Vegan Hot Chocolate

 

Vegan Hot ChocolateEating a vegan diet is both the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, and an associated philosophy that rejects the treatment of farming animals for food.

Being a vegan is clearly more of a lifestyle choice and a philosophy than a diet, writes Christian at Medical News Today.  He also writes that the vegans lifestyle doesn’t use animal based products for clothing as well.

The magazine “Food Technology” published (October 2012) explaining that plant-based diet can either minimize or completely eliminate people’s genetic propensity to developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes type II, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (Science Daily).

Most who profess to be vegan do not eat honey at all. Though some may, as Sophia explains at Sophia Gubb’s Blog, stating, “As for the ethics of being a vegan who eats honey, I see it as somewhere between eating animals and eating plants. At times, I’m even unsure whether the harm to plants might be more intolerable. Bees, like plants, have short life cycles, making the death of a bee less tragic than the death of a long lived animal. I also get the feeling that the worker bees are made to be more expendable somehow than most animals are. They often die when attacking to defend their hive.”

To enjoy a delicious beverage that is vegan, doesn’t mean you have a practice the lifestyle, but rather just enjoy the flavorful ingredients that are simple and easy to purchase at your local market in the organic section.

Now for our featured beverage recipe – Vegan Hot Chocolate – and here is what you will need.

socking cashews in water1/4 cup raw cashews – soak overnight in fresh water
1 3/4 cup coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao brew (or cacao powder)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla

ingredients for Vegan Hot ChocolateWe used Nog coconut milk by SO Delicious with added cane sugar and nutmeg, as well as an organic raw honey with cinnamon. If you use the cacao brew, you will need to strain the hot chocolate, as cacao brew is grainy just like ground coffee beans.

adding raw honey

Place everything in a blender (we used our Nutri-Bullet), and blend thoroughly.

adding blended liquid to sauce potAdd to a small sauce pot bring to a boil around 165 degrees. Set aside to brew for 5 minutes, with a lid on the pot. Drain through a strainer (if using cacao brew).

Vegan Hot Chocolate - image 2Makes about 2 six ounce cups of hot chocolate. Enjoy the flavors and taste of Vegan Hot Chocolate.

Archaeologists discovered that cacao has been around for 3,500 years or possibly longer. The culture accredited with growing and harvesting cacao is the Olmec civilization dating back between 1500 B.C and 400 B.C.

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Cooling Down with a Mojito Beverage

Cooling Down with a Mojito Beverage

Mojito is a traditional alcoholic beverage of Cuba, the Highball. The drink consists of white rum, sugar cane juice, lime juice, sparkling water, and mint, or as it is called in Spanish, yerba buena. Actually the drink gets its name from the type of mint used, which is mojito.

Mojito (the herb) is a native plant to Cuba, and was previously unavailable in North America but thanks to Toronto mojito enthusiast Catherine Nasmith who visited Cuba in 2006, we now have the authentic plant from Cuba. It is not only used in beverages, but mojito mint also makes a great seasoning for meats and confections (Helping Gardeners Grow).

Mojito has a clearly distinctive flavor from most other mints. The scent and flavor are mild and warm, not pungent nor overly sweet like other mints.

Recent medical studies have reported that the smell of  mint has been proven to stimulate brain activity and could be useful before taking a test of any type, such as in school or collage. Other herbs, such as rosemary, and sage have been reported to do the same.

Summer Drinks - using MojitoWhen making a Highball, you can use any fruit you wish, just so long as you use the mint, mojito. Unless your not a person of tradition, and that’s OK.

Here are links to some recipes here at Splendid Recipes and More where mint was used. Not specifically mojito, but it can be substituted in place of the common fresh variety you can purchase at your local market.

1. Melon Berry Fruit Salad with Mint-Lime Dressing

2. Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

3. Orange, Fennel and Mint Salad

If you are not into drinking alcholic beverages, then you may be interested in cooling down with another type of mojito beverage: Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade.

