tart. This coating provides a food source for the cocoa bean when germinating. It also provides the sugar needed as the basis for the fermentation process that each bean will undergo.

The beans are removed from the pods and placed all together for fermenting in one or more “sweatboxes”, aka the cocoa fermenting boxes. The sweatboxes used for cocoa fermentation may be at the cocoa plantation or other local farms where they combine with more beans during and after fermentation. It is important that this process happens as quickly as possible, the beans begin to germinate as soon as the fruit has been picked. If the germination process progresses too far, the beans will turn bitter, and this cannot be removed during further processing.

As with most fermentation, cocoa fermentation begins almost immediately when exposed to air. Spores from naturally occurring yeasts (Saccharomyces) rest on the sugary beans and begin splitting the sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The alcohol is further split into acetic acid by the same bacteria responsible for turning wine into vinegar, the Mycoderma acetic. The chocolate maker must later remove the acetic acid that is generated through cocoa fermentation. Fascinating!

Raw cocoa has another amazing benefit. It feeds our gut bacteria and helps them grow. The polyphenols in cocoa specifically feed the Bifidobacterium strains that are responsible for a healthy immune system and breaking down plant fibre.

So, relax and have fun on your Easter break with your family! You can still enjoy some of those tasty treats and be confident that your family is getting some natural goodness in their bodies.

I would love to hear about your Easter getaway and how your travels went with some of your amazing food creations. Let me know if you tested out the chocolate recipe or got creative on your own.

Happy Easter everyone!

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