December 2009


What better way to start off the new year than to indulge in an ethical toast, including organic champagne. For New Year’s Eve, we have put together a special little cocktail entitled French Kiss. Not only does it include the New Year’s standard of champagne, but it is titled after the ceremoniously New Year’s kiss. Tonight while you are ringing in the new year, use this recipe to make sure your New Year starts off on an ethical note. On behalf of all of us at AP, we wish you a very Happy New Year!!

French Kiss

1 oz Lillet

4 oz Champagne

Orange twist for garnish

Pour Lillet into a champagne flute and slowly add champagne.  Twist orange peel over drink and drop in. 

Lillet is a French aperitif from Bordeaux that is similar to a cognac, but not as strong.  It is a blend of 85% aged wine and citrus liqueurs made from a variety of oranges.  An aperitif is a before dinner drink that is supposed to stimulate the appetite.  It needs to be served chilled or over ice (if not in this drink). So far there are no certified organic Lillets to our knowledge, however hopefully the market will contain some soon! If you know of a brand or company, please share with us in the comments.

Organic Champagne: There are several different organic champagnes on the market. In fact, Planet Green recommends a couple, however make sure you do not use rose champagne for this particular cocktail. There are also a few biodynamic brands that are carried at mainstream markets such as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, however, you should always check at your local store or Co-op first.

Organic Oranges: Organic oranges can be found at most markets, including Natural Food Stores and Co-ops. Just be sure to read the label and be sure they are certified organic. 


The Holiday season often leaves us feeling as though we have been sucked into a tornado, most of the month of December is spent feeling as though we are being catapulted through life at a dizzying pace as we attempt to bake, shop, and wrap our ways into the spirit of the season. As the year inches towards a close and life returns to its normal speed, we are left looking around at the debris of the most wonderful time of the year. No amount of pretty bows and wrapping are going to make your post-holiday cleanup any more joyful- in fact they probably comprise of 50 percent of your mess- but with a little effort you can take comfort in the knowledge that your holiday litter is being taken care of in the most eco-friendly way possible. And if that fails to get you through those piles of refuse, a little leftover eggnog might do the trick.

Wrapping: All those thoughtful presents that took an eternity to wrap and mere seconds to tear open can leave your floor looking as though a Nor’easter of decorative paper has unleashed its fury on your living room come Christmas morning. Resist the urge to shove this explosion of wrapping in a Hefty bag and handle this clean-up in a manner that is considerate of both the environment and your wallet.

1. Save It:  First things first; sort through the vestiges of your Christmas morning. Fold and store paper and ribbons that are barely damaged to reuse next year. Your future self will thank you for saving them a trip to a crowded store next December. Seriously, future you may even take future you to lunch for being so thoughtful.For paper that is crinkled, ripped and unsightly, save it for packing packages throughout the year.  Even salvageable small scraps of paper can be stored, cut to size and used next year as tags for gifts! Seriously, get ready for an appreciative trip to TGI Thursdays next December. Save room for a deep fried onion app!

2. Recycle: Being the eco-friendly Santa that you are, you likely chose wrapping that was recyclable. If not, do not feel bad, just see the above tips and try to get recyclable paper or forgo normal wrapping altogether next year. My own parents never wrapped presents from Santa; the effect of gazing upon a sea of presents was caused a delightful sensory overload come Christmas morning. Trust me, my siblings and I did not ever complain about the lack of frilly bows.

 Save It, REMIX: Holiday Card Edition: This Christmas season my boyfriend’s thoughtful mother gave me beautifully wrapped presents that featured a creative twist on labeling. Instead of pre-bought labels, she had saved and reused the covers of adorable holiday cards she had received the previous Christmas.  The effect was not only eco-friendly but made presents appear both unique and festive.

 Lights:  The backbone of any festive holiday décor is arguably the twinkle provided by countless strands of lights. Whether these lights have survived or have fallen victim to the madness of this holiday season, there are eco-friendly options for their off duty season, even if that consists of eternity.

 1.Recycle: I may sound like a broken record…record…record. But, when disposing of lights that have gone to a better place, you should always try to recycle. When in doubt…try to recycle it. It may not rhyme but it is sound advice. Seek local places that recycle holiday lights, or you can send lights to this program.  Remember. Try to replace lights with LED strands. They can use up to 90 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts.

 2. Store Them: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…or throw it away needlessly.  Store light strands that are in decent shape in a safe place for use next year. You could also donate them to a local college student for their dorm room decor. Nothing says dorm ambience quite like a strand of Christmas lights and a Bob Marley poster. (Black lights optional).

