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Hot Cocoa

gluten free vegan hot cocoa

There was a distinct chill in the air last night which lead me to put on slippers and make a cup of gluten free, dairy free hot chocolate.  This quick and easy beverage can be simply made from scratch in a matter of minutes.

Hot Cocoa

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  1. Place cashews and (room temperature) water in a vitamix; puree on high until completely smooth and no lumps of cashew remain
  2. Blend in cacao, agave, stevia and vanilla
  3. Divide cacao mixture evenly between 2 mugs
  4. Top off each mug with ½ cup boiling water
  5. Serve

My younger son and his friend Kai were my taste testers for today’s hot chocolate.  I make sure to test the recipes that I post on someone besides myself, often making each one several times.

Here’s what they had to say, “It tasted really good with the stevia.”  Initially I had a mere 10 drops of stevia in the recipe, however the boys said it was not quite sweet enough, so I doubled up to make it taste more like regular hot chocolate by adding 10 more drops, resulting in the 20 drops you see in the recipe above.

On another note, while this site is still a well kept secret, my recipes are often reviewed by others online, generally in a positive tone.  Today I saw this review of my simple bread.  While it was nice that the review was honest (I always appreciate the feedback) the tone wasn’t something to which I’m accustomed.

I would have to agree though that my recipes are not for those looking to save on food costs (see Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma for more on that).  They are very filling (making many more servings than average dishes) and far more nutritious.

How do you view food?  What priority does it take in your life?  Leave a comment and let us know.


posted on October 8, 2008, 50 comments

  1. Alison @ Wholesome Goodness @ wholesomegoodness.net

    Interesting! I saw a recipe a while ago for dairy-free cocoa made with coconut milk. As much as I like coconut, I’m not sure I want it in my hot chocolate. This might suit me much better. Thanks for the idea!

    I must admit that I feel conflicted about the price of good food. I know my husband and I spend a lot more on groceries than just about anyone we know, but we really feel that our health is a priority. Plus, a lot of my dietary limitations dictate a pricier menu. At the same time, I do try to be reasonable. I look for good deals, I search out co-ops, and I’m trying more and more to cut out certain big ticket items. Nuts would be one of them (exotic fruits and vegetables are others). I buy pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds instead of nuts these days. They just cost so much less and provide very similar nutrition. For special occasions I’ll splurge, but I agree that the almond-based breads and other treats aren’t something I can afford on a regular basis. That said, I don’t begrudge the people who *can* afford them.

  2. Very interesting recipe! What is the purpose of the cashews in the recipe? I’m wondering if I could do without them, since my son is highly allergic to cashews. Do you think the recipe would still work?

  3. Michelle @ leavingexcess.com

    Elana, First, let me say that I love your blog – it is beautiful and the pictures are outstanding.

    I have been working to live frugally, but I also want to live without all those nasty chemicals in foods. I have a long way to go, and I do often find myself torn between saving money and paying for organic, whole foods. So far it has been hard to pass on the less expensive foods, but I am making baby steps.

    The hardest part right now is that many of the ingredients are unknown to me – I just need to get out of my routine and get to a health food store. What can I say, change is hard!

    I would have to say that in the long run, my goal is to live without the simple sugars and rely on whole, quality foods. I feel that the cost will be worth it. Your site is an inspiration for that, so thanks!

  4. ~M

    Hi Elana and others,

    I have always loved food and consider cooking a great way to de-stress and be creative. Now that I cook and teach my fiancé about food, we both love our kitchen time. It’s quality time.

    Food is also my only source of nutrition since I dislike protein powders and taking vitamins. Gluten-free food, in particular, keeps me healthy and able to focus (no brain fog, sickness, or pain).

    Yes, food prices are skyrocketing. With my fiancé as a student, we do try to keep our food bill reasonable. But what is reasonable? To us, we don’t eat out at many restaurants as compared with our friends; with the major exception of sushi, we more often than not leave thinking, “hmm, that was good…but we should add X, Y, and Z” or even “I like my version better.” We also keep our grocery bill lower by having breakfast-for-dinner and a few vegetarian or vegan meals throughout the week.

