“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” ~W.H. Murray
This quote has always inspired me. So many of us have dreams that we never act on, for various reasons – maybe when my kids get older, maybe if I had more money, maybe someday….
Well, I have always been on the opposite end of that. I am woefully unafraid to try new things, which sometimes works out and sometimes it doesn’t (and I mean REALLY doesn’t). But something feels pretty darn right about this Just Good Chocolate adventure we are on. We’ve certainly got the boldness part down, now waiting on the genius, power, and magic
Although we have been in business for almost a year and a half, as I sit here in our very own kitchen space it sure feels brand new and very much like the beginning. With room to move and grow and all of our operations in one place, we are ready to make all of our (and hopefully your) chocolate dreams come true.
In the next few months we will be taking boldness to a whole new level and getting everything we need to finally start making chocolate from the bean. What an adventure that will be, and we are hopeful that you will come along for the ride. We absolutely can’t wait to bring some incredibly delicious fair trade and organic handmade chocolate to the world, and do lots of good along the way!
Stay tuned for how you can get involved (and maybe even earn a spot on our inaugural taste tester committee)…
Happy Friday to you all and have a Just Good weekend!
When we came across the amazing cocoa powder that goes into our Mug O’ Love Hot Cocoa (and soon to be featured in our Better World Brownies), our first thought was to keep it to ourselves…this could be our secret ingredient that no one else seems to have caught onto yet! But then we figured that would be selfish, which is the opposite of our Be Just Good philosophy. So we decided to package it up pretty and offer it to you as Just Cocoa, so it can be your secret ingredient as well. You will surely be the superstar of all future bake sales!
Now let me tell you some of the things that make Just Cocoa so special. First and foremost, the flavor is incredible – intense, chocolaty, and complex. This is the good stuff, folks – the perfect addition to any chocolate themed treat as well as savory foods like chili, spice rubs, and sauces. We will soon be adding a recipe page to our website to give you some out of the box as well as more traditional ways to use cocoa in your cooking…stay tuned!
Just Cocoa is also fairly traded, meaning that the cocoa farmers are not only getting paid above market prices for their cocoa, but their cooperatives are using the premiums to better their communities, educate their children, and to continue sustainable farming practices. Fair trade offers them an empowered and secure way to lift themselves from poverty.
Above and beyond being fairly traded, the cocoa beans are processed into cocoa powder in Peru by a company called Machu Picchu Trading, who also work with the farmers offering zero interest loans, free tool lending, capacity building, educational programs, and more. You can read more about this here. While paying fair trade prices for cocoa is a great help to farming communities, the greatest good can be done by supporting the practice of actually processing the goods in the country of origin. This is as “Just” as you can get.
And lastly, Just Cocoa is made from organic cocoa beans. Not only is this better for you, but it is better for the farmers who don’t make themselves sick using toxic pesticides and fertilizers. And of course, it is better for the Earth. Organic cocoa grows best under a canopy of trees, among a diverse variety of other trees and plants, allowing the delicate ecosystem in equatorial regions where cocoa grows to remain intact for generations.
Just Cocoa is Just Good indeed! So give it a try, and let us know what you think!
Happy Fall All,
The changing season is bringing out beautiful color in Northern Michigan, and it is also bringing out that urge to bake and cook warm and decadent foods that help take the chill out of the air while bringing together friends and family in celebration of life and love.
We’ve been working hard and have a new product to share with you! Just Cocoa is a single origin baking cocoa that we are excited to add to the list of delicious and healthy Just Good Chocolate products.
From the finest cocoa beans grown in the lush forests of Peru, this premium cocoa powder will add intense and complex chocolate flavor to all of your favorite recipes, sweet and savory alike. And as always, our cocoa is ethically traded and organically grown, so you can add Just Goodness to all of your kitchen creations.
Recipes coming soon!
Next up: Better World Brownie Mix. Stay tuned!
