Creamy Almond Hot Chocolate

That’s right. Chocolate + maple syrup + roasted almond butter, all warmed together into a rich, warming drink that might just warrant some Kahlua for kicks.

almond hot cocoa

Creamy Almond Hot Chocolate

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 1/2 cups creamy unsweetened nondairy milk
2 tablespoons roasted almond butter
3 oz. non-dairy semi-sweet chocolate chips

Put the water, cocoa powder, and maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to medium heat, whisking frequently, until no lumps remain. Whisk in the nondairy milk. Heat until the mixture is steaming. Remove from heat and add the almond butter and nondairy chocolate chips.

Let it stand about 1 minute. Insert an immersion blender, and blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can put it directly into a blender once it has cooled a little longer.

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Cider-Braised Red Cabbage with Pears and Caraway

One of my favourite dishes, nothing can be simpler. If you don’t have pears on hand, don’t worry—it’s just as good without, or use apples instead. This dish tastes better as it sits, so making it a day in advance will up the flavor and save you day-of preparation.

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Cider-Braised Red Cabbage with Pears and Caraway

 2 tablespoons (30mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon (15mL) caraway seeds
1 medium head red cabbage, chopped (about 4 pounds/1.8kg)
1 1/2 cups (360mL) apple cider
3 Bartlett pears, chopped (ripe, but not overripe)
2 tablespoons (30mL) apple cider vinegar
Sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Put the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the caraway seeds and cook, toasting for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cabbage, working with portions at a time, until all of it is in the saucepan.

Add the apple cider, bring to a boil, then reduce and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes, until the cabbage is tender. Stir in the pears and return to medium-high heat, cooking until the liquid has nearly absorbed, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the cider vinegar, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

Sorghum Pilaf with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Beets, and Cranberries

This dish has all the right textures and flavors—hearty sorghum is paired with creamy Brussels sprouts, sweet beets, and tart cranberries with the underlying fall-inspired herbs and spices and earthy mushrooms. If you want to add some crunch, toss in a generous handful of toasted hazelnuts or pecans before serving.

sorghum, brussels, beets

Sorghum Pilaf with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Beets, and Cranberries

3 tablespoons (45mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup (240mL) finely chopped celery (with leaves)
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon (3mL) poultry seasoning
1/8 teaspoon (1mL) fine sea or Himalayan salt
2 3/4 cup (660mL) water
3/4 cup (180mL) sorghum grain, rinsed
1/2 ounce (14g) dried mixed mushrooms
1 pound (454g) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
3/4 pound (340g) beets, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cup (240mL) fresh cranberries
Fine sea or Himalayan salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Heat 1 tablespoon (15mL) of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the celery and onion and cooked until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, poultry seasoning, and salt. Cook for 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the water, sorghum, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook until the sorghum has absorbed the water and is cooked through, about 55 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss the Brussels sprouts and beets with the remaining oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Top with the cranberries. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the Brussels sprouts and beets are cooked through and starting to brown and caramelize, about 30 minutes. Let stand until the sorghum is finished cooking.

When the sorghum has finished cooking, add the Brussels sprouts mixture. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve warm.

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