    Now that we live near my younger brother, we often collaborate with him: he drives me to the market or helps me carry my groceries, we pick a meal that is just at the edge of his comfort zone, and prepare it together so I teach him how to cook. Cooking for 3 is more economical than cooking for 2, which is more economical than cooking for 1. I also love having people around our dining table, so I can use the fabulous gifts our friends and family bought us for our wedding (this weekend, I’m so excited!).

    I also keep track of food prices with a spreadsheet that has columns for each store, try to buy in bulk through Costco, Amazon Grocery, and Whole Foods, and always use a list at the grocery store. I can’t wait to hear everyone else’s tips.

    Have a good holiday!

  5. Hi Elana-

    I just wanted to say hello. I love your blog, and am very grateful that I found it. I am just 2 weeks into SCD mainly for my 4 year old son who has some behavioral issues, but the whole family is eating this way. Some of your recipes make me look forward to adding the nut flours to our diet. I’m trying to be patient;)

    I agree that you need to put your money where your mouth is when eating. I would gladly make other cuts in our families budget in order to have healthy foods for our family. I think Americans have gotten so used to being able to buy food so cheaply (that is complete junk) that it is hard for them to accept that quality food requires considerable investment of time and money. It is the same way it has always been, they’ve just been fooled my marketers into thinking otherwise.

  6. Elana,
    I saw that you read my review.
    I’ve been having a healthy lifestyle for 15 years: I cook, grow my own edible and medicinal plants if I can and have been making my own teas, cosmetics and herbal medicine for a while.
    I’ve been focusing more on nutrition for the past 2-3 years and GF for about 1 year though I haven’t been officially diagnosed, your body doesn’t lie to you.
    We all know that food is getting outrageously expensive, yet I believe you can have a decent home cooked and nutritious meal without spending too much (Nicely complemented with a nourishing herbal infusion).
    I’ve always believed in “health first” but like a lot of people I believe, I need to draw a line on expenses somewhere.
    As for my review, maybe it’s the language barrier that made you uncomfortable (I’m french) in this case I apologize. I speak english like I would in French: in an honest, frank and straight forward manner. I know that some people are not used to that.
    On the other hand I’ve always had a sensitive stomach, I don’t do too well with heavy foods and/or foods that have a high fat content.
    Nonetheless, I enjoy reading your blog and the simplicity of your recipes.

  7. Athy

    I completely agree with you Elana. The Omnivores Dilemma was very eye-opening for me even after growing up without the typical “american diet.” But many things in that book were to be expected, I don’t want to fuel my body and regrow my cells with food that is manufactured for maximum profit and minimal nutrition. I’m always saddened by the truth that for most Americans, they take better care of their car and their car’s maintenance, fluids, quality oil, then they do about the quality of fuel and maintenance they use for themselves!

    I’ve had to eat this way for my entire life minus 3 rebellious teenage years, and on a restricted budget. And yes, sometimes it would be nice to be able to not have such high food costs, but I feel like it pays for itself in lower medical costs and million times over and it makes life easier because I have more energy from eating energy/nutrient rich foods.

    Basically, I find shortcuts. I eat simply, I cook from scratch, I make most things from scratch. And use my freezer and canning a ton to save money and time. It’s become much easier to save money now that ordinary grocers are carrying organics and I don’t have to go to a specialty expensive store like New Seasons too much. Costco above all has been a life-saver. Most of their produce is now completely pesticide free, hormone free meats, etc.

    I personally LOVE your simple bread recipe. And frankly the almond flour you use is cheaper than Bob Red Mill or even buying non-organic almonds for $7.00/LB and grinding yourself. But I’ve had to eat GF/Wheat-free baked goods for a very long time so to me this is normal :P :).

  8. Athy

    I just wanted to add something. And that is, most people forget that a lot of junk food out there is actually quite expensive for what you’re really getting. A large delivery pizza runs about $25, making it would be immensely cheaper. A full meal from a place like Carl’s Jr would run $6-7 for just 1 basic unhealthy burger/drink/fries, for that you could buy fresh hamburger and have more. Add on to that packaged junk food snacks like Doritos which run maybe $5-6 for a large bag or candy bars that cost $3-4 each or sugar dense cereals that cost $6-7/box and Sugary Starbucks Frappacinos for another $4-5 ea. This food is much cheaper to make than what consumers are paying for it!

    I do have to choose between being able to afford eating the way I do and basically never eating out. I have to make what my household wants at home always, but I don’t mind.

