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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Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing

Melon Berry Fruit Salad

Orgainc WatermelonYou know summer has officially started when you can make yourself a fruit salad with in season fresh fruits.

Thanks to our friends to the south (Mexico) and their sub-tropical weather, we can have watermelon before it is even harvests here in the U.S.A.

Watermelon is  a perfect summer fruit to grow, harvest, and eat as it is a wonderful and juicy hydrating fruit.

Sliced cross section of a seedless organic watermelonAs you sweat on a hot summer day, while at the beach, working in the garden, or just taking an afternoon walk, you lose vital electrolytes, which includes sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, and watermelon is a better chose to re-hydrate, than Gatorade.

Watermelon is all natural, and has the right balance of the electrolytes needed to keep your heart beating, and to replace the water needed to keep you cool.

Our feature fruit salad includes watermelon and here is what you will need to prepare the Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing.

1/2 a seedless watermelon

1 cantaloupe

6 ounces raspberries

6 ounces blueberries

6 ounces blackberries

zest and juice of one lime

2 tablespoons raw honey

1 tablespoon water or watermelon juice

1 tablespoon mint leaves, minced

6-10 mint leaves, for garnishing, optional

Mint-Lime Dressing

watermelon juiceUse a melon ball scoop to create bite size pieces of both melons. A the melon to a large bowl. Next add the berries to the melon. Toss gently, so as not to crush the berries.

In a small bowl , combine the zest and lime juice, honey, water, and minced mint leaves. We used the juice of the watermelon in place of water.

Drizzle dressing over mixed fruit salad to coat.

Use the remaining mint leaves to garnish the salad.

Melon Berry Fruit Salad with a Mint-Lime Dressing

 

 

Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours before serving.

Before serving gently mix the fruit again to coat with any juice and dressing that may have gathered at the bottom of the bowl.

 

 

 

 

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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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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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Making Great Iced Coffee

Making Great Iced Coffee

Summer is finally upon us and most days are just too warm for hot cup of java juice. Below are some tips to help you make a great iced coffee.

Start with Fresh Coffee Beans

A great iced coffee was never made using stale beans so avoid buying your beans on sale. If you don’t drink iced coffee often, consider buying fresh beans at a coffee shop where you can buy only the amount you need for the occasion.

Taste Test

Hot coffee tastes different than cold coffee. So to get an idea of how your coffee will taste cold let a hot cup cool to room temperature. This little test will help you decide what tastes perfect to you.

Use Fresh Ice

Ice has a tendency to get a stale if it sits in the freezer unused for too long. If you’re wondering whether your ice is helping of hurting your iced coffee, it’s easy to test: let a few cubes melt and come to room temperature, then taste the resulting water. If it’s water you would want to drink by the glassful, you’re in good shape. If not, toss out the old ice and make fresh. If it still tastes stale, buy a bag of ice, the cost is worth the boost in flavor.

Brew it StrongIced coffee cubes - Making Great Iced Coffee

Brew your coffee on the strong side as it will be weakened by the ice. To keep from diluting your drink, brew a pot of coffee and freeze into ice cubes. Use frozen coffee cubes in place of regular ice cubes to keep from diluting or weakening the flavor.

Brewing Your Coffee Cold

Some people object to acidity in their cold coffee. Cold brewing greatly reduces the acid content of coffee, it will lower the acidity one full pH point verse hot brewed coffee.

Put 3/4 cup ground coffee in a quart Mason jar, fill with water and stir. Cap it and put in the refrigerator for 12 hours. Strain the resulting concentrate through a coffee filter to remove the grinds. Add water to taste when you’re ready to drink. You can even heat the reconstituted beverage for a quick, low-acid cup of hot coffee.

Don’t use Burnt Coffee

Saving leftover coffee for iced beverage is often fine, but don’t be tempted to use the dregs of a burnt pot. If it doesn’t taste good hot, it definitely won’t taste good cold.

Add some zip to your iced coffee

Adding fruit flavors such as strawberry, orange, blueberry, cherry and even spices like nutmeg, cinnamon or cardamom are a great way to perk up your coffee  drink. The important thing is to have fun with it! Try lots of new things. Vary your usual routine. The worst that can happen is you won’t like it. You can always try something else!

If you’re short on time and don’t have a stash of reconstituted coffee available, try this recipe using instant coffee.

Vanilla Iced Coffee

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cold water
1 1/4 cups milk
Chocolate shavings (optional)
Sugar (optional)

Directions:

Put the first 5 ingredients into a blender.
Pulse blend until the ingredients are smooth and frothy.
Add the cold milk and pulse blend until all the ingredients are blended well.
Pour of a few cubes of ice, add the chocolate and voila!

If you desire, add the ice to the blender after the first five ingredients have been blended and crush the ice and then add the milk and mix.

 

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Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

Wonderful Beverages From Mexico

Splendid Recipes and More (SRandM) present’s another post with Norma our guest blog speaker on the Tastes of Mexico. If you missed the last three conversations with Norma link here and scroll to Speaker Norma spoke May. 4-8, 2014 on the Tastes of Mexico.

Today Norma is going to present some great beverages from Mexico. What are they Norma?

Norma: Classic Margaritas on the Rocks, and Watermelon Aqua Fresca.

SRandM: OK so let’s get started.

