There are 2 things I like about Sara Malazzo-Miller off the bat: 1. She has a deep appreciation and fondness for chocolate (she is therefore a woman after my own heart). And 2. She has found a way to combine her love of chocolate (not to mention her talent at creating delicious, “dehydrator-less” raw chocolate concoctions) into a way to raise funds and awareness for wildlife rehabilitation facilities.
Sara, who I want to become very close friends with very quickly, is the mastermind behind the self-published e-cookbook, Oh Deer! Chocolates & Treats, a little book with a very big mission: to support a different wildlife rehabilitation facility each year. This year, 100% of the profits will benefit Maryland’s Wildlife Rescue, Inc.‘s deer sterilization program. “The hope,” Sara says, is that “with this sterilization, the argument that hunting is needed to control deer populations will no longer be valid.” (I encourage you to read more about the plight of deer by reading about “Solving Deer Conflicts With Education.”)
Sara’s e-cookbook is entirely vegan, naturally (get it?). It would be a sad irony if the campaign to save animals in the wild in turn exploited farmed animals, but that is a point lost on many so-called animal advocates, as we’ve recently seen. But Sara is true blue, an animal lover and activist who is using her talents to create awareness in a deliciously grassroots way. She publishes her cookbook on her Etsy page for a mere five bucks. Not only do I think that you should buy it, and now, but this kind of advocacy is easily replicable.
I know a lot of you out there like to cook, bake, dehydrate, and concoct. I know others of you like to write poetry, sing songs, snap photos, and draw. Why not be like Sara, and turn your hobby into an animal-themed mix tape, slam book, gallery, or recipe collection? Get out your glue guns, or your favorite font program, and put your vegan manifesto on Etsy (like Our Hen House does!), then use the profits to help animals. Even your steak-chomping Uncle Seymour will support such altruistic efforts (a little guilt goes a long way with family).
- All the recipes are date-sweetened, raw, and don’t require a dehydrator.
- 100% of the profits go to wildlife rehabilitation programs.
- The title of the book was inspired by Sara’s infant daughter, who, every time she saw a deer, would light up and exclaim, “Oh! Deer!” The little girl developed a fascination with deer, and that, in turn, deeply impacted Sara’s recognition of the strong role wildlife plays when it comes to child development, and compassion-building.
- The recipes in the book are truly easy, often including just a few ingredients (such as cashews, dates, raw cacao, raw cacao paste and raw cacao butter, and raw almond milk).
- Yes, the book explains what things like raw cacao butter are. You have nothing to fear (except perhaps strong cravings).
- The “resources” section at the end explains some “101” points regarding hunting, and offers further tools, making this book a perfect gift for those in your life whom you want to treat to delicious goodies, while also educating about animal issues.
- A section of this book explains the health-promoting properties of many of the ingredients used. For example, cloves are an anti-inflammatory, and a good source of manganese, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acid, and cinnamon has been known to be an appetite suppressant (not that anyone will be suppressing their appetite after making some of the chocolate recipes found in this book).
- Have I mentioned that Oh! Deer! is only five dollars, and benefits wildlife rehab efforts?
- Lastly, I find it unfair and, quite frankly, mean, that there is not currently chocolate in front of me.