Today is the annaversary, so to speak, of Splendid Recipes and More, posting the recipe for the lemonade beverage. It was first posted July. 15, 2014, and to-date has had 4,383 hits. Most of the hits have come during the summer months, either in the northern (June-September) or the southern (December-March) hemisphere.

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade -over-head-Here is the link to the original post (click here) and following is a picture and the recipe. You’ll note there is no mojito, but is mixed in with the tea. The tea use was purchased at Tevana, and is available only during the summer months.

12 teaspoons Blackberry Mojito Green Tea

1 cup lemon juice, from 5 lemons

1/2 cup sugar (optional to use Teavana‘s rock sugar)

6 cups fresh water, boiled

Bring fresh water to a boil in a large sauce pot. The boil point should reach 175 degrees. Turn off heat and add the tea mixture, and steep for 10 minutes.

Strain off tea mixture and add tea to a glass serving container. Stir in sugar, and add lemon juice and stir some more.

Enjoy Cooling Down with a Mojito Beverage.

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Hibiscus – An Elixir From The Tropics

Hibiscus - An Elixir From The Tropics

The hibiscus is native to tropical regions of the world, though to pinpoint its exact origin, is unknown. The plant will grow in some arid regions, like California. In the USA, the hibiscus grows well in Florida, and Hawaii.

It is the national flower in the Republic of Haiti, and is the flower of the Hindu goddess Kali, the red flower in particular.

The hibiscus was introduced to the “New World” when it was brought over by African slaves.

Medicinal Benefits of the Hibiscus

The hibiscus has medicinal benefits, as it a good therapeutic for the heart, and kidneys (diuretic). Medical studies have documented that the hibiscus potent antioxidant activity and beneficial effects on blood pressure and cholesterol. Antioxidants help to boost cell growth, immune system and decreases the risk of cancer and cataracts.

It appears the flower has beneficial effects on blood pressure as it is a diuretic, and the compounds in the flower bud inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), a chemical compound that can increase blood pressure.

Purchasing and Using the Hibiscus

The hibiscus can be purchased dried, as a tincture, or in capsule form. Buying it dry has a great benefit as you can make a tea with it. To receive the health benefits of hibiscus if using it as a tincture, it is recommended to take 1 teaspoon twice a day, and in capsule form, take 1,000 mg  2 to 3 times a day.

There are no known detrimental side effects to using this elixir from the tropics. It is advised though, to have caution when consuming it if you are taking doctor prescribed diuretics.

Hibiscus is a great skin cleanser. Scrubbing the hibiscus leaves on the face and neck helps to remove dead skin, and can help to clear up acne, as the leaves can also remove blackheads and whiteheads.

Hibiscus oil for smooth skinHibiscus oil, which is extracted from the hibiscus leaves, can  help to smooth and soften skin.

Hibiscus has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-aging properties, helping to slow the aging process of the skin.

The hibiscus acts as an antispasmodic, reducing muscle cramps, stomach cramps and menstrual cramps.

It is highly effective in losing and controlling weight. The flower bud has an enzyme called amylase, and it breaks down the starch and sugar in the body, thus helping to loss and reduce weight.

Preparing Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus is sold prepared in tea bags, though it is better to buy the whole flower dried and prepare the tea yourself. There are several different recipes for making homemade Hibiscus tea, also known as Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Water).

If you want to make an individual cup of tea, just pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of chopped hibiscus. Let steep for about 15 minutes, then strain, and add raw honey or coconut sugar. You can also pour it over ice to drink cold.

Agua de JamaicaHere’s a great recipe to make a gallon of Agua de Jamaica.

6 cups water

2 cups dried hibiscus petals

1 cinnamon stick

1 pinch ground cloves

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 pinch ground allspice

1/2 cup chopped piloncillo (Mexican raw sugar cones)

1 1/2 cups white sugar optional to use coconut sugar

Place 6 cups of water in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.

