Creamy Hot Cocoa

During this time of year, there is nothing that I crave more than proper hot cocoa with marshmallows.  When I’m not drinking my typical Starbucks tall soy half-sweet no-whip peppermint hot cocoa, I like to whip this one up.  I found the recipe years ago on VegWeb, but I can’t find it on there anymore, so here it is.  All the better topped with Dandies vegan marshmallows.

Hot Cocoa
Makes 2 servings

4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (soy, rice, almond, etc.)
optional 1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in a medium sauce pan until fully incorporated with no lumps of cocoa.  Add in your non-dairy milk, turn heat to medium-high, and use a small whisk to stir until it is creamy, frothy and hot.  No need to boil.  If adding vanilla, stir in after removed from the heat, before you serve in mugs.  Top with marshmallows and a candy cane if you’ve got ’em.

– Crystal

Bailey’s Sundae

Crystal made two batches of “Baileys” to help us get into the holiday spirit. One batch (pictured below) was for me and has about a cup of Jameson’s Whiskey in it. The other batch was alcohol free. They’re both delicious, so you can pretty much decide for yourself on that one. 
After being in the fridge for a day or two we noticed it thickened up and took on the consistency of a thick cream or mousse. So yeah, obviously then we made sundaes and watched Home Alone. 
If yours has thickened in the fridge like ours did, you can return it to its intended consistency by letting it sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving. 
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 2 tbs chocolate syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup whiskey (or to taste!) I suggest Jameson’s.

(if making this alcohol-free, substitute the whiskey with 1/2 cup of water)


Mexico Eats

Hola amigos!  
What a whirlwind month.  Of course our oven broken during MoFo!  Argh!  It was just replaced last Friday.  5 weeks without one, which is ridiculous but hardly surprising since we rent.

We were also in the Riviera Maya in Mexico during the last month for a while.  As it turns out, it was not at all difficult to get good vegan grub in that area.  The resort we stayed at had a more than adequate buffet; the fresh, local fruit at the breakfast buffet was lovely (fresh papaya and pineapple, mmm), there was lots of little Latin sweets to eat (coconut shreds drenched in fruit syrup shaped into little squares, and my favourite, deep fried tortillas sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar and drizzled with a simple syrup, yum!), and they even had a little section labeled “Vegetarian” at the dinner buffet.  Not all of it was vegan, but a lot was!

We also had great success on the times we ate in the town of Playa del Carmen.  A sample of what we had:

Mandarin and lime sorbet

Lemonade with chia seeds

Oatmeal horchata

Whole roasted habaneros were served often as a meal accompaniment.

Mexican-Asian fusion tacos, stuffed with meaty soy strips, greens,  grilled vegetables and a great hot-sweet sauce from 100% Natural.  Note the cheese on the guacamole…lesson learned, even if you ask to ensure there is no dairy cheese or sour cream on the tacos, they might still put it on other stuff.   

Burritos stuffed with an assortment of grilled veggies, with black bean sauce, guacamole and rice.  

People were very accommodating if you asked.  Everyone was very friendly and were more than happy to prepare something vegan, and fortunately, we hardly came across anyone who acted as though it was a foreign, strange concept.  Good experience overall!

– Crystal

Chia Lemonade

I was so inspired by the chia tamarind drink that I decided to use chia seeds to add some interest to my very favourite lemonade recipe.  Nothing beats lemonade on a hot, sticky day.  Chia is neat and I like to use it where I can – it’s full of protein, fibre, omega 3s and antioxidants.

It’s really simple.

Step 1
Create a simple syrup. Combine equal parts of white sugar and water in a saucepan. Place the mixture over low heat while stirring constantly to prevent the sugar from browning. Remove from heat immediately once you achieve a syrupy consistency. Let it cool.

Step 2

To create the lemonade itself, use this ratio: 1 part lemon juice, 1 part syrup, 2 parts of cold water. Stir well and adjust according to taste or preference.

Step 3
The fun part is dressing it up.  I like to add fresh pineapple to give it a bit of a tropical taste, which you can see in the photos.  Pineapple and chopped fresh mint make a great combo.  If you’d like to add chia seeds, I recommend adding 1 tbsp per 4 cups.  Berries make a nice addition, too.
Mmm, chia.

– Crystal

Nicaraguan Tamarind Chia Drink

During the summer there are many food and culture festivals where we live. Like, right down the street from us. Every year there is this Nicaraguan place which sells rice and beans, fried plantains, plantain chips, cabbage salad, coffee, corn on the cob, and a variety of ridiculously refreshing beverages. I hit up this stall probably ten thousand times this weekend.
The Chia drink pictured below is a particular favorite. I told Crystal that I’m thinking of moving to Nicaragua to drink this daily. Are you sensing my passion for this beverage yet? This drink seems to be a combination of fruit juice, tamarind, and obviously chia seeds. When you soak chia seeds they take on a gelatinous texture, not unlike tiny balls of tapioca (think Bubble Tea with hundreds of tiny “bubbles”). This drink is insanely delicious. If you’re Nicaraguan and you have a recipe for this pleeeease send it to me. If you live in the London, Ontario area then get down to one of the summer festivals and try this drink. I also highly recommend the Cebada drink, which is pineapple juice and barley and a bunch of other stuff. Amazing!