  9. Toni

    I didn’t think the review was bad, just matter-of-fact. I am sure I would feel more touchy had it been my recipe ;)

    I have been getting a lot of food almost-free by using coupons… and it’s all bad for you processed crud!!! :\ So I just did get rid of most of the evil stuff and am now trying to be more choosy, even if it costs more.

    I recently bought some Agave Nectar just because I saw it in your blog. I feel like I will be coming around by 2009.

    I started reading your blog because my brother is dx’d as celiac. It also runs in my family (aunt and cousin) I had my son who is 2 tested and he is allergic to wheat, soy, rice and eggs. Celiac test comes back negative but the doctor says it may be inconclusive for his age.

    My poor little guy has given up any fun foods, and recently grandpa introduced him to pork rinds (of all things!!) which my meat-hater loves and calls cookies. Hahaha!

    I haven’t tried your simple bread recipe… but I would guess that there are many different bread preferences, hence the amount of different breads available in stores! I would not sweat the review ;)

  10. Ruth

    I don’t use liquid Stevia. I use NOW brand powdered Stevia. Do you know the conversion factor of NOW powdered Stevia to your liquid Stevia?

    I can’t wait. This sounds *so* yummy!!
    ]
    Ruth (dairy-free, wheat-free, soy-free, corn-free, brewer’s yeast-free)

  11. Christianne

    HI Elana and others,
    This cocoa looks like something I will fix myself immediately, yum! (thanks to you I have cashew milk in my fridge most of the time :-).
    About food: I definitely spend more money on food than the general public here. First, that is because of my celiac, second that is because I believe organic foods are a win-win situation for the planet, people and myself. That does involve some priority setting, because certain foods are very expensive here (for instance, 1 pound of blanched almonds costs 15 dollars here, and that is wholesale pricing!) I never save on food, but I do try to get the best price possible. Another thing is that cooking and eating with family/friends are my favorite hobbies. Other people spend money on their eh, skiing equipment, Japanese fish in the pond… anything! I spend it on foods. I am a research student (which means in Europe the same as with you: very little salary, so I have a second job on the side) so in order to make it work I got rid of my car (gasoline is 5 dollars here per liter) and I don’t go on holidays (except house swaps. anyone looking for a great appartment in Amsterdam? :-) But being able to cook great food and share it with my loved ones feels like such a luxery, I feel so satisfied and lucky. I just read Michael Pollan’s new book and I totally agree with him. I recommend it to many people here! Another thing: Courtney mentioned that Americans are used to buy food so cheaply. I imagine that is true. We Europeans are very surprised when in the US because it is so much cheaper than here (people go on big shopping sprees nowadays over there ai ai). It might indeed be a matter of culture. Bottomline for me is that it is very much worth the investment. We are so used to wealth in the West that the time where people worked most of the day, just for food seems far away. Maybe we should go back to that a little more and adjust our budgets.
    Have a lovely day you all!
    Christianne

  12. Zo

    Hi there,
    Just found your site through tastespotting. I’m a student food writer and so I’ve had to look for cheap ways to make delicious yet healthy meals. I’m also quite a fan of organic foods, which over here in NZ isn’t too much more expensive. I think that it’s actually not expensive if you begin to make things yourself rather than buy pre-made or packaged foods, and shop at markets and co-op organic stores rather than at supermarkets.

    I think it’s really important that blogs like this one exist to show people that there is an alternative out there, even if it costs a little more. Just think of it as decelerating your way towards global warming!

  13. Laura at Wild Parenting @ wildparenting.com

    A well-kept secret? No, honey, you are famous!

  14. I have also made your bread and liked it, and it is true that you can’t view as a regular bread since it is so filling and nutritious.

    Making food from real, protein rich and filling ingredients will cost more, but I think that it is worth it. Food with protein costs more than sugary/starchy foods – nuts cost more than potato flour for example, and meat is more expensive than pasta for example, but I don’t think you can compare them with just how much they cost, since you have to think about nutrition too.

    Many people who go gluten-free end up with severe blood sugar problems and weight gain because of the rampant use of starch in gluten-free baking. It is great that you provide recipes which are an alternative for that, even though they will cost more.

