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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Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Top View

Our pudding is referred to as “Toasted Coconut,” because it has that appearance of being toasted as we used coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is like brown sugar in appearance, but doesn’t have the same effect on blood glucose in the blood stream. In other words, it does not spike your sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 as reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the largest supplier of coconut sugar along with Indonesia. 35 is classified as a low glycemic food.

Coconut sugar has many natural occurring nutrients, including magnessium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Because it is unprocessed, the nutrient content is intact, unlike refined white table sugar.

Coconut sugar is actually more sustainable than sugar cane. The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar, while only using 20% of the resources.

Now for the featured recipe: Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding, and here is what you will need.

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon organic Himalayan salt

3 cups silk Coconut milk (or your preferred organic brand)

3 tablespoons organic coconut butter

1 teaspon organic vanilla extract

About 30 to 40 organic vanilla wafers

3 ripe organic bananas

Toasted organic coconut for garnish (optional)

Organic heavy cream, whipped for topping (optional)

mixing ingredients in sauce pan to make Toased Coconut Banana Pudding

Whisk together coconut sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in coconut milk, oil, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and simmer whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

layering sliced bananas and vanilla cookiesTo assemble spread a layer of vanilla wafers in a 9 X 9 inch square baking dish, or a 9-inch round baking dish (your choice) top with half of the banana slices and half of the pudding.

Continue with another layer of vanilla wafers followed by remaining bananas and ending with remaining pudding, spreading to cover all banana slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Side ViewTo serve, line a dessert glass or small dessert bowl with some vanilla cookies, and top with fresh organic whipped cream and toasted coconut.

This is a gluten free and all organic dessert. Enjoy!!

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Breaded Coconut French Toast

Breaded Coconut French Toast

The night before the plan was to have french toast the next morning with slices of sourdough and real maple syrup. The next morning the plan was followed through, but first a cup of coffee was enjoyed and a little of the Today Show.

For their recipe segment, they had featured taking restaurant favorites and making them healthier eating. They took the “Chicken Nuggets” recipe you buy at McDonald’s and made it into a healthier choice, “Coconut Breaded Chicken Nuggets.” Seeing that had given inspiration on how the planned breakfast that included french toast was going to be prepared.

Therefore our featured recipe: Breaded Coconut French Toast, and here is what you will need.

Keep in mind this recipe is not just great for breakfast, but can also be included as an item on your Sunday Brunch Menu.

The amounts of each ingredient will depend on how many you are serving.

1/4 cup coconut butter, divided

2 large eggs

1/2 cup coconut milk

4 slices of sourdough bread

1 cup dried shredded coconut

Real Maple Syrup

melting coconut butterIn a pie plate mix the eggs and coconut milk. In a separate pie plate add the dried coconut. Next heat a medium sized ceramic coated pan over medium-heat. Add some coconut butter and let melt.

dipping slice of sourdough in egg-coconut milk batterNext take a slice of the bread and liberally dip it into egg-coconut milk batter coating both sides. Next coat both sides with the dried coconut.

cooking slice of coconut breaded french toastNext add the breaded coconut slice of bread into the heated pan. After about a minute and a half turn slice of bread and continue cooking.

Breaded Coconut French ToastWhen all slices of bread are coated and cooked, plate, pour on real maple syrup, top with more dried coconut, and enjoy your Breaded Coconut French Toast for breakfast or brunch.

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Green Curry Chicken

Green Curry Chicken

Most curry dishes use a curry paste which is a pureed blend of beautiful smelling or aromatic spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is widely used as an ingredient in the cuisines of many cultures to make curries, stews, and other dishes. Most of the time though, Indian food comes to mind when you talk about curry. There are many different types of curry pastes, and each country’s blend has a distinct flavor.

The common spices used are cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cardamon, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and onion. The base ingredient to start a curry paste is turmeric, which makes a yellow curry. Red pepper is added to make a red curry, and cilantro is added to make a green curry paste.

Using all of these ingredients makes for a healthy meal. To learn more about the healthy side of these culinary spices link here – Spice and Herbs Benefits -.

Our featured recipe uses green curry, and here is what you will need.

