Category

Beverages

Cold Brew Cacao with Hazelnut milk

Cold brew cacao is rich and smooth with subtle notes of true cinnamon, cardamom and chocolate. Whizzed in the blender with a splash of raw hazelnut milk and a drop of hazelnut flavoured stevia is my favourite way to enjoy this refreshing brew. I am not a coffee drinker, not because I don’t like it, it just doesn’t agree with me. Making a cold brew with cacao instead of coffee is the perfect way to reap the benefits of raw cacao on a hot summer day.  Theobromine, the stimulant in cacao results in a steady crash-free buzz unlike caffeine and is loaded with antioxidants and minerals.

Raw cacao nibs are readily available at your local health food store and if you want to make your own hazelnut milk, follow the instructions for hazelnut milk in the “Nut Nog” recipe.

Special equipment: food processor and blender

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 11/2 cups of raw cacao nibs
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp. of true cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. crushed cardamom pods
  • a 1 gallon jug
  • a nut milk bag
  • 1 recipe of raw hazelnut milk or milk of your choice
  • hazelnut flavoured stevia

 

In a food processor, grind the cacao nibs to a coarse powder. Grinding it too fine will allow the beans to escape through the nut milk bag so keep it fairy coarse.

 

 

 

Line a 1 gallon jar or large pitcher with a nut milk bag, securing the bag around the top of the jar or jug. Scoop the ground cacao nibs, the cinnamon and crushed cardamom pods into the nut milk bag and then pour 9 cups of water over the ground cacao into the jar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover the jar with a tea towel and let the cacao steep in the water overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the cacao filled nut milk bag from the jar, squeezing gently to remove the excess liquid. Strain the remaining cacao tea into a pitcher using a fine mesh strainer or a chinois as pictured below.

 

 

 

Store the mixture in the fridge.

To Serve:

Combine 1 cup of the cold brew cacao in a high speed blender with 1/4 cup of fresh hazelnut milk, a few ice cubes and a few drops of hazelnut flavoured liquid stevia or to taste. (Remember that stevia is extremely sweet so add a little at a time!)

Enjoy!

 

White Hot Chocolate Matcha Latte

Raw cashews and a little coconut oil provide a rich creamy backdrop for the green matcha in this white hot chocolate! Because the cashews are so high in fat, there is no need to strain the milk through a nut milk bag. All of the ingredients are simply combined and blended until creamy and frothy!

As an alternative to regular matcha, try jasmine or chai flavoured matcha if you can get your hands on some!

 

 

 

Ingredients:

Serves 2

  • 1/4 cup of raw cashews
  • 1 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  • 4 Tbsp. of cacao butter, chopped
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. maple syrup or honey (or more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 tsp. matcha powder (more if desired)
  • 2 cups boiled water

 

 

Combine all of the ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. The cashews should be completely blended into the water. Add more matcha or sweetener if desired. Pour into two of your prettiest mugs! Enjoy!

Spring Spruce Tip Soda

Because we are limited with what we can grow in our Rocky Mountain Climate, I love to wander a little further than my back yard to see what grows wild! In late May and early June spruce trees are bursting with rubbery spring green needles that are loaded with vitamin c, carotenoids, potassium, magnesium, and chlorophyll. The natives traditionally used them to treat coughs and sore throats. Spruce needles when rolled between two fingers, roll easily as they are fairly round. If you can’t roll the needle you most likely have a fir needle which is a little flatter!

A simple syrup made from the buds is lemony and almost reminiscent of elderflowers! I can hardly wait to flavour my kombucha with this syrup!

The buds can be harvested in the spring and either used immediately or frozen for use in the winter months.

I combine the syrup with carbonated water but I bet it would be amazing incorporated into a cocktail with Gin or Vodka!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen spruce tips (see photos below)
  • 2 cups of organic cane sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • juice from one lemon

Combine water and sugar in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn off the heat. Add the spruce tips and fresh lemon juice. Cover and let sit for 4-6 hours. Strain and store refrigerated in a mason jar.

To serve:

Combine 1 Tbsp. of the spruce tip syrup with 8 to 12 oz. of carbonated water over ice with a squeeze of lemon!

 

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Iced Raspberry Hibiscus Tease

I love to brew this rosy citrus flavoured tea in a big pitcher in the sun along with cinnamon and star anise. Native to Africa, hibiscus is rich in    antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and is loaded with electrolytes which make this tea a great post-workout drink. You can use whatever sweetener that you like, however;  I find that powdered stevia works well with the tart flavour of hibiscus with the added bonus of it being calorie free!

Hibiscus flowers can be found at your local tea or health food store in bulk. They are often labelled as “Jamaica” flowers.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of dried hibiscus flowers
  • 8 cups of water
  • a stick of cinnamon
  • two whole star anise
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen organic unsweetened raspberries, lightly crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. of powdered white stevia or to taste ( I use the Now brand of powdered white stevia)

 

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Combine water, dried hibiscus, cinnamon, and star anise in a large glass pitcher. Set out in the sun for 5 hours. As the hibiscus infuses into the water it will turn a deep, rich, red colour.  Strain the tea and place it back into the pitcher.

