“Is there anything better on a cold winter’s day than a mug filled with frothy, creamy hot cocoa? Hot chocolate is like a drinkable hug that fills the body with warmth, love and comfort. However, traditional hot chocolate is filled with sugar and cow’s milk, both of which do the opposite for the body. Don’t worry, I have a holiday gift for you! Voilà a milky hot cocoa mix that does a body – and mind – good. Give this to someone you love, whether it be a dear friend, family member or amoureux. Or, take a pause from the holiday craziness, sit down, relax and use this as a winter treat to remind yourself how much you love… YOU.“
For two servings:
2 generous tablespoons of raw cacao powder
¼ tsp of vanilla powder
¼ tsp of cinnamon powder
1-2 tsps of coconut sugar
A pinch of salt (Himalayan or sea salt)
Optional (for a creamier texture and a caramel flavor): 1 tablespoon of Mesquite powder
Optional (for a very hot hot chocolate!): A pinch of Cayenne pepper
Add all powders to a small parchment or cotton bag and close with a ribbon.
Give it to your loved ones as a cute holiday present, or add to your bag and drink wherever you are! You can also add just hot water if you’re on the go or don’t have access to homemade nut milk.
When you’re ready to eat it : split the mixture between two mugs.
Warm a homemade cashew milk* in a small pot over the stove.
Add the hot coco mixture and mix with a spoon. Cover and simmer until warmed, but not boiling.
Pour the mixture into a mug and sip slowly as you allow it to make you and your insides very merry (and very healthy!)
*Homemade cashew milk (for 2 servings):
½ cup of cashews
2 cups of coconut water OR 2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of coconut butter or coconut oil
1 Medjool date
¼ tsp of vanilla powder
Soak cashews for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight, until they are soft. Add to a blender (preferably a Vitamix) with the other ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. You can filter through a nut milk bag or sieve or leave as is for a very thick milk.
For the Mesquite and Vanilla powders, I recommend Wilderness poets.
For the cacao, make sure it is raw cacao – I like Wilderness Poets or Navitas Naturals.
When serving, feel free to add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup to sweeten.
“This granolove is a great gift for your family and friends…and for you since your entire kitchen will emit the most incredible aroma for hours!
Make a huge batch and enjoy snacking on it while you prepare your holiday festivities or have on hand for last-minute guests.“
For 4-6 portions
(Surgeon Greeneral’s warning: This granola is extremely addictive and may disappear quickly!)
1 cup of oats (preferably gluten-free)
½ cup of quinoa flakes
¼ cup of shredded coconut
1/2 cup of raw buckwheat groats
¼ cup of raw almonds
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds
¼ cup of sunflower seeds
¼ cup of applesauce (homemade or organic and sugar-free)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
¼ tsp of vanilla powder
¼ tsp of cinnamon
¼ tsp of ginger powder
¼ cup of dried mulberries and/or golden raisins
A pinch of sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
Crush almonds into small pieces. Add to a big bowl with all of the other dry ingredients.
Heat coconut oil in a small casserole dish over the stove over low heat until the coconut oil is liquid.
Add maple syrup and stir to combine.
Remove from heat and pour over the dry mixture with the applesauce. Stir to combine.
Place on parchment paper on an oven-safe baking dish.
Cook for around 20 minutes or until fragrant and crispy.
Mix with a spoon to even out and continue to cook, stirring every 5 minutes or so until it is crispy and golden brown, but not burned.
Remove from the oven and let cool for around 10-15 minutes. Store in a glass storage container.
To gift, add a few spoonfuls to small paper bags or to small glass jars.
You can decorate the tops or add a cute note attached with a ribbon.
This granola is great with some homemade cashew milk (see above), some coconut yogurt (Make your own or I love Anita’s if you’re in the NY area – http://anitas.co) or served on top of a smoothie or a warm apple compote.
It’s also delicious as a snack by itself!
HOLIDAY GÂTEAU TO-GO!
“Make every day a holiday with this easy, make-ahead bowl of deliciousness.
This may taste like cake, but it’s a great gift. Just add plant-based milk of choice, pour over it and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
You can even warm it up gently over the stove for a warming winter meal, perfect during holiday time.
Mulberries are truly magical – these superfruits are a force of Mother nature with protein, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, not to mention they are a great support for the immune system, which as we know tends to need some extra TLC this time of year. If you can’t find mulberries, try dried figs instead.“
1/3 cup gluten-free oats (or try mixing gluten-free oats with gluten-free quinoa flakes)
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
1 cup of crème-de-la –cashew-crème*
1/8 tsp of ginger powder
1 tablespoon of coconut flakes
2 tablespoons (or around 12) mulberries
Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well.
Place into a bag and tie with a ribbon or add to a small glass Ball jar.
All your gift recipient needs to do is add milk, mix together, let sit for a few hours or overnight and voilà! Breakfast is served.
When ready to eat, top with banana, fruit and toppings of choice.
Rebecca Leffler is a Paris-based writer and journalist who, after a career as the French correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and as a film critic on Canal+, traded red carpets for green smoothies. She’s written five books about healthy lifestyle from Paris to NYC and beyond, including Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season, and most recently Le Nouveau Manuel de la Cuisine Végétale. Rebecca has pioneered the “vegolution” in Paris, where she continues to organize events focusing on healthy eating, yoga and la vie en rose… And green! You can keep up with Rebecca on Instagram!