1 lb. rice noodles, cooked

1 pound (1-inch) cubed chicken breast tenders

½ lb. cut green beans, steamed

2 cups tricolor pre-chopped bell pepper mix

Oils to Use for Healthy Cooking - avocado oil or coconut oil2 to 3 teaspoons green curry paste

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk, divided

Cooking oil, avocado oil or coconut oil ————->

Steam green beans first, about 5 minutes, then remove steaming basket and use boiling water to cook rice noodles according to package directions. Set both aside when done. Rinse rice noodles when cooked.

 

Chicken cooking in coconut oil and green curry sauce - Green Curry ChickenHeat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking oil. Add chicken to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in curry paste and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.

Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry Chicken

Stir in 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.

Stir in bell pepper mix, and remaining coconut milk. Cook 3 minutes or until peppers are tender. Add steamed green beans and mix in. Add ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt (optional).

showing the details of the Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry ChickenThere are 3 rules to a good meal. Besides flavor and smell, can you SEE what else makes a good meal appealing? Leave a comment below to let us know if you can guess the third rule of a good meal.

Green Curry ChickenPlate the rice noodles and top with Green Curry Chicken. If you wish top that with cilantro or with fresh basil as we did here. If you find the rice noodles to sticky, just take a plate one serving at a time and run warm water over it. Shake it dry and plate it. Enjoy!!

 

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Berries and Vanilla Pudding Pie

Berries and Vanilla Pudding Pie

We would like to start off with saying we found this delectable pudding pie on Instagram. She like a food post of mine, and I went to check out her food creations and found her Strawberry Vanilla Pudding pie.

Her name is Andrea and you can find more great food photography and creations of her’s at  instagram.com/andrea_veganlicious. Thanks Andrea for sharing your recipe with us on Instagram.

Andrea used Dr. Oetker‘s Organic vanilla pudding and in place of milk she used almond milk. Here at Splendid Recipes and More we add blueberries, and used almond – coconut milk.

The organic brand of vanilla pudding we used, found at the Whole foods Market was “European Gourmet Organics Vanilla Pudding.”

Our featured recipe and here is what you will need:

simple ingredients for Berries and Vanilla Pudding Pie

1 3.5 ounce box Organics vanilla pudding (or your favorite organic brand)

1/4 of a medium organic banana, cut  into 5 1/2 inch slices

1/2 cup organic blueberries

8 medium sized organic strawberries

1 organic pie shell, baked

2 cups organic almond – coconut milk

Bake the pie shell according to package instructions. Usually it is in a preheated oven to 450 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. Let cool.

Make the pudding according to package instructions. Replace the 2 cups of milk called for, with 2 cups of almond – coconut milk. Also the instructions say it is optional to use one egg yolk for a creamer pudding. We did add a organic egg yolk.

Pour the prepared pudding into the cooled pie shell and let set in refrigerator for the amount of time the pudding box instructions call for. The pudding we used said let set for 90 minutes in the refrigerator.

Slice strawberries in half, and place each slice, cut side down, around the out edge of the pie. Sprinkle the blueberries around the strawberries, and place the five slices of banana in the center in a circular motion. Top the bananas with a few blueberries.

Berries and Vanilla Pudding

Slice, plate and serve.

 

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Simple and Easy Beef Stir-Fry with Coconut Milk

Easy-and-Simple-Beef-Stir-Fry-with-Coconut-Milk

This stir fry really is simple and easy. This is another Asian meal right out of our kitchen here at Splendid Recipes and More.

When it comes to food there are always health benefits, that is if you are eating the food in a healthy way. This recipe includes red pepper flacks, and if you have a problem with your appetite, that is wanting to eat to much and possibly putting on a few extra pounds, red pepper flakes can help.

Adding 1/2 teaspoons of red pepper flakes three times a day to what you eat, you can cut down your appetite by 30%. Of course if you cut out simple carbohydrates (refined carbs) from your diet as well, and add complex carbs (100% whole grains, including the fiber), you can also suppress your appetite another 30 to 40 percent. Complex carbohydrates digest slower, leveling your blood glucose not spiking it, and giving you energy for longer periods as well as a full feeling for 3 to 4 hours.

