Islamorada Piña Coladas

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Yes, I realize this picture was taken with a martini glass.  It was my closest option to a margarita glass… don’t judge! 😛

These babies are named after the island in the Florida Keys that I’ve been staying on this past week.  We’ve explored all of the keys, but it’s always nice to come home to a place to just wind down by a pool in the evening and read!  In case anyone’s interested, I’ve already gotten through To Kill a Mockingbird (not my first time reading it) and the sequel, Go Set a Watchman.   The first always gets to me, and the writing is just as good in the second one. The plot isn’t very developed, but I liked it for what it was.  However, the changes that the characters from the first book have undergone by the time the second book happens may shock you!  Don’t worry, I won’t say any more than that.

This recipe is one I’ve whipped up a few times and it’s always a delicious treat!  I don’t normally drink alcohol, but I’m on vacation so what the heck.  This is just as good as a virgin smoothie, though, too!

Islamorada Piña Coladas

Total time: 5 minutes

Yield: 2 large or 4 small drinks

 

Ingredients (Sweet variation)

1 banana

1 1/2 cups pineapple

1/2 cup coconut water

1/2 cup coconut milk

12 large ice cubes

2oz rum of choice (can omit or use more/less to your liking)

Ingredients (Tangy variation)

2 1/2 cups pineapple

1/2 cup coconut water

1/2 cup coconut milk

15 large ice cubes

2oz rum of choice (again, adjust to taste/tolerance)

Directions

  1.  Throw all ingredients into a blender.  I’d recommend putting the ice first, followed by the fruits and then finished off with the liquid.  It gets the hard stuff closest to the blender.
  2. Blend beginning on medium speed, then increase to high once the big pieces are gone.
  3. Continue blending until smooth.  Serve in glasses of your choice, with extra pieces of fruit or shredded coconut as garnish.

Strawberry Hot Chocolate

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You know how chocolate-dipped strawberries are one of the seven wonders of the world?  Well.  This is basically like drinking them.

Strawberry Hot Chocolate

Prep time: 5 minutes   Cook time: 10 minutes   Total time: 15 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

 

Ingredients

1 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 cup water

2 tbsp cacao powder

2 tbsp melted chocolate (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp vanilla powder

1 tbsp honey

6 large strawberries (plus more for decor, if desired)

 

Directions

1.  Add coconut milk and water to a pot and mix together.  Warm over medium heat.

2.  When milk is warmed, but not boiling, mix in the cacao, melted chocolate, vanilla extract and powder, and honey.  Whisk everything well until the powders are well-dissolved.

3.  Allow to heat for 2-3 more minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure everything stays even.  Do not allow to boil.

4.  Remove from the stove just before the chocolate begins to boil (it will start to have a few bubbles coming up, this is when you take it off).  Add strawberries and hot chocolate to a blender (I simply used my large Nutribullet attachment and it fit everything perfectly) and blend until smooth.  Split between two mugs and decorate with extra chocolate-covered strawberries, if desired.

How to Make Nut Milk

If a video tutorial is more your style, here is a step-by-step video on making nut milk!

Okay, I’ll admit it… I have been purchasing my almond milk by the carton for about two years now.  I didn’t think it could be that bad for you – I mean, how processed could it really be, right?  And it had to be better than dairy milk, anyway.  That’s how I felt until I started listening to Dave Asprey‘s podcast, called Bulletproof Radio (in case you’re wondering, yes – he’s also the inventor of Bulletproof Coffee and the author of The Bulletproof Diet).  In his episode entitled “Paleo, Eating Disorders & the Power of Intention,” Asprey interviews George Bryan on all of these topics and more.  Anyway, in that particular interview, one of them mentions how there is the equivalent of about 6 almonds in a half gallon of store-bought almond milk.  WHAT?!?!  First off, that’s a huge price mark-up, but what the heck is the other stuff thrown in there?  Turns out, tons of processed ingredients and sugars.  Ew.

So after this revelation, I finally bit the bullet and started making my own nut milk.  It is very easy and actually quite fun – and you’ll also find out very quickly how processed store-bought milk is when you taste the difference in your homemade batch!

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Note: This recipe calls for soaking the almonds beforehand.  By soaking them, you are removing the phytic acid, which is a digestion inhibitor in many nuts that binds with minerals and blocks our body’s ability to reap all of the nutritional benefits in them.  When you see how gross the water is after they’ve been soaked, you’ll be happy you did it.  Almonds, pecans, and walnuts require a long soaking time.  Nuts such as cashews only need to be soaked about 4 hours.  Hazelnuts do not contain physic acid and therefore do not require the soaking process at all.

Homemade Almond Milk

Prep time:  8 hours, 30 minutes   Cook time:  0 minutes   Total time:  30 minutes

Yield:  1 Quart

 

Ingredients & Supplies

1 cup raw almonds

4 cups water, plus more for soaking

Large bowl

High-power blender or food processor

Doubled-over cheesecloth or fine strainer

Container for holding milk

 

Directions

1.  Place almonds in a large bowl and cover with water.  Soak overnight, or for at least 8 hours.

2.  Drain and rinse soaked almonds.  Place almonds and 4 cups of water into a high-power blender or food processor and blend for 2-3 minutes, until nuts have been pulverized into a fine meal.

3.  Slowly pour the milk through the cheesecloth and into the milk container.  The cheesecloth will strain out the almond meal that was made in the blending process.  Make sure to squeeze the pulp to get all of the milk out of it.  You will have to clear the cloth of the meal several times throughout as well.

4.  Once all of the milk is strained, you’re done!  Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.  You can also save all of that almond meal and dry in out, either by sitting it out somewhere or using a dehydrator, to be used in whatever recipes you need it for.

*Tip: You can use these measurements for any nut milk you desire – cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.  Just make sure to do your research on if (and how long) they need to be soaked beforehand.  The picture in this post is actually half-almond, half-hazelnut milk, and I made 2 quarts to fill my half-gallon mason jar.  Feel free to also add a bit of vanilla extract or salt, if that’s what you’re into.  Yum!

Superfood Hot Cacao

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Did you know that “cocoa” in its raw form is actually called “cacao,” and that it is very good for you?  unsweetened cocoa powder tastes the same as unprocessed and unsweetened cacao powder, but the heating and processing of cacao into cocoa makes it lose the status of :superfood” and a lot of its nutritional benefits.  Some of the benefits of cacao include antioxidants, magnesium and a portion of health-promoting saturated fats.  Yes, you read correctly: HEALTHY SATURATED FATS.  We need saturated fat to survive and thrive; they have been proven not to be the cause of high cholesterol.  Now that that is out of the way, lets make some hot chocolate, yes?

Superfood Hot Cacao

Prep time: 2 minutes   Cook time: 5 minutes   Total time: 7 minutes

Yield: 1 cup/serving

Ingredients

1 cup Almond Milk (or other milk of choice)

1 tbsp raw cacao powder (I recommend Navita’s Naturals brand)

1/2 tbsp local honey

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Optional:  Top with my Refined Sugar-Free Marshmallows

Directions

1.  Warm milk on medium heat in a pot on the stove.

2.  While milk is warming, add in cacao powder, honey, and vanilla.  Whisk with a fork until well- blended.

3.  Continue whisking as the temperature rises, allowing bubbles to form.

4.  Just before the hot chocolate bubbles over, turn off the stove and serve.  Plop in a few marshmallows, if desired.

*Note:  My Refined Sugar-Free Marshmallows are a little more dense than traditional ones, so they will not float on top of your hot chocolate.  The picture for this recipe has some of these marshmallows in it, but they sink to the bottom when you place them in your hot cacao.  However, they will still add that extra touch of sweetness and froth that traditional marshmallows bring!

Caffeine-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte

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What better way to celebrate fall and Thanksgiving season than pumpkin-spice-everything?!  Though Starbucks (and now other copy-cats like McDonald’s, apparently) have their seasonal menus that bring in millions of dollars every year around the holidays, the ingredients they use are terribly processed and nowhere near healthy (or Paleo!).  Here’s a guilt-free version of one of Starbucks’ most famous creations – one that I have enjoyed almost every morning since creating the recipe – to kick-start your day with some calcium and just a touch of caffeine!

 

Caffeine-Free Pumpkin Spice Latte

Prep time: 2 minutes   Cook time: 8 minutes    Total time: 10 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

 

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk (or other milk of choice)

3 TBSP organic pumpkin purée

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup brewed coffee, or however many espresso shots you want

->Optional<-

1/3 cup coconut whipped cream

Additional pumpkin pie spice

Cinnamon stick

 

Directions

1.  Whisk together milk, pumpkin purée, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice with a fork.  Pour into a small pot and heat on medium-high heat, whisking every few minutes.

2.  Continue whisking milk mixture until bubbly and frothy.  Do not bring it to a boil; rather, it will appear to be a slow simmer because of the froth.

3.  When milk has reached desired temperature and seems to be well-mixed and bubbled, pour brewed coffee into your mug first.  Then pour the milk mixture on top of the brewed coffee, making sure to scrape excess bubbles from the pot on top of the drink (this is what makes it “officially” a latte).

->Optional<-

4.  Make coconut whipped cream

5.  Spoon coconut whipped cream into a piping bag and spread on top of the latte.

6.  Sprinkle with extra pumpkin pie spice and add a cinnamon stick, for garnish.

 

Other tips:  On days where I don’t have the time to do the fancy “optional” section, I still like to add some coconut flakes to the top of the latte to get that little extra flavor in it.