Date Sweetened Hot Chocolate

My #1 criteria when testing a recipe is that it has to taste good.

As a dietitian I’m obviously a fan of incorporating more veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes and healthy fats into meals. But I’m not willing to compromise on flavour for the sake of nutrition. You won’t catch me dead eating plain steamed vegetables or sugar-free cookies.

Hot chocolate sweetened with dates to give it a healthy boost of fibre!

All this to say, this date sweetened hot chocolate tastes good. I promise. And while there’s nothing wrong with a good cuppa traditional hot chocolate, why not add a few extra grams of fibre to your drink if you can?

If you have a powerful blender, you should be able to just blend and then reheat on the stove before pouring into your mugs. But if your blender is a little rough around the edges, you may want to pour your hot chocolate through a fine-mesh sieve after blending just to catch any lingering chunks of dates. Either way, this recipe comes together quickly to satisfy those hot cocoa cravings!

Hot chocolate sweetened with dates to give it a healthy boost of fibre!

Date Sweetened Hot Chocolate
 
Hot chocolate sweetened with dates to give it a healthy boost of fibre!
Author:
Yield: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups milk (see note for dairy-free option)
  • 4-6 large medjool dates, pitted
  • 1½ tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Combine the milk and dates in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the stove and let cool slightly.
  2. Pour the milk and dates in a blender and add the cocoa powder and vanilla. Blend on high until completely smooth.
  3. Pour the mixture back into the pot then heat until warmed.
  4. Optional step: If your blender doesn't get the mixture completely smooth, pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve before adding it back to the pot.
Notes
Note: To make this dairy free, use 2 cups almond milk plus 1 cup full fat canned coconut milk. I have tested this option, and it is awesome!

Hot chocolate sweetened with dates to give it a healthy boost of fibre!

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Food is Not Just Fuel

There are so many messages in the media these days that diminish food to just calories and carbs. Especially around this time of year with all that talk of New Year’s resolutions and diets. We get bombarded with messages telling us to go low carb. To cut every ounce of sugar out of our diets. To skip dessert when we go out to eat. To have dry toast instead of buttering it. To eat spaghetti squash instead of pasta. To squeeze every bit of pleasure from eating until we simply view food as fuel.

la parisienne creperie crepe

But I’m so over the “food is fuel” crap.

Because seriously, who are the robots that these messages are targeting? Who is actually capable of viewing food solely as sustenance? Food is so much more than just fuel.

modavie montreal

Food is social.

Food is cultural.

Food is celebratory.

Food is communicative.

Food is love.

Food is pleasure.

And feeling these connections to food is what makes us human.

So amidst all the Weight Watchers ads, blogs praising the keto diet, and coworkers trying to convince you to try the Whole30 with them, don’t lose sight of what food truly means to you!

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2017 Cook My Books Challenge: December

I think I’m with the majority of people in feeling relief that 2017 is over. I don’t know what sort of cosmic forces were at play, but it seems like it was just a crappy year for everyone. Well, maybe not so crappy for my taste buds. This year I set for myself a cookbook challenge to make 3 recipes from my cookbooks each month – and I’m happy to say I completed it!

It may have just been a silly challenge, but I’m so grateful I decided to take it on. It was actually the first long term “project” I’ve ever taken on and completed. So it was pretty cool to actually follow through with something. Not to mention, I discovered a few new favourite recipes that I know I will remake often (Barefoot Contessa’s buttermilk cheddar biscuits, greens and fontina baked eggs from Seriously Delish, and Ellie Krieger’s zucchini bread to name a few). I had my first Indian food experience… ever. And I maybe got over my hatred of radicchio?

I may continue my cookbook challenge informally going forward – and try to post about it if I can! But before that, let me recap my December recipes (minus actual pictures of my cooking this month since it was too hard to catch the natural light):

bowl-and-spoon-cookbook

On the first day of the month I made Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce from Bowl + Spoon by Sara Forte, the author behind the blog Sprouted Kitchen. I avoid making traditional meatballs made from ground poultry because they never compare to the real thing. If I want spaghetti and meatballs, my go-to recipe is from the Polpo cookbook, which is made from a blend of beef and pork (actually I think the original recipe calls for veal too, but I leave that out). But these turkey meatballs are probably as close to the real thing as you’re going to get. There’s a bit of ricotta in them to give moisture and texture – such a good idea! I also loved the flavour of fennel seed in them.

I got together with my friends Andrea and Shannon the day after making these meatballs. We’ve been cooking together since our university days, and we actually spent a bit of our time together reminiscing about our cooking nights back then, when we would spend them practising for our dietetic internship interviews. Thankfully we’re all happily working now, with that stress well behind us!

made-with-love-cookbook

Anyways, we decided we wanted to cook our meal entirely from Made with Love by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, the people behind a local vegan cafe that we used to frequent. So we did three recipes: Baked Mac n’ Cheese, Caesar Salad, and Pumpkin Pie. We made a few substitutions based on what we had on hand, i.e. using real butter instead of vegan butter and regular pasta instead of gluten-free rice pasta. We also used an oat & seed crust for the pumpkin pie instead of making the gluten-free pie pastry recipe in the cookbook. And of course we subbed out the cashews for sunflower seeds in the Caesar dressing to make it safe for my allergies. Okay, so I guess we made a lot of substitutions. But hey, that’s what cooking is all about. And everything turned out pretty delicious!

I guess that wraps up this series. Thanks for following along!  I’ll be back in a few weeks with a new post – I’ve got a cozy drink recipe that I can’t wait to share.

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