Peppermint mocha ❄️☕️

I got this recipe from a health wiz I know Mandy. Her version was hot chocolate but I turned mine into a mocha by mixing with coffee. Yum! I was actually surprised how similar it tasted to a store bought peppermint mocha from somewhere like Starbucks but clearly without all the SUGAR and also artificial junk.

Here are the ingredients in a Starbucks peppermint mocha:

Milk, Brewed Espresso, Peppermint Syrup [Sugar, Water, Natural Flavor, Sodium Benzoate, Citric Acid], Mocha Sauce [Water, Sugar, Cocoa Processed With Alkali, Vanillin], Whipped Cream [Cream (Cream, Milk, Mono And Diglycerides, Carrageenan), Vanilla Syrup [Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Acid)], Dark Chocolate Curls [Sugar, Chocolate Mass (Processed With Alkali), Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract].

You guys, this SB drink has 54 GRAMS OF SUGAR!!!!!!!!!!!!! I looked it up on their website. That’s a lot, not quite double but almost to a can of coca-cola (35g of sugar).

Here are the ingredients you will use to make this peppermint mocha:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond milk
  • 1 heaping spoon raw honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp carob powder (Mandy says raw but I could only find roasted)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 drops food grade peppermint essential oil
  • dash of sea salt

Mandy also uses 1 tbsp cacao butter which makes it creamier but I didn’t have that. It might be more essential to a hot chocolate than a mocha. Above, makes 2 mugs of the mocha, but 1 cup hot chocolate as you won’t be mixing half coffee.

I don’t know exactly how many g of sugar this drink has, because of course honey does have sugar properties, but I know that it’s a lot less. I also know that unlike white sugar that provides no benefit to your body whatsoever, that raw honey at least does carry some.

I was also somewhat skeptical about adding essential oil to my drink, but if you do your research and get “food grade” then there shouldn’t be a problem. I typically do not add any essential oils to my waters or ingest them in any way because I find them to be quite acidic and just feel like I would rather juice a lemon into my water than add 2 drops of lemon oil, but that’s just me. This recipe did however really work for me.

I added the almond milk to a pot and started heating it over medium heat.

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I one by one added all of the ingredients listed. This wasn’t how Mandy made hers but I just kind of went with what I had available.

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I used a battery powered milk frother to blend all the ingredients until smooth. This worked so perfectly. I didn’t add to a blender because 1, I only have the plastic magic bullets which I do not like to add hot liquids to, and 2 because I find I lose a lot of heat when transferring and when blending and I like my hot drink HOT. 

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Frothy minty coffee goodness.
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I would say give it a shot next time you’re craving something like this. You might be like me and feel really surprised how easy and delicious it was to make a healthy version of a not so healthy treat.

Don’t get me wrong, I buy coffee out quite a bit. There’s something about working in a down town core of a big city that almost feels cultural about going for coffee. Maybe you and your co-workers hit up the bux on your break once in a while. Maybe you’re running late and don’t have time to make your normal home brew. I am in no way shaming that as I do both. I am just trying to be more aware myself about what I’m actually consuming again. I had a pretty big break from blogging, which is a different Post, but I’m going to stick to the americanos with no sugar at the bux.

Happy sipping!

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Chocolate dream smoothie 

Have you ever thought and wished “why can’t healthy food taste as good as junk food”? Wellllllll it can. Obviously you’re never going to make broccoli taste like chocolate but you can make a healthy version of something chocolate !!!

I just purchase a magic bullet this week. At first I was hesitant because it was more expensive than I was expecting but I went for it and I do NOT regret it!! I’ve been going smoothie crazy and having at least 2 a day haha! I’ve been making delicious green smoothies but this post is all about chocolate.

Start with a frozen banana

Add other frozen fruit of choice. This time I used strawberries.

1 tbsp of hemp seeds.

1/2 an avocado. I really stress that this is an extremely important ingredient regardless if you like avocado or not. It makes the texture and does not add a taste.

1 tbsp of raw cacao. *Remember cacao and cocoa are different ingredients.

