Vanilla Spiced Nut Milk

Merry Christmas, Christmas, nut milk, hazelnuts, Ferrero Rocher, hazelnut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, organic, Christmas baking, Christmas tree, refined sugar free, raw chocolate, chocolate, homemade, recipes, dairy free, gluten free, yoga girl, deliciously ella, madeleine shaw, healthy, nutrition, raw, vegan, health bloggers, food blogI’m one-upping the simple things this holiday season.

Making nut milk is a simple process; it’s just tedious and not so great for the time-constrained demands of life for pretty much everyone.

I sometimes feel like Christmas actually brings out even more stress for many people. Rushing around to get the latest trending gift, having the house decorated, attending one party to the next, etc., etc.! I think it’s even more important that we try and take a step back and just enjoy the moment. Because before you know it, it’s passing you by and if there’s one time of the year where everyone should take part in that, shouldn’t it be the holiday season?

In saying this, I’m just coming down from one of the busiest years I’ve had. Completing a program that is essentially four years of university/college crammed into one year will do that to you. In the last couple of months, I haven’t made time to do much of anything to nourish my body including everything that I talk to people about finding and making the time to do! It happens to the best of us. We all have moments when there’s too much going on. So long as we become aware of this and then begin to take inventory on areas where we could improve on carving out specific time to take care of ourselves- that is the key.

And so onto homemade nut milk! I have previously shared my almond milk recipe, but as it’s Christmas, I wanted to make something that to be honest, required minimal effort but was still a little extra. Nut milk is great way of doing this as there are endless options of nuts and seeds to choose from, plus whatever you’d like to add to flavour the milk. It’s also something that you can choose to make solely for yourself as a special treat that can be added to your morning coffee or blended into a smoothie.

I always remember as a kid having hazelnuts around Christmas time. I also always adored Ferrero Rocher and was given a box to myself each year. It made sense then, to make a hazelnut milk and add to it seasonal spices. The result of which is this delicious, creamy nut milk.

Hazelnuts make a wholesome choice with minerals such as magnesium, manganese, copper, folate, and iron, and vitamins E and B6. They provide plenty of antioxidants including polyphenols (also found in red wine and dark chocolate) to help with signs of aging and reducing the onset of disease.

For richer milk, you may choose to add less cups of water than you usually would (2-3 cups vs. 3-4 cups). I find you don’t really need to strain the pulp as you don’t really get that much, which means you’re getting even more benefit from the entirety of the nuts.

Since making this, I’ve enjoyed it in my hot cocoa and blended into a smoothie with frozen banana and maca for that Ferrero Rocher taste done in a healthy way. Enjoy this yourself by adding your own spices that you love. It makes a delicious treat with some Christmas cookies!

Ingredients

1-cup of hazelnuts soaked for 4 hours or overnight

2-3 cups of filtered water

1 vanilla bean or 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Pinch of spices: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, etc.

Pinch of pink salt

Optional: ½ tbsp. maple syrup or 1 Medjool date to sweeten

Directions

Soak the hazelnuts before rinsing well and draining. Add to a high-speed blender with 2 cups of water and blend. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the blender with your choice of spices and sweetener. Blend until completely smooth then add to a sealed jar and refrigerate. This keeps well for 3-4 days. Add to smoothies, hot cocoa, porridge, overnight oats, enjoy on its own!

Happy Holidays! xx

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Cinnamon Vanilla Bulletproof Coffee

bulletproof coffee, coffee, healthy coffee, cinnamon vanilla bulletproof coffee, vegan, dairyfree, coconut oil

If you’re going to have coffee, bulletproof is a great way to enjoy it. Especially if you’re partial to those big frothy mochas with whipped cream…!

I’ve never been a big coffee drinker. It’s only been recently I’ve started to enjoy one now and then but I do believe that coffee in moderation, and good quality coffee can actually benefit us as it contains antioxidants.

I like to have mine after warm lemon water in the morning, when the body has had a chance to wake up. The timing of coffee also seems to be a factor and is best taken in the morning so the caffeine isn’t still in your system come the evening.

So what makes this coffee different? Bulletproof coffee is the idea of emulsifying healthy fats with your coffee in order to sustain a slower release of caffeine into the system. Hence you avoid the “jittery” feeling and the crash from being stimulated by the coffee and feel more energized.

You might think it’s weird to add butter here but it just makes for an incredibly smooth and creamy cup without adding any cream. The key bit to bear in mind is to make sure the butter you’re using is of the organic and grass fed variety. And if you’re vegan or just want to avoid the butter, adding only coconut oil is also great. I’ve been adding coconut oil to just about all my hot drinks since I started consuming it a few years ago.