    As for hot chocolate it is a nice treat now that it is cold; I usually melt some dark chocolate straight into the nut milk along with spices like cinnamon. It makes for a very thick and “creamy” hot chocolate :)

  15. C

    I read your cocoa recipe and got to thinking…well, what if I substituted some almond milk for the cashews, and cut down the water by half…you get the idea. And, that is the point, I think – to challenge and get others thinking about making some changes, doing things a bit differently, unconventionally perhaps, but healthier always. Keep up the great work – your blog is a terrific inspiration.

  16. robin @ caviar and codfish @ caviarandcodfish.com

    Hi Elana – love this recipe.

    As for my food, I’m focused on good quality, which doesn’t always mean expensive. However, when quality=expensive (like with nuts), I usually will go for it anyway. If food isn’t enjoyed, what is it worth anyway? :)

  17. CeliacChick @ celiacchicks.com

    Hi!

    Nut breads are heavy…although I LOVE nut flours mixed with tapioca starch or rice flour. I know that goes against SCD, but is still better than just straight up refined gluten-free flours. Maybe Alchemille could experiment with that combo and it would cut down on cost. I thought her review was fair…didn’t sound extremely negative to me, just that it was heavier than she preferred.

    Elana, I love your style!

  18. i’ve been craving hot chocolate recently, and look forward to trying this! do you use raw cashews in this?
    i do have to agree with you in terms of food and health… my compromise is that we don’t have to eat these huge meals, but can have good sized, nutrient dense meals that we spent a little more on for the quality. i think of it as prevention :)

  19. Freedom

    My thoughts on spending more for organic whole foods is this…When you eat healthy without all the pesticides and added hormones, your health improves, which leads to fewer health issues. Of course fewer health issues leads to fewer Dr. office/hospital visits in the long run. Doesnt it make more sense to spend a few extra dollars to eat healthy(and BTW much more tastier) if it saves you hundreds in medical bills at the end of the year?

    Another way I save is to make a menu for a full one to two weeks, make a list and STICK TO IT! Limiting your grocery store trips to once a week/two weeks, greatly cuts your grocery bill costs. If you’re running to the store everyday, you always see something else you think you need and you end up buying more than what you went to the store for in the first place.

    Also, if you see sale prices on certain Items, buy two of them instead of one.

    This is just a few ways I’ve saved money since I started eating healthy, and my grocery bill really hasnt gone up all that much. When you consider how much I’m saving not eating out 2-3 times a week, I’m actually spending less on eating healthy than I was when I was eating junk!

  20. Mariella

    Dear Elana,

    I did read the review. Yes the loaf could be termed a luxury loaf…it is expensive to make. But it is also delicious, extremely moist, keeps an entire week, it’s a synch to make and above all it’s nutritious. How many loaves of bread GF or not can claim the same merits at one go!
    Since going the GF way i’ve also realized something else…bread and pasta do not need to be the be all of every meal or snack. With a little imagination…and your blog… one can whistle up gorgeous stuff from very simple ingredients. That took some doing for me. I’m from the Meditterranean!
    Love your hot chocolate by the way. But where do you find nuts that you’re sure are not gluten tainted? That’s been one of my biggest challenges.

    Mariella

  21. Christine

    Hi Elana.

    I have to say that the way we eat is expensive. My family and I, I have 5 kids, try to eat Paleo style. Because of the cost of foods and the lower income we currently have, I have added back in some filler foods like beans, rice, and oats. I still won’t do refined grains or sugars. I just can’t. I also don’t do white rice.

    Almond flour is expensive where I live, in St. George Utah. The cheapest I have seen it was at Smith’s for $11.00 a pound. So, we go to Las Vegas about once every 2 months and stock up on Trader Joe’s Almond Meal for $3.69 per pound. We also do a lot of nuts which I buy at Costco and coconut milk, olive oil, honey which I get at Trader Joe’s also.

    I work very hard at making meals that are inexpensive. We use a lot of chicken for this reason. I guess I do not buy a lot of organic because it is really expensive for us. So, I have cut out all the other crud instead. We don’t eat any convenience foods. My motto has become, “If we want to eat it, we have to make it.”

  22. Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet @ thenourishinggourmet.com

    Hey Elena,
    First, I love your website. You are so creative and inspiring. :-) I especially love your powder bar recipe.

