4 Beverages for Cozy Weather

The weather here in the Midwest likes to engage in a bit of trickery. Last week, it was sunny and in the 70s and this week, well, it feels like winter. It’s time to pull out the hats and coats as well as the ingredients for making some warming, cozy beverages. Here are some recipes to fit the season:

  • Our Dairy-free Hot Chocolate was a staple recipe nearly every evening last winter. Whether we were reading a favorite book or magazine or watching holiday movies and the Great British Baking Show, hot chocolate was by our side.
  • For those who don’t want to have to choose between hot chocolate and coffee, we have a most excellent collaboration between the two: 5-spice Hot Choffee (choffee being a portmanteau of hot chocolate and coffee)
  • Celebrate with some Peppermint Eggnog! The egg-less, vegan version is included too.
  • Make yourself the Perfect Cup of Tea and head over to cuddle up on the couch. Increase your knowledge of teas and check in with yourself about which one you need.
  • Whichever beverage you choose to warm yourself up or celebrate with, enjoy!

    Recipe: 🎃 Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

    We are well aware that anything pumpkin spice related is “basic white girl” so we’ll spare you both in the name of this delicious smoothie and with photos of us throwing leaves in the air for Instagram with the #thankful.

    A note about this recipe: like some of the other frozen banana recipes, the reason we like to use them this way is due to the ice crystals and creamy texture they impart. Remember to peel your bananas and then stick them in a baggie to freeze for at least a couple of hours.

    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Servings: 2; makes about 5 cups total

    Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

    Ingredients

    2 bananas, frozen

    1 can of organic pureed pumpkin, 15oz

    1 scoop protein powder (we used banana cinnamon pea protein from Truvani)

    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    1/2 tbsp organic maple syrup

    2 cups cashew milk

    Dairy-free whipped cream (optional)

    Instructions

    Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until contents have creamy texture. Enjoy with some dairy-free whipped cream on top, if desired.

    10 Healthy, Plant-based Fall Snacks 🍂

    Maybe it’s all the autumn activities or just the season of our lives, but we’re probably not alone in feeling like a squirrel on a sugar-high. Scattered. Busy. Trying to maintain a mental map of the yards where we hid our nuts. Okay, maybe not the last one.

    Still, the increase in activity, even if just shopping on Early Prime Days, tends to lend itself to eating more snacks. And that’s okay. Let’s try to have some that land on the healthier side of the spectrum. Here are healthy, plant-based fall snacks that run the gamut from no-bake and about 10 minutes to delicious, baked goods that might have you salivating at the ding of the timer after 45 minutes of somewhat patiently waiting at the oven door.

    Gold Mine Pudding

    Celebrity Couple! Choco-cado Cookies

    The Anytime Warm Apple Crisp

    Gluten-free Cashew Coconut Bread

    10TV Recipe: Cocoa-Maca Energy Balls

    Just another Mochi Monday

    Chocolate Chunk Tahini Cookies

    ‘Nacho’ Average Nachos

    Death-by-Chocolate Zucchini Bread

    Roasted Root Vegetables

    Enjoy!

    Recipe: Just another Mochi Monday 🍡

    *Reference to an 80s band, hints below!

    What is mochi?

    Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from short-grain glutinous rice. Let’s take a moment to define the term glutinous; it sounds like it would have gluten in it, but it actually means having a gummy or glue-like quality. As long as your mochi is made from rice, without any added glutenous (which means gluten-containing) ingredients, this is a perfectly good dessert option for those who are gluten-free. In making mochi, the rice is pounded into paste and a desired shape.

    Is mochi healthy?

    For a treat, mochi is definitely a healthier option than most out there. It has carbohydrates from the rice and nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, niacin (B vitamin) and some potassium and iron.

    What does it taste like?

    Plain kiri (rectangular) mochi tastes like a sweet, chewy marshmallow-rice mix. It’s stretchy like bubblegum and has a soft texture.

    How does one eat mochi?

    A multitude of options await one who is eagerly staring down some puffed up mochi. You can choose to make it into a nori sandwich by placing the mochi in a sheet of nori and adding some tamari or soy sauce. Mochi can be cubed and added to soups as dumplings. It’s known as a cheese substitute that could be grated into lasagnas or quesadillas (we’ve not tried these yet). As a simple, salty snack just dip mochi into soy sauce or tamari. For those who prefer a sweeter version, try it with some maple syrup and nuts (recipe below).