 

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Add the 1/2 cup of crushed raspberries and stevia to taste. Place in the refrigerator to cool. The longer it sits in the fridge the more pronounced the raspberry flavour will be. Serve over ice.

“Be The Chai That You Want To See In The World”!

I arrived home from India last week with a bag full of organic spices on a mission to recreate an authentic Chai Masala! Unlike the chai that we buy here in a tetra pack or a simple tea bag, it is made in India from freshly ground spices that are added to a mixture of milk, water, and black tea. All of the spices are readily found in your local market. I experimented with a few non-dairy milks and I found that I got the cleanest flavour from using a freshly squeezed coconut milk, however you can use whatever milk that you like.

 

 

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The Spice Mixture:

  • one Tbsp. of ground dried ginger
  • 4 Tbsp. of freshly shelled cardamom seeds *
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground  whole nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks (4 in.)
  • 1 Tbsp. whole star anise
  • 1 Tbsp. whole fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla powder

 

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*to shell the cardamom, blast it in your blender on high for 15 seconds or so. This will be enough to break the outer shell from the seeds inside. Place into a bowl and remove the outer green papery husks!

Combine all of the spices in a high speed blender until powdered. Store in an  airtight container until ready to use.

 

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Raw Coconut Milk:

  • 1 cup of raw organic, unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 cups of water

Blend the coconut and the water on high in your blender for about 45 seconds. Line a medium sized bowl with your nut milk bag. Pour the blended mixture into the nut milk bag over the bowl and then gather up the ends in your hands and gently squeeze the milk into the bowl. Discard the pulp. (see Nut Nog recipe for nut milk instructions if necessary) Store fresh coconut milk in the fridge.

Chai Masala:

serves 4

In a medium sized saucepan combine:

  • 2 cups of prepared coconut milk
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 Tbsp. of organic black tea
  • 2 tsp. of ground spice mixture
  • 1 tsp. of freshly grated ginger (opt.)
  • 3 Tbsp. of raw organic cane sugar (or more to taste)

Bring to a boil. Simmer 3 minutes.  Adjust the flavours by adding more spice or sugar if desired. Keep in mind that the sugar really brings out the flavours of the spices. An under sweetened chai can be a little disappointing! Remove from the stove. Pour the tea through a strainer to remove the tea and spice solids before pouring into your teapot to serve!

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Raw Drinking Chocolate

This basic raw chocolate ganache blends up in minutes and lends itself to a variety of flavourings. I have experimented with dried ancho chilies, and essential oils of peppermint, orange, lavender, and rose, a perfect Valentines gift packaged in 250ml mason jars!

It can be blended with warm or hot water ( depending on how fussy you are about it remaining completely raw) and a little coconut oil  to create a rich and creamy dairy-free treat. I like to serve it in smaller espresso-like cups by the 1/2 cup because it is so rich!

Raw Cacao contains more vitamins and minerals than its roasted counterpart and rumour has it that Aztec Emperor Montezuma would consume 50 cups of cacao before visiting his harem!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup clear raw agave syrup
  • 3/4 cup raw organic cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup chopped raw organic cacao butter, melted over low heat
  • 1/8 tsp. himalayan pink salt
  •  tsp. raw wildcrafted vanilla powder ( or 2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract)

 

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Flavour options:

  • 1 small dried ancho chilli, stemmed, seeded and ground to a powder in the blender, and 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon
  • 5 drops of either, orange, peppermint, lavender, or rose essential oil. (make sure that your oils are high quality, food-grade)

Blend the agave, cacao powder, melted cacao butter, salt and vanilla in a high seed blender until smooth. Add your choice of flavours and blend again to incorporate. Spoon into a 1 cup mason jar or two 1/2 cup jars to give as gifts!

You can store it in the refrigerator for an extended period of time however; it is stable at room temperature for up to 1 month.

To make the hot chocolate:

Combine 11/2 tbsp. of your raw drinking chocolate ganache with 1/2 cup of warm or hot water and 1 tsp. of raw coconut oil in a high speed blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve in a small coffee or espresso cup.

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Golden Milk

Turmeric, which gives this healing almond milk elixir its golden colour, is a peppery, orange, warming root most commonly known as a curry ingredient. It has long been used as a powerful anti-inflammatory and liver tonic in both Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. The bioavailability of the medicinal component called curcumin, is enhanced by added a little fresh cracked black pepper to the milk. Cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg add a chai-like flavour and are great for digestion.

