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Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps16 Comments

The holidays are not the holidays to me if hot chocolate is not involved. There is just something about snuggling up in the couch with a hot mug of love in your hand. Of course, it's not hot chocolate if it’s not magically light and creamy at the same time.

As much as I hate to see Summer go, there’s not much better than cuddle weather. Sweaters and blankets make me happy, and the best thing to complete that is a hot drink. I enjoy tea most days, but sometimes I like something sweet - like a chai latte or hot chocolate. When I don’t have time to melt down some dairy-free cocoa, it’s nice to have this mix ready and available in my cupboard! Well, let’s be real - we take hot drinks really seriously in our house, so more like our hot drink station.

With Christmas around the corner, and the cold weather already here, I figured I’d better buckle down and write down my pantry version of vegan hot chocolate mix to share with all of you!

Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix | www.maplealps.com

All of my favourite Christmas traditions revolve around hot drinks (and not just hot chocolate, mind you!). Decorating the tree with one at hand was a must. Watching Home Alone doesn’t count unless you have one to keep warm. It’s just something you need to have - something that isn’t as enjoyable when the weather outside is hot. It’s special.

And it’s customizable!

This is quick and simple to mix up, and is subject to all sorts of variations. We like adding cinnamon to our mix, and a tad of almond essence to it when we add hot water. You can stir it with a candy cane, top with marshmallows or whipped cream, and even add soy nog! Dip a Christmas cookie in it! You do you! I finally found some dairy-free Reddi Whip in the store, so I’ll be topping mine with that!

Enjoy your hug in a mug!

Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix | www.maplealps.com

Vegan Hot Chocolate Mix

Makes About 2 Cups of Mix

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup dairy free powdered milk (I used coconut. Here’s a link to a similar one on Amazon)

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1) Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until everything is well mixed.

2) Transfer to a airtight jar and keep in your pantry for 3 months.

3) To use, add 3 TBSP of the mix to 8oz. (1 cup) of hot water and enjoy! You can adjust to your sweetness preferences.

 

Do some of your favourite Christmas traditions revolve around hot drinks or the other way around? I’d love to hear about some of them!


 

Lemon Maple Roasted Potatoes

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

Who else loves potatoes?

When I came back from my time in Europe, I could not eat potatoes for the longest time. I think I overdid it. When I finally got over, though, I remembered quite quickly why I used to love them! Potatoes are healthy, inexpensive, and tasty! Great source of vitamin C, potassium, B6, and are fat free (well, before you may choose to add any anyway)! Yay!

There are so many different ways to enjoy them too - hashed, scalloped, mashed, boiled, fried...you can have them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The possibilities are endless, really.

I am sharing a roasted variety today!

Lemon Maple Roasted Potatoes | www.maplealps.com

These tasty roasted potatoes are a great side to pretty much anything. I especially love them with marinated tofu steaks (sharing that recipe soon!) and some greenery. 

The best part is that they are so quick to bake, and are very tasty. After a long day at work, I certainly don't want to be slaving in the kitchen. These are also fantastic when you have last-minute guests. They seem fancy, but aren't!

They make the perfect holiday side - I bet gravy would be groovy on these little guys. If you go that route, you may want to double this recipe since this recipe is for a small batch.

Lemon Maple Roasted Potatoes | www.maplealps.com

This is just a simple, delicious way to enjoy some potatoes. I love using the mini ones and a variety so that it looks extra pretty, but you don't have to. You don't even have to slice them hasselback style if you are in a rush! Totally up to you. I used pink himalayan salt in mine, but you can use regular sea salt in yours. I kind of like the large grain texture, but you may not.

Enjoy it however you want to!

Lemon Maple Roasted Potatoes | www.maplealps.com

Lemon Maple Roasted Potatoes
Serves 4 as a Side

24 oz. small potatoes (I used a variety to get the different colours) 

1 TBSP maple syrup

Juice from half a lemon

4 cloves garlic

½ -1 tsp pink himalayan salt or sea salt

1 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp fresh or dried parsley

 

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2) Wash potatoes and prepare them hasselback style - slicing the potato but leaving the bottom in tact (you don't have to, but I like to because the flavour really gets infused into them that way!)

3) Place potatoes in a medium sized bowl, and add olive oil, maple syrup, garlic, lemon juice and salt, mixing well until the potatoes are well coated.