    When is the best time to enjoy some mochi? Pretty much anytime really. While walking down your street, like an Egyptian. When a hazy shade of winter falls around us. Though we’ve eaten it during every season, autumn is a perfect time to have this nice, warm treat

    All we can say is that this treat will probably ignite an Eternal Flame of dessert desire in your heart. Get it?

    Prep time: 2 minutes

    Cook time: about 13 minutes

    Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

    Ingredients

    2 mochi, kiri type (we used the Eden brand, individually wrapped)

    1/2 tbsp maple syrup

    1/8 cup organic pecans

    1/2 tsp cinnamon

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper on baking sheet and then the mochi on top. When oven reaches designated temperature, transfer baking sheet onto top rack. Bake for about 13 minutes or until mochi “puffs” out sufficiently (turn on oven light and watch the baking ‘magic’) and is nicely toasted.

    *Did you figure out the 80s band? What do you think of mochi? Let us know in the comments below.

    Why you Need to Eat Honeynut…Squash?!

    Truth be told, the only ‘honey nut’ food item we had heard of, before a couple of weeks ago, was of the breakfast cereal variety. Luckily, one of our favorite organic produce stands at the farmers market added to our lexicon AND our playing with a new, rather cute food in the kitchen.

    What exactly is honeynut squash?

    Honeynut squash is the ‘child’ of butternut squash and buttercup squash. This crossbreeding gives it a flavor and shape akin to butternut squash, but it is sweeter and more the ‘pocket-size’ version of its parent. Perhaps think of honeynut squash as your own personal butternut squash.

    Why you’ll want to eat it

    It’s delicious. As mentioned above, it is sweeter than butternut squash- and spoiler alert! – even more so if roasted. And we haven’t even dove into why it’s great for your health yet…

    What honeynut squash does for you nutritionally

    As with most winter squashes, honeynut squash contains a high level of vitamin A and beta-carotene (which gives it the yellow-orange color). It’s also a wonderful source of minerals such as potassium, iron, copper, calcium and zinc. Known for helping with energy production, B vitamins are in good supply here in this squash too.

    How to incorporate it

    One of the best, and easiest ways to cook honeynut squash, just like butternut, is to roast it. Then you can turn it into caramelized cubes of golden-orange sweetness that can be added to a salad. It can also be added to pasta and even turned into a quick, blended soup.

    Stay tuned! We’ll have an easy, delicious recipe for you coming up in the next few weeks.

    Top 11: One-minute Energy Boosters 🤣

    Unless you have the exuberance of a young child, most of us could use more energy – whether to fulfill our dreams or even just our quotidian responsibilities. The good news: there’s no need to artificially jolt yourself into action with another coffee or energy drink. A few of these natural energy boosters can provide enjoyable, longer-lasting energy for you. Give them a try!

    1. Bouncing or jumping in place and shaking out your hands can be a nice way of shaking off a negative feeling or worries and giving you a bit more energy.

    2. As your shower comes to an end, turn the knob for cool or cold water and let it run over your head, each raised underarm and on your lower back.

    3. Drink a glass of water – this can boost your energy and your detoxification processes.

    4. A minute of laughing can be an excellent mental health and energy booster. Prepare for tears of laughter with this.

    5. For a little pep in the afternoon, place a few drops of peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball and place it in your palms, cupping hands over your face. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

    6. Sing the chorus of your favorite song, aloud if you can. Today’s pick was the oldie-but-goodie “More than a Feeling” by Boston.

    7. Go outside – stand in the sun (if it’s out) and notice the temperature, breeze, smells, the birds communicating, colors of leaves and whatever else your senses are picking up.

    8. Play with your pet. A laser pointer or dangly toy for your cat or hide-and-seek with your dog. We like to play ‘tag’ with our bunnies then ‘catch’ and provide cuddles.

    9. Squats. One minute of these will get your blood flowing to and from those large muscles (quads). This can be easily done during breaks from desk work.

    10. Have a small snack – perhaps DIY Hippie Granola with yogurt, a banana with nut butter, or a small handful of nuts.

    11. Engage with a friend or loved one who lifts your spirits. Even a quick text during the day can boost both of you.

    Which ones worked for you? Let us know in the comments below.

