How about a little Monday morning pick-me-up and a sweet giveaway?
Starting with a handful of my very favorite ingredients.
Besides being downright delicious, especially when combined together, these ingredients are all very easy to find Fair Trade certified. What is Fair Trade exactly? I’m so glad you asked.
“Fair Trade USA enables sustainable development and community empowerment by cultivating a more equitable global trade model that benefits farmers, workers, consumers, industry and the earth. We achieve our mission by certifying and promoting Fair Trade products.” – fairtradeusa.org
October just so happens to be Fair Trade month and the team at Fair Trade USA asked if I would like to join them in helping spread the word about what they do. I’ve been a Fair Trade follower for years now and have so much belief in their mission and values, so I was more than thrilled to participate.
Part of their mission this October is talking about specific farmers and communities and how they’re being changed by the Fair Trade organization. I was connected with a coffee and cocoa farmer from Peru who is part of CEPICAFE [Central Piurana de Cafetaleros], which is made up of 90 small-scale cooperatives who farm and sell coffee. After becoming Fair Trade certified in 1996, this association has been able to sell their coffee for fair prices, earning wages they can live and grown on.
From Juan Francisco Calle, age 64: "We are currently doing very well here. It was tough before, but we have come a long way since we became organized. Everyday there are more of us who join the co-op. When a community unites it always moves forward."
It’s pretty amazing at what Fair Trade USA has been able to do for so many communities, farmers, workers, families, and the environment.
Did you know Fair Trade certified foods are also always Non-GMO!?
For this recipe I wanted to highlight the two goods that Juan farms: coffee + cocoa
But I also wanted to incorporate as many other Fair Trade ingredients as possible. Some were generously sent to me from Fair Trade USA and some were purchased on my own, like the vanilla beans and sugar.
It seemed only natural to incorporate these ingredients into a cozy fall drink. I’m not typically one to sweeten my coffee, but the occasional lightly sweetened latte is a nice treat.
I made a simple syrup—which really is so simple to make!—infused with vanilla beans and cinnamon. I toned down the sweetness slightly from the typical 1:1 ratio to a 4:3 ratio of water : sugar. If you want the vanilla to come through more than you may want to leave the cinnamon out. It’s not overpowering but does cover up a bit of the vanilla flavor. And don’t skimp on the beans! You definitely want to use two whole vanilla beans.
And that foam on top? All you need is a whisk and a small pot. No fancy frother needed!
Do you see the vanilla bean flecks?? Of course you do.
And those cookies on the side? They’re Gluten-free Mandel Bread which I’ve been eating breaks of every dang time I walk into the kitchen. Dip them in this latte and…ugh…too good.
Hello there homemade latte that cost about 25 cents to make at home with no artificial ingredients lingering inside. You are so lovely.
And for the non-coffee lovers out there, I made you vanilla bean cinnamon infused hot cocoa!
I basically guzzled this entire mug even on our unseasonable 75° day. So dang good.
Vanilla Bean Cinnamon Lattes + Hot Cocoa gluten-free, vegan
*denotes Fair Trade ingredients
vanilla bean cinnamon simple syrup: appx. 8oz/1cup simple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup pure cane sugar*
- 2 vanilla beans*, scraped of seeds [~1/4tsp] keep pods
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
Place water, sugar, scraped vanilla beans, and both vanilla bean pods in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a low boil, stirring frequently with a whisk. Once boiling, immediately lower the heat to a slight simmer while constantly stirring for about 5 minutes. All of the sugar should be dissolved.
Move to a cool burner and let sit for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and place in a jar. Add the cinnamon and whisk to combine. Place the vanilla beans in the jar and let cool to room temperature before sealing with a lid and placing in the fridge.
Keep in the fridge for about 3 weeks. Use in coffee, hot cocoa, drizzled on plain yogurt, etc.
vanilla bean cinnamon lattes: yields 2 servings
- 2 cups/16oz strongly brewed coffee*, or 2-3 shots espresso
- 1 - 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk, soymilk or whole milk
- simple syrup to taste
While coffee is brewing, place milk in a small pot over medium heat. Stir frequently until it starts to simmer then reduce heat to med-low, add in desired amount of simple syrup [start with 1 tablespoon], and briskly whisk to create foam. Pour the coffee into mugs, pour in the vanilla sweetened milk, and then spoon the froth on top. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.
*Espresso is traditionally used in lattes but it’s something I don’t typically have on hand. I brewed the coffee a bit stronger and used 8oz in each mug. Worked perfectly.
vanilla bean cinnamon hot cocoa: yields 2 servings
- 3 cups unsweetened almond milk, soymilk or whole milk
- 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder*
- simple syrup to taste
Heat milk in a small pot over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder [I used a scant 2 tablespoons] and whisk to combine. Add in desired amount of simple syrup [start with 1 tablespoon] and continue to whisk until hot. Taste and add more cocoa/syrup if desired. Pour into mugs and top with chocolate shavings or cinnamon if desired.
This giveaway is hosted by Fair Trade USA who generously sent me the exact package of goods you see above as a thank-you for helping spread the word about Fair Trade. But really, I feel like I should be the one thanking them for the impact they’ve had across the globe. Truly remarkable.
For the giveaway:
- 1 winner [open to US only!] will receive a package with all of the goodies you see above. *Teafu + teapot not included. This is a seriously amazing package with some of my favorite products and ingredients ever.
- Leave a comment below telling me your favorite Fair Trade ingredient or product, or why you like supporting Fair Trade. If you’re new to Fair Trade, tell me something you are excited to have learned on their site or in this post.
- October 10th, 5pm EST
Trust me, you do not want to miss this giveaway!