Stir in the hibiscus, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice.

Reduce heat to medium-low, and gently simmer until the water has turned a deep red, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Stir the chopped piloncillo into the hibiscus water until dissolved, then set aside to cool 15 minutes.

After cooling, strain the warm liquid into a 1 gallon pitcher through a wire mesh strainer. Squeeze as much liquid from the petals as you can, then discard the petals.

Stir in the white sugar or coconut sugar until dissolved, then pour in enough cold water to fill the pitcher, but be careful not to dilute the flavor. Serve immediately or let stand overnight for best flavor.

 

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Green Apple Cider Cups

Green Apple Cider CupsHere’s a great article I found – The Benefits of Apples as Part of Your Health Care Regimen.  Before you click over to read it, here is a great recipe Splendid Recipes and More prepared using green apples, though you can use your favorite color and variety.

Green Apple Cider Cups, for those cold nights next to a warm fire place. Here is what you will need.

Large apples, red or green and the number depends on how many cider cups you want

Juice of one lemon

Apple cider, homemade or store-bought

Cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice or star anise for garnish

On a cutting board surface, use a paring knife to cut off tops of the apple. Next, using the paring knife, outline where you’d like the “rim” of your apple cup to be, about 1/4″ wide.

Use a spoon to carefully begin scooping out the center of your apple until you have a nice “cup”.  A melon baller can work just as well. Take care not to cut through the bottom or sides of the apple when hollowing it out as the cider will leak out.

If the apples do not sit level, use the paring knife and just slice off 1/8 inch or less off the bottom.

When you have the inside of the apples hollowed out, brush some lemon juice over the inside of the apples, to prevent them from browning.

Fill with your favorite apple cider, garnish with a cinnamon stick and any other of your favorite spices, and serve.

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The Benefits of Apples as Part of Your Health Care Regimen

The Benefits of Apples as Part of Your Health Care Regimen

We have always heard the expression, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away,” and that saying could have a lot of truth to it, and here is why.

Benefits of Apples

The high content of pectin and fiber found in apples promotes good digestion, helping to maintain low insulin and glucose levels within the blood stream. Apples help you feel full for longer and is thought to lower serum cholesterol.

Studies have shown apples can help prevent asthma in children before they reach five years of age. The fruit also protects the lungs of adults, lowering their risk of asthma, bronchitis or pneumonia. Click Here to Read More…298 words

 

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Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade -over-head-

This is a very hot 2014 summer. If you found a refreshing drink to cool you down great. But if your still looking we have an idea, Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade. Teavana is screaming at the top of their lungs, “Shake up your summer iced tea.” Of course you do that by making fresh lemonade and add one of their green or black tea concoctions. Do not under estimate Teavana, they know how to bring flavor’s together and mix them with tea leaves.

Teavana logo

Did you know green tea has catechins that can trigger adominal fat loss? The antioxidents in green tea can protect against glaucoma and other common eye disease. The catechins in the green tea reduce the harmful oxidative stress in the eye. Green is also said to fight type II diabetes and LDL or bad cholesteral. Green tea also supports healthy skin.

Some of us buy bottled green teas, and energy drinks that contain green tea extracts, but all the above mentioned is really only possible when buy the tea leaves yourself and make the tea at home. Processing doesn’t always hold the integrity of the tea or in other words its full potential of benefits.

Here’s an info-graphic we made and used on our other website –Health News library

Brewed home made green tea more anti oxidents

Now for the featured lemonade: Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade. Here is what you will need.

ingredients for Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

12 teaspoons Blackberry Mojito Green Tea

1 cup lemon juice, from 5 lemons

1/2 cup sugar (optional to use Teavana’s rock sugar)

6 cups fresh water, boiled

used ingredients for Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Bring the fresh water to a boil in a large sauce pot. The boil point should reach 175 degrees. turn off heat and add the tea mixture, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain off tea mixture and add tea to a glass serving container. Stir in sugar, and add lemon juice and stir some more.

blackberry mojito loose leaf green tea

Image credit: Teavana

It is also worthy to note, the ingredients found in this tea are all natural. They have been dried and then re-hydrated by the hot water. As the tea is steeping you can smell the blackberries and raspberries as though they were fresh picked. There is also some dried apple in the tea mix.