Norma: I think the key to making a classic margarita is striking the right balance between your tequila of choice and the orange-flavored liqueur you pair with it. Strong flavored tequila needs a strong-flavored orange liqueur to stand up to it. As a result, the following is a more of a formula than a true recipe. Use your favorite tequila and orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier.

SRandM: Can you use any flavor you like other than orange?

Norma: Yes, and actually a true Margarita has no flavoring other than lime. But with the new generation of Mexicans, their changing things up.

So you will need

1.5 oz. tequila

1.5 oz. orange-flavored liqueur

1.25 oz. freshly squeeze lime juice

cocktail shaker full of ice and add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice

Fill a cocktail shaker full of ice and add the tequila, orange liqueur and lime juice.

Classic Margarita on the Rocks

Shake vigorously to combine and pour into salt-rimmed margarita glasses filled with ice. Serve with a wedge of lime, if desired.

Note this is a strong drink when first poured. The flavors will mellow a bit as the ice melts.

SRandM: OK Norma, while I enjoy this Margarita you just made…what do you have for us next?

Norma: Will I have a drink that is light and refreshing. It’s a popular drink in Mexico and is perfect for hot summer afternoons. It can be made with any number of fresh fruits, but melons are the most popular. While this beverage is non-alcoholic, rum or tequila and triple sec can be added to create a delicious adults-only beverage.

I am going to prepare a  Watermelon Aqua Fresca. Here is what you will need:

6 cups watermelon, seeded

1¼ cup water

1½ limes, juiced

4 tablespoons honey

½ lime, sliced

Fresh mint leaves

ice

Add the watermelon, water and lime juice to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. If any seeds or large chunks remain, strain through a sieve to remove.

Pour the blended juice into a pitcher and stir in honey until blended, though you can replace the honey sugar. Now crush the mint leaves with your fingers and put them in the bottom of each glass. Fill the glasses with ice and top with watermelon mixture. Garnish each glass with a slice of lime or fresh mint leaves, if desired and enjoy the freshness.

Watermelon Aqua Fresca

SRandM: Norma you have out done yourself today with these wonderful beverages. So what will you present next time?

Norma: How about  Pico de Gallo and Homemade Flour Tortillas?

SRandM: Looing forward to it Norma. To our readers of Splendid Recipes and More, you know were to return for more great Tastes of Mexico from our guest speaker, Norma.

Link Here for: Tastes of Mexico with Pico de Gallo and Flour Tortillas 

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Coffee: Facts, Myths, and Trivia

Coffee: Facts, Myths, and Trivia

 

coffee a beverage not easily given upAh, coffee! For those who love it, it’s not something easily given up. Perhaps because this beverage is so popular, facts, myths, and trivia surround it. Some are true, some aren’t, and some are just fun facts.

So let’s take a look at some of the facts, myths, and trivia about coffee!

1. Coffee Houses and Shops

King_Charles_IIYou may think that coffee houses and coffee shops are a modern invention, but actually, King Charles II of England proclaimed a ban on coffee houses way back in 1675, and the reason for the ban? King Charles II feared that his enemies were meeting in these coffee houses to plot against him.

2. Mocha = Chocolate?

When you hear “mocha,” you probably think of a beverage that’s a chocolate-coffee combination. But actually, “Mocha” is the name of a port in Yemen, and it is here that coffee beans from Africa are transported. So “Mocha” has to do with the origin of the coffee bean you’re drinking, not whether or not it contains chocolate.

3. How Much?

The US is the top coffee consuming nation in the world, with 400 million cups consumed daily.

4. Espresso versus Cappuccino versus Latte

First, espresso does not refer to the type of coffee bean, but rather, it refers to the way it is prepared. For coffee to be considered espresso, it needs to be made by forcing a small amount of hot water through very finely-ground coffee beans. This produces a very concentrated form of coffee.

Cappuccino and lattes are coffee drinks made with espresso as the base. The name “cappuccino” is said to refer to the frothy, peaked, white topping that resembles the white hood of the Capuchin friars‘ habit. A latte is made with espresso and steamed milk without the topping.

5. Coffee Trees

orchard of Coffee TreesNo one can tell you that coffee doesn’t grow on trees, because it does! Coffee trees can live up to 100 years, and it takes about five years before the tree begins producing coffee beans. One tree will yield about 1 pound of coffee a year. It takes about 2000 raw coffee beans to make a pound.

6. A Cup of Joe

Ever wonder why coffee is sometimes referred to as “Joe”? Admiral Josephus “Joe” Daniels banned alcohol on all Navy ships in the early 1900s, so the sailors turned to coffee, which they named after him in remembrance of his restrictions.

7. One Bean or Two?

Coffee “berries” or raw coffee beans are round and smooth. When roasted, they split in half. So the coffee beans you see in a package of un-ground coffee are actually half-beans.

8. Oil and Coffee

Next to oil, coffee is the second-largest traded commodity in the world.

9. Perky Beverage

The coffee percolator was invented by James Mason in December 1865, just six days before the New Year.

10. Memory Boost

A 2005 study showed that coffee improves memory, and a follow-up study indicated that the memory-enhancing effects could be long-term.

For more information on the health benefits of coffee link here to our Health News Library: Benefits of Coffee (has an image showing the effects of moderate caffeine consumption) and Diabetes: Coffee Cinnamon and Oolang Tea

Coffee is surrounded by all kinds of lore – some of it is myth, some of it is fact, and some is just plain fun. Enjoy your next cup of Joe!

 

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