Peppermint Hot Chocolate
The weather - even here in Southern California - is finally getting cold and wintery. Okay cold-ish. And not very wintery. But it still makes me want to put on an extra pair of socks, curl up in bed with a warm mug and a good book and call it a night. Ever since I first whipped this recipe up a few weeks ago I've been coming back to this seasonal sipper on the regular because it's rich, chocolatey, and envelops you in sweet, decadent, Holiday-charged hug. Top it with a few marshmallows and DAMN GINA! You're gonna get just as addicted as I am, I just know it.
We also have an option to make it lighter, if super rich, delicious, chocolatey drinks aren't your favorite. Of course, if those AREN'T your favorite kind of drinks, you're probably hanging out on the wrong blog. I should be eating more greens, but I love a good cup of liquid chocolate and I'm not shy about it. Anyway - you probably have all the ingredients for this drink on hand now, and if peppermint isn't your thing you can easily leave it out or substitute a flavored extract you prefer. Do you. And do this drink, 'cause it's damn good.
On that note, Happy Holidays! We'll be back after Christmas with a new recipe, but 'till then, we hope you get to spend your Christmas in whatever way you want to spend it and that you're taste-testing all of Santa's cookies. He doesn't need to eat 'em all anyway.
Looking for a few last-minute Christmas goodies to munch? Check out our Savory Stuffed Mushrooms, milkshake-like Brandy Alexanders, and Gingersnap Buttercream Cookie Sandwiches!
1- 15 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
1 oz. (about 1/4 cup) chocolate chips OR chopped bar chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of salt
mint leaves, for garnish
vegan marshmallows, if you like 'em
In a medium saucepan whisk together the milk, sugar, and salt over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the other ingredients and cook until hot - NOT boiling. Pour into a large mug, top with marshmallows and a fresh sprig of mint, and enjoy!
Makes 1 large or 2 smaller mugs of cocoa.
For a lighter cup of hot chocolate, sub your favorite non-dairy milk in place of the coconut milk.
For a plain mug of cocoa, you can leave out the peppermint, or get creative and sub a different flavor like orange or lavender!
Detoxifying Lemon Tea
Every morning soon after waking up and washing my face, I turn on my electric kettle and walk to the backyard to get a lemon from the tree & fresh mint from the garden (ain't California great?). This drink has become my start-the-day drink, everyday. And sometimes I drink it with lunch & dinner, too. Really, anytime my digestive system starts feeling a little slow or I get a little sluggish I brew up a cup of this tea and let it work its wonders on my insides. After I posted a picture on my Instagram of my morning ritual, I realized maybe it wasn't as common as I thought. So here we are!
Its a combination of fresh lemon, mint, and a hint of maple syrup- which is a great way to help wake your sleepy digestive system after a long night of sleeping and jumpstart your metabolism in the morning. Mint promotes digestion & soothes inflammation while lemon works to balance pH, flush out toxins, and purify the blood. Basically, it's the best thing to can do for yourself and your tummy in the morning. Let's get healthy!
16 ounces water
1 lemon, squeezed
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 sprigs of fresh mint
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
a slice of fresh ginger
This is an easy one guys. Bring the water to a boil using an electric kettle or regular on the stove top. While the water heats, juice your lemon into a large (or two smaller) coffee cups. Pour in the maple syrup and cayenne, and drop in the mint sprigs, plus any addition add-in's you're adding. Pour in the water when its ready, and give the contents of the cup a good stir. Drink up!
Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Alex calls these my 'monthly' cookies, because around that time of the month you can always count on a batch of these being whipped up in our kitchen. I always mix and match a few ingredients, but the base is so solid it allows for some fun tweaks. My favorite though? My absolute favorite is THIS version- Double Chocolate Peppermint. Between the chewy cookie, chunks of rich, dark chocolate and the refreshing addition of peppermint oil, you're gonna love 'em too. And the peppermint chunks? Well those are purely optional, but certainly add to the festiveness! And since it's nearing the Holidays, these recipe is a great one to save for later (or print out lower down the page), since its damn near foolproof AND gluten-free. They're the ultimate chewy chocolate cookie- a crowd pleaser for sure!