    Recipe: Blueberry & Peach Compote 🍑

    Ooh wee! Have you seen the fresh peaches available at farmers markets and grocery stores? If you haven’t already, grab a few along with a pint of blueberries for this sweet, no-added sugar dessert. Compote usually involves fruit cooked in a syrup or with sugar but we just used water and a bit of cinnamon. It’s wonderful to have for breakfast or as a dessert. Life’s a peach!

    Prep time: 5 minutes

    Cook time: about 30-40 minutes

    Servings: ~ 9

    Ingredients

    4-5 ripe, fresh peaches

    1 pint blueberries

    1 tsp cinnamon

    Instructions

    Dice peaches and put in medium saucepan with enough water to cover the bottom. Add blueberries and cinnamon. Cook on low, stirring occasionally, for about 30-45 minutes or until fruit has softened. Enjoy on its own, with oatmeal in the mornings, or with vanilla ice cream in the evenings.

    Kiwi? Oui Oui! 🥝

    Nope, it’s not about the flightless bird or New Zealanders today – we are all about this tiny, overlooked fruit in grocery store that has so much to offer you. What are its nutritional credentials exactly? Well, here’s a start:

    • It has about twice the vitamin C of oranges, per serving
    • Constipated? There’s more to help than prunes and psyllium – kiwi contains fiber and an enzyme that maybe help move things along, if you get our drift
    • Folate – this B vitamin helps prevent neural tube defects in pregnancies but is also important for building red blood cells and reducing homocysteine levels
    • Antioxidants to help neutralize free radical damage

    A common question is whether one can eat the skin or not. Yes, you can eat the skin. It’s fuzzy and can kind of tickle the mouth a bit, but it has fiber and the skin doesn’t have much of a taste on its own. In terms of the fruit, the texture is similar to that of a banana but with crunchy seeds in the middle (similar to chia seeds). We think these elements come together to create an interesting and sweet snack.

    How to eat kiwis:

    The easiest way is to slice it up and enjoy it on its own.

    We love it in our Red, White & Blueberry Fruit Tart and Spiced Vanilla Chia Pudding.

    How will you eat your kiwi? Share in the comments below.

    Recipe: Coconut Almond Smoothie 🥥

    After chilly rain earlier this week, the Ohio weather gods have bestowed 60-degree weather upon us. Time to break out your blender and get some chocolate & spring greens in.

    Join us in relishing this delicious, anti-inflammatory smoothie that is great for gut health!


    Ingredients
    2 cups almond milk
    2 tbsp cacao powder
    1 tbsp cacao nibs
    2 tsp chia seeds
    1 cup fresh blueberries
    1 cup spinach
    2 medjool dates
    1 tbsp almond butter
    2 tbsp shredded coconut

    Instructions
    Add all ingredients to the blender and blend well. Add additional non-dairy milk or water
    to reach desired consistency. Enjoy!


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    Recipe: Plant-based Taco Tuesday 🌮

    You definitely don’t need it to be a Tuesday to enjoy these tasty tacos, but “Sunday Tacos” doesn’t exactly have the desired alliteration. We like to call these the Anytime Tacos – the ‘t’ sound is still in there and it’s much more freeing – but social convention is a powerful thing. Regardless, have this crunchy, delicious, and nutrient-dense meal whenever you’d like. Remember the “Got Milk” slogan? Well, this calcium-rich meal actually does a body good. Enjoy!

    Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

    Prep time: 10-15 minutes, depending on number of condiments offered

    Serves: 3-4 people

    Ingredients

    1 package of 12 hard taco shells (we used Siete grain-free ones)

    1 head of lettuce, romaine or green leaf, chopped

    1 can, 15oz of black beans and/or our cauliflower & walnut crumble recipe (if time allows)

    1 tsp taco seasoning

    2 tomatoes, diced

    2 avocados, sliced

    1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

    1 jar of salsa to share

    2 limes, sliced (optional)

    Instructions

    Rinse beans from a can and then put in a small pot over low heat. Add taco seasoning and stir; simmer for about 5 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for the tacos. While waiting, prep lettuce, avocado, cilantro, tomatoes and limes. Follow directions on hard taco shell box for how long to heat them up in the oven (about 2-3 minutes). Plate tacos and allow each dinner guest or family member to decorate their own tacos with the condiments provided. Lime juice provides a nice splash of flavor and acidity to the meal. Your taste buds might just shout ¡olé!