Posts tagged ‘cacao’

White Chocolate Mint Tea Latte (Vegan)

Cool fall mornings are my favorite…when my cozy bed tries to lure me back in, yet I slip on sweats and slippers and head to the kitchen to brew a warm cup of tea. I find it energizing and invigorating! While I love my morning smoothies, I need to heat up first with something hot when it’s chilly in the house.

white choc mint tea latte
Why not make something nourishing and comforting at the same time? This minty latte has healthy fats from the hemp and cacao butter, peppermint that is soothing for your tummy and digestion, and contains a little protein and fiber from the hemp hearts. This latte is also caffeine-free (unless you use a green or black tea) so you can enjoy a cuppa as a treat after dinner if you’d like!

This quick and easy drink is ideal for sipping while you’re curled up on the couch reading a book, watching tv or having some downtime. If you aren’t a fan of white chocolate, feel substitute carob powder (for AIP) or raw cacao powder for a darker chocolate version and add a touch of coconut cream for richness.
white choc mint tea latte2

White Chocolate Mint Tea Latte
Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Caffeine-free option, Paleo-friendly, AIP-friendly option, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free, Nut-free, Egg-free, Vegetarian, Vegan


16 oz boiling water
2-3 bags of herbal peppermint tea (I have some brands of mint tea that are stronger than others, if you prefer a more prominent flavor, use 3)
pinch of sea salt
1 1/2 Tbsp raw cacao butter*
2 Tbsp hemp hearts (omit for AIP, and substitute 2-3 Tbsp coconut cream)
2 tsp agave, coconut nectar, honey (don’t use if vegan) or a pinch of stevia (adjust sweetener to taste)

1. Steep tea bags in boiling water until desired strength, usually 3-5 minutes for herbal tea.
2. Add prepared tea along with the remaining ingredients in a blender (I use a high-powered blender such as Vitamix) and blend until smooth. Enjoy while hot or warm!

*For a chocolately version, use raw cacao powder or carob (for AIP and caffeine-free). For a thicker, creamier result add a couple tablespoons of coconut cream.

October 1, 2015 at 8:38 pm 2 comments

Frozen Hot Chocolate (SRC)

Summer is almost over…gasp! I say this every August, but seriously how did it go by so fast? Then, I remember all the fun things I packed in over this summer …yep, three months is about right :)

I got a taste of Fall over the weekend after a little rain and wind blew through, leaving crisp cooler weather….not only was I pumped to break out a long-sleeve t-shirt but it spurred a hankering for comfort food. Is it a surprise that chocolate was my go-to?
frozen hot chocolateWhen I found Kate’s Frozen Hot Chocolate recipe on the The Colbert Clan for this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I thought it was the perfect bridge between summer and fall to satisfy my chocolate craving. This chocolate treat hit the spot! I’m one of those people that eats chilled or frozen foods despite the weather, so I enjoyed sipping this drink while being bundled up on the couch under a blanket. 

frozen hot chocolate 2

Kate is a full-time mom of three cute kiddos that has a knack for all things DIY, inspiring me to make a list of handmade projects and new recipes to try. I’ve put her Slow-Cooker Applesauce and Homemade Zuppa Toscana Soup on my Fall to-make list along with her Apple Balsamic Pork Roast for a easy mid-week dinner!

I made a few changes to make the recipe dairy free and refined sugar free; I used canned coconut milk, stevia for the sugar and used a non-dairy chocolate bar that was sweetened with coconut nectar. I also threw in a tiny pinch of sea salt for good measure and highlight the sweetness. I wound up heating the milk in a small saucepan to melt the chocolate a bit first, then chilled it in the fridge before blending to help incorporate the mixture.

