Frozen Sweet Treats – Peach Slush

peach slushA highlight for many in the summer is slushy frozen drinks. Often times we would simply pop to the 7-11 and grab a slushy, but once I started paying more attention to what actually went into these slushies (can we say mountains of sugar and artificial flavors?) I was on the hunt for a slushy recipe that I could easily make at home (and without all the sugar!)

When I started browsing for ideas I came across this recipe for a peach slush; which it turned out I had already saved a while back in my recipes to try. It was also the perfect time to try it as we had just returned from the Okanagan with a mountain of fresh peaches.There is nothing like using your fresh fruit to make your delectable treats! It was a perfect fit. Peaches are also rich in vitamins such as Vitamin A, beta carotene and Vitamin C, as well as many minerals so super good for you!

At first I was a little hesitant to make it cause though it was a quick mix of ingredients in the blender, it was the 1 to 2 hours of waiting and stirring that deterred me a little bit. I kind of like instant! Plus I sometimes forget when I have to pay attention to things to stir every so often. But I found a way to make it work and honestly it was not that bad. Plus it makes a great easy, healthy, naturally sweetened frozen treat that you can make and enjoy at home.

The original recipe did not call for any sweetener but I found it needed just a little bit so I added in a teaspoon of honey. Depending on your level of desired sweetness will depend on whether you opt in to add it yourself. I can also see this recipe working well with other fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, maybe even watermelon.

Of course the kids enjoyed it. They are great little testers of Mom’s new recipes and help me adjust it when needed. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Peach Slush

2 fresh peaches, peeled and chopped

1/8 c. waterpeach slush

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. fresh lime juice

Peel peaches by putting them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Chop peaches into chunks and put in a blender.

Add water, honey and lime juice. Blend until smooth consistency.

Pour into a 9×13 pan and freeze in freezer for one to two hours. Stir a few times so that it does not freeze into a solid block.

When ready stir and whip it up with a fork so it has a nice slushy consistency.

Serve immediately in a cold dish. Makes 2 small servings

Have a great slush recipe? Share in the comments below.

A Warm Drink on a Cold Day

warm capuccino-saidaonlineThere’s nothing like coming in on a cold day and enjoying a nice warm drink. Cuddling up on the couch, your hands surrounding the mug for warmth as the steam floats up and you inhale the beautiful scent of coffee, hot chocolate, tea or hot apple cider, to name a few.

It doesn’t matter what you have been doing, if you’ve been enjoying some time outside doing outdoor activities, toboganning, skating, skiing or even just shoveling the walk, there is something about that warm beverage that offers you comfort like nothing else.

My kids love cuddling up on the couch with their drinks and maybe some cookies or other treat and watching a movie, tucked up under blankets. Nice and cozy and relaxing.

warm-drinksOf course when we decided to eliminate sugar at our house we could no longer default to the hot chocolate mix we bought at the store (and we used to buy the big can, you know that one that is super tall and would last for months). I know in the good old days hot chocolate was simply milk heated with cocoa mixed into it, but it had been a long time since I’d done that. In fact I remember one time when I was little and my aunt was looking after us, she did just that, and my sisters and I looked at her like she had 3 heads and asked her what the heck she was doing. In the end she ended up making the instant stuff but I know now what I missed out on.

I really like the milk heated version as I find it to be richer and creamier, even though it does take a little bit more time and work to do so. What I do now for the kids is actually a little fancier than that (something I discovered in my Raw Chocolate Making class), but it is soooo yummy and also very good for you.

Now I use a mix of almond milk, cacao powder (considered a superfood and high in minerals such protein, zinc, and iron), natural sweetener of choice and depending on the day some added spices. It’s actually quite easy to do and tastes delicious! I also like that I can make it different every time depending on what I am feeling like that day.