Whoooeeee….it’s hot outside! Nothing like some Mug O’Love Hot Cocoa to cool you off. Now wait just a minute here, you might be thinking – hot cocoa in the Summer? No thank you.
Oh yes! Mug O’Love’s chocolatey goodness is not just for Winter anymore. We have come up with some super cool and refreshing ways to enjoy our delicious cocoa even on the most scorching of Summer afternoons.
It all begins the same way as the winter concoction – you must mix with hot milk in order for the sugar to dissolve. Then let it cool and proceed with your favorite of the following, or come up with some recipes of your own (you can even mix up a big batch to keep in the refrigerator to be used as needed):
- Cocoa cooler – just put over ice, simple and delicious as that. For a caffeinated twist, make some ice cubes from your favorite coffee and add to your cooler (see photo above) – delish!
- Iced Cocoa Joe – brew up some strong Fair Trade organic coffee and let it cool. Then mix in some cool Mug O’Love, pour over ice and enjoy!
- Chocolate Banana Smoothie – blend some plain organic yogurt with a ripe banana and Mug O’Love. YUM! You could blend some ice cubes with this to give it more of a milk-shake consistency.
- Cocoa Pops – pour your cooled Mug O’Love into some popsicle molds and freeze. These work best with whole milk, or maybe even a little cream or sweetened condensed milk, but any milk will work. You can even freeze the chocolate banana smoothie from above for a twist.
The possibilities are endless….so grab yourself a bag of Mug O’Love Hot Cocoa and make up a cool treat of your own. Have some ideas for other ways to make cool treats from your cocoa? Let us know and we’ll share it on our Facebook page!
Stay Cool, Just Good Friends!
~ Nichole and Drew
Well folks, the weather in Michigan never ceases to amaze us, and even as we had 80 degree temps a month ago, today…we have rain and snow
In honor of a cold snap in the Mitten state, we’re giving away 1 pouch (12 servings) of our scrumptious organic & fairly traded Mug O’ Love Hot Cocoa.
Do ALL of the following to have a chance to win:
1) “Like” us on Facebook (you may already have done this).
2) Share one of the two posts on our Facebook Wall related to this giveaway.
3) Comment on one of the two posts related to this giveaway (on our Facebook Wall).
We’ll put names into a randomizer (is that a word?) on Monday and announce 1 winner via Facebook!
P.S. There’s a way you can win something even if your name is not drawn! Our BE JUST GOOD stickers are waiting for homes on bumpers, laptops, water bottles and bikes all over the country – get yours free by emailing us today with your shipping info!!
Have a great weekend & BE JUST GOOD!
~Drew & Nichole
Mix Fair Trade Organic Hot Cocoa with your favorite Coffee…It’s a Mug O’ Love!
For a delicious cocoa-mocha:
- Mix 3 Tablespoons Mug O’ Love Hot Cocoa with 8 oz hot milk (you can substitute almond milk if you like).
- Make up a small french press of your favorite fair trade organic coffee (we like Higher Grounds).
- Grab 2 mugs and mix 4 oz of cocoa with 4 oz coffee.
- Enjoy with your favorite person!
Summer Tip: put it over ice!
Get 15% off Mug O’ Love Hot Cocoa with Promo Code “MugOLove” at checkout! Offer valid through April 16th, 2012.
Click Image to Buy Now!
P.S. Ask your favorite cafe to reach out to us and carry Mug O’ Love by the Mug!
YUM!! Our Mug O’ Love fair trade & organic hot cocoa mix is now available for food service! The first location to offer it “by the mug” is Grand Traverse Pie Company at their two Traverse City, Michigan locations.
Tell your favorite coffee shop to offer Mug O’ Love! If you’re a cafe or coffee shop and would like more information, contact us today!
5 lb bags of Mug O' Love Hot Cocoa are here!
We’re so happy we finally perfected the recipe and made what we believe is the perfect Winter treat! Click Here to order!
