Valentines Outside the Box - 4 Alternative Ways To Celebrate

Valentines Outside the Box - 4 Alternative Ways To Celebrate

January 26, 2016

Heart-Shaped Box of Chocolates with Article Title
4 Alternative Ways To Celebrate Valentines Day

We love the concept of Valentines Day. A day dedicated to showing someone special how much you care about them. In recent years however, the true purpose of Valentines day has become overshadowed by commercialization. Instead of rekindling the bonds that united us, we are distracted by overpriced roses and long wait times at restaurants. For those of you who share in our plight, here are 4 alternatives to the cliché Valentines day traditions.

1. Learn Together
Glass Forge

Image: Finishing A Vase - The Glass Forge

A relationship is composed of the memories that created it, so why not celebrate by creating another memory together. While it may require a little more effort to arrange than going out to The Cheesecake Factory, we guarantee it will be well worth the effort.

Here in Southern Oregon, we have a broad assortment of artisans and skilled craftsman that love to share their trade. One of our favorites is The Glass Forge who offer classes where you learn to blow your own glass ornament or bowl. With a little searching, you can find a local artisan near you that will be able to help you and your significant other create a new memory.

If you don’t know where to start, a stop at your local tourism board or chamber of commerce should produce a good list of options. If you live in a bigger city, you might check Groupon for deals offered by someone just getting started. Here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing

  • Painting - oil or watercolor depending on your preference
  • Pottery (if you can’t find anyone local, Color Me Mine might have a location near you.)
  • Photography - photo scavenger hunts usually make for a good time
  • Woodworking - learn to carve, inlay, or just take a tour.
  • Glass blowers - an art that traces it’s origin back to Venice, Italy. Combine it with a scoop of gelato for the perfect Italian night out.

2. Explore
Delicate Arch At Night

Image: Delicate Arch At Night - Flickr - Arches National Park

We can think of no better way to escape the typical Valentines Day shenanigans than to hike away from them. So bundle up, pick up some headlights (here is one of my favorites Black Diamond Storm) and head into the hills. There is something liberating about exploring the outdoors. Nature served as the inspiration for the works of Thoreau and prompted the naturalist John Muir to say “In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” Surrounded by fresh air and freed from distraction, you might find yourselves saying we should do this again.

Heading into the hills might not be the most enticing option for those who don’t live in the more temperate climes of Southern Oregon, so we’ll suggest some alternate adventures below.

First, take a look at Things To Do for your area on Trip Advisor. You might find some good hikes, skiing & snowshoeing, or a unique attraction like The Safe House in Milwaukee. Pick something you’ve never done and go explore.

3. Serve
Serving Others

Image: Boston's Community Service Day - Flickr - Digitas Photos

Last but not least, lending a helping hand to those in need has a unique ability to bring people together. Whether you join a mission trip to those in need or volunteer at a local food bank, you will find that your own problems melt away while you serve others.

There are great options to serve no matter where you are and often you don’t have to go very far to find them. We recommend JustServe.org as a starting point to find a service opportunity near you. You can also check in with you local hospital, food bank, or homeless shelter for other opportunities.

4. Chocolate

Let’s face it, we love chocolate, even if it is cliché for Valentines Day. We love chocolate so much, that last year alone, the average American consumed 9.5 pounds of chocolate. 1 What we don’t love are muffin tops and thunder thighs.

Unfortunately, years ago, some diet diva decided that chocolate was the enemy to a trim figure. The problem is not the chocolate itself (pure chocolate is actually very good for you) but the additives and fillers that now account for majority of what you consume in a bite of “chocolate”. The magic of “Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand” consists of waxes or gums, refined sugars, palm oil and other fillers that change chocolate from a healthy snack to a diet killer.


M&M’s Nutrition Facts Label Listing Sugar as the #1 Ingredient. Notice the other artificial ingredients including flavors, colors, gum, lactose and soy.

So we suggest you leave that heart shaped box of Russell Stover's “chocolate” at the store and seek out something that will actually qualify as chocolate. Warning, shameless plug: May we suggest one of our Raw Chocolate Truffle Samplers. Sure, our chocolate costs more but our handcrafted chocolates are made from scratch without any artificial additives. We uphold raw food values and as such, the antioxidants and micronutrients contained in our chocolate have not been degraded by the processing heat used by other chocolate manufacturers. end shameless plug

We’d love to hear your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.


  1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2015/07/22/the-worlds-biggest-chocolate-consumers-infographic/#47906a5e12b8



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Ingredients

Ingredients

Chocolate Truffles, Bars, Discs, Chips, etc...

Chocolate Truffles

All-Natural, Raw Ingredients

Raw cacao, cashews, coconut sugar crystals*, coconut nectar, agave nectar, coconut oil, carob powder, sunflower lecithin,
 vanilla bean and extract*, Himalayan crystal salt – organic extracts and therapeutic grade essential oils. 

