Posts tagged ‘cacao’
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?
When 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.
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 (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
- *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).
- Put remaining ingredients into the blender (ice, salt, cocoa powder, sweetener) and mix until smooth. Adjust the sweetener if needed.
- 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!
For other recipes from this month’s reveal, click the link below!
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 + 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!
(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.
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.
I 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!
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 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
- Blend water, ice, banana, hemp seeds, dates (remove any pits), and cocoa powder together in a blender until smooth.
- Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.
Plan-ahead soaking method Directions
- The night before, combine hemp seeds, dates and water in a jar. Refrigerate overnight.
- 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.
- Enjoy immediately, refrigerate any leftovers.
I am all about bite-sized treats. There is built-in portion control (theoretically speaking of course!)…then there’s the “cute factor”, and in my opinion, they are more fun to eat.
Though if I’m being honest, I always have more than one. However, with healthier ingredients I feel it’s OK to have that extra serving :) After all, I am getting an extra boost of fiber from flaxseed meal and oats, protein from the powder and nut butter and the healthy dose of fats keep me full.
These frozen chunky monkey “cupcakes” were adapted from my carob covered coconut protein bars on a whim when I was in the mood for something sweet yet filling and needed a little protein boost. They hit the spot and I made several batches – some with and without the “frosting”, which can be eaten sans-“cupcake” guilt-free as well :)
That’s a win-win situation in my book!
Frozen Chunky Monkey “Cupcakes” with a Fudgy Nana “Frosting”
Gluten-free, Grain-free option, Vegan Option, Dairy-free, Nut-free Option
1/2 cup natural almond butter or peanut butter (can sub sunflower seed butter for nut-free), room temperature
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 Tbsp honey, agave or brown rice syrup or to taste* (could probably sub banana or soaked dates but haven’t tried this)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
100 grams good tasting vanilla protein powder of choice (I tested this with Jay robb’s whey protein, was 3 scoops)**
3 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2-3 Tbsp oat flour, oat bran (for grain-free, sub more flaxseed meal or use almond or peanut flour)
pinch of sea salt (eliminate if using salted nut butter)
For the Fudgy “Frosting”
2 small ripe bananas, sliced and frozen
1/2 Tbsp honey or agave (omit for less sweet…I was going for frosting)
2-3 Tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder to taste*** (could sub carob powder for caffeine free)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt, optional but enhances the flavor
Chopped walnuts, mini chocolate chips or cacao nibs (use chips or nibs for nut-free)
For the bottom layer
1. Line a mini muffin pan with plastic wrap or use a silicone mini muffin pan (my preference) and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine nut butter, oil, sweetener and extract. Process until smooth.
3. Add in remaining ingredients (protein powder through sea salt). Pulse until combined and well incorporated. If the mixture looks too wet, add a bit more flour to reach a cake batter consistency (the bottom layer will firm up when refrigerated though).
4. Spoon into 12 individual mini muffin cups and refrigerate until firm (I left the cups overnight, but you also freeze the cups for an hour or so before finishing them with “frosting” layer if using).
For the Frosting
1. While the bottom layer is hardening, prepare the topping. Pulse all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor until smooth and well combined.
2. Spoon into a piping bag or a plastic freezer bag (this is to make the swirl on top). Place back in freezer for 15 minutes to let harden a bit.
3. Cut a small hole in the freezer bag and pipe onto prepared “cupcake” bottoms. Garnish with walnuts/chips/nibs and enjoy!
Best kept in freezer or frozen banana “frosting” will get goopy and melty. You may have extra frosting leftover depending on how much you pipe…you can freeze the rest and eat them frozen chocolate-nana ice cream cubes!
*My protein powder is sweetened so if you choose a powder that is unsweetened, feel free to add more sweetener to liking. If you want to keep the sugars low, adding a bit of stevia to taste is always an option but you may need more oil or nut butter to make up for the lacking moisture.
**If you would like to eliminate the protein powder, increase the oat bran/flour or almond or peanut flour
***Add cocoa/cacao powder to taste. If you prefer a lighter chocolate taste, use less…for a more intense chocolate taste use more. I used more because I like the deeper chocolate flavor.