This drink was rich and decadent and packed with chocolate flavor…and now I keep thinking of different varieties to play with; Chocolate mint…Chocolate coconut…caramel…chocolate covered cherry…peanut butter…mmmmm. Kate was right when she said the possibilities are endless!

frozen hot chocolate close

Frozen Hot Chocolate (Lightly adapted from The Colbert Clan)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Paleo-friendly, Egg-free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan, Nut-free


1 1/2 ounces of dairy-free chocolate bar (chopped, I used a 85% dark bar) or chocolate chips
1 Tbsp of raw cacao or cocoa powder
1 Tbsp sweetener of choice (or a pinch of stevia) or more to taste
2 1/2 cups of non-dairy milk of choice (I used canned coconut milk for a thicker texture)
a tiny pinch of sea salt
2 cups of ice

For serving (optional but delicious!)  
whipped coconut cream (or your favorite whipped topping)
chocolate shavings or raw cacao nibs


  1. *In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and the chopped chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts and is incorporated. Remove from heat, pour into the blender and refrigerate until chilled for a couple hours (or the ice will melt this immediately).
  2. Put remaining ingredients into the blender (ice, salt, cocoa powder, sweetener) and mix until smooth. Adjust the sweetener if needed.
  3. Pour into a glass, garnish as desired and enjoy!

Serves 1 larger portion or 2 small

*If you don’t want to heat up the milk first, go ahead and blend all of the ingredients together – this will work just fine but you might have chunks of chocolate depending on your blender.

Notes: If you prefer a sweeter treat, choose a chocolate that is semi-sweet instead of a darker chocolate and adjust the sweetener to taste. Choose your favorite sweetener — maple syrup, coconut nectar, sucanat, stevia, honey etc. Also, feel free to add your favorite flavors or add-ins to make your own version!

frozen hot chocolate1For other recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!

August 23, 2015 at 10:00 pm 10 comments

(Almost) Instant Mint Berry Carob Bark

Do you need a quick sweet fix? I don’t know about you, but I can always use a little treat. How about a healthier treat that satisfies, tastes amazing and you can whip up in 5 minutes? Add the fact that this (almost) instant bark requires minimal ingredients and doesn’t require any baking.

mint berry carob bark1

Mint + Chocolate = a perfect pairing in my mind (Mint Chip Ice Cream anyone)? Add berries to this combo and it’s a definite winner! These recipe is crazy easy, and it’s been stand-by in my freezer for the past couple weeks. Yes, it’s caffeine-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free and TASTY! I even fooled my dad into thinking it was sugar-laden, and he’s a hard one to convince :)

With all the fresh mint at farmer’s markets and in the stores, I’ve been throwing some into smoothies and bases for ice creams, tossing into chopped fruit and adding to salads for refreshing summer dishes. Next time (probably tonight) I am going to try using finely minced fresh mint in this treat! 
mint berry carob bark 2

(Almost) Instant Mint Berry Carob Bark (adapted from my Make-it-your-own Chocolate Bark)
Grain-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Dairy-free, Refined Sugar-free, AIP & Paleo Friendly, Candida-Friendly Option, Soy-free, Nut-free, Egg-free

2 1/2 Tbsp softened coconut oil (I used unrefined extra virgin)
3 Tbsp carob powder (or cacao/cocoa powder but won’t be caffeine free)*
pinch of stevia or 1 Tbsp honey, agave or maple syrup or to taste
1/8 tsp pure peppermint oil/extract
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract, optional
pinch of sea salt, optional (but SO good)
1/3 cup frozen mixed berries, chopped into small pieces (I leave blueberries whole), I use the organic antioxidant mix from Costco


1. Line a small plate or dish with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, mix the melted coconut oil, carob (or cacao), stevia/sweetener, salt and extracts. Stir well until smooth and well combined. Taste and adjust if you want it sweeter.
3. Spoon the mixture onto the parchment paper into two rounds.
4. Sprinkle the frozen fruit over the mixture and watch it start to freeze. Set it freezer for an additional few minutes to harden and enjoy!

Serves 2 or 1 large, generous portion :)
Store leftovers in freezer, the frozen fruit will get mushy in the fridge otherwise.

*Carob has a natural sweetness whereas raw cacao or cocoa powder is naturally a bit more bitter so you might need to add more sweetener/stevia to taste for a sweeter bark.

mint berry carob bark 1

July 23, 2015 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Hemp Cacao Protein Shake (SRC)

Smoothies are an everyday must-have for me…99% of the time I start my day with a large glass of blended goodness (aka energy surge in a jar), mmmm!

