Healthy Holiday Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Although it’s not officially winter yet, the temperatures here in south-western Ontario are mighty chilly! I am still cranking out Green Smoothies every morning but to be honest- a cold drink just doesn’t cut it when the thermometer reads -10 C.

Yes I could race to my favourite coffee joint to warm myself up but lately I’ve been using my Vitamix to whip up my own hot drink that is just as satisfying and infinitely healthier. It’s chock full of antioxidants, magnesium, protein, iron and healthy fats and is minus the refined sugar and artificial ingredients that I’d get from my regular latte. And it tastes amazing!

Take a look at some of the potent superfood ingredients:

Raw Cacao Powder– not to be mistaken with the overprocessed “cocoa” that is often used for baking – raw cacao powder is the product of milling pure cacao beans at low temperatures. The result is a powerhouse chocolate powder that is loaded with antioxidants, magnesium and iron.

cacao powder

Raw Cacao Butter – these solid white chunks of butter are produced from the fat inside the cacao beans. But don’t forget that not all fats are created equally and the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from cacao butter are healthy and full of nutrients for our bodies. Cacao butter is an antioxidant, is good for lessening arthritic pain and is a mood enhancer. (I also used this stuff to make amazing chocolate-scented body butters).

giddy-cacao-butter-lg

Hemp Seeds– I love these tiny seeds because they are packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, balance hormones, alleviate headaches and regulate blood pressure and cholesterol.

hemp seeds

Raw Cashews– Raw cashews are naturally high in beautifying oleic acid, which is also found in high amounts in extra virgin olive oil. They are also rich in magnesium and manganese, and are a good source of selenium and zinc.

cashews

I also throw in a couple of drops of Living Libations pure Peppermint essential oil (anti-inflammatory and soothes the tummy), raw organic dates (fiber and antioxidants), pure maple syrup (antioxidants, zinc and manganese), 2 capsules of Ortho Adapt Vegan (improves mental and physical performance) and 2 capsules of Now brand Vitamin C (immune boosting) to round out my drink.

Try subbing your morning coffee with this creamy, healthy and delicious Peppermint Hot Chocolate at least 1 day per week and I’m willing to bet you’ll find it warming and satisfying. I’ve even got my toddler drinking it by cooling it off with some almond milk and calling it a “candy cane hot chocolate.” Oh and I might have stuck a marshmallow or 2 on top of his drink just for good measure!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate
(makes enough for 2 big mugfuls)

cashew cream latte

1/4 cup raw organic cashews
1/4 cup hemp seeds
2 pitted medjool dates
1 tbsp. pure maple syrup (more or less depending on desired sweetness)
2 drops food-grade peppermint essential oil
2 heaping tbsp. of raw cacao powder
1-2 medium-sized chunks of cacao butter (approx. the size of a loonie)
2 capsules Ortho Adapt Vegan
2 capsules Vitamin C
4 cups of boiling water

Combine all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend for 1 minute. Pour into big mugs and enjoy!

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Spelt Chocolate Chip Muffins with Date Puree

I don’t think I ever knowingly ate a date until I was in my 30’s (sorry if this is untrue mom but I really don’t remember ever eating one). And now I think it’s safe to say that I eat them pretty much every day.

spelt muffin date pic

Dates are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber and super sweeteners for baking, a great caramel substitute, a delicious smoothie addition and add just the perfect amount of sugary flavouring to a coffee-free latte. They are also a great snack for a sweet-tooth like myself and can keep chocolate cravings at bay at least half of the time.

I recently stumbled upon a yummy recipe for date puree that makes the perfect addition to a nutrient-dense muffin. And the most amazing thing about these muffins is that they have absolutely no added refined sugar. None! The homemade date puree provides the sweetness – with a little chocolate thrown in for good measure.

These are not gluten-free but I did use light spelt flour in place of regular flour. Spelt is a distant cousin to wheat that boasts an impressive 7,000 year history and is therefore considered an ancient grain. Dr. Andrew Weil states:

Spelt requires less fertilizer, and is more resistant to disease and pests than other forms of wheat thanks to its tough outer hull. Spelt provides a broader range of nutrients than other members of the wheat family; it’s high in manganese, vitamin B2, niacin, thiamin and copper

– Because spelt contains less gluten and is more easily digestible than wheat, many people with wheat sensitivities or allergies find that they are able to tolerate it. However, because spelt is a wheat relative containing a moderate amount of gluten, it is always unsuitable for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and sometimes even for those with wheat intolerance.

spelt muffin spelt pic

These muffins are delicious but quite dense so they are perfect for a hearty mid-morning or afternoon snack. FYI- I also brought them along in the car for my Dancing Girls and they all loved them!

Chocolate Chip Spelt Muffins (adapted from Refresh, Ruth Tal)

Date Puree:

spelt muffin date puree 2
2 1/2 cups medjool dates, pitted
2 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low heat for approx. 30 minutes.

spelt muffin date puree

Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cooled, place in a food processor or blender and puree. Store in the fridge.

Muffins:

spelt muffins
2 cups unsweetened organic soymilk
1 1/3 cups canola oil
2 cups Date Puree
1 cup chocolate chips
6 cups spelt flour
4 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt

Coconut oil for greasing muffin tins

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly oil 2 regular sized muffin trays with coconut oil.

Stir together the milk, oil, date puree and vanilla.

In a large bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Add wet ingredients to dry and combine to form a smooth batter.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake for 20 minutes. Let muffins cool in the pans before removing from trays. Enjoy!