    As far as that review, I actually didn’t think it was very negative, like another commenter said, just more matter of fact. (If that’s the most negative one you’ve gotten, you are doing well!) *smile*

    I think that many people have a hard time digesting nut based recipes. I don’t do well with high amounts myself, and have been amazed that your family, and others, can do so well. I find that soaking my nuts and seeds very helpful, but I would still find a nut based bread a little heavy on my stomach too. But it’s great that you and your family do so well with it. :-) Your bread looks delish.

    As far as my philosophy towards spending money on food, I feel that it is an investment towards good health, and the future of our children to put money towards good food. We buy almost everything organic, and don’t buy any packaged food.

    I would however, not be able to afford a grainless diet, and even if my body did okay with high amounts of almond flour, I probably couldn’t afford to make bread like that often. It’s the sad truth.

    My philosophy is to do what serves you and your family best! If buying more expensive almond flour and such meets your families needs the best, don’t worry about what other people think. :-)

    Keep up the great work, you have such a lovely blog.

    Kimi @ thenourishinggourmet.com

  23. Pam Custer @ custerfamilyfarm.com

    I was just directed to your site by some people in a Yahoo group…how interesting! We have been using agave for quite some time now, and I was wondering if you know if it is good for weight loss. I could stand to lose a few pounds and always feel like I’m doing better to eat sweets with agave instead of evaporated cane juice. Am I fooling myself? Thanks for your time!
    Pam http://www.custerfamilyfarm.com

  24. Lauren

    The hot Coco is nice…. We make a very similar one here at home. We use a bit of raw hemp seed milk though too..added at the end to keep it raw. It is soo creamy and delicious. Thanks for so many wonderful food ideas. And regarding your comment/reponse, I would second what Kimi@TheNourishing Gourmet said. You keep up the good work.

  25. Shirley

    I keep trying Stevia and I just don’t care for it. However, I wonder if it’s the brand of Stevia I am using or if I’d eventually get used to it. So far I’d rather skip a sweetener (e.g., in tea) than eat anything with it.

    The review didn’t seem bad to me either, just that person’s opinion. I am one of the few GF folks who just doesn’t miss bread. I occasionally make nut sweet breads like banana and pumpkin for treats, but I don’t miss loaf bread.

    I believe in spending a good amount to get healthy food. Like others, I make this more of a priority than other things. For example, we are going camping this weekend. We always have artichokes as part of our dinner when we camp. They are $2 a piece, but we love them so it’s worth it to us. We don’t spend tons of money on shopping for clothes and frivolous stuff. Finally, I agree with other statements here that typical GF baked goods and specialty foods are actually bad for people … too many carbs and processed ingredients. I think the easiest way to eat gluten free and healthily is to eat real food like Michael Pollan advises in his books.

    Thanks for the cocoa recipe! I may try it I figure out he best Stevia.

  26. Kelly – I use the cashews in place of milk in this recipe; rather than just doing cocoa with sweeteners, maybe try it with almonds if he is not allergic to that.

    Alison – What a great tip for everyone –purchasing pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds is a great idea. Seeds are so nutritious and more economical. Thanks!

    Michelle – I love what you have to say, “My goal is to live without the simple sugars and rely on whole quality foods. I feel the cost will be worth it.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. An admirable goal!

    ~M – First of all a big MAZEL TOV as I believe the big day is tomorrow! Second, thanks for your comment. It is so thorough and as always informative and helpful to others. I especially like your tip about cooking for more than 1 to reduce food costs. Great point. I hope you had an easy fast.

    Alchemille – “We all know that food is getting outrageously expensive, yet I believe you can have a decent home cooked and nutritious meal without spending too much.” That is such a great statement and inspiring too. As for your review of my bread, no need to apologize whatsoever. As I said, it was very direct and I appreciate the feedback. I had said that I wasn’t accustomed to the tone and I think that the language barrier explains that issue. I like, as you call it, your frank and straight forward manner! Thanks for reading my blog, for reviewing my bread and for bringing up the price of food which inspired this heart felt discussion among readers. Many, many thanks. We all need to stick together in this! Especially those of us who share common values.

    Courtney – I couldn’t agree with you more about quality food and Americans being fooled by marketers.

    Toni – I agree, I don’t think the review was bad and it sparked a fantastic conversation to boot. Sorry to hear about your son’s allergies and thanks so much for your comment.