Ingredients:

1 cup of coffee- use a shot of espresso or a black coffee

1-2 tbsp almond milk or coconut milk

1 tbsp organic, grass fed butter

1 tbsp coconut oil

½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp vanilla

Optional: a little maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, to sweeten

Directions:

  1. Gently melt the butter and coconut oil together in a saucepan over low heat.
  2. When almost melted, add in your milk, cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener of choice if using, and coffee.
  3. Blend everything together either by adding to a blender or using a hand blender until emulsified and frothy.

Sweet Potato Wedges with Spicy Avocado-Basil Dip

Sweet Potato Wedges with Spicy Avocado-Basil Dip, sweet potato fries, sweet potato chips, avocado dip, vegetable dip, healthy french fries, gluten free snacks

This spicy avocado dip is so creamy and delicious with sweet potato wedges. I love avocados; they’re versatile and full of nutrition for your body. It takes a few simple ingredients and they’re transformed into something amazing every time. As for sweet potatoes, they’re increasing in popularity as an alternative to your usual white potatoes for nutritional value and taste.

Never a lover of any vegetable whatsoever, I’m amazed I actually crave these most days now. I love to make one or two as a snack with lots of coconut oil and cinnamon for a sweeter take or make a dip and create something a bit more savoury as is here.

The combination of both the avocado and sweet potato creates a yummy snack or side dish.

Serves 1-2

Ingredients:

1 avocado
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tsp of ginger, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
Salt & pepper
1-2 medium sweet potatoes
Coconut oil

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350° while you slice the sweet potatoes in wedges. Add a knob of coconut oil to a baking tray and pop in the oven for a minute or two to melt.

2. Remove from the oven, add the sweet potato wedges and coat them with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Pop these in the oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once, until browned around the edges.

4. While the sweet potatoes are roasting, make the avocado dip. Add the avocado, garlic, ginger, basil, lime juice, and olive oil to a food processor and blend until smooth.

You may want the dip a bit chunkier but I love it really smooth. If you don’t like it spicy, leave out the ginger. Season with salt and pepper and serve with the sweet potato wedges.

Cacao Beet Smoothie

Cacao Beet Smoothie, chocolate and beets, chocolate and beetroot, gluten free, dairy free smoothie, beet smoothie, cacao beetroot, cacao beets

Okay, this had to turn out good because I am not the biggest fan of beetroot! There’s been a lot of vegetables that I’ve opened myself up to over the past few years and have really learned to love but unfortunately, beets are not one I can get on board with! However I still eat them, mainly by juicing them because they are very nutritious. They’re wonderful for cleansing your liver and detoxing the body. No matter what though, they still end up tasting quite “earthy” to me. Well, enter this smoothie! Combining beets with chocolate is a classic combination of late and this is an excellent way to get in some veggies AND enjoy chocolate. Guilt Free. Because using raw cacao allows you to keep all the wonderful properties of pure chocolate (such as magnesium which we all tend to be pretty deficient in!) And this is delicious. I promise even if you despise veggies at all, this is a winner. When I make this I don’t really measure too much so adjust the quantities to your liking as these are estimates. You may find you’d like to add more cacao or berries or even a frozen banana to the mix.

Ingredients:

1 cup almond milk (coconut milk, etc)

2 small beets

1/2- 1 whole avocado

1/2- 1 cup raspberries

2 tsp vanilla extract or a vanilla pod

Couple tbsp raw cacao

Pinch of cinnamon

Optional add-ins: raw cacao nibs, chia seeds, hemp hearts

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.

I added hemp hearts to mine for an added boost of protein. And a sprinkling of chia seeds and raw cacao nibs on top to make it that little bit more chocolatey!

Pancake Day

The Easiest Pancakes Ever, Pancake Day, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free Pancakes

Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day although not a typical holiday per say has always been a favourite of mine. I’m not sure if that’s because pancakes were the first thing I learned to make, or that they’re really versatile to play with and quick to make, or because I have always loved them! With the day fast approaching (it falls on February 17th this year- make note!) I altered my usual recipe to be gluten free and dairy free but still healthy and yummy to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner! (Am I the only one who does that?) It was such a treat to have them all day long as a kid!

This is a basic recipe that makes approximately 6 pancakes. You can double the recipe for more servings and you can add in some extra ingredients to what you fancy. A tablespoon of raw cacao makes for chocolate ones or fruit like apples and blueberries make great options. Of course, being Canadian, enjoying them as they are with some maple syrup is one of the best ways I’ll say you can enjoy them!

Ingredients:

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (almond, coconut, etc.)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp coconut oil, melted, plus extra for the pan

1/2- 3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch of sea salt

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, add the egg and milk. Whisk together until light and foamy. Add the vanilla.

