Hot Chocolate

Who doesn’t love hot chocolate?

Wintertime and Homemade just make it better.

Less Sugar and Almond Milk help to make it healthier.

hot chocolate cup

My super easy, lower sugar, extra creamy recipe (can be doubled)

What you will need

2 heaping Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

pinch salt (optional but worth it)

2 Tbsp sugar

3 Tbsp hot water

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups almond milk ; you can use any milk product, but I think almond milk makes creamiest drink

homemade almond milk

  • mix cocoa, sugar, salt and water in heavy bottomed pan (I use a whisk)
  • bring to a boil over med heat stirring constantly; boil and stir for about 2 minutes (do not burn, there is no coming back from burnt chocolate)

homemade hot chocolate recipe

  • add almond milk and heat until warm; drink gets creamier as it heats. Do not boil
  • Add Vanilla and Enjoy!!

 

 

Almond Milk

 

Almond Milk

1 cup almonds

2 cups water + more for soaking

1 – 1 1/2 tsp pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • soak almonds in water uncovered (just enough to cover almonds) overnight or up to 2 days; I didn’t see any difference in end product with either soaking time frame.
  • rinse almonds in cold water
  • put almonds and 2 cups cold water in blender; pulse a couple times then blend for 2 – 3 minutes.
  • strain through cheesecloth using a spatula to move mixture and remove as much liquid as possible; then squeeze and flatten cheesecloth with hands (I use food grade gloves to reduce mess) until pulp is clumped and dry. See below for pulp ideas.
  • mix in syrup and vanilla to taste
  • store in glass container in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

This recipe makes 2 cups and tastes even better the 2nd day. I find that it becomes super creamy when heated for hot chocolate or added to hot cereal.

almond pulp

*Pulp – I have used it in oatmeal, yogurt and granola. You can dry it further by spreading it on a baking sheet and baking at low temp (200) for about 1 1/2 hr.

Sugar Free Sweetening (Dates)

dates

 

Sugar free baking….hmmmm is there such a thing? Or at least such a tasty thing.

Since I personally boycott  artificial sweeteners and the people asking me for this sort of goodie either can’t have or don’t want honey, molasses or pure maple syrup my options are limited. So where did I turn? Fruit of course.

Dates, apples, bananas and pears are all great choices but all aren’t always available, ripe or don’t perform at the same glycemic index level. I am a big believer in weighing pros and cons on whatever road you travel so my take…. I NEED a sweetener, it HAS to be natural, the DESIRE is for fruit based, they ALL have sugar content, and I WANT the most health benefits possible. The winner that best fits this…Dates.

These dates are very high in sugar but also full of fiber. Why is fiber in sugar consumption so important? Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar to your liver, which helps to regulate how your insulin responds. Dates are also packed with nutrients and minerals…not just 1% and 2 % of daily values, but significant amounts. So in my book this sweet little package is action packed and full of lots of those necessaries that I’m looking for.

Unfortunately though I had never eaten one, seen one up close or know how to use it in baking so what did I do? Research and more research. One point that stood out in all my searching was that medjool dates seemed the way to go. Picking them out was easy and there are more “expert” tips on how to prepare them than I care to recall, but most are pretty similar and relatively simple.

My condensed, cut corners (not necessary ones) super simple version.

 

  • Remove pits and stems (about 1 lb)
  • Soak dates in a bowl of warm water (about 2 cups; enough to cover dates) for about 30 min. (until softened)
  • Puree dates in food processor using water that they were soaked in adding a little at a time until you get the consistency you desire.
  • Store in glass container(s) in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Simple and yummy. So far I’ve used mine for baking brownies, sweetening oatmeal, and yes right off the spoon as well.

Enjoy!

Health Boost Brownie

 

Health Boost Brownie

Health Boost Brownie

Did you ever think that you could have a brownie or any treat for that matter that tasted like a treat and was honest to good for you healthy? You wouldn’t be alone in your denial of the possibility because I used to be right along side of you.

Not anymore though.

datesDates, apples, almond meal, almond meal flour, coconut flour, coconut oil, flaxseed meal, unsweetened cocoa, vanilla, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. These are all the ingredients this brownie contains. There isn’t a bad one in the bunch and almost every one has huge health benefits like fiber, needed omegas, vitamins, healthy fats and many other heart, skin, and brain boosting qualities.

 

 

My sugar free creative endeavors have only just begun.  This success outweighs all the failures and just leaves me wanting to see just what I can accomplish.

Winter time is usually long and cold, but I have a feeling this winter won’t be long enough and it certainly won’t be cold in this kitchen.

But thankfully, while I work I will finally be able to enjoy a guilt free, health conscious snack that really tastes like a snack.

Health benefits of Black Beans

Bl Bean (V & GF) 2Beans…Love them. But in dessert? I was definitely a skeptic, but after repeatedly being asked I finally broke down and played around with some brownie recipes. There was some failure in the beginning to produce a good texture with an appropriate balance between bean and other ingredients. Eventually though I made not only a passable brownie, but a brownie that tastes great and has the texture of fudge!!

Not only is it super popular but it has loads of benefits (health and diet) as well. Black beans full of protein and fiber along with coconut oil can be a quick source of energy and a great pick me up. Pairing this with the fact that these brownies are both gluten free and vegan make this one of my healthiest and most diet friendly treats yet.

Happy snacking!