(3 Ingredient!) Homemade Hot Cocoa

by Susan on December 19, 2014

P1070970

Whenever the weather starts to get the least bit nippy my kids clamor for hot cocoa. I will confess I often just use powdered mix (I buy the 365 organic mix from Whole Foods), but nothing beats homemade cocoa. Truthfully, as long as you have the ingredients on hand it’s just as easy as the packaged stuff!

I’ve used a few methods over the years, making it on both the stove top and crock pot and using cocoa powder and even a chocolate cookie butter as the base. This recipe, though, is perhaps my favorite because it’s crazy easy and fun to customize. It’s also quite possible to make totally organically and dairy-free, depending on your choice of ingredients.

The only 3 things you need? Your choice of milk, chocolate bar and water. Yep, that’s it. For the milk I used unsweetened almond milk, and for the chocolate I went with Green & Black’s mint dark chocolate  so that the kids could enjoy some peppermint cocoa. You don’t need any additional sweetener with this technique, and can use whatever kind of chocolate you prefer. I would obviously recommend going organic, and I always think the darker the better when it comes to chocolate ;)

The essential step to making this cocoa is the simple addition of a tiny bit of water. It really helps the chocolate to melt well without scorching or clumping, so that the resulting cocoa is creamy, smooth and perfect.

I made two small mugs of cocoa with this recipe for my kids, then saved the rest to mix into coffee for myself! It is honestly DELICIOUS in lieu of cream or milk for a festive coffee treat.

3 Ingredient Homemade Hot Cocoa

1/2 cup total chocolate (from either a chocolate bar or chips)
1 tbs. water
2 cups non-dairy milk of choice

Heat water and chocolate in a pot over medium heat, stirring to help melt the chocolate.

Once the chocolate is melted, gradually pour in the milk, stirring to mix.

{ 0 comments }

Turkey Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pear Salsa

by Susan on December 18, 2014

I’ve definitely be all about the holiday sweets lately… from hot cocoa to cookies, it’s easy and funny to get into the spirit when it comes to treats! I chose tonight’s dinner because I wanted to find an entree with a festive feel as well. This one is adapted from Clean Eating magazine (I can’t remember which issue, as I cut it out eons ago).

The salsa is really delicious and different, a refreshing combo of tart and sweet. I served the quesadillas with some of the salsa inside, as I didn’t think it would work too well to try to dip them in it. We all agreed that the quesadillas on their own were a tad bit bland. I would suggest using monterey jack or perhaps even a little brie in lieu of the mozzarella, as I think they’d both add a hit of flavor.

To make these even healthier I used Food for Life’s sprouted corn tortillas; they are both easier to digest and more nutritious than traditional corn tortillas. If you’re worried that fresh cranberries will be a little too tart, dried cranberries would work as well (I would reduce the amount to just a 1/4 cup as opposed to 1/2).

As written these are gluten-free and optionally dairy-free if you use a vegan cheese alternative.

Turkey Quesadillas with Cranberry-Pear Salsa
adapted from Clean Eating

2 medium yellow onion, minced (divided)
1/2 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries, chopped
2 medium pears, peeled and diced
4 cloves minced garlic, divided
juice of 1 orange
1 tsp. salt, divided
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tbs. fresh chopped rosemary
3/4 lb. ground turkey
8 organic corn tortillas
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (see my recommendations above)

Prepare salsa: In a medium bowl, combine ½ onion, cranberries, pear, 1 clove garlic and orange juice. Season with 1/2 tsp salt and a few grinds of pepper. Set aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium for 1 minute. Add remaining onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in rosemary and remaining garlic and salt and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add turkey and cook for 5 minutes, stirring and breaking up turkey with a wooden spoon. With a fine-mesh colander, drain turkey mixture. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.

Wipe out skillet. Return skillet to medium heat. Working in batches, add tortillas to skillet. Top each with ¼ cup turkey mixture and 1/2 tbsp cheese and cook undisturbed for 3 minutes. With a heatproof spatula, gently fold 1 side of each tortilla over to make half-circles. Cook for 1 minute, lightly pressing top of tortillas with spatula if necessary to hold its shape.

Serve quesadillas with salsa.

{ 0 comments }

Flourless Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

December 17, 2014

My biggest goal when I create recipes is to make them allergy-friendly and as healthy as possible. These flourless cookies can also be made dairy-free, but I’m just not going to tell you to make them without the sugar! It *is* the holidays after all, and some treats just don’t taste as good without the [...]

Read the full article →

Italian Spaghetti Squash Bake

December 16, 2014

I was inspired to create this recipe after talking with a friend about kid-friendly spaghetti squash recipes. While you can certainly bake and thread squash up and serve it as a straight pasta substitute, I haven’t found that my brood are huge fans. They much prefer it when I then bake the “spaghetti” into some [...]

Read the full article →

Grain-Free Gingerbread Zucchini Muffins

December 16, 2014

I often comment on different ingredient subs you can use in my recipes, or ways you can tweak them to suit your tastebuds and/or food sensitivities. I don’t tend to get around to making and showing all of the various ways you can customize, though, or I would frankly be cooking and baking all day [...]

Read the full article →

Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

December 15, 2014

Today I wanted to share a breakfast recipe you can literally make while you sleep. Who couldn’t use that during the busy holiday season? You can definitely mix up the layers here, making this vegetarian or dairy-free. I chose to make a bottom layer of loose breakfast sausage and included a little bit of feta. [...]

Read the full article →

Sweet Potato Pizza Crust

December 13, 2014

This healthy alternative to traditional pizza crusts has a lot going for it. Not only is it loaded with nutrition thanks to the sweet potato, but it’s grain, gluten, dairy AND egg-free (a rarity in most alternative crusts). One thing I cannot promise you with it, however, is the same crisp texture that a grain-based [...]

Read the full article →

BLT Pasta

December 5, 2014

This week I focused on speedy recipes, and there’s nothing more guaranteed to please around these parts than a quick pasta dish. This Cooking Light recipe literally took me only as long as it takes to boil a pot of water to prepare, and the kids gobbled it up. I used brown rice penne to [...]

Read the full article →

Bean-Free Chili

December 3, 2014

Today was perfect chili weather here in the Northeast. The meal not only fits the mood and the temperature, but was the perfect option for a busy day. Chili only tastes better the longer it has to sit and/or simmer, so I love to make it ahead of time or in the crock pot. I [...]

Read the full article →

Easy Pancake Muffins

December 2, 2014

My kids love pancakes, but even when I have a ton of time on my hands I’m not the best at making them. I just don’t have the patience to be a good flipper, and I most certainly don’t have the patience OR time to whip them up on most busy weekday mornings. Thus, I [...]

Read the full article →