*Heated above 118°
Contains: Cashews and may contain other tree nuts depending on flavor.

Additional Chocolate Truffle Ingredients - Depending on Flavor

Rose petals, orange peel, almonds, matcha tea, mint leaves, chili peppers, sprouted buckwheat, beet, maca, roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root, roasted carob, ramon nuts, sprouted brown rice protein powder, Sunwarrior protein powder, lime, mulberries, lucuma, mesquite, Jerusalem artichoke powder, passion fruit powder, raspberry, golden berries, coconut milk powder, cherries.

Dark Chocolate Truffle Balls

Raw cacao, cashews, coconut sugar crystals*, coconut nectar, agave nectar, coconut oil, carob powder, sunflower lecithin,
 vanilla bean and extract*, Himalayan crystal salt – organic extracts and therapeutic grade essential oils. 

*Heated above 118°
Contains: Cashews and may contain other tree nuts depending on flavor.

Toppings: cacao nibs, toasted coconut flakes, coconut flakes, pumpkin pie spice, almonds, GF pretzels, freeze dried raspberries, Kinnikinnick brand graham crackers, natural sprinkles, toasted pistachios

Chocolate Discs, Chocolate Chips & Chocolate bars

Original Bar 65-70%

org. raw cacao, org. raw coconut sugar; org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin

Ninja Chocolate

org. raw cacao, org. cane sugar, org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin 

Candy Cane Chocolate Bar

org. raw cacao, org. raw coconut sugar; Trujoy organic vegan candy cane, org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin

Maple Sweetened Bar

org. raw cacao, org. maple sugar; org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin

Turtle Bar

org. raw cacao, org. raw coconut sugar; org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin; Glutino brand pretzels; Pecans; Flake Sea Salt;  caramel sauce: org cashews*, org coconut nectar*, org cacao butter*, org coconut oil*, org yacon syrup, org vanilla extract, filtered water, Himalayan salt, sunflower lecithin

 

White Chocolate Lollipops: NOT vegan:

org cacao butter, org cane sugar, org whole milk powder, vanilla bean, Himalayan salt, sunflower lecithin

Dark Chocolate Lollipops

org. raw cacao, org. raw coconut sugar; org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin

Other Misc Items:

Macaroons: 

Vanilla: org shredded coconut, org coconut nectar,  org agave, org coconut flour, org coconut oil, org vanilla flavor, Himalayan salt

Chocolate:  org shredded coconut, org coconut nectar, org maple syrup, org raw cacao powder, org coconut oil, org vanilla flavor, Himalayan salt

Carawmel Sauce:

org cashews*, org coconut nectar, org cacao butter*, org coconut oil*, org yacon syrup, org vanilla extract, filtered water, Himalayan salt, sunflower lecithin

*Raw

Chocolate Frawsting:

Taquilana Blue Agave*, org Arriba cacao powder*, org coconut oil*, org vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt, 

Chocolate Syrup:

org. raw Taquilana Blue Agave*, org raw Arriba cacao powder*, org raw coconut oil*, filtered water, org vanilla extract, Himalayan crystal salt, 

Dipped Marshmallows:

Dandies vegan marshmallows; org. raw cacao, org. raw coconut sugar; org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin

additional ingredients depending on flavor: TruJoy organic candy canes; org.  toasted coconut, org. raw coconut flakes; org. raw cacao nibs; Glutino Pretzels

dipped spoons:

org. raw cacao, org. raw coconut sugar; org. sun dried vanilla bean; Himalayan crystal salt, sunflower lecithin

 

Some of Our Healthy Ingredients

Irish Moss: What Gelatin is to “Jell-O”, Raw Irish Moss is to Pudding, Cream Pie, Meringue, Whipped Cream and other raw desserts. Raw Irish Moss is an excellent source of minerals. This almost-tasteless seaweed is loaded with life-enhancing nutrients such as sulfur compounds, protein, iodine, bromine, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, pectin, B-vitamins and vitamin C. It most definitely is a super food.

Agave Nectar: Agave Nectar is a wonderful low glycemic sweetener. It is extracted from the Agave Cactus and is available as a raw, organic, close-to-nature alternative to refined sugars. We purchase our supplies from ethical companies who have a personal relationship with their manufacturers to ensure our product is raw & produced using first rate organic farming and harvesting methods. Agave has a glycemic index of 30-35.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil consists of over 90% raw saturated fat, which is an important building block for every cell in the human body. Unlike long-chain saturated animal fats (that have been associated with creating poor health), Coconut Oil contains healthy, healing, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs support the immune system, the thyroid gland, the nervous system, the skin, and provide fast energy. The MCTs in Coconut Oil help increase metabolism and therefore help with weight loss. It is rich in lauric acid, which is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiparasitical, and antiviral. Close to two-thirds of its saturated fat is made up of medium-chain fatty acids, which are actually health promoting and they are antimicrobial, easily digested for quick energy, and beneficial to the immune system. Most commercial coconut oils are refined, bleached, and deodorized, and some are even hydrogenated.

