One of my favorite things about fall and winter is that I get to walk around with a thermos, or a Jiva water bottle, filled with a delicious, hot drink all day long. The cold makes the hot drink particularly enjoyable. The hot drink makes the cold more endurable. I could go to Starbucks multiple times a day to get my fix, but these three caffeine-free beverages are so easy to make once you get the hang of them, so delicious, and so healthy (they have no preservatives, no refined sugar and no artificial flavors) that I really enjoy making them at home.
If you try them, let me know what you think. And if you have a favorite hot beverage, share the recipe with me!
Vanilla Bean Dark Hot Chocolate
A few years ago, I discovered that raw cacao is the highest plant-based source of iron, has a ton of magnesium, more calcium than cow’s milk, 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries, and is a natural mood elevator. I have been in love with chocolate since I can remember and was thrilled to discover that in its most natural state, my very favorite substance on earth is health food. Because of its incredible properties, this is a hot chocolate you can drink with zero guilt!
1 large mug of your milk of choice (dairy, almond, coconut). My favorite for this drink is plain coconut milk.
2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean powder
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
Begin heating the milk in a saucepan. Whisk in the cacao, then the maple syrup, and finally the vanilla bean powder. Allow the mixture to thicken--keep your eyes on the stove as the drink can rise very quickly. Once it has reached the desired consistency, pour into a mug and enjoy!
Variations: Sometimes I add a drop or two of essential oil to my mug of vanilla dark hot chocolate. I use Young Living Essential Oils. If I am adding orange essential oil, I will add two drops. If I am using peppermint, I only add 1 drop (peppermint essential oil is strong!). I have never tried adding lavender, but friends of mine love Lavender Hot Chocolate. In that case, would only add 1 drop.
Hug in a Mug
Deliciously Ella calls this drink Chai Latte. I can’t quite call it that because it doesn’t contain any tea. Nonetheless, this drink is equally satisfying in that sweet and spicy way.
1 large cup of milk of your choice
1 small slice of ginger (for the sake of convenience, I use 1 teaspoon of this ginger juice)
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
3 cardamon pods
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1-3 teaspoons of maple syrup (depending on the sweetness level you prefer)
½ teaspoon of vanilla powder
4 black peppercorns
Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring well. Strain into a mug, reserving the cinnamon stick. Sprinkle more cinnamon on the top and add the cinnamon stick to finish.
Ginger Lemon Jolt
1 mug of hot water
1 tablespoon of ginger juice
2 tablespoons of lemon juice (approximately, the juice of a lemon)
1 tablespoon of honey
Mix together and enjoy.
This is the drink I turn to when I need to be zinged awake! On those mornings or afternoons when I am particularly tired, I double the amount of ginger juice, and add a bit more honey. It makes for one zesty drink, but it really does put a natural, caffeine-jitters-free pep in my step.
I especially like to keep this drink in an insulated (preferably stainless steel) bottle so I can shake it throughout the day since the ginger seems to settle at the bottom quite a bit.