Because they start with fresh ingredients and the finest tea leaves, the used tea mixture is still eatable. We did eat some, and it was really tasty.

Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade

Once the tea has cooled some, add ice to a tall glass and pour some Blackberry Mojito Tea Lemonade freshness, and enjoy!!

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Easy Homemade Cappuccino

Coffee Time— This article is an update from a prior article posted April. 23, 2014. The following article is more in depth with added images—

There’s nothing quite like a freshly made cappuccino to go with breakfast. However, buying one from a commercial coffee shop is not the same as creating an authentic cup at home. You can make authentic Italian-style cappuccino at home in three easy steps.

Cappuccino with Frothed MilkCoffee has come such a long way since the days of instant granules, and the cappuccino you enjoyed on your last vacation to Italy is much more achievable at home. You can purchase a fancy cappuccino machine for several hundred dollars if you’d like, however, it isn’t necessary. You can make a great-tasting cappuccino with a few inexpensive items. Let’s take a look.

Stovetop Espresso Maker

 

Step 1:

A stove top espresso maker is essential if you want Italian-style coffee. They make about 4 to 6 ounces of espresso.  The cost starts at around $19.95 and up. They are usually made from hard aluminum or stainless steel and are suitable for use on any stovetop, gas or electric.

Making Espresso with a stove top makerTo use a stove top espresso maker, unscrew the top and bottom. Fill the bottom with water to just below the valve. Add freshly ground espresso beans to the filter. Replace the top and place the percolator over medium heat. As the water comes to a boil the steam pressure forces the water through the filter and into the top. Remove from the heat when the gurgling noise stops and the top is full. Don’t let the coffee boil or it may taste burnt.

Step 2:

First boil some water in a kettle. Next, heat the milk while the coffee is brewing. You can do this in a couple of different ways. The fastest way, of course, is in a microwave on Medium 45-60 seconds for every 1/4 cup. However, for best results, you’ll want to warm it in a small saucepan over medium heat until the milk is nearly boiling. If you have a thermometer, remove the pan from the heat when the needle reaches 149 degrees.

Pre-heat each cup with hot water from the kettle. Next, pour freshly brewed coffee into each coffee cup, and top with hot milk (reserving one-quarter (1/4) cup of hot milk per cup). The reserved milk is for making froth.

Step 3:

You’ll need a milk foamer or frother, which is available at most housewares stores. A milk foamer can be a hand-held manual or battery-operated whipper. There are also foamers made of glass with a plunger, and electric frothers that can froth 1-cup of milk at a time.

To make froth with a battery-operated frother, pour the reserved hot milk into a warmed cup. Place the frother in the cup and turn on the frother for 15-20 seconds or until milk is thick and frothy. Spoon froth over the cappuccinos and dust with chocolate and serve.

Types of Milk Frothers

CLICK Image Too Enlarege

Tips:

To clean your stove top espresso make, unscrew all parts from each other. Next empty out used coffee grounds. Rinse all parts with hot water and use a non-abrasive scourer to remove any coffee residue.

You can also brew some really strong coffee to use instead of espresso, if you don’t have a stove top espresso maker or machine. Also if you do not have a frother, warm your milk and then pour into a small jar. Shake the jar for about one minute. Pour the milk into your waiting mug of hot coffee. Spoon out the foam and top with cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, etc. You’re good to go!!

Link here to Enjoy Some Coffee Art using Frothed Milk.

