Almond Hot Cocoa

On Sunday I was perusing a few food blogs, and I came upon this video from the Spunky Coconut. I haven’t eaten chocolate in quite a few months, since 1. it is hard to find any without refined sugar or sweeteners and 2. I haven’t craved it nearly as much since I chose to stop eating sugar, BUT that has only intensified my love for raw cacao. And after hearing about all the benefits of raw cacao (more antioxidants than blueberries?!), I was itching to make something with it.

almond milk greeting the day

weekly jug o'milk

In Japan they do not readily sell almond milk, so I make one or two batches per week to have on hand in the fridge. I decided to add some cocoa and sweeten it with a little stevia. With a dollop of coconut cream on top, it was a blissfully indulgent way to cap off a morning of studying. My brain was too full of vocabulary to realize I should have taken a picture and made a blog post! But luckily for me that just meant I could make it again a few times this week, for testing purposes of course. I even had the self-control to make it in the morning, take pictures, but put it back in the fridge to savor on a chilly evening.

The only reason I could forestall the chocolate goodness, though, is because I’ve also starting adding cocoa to my Sweet Potato Puddin’ Spread! Dangerous, very dangerous. It has been part of my breakfast routine throughout this week. I tried to take a close up of my last bite of sweet potato topped with the cocoa spread, but my camera wasn’t having it. This year I may have to gift myself with a new lens. But it may be a good thing overall, because there is no documentation of my chocolate-smeared fingers .

devouring cocoa sweet potato spread

(Why is it that when other bloggers take pictures of things with bites in them, it looks cute, whereas mine just look like a dental impression?! I almost didn’t post this, but, keeping Kitchen Failures in mind, I decided to share my photo “learning experience”. Real life socks my camera in the face!)

I want to speak more on chocolate and cocoa in the future, but for now here is a little introduction. I wanted to get something up quickly because I’m kicking off a tumultuous few weeks with a trip to Hokkaido (Northern Japan) this weekend for the Sapporo Snow Festival! Hokkaido is also famous for great seafood and dairy products – I’ll be enjoying the former in terms of crab, sushi, yaki ika (grilled squid), and also a grill-your-own mutton dish labeled “Ghengis Khan”. I’m not sure how I feel about the last one [I won’t eat meat without knowing it’s source, here is one reason why], but I’ll be sure to report back!

This comforting treat comes together in a snap, perfect for cold winter days or busy weeknights when you need a little something extra to cap off the day. I suspect coconut milk, homemade oat milk, or another non-dairy milk work well here too, so please let me know if you test it out! I’m also a cocoa fiend, so you may want to start with 1 tablespoon of cocoa, taste, and add more if you wish.

Almond Hot Cocoa

makes 1 serving

1 cup almond milk, store bought or homemade

1-2 T cocoa powder

stevia, to taste: I used 6 drops of vanilla stevia for a lightly sweetened taste, but you may want more if you have a sweet tooth.

Whisk ingredients together in small saucepan. Bring to a gentle simmer, whisking occasionally, until the hot cocoa starts to bubble slightly around the edges. Remove from heat, pour into a mug, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream of choice!

I can't quit you

Yes, I just quoted Brokeback Mountain. In reference to a beverage. I can’t help it! Here are some more awesome delicious drinks out there:

Peppermint Hot Chocolate from Elana’s Pantry. If not that, she has an arsenal of beverage recipes that are sure to please.

Dairy-Free Hot Cocoa from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen

Thick Dairy Free Hot Chocolate from the Spunky Coconut

Stay warm and enjoy your winter!
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3 thoughts on “Almond Hot Cocoa

  1. You are truly amazing Kate! What dedication…no sugar? I have definitely almost eliminated white breads and processed foods from my diet, just because they are so hard to digest. I eat corn pasta and rice and sprouted bread, some granola bars here and there like Luna, love those, but sugar in general would be so hard!

    • First of all – way to go in prioritizing your health and nourishing yourself with more natural foods!

      As for sugar…Well I did it gradually over a few years, and actually it isn’t a matter of willpower so much as realizing how much better I feel not eating sugar. First I switched off white sugar about a year and a half ago, then refined sugar completely ~ instead using agave, honey, maple syrup, and coconut palm sugar. The latter especially is quite low glycemic.

      About 3 months ago I realized that with my current health conditions my body and mood is at its’ best when I don’t have any sugar at all. The less I ate, the less I craved it. I used to be a sugar/carb junkie…two years ago I thought I couldn’t go a single day without chocolate. But go just three days without sugar and you will notice improvements like more energy, less irritability, and fewer cravings. On the rare rare occasions I have a sweet craving, I use stevia as it is all natural and has no effect on your blood sugar.

      Otherwise I think to myself, “how will I feel after eating this?” With anything sugary, I know the answer will always be bad or worse, both physically and emotionally, so it’s easy to pass it up. Everyone should do what is best for them, but I encourage people to give up at least refined sugar and especially fake sugar substitutes. My brother writes more in his website blog here:http://feeling-terrific.com/blog/2012/01/the-sour-side-of-sugar

      To be honest, when I first heard about giving up sugar completely a year or two ago, I panicked. My brain said “NO NO NO way!”. But our dependence on sugar is a mental one. Once I stopped letting my thoughts interfere with my dietary choices, I was able to tune in to what my body actually needed, or in this case did not need at all. When people wonder about my dietary choices or restrictions, I always tell them it is much easier than they think, because you just have to let your thoughts get out of the way and experience healthy living!

      Sorry for the very long and somewhat disorganized comment, but I’m really trying to get across that it may seem daunting at first, but the amazing rewards of eating in a way that is right for you makes it easy to follow certain food choices day in and day out. Because it is a choice for me to live this healthily, and one that I enjoy and embrace every day.

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