Cacao v cocoa powder

“Raw cacao powder is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocoa beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cocoa and removes the fat (cacao butter).

Cocoa looks the same but it’s not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. Sadly, roasting changes the molecular structure of the cocoa bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering the overall nutritional value.”

cacao v cocoa <- check out this link for more info!

1 medjool date. This adds a delicious sweetness.

Aprx 1 cup unsweetened almond milk – or milk of choice. It is worth noting, however, that dairy is “said” to inhibit the absorption of some of the nutritional benefits found in raw cacao.

SERIOUSLY. This is like ice cream. With nutritional value. Honestly it’s absolutely worth making and the magic bullet blends smoother than any blender I’ve had so I’m very happy with my purchase!!!

Not pictured is the addition of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla. This makes a great replacement for an ice cream craving and is completely dairy and refined sugar free! As well a great idea would be to use chilled coffee as the liquid as well! Which I am definitely going to try.

Kombucha

 

Okay so I went to a how to make kombucha class and it was really neat! I have been interested in a probiotic and had tried the store bought stuff but it gets really pricey at up to $5 a bottle. The class was $15 and you went home with a scoby. I learned that scoby means Symbiotic Collection of Bacteria and Yeast. They look horrifying and disgusting but I am very excited to see what it can do.

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That is the one I took home. My new baby. It was quite hilarious how they were talking about it at the class, because much like cellular division this thing will get thicker until it actually divides into 2. And just like that it is “mother” and when the bottle gets too gassy you sometimes have to “burp” it which is just quickly letting the air out and then closing it again. You also have to feed it, by adding sugar to the brew. So basically it’s a small freaky being that I have to care for in order for it to care for me 🙂 haha…. ew weird.

Anyway how it works is you get a large glass gallon sized jar, I found one easily at Canadian Tire in the jar/canning section. The night before you start you fill it half way with boiling water to sanitize the jar and clean the water. Let it cool over night. The next day on the stove you make a very sweet strong tea mix by adding 4-8 teabags to hot water and 1 cup of sugar. You can simmer this for a while and then let it cool. Once it is cool add it to the now cold water that cooled over night. (of course remove the tea bags/strain loose leaf). The whole jar should be cool, and this is when you can add your scoby. It will die if you add it to hot water so be careful not too. You cover the opening of the jar with something like cheese cloth, cover the whole jar with a large kitchen cloth and let it do it’s thing. The first time may take a bit longer as the scoby is quite small. But otherwise it takes around 5-7 days in the summer and 6-10 in the winter, depending on where you live and the temperature of your house.

It’s neat because you can make any flavor your little heart desires really. You can use a black tea base and then after the 5-7 days remove the scoby (always leave it in some liquid) and divide the brew into smaller drinking jars, and you can add fruit to flavor, and ferment for a further 3 days before putting it into the fridge. You can also use different kinds of teas to flavor the base.

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Here is my first gallon attempt. We will see what happens and I will update. I chose to use peach-ginger tea bags, and then after a week or so I am going to divvy it up and add chunks of real ginger and peaches to each glass. Double flavor? Excited to try.

Iced mocha 

 

One of my favorite treats/drinks.

I like to freeze my cup so that it’s extra chilled. I also make coffee ice cubes with extra coffee in advance of course.

  Add coffee ice to chilled mug.
  add chilled espresso
  Top with chocolate almond milk! 🙂 It is sweet enough to make it perfect coffee chocolate mix.

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Ummm yummmmmm.

Creamy Green Smoothie

I ate way too many bites of baking last night.

In blender I added

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  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 cup pineapple (a guess, I didn’t actually measure)
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk
  • handful spinach

I think I also splashed some almond milk in too.

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Yum! The pineapple added sweetness and the avocado+frozen banana adds the best creamy texture! If you don’t have coconut milk, you can use any other milk it just won’t be as thick. Sometimes smoothies are great breakfasts for early mornings because you can take them on the go. I probably won’t be packing around a cold drink when it’s 30 below though….