You can use a brewed, cooled chai tea in place of the water when making the almond milk. ( you may want to reduce the amounts of the spices if you do)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked in water for 12 hours
  • 6 cups of water (or cooled herbal chai tea)
  • 1/4 cup pitted medjool dates
  • 1 Tbsp. turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp. turmeric extract or 2 a two in piece of fresh turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • a pinch of himalayan salt
  • 3 Tbsp. of raw honey

Blend the soaked, drained almonds in a high speed blender with 3 cups of the water and the dates to start. Once blended, add the remaining water and blend again until smooth.

*see the Nut Nog recipe for basic almond milk instructions.

Line a medium sized bowl with a nut milk bag. Pour the contents of the blender into the bag. Twist the top of the bag with your hands to prevent the pulp from escaping and gently squeeze the bag to expel all of the almond milk.

Return the milk to the blender along with the turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and raw honey. Blend until combined and frothy. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. (lasts up to 4 days) Golden Milk can either be consumed cold or warmed for a comforting evening drink!

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Chaga Chai Latte

In the winter I always have a batch of this chai concentrate on hand to create a warming elixir. Simply mix it with equal parts fresh almond milk (or milk of your choice) before heating to serve! I like to keep it caffeine free for an after dinner treat, (all of the spices are digestive tonics) however; you can add a bag of organic black tea to the mix as it brews if desired.

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David Wolfe refers to Chaga as “King of the Medicinal Mushrooms” It is truly a remarkable mushroom that grows on living birch trees. It is an adaptogen which is a metabolic regulator that increases an organism’s ability to adapt to environmental factors and resist stress. It is also known for its cancer fighting and immune boosting properties and is known to tonify the digestive tract, promote longevity and protect DNA. It is readily found, ground,  in most natural food and herb stores.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. ground chaga mushroom
  • 1/2 tsp. whole fennel seeds
  • 6 slices of fresh ginger
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole cardomom pods, crushed
  • 1/8 tsp. finely grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder
  • a pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

Bring all ingredients except for the maple syrup to a boil. Turn the heat down to simmer for 1/2 an hour. Add the maple syrup or honey. Pour into a 1 litre mason jar along with all of the spices. The flavours will continue to intensify if you keep the spices in with the concentrate. Allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator.

To brew:

In a small saucepan combine equal parts chai concentrate and almond milk. Heat to serve!

Note: see the Nut Nog recipe for almond milk instructions.

Nut Nog

This “Nut Nog” is made with fresh almond milk and fresh frozen Thai Young Coconut Meat! This vegan nog is thick, creamy, and delicious all on its own but a splash of brandy or rum is  also a tasty addition.

Making your own nut milk is not only satisfying but also much more nutritious and cost effective than buying the watery store bought milks. Frozen thai young coconut can be purchased at your local natural foods market. You can also use fresh thai young coconuts if they are available.

 

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Ingredients:  Serves 4

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  • 1 cup of thawed or fresh Thai Young coconut meat
  • 2 cups of fresh almond or hazelnut milk
  • 1/4 tsp. grated organic orange rind
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup or more to taste
  • a pinch of vanilla powder or a tsp. of pure vanilla extract
  • a pinch of turmeric powder to give it an authentic egg nog colour
  • freshly grated nutmeg to garnish

To make the nut milk:

  • 1 cup raw almonds or hazelnuts, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups of water
  • 3 pitted medjool dates
  • 1/2 tsp. of soy lecithin granules or sunflower lecithin (optional, keeps it from separating)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Strain the soaked nuts. Combine in a high speed blender with 4 cups of water, dates, vanilla, and lecithin if using.

Blend until smooth. Line a bowl with a nut milk bag. Pour the contents of the blender into the bag and twist the top to prevent the pulp from getting into your strained milk. Gently squeeze the bag over the bowl until all of the liquid has been extracted. The pulp can be frozen or dehydrated and ground into nut flour for later use.

Store the prepared nut milk in a sealed bottle or mason jar in the fridge. It will last about 4 days.

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To make the nut nog:

Combine the coconut meat, nut milk, orange rind, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, maple syrup, vanilla, and turmeric in a high speed blender until smooth and frothy. Serve topped with fresh finely grated nutmeg and a splash of rum or brandy if desired!

 

 

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Elderberry and Elderflower Lemon Ginger tea

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Elderberry and Elderflower are traditionally used for fighting colds and flu by boosting the immune system. Brew a batch of this delicious hot drink at the first sign. I usually take it three times a day to start off and then once a day after a few days.  Brew a large batch and keep it in the refrigerator to heat up by the cup. You can find elderberries and flowers at your local health food store.

Did I mention that Harry Potter’s most powerful wand was made from the elderberry tree?

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups water
  • 3 tbsp. of dried elderberries
  • 1 tbsp. of dried elderflowers
  • 8 slices of fresh ginger
  • a squeeze of lemon to taste
  • raw honey to taste

Bring the water to a boil. Add the elderberries, elderflowers and fresh ginger.

Simmer for 20 minutes over medium heat.

To serve add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a tbsp. of raw honey per cup.

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