4) Spread potatoes on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until tender all the way through.

5) Once potatoes are cooked, mix in the parsley and serve.

 

How do you like your potatoes?


 

Easy Thai Red Curry

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps3 Comments

When I went to school in Tennessee, there was this Thai place that I went to a few times. The curry was to die for. It came surrounding this adorable little cake-shaped rice mound, and I loved every bite of it. I naturally tried to recreate it when I got back to my apartment and I've been making this curry (or a similar version of it) ever since.

Here's the thing: I'm terrible at writing recipes for cooking because I don't really follow them. I just kind of taste as I go. I'm trying to be more intentional about writing down the recipes that come to my mind. As I mentioned, this red curry is one that I've been making for a while, but always just kind of went along with whatever was in my fridge (I can't be the only one who does this though, so I don't feel too bad). It's perfect for leftover veggies or veggies you have no idea what to do with. I think it's pretty much impossible to mess this one up! I like broccoli in it, but this one has peppers, onions and carrots!

The Easiest Vegan Thai Red Curry | www.maplealps.com

The secret is the homemade red curry paste. It contains most of the spices you are going to need. It's easy to make and I keep some frozen in the freezer in 1 TBSP sections to use at a moment's notice. Fun fact: I only have a moose-shaped ice cube tray, so my curry bag is full of little moose friends. It puts a smile on my face anyway.

This meal is simple and delicious. It's quick to whip up and tastes delicious on rice or even noodles if that is what floats your boat!

Related: Vegan Pad Thai

Easiest Thai Red Curry | www.maplealps.com
Easiest Thai Red Curry | www.maplealps.com

Easy Thai Red Curry
Serves about 6

1 large red pepper, sliced
1 large yellow pepper, sliced
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 large carrot, sliced in long strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 TBSP maple syrup
3 TBSP red curry paste
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
Juice from half a lime
1 can coconut milk
Sea Salt to taste
Cilantro and onion to garnish

1) With a little water add the onion to a large saucepan. Cook about 5 minutes until tender.


2) Add the peppers and carrots and red thai curry and cook until the vegetables are well coated.


3) Add ginger, lime, maple syrup, and garlic.


4) Pour in the coconut milk and cook a few more minutes until the sauce coats a spoon.


5) Adjust your seasonings - adding salt if need be.


6) Garnish with green onion and cilantro and serve with fresh wedges of lime over a bed of rice or noodles!

 

What are some of your favourite quick and easy dinners?


 

Vegan Red Curry Paste

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

It's no secret that we love Thai food over here. I think it's the sweet and spicy flavours that really get us going. My husband loves Pad Thai and I especially love anything that can be dipped in peanut sauce. Okay, I'm starting to drool over here, so I'd better get to the point.

We love going for Thai, but it's not always easy to do. Being completely plant-based, it's hard to find a satisfying soup when eating out. Thankfully, eating in is ALWAYS an option - even when you're craving ethnic foods. I was craving a Thai soup and came across a few recipes, but the one that struck me was a coconut one. It needed Thai red curry paste and I somehow ended up recreating the paste before getting to the soup. I did this largely by reading the label of a jar I had in my fridge already. The result was delicious, so I tried it in another dish. Same tasty result. Before I get to those though, I thought I'd share the curry paste recipe. Patience though - the others are coming.

Quick + Easy Vegan Red Curry Paste | www.maplealps.com

I like having red curry paste on hand because it's perfect when you need a quick curry or soup whipped up! It makes leftovers and odds and ends taste like new - and since I always like to keep some coconut milk in the pantry, it's quick and easy. 

The one good thing about this paste is that it freezes extremely well. It works out because some of the ingredients are a little harder to find (depending on where you shop) and can be on the pricey side. The only ingredients I didn't have on hand were the peppers and the lemongrass. I always keep ginger in the freezer (you never know when you'll need it!). Anyway, back to freezing the paste, because you definitely don't want it to go to waste, it's good that it freezes. Just put a tablespoon into each section of an ice tray and freeze! Then keep it in a baggie to use in future dishes. We only have a moose ice tray that we got from some friends for our wedding, so we have moose-shaped red curry paste in our freezer. Whatever works!