Hot Cacao

The other night I was cravings something sweet (like EVERYNIGHT) and I wanted something cozy and warm. I tried googling sugar free hot cacao but I either didn’t like the recipes or I didn’t have the ingredients. So I decided to just wing it!!

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I used:

  • Cacao Powder
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Pure Vanilla extract
  • Raw Honey
  • Cinnamon

I started off by boiling a bit of water. In a bowl I whisked together 2 tbsp. of raw cacao powder and a small amount of boiling water. This step is crucial because if you don’t whisk it first before adding it to your pot you will end up with those mysterious dry clumps.

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To a small pot on the stove I added 3/4 of my mug of unsweetened almond milk. One capful of vanilla and aprx 1 tsp of cinnamon. Let that start to warm, then I added the cacao mixture.

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Basically once this was up to temp for me (I like hot drinks HOT) I just added to my mug, stirred in a spoonful of raw honey and that’s it!

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It was the perfect cozy cup to curl up to some Netflix with (duh)… I will warn you though if you’re used to pre packaged hot chocolate this will take some adjusting to. It is not by any means a super sweet treat. I didn’t want to use more than one spoon of honey, but you’re obviously able to sweeten it as much as you like! It was rich and delicious and satisfying.

Chocolate Almond Layered Smoothie

I’ve been wanting to try layering a smoothie for a while and my friend Marjan recently sent me a recipe. I made a few changes to the original to fit my liking but not many.

Layer 1:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 tbsp. almond butter (original called for peanut butter but I’m off the PB)
  • capful of vanilla
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 ice cubes

Layer 2:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 3 tbsp. raw cacao powder
  • handful of spinach (I put LOTS)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

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This recipe made enough for 2! Layer how you want, alternating like above or 2 larger layers.

Carrot, Kale, Orange Juice

A while ago I bought a giant bag of carrots for the purpose of juicing and I had barely used any and I also had a pretty big bunch of kale that was losing it’s bounce. I hate the thought of wasting them so I juiced them up! Carrots contain beta-carotene which is apparently really good for eye health.

I like to start by washing all my produce and getting all ready to go before even getting the juicer out. Makes me feel less hectic

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When I peel my oranges I try to leave as much of the white pulp as possible. I have heard it is high in fiber and is packed with Vitamin C, which is good for your skin and immune system.

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I had 3 oranges for the juice but couldn’t help but eat the first half I cut…so this juice had 2.5 :p

As I mentioned before, I always line my pulp collector part of the juicer with a bag because it seriously saves so much time and effort. I generally have way too many bags around anyway. I know it’s not the best for the environment but they’re in my house already so what are we going to do about it…

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Oh I also added about an inch of peeled ginger root. I always add something like that in between larger items like carrots because it needs something to follow behind it to get all of the ginger juice and flavor out. I love the smell when the ginger gets juiced!!! You can add more if you want it to be a dominant flavor but I honestly barely taste it this time.

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Here it is….with a bonus mullet action shot in the background 😉

I know what you’re (probably) thinking… Eww right? The hair was a just a phase. Oh and please don’t let this weird color of the juice scare you off… I must admit it’s not very appealing looking but how well do orange and green really mix? Aside from the appearance, it’s actually quite good. The carrots add a sweet flavor so it’s not bitter or hard to get down as lots of veggie juices can be. When making juice, I try to make vegetables the majority of my produce as strictly fruit is high in sugar. I also always add ice because I find a cold juice makes a big difference. I’m putting the rest in the fridge but not for long as it’s best to consume within a day or two. It won’t last long and it won’t get any better looking either. Stir before pouring and enjoy!

Chocolate smoothie

So last night I wasn’t really hungry around dinner time, and then all of a sudden it was 10:30 pm and I hadn’t eaten. I was hungry and not tired for bed so I made this delicious smoothie. I don’t have a high speed blender, only an emulsion blender (hand held) so I threw everything into my food processor.

  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 3 dates
  • pure vanilla extract (capful)
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • aprx 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (didn’t measure)
  • 1 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder
  • topped with unsweetened shredded coconut and cinnamon.

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