2. Melt the coconut oil on the stove top then slowly stream into the mix, whisking as you go along.

3. Add the baking powder, salt, and flour until everything is smooth. Set aside for a couple of minutes while you heat your frying pan *If you’re adding anything else such as fruit, do so now*

4. Heat a frying pan on low-medium heat and melt a teaspoon of coconut oil, making sure to coat the whole pan. When it’s ready, take about 1/8 cup of batter and pour into the pan.

5. Allow the pancakes a minute or two to cook. You’ll know it’s ready to flip with bubbles begin to appear and pop on the surface of the pancake. Flip to the other side and allow another minute or so to cook.

6. Complete with the rest of the batter. Add coconut oil or organic butter and some maple syrup, fruit, nuts, a sprinkle of cinnamon or raw cacao.

Enjoy these as you will- they’re so quick and easy to make and you can really play with the flavours. I’ve made them gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free however you can substitute organic dairy milk or other types of flour. You’ll find yourself making them more often than not after you try them once. Happy Pancake Day!

Honey & Cinnamon Face Mask

5 minute face mask, natural beauty, honey and cinnamon face mask

If you’re new to trying out natural skincare and don’t know where to start, this is a great place! This is a really easy, simple, natural remedy to try that’s inexpensive and great for your skin.

When I first ventured out into trying some more natural and holistic things in the beauty department, I came across many books and articles all about using honey. Honey is incredibly beneficial to consume but it’s also fantastic for so many other things! You can use honey to wash your face, heal a burn, to reduce spots, fight colds, and as a face mask in this case.

All you need for it are two ingredients: honey and cinnamon. Cinnamon is equally beneficial for you. Consuming it can help to control sugar cravings and helps with your circulation which is why it’s so great in this mask. The honey and cinnamon combined created a slight tingling across your face bringing warmth as your blood gets flowing! When you wash this mask off, your skin might be slightly red but that goes away after a few minutes. It’s just a sign that your skin has been warmed up by the spice.

If you have sensitive skin, you may want to hold off on the cinnamon, but you can still use the honey as it can be very helpful and soothing to irritated skin.

For the mask:

1-2 teaspoons raw honey (local and organic is best- try and avoid those squeezy bottles from the grocery stores, they tend to be heavily processed)

Pinch of cinnamon

Directions: 

Mix the honey and cinnamon together in a small dish. Apply to your face with your fingers avoiding your eyes. Allow to sit for a minimum of 10 minutes before gently exfoliating the skin in circles and rinsing off with water. Pat dry and use your favourite oil or moisturizer.

Remember to start slowly with adding the cinnamon, you can always add more the next time and you’ll still get the benefits from this mask. When I first started using this, I only used a pinch of cinnamon because that was plenty for me! Now I use about ¼ teaspoon each time.

I love to make this mask a couple times a week and then just let it sit on my face while I take a warm bath. You can just relax and let it do its thing. Added bonus: it smells amazing!

Homemade Almond Milk

almond milk

 

If you haven’t tried making your own almond milk (or any nut milk for that matter) you should definitely try it out! I had never given much thought to the difference between shop bought almond milk and homemade almond milk. Having made it myself I can definitely say that it is amazing and far outweighs anything that you’ll find on a shelf (which often contain fillers) It’s creamy and delicious and so very versatile in replacement of dairy milk. Making your own nut milk is a great way of knowing the exact ingredients you are consuming . It’s also incredibly good for you! This is how I make mine:

Ingredients:

2 cups of organic almonds (I usually buy the blanched almonds but you can easily use the ones with the skins on)

5-6 cups of filtered water (depending on how creamy you would like the milk)

pinch of sea salt

Optional add-ins: ½ tsp vanilla extract, ½ tsp cinnamon

You will need: Nut-milk bag, cheesecloth, or muslin cloth

Directions: 

  1. Place almonds in a bowl of water to soak overnight. This not only softens the almonds to allow them to blend better but also breaks down the enzymes on the outer skin of nuts for easier digestion.
  1. When you’re ready to use, drain and rinse your almonds, then add to a blender with the 6 cups of filtered water and blend until smooth (Note: Depending on the size of your blender, you may want to do this in batches)
  1. Place your milk bag (or if using muslin cloth, line a fine mesh strainer with it) over a large bowl and slowly pour the milk through it.
  1. Use a spatula to lightly press down the liquid through the cloth and strainer in batches until you’re left with just the pulp in the cloth. Squeeze through the rest of the liquid and set aside the almond pulp.
  1. Return the milk to the blender adding in sea salt, vanilla extract, and/or cinnamon and blend again. When finished, add to a sealed jug and keep stored in the fridge to enjoy all week long.

Makes approx. 1 1/2 litres of almond milk

Use this in place of dairy milk in smoothies, porridge, breakfast, and baking recipes, or just on its own.