    Ruth – I am not sure of the conversion factor in terms of getting the stevia from dry to liquid. If you play around with it and figure something out, please stop by and let us know what that would be; a couple of other people also sound interested in this matter.

    Athy – “I don’t want to fuel my body and regrow my cells with food that is manufactured for maximum profit and minimal nutrition.” I really like the way you make that point and especially enjoy your car analogy. Yes, I do agree that in the long run spending money on quality food lowers medical costs. Thanks for a great comment!

    Christianne – First, let me thank you for your comments, all of them. It is always such a pleasure to hear from you. Second, I really liked your phrase, “Organic foods are a win-win for the planet, people and myself.” The perfect mantra. Thanks again for your insights in this conversation about food.

    Zo – Welcome, so glad you found us over here. Yes, I think it is interesting that people are often fine with spending money on pre-packaged convenience foods, yet balk at the price of organics. However, it does demonstrate that there there are many different people with many different priorities out there.

    Laura – What can I say to that other than :-) blush.

    Emilia – I really like your points about cost versus nutrition. And yes, the rampant starch in gluten-free cooking could put some of us that can’t metabolize starchy foods over the edge (in many ways). Love your idea about adding cinnamon and warming spices to the hot chocolate. Delicious!

    C – Yes, I think playing around with this recipe and using the almond milk would be delicious. Thanks for your inspiration too!

    CeliacChick – Hi over there in NYC, long time no chat. I hope you are doing well, it is great to hear from you. Yes, I think mixing flours (for those that can digest some of the lighter ones) is a great idea, thanks for suggesting it.

    noosh – Yes, I do use raw cashews in this recipe. Per your statement, “Nutrient dense meals that we spend a little more on for the quality. I think of it as prevention.” Great point!

    robin @ caviar and codfish – “If food isn’t enjoyed, what is it worth anyway.” I really like how you put that! Thanks.

    Freedom – Fanatastic tips! Thanks for sharing them with us.

    Mariella – Thanks for your comment and support. I buy my nuts at the health food store. From what I know about nuts, most of them are handled by processors that process nuts (and not other items). I could be wrong. What are the sources of cross contamination that you’ve heard of for whole, raw nuts? Thanks for bringing this possibility to my attention.

    Christine – It sounds as though you are very dedicated to providing your family with high quality food. Thanks for sharing your strategies and tips with us all, especially, “If we want to eat it, we have to make it.” I like that.

    Kimi – In terms of what we can digest in my family, the boys (my husband and two sons) have very strong guts and good digestion. Per myself, I eat mostly protein and vegetables. Or at least try to as I do much better on that. Of course, my family likes the treats (and they’re much more fun to post than salads) so you see a lot of desserts up here. I do better with them on occasion only. Also, it is much more challenging for folks to find gluten-free dessert recipes than salads or chicken or such, so I often steer my content towards dessert and richer dishes. I completely agree with your philosophy about doing what is best for one’s family. Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate it.

    Pam – I wish agave was good for weight loss. However, I do not think that is the case. It seems to be a somewhat easier on blood sugar levels than white sugar and maybe cane sugar, however it is still a high calorie carbohydrate. For a no-calorie sweetener that might aid in weight loss I recommend checking into stevia.

    Lauren – I love the raw hemp seed milk idea. Sounds very nourishing and possibly more cost effective to use seeds rather than nuts. Thanks!

    Shirley – Thanks for your comment and for sharing your food priorities with us. I am a big fan of artichokes myself. They are one of my favorite foods and I sometimes serve them on special occasions. Per the stevia, I would just try this recipe without it and see if it is sweet enough; if not, you could always add more agave.

  27. Hey Elana, I was wondering if you know if this can be made with macadamia nuts instead of cashews, when I was out shopping the other day I completely blanked on the type of nut you used for this and bought the macadamia nuts instead of cashews (at 3 times the price of cashews)
    If you are not sure then I will try it with the macadamia nuts, I have people coming over tomorrow for chocolate cake (chickpea chocolate cake, so good) and cocoa :)

    I am thrilled with your website, finally I found a food website where I dont have to sub anything (after you went dairy free anyway)

  28. This did not work with macadamia nuts, I did end up making very nice hot cocoa with this as a base (with the macadamia nuts instead of cashews) but the final recipe is very different than this one and I doubt I could replicate it, more of a taste as I went along attempt ;)

  29. Tara

    Thank you for the recipe idea. I usually use coconut milk, but don’t care for it much although the kids like it.

