Stimulate Cheap Valentine’s Day Fun: Recipe for Organic, Fair Trade Chocolate Body Paint

What do you get when you mix the red of Valentine’s Day with some green? Not green as in heaps of cash. Think green as in feel-good, save the planet – with a dash of that other green message the M&M market lustfully embraced this V-Day. Ahem.

Red and green blended make brown – think brown as in rich, sweet chocolate. And in the spirit of the love season, think chocolate served as body paint, Valentine’s Day art supplies for grown-ups served naked with a warm smile. Yummy.

Perhaps you’re searching fro a new way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Instead of an expensive dinner out or a bouquet of imported flowers from thousands of miles away, try chocolate. Au naturale.

Love and sustainability mix well, especially when you cook up the (vegan!) recipe for I Love You Freely and Fairly Eco Chocolate Body Paint below. What makes this recipe different than the commercial body paint stuff you see floating around this time of year? True love, baby, true love. Love for the planet, your pocketbook and, as an extra bonus, the long-term health of your sweetie:

* Love your planet

Despite all of chocolate’s worldwide appeal, cocoa remains an incredibly destructive global crop. Grown on small family farms in tropical countries, these workers rarely receive fair wages and the rainforest-growing habitat is destroyed for a cheap crop. Pesticides that are banned in the United States readily make their way into cocoa crops thousands of miles away, where children often toil long harsh hours next to their parents.

By buying organic, fair-trade certified cocoa (often bearing the Fair Trade seal of certification, like the baking cocoa I use from Equal Exchange), you ensure your purchase justly pays the workers involved and that the planting and harvesting of the cocoa are treated with a respectful long-term commitment to preserving the environment.

* Love your pocketbook
Looking for some frugal fun this Valentine’s Day? Join the rest of the country. Beat the high cost of body paint with this easy homemade version. Typical commercially manufactured body paint runs from $2 to a whopping $6 an ounce, with no connection to organic or Fair Trade ingredients. This recipe will set you back about a buck, sustainability included.

Cooking with cocoa powder always beats the cost of other forms of baking chocolate. For recipes that call for the typical one-ounce square of melted baking chocolate, substitute three tablespoons baking cocoa mixed with one-tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter.

* Love your long-term health
We’ve all heard about cocoa’s health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, chocolate promotes various long-term health advantages that reduce the affects of aging. These healing properties will diminish the more the cocoa is processed. By cooking with baking cocoa, these antioxidant elements stick around more.

Importantly, this recipe is easy to make, even for the cooking newbie. You’re basically mixing ingredients into a sauce. Simple but, trust me, highly impressive to the recipient. Don’t be surprised if this becomes a regular menu staple year-round

I Love You Freely and Fairly Eco Chocolate Body Paint