Recipe: Dairy-free Hot Chocolate ☕

Ready for a treat that won’t take you off track from your new year’s goals? Enter a healthier hot chocolate made with less added sugar, plant-based milk, and with the warm spice of cinnamon.

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Ingredients

1 cup non-dairy milk (we used hazelnut but for extra creamy texture, try coconut milk)

1 tbsp cacao powder

1-2 squares of dark chocolate (85% or 90% cacao content for less added sugar)

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Heat 1 cup of non-dairy milk in a small saucepan. Whisk 1 tbsp of cacao powder in the hot milk and bring it to a boil. Then add vanilla extract and let it simmer for a few minutes on low heat. Pour into a cup and add 1-2 squares of dark chocolate. Stir and enjoy!

Recipe: Homemade Chai Mix & Drink

Photo by Lauren Emond

It’s our inaugural guest recipe blog! So many of you have great recipes you’ve created – if you want to share your whole-foods and healthy recipes (especially the gluten-free, dairy-free ones), please reach out.

This recipe is really two-in-one: chai mix itself and then the drink you make with it. It’s simple, creative, and warms the heart. With a week left until Christmas, you still have time to make a few gifts to be enjoyed by loved ones over these upcoming winter months. Here Lauren Emond (@heart_appetit) shares her love of crafting homemade gifts, especially those including food!

“I may have ordered Chai from coffee shops over the years, but it wasn’t until I had a homemade cup of Chai, or Yogi Tea as she called it, offered by my Kundalini yoga teacher did I truly learn to slow down and enjoy this warm spicy beverage. After every class, she would pull out her mug of hot homemade Chai concentrate, and invite students to gather around in a circle and enjoy a cup.

Years later, I learned something new about Chai. In Hindi and many other languages spoken throughout India and Pakistan, “Masala” translates to spiced. “Chai” translates to tea. Therefore, masala chai is spiced tea. So Masala Chai, or Chai for shorthand, is one of the homemade gifts I like to make for friends and family.

I prefer to make a large batch so I can store it in my fridge and have a few cups throughout the week. This is what inspired my homemade gift for friends.”

Photo by Lauren Emond

Homemade Gift – Chai Mix

Ingredients for 1 quart of Chai:

  • 1 T cardamom pods, crushed so they split open
  • 2 tsp cloves
  • 2 tsp of black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (I prefer Ceylon Cinnamon)
  • 1 black tea bag
  • *1/2 tsp fennel
  • *3 star anise leaves
  • Mason Jar and ribbon to decorate
  • Printed or handwritten instructions

*Optional

Add spice and black tea bag into a mason jar & add a ribbon or cloth to decorate. Include these instructions:

Homemade Chai

Makes 4 cups

  • Remove black tea bag and set aside.
  • Chop a 1 ½” piece of ginger root (washed and unpeeled)
  • Add spices and ginger to a pot with 1 quart water.
  • Bring to boil, then cover and simmer 60 minutes.
  • Turn off heat, add tea bag and steep 5 minutes.
  • Strain and store in a quart mason jar.

To serve, heat chai and add milk of choice and sweeten with maple syrup or honey.

Red, White, and Blueberry Tart

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You may remember this beauty being featured on WBNS 10TV in honor of National Pecan Month. This healthy dessert is easy to make and fun to decorate. Made from fruit and nuts, the tart is raw, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Did we mention delicious? Because it’s definitely that too! Enjoy it this holiday weekend.

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup chopped nut blend (we used 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup pecans)
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg, optional

Toppings

1-2 mashed bananas
Blueberries, strawberries, and kiwis to decorate (about 1 cup of each)

Instructions

Soak dates in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften them. Chop nuts with a knife or use a food processor. Drain dates and mix with nut blend, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Once well mixed, roll into balls and press into pie plate. Mash bananas and add a layer or ‘frosting’ to the crust. Top with berries and kiwi or your desired fruits. For extra pizazz, drizzle honey or melted chocolate over the tart.

Homebound Banana Nut Bread

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We’ve been in a cooking and baking mode the past few weeks – from cherry almond pancakes and black bean brownies to a recent favorite, comforting banana bread.

How is it comforting? For those with gluten-sensitivity, this gluten-free version is gentle on our digestive system, the cinnamon brings back happy memories from childhood, and warm bread as a snack just has a way of making you feel cozy and safe (even if all the news points you in the opposite direction). Plus, we like making things and baking is an easy at-home activity along with knitting, organizing, creating new programs, reading and puzzles.