Dairy Free Hot Chocolate

4 c. almond milk (or your choice of dairy free milk)HBC-DJ12-hot-chocolate-shrstock-48722137

3-4 tbsp. cacao powder

3-4 tbsp. natural sweetener (I usually use pure maple syrup, but you can use honey, stevia, etc.) *amount of sweetener depends on sweetener used and personal preference

spices – sprinkle of to taste cinnamon and cayenne, or lucuma powder and mesquite powder

Place all ingredients into blender. Turn on low, then turn up to high, blend well. Pour mixture into pot. Heat on medium to desired temperature. Pour into mugs and serve.

Serves 4

What other delectable hot drink recipes do you enjoy?

Holiday Delights Sugar and Dairy Free Egg Nog

One of the many things I love about Christmas is the fun holiday drinks you can have. Things like hot apple cider, Christmas Jones, Angels Delight and my favorite Egg nog. It is a rich creamy drink that you can have virgin style or add a dash of rum if you like. Either way it is delicious, especially if you sprinkle a little nutmeg or cinnamon on top.

Only available at Christmas, as soon as it came out in the stores I would buy it – sometimes as early as October – to enjoy and savour my first cup. Matthew also really likes egg nog and was asking me to buy some for him as soon as he saw it in the store. Unfortunately egg nog has the two things our family doesn’t anymore, dairy and sugar; therefore I was in a bit of a quandry. Some things I could live without, egg nog did not seem to be one of them, so I went on a hunt for one that would meet our needs. I knew there had to be one out there.

There are quite a few non-dairy options out there, Vita-soy makes a Holly Nog from soy milk, as does Earth Balance, Silk and So-Delicious (coconut milk) as well as nogs with almond milk. I even discovered a rice milk egg nog made by Rice Dream. But though these are all great dairy free options they are still sweetened with evaporated cane sugar, which we can’t have; we needed one with a natural sweetener.

Since I couldn’t find one in the stores,  I came home and hopped online to see what recipes I could find on the internet. (I love the internet it has opened up a whole new world for me and I often wonder how we ever got along without it). My preference was an egg nog made with almond milk so that is what I looked for; and I found 2 really good recipes that I have made and we all tried.

The first one I found on Incredible Smoothies, a website founded by Tracy Russell who eats a high raw vegan diet. She has all kinds of great smoothie recipes on her site. The recipe for egg nog, I really liked as it does not contain eggs, (which I was concerned about for the twins as egg nog usually contains raw eggs), and it was all made in the blender, sweetened with frozen bananas! It was fast, easy, simple and delicious!

The second recipe I found on Healthful Pursuit by Leanne Vogel, who shares recipes, travel, food and life experiences on her site. This recipe for egg nog contains egg yolks as well as coconut milk, but is cooked on the stove. At first I thought that this would not turn out so well as I thought “Warm egg nog? Really?” but it turned out to also be delicious! And the fact that it was cooked on the stove eliminated my concern about the twins having raw eggs, so they could have it too. It was also really good warm. Leanne says you can let it cool and enjoy it, but I found due to the coconut milk, it congealed in little chunks when it cooled, and though not bad you had small pieces of coconut milk in your egg nog. I have leftovers in the fridge that I will be heating up when I enjoy it.

The kids enjoyed both recipes too. Matthew’s favorite was the one from Incredible Smoothies, I really liked the one from Healthful Pursuit (I found it a little bit creamer and lighter) and the twins, well they liked both and didn’t seem to favor one or the other (they are so easy to please those two 🙂

Dairy free egg nog with almond milk

The only downside with the stove top recipe is you end up with leftover egg whites and unless you have something to use them for they end up going to waste.

Either way we now have 2 delicious, dairy free, sugar free egg nog options, which even John tasted and said is “Way better than the store bought stuff.” We can easily make them at home whenever we like, and as much as we like 🙂

So if you’re looking for a non dairy egg nog that you can make yourself or simply wish to try something new, these recipes are great (and they also happen to be gluten free as well). Once you’ve tried them come back and comment letting us know what your favorite is, or if you’ve found another egg nog recipe that you like and are willing to share!

