Baking on a rainy morning…there are few things this satisfying and comforting.
Lychee is one of my favorite southeast Asian fruits, second only to mangosteen. Its pink-white flesh is glossy, delicate and aromatic…the vibrant taste is absolutely unique. Think of a grape, but juicier, with smooth floral, rosy notes and pear undertones. Even comparing it to a grape is slightly insulting, because its freshness and flavor is on an entirely different level.
Clearly, lychee is my valentine this year. Lychee is also considered a lucky fruit in Chinese culture, symbolizing family abundance and harmony, so this dessert would be a fun fusion dish for Lunar New Year gatherings this weekend. Red and golden hues make a lucky color palette. Continue reading
Chocolate bark is one of my favorite things to make for the holidays! In the past, I have often sprinkled crushed candy canes on top of my chocolate bark, but I’ve been wanting to use healthier toppings. I’ve also been inspired by this healthy chocolate base without refined sugars!
I immediately thought of pomegranates and pistachios for toppings–the colors are perfect for Christmas and they go well with chocolate!
Pomegranates are loaded with Vitamin C, can help your body fight cancer, and improve your metabolism! Pistachios are packed with nutrients, fiber and healthy fats, plus they’re rich in cancer-fighting vitamin E.
Not only are these ingredients gorgeous, they are rich in immune-boosting antioxidants, minerals and vitamins! Why would I not want to sprinkle my chocolate with them? Superfoods > crushed candy. 🙂
The resulting bark was beautiful in both appearance and taste–silky-smooth, rich chocolate, accompanied by refreshing bursts of juicy, tart pomegranate arils, and finally, a nice crunch from the pistachios! I was amazed at the contrast and harmony of it all. Love! Continue reading
Simple cakes are beautiful.
For my sister’s birthday earlier this week, I wanted to make an elegant dessert without any frills or too much frosting. I had my mind set on an indulgent slice of cake with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly sliced fruit–a lovely treat with just the essentials.
I think it’s beautiful in a relaxed way, perfect for a loved one’s birthday!
Essential Birthday Cake
(makes 4 servings)
Active prep time: 1 hour
Wait time: Overnight
What you’ll need:
- Some cake // I halved this recipe from Hampton Creek. Just Mayo makes a beautifully moist and rich chocolate cake!
- Something creamy // Oh She Glows has a SPLENDID tutorial for an amazing coconut whipped cream.
- Caramel, for drizzling // Make your own or buy some from Whole Foods! I used Hey Boo’s coconut caramel to save time. This part is optional–I just wanted to have something extra special for my sister’s birthday!
- Fresh fruit // I used strawberries!
- On the night before // Bake the cake, and let it cool overnight, covered with moist paper towels. Chill a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge.
- The next day // Make the coconut whipped cream. Serve cake slices with a spoonful of coconut whipped cream, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of coconut caramel.
Enjoy!! My sister loved it with her birthday brunch! 🙂 I also made strawberry pasta this week…recipe coming soon!
I am a fan of all things lavender, especially lavender lemonade. I’ve been dying to try lavender hot chocolate. I saw a recipe for it on à la mode’s blog a while back, and it was simply gorgeous. Truly inspiring. I had to veganize it. While my photos may not be as amazing as his, I think the hot chocolate tasted divine, especially with this genius coconut whipped cream from Oh She Glows.
My friend just pointed out to me that this looks like the moon and stars! Not my intention, but I like it!
This drink is cozy and elegant—my kind of Valentine’s Day treat! I live for the joys of relaxation and authentic simplicity, no superfluous roses or overpriced dinners here, thank you.
My friend told me a rose hot chocolate might be more suited to tomorrow’s holiday, but I’m just so obsessed with lavender. It’s done.
This recipe makes enough to serve two, so you can share it with your sweetheart for a charming end to your evening. If you’re single and have a 20 oz mug, then it serves one. More hot chocolate for me! ^.^
Food-saving note: You really only need a couple dollops of coconut whipped cream, so you’ll have coconut milk leftover–I’m going to use my leftover coconut milk to make this easy caramel sauce from Oh, Ladycakes!
Vegan Lavender Hot Chocolate
inspired by à la mode
(makes 2 normal servings, or 1 generous serving)
Total time: 15 minutes
- 2 cups nondairy milk (I used almond milk)
- 1/2 t dried lavender buds (available at Whole Foods or any natural grocery store)
- 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped uniformly (use at least 70% cacao—I used Theo’s brand, available at Kroger or Whole Foods)
- 1/6 cup pure maple syrup (or to your taste)
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 pinch sea salt
- coconut whipped cream, for serving (optional, but it gives the BEST creamy texture–be sure to chill several hours beforehand. You can get the canned coconut milk from Kroger or the Asian market.)
- In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and lavender buds over medium heat. Whisk occasionally and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Remove from heat and let the lavender steep for about 5 minutes.
- Strain the lavender and return the milk to the saucepan, on low to medium heat. Add the chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk until the chocolate is melted, and everything is incorporated and frothy. Remove from heat.
- Pour into mugs and serve with dollops of coconut whipped cream. Mix it up to incorporate the creaminess throughout the whole drink.
Mmm…it looks like a galaxy and tastes like a combination of two of my favorite things—Earl Grey lattes and chocolate. It’s perfect!
Next time, I’m going to try making this with Dream Nondairy’s creamy sweet chocolate bar. I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s Day, whether you are celebrating with someone special or your awesome self!
What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Have any other lavender-related ideas? If you try the recipe, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
- My Decadent Hot Chocolate Recipe
- My Vegan Valentine’s Day Tips
- 5 Minute Vegan Hot Cocoa (minimalistbaker.com)
- 25 Valentine’s Day Breakfast and Dessert Recipes (veganricha.com)
- 25 Romantic Breakfast in Bed Ideas for Valentine’s Day (onegreenplanet.org)
- 8 Delicious Vegan Aphrodisiacs (vegnews.com)
Waking up early to make a healthy breakfast is such a chore. Thankfully, Pinterest has led me to the discovery of an easy breakfast solution for people on the go: overnight oats!
This breakfast be prepared in just a few minutes the night before, with no cooking required. It’s perfect for students and busy folks. Overnight oats are usually eaten cold, but these days, I like a warm breakfast, so I will be heating mine up in the morning.
This is like hot chocolate in oatmeal form–something I know I can wake up to!
Overnight Hot Chocolate Oats
Prep time: 5 minutes
Wait time: 3 hours +
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used almond milk!)
- up to 1.5 T cocoa powder (you can adjust according to your preference)
- 1 T chia seeds (optional)
- 2 t maple syrup (or to your taste; you can taste and add more in the morning if you want)
- a few semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
- a dash of cinnamon
- Mix everything together in a bowl or a mug, cover and let it sit in the fridge overnight while you sleep, or at least three hours (lookin’ at you, night owls!).
- In the morning, stumble to the fridge, take out your oats, and warm them up before devouring. I added some pecans to mine and it was awesome.
I like my oatmeal a little thick, but if you find it’s too thick, feel free to add another splash or two of almond milk. This recipe is super adaptable, so if something is not to your taste, just adjust!
If chocolate isn’t your first choice for breakfast, then
A. I doubt your sanity, and
B. Check out these recipes on Buzzfeed for more flavor variations!
What are your favorite easy breakfast solutions? Please share with me in the comments below!
Happy New Year!
2013 was such a busy year, filled with school (mostly), recipes, reviews and thoughts. I can’t believe how much this blog has grown (though it’s still just a baby blog, tehee). Here are some highlights of 2013, thanks to YOU!