    On food: Hah! I could talk about this forever! Our present circumstance finds us in a very tight financial situation. My husband is in Med School and our three kids (especially our teenager) are all athletes with voracious appetites. We eat foods that are ‘beyond organic’, meaning that I don’t care if it’s an organic chicken if it’s been raised in cramped living conditions, being fed a diet of soy. For this reason, I source all of our animal foods from local farms where I can learn what type of food the animal has been fed, if it was free to roam etc..

    As a Nutritionist, I’ve given talks about the real cost of food. It’s a subject I feel passionate about. And as much as we’re willing to forego the big house and newer vehicle to feed our family high quality food, I know the pinch that comes from little funds. My husband and I are also hunters so that really helps to fill the freezer with healthy meat. Aside from that, our garden comes in handy in the summer and our local CSA fills our tummies with yummy stuff in the winter.

    It’s expensive, for sure, but I only have one chance to feed these little urchins of mine. They’ll be gone in a few years, but will hopefully have a good foundation of health to carry them forward into their university years.

    Love your site, Elana. Thank you for all of the wonderful ideas!

  30. Ruth

    Dear Elena,

    Since you asked…. :-)

    Below is what NOW foods emailed me when I asked about converting from NOW Stevia powder to NOW liquid Stevia. I have no idea what the subsequent conversion from NOW liquid Stevia to ASTRAYA liquid Stevia would be. Perhaps others can help there. It seems that each brand has a different concentration and/or “after-taste”. But, at least this gives me a starting point.

    “1 pinch (1/16tsp)of the [NOW stevia]powder will equal about 2-4 drops of [NOW] stevia liquid. 1/4tsp will equal about 6-9 drops.
    Thank you for your inquiry,
    NOW FOODS NUTRITIONIST
    NUTRITION & SCIENCE”

    For those who need calibrated measuring spoons for measuring such small amounts of stevia powder, I recommend those at
    http://www.pourfectbowl.com
    which offers calibrated measuring spoons down to 1/64 of a teaspoon.

    Cheers

    Ruth

    ps Thanks also for the link to affordable blanched almond flour. I now blanche my almonds before making your almond milk, and then throw the leavings in a dehydrator for about 24 hours, run them through a food processor, and then a sifter to make my own blanched almond flour, but that’s only about 1 cup per batch of almond milk.
    My doctor wants me to up my daily protein intake, so I’m increasing the use of coconut and almond flours in my diet. THANKS

  31. Kitty -I haven’t had much success in using macadamias for nut milks. Cashews and almonds seem to work much better.

    Tara -I couldn’t agree more with everything you say. Thanks so much for your comment, I really appreciate it!

    Ruth -Thanks so much for getting back to us on this.

  32. Daphne

    Elana, can you tell me how to use Xanthan Gum or Guar Guar for thickening? I made a pineapple sauce (using crushed pineapple)for a chocolate bundt cake that fell apart. I decided to thicken with Xanthan Gum rather than cornstarch but when I added water it lumped badly. However, since it was mixed with the crushed pineapple it didn’t make that much difference as it was almost transparent when cooked so the lumps really didn’t show.

    You have a wonderful website and I’m really going to have fun trying some of your recipes.

    Thanks so much!

  33. Daphne,

    I have not ever used xantham gum or guar guar and am not sure exactly what they are.

    This would be a great question for the forums.

    Thanks,
    Elana

    • Primrose

      Both xanthan and guar gums need to be whisked into other ingredients very vigorously, preferably with a blender. If you try adding them by hand to a wet or moist mixture they just lump as Daphne found.

      However the gums can be successfully added to gluten-free dry flour mixes making sure they’re fully mixed in prior to adding any liquids.

      I love adding just a tad (about 1/3 tsp) to dairy-free ice cream mixtures and let the blender amalgamate the gum fully. The gum gives a gorgeous creamy silky mouthfeel to the ice cream. If too much is added the ice cream will feel slimy in the mouth, so the rule with the gums is “less is more”.

      Hope that helps.