A great snack between meals is a piece of fruit. But don’t add the red pepper flakes to your fruit, just to your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Speaking of dinner here is our featured recipe and what you will need:

ingredients-for-Simple-and-Easy-Beef-Stir-Fry-with-Coconut-Milk

1 lb. beef, cut into thin strips for stir fry cut

1 tbsp. Ginger, minced

1 tbsp. Garlic, minced

1 Large Onion, sliced lengthwise

1 Green Pepper, sliced lengthwise

1 tbsp. Red chili flakes

1 tbsp. Curry powder

1 14 oz. can Coconut Milk

 

Heat some avocado oil in a wok or large pan, and fry the beef on both sides. Add the following 6 ingredients and stir-fry some more till the beef is thoroughly cooked.

Add coconut milk; simmer on low heat for 10 -15 minutes more. Plate and serve with a side of rice.

Easy-and-Simple-Beef-Stir-Fry-with-Coconut-Milk

 

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Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad

Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad

 If you have never had a mango before it can be mind boggling as how to go about removing the flesh from the big seed in the middle.

Mango seed and flesh in a hand

Here is a short video from “mango.org” to demonstrate how to go about cutting up a Mango.

If you can’t find any good fresh mangoes you can buy them chopped and packaged in your frozen section of the market.

Did you know Mangoes help to prevent cancer, lowers bad cholesterol, clears the skin of any problems, eye health, even alkalizes the body.

Preparing Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad

ingredients-for-Mango-Chicken-Salad

3 tbsp. avocado oil

4 tbsp. curry powder

4 boneless chicken breasts cut in cubes

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ red onion cut into julienne strips

14 fl. oz. coconut milk

2 ripe mangos cut in cubes

1 lb. baby spinach

3 oz. chopped cashews

1 red bell pepper cut into julienne strips

8 cherry tomatoes cut in half

Here’s some health benefits about coconuts:

For thousands of years the Asians have used the oil, water, meat and milk of a coconut to heal coughs, flu, ear aches, tooth aches, skin infections, constipation among many others.

Curry as it contains turmeric is also great for lowering inflammation in the body.

Chicken Curry Preparation

In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and heat about 1 – 2 minutes, then stir in curry powder for 4 minutes.

Next add chicken cubes and cook until meat is oblique, about 7 or 8 minutes.

Next add garlic and mix in well.

mixing-heated-olive-oil-with-curry

Next, add coconut milk and mix in. Place lid over skillet and cook for 8 minutes more.

adding-coconut-milk-to-Mango-Chicken

Salad Preparation

Mix together in a large salad bowl the cashews with the prepared fruit and vegetables.

Next add the lemon juice and olive oil, mix in till well combined.

fresh-produce-ingredients-for-Mango-Wow look at those wonderful colors.

Did you know mango is great for joint health, the red pepper is for heart health?

And the spinach is a great help for detoxing the body.

When you are done mixing the salad ingredients, plate it and spoon on some curried chicken and enjoy.

Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad...close up

 

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Amazing Ways Food Is Used In Thai Recipes

Amazing Ways Food is used in Thai RecipesThai cuisine uses ingredients that are commonly known in the Western world.

Knowing how Thai recipes prepare these foods can give us more of an appreciation for Thai cuisine.

Bamboo Shoots

The use of Bamboo Shoots in many Thai recipes requires them to be peeled to get to the white inner stalks and then boil them for 30 canned bamboo shootsminutes in water. If using canned bamboo shoots they only need to be boiled for 10 minutes. There is no need for boiling them if they are part or if they are part of a soup or curry dish.

Basil

There are three varieties of basil used in Thai recipes. They are Sweet, Holy, and Lemon Basil.

If you use basil in your cooking, it is most likely sweet basil as that is the most commonly sold in the local markets.

Basil typesHoly basil has a spicier flavor and has slightly purple leaves.

Lemon basil as you might have guessed, has a lemony flavor and also has a distinct lemony scent.

If you can’t find Lemon basil at your local market, you can use sweet basil and add some lemon rind.

Bergamot

Bergamot is a small tree with long, oval green leaves and white flowers. The small tree originates in Asia but can be found in Italy, Morocco and the Ivory Coast.

The tree bears small round fruit that is yellow when ripe. The preparation of some Thai dishes use the rind or zest of the fruit.

It is hard to find this small fruit in local U.S. markets (possibly in an Asian market). Therefore, grated lime zest can be used, though it can be a poor substitute.

Chili Paste

Lots of Thai recipes use Chili paste, which is used for adding spice and flavor to the dish.