2 cups all purpose gluten free flour mix (whole wheat works here too!)
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xantham gum (optional, use only if NOT included in your GF flour mixture)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ground flax seeds
1/2 cup nut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped bar chocolate
crushed peppermint candy, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, xantham gum (if using), and salt until well mixed. Set aside. In a mixer or with hand beaters cream together the softened coconut oil and sugar. Add ground flax, nut milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts, and mix until totally combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture about a cup at a time, mixing them together until all of the dry ingredients are completely incorporated into the wet and a soft dough forms. Pour in chocolate chunks (or chips) and use a wooden spoon or spatula to work them into the dough. Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to scoop 1 inch balls of dough onto a greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 minutes, until edges are crisp and tops begin to crack. Remove from oven, move to cooling rack, and try to not to eat them all before they cool. Once cool they can be moved to a plastic bag or airtight container and stored for about a week. Frozen they'll be good for several months- then you can pull out just one at a time instead of having an entire batch at your disposal. I never get that far.
They're great next to a tall glass of almond milk and somehow get even tastier the next day. This recipes makes a batch of 20 (ish) cookies.
Sparkling Peach Sangria with Fresh Mint
It's summertime and the livin's easy! Well, at least for a few more weeks. This weekend marks the last long weekend of summer for a lot of families before they head back to school- or just closer to colder weather. Either way, your Labor Day Veg-G-Q's will shine with this late-summer sipper. A well-rounded & flavorful sangria can be hard to find, but this light and summery concoction fits the bill: fresh peaches and mint sprigs mingle with sparkling wine, lent a hint of sweetness from the agave & a slight tartness from the lemon juice. Add a rim of sugar to class it up or serve it in coffee mugs- your guests are gonna love it either way. And while sparkling wine doesn't top the list of good-for-you drinks, the addition of fresh fruit and herbs adds to its health value.
Combine peaches anti-inflammatory properties with the alkalizing power of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and this cocktail just became the star of the show. Seriously! Did you know that drinking freshly squeezed juice allows you to absorb ALL the nutrients from said veg/ fruit? Instead of separating out the pulpy goodness- often the richest in vitamins, minerals, and good for you enzymes- it allows you down it all in one gulp. Plus, fresh juice offers proven benefits like weight loss, increased energy levels, strengthened immunity, strong bones, and a GLOWING complexion. So here's to adding fresh juice to EVERYTHING! Toss in extra whole fruit if you like, but consider adding some other fresh juices from things like ginger, pineapple, or fall apples. We suspect a few berries would be lovely, too.
Don't have a citrus squeezer? Check out this ahh-mazing citrus juicer from Williams-Sonoma. We want three, and I'm already dreaming up a much more citrusy version we could make with it- blood orange, anyone? You can check out all their juicers here.Now, let's DRINK!
1- 750 mL bottle sparkling white wine of your choice* (vegan wine options can be found at barnivore.com)
2-4 tablespoons agave nectar (more for a sweeter drink)
1 lemon, freshly squeezed
1 large peach, sliced OR cubed
5-7 sprigs of fresh mint
Turbinado sugar, for rim garnish (optional)
Pour your wine into a mixing bowl (or saucepan, or whatever container you like. If you're into making this IN the bottle...GO FOR IT!)
Mix in the agave nectar & freshly squeezed lemon juice, then toss in the peach slices and mint sprigs. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, then serve with some of the boozy peach slices and a fresh mint sprig. Add ice if you like it.
To line the glass rims in sugar, squeeze a slice of lemon around the entire rim of the cup and dip the cup, upside down, into a small plate of sugar before serving. The lemon juice sticks to the sugar and looks pretty fancy when you have guests. Plus, if you like a sweet drink, this sugar rim will lighten up each sip.
*It should be noted that Sparkling White Wine is DIFFERENT than Champagne. Feel free to try it with Champagne, but no guarantees, 'cause we didn't try it.