Winter Drinks For Definition Fitness Magazine | Outtakes

The holidays aren’t complete without sibling disagreements about silly things, like what kind of Christmas music to listen to…

Anna: What is this? Is this even a Christmas song??
Me: Well, most of the songs on this playlist aren’t classic Christmas songs, but I really like them because they capture the essence of Christmas for me…
Anna: Ann, I want ACTUAL Christmas songs, not this indie nonsense!
Me: But these are so dreamy…! Ok, fine.
Anna: Ooh, Silent Night, something I recognize!
Me: Oh yes! But it’s in German…
Anna *shaking her head*: Ann, PLEASE!

This exchange with my sister made us both laugh and resulted in a playlist with songs we both like…I hope you enjoy it.

For me, Christmas season is a time to cherish with loved ones, and a time for personal spiritual reflection. Whatever you celebrate, I hope you’re making the best of the holidays!

Since it’s Christmas Eve, I figure today is a good day to share my favorite outtakes from a dreamy recipe shoot I did for Definition Fitness Magazine’s winter issue. For the issue, I developed some unique winter drink recipes (not your average hot chocolate). Check them out below–I had a blast styling and shooting these! I’ve been wanting to share them with you for a while.

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Lavender Hot Chocolate + Coconut Whip

Lavender Hot Chocolate 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.
Decadent Coconut Whipped Cream

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.

Delicious Lavender Hot ChocolateThis 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
Ingredients:

  • 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.)

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, heat the nondairy milk and lavender buds over medium heat. Whisk occasionally and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let the lavender steep for about 5 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour into mugs and serve with dollops of coconut whipped cream. Mix it up to incorporate the creaminess throughout the whole drink.

Gorgeous Lavender Hot Chocolate

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!

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7 Tasty Tips for a Solo Thanksgiving

The premise of Thanksgiving is not something I personally celebrate, and I definitely don’t eat turkey (here’s 50 million reasons why), but I am always grateful to have time off from school to spend time with loved ones. And it’s a time for students like me to catch up on studying, of course. Some break!

Quite a few of my friends at UT Arlington are international students, so they will not be attending large family Thanksgiving dinner parties. This is a post dedicated to them. If you’re having a quiet holiday this year and are unsure of what to make, here are a few yummy suggestions for a solitary, vegan Thanksgiving celebration. You don’t necessarily have to cook for hours and most of the dishes can be also be made gluten-free.

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Hot Chocolate

hotchocolate
Did you know that hot chocolate and hot cocoa are two different things? Check out my hot chocolate recipe post on The Shorthorn’s site to listen to learn more about the art of hot chocolate. The photos and following post were originally published on The Shorthorn, UT Arlington’s student news website, on November 20, 2013.

Hot cocoa is for drinking by the mug-full. Hot chocolate is for slow, indulgent sipping. Both will make you feel warm and toasty.

I came up with the idea of writing about hot chocolate last week, when it was freezing outside. Although this week’s forecast looks pretty warm, I’m going to post this in anticipation for future cold weather.

This is probably my favorite post I’ve ever done for work. Everything was too much fun! If you try the recipe, let me know how it goes!