 

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Coffee Beans – Finding You’re Favorite Coffee

Coffee Beans-Finding You’re Favorite Coffee

 

Big bold image of coffee beans and coffee being poured into a cup. Oh boy, can you smell the aroma filling your senses? We really love coffee here at Splendid Recipes, and contrary to popular belief, coffee is actually good for you. Link here – Coffee Benefits – to read 3 articles we have posted at our nutrition web-site, “Health News Library” to read about the benefits of coffee. We have a page over there that offers FREE e-books, as well.

Here’s one of many info-graphics we produced on health issues, this one being about the Benefits of Coffee.

More Exciting Benefits of Coffee

What is your favorite cup of brewed coffee, which is, if you drink it? You may not realize it, but there are a lot of variations when it comes to drinking this ever becoming popular beverage.

Here is a list we found on Wikipedia of the number of coffee houses in the United States alone (link here for list). Wikipedia describes coffee houses from a cultural standpoint, as centers of social interaction. The coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of two or three people. A coffeehouse serves as an informal club for its regular members.

Of the coffee houses “Starbucks” owns or has sold as franchises is reported as having 5,500 locations (mostly licensed) outside the U.S. in 2010.

Did you know that yesterday alone 41 million people (U.S.A) drank coffee from a single serve coffee maker? We are referring to the Keurig or Mr. Coffee and other name brand single serve coffee makers.

As for the variations in coffee, here are some tips on how to find your favorite coffee.

1. Why Coffee?

One thing to help you determine which coffee is best for you, you need to ask yourself why you drink or want to drink coffee. This can help guide you along on your coffee journey. Here are some examples of questions you can ask yourself.

* Do you drink coffee because you like the taste?

* Do you want to drink coffee because of the caffeine stimulation? You may not even like the taste, but want or need a caffeine boost.

* Are you sensitive to dairy products?

This is an important question, as coffee not only comes black, but cream and milk can be added, especially if you want a Latte or Mocha.

Keep these questions in mind as you search for the coffee that’s right for you. Here are some types of coffee beverages, so you can find one that suits your palate.

2. Blends for the Beginner

If you are new to coffee, you might want to start with a cappuccino or latte. These are made with steamed milk and espresso, and tend to be sweet and mild. These kinds of coffee beverages are also good for those who like the caffeine, but aren’t too fond of the taste of straight coffee.

3. Caffeine Jolt

Cafe Americano

A Caffè Americano
Image credit: 220px-Hokitika_Cheese_and_Deli,_Hokitika

If you’re really in it for the caffeine, then you might go for an espresso, which is a coffee that’s made with finely-ground beans. Some people think an espresso drink is low in caffeine because they are served in small quantities, but espresso has about three times as much caffeine per ounce as regular drip coffee.

If you want an espresso, but are afraid of the caffeine rush that comes along with it, try an Americano. That is a coffee make with 8 ounces of hot water and the number of espresso shots you want.

Generally speaking, the longer a coffee bean is roasted, the poorer the flavor. The inexpensive, mass-produced brands are over roasted, and that eliminates the natural flavors that are in a traditional dark-roasted coffee: sweet and highly caramelized.

Our recommendation is to buy your coffee beans from a local roster, and grind them yourself at home. Local rosters roast coffee for quality, not mas production like many of the coffees packaged at your local supper market.

4. Dairy and Milk Products with Your Coffee

If you do not digest dairy products or are allergic to them, you can use almond or coconut milk in your coffee. This can produce a really tasty coffee, especially if you use chocolate, vanilla, or sweetened varieties of the almond or coconut milks.

5. Calorie Counter

If you’re concerned about the calories in a cream- or milk-based coffee beverage, go with skim milk and sweeten with something like organic natural honey. Or you might find out that you enjoy drinking coffee without sweetening it at all.

Hopefully, this has helped you decide which coffee beverage will work best for you.  But if it’s too much for you, you can always drink instant coffee. It may not have as complex a taste, but its preparation is quick and easy.  Don’t tell the coffee connoisseurs I told you that, otherwise we are out of business.

 

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