I find that kicking off the morning with a smoothie or fresh juice is easiest on my tummy. Not only does it rev-up my digestion for the remainder of the day, it also squelches my hunger for a couple hours when I have time to eat a more solid meal and ensures that I have at least one nutrient-packed, high-quality meal no matter what the day throws at me.

Oh you know, the days when you plan on cooking that new elaborate dish you’ve been eyeing for a while…but (after a longer day than you anticipated), you wind up eating a couple scrambled eggs over quinoa for dinner…or a bowl of popcorn and a leftover energy bar from your purse. Yep, I have had more days recently like the latter than I’d like to admit.

hemp cacao smoothieI also realized it had been quite some time since I had posted a drink or smoothie recipe, so when I was assigned Rebekah’s lovely blog Making Miracles for the February’s Secret Recipe Club post…I chose her Hemp Chocolate Protein Shake for this month’s reveal, I was so excited to come across this recipe!

hemp cacao smoothie 3

I had a giant bag of hemp seeds from Costco in my fridge calling my name and I was craving something sweet and chocolatey, yet simple…wa-la! This shake was a delicious change from my go-to blueberry-Maca blend I’ve been making…so much so that I craved this nutty-cacao smoothie the next morning too :) 

I tried to stay true to Rebekah’s recipe…I couldn’t help but add my usual handful of baby greens (kale/chard/spinach)  and I wound up soaking the hemp hearts, dates and water in the fridge the night before to soften the dates a bit. The next morning all I had to do was add the remaining ingredients and blend…Breakfast on the go!

Just a few perks about Hemp Seeds in case you need a little nutritional nudge:

  • REWARD YOUR TASTE BUDS: Hemp hearts are delicious, they are nutty, often compared to sunflower seed or pine nuts… only better! Sprinkle on salads, cereal, quinoa, rice, roasted veggies, yogurt, add to smoothies, muffins, breads and other recipes…or eat a spoonful straight from the bag.
  • REWARD YOUR BRAIN: Your brain has many of the fatty acids found in bulk Super Hemp. Regular consumption may help improve your memory. Super Hemp seeds may also help symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving your mood.
  • REWARD YOUR WEIGHT LOSS: Super Hemp is a natural appetite suppressant making you feel full longer. Adding just four tablespoons of hemp seed to your meal can reduce your food cravings significantly. You will also feel more energy which can help you power through workouts and other activities to lose weight.
  • REWARD YOUR HEART AND LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE: Super Hemp seeds contain essential fatty acids that help reduce blood cholesterol. This keeps the heart healthy and also prevents plaque buildup in your arteries. Super Hemp fatty acids also reduce inflammation that can cause high blood pressure and poor blood circulation.
  • REWARD YOUR DIGESTIVE TRACT: Super Hemp provides high amounts of both insoluble and soluble fibers which keep your digestive tract healthy and clean. Super Hemp contains plant sterols and antioxidants helping reduce risk of colon, breast and prostate concerns. Super Hemp does NOT contain oligosaccharides such as found in soy, which often causes stomach upset and gas.

Intrigued? Give this shake a shot!

hemp cacao smoothie1

Hemp Chocolate/Cacao Protein Shake (slightly adapted from Making Miracles)
(Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Grain-free, Fruit-Sweetened, Refined Sugar-free, Primal, Nut-free, Egg-free) 

1 cup cold filtered water
1 cup ice cubes
1 banana, cut into chunks (or use frozen for a colder, thicker textured shake / smoothie)
1/2 cup raw hemp seeds/ hemp hearts
2-4 pitted dates, depending taste (I used two but increase if you prefer sweeter) 
1-2 Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder, to taste
Handful or fresh leafy greens (such as baby spinach, kale, and/or chard), optional but for added nutrition 

5 minute prep Directions 

  1. Blend water, ice, banana, hemp seeds, dates (remove any pits), and cocoa powder together in a blender until smooth. 
  2. Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.

Plan-ahead soaking method Directions

  1. The night before, combine hemp seeds, dates and water in a jar. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. When you are ready to make your smoothie, add hemp/date/water mixture to blender container. Add ice, banana, cacao/cocoa powder and greens. Blend until smooth. 
  3. Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 2-3
hemp cacao smoothie 2For other recipes from this month’s reveal, please click the link below!

February 22, 2015 at 10:00 pm 15 comments

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