This bread is gluten-free and dairy-free; it can be made vegan as well. We find that two loaves is the best amount for us, given how much we love it…and one can go in the freezer, if it makes if that far.

Ingredients

3 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
5-6 medium bananas (if you wait until they have brown spots on them, they are even sweeter)
2/3 cup melted coconut or avocado oil
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 eggs or the equivalent in chia/flax vegan ‘eggs’
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg (optional)
3/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Grease two 9×5″ loaf pans with oil (see above ingredients list) and preheat oven to 325° F. If using coconut oil, get it to melt if not liquid already. For this next part, we used a blender but you could also just use a bowl: beat/blend oil, maple syrup, eggs along with mashed banana and water. If you used a blender, pour mixture into a bowl; whisk together added gluten-free flour, baking soda, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt. Then add walnuts and pecan pieces.

Transfer batter into loaf pans and bake for about 65 minutes or until knife inserted into center of bread comes out clean. Allow bread to cool for about 20 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Lasts for about 3-5 days in the refrigerator; freeze bread for up to 3 months, if desired.

Recipe: The Anytime Warm Apple Crisp

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And we do mean anytime…it’s wonderful for dessert and breakfast (try it with some added pecans or walnuts!). Have it in the cold winter months and the early days of spring. Enjoy it on a holiday or any day. This is dish is so versatile and easy to make, it’s perfect for everyday and special occasions. Load a 15-20 minute music playlist or podcast and that’s about all the prep time you’ll need in order to be rewarded about 40 minutes later with a warm, cinnamon-y apple crumble.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: about 40 minutes
Yields 13 x 9 oven-safe baking dish

Ingredients

12 medium-large apples
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 1/2 cups organic oats
1 cup organic butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove apple cores and chop apples into about 1/2 inch  pieces. Put apple bits into medium pot with 1/2 tbsp cinnamon about 1/2 cup water and heat to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Next create the crisp topping by combining flour, oats, butter or coconut oil, sugar or maple syrup, and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon. Use a fork (or your clean fingers) to mash the cold butter or coconut oil into the oat mixture until it looks like coarse crumble bits. Carefully place apple pieces into 13 x 9 baking dish. Spoon and spread the crumble mixture on top of apple bits until evened out. Place baking dish in oven and bake about 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and sides bubble. Bonus: this dish pairs exceptionally well with some (non-dairy) vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

Recipe: Fruit & Nut Tart

fruitnuttart

In honor of National Pecan Month, we were invited to share our fruit and nut tart recipe with the fine people of Columbus, thanks to WBNS 10TV. This beauty is easy to make and fun to decorate. Made from fruit and nuts, it’s raw, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Did we mention delicious? Because it’s definitely that too!

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup chopped nut blend (we used 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup pecans)
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg, optional

Toppings

1-2 mashed bananas
Blueberries, strawberries, and kiwis to decorate (about 1 cup of each)

Instructions

Soak dates in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften them. Chop nuts with a knife or use a food processor. Drain dates and mix with nut blend, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Once well mixed, roll into balls and press into pie plate. Mash bananas and add a layer or ‘frosting’ to the crust. Top with berries and kiwi or your desired fruits. For extra pizazz, drizzle honey or melted chocolate over the tart.

Warm Breakfast: Great Goji Groatmeal

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For National Hot Tea & Oatmeal Month, we shared the Great Goji Groatmeal breakfast recipe on this recent WBNS 10TV segment with Karina Nova and Ross Caruso. With our weather being perfect (meaning: cold, rainy) for this breakfast, we’re sharing it here with you too!

What is an oat groat? It’s the whole grain form of oatmeal, before it is steel-cut, rolled, or pulverized into an instant oatmeal package. These oat groats are chewy and take some time to cook, which is why we called upon our trusty slow cooker to work the overnight shift.

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Ingredients
2 cups oat groats
2 tablespoons chia seeds (and/or flax seeds)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
3 cups water (we used hot green tea)
3 cups of non-dairy milk (i.e. DIY almond milk)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 apples, cored and blended
1/8 cup of goji berries (or substitute with raisins)
1/3 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Instructions
Use a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Put oat groats, chia, shredded coconut, water, non-dairy milk, coconut oil, and goji berries (and cacao nibs if desired) inside. Blend cored apple and add to slow cooker. Stir all ingredients and cover, cooking on low for about 8 hours (automatic slow cookers should then switch over to ‘warm’ setting). Stir and serve with additional fruit (i.e. berries), nuts, seeds, or sweetener on top and enjoy a warm belly of food to start your day!