Have fun and enjoy that glass of egg nog!

Raw Vegan Egg Nog with Almond Milk

1 1/4 c. plain almond milk (you can make your own almond milk, it’s super easy)

2 frozen bananas, peeled and sliced

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

dash of clove

dash of sea salt

1 date (soaked for 10 minutes)

1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Put all ingredients in a blender. Start on low speed and move up to high. Blend on high for 20-30 seconds until mixture is smooth. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.

Almond Nog

4 egg yolks

2 1/4 c. unsweetened almond milk

1-400 ml can of coconut milk

1/4 c. coconut palm sugar

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

pinch all spice

Separat the eggs and place the egg yolks in a bowl. Set aside.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan on medium heat bringing mixture to a simmer. Once simmering reduce heat to low.

Slowly add 1/4 c. of the hot liquid to the egg yolks in a bowl, whisking continuously. Continue adding liquid to the egg yolks until you’ve added 1 cup, then transfer new mixture to saucepan. Turn heat back up to medium and simmer for 4 minutes, whisking continuously.

Remove from heat and serve immediately or put into a mason jar and refrigerate.

Sprinkle with a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, if desired.

*note recipes have been reposted with permission of the original authors

Bananas, Bananas and More Bananas

We go through a lot of bananas at our house. We basically use them in smoothies and general eating but we make a lot of smoothies. In the morning, I make 2 smoothies for myself, a green smoothie of some sort and a fruit one for later in the day. Then I make a peanut butter smoothie for Matthew and the babies usually have a banana each for breakfast. These all include bananas so by the time breakfast is over we have had at least 5 or 6. Then in the afternoon I will make more smoothies for the kids, a green smoothie of some kind, or more like a chocolate smoothie with greens in it. Believe me this is a great way to get greens into the kids! I find the twins especially are more apt to drink their green smoothie than eat the vegetables off of their plate. But I digress, we go through a lot of bananas. We are out at least twice a week buying 12-15 so that we have enough for a few days but not too many that they go brown before we eat them.

Bananas are a great source of potassium, vitamins C and B6, as well as a source of iron. As a result they help increase strength and reduce stress and is an instant source of energy. This makes them a great nutritious snack and natural sweetener (often you can use banana to sweeten muffins or cakes instead of using sugar). Plus they are a great ‘grab and go’ snack.

Though we eat a lot of bananas sometimes we do find that they go brown before we eat them all, and personally once a banana is too soft or ripe I cannot eat it. I don’t like the texture, it’s too mushy. So as a result I use them in recipes, like banana bread and banana muffins. And when I have too many brown bananas I toss them in the freezer to use later.

I have always loved banana bread, it is one of my favorite treats and I recently found an excellent sugar free recipe in the Clean Eating magazine. It uses flax seed and flax oil as well as other tasty ingredients. It is dairy free too; so I tried it out. It was the best banana bread that I have ever tasted! It was so moist and delicious, it melts in your mouth.

I also really enjoy banana muffins as they taste just like banana bread, and have a great recipe from my mother. I have been able to adjust the recipe to meet our new dietary requirements of no sugar or dairy and they taste delicious. The first time I made them I used date sugar as the sugar replacement and though they were very good, they were even better when I tried the  recipe using agave nectar instead. Mhmmm, they turned out so moist and fluffy! They turned out so well that I made them again within a week, not because I had leftover bananas that I needed to use, but because they were such a hit.

So I am sharing with you the banana muffin recipe with agave nectar (the banana bread recipe will come soon). Give it a whirl and try not to eat them all in one sitting! This sugar and dairy free recipe is sure to please everyone in the family!

 

Banana Muffins

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. agave nectar

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 large bananas

1 egg

1/3 c. melted Earth Balance

Mash bananas. Add agave nectar and slightly beaten egg. Then add melted Earth Balance. Mix in dry ingredients and mix but do not beat.

Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins