Coconut Milk Whipped Cream with Vegan Hot Chocolate

This morning Michael and I were talking about what I should write about today. He was rather unhelpful, although very cute, with his only suggestion being that it wasn’t a Things I’m Loving kind of day. I agreed mostly because I currently have just three things on my newest list. One of which is this book that I really want to talk about. Have you read it? It’s crazy messed up.

Gone Girl

Without being any closer to deciding what to post today, Michael heads off the work and I watch him clean off the car…

cleaning off the car

…for a really long time. Then I start to feel cold just watching him and decide it’s time for some hot chocolate.

Now, in a normal world the recipe title would be the other way around. This would be a post about hot chocolate and the whipped cream would be the icing on the cake, haha. But the hot chocolate part is neither here nor there, to be honest I’m still perfecting the recipe. It’s really the whipped cream that steals this show. But I can’t do write a post all about whipped cream, can I?

Maybe I can, but you’ll get the hot chocolate recipe as a bonus. If you’re a lover of whipped cream, make this! It’s like a natural, tastier, more delicious version of cool whip. Put it on cake, on ice cream, eat it straight from the bowl she says, while taking a big spoonful between typing these words. Whatever which way, it’s worth trying soon.

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream with Vegan Hot Chocolate (vegan, gluten-free)

For the whipped cream:

1 can full fat coconut milk, make sure it’s full fat, no light stuff here

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

splash of vanilla extract

For the hot chocolate:

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup, depending on your preferred sweetness level

splash of vanilla extract

pinch of salt

———–

First things first, place a can of full fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight upside. Don’t skip this step.

The next morning open the can (right side up). Drain liquid into a separate container for another time. You’ll be left with the coconut milk solids.

coconut milk solids

Spoon the solid coconut milk into a mixing bowl.

coconut milk solids

Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until it resembles whipped cream, about 1 minute.

coconut whipped cream coconut whipped cream

Once whipped cream is done, warm milk, cocoa, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Whisk, bring to a low boil and remove from heat.

vegan chocolate milk

Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream.

vegan hot chocolate coconut milk whipped cream and vegan hot chocolate

Enjoy while staring out at the snow or your boyfriend cleaning off the car.

Enjoy and Exhale!

Healthy Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

A couple of months ago I was watching the Today show and they were making Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies. I liked the sound of them but hadn’t gotten around to making them until this morning. Cookie baking at 8am, ’tis the season.

I made a few changes to the recipe, namely cutting it in half. Now that only I can eat the gluten-free oats I knew I’d never be able to eat 24 cookies on my own. Turns out I also forgot the coconut so this yielded 8 cookies instead of 12 anyway. Worked out perfectly. Speaking of the coconut, I think these would have been a lot better with it so I’ve included it in my recipe below even though I didn’t personally make them that way.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies (vegetarian, gluten-free)

2 frozen bananas, thawed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons peanut butter

pinch of salt

1/4 cup white sugar, I thought about subbing maple syrup but didn’t this time. If you try it, let me know how it turns out

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

1/2 cup cooked quinoa (here’s how I make mine)

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup chocolate chips

————

Preheat oven to 375.

Thaw frozen bananas or use very ripe ones. Mash with a fork in a big bowl. Add vanilla, peanut butter, salt and sugar. Mix.

Quinoa cookie wet ingredients

Add oats, cooked quinoa and shredded coconut. Mix again.

Stir in chocolate chips.

chocolate chip quinoa cookie dough

Grease a cookie sheet and drop cookies on tray (don’t use parchment paper like I did, the cookies stick).

chocolate chip quinoa cookies

Cook for 25 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

This recipe couldn’t be simpler and I love that it calls for unused quinoa which I usually have on hand.

These would be great with raisins instead of chocolate chips, sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter, or ginger and cinnamon for a holiday themed cookie. I’m thinking of this as the basic recipe for a variety of different cookies.

With so many rich, buttery treats this time of year, it’s nice to have something on the lighter side.

On a totally unrelated note, I had to share some pictures of my run yesterday evening. I caught so many beautiful shots of the sun setting, unbelievably pretty.

Sunset over BostonSunset over BostonSunset over Allston

Enjoy!

All Things Apples

Warning, this is a very long post but there are two recipes at the end so I think it’s worth the read.

We had a really nice weekend. Lots of cooking and plant shopping and a wonderful dinner party with some friends where the food was spectacular, more on that later this week when I try to recreate an unbelievable roasted root vegetable dish.

But the highlight of the weekend was definitely the apples. While everyone else is going pumpkin crazy, all I can think about are apples. On Saturday I dragged Michael to a farm north of Boston. I wasn’t going to let my first New England fall pass without reaping the apple bounty and seeing the leaves change outside the city. We headed to Russell Orchards in Ipswich which did not disappoint. The produce held my personal attention but it’s also a great place for a family outing. The grounds had farm animals, hay rides and a pumpkin patch. We felt a little out of place but the 16 pound bag of apples and the huge acorn squash became my ‘babies’ of sorts. 🙂

The barn held all the apples, had a wine tasting counter, apple cider and donut making facilities. We were even able to find a gluten-free banana bread!

Some type of squash that looks like a goose.

Pumpkin patch.

So now what to do with said bounty?

My day started with apple cinnamon oats, black tea and an apple, jalapeno, celery, ginger juice. Wow was it spicy, kicked me right into gear on a Monday morning.

I gave Michael a choice of apple related recipes and he requested an apple crumble so I got started on that after breakfast.

Vegan Gluten-Free Apple Crumble

For the apples:

3 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced, save the peels

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or you can sub agave or plain white sugar)

For the crumble:

3/4 cup gluten-free oats

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons olive oil

————

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel, core and slice the apples. Save the peels.

In a big bowl, toss apple slices with cinnamon, ginger, allspice and maple syrup.

Grease a casserole dish, mine was 8×11. Dump in apples.

In the same bowl that you mixed the apples in, combine the topping ingredients.

Cover the apples with the topping.

Place in the oven for 40 minutes.

When I was little my dad always did an Oktoberfest menu at his restaurant. Part of the menu was an apple strudel and he was a pro at peeling apples in one long strip. I would sit on the counter and eat the peels while he cooked. I had too many peels to eat on my own today, although I ate a few for old times sake, but I didn’t want to waste the rest. So I baked them while the crumble was cooking.

Roasted Apple Strips:

Peels of 3 apples

1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

Dash of allspice

Dash of salt

Dash of sugar

Mix peels with spices, sugar and spice.

Place in greased casserole dish.

Bake at 350 while apple crumble is baking for 20 minutes. Stir part way through or they’ll burn on the bottom. The strips will be crunchy and perfect for a healthy mid afternoon snack.

Yum.

Enjoy!

Vegan Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

I love peanut butter cups. I mean, love, love, love. When my brother, sister and I were little we would come home from trick or treating and collectively dump all of our candy on the kitchen table. I’m not sure if the sharing thing was something our parents made us do or if we were just nice kids.  I think it’s the former. Anyway, my sister and brother always went for the fruity candies first: skittles, sour patch kids, gummies of all kinds. I always went straight for the Reese’s.

To this day I still love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. And as anyone who’s ever lived with me can attest to, I must have dessert after dinner every. single. night. Lately, that dessert has been Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

They are heavenly. On our last trip to Whole Foods I bought an entire case! Michael just shook his head knowing full well that not one would be wasted. But, it got me to thinking…surely I could make these for cheaper on my own. If I could make them vegan and gluten-free, all the better.

So off I went this morning to Whole Foods. Yes, I’m that crazy lady on her orange scooter that must get to the grocery store before 11am so I can pick up gluten-free graham crackers before it starts raining. If you’ve ever scooted in the rain you’ll understand the urgency. No fun.

I adapted this recipe from Alicia Silverstone’s book The Kind Diet. It’s a good starter book for those beginning their vegetarian/vegan journey and gives a lot of substitutes for everyday items like butter, milk, even cookies.

To make these gluten-free I used S’moreables graham crackers in place of regular crackers. I eat them on their own or with chocolate chips (another dessert favorite) sometimes.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 cup earth balance (or butter if you don’t wish to make them vegan)

3/4 cup peanut butter (if you can get your hands on natural peanut butter I would recommend it)

3/4 cup of graham crackers (this came out to about 8 crushed crackers, but S’moreables are really small, I’d say 5 normal graham crackers)

1/8 cup maple syrup

1/8 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup unflavored almond milk (rice, soy, regular cow’s milk works just as well)

1 cup vegan dark chocolate chips (milk or semi sweet if that’s what you prefer)

1/4 chopped peanuts (optional)

cayenne (optional)

Sea salt

Melt butter over low heat in a sauce pan. Once melted add graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, maple syrup and sugar. Stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.

Place 2 tablespoons of mixture per cupcake wrapper. I used a regular size cupcake tin but it would work just as well with the mini tins.

Melt chocolate and milk over low heat. Stir until smooth.

Place chocolate over peanut butter mixture.

Sprinkle with a little sea salt. Add cayenne and crushed peanuts if desired.

Chill in the freezer for 2-3 hours.

Makes 12 cups.

And just because I like the juxtaposition of the healthy cilantro laying against the recipe for peanut butter cups…

Enjoy. I already have!