Recipe: Peppermint Eggnog & Vegan Nog

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Our first eggnog experience was rather unremarkable and with concerns about foodbourne illness from raw eggs, we’ve never pursued it…until now. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a tasty peppermint eggnog recipe for you which can be made safely with eggs AND we have an eggless, vegan version which is equally delicious. We love to be the bearers of joyous tidings, and this beverage is one of them.

Eggnog is technically stirred custard, very similar to ice cream.

Peppermint Eggnog

6 organic large eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
3 cups non-dairy milk (we used unsweetened almond milk, you can DIY here)
1/2 can or 6.5 oz coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of cloves, if desired

Instructions

Whisk eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla extract together in large saucepan over low-medium heat until combined. Then pour milk in slowly while whisking to fully incorporate into mixture. Whisk ingredients over heat constantly, until thermometer reads 160 degrees, about 30 minutes.  This is an important step; should you leave the eggnog mixture to cook on its own, you’ll likely get an unappealing scrambled egg-in-milk, porridge-y mixture.

After cooking is complete, pour mixture through fine sieve over a medium bowl, cool for a few minutes, and stick in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. You can also do an ice-bath to help cool mixture down faster. You’ve made a custard; great job!

Remove custard from refrigerator and set aside as you put coconut milk cream in a bowl and mix well. Then fold into eggnog custard mixture until combined; fill cups with this delicious, creamy eggnog.

Option to add alcohol. To garnish beverage, sprinkle with finely crushed peppermint, nutmeg, cinnamon, peppermint or cinnamon sticks, or whatever strikes your festive fancy.

Vegan Peppermint Eggless Nog

The only real difference here in terms of ingredients is the fact that we’re using frozen bananas instead of eggs. Because of the natural sweetness they provide, you may want to consider decreasing the amount of maple syrup added or omit it.

4 bananas (peeled and frozen)
1/2 cup maple syrup, if desired
3 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 can or 6.5 oz coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of cloves, if desired

Instructions

Even easier! Put all ingredients in a blender and blend it until smooth. Garnish as above with your favorites.

Besides being delicious, eggnog is quite versatile and can be added to coffee, used in making french toast, quiche, and more! We hope you enjoy these egg- and/or dairy-free versions of eggnog with your friends and family over the holidays.

The Great Goji Groatmeal

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National Whole Grains Month inspired us to venture more into actual whole grains (none of that ‘made-with-whole-grain’ partial credit here) in this breakfast recipe. What is an oat groat? It’s the whole grain form of oatmeal, before it is steel-cut, rolled, or pulverized into an instant oatmeal package. These oat groats are chewy and take some time to cook, which is why we called upon our trusty slow cooker to work the overnight shift.

 

Ingredients
2 cups oat groats
2 tablespoons chia seeds (and/or flax seeds)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
3 cups water
3 cups of non-dairy milk (i.e. DIY almond milk)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 apples, cored and blended
1/8 cup of goji berries (or substitute with raisins)
1/3 cup cacao nibs (optional)

 

Instructions
Use a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Put oat groats, chia, shredded coconut, water, non-dairy milk, coconut oil, and goji berries (and cacao nibs if desired) inside. Blend cored apple and add to slow cooker. Stir all ingredients and cover, cooking on low for about 8 hours (automatic slow cookers should then switch over to ‘warm’ setting). Stir and serve with additional fruit (i.e. berries), nuts, seeds, or sweetener on top and enjoy a warm belly of food to start your day!

Recipe: The Best French Toast

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The Best French Toast is super-delicious and nutritious. Its list of credentials continues: it’s gluten- and dairy-free as well as vegan! Incredible.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes total
Serves: 2-4 people

Ingredients

8 pieces of gluten-free bread (we used Canyon Bakehouse)
1 medium banana, mashed
1 1/4 cup almond milk (DIY here)
1/2 tbsp flaxseed
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond meal (this will be used to coat the bread and add texture)

Instructions
Put all ingredients (except bread and almond meal) into a blender and run until well-mixed. Then transfer to shallow bowl. Preheat skillet to medium heat,  using coconut oil to grease the pan. Dip each slice of bread into the batter for about 10 seconds on each side then sprinkle almond meal carefully on each side. Place bread on skillet, cooking until golden brown on underside, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and repeat the process. Lastly, add your desired toppings! We chose blueberries cooked with maple syrup.