Try this out in any recipe that calls for red Thai curry paste, and you won't even know you didn't buy it in a jar! It's so easy to put together - just dump everything into a food processor or high-speed blender and go! Perfect base for all sorts of dishes.

Quick + Easy Vegan Red Curry Paste | www.maplealps.com

Vegan Thai Red Curry Paste
Makes about 1 cup

Inch section of ginger, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp salt
1 lime - tested and juiced
3 red chillies, tops chopped off
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 TBSP liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 TBSP maple syrup (optional, to offset some heat)
1 stem of Lemongrass, chopped
6 green onion, sliced
½ red bell pepper (optional, to offset some heat)

To a food processor or high-speed blender, add all the ingredients. Process until it reaches your desired texture (I don't like mine too chunky, but you might!)

 

What do you use red curry paste for?


 

3 Healthy & Energizing Smoothie Recipes

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

Smoothies are a quick and easy way to get a tasty fruit fix, and I make them as often as possible. I love to start my day with one, and when I have friends over they’re the perfect alternative to coffee on a sunny day. My family loves them too, and I find that smoothies are one of the best ways to get kids the vitamins and antioxidants that they need.

I’m always looking for new recipes that are vegan-friendly, healthy and delicious, and the three recipes in this post tick all those boxes. They’re also great energy-boosters, thanks to the matcha green tea powder.

If you haven’t already heard about matcha tea, let me tell you why I love it. It’s known to increase energy levels and improve concentration, so it’s great for getting me through a busy day. It’s also full of antioxidants which help to boost the immune system and protect against diseases. It can even give your metabolism a boost which helps with weight loss too.

Matcha is the perfect smoothie ingredient and I love the long-lasting boost that it gives me - especially when I have a busy day ahead. Make sure you get high-quality matcha though as this ensures it's got the maximum health benefits and non-bitter taste. I recommend Evergreen Matcha, as they source their premium grade matcha from sustainable farms in Japan so it's packed with the maximum goodness.

For the following recipes, simply add all the ingredients to your blender, whizz up, and enjoy.

3 Healthy & Energizing Smoothie Recipes | www.maplealps.com

 

Energy-boosting strawberry, banana, and matcha smoothie

This smoothie is perfect for breakfast at the start of a busy day. The fruits not only taste delicious but are also packed with mood-improving vitamins and nutrients, and the matcha tea will give you all the energy you need to take on anything.

 

What you need:

●      2 cups strawberries (fresh or frozen, but if frozen thaw them first)

●      1 banana

●      1 kiwi, peeled

●      2 scoops vanilla protein powder

●      ½ cup plain low-fat yogurt or ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

●      2 tsp matcha

 

Boost Your Immune System with this Ginger Matcha Smoothie

This smoothie is packed full of tasty goodness. The matcha is an incredible source of antioxidants, and the ginger and fresh orange gives your body some vitamins and a kick to help fight off any this drink a lovely warming finish which helps boost your immune system.

 

What you need:

●      1 tsp matcha

●      1 lime, juiced

●      1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

●      1 tbsp chia seeds

●      2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

 

Note: if you don’t like the spiciness of the ginger, simply leave it out!

 

Antioxidant-rich cacao and matcha smoothie

Did you know that raw, organic cacao is full of antioxidants? It’s a true superfood, and it has all of the calcium, iron, and magnesium that your body needs. It also has over 40x the antioxidants found in blueberries, so cacao and matcha are a health-boosting dream team.

 

This smoothie is delicious as an afternoon pick-me-up and is perfect if you need an energy boost. And, drinking this smoothie regularly can promote weight loss and will help protect against diseases.

 

What you need:

●      1 ½ cups almond milk

●      1 tbsp cacao powder

●      ½ tbsp matcha

●      2 tsp maca powder

 

Note: if you want to increase the iron content of this smoothie you can add a handful of spinach. Or, if you want to even out the strong cacao taste with some extra sweetness, blend in ½ tablespoon of maple syrup.

 
3 Healthy & Energizing Smoothie Recipes | www.maplealps.com

 

 


Erin Young is a health writer, tea expert and owner of two tea brands: Evergreen Matcha in the USA and Zen Green Tea Matcha in Australia. She partners with sustainable tea farms based in Kyoto (Japan) to ensure the best possible quality matcha green tea powder.

 

 

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