Coconut Nectar: When the coconut tree is tapped, it produces a naturally sweet nutrient-rich “sap” that exudes from the coconut blossoms. This sap is very low glycemic and contains 17 amino acids, minerals, vitamin C, broad-spectrum B vitamins, and has a nearly neutral pH. It is raw and enzymatically active.

Coconut Palm Sugar Crystals: Although not raw this sugar has a nutritional content far richer than all other commercially available sweeteners. It is especially high in Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iron and is a natural source of the vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. Along with being low glycemic (35) it’s also very rich in other minerals and enzymes which aid in the slow absorption into the bloodstream.

Cacao Butter and Powder: We use a combination of Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, and Bali Cacao products for all of our chocolate desserts. Raw Cacao is the highest known antioxidant food in the world according to its ORAC score (95,500-powder; 62,100-nibs). Much higher even than regular roasted dark chocolate (26,000-powder; 13,120-dark chocolate) and blueberries (2,400). We only use cacao from manufacturers who protect the rights of small farmers and do not use slave labor.

Almonds and Cashews: What may be surprising to many is that even though almonds and cashews are labeled “Raw” they are not. The word “Raw” is allowed to be stated in almonds and cashews but it only means they are unroasted. Misleading? Yes. We only purchase almonds & cashews that are truly raw. This of course costs more but the end product is so much more healthy and flavorful. Our almonds and cashews are not steamed or gas pasteurized thus retaining the nutrients and enzymes that were intended to remain in the original product.

Vanilla Beans & powder: Our raw vanilla beans are sun-dried, naturally cured, not processed with alcohol, artificial heat or chemicals. Our vanilla powder is made from pure ground vanilla beans only. No alcohol used. No irradiation! Just naturally sun dried vanilla beans. The aroma and taste is out of this world!

Himalayan Crystal Salt:  100% Pure - Contains 84 "natural" elements needed by the body. This salt's unique structure also stores vibrational energy. Himalayan Crystal Salt is a wholesome, unprocessed natural salt that brings out the wonderful flavor of our raw foods.

Essential Oils & Extracts: We proudly use products from Medicine Flower and other top quality organic suppliers. Medicine Flower extracts are considered raw and are some of the best we’ve found anywhere. The flavors are out of this world.  

Natural Colorants:   All of our colors come from the plant world. That means that at no time will we use any artificial colorings. I mean, who would want to, with all the wonderful abundant natural choices out there?

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

The "Naughty List"

You'll never find these ingredients in our foods

 

Frozen & Refrigerated Desserts  (temporarily unavailable)

Chocolate Mousse Pie:

Hazelnuts, Almonds, Macadamia Nuts, Dates, Filtered Water, Coconut Nectar, Young Thai Coconut, Coconut Oil, Cacao Powder, Irish Moss, Agave Nectar, Lemon Juice, Sunflower Lecithin*, Vanilla Beans,  Himalayan Crystal Salt 
*heated above 118º, all organic & natural ingredients

Fudge Brownie:

Walnuts, almonds, maple syrup*, water, cacao powder, agave nectar, coconut flour, coconut nectar, coconut oil, coconut sugar, cacao butter, vanilla bean & extract*, Himalayan crystal salt - all organic & natural ingredients
*Heated above 118º

Tiramisu:

Almonds, Dates, Water, Cashews, Coconut,  Agave Nectar, Cacao Powder,  Irish Moss, Hazelnuts, Teeccino® (herbal caffeine free coffee substitute)*, Sunflower Lecithin*, Vanilla Beans, Coffee Extract, Himalayan Crystal Salt
*Heated above 118º

Moonie Pie:

Vanilla: Walnuts*, Truly Raw Cashews*, Almonds*, Dates*, Filtered Water, Coconut Flesh*, Coconut Nectar*, Agave Nectar*, Cacao Powder*, Coconut Oil*, Coconut Sugar, Coconut Flour*, Sunflower Lecithin,  Vanilla Bean*, Himalayan Crystal Salt*
*Raw

Mint: Walnuts*, Truly Raw Cashews*, Almonds*, Dates*, Filtered Water, Coconut Flesh*, Coconut Nectar*, Agave Nectar*, Cacao Butter*, Cacao Powder*, Coconut Oil*, Coconut Sugar, Coconut Flour*, Agave Powder*, Vitamineral™ Green, Sunflower Lecithin, Vanilla Bean*, Mint Extract*,  Himalayan Crystal Salt*
*Raw