Trees:   The centerpiece for most eruptions of holiday wrapping wreckage, Christmas trees are one of the most often debated features of this holiday season among the eco-friendly set.  Real, fake or none at all- by now your decision has been made, and we are not here to judge, but to offer you some handy advice on disposing of your real tree.

 1. Re-use: If you are handy with an axe and have a penchant for legal fire building (think wood burning stove- not, your ex’s car) you can save your wood. Chop into larger logs or split into kindling to get future fires roaring, cuz baby, it is cold outside, and depending on where you live, it may be until roughly May. If you are someone who possesses a wood chipper, and who doesn’t these days ( I use mine to grind coffee and make confetti for Flag Day) you can make mulch from your former ornament holder.

 2. Recycle:  “Again with the recycling, goodness gracious. Come up with something new!” No, it is an oldy and a goody for a reason. Locate places to recycle your tree with this handy search from Earth911.com.

Hopefully with this advice, a little patience and a dash of a sugar high from leftover baked goods, this holiday season cleanup will be a breeze. If not, take comfort in the fact that there are 360 days until Christmas 2010.

Now, where did I put that rum for the Eggnog?

Yes, you read that right, child labor on the Colbert Report! But we don’t mean Stephen Colbert’s crew is run by a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds.  Back in November, Stephen Colbert covered the introduction of a new bill proposed by Congress that will ban products made with child labor and prison labor from being imported into the US. This is huge news and would be a pretty incredible change for the US, if it passes.

Colbert, mockingly discusses the impact on pricing and US businesses if this bill were to pass. It is known that some big businesses are already gearing up to lobby against the bill. Colbert also has a quick interview with Marc Kielburger of Free the Children, a great organization that fights to end child labor as well as provide children with an education. Marc and Colbert discuss the ethics of child labor.

It is encouraging to see child labor discussed on a mainstream Comedy Central show and perhaps even more exciting that Congress may finally take some action on labor issues around the world. Watch the interview below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Child Labor on the Colbert Report", posted with vodpod

Today is finally Christmas Eve and with one of the most celebrated holiday around just around the corner, it is time to start celebrating! What better way to kick back and relax with loved ones than to enjoy some cocktails? And even better when they are ethical! Today is a special two for one treat. We want to share with you two of our favorite holiday cocktails, made Fair Trade and Organic of course! So sit down by the fire and share stories while you wait for a visit from Santa and enjoy this wonderful conscientious spirits! Happy Holidays from all of us on the AP team.

Mulled Wine:

  • 2 bottles of organic dry Red Wine
  • Peel of 1 organic orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 1/4 Cup packed organic brown sugar

In a small saucepan heat the red wine on low heat, be sure not to let it boil. Next with a vegetable peeler add the orange zest of the orange peel. Next mix in the spices and sugar. Be sure to stir throughout. Keep on low heat until the mixture begins to steam. At this point it is ready to be served. Garnish with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.

Now to make it ethical:

Organic/Fair Trade Red Wine: There are many great organic wineries existing now including: Frey Vineyard and Organic Wine Company. For some great recommendations read this article on organic and vegan wines as well as the Organic Wine Journal. If you are looking for a nice Fair Trade wine, look no further than Etica Fair Trade Wine.

Organic Oranges: Organic oranges can be found at your local co-op or natural foods store and in most major markets these days. Just be sure to look for the USDA certified Organic symbol.

Organic/Fair Trade Spices: There are a number of different organic spice companies including Simply Organic and The Great Spice Company. Once again, keep a look out for the USDA organic symbol when choosing your organic spices. If you want to support Fair Trade spices check into Silk Road Spices and Mountain Rose Herbs. Both these great companies are Green America approved, Fair Trade and Organic certified.

Organic/Fair Trade Brown Sugar: Wholesome Sweetners makes perfect organic and Fair Trade certified  brown sugar, which works great for baking or this recipe! You can also use Florida Crystals, their brown sugar is certified organic, however not Fair Trade.

Holiday Nog:

1.5 oz  Papagayo Organic Spiced Rum from Paraguay

2 oz Nog

For the 2 ounces of nog you can either try out one of our Vegan Holiday Nog recipes from scratch (we offer a raw or soy based option) or purchase Soy or Rice Nog from the store. If you would like warm and toasty nog, quadruple the recipe and heat the nog in a saucepan at medium heat. Be sure not to heat it to a boil and add in the rum. Mix thoroughly and serve warm. Garnish with organic cinnamon or cinnamon sticks.