A popular version by Thai cooks is burnt mild chili paste. You can buy the chili paste in bottles or tubes at almost any market in the Asian food section.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk can be bought in cans almost anywhere. If the recipe calls for coconut cream scoop, that would be the harder white substance that has formed at the top of the can.

If it is coconut milk that the recipe calls for, than just stir the can thoroughly before using.

Curry Paste

While some people prefer to prepare their own curry pastes, many bottled curries are available at the supermarket. Most recipes use red, green or yellow curry.

Fish sauce

Fish sauce is made from collecting the liquid off of fermenting salted fish, this pale, watery brown sauce is sometimes used to replace all the salt in recipes.

It is very flavorful and compliments all Thai food. Fish sauce is a very versatile sauce.

Galangal

Galangal is used in many curries and soups. It is similar to ginger. Galangal is hard to find fresh, but can be purchased dried. You will need soaked dried galangal in water for 1 hour before using.

Garlic

Thai garlic is a must when preparing a dish. Thai garlic should be available in Asian markets, but if not then the common garlic we see can also be used.

When using Thai garlic the smaller, tighter cloves are the best to use because they are more flavorful and will not be over powered by other herbs and spices used in the dish.

Ginger

Ginger is used quite often. in modern cooking is easy to find, and ginger is extremely healthy and flavorful.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is one of the most commonly used ingredients in Thai cooking. It looks much like a small leek. The hard outer portion is removed, and the lower bulbous part is used.

The lemongrass is sliced into pieces and added to the food while cooking, and then removed before serving the dish, or it can be blended in a food processor before adding to the cooking process and then consumed with the dish giving it more flavor.

Palm Sugar

Palm sugar is used in some Thai recipes. If not available, dark brown sugar or real maple syrup can be used.

Rice

Rice is a main staple for the Thai people and they prefer long-grain white Jasmine rice which is flavorful and aromatic rice that cools and compliments spicy Thai dishes.

Rice paper is used to make fresh Thai spring rolls, which are prepared with vegetables and meat if desired.

Sesame oil is the preferred oil to use in Thai cuisine. It’s a very flavorful oil and works well with Thai cooking.

Preparation and Cooking Techniques

The vegetables used in Thai cooking should be cut as finely as possible.

The idea behind the thin cut vegetable is that the smaller they are chopped, the less time they will need to be cooked, which retains most of the nutrients as possible.

Most of us have cooked a stir-fry before. This method requires a wok and oil. The vegetables cook fast when the oil and wok are hot and stirred constantly.

The vegetables should only be stir-fried for a couple of seconds so they remain crisp and brightly colored.

stone mortar usewd in Thai cookingMortar and Pestles are used in making sauces, and curry pastes.

Anyone who loves Thai food and is animate about cooking it needs a mortar and pestle in their kitchen.

The mortar should be preferably made out of clay or wood.

 

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Mango Coconut Rice Pudding

Mango Coconut Rice PuddingMango season in the Northern hemisphere is April to October. One does not need special skills to eat the ripe fruit. Simply peel the fruit and bite into its juicy flesh.

Many love to eat the raw skin of the fruit as well. Myself personally, I have never tried to eat the peel. Now days you can find the mango dried, or frozen. In both cases the mango is still sweet in flavor. You can juice the mango, which I have with fresh blueberries, what a yummy smoothie.

Mexico's Tasty MangoesYou can make mango salsa and even in India they make Mango Jam. Mangoes do not grow in mild to cooler climates, they are grown in tropical regions of the earth. In 2012 the consumption of mangoes by Americans was up 30% over the prior 5  years.

If you are familiar with NPR or National Public Radio (USA), they had a report the morning of April. 9, 2013 entitled “Demand Is High For Mexico‘s Magnificent Mangoes”.

Take a moment to listen. Just Click Here to listen to the 1 1/2 minute NPR Report – another window will open to here report.

Our featured recipe:

Mango Coconut Rice Pudding

1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk
¼ cup Arborio rice
1/8 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. sugar
1/6 tsp. nutmeg, ground
1/6 tsp. cinnamon, ground
¼ cup mango (pureed)
some macadamia nuts (chopped, optional)

Place the coconut milk, rice, salt, sugar and cardamom in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for 25-35 minutes stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and let cool. Mix in the mango and garnish with chopped macadamia nuts.

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Image credit: Closet Cooking

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