Mug O’ Love Hot Cocoa is people-friendly, planet-friendly YUM in your tum. From the organic farmers in Peru, Dominican Republic and Paraguay all the way to your mug, you can be sure there is just goodness in every decadent sip.
Our hot cocoa is extra delicious due to the addition of Dominican ground chocolate and a touch of sea salt. It’s been tested by kids and adults – just the right blend that the whole family is sure to love!
Naturally gluten free & vegan. Simply add YOUR favorite kind of hot milk, stir and enjoy!
Net wt. 12 oz. Makes approximately 12 – 8oz. servings.
Who doesn’t love watching a child open a gift – the sweet anticipation as they look it over and wonder what it might be, the fumbling little hands trying to remove the wrapping paper, and then that moment when their eyes light up with pure joy and excitement over their new prized possession. It truly is a lovely sight. Until they realize they have 10 (or 20) more to open, and then slowly – gift by gift – you see a different side of the child creep out. Suddenly they are ripping gifts open and giving them a quick, unimpressed once-over before casting them aside and asking “where is my next one?”
We all love to give gifts to children, but as the adults in their lives, we need to be very conscious of what we are trying to teach them -especially at the Holidays. Our goal should always be to raise our children to be responsible, creative, independent, compassionate, and thoughtful world citizens. Does a plastic toy from China help us reach that goal? Probably not.
Here are some of our favorite ideas for giving to the children on your list:
- Go Gift-less – this is certainly the most extreme way to go, but ultimately the most meaningful. Read this thought-provoking blog from Zen Habits and see that it isn’t as bad for kids as it sounds. We also love this blog post from GeekDad about the 5 best toys of all time.
- Handmade with Love – there are many wonderful websites out there with tips on fun, handmade gifts that kids will love. Yes, if a child is accustomed to receiving the latest and greatest toy, this may not please them. But if you start while they are young, kids will love receiving something you made especially for them. You can get VERY fancy here if you please (Martha Stewart style) or you can click here to check out some simple ideas easy enough for even the most artistically-impaired.
- Get Thrifty – check out some of your local thrift or consignment stores. You can often find wonderful and gently used toys, books, and games for the children on your list. You will not only save some money, but you will help keep toys out of the landfill, avoid all the extra packaging of new toys, and depending on the store you may be supporting a good cause. And as long as you wrap it up nicely, most kids won’t even realize that it is used.
- If you are going to buy something new, make sure it is something that will spark the child’s imagination, is educational or practical, and both environmentally friendly and people friendly (either Made in the USA or Fair Trade). Some of our favorite spots for Just Good gifts for kids are Hazelnut Kids, For Small Hands, and Mindware.
And of course, the most important thing is to spend some quality time making memories with the children in your life. That, after all, is the gift that will stay with them forever. Enjoy them, learn from them, laugh with them, imagine with them, and love them. This is truly all they need.
Thank you for all you do to raise Just Good Kids!
It isn’t just Christmas trees that have something to fear during the Holidays….one can only imagine the number of trees that are sacrificed each year in the name of pretty gift wrap. And to top it off, most wrapping paper and nearly all bows cannot be recycled, so they end up in the landfill.
This year, make a serious dent in your waste output and carbon footprint by using alternative ways to make your gifts look lovely. Here are some tips to make it easier:
- wrap presents in newspaper, old maps, brown paper grocery bags, or even your child’s artwork
- for small gifts, use a cloth napkin, dishtowel, bandana, or scarf in lieu of wrapping paper
- instead of taping, tie gifts up with natural raffia or hemp twine
- recycled craft gift bags are great in pinch – they often get re-used many times or they can be recycled again
- make pretty bows from recycled magazines, newspapers, or even potato chip bags. Click here for a great tutorial on making really pretty recycled bows like you see in the picture above.
- cut up last year’s holiday cards to make gift tags
According to the Sierra Club, if every family wrapped just 3 of their gifts this way, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields!! See how easy it is to make a difference?
Up next, we’ll give some shopping tips for those little people on your list. Until then, happy bow-making!