Unlike coffee and chocolate Fair Trade apparel and home goods do not yet have certification in the US. In steps TransFair! TransFair is currently putting together a new certification and standards outline for Fair Trade cotton clothing and home goods. They hope to launch this program in the Spring of 2010, but have put together a draft, open to public viewing. There are asking, you , the consumers to take a moment and read through their proposal. They also welcome any comments or suggestions you may have about the new proposal and will be accepting those until the end of the year.

That’s right, you have until December 31st to take a moment and read through the draft as well as submit any commentary you may have to garments@transfairusa.org. The draft is broken down into two sections, one focusing on the obligations and standards the factories themselves must meet and the obligations the US companies must adhere to.

Obviously, being a Fair Trade Apparel company, this program and proposal is incredibly important to us. Currently our products are certified Fair Trade by FLO (which is a European Fair Trade organization.) However, we are very excited and encouraged by the developments of this program in the US. We certainly applaud TransFair for initiating this and hope that you will take the time to read over the document and give your feedback before the deadline of December 31st, 2009.

This is your chance as the consumers to take a stand and give your thoughts into a certification process. So while you have some downtime over the holidays, read over the document and please give your feedback! Fair Trade needs you.

Mmm tis the season to drink and be merry! One of the most traditional holiday drink is that of Egg Nog. However, obviously by the name it is not vegan friendly! Never fear, there is always a vegan version to be had. Of course you can take the easy way out and purchase some Soy Nog or Rice Nog from the store. However, if you want something delicious and homemade, try these recipes for Vegan Holiday Nog: one raw and the other soy based. What a tasty holiday treat that even the non vegans can indulge in!

Raw Vegan Holiday Nog

  • 1 Cup Cashews
  • 1/2 Cup Dates, pitted
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups water

In a blender or food processor place all ingredients and blend together into smooth and creamy. Heat over the stove until warm enough to drink or serve cold. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and cinnamon sprinkles .

Soy Holiday Nog

  • 21 oz Silken Tofu
  • 2 Cups Soymilk
  • 2/3 Cup Organic Sweetener (we prefer Evaporated Cane Juice)
  • 1 Cup Cold Water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of Nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cinnamon

In a blender or food processor blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Heat the mixture over the stove until warm enough to eat or serve cold after refrigerating. Garnish the drink with a cinnamon stick and cinnamon sprinkles.

One of the best  things about the holidays is the cocktails! As you fill your days with shopping and wrapping gifts, its nice to warm up with a winter treat of nog, with a splash of rum of course. Or as you attend the many Christmas parties, be sure to relax and enjoy some holiday cheer. No we don’t condone gratuitous binge drinking or anything, we just wan you to have the best of times this holiday season. So we have begun a new series, just in time for a new year. Many of you might know that most of our AP team is on double duty and our lovely Anne is a superb bartender by night. She has put together some sumptuous holiday cocktail recipes for you to enjoy. These cocktails and our series have a bit of a twist, and I don’t mean lemon or lime, most the ingredients are either Fair Trade and/or Organic: including the booze! Our first installment includes a delicious and satisfying Apple Snowflake Martini. Most of the ingredients, besides the apple schnapps can be found Fair Trade and organic, yes that includes the vodka!

ETHICAL APPLE SNOWFLAKE MARTINI:

1 oz vodka

1 oz sour apple schnapps

1 oz apple juice

Sugared apple slice for garnish

Pour vodka, schnapps, and juice over a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake until very cold, then strain into a chilled tall glass.  Place apple slice in glass for garnish.  You can also serve this in a martini glass with the apple slice on the rim or floating on top of the drink.

Now to make the ingredients as ethical as possible!

Organic-Fair Trade Vodka: There are a couple of different organic vodkas on the market. Take a peak at 360 Vodka, the very first eco-friendly vodka, check out there waste free philosophy. If you can not locate this brand or are looking for something a tad different, try Crop Vodka. Crop Vodka is also a very smooth and organic spirit. Lastly, check out Square One Vodka, another great and organic certified vodka. If you are looking to go the Fair Trade route check into Fair, the world’s first Fair Trade vodka, although its hard to find in the US currently.

Organic-Fair Trade Apple Juice: Organic apple juice is easy to find in almost any store now. Most major brands produce an organic version of their old recipe including Mott’s and RW Knudson. However, if you are looking to support a smaller all organic juice company check out Lakewood Organic Apple Juice or Eden Organic. There are many Fair Trade juice companies that produce Fair Trade apple juice, however many are not sold in the US, quite yet.

Organic-Fair Trade Apples: You should be able to locate organic apples fairly easily at any market or Co-op near you. Just look for the USDA certified organic label. If you are searching for Fair Trade apples, check out these provided by Interrupcion,  these babies are both Organic and Fair Trade!

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