  34. Ruth

    HI!! I just made this cocoa today (11/16/08) and used 1/3 teaspoon of NOW Stevia powder and it tasted great, IMHO.

  35. Ruth,

    Thanks for the report!

    Elana

  36. Kai

    Nice drink!! I loved it!!!!!!!

    Kai

  37. Lydia

    Firstly I want to say that I love your blog and your creativity but I had a few problems with this recipe. Firstly it was not even chocolatly! I added in 3 T of coco instead. Also, I only used 10 drops of stevia, i cannot imagine how sweet it would be with 20. Although you did say that your kids wanted it sweeter so you added more… It was also too watery, next time i’ll add less hot water. Also it was too cold so I stuck it on the stove to heat it up and to thicken it, I also stuck in a pinch of arrowroot. Also, I added a little bit of cinnamon.

    Maybe I’m just more used to spanish-style hot chocolate which is always thick and chocolaty, I never grew up on Nestle instant with hot water…

    But great ideas! I love your blog!
    Thanks, Lydia

  38. marla {family fresh cooking} @ familyfreshcooking.com

    If I won that Vitamix this cocoa would be made immediately!

  39. MARIA

    My fav recipe is the Hot Chocolate…I don’t’ have a Vita Mix so I use my Bullet mini blender!

    Thank you!

  40. Velita Hickle

    Where do you get your raw cashews from? I haven’t found them locally.. Is there a website you can recommend? Thanks!

  41. Judith

    Elana,
    I don’t know how I stumbled across your blog, but I think I am on it daily at this point. I started cooking paleo/gluten free just a few weeks ago and a whole new world has opened up to me. Although I’ve always been a healthy eater, I’m taking it to a new level. Just made homemade mayo and almond milk and using the pulp to make a tart for tomorrow’s dinner. Thank you so much for your blog!!
    And has to the extra money spent on food costs….well thats easy. I budget else where so that I may consume the most natural ingredients possible to ensure my health and happiness for life. I love knowing exactly what I’m putting into my body, exactly what I need to fuel my active lifestyle, and how much effort it takes to create. Appreciating food so much more as well as experimenting even more!
    Keep blogging…I’m looking forward making your shepherd’s pie this week!

  42. JW Nalda

    Why not add more agave instead of using stevia?
    Have you tried using unsweetened almond milk?

  43. Cd

    Hi Elana, just wanted to send a BIG thank you to you. I have recently been diagnosed as “everything” intolerant (gluten, casein, rice, potato, beet root, chicory, guargum, you name it…very depressing), & was at my wits end when I stumbled across your blog. I’m soooo happy to have found this many recipes that I can actually eat????yipee. I have already ordered 3 of your cookbooks & will sit by the mail box until the 3 little life savers arrive! Thanks heaps!! You’ve given me hope!

  44. Debi Wells

    It is expensive and becoming even more expensive to eat healthy foods. A health crisis and the discovery of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet meant that I did not even think about cost for a couple of months since I was so focused on getting better. It’s been a couple of years now that I have been very careful with what I eat and I have come up with a couple of suggestions.
    1. Never buy food that you may throw out.
    2. Be willing to turn eating into a way to be healthy and not hungry. It isn’t something to do because we are bored or want to meet with a friend.
    3. Make your own treats, because then we appreciate them.
    4. Learn how to cook food that you like and plan ahead.
    That’s it. I still entertain, I still go to restaurants, I still have fun. But if what is on offer is manufactured, refined or is genetically modified I pass. If I’m hungry, I know that it I will be able to fix it a bit later.

    Thanks for all the work you do on making these recipes so good.

  45. Roselani

    I just made this. It’s delicious. Thank you for sharing all of your wonderful recipes.

  46. Roselani

    And by the way, my 3 year old son who was refusing to try this, finally tasted it and said it’s the best hot chocolate he’s ever had. ;)

  47. Hi there, I check your blog regularly. Your story-telling
    style is witty, keep doing what you’re doing!

  48. Raquel

    Hi Elana, I’m intrigued by your recipe as I am allergic to milk and I love hot chocolate. Making it with water leaves it too weak for my taste…but I am also a type 2 diabetic and I was wondering if you could post the amount of carbs per serving. That would be immensely helpful! Also, would a food processor work for pureeing the cashews? I don’t have a vitamix. Thank you!

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