(Collective Evolution | Amanda Monteiro) Why indulge in overpriced, sugary drinks when you can make tastier, healthier ones at home?
Autumn is upon us here in North America, and that means fast-food chain marketers are set to enter a pumpkin spiced frenzy, playing well into our desires to snuggle up with a hot cup of ‘something’ in hand. Establishments like Starbucks, for example, offer seasonal beverages like the ever-anticipated Pumpkin Spiced Latte — a drink that, despite its virtuous sounding name, contains 50g of sugar (in a grande) and natural flavours. For the most part, when you order any pumpkin spiced delights, what you’re getting is an abundant amount of sugar, which makes them taste good, and genetically modified ingredients, which makes them cheap to manufacture.
The best way to avoid consuming drinks that are high in sugar and animal fat? Make them yourself of course! The key to these recipes is ensuring that you are starting from scratch with whole ingredients. Sure, you can go out and buy a pre-made packet, but these are unlikely to offer you that powerfully warming, cozy feeling you’ve been craving!
This drink will provide all the spice you need this fall to keep you warm, all while helping to keep inflammation down. Turmeric contains anti-tumour, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, along with a hefty dose of antioxidants. We already have a lovely turmeric smoothie you can try out here and a Golden Milk recipe here.
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ½ cup organic full-fat canned coconut milk
- 1 heaped teaspoon fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped (substitute with 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- Pinch each of black pepper, sea salt, and ground ginger
- Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and gently warm while stirring with a spoon to combine.
- Carefully transfer hot liquid into a high-speed blender.
- Blend mixture on high for about 30 seconds, until frothy. Serve hot and drink immediately. Note – rinse your blender ASAP too, so you don’t stain it turmeric hued!
Thanks to Kate from Organic Authority for the recipe!
Another Indian treasure, chai is even more flavourful than turmeric alone, with six spices combined. Chai also comes with a number of its own benefits, like improving digestion, enhancing the immune system, and fighting inflammation, along with its own dose of antioxidants. If you’d like another chai recipe, you can try out our Apple Chai Granola Recipe to go along with your yummy latte.
- For the Chai Spice Mix (yields ⅓ cup):
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2½ teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- For the Vegan Chai Lattes:
- 2 cups water
- 2 black tea bags
- 2 tablespoons chai spice mix (see above)
- 3-4 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
- 1 cup canned coconut milk (light or full-fat), or other non-dairy milk
- In a small bowl, mix all ingredients until fully combined. Store in an airtight plastic bag or glass jar.
- In a small saucepan, place water, tea bags, and 2 tablespoons chai spice mix. Bring to a boil; put the lid on, remove from heat, and let it steep for 15 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags and stir. Pour equally into two mugs. Sweeten with 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup in each latte.
- Pour ½ cup milk into each mug; stir until well combined. Garnish with coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle of spice mix.
- *Optional: Instead of pouring the tea into two mugs, pour the maple syrup and coconut milk into the pot and warm over low heat. Then separate the mix into two mugs and serve.
Thanks to Emilie from Emilie Eats for this tasty recipe!
Mulled cranberry cider
Now this is more of a specialty drink, but also quite potent. Cranberries help to lower the risk of urinary tract infections, improve immune function, and decrease blood pressure. They also helps prevent certain types of cancer, particularly of the breast, thanks to the presence of polyphenols.
- 8 cups of cranberry juice (not cocktail, just cranberry juice)
- 8 cups of good apple cider (get it fresh from the farm if you can)
- 2-4 T brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
- Allspice (just a pinch in)
- 8 whole cloves
- Slices of orange
- In a large pot, combine the cranberry juice and apple cider.
- Stir in brown sugar.
- Add cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves and orange.
- Heat until it almost boils and then reduce it to simmer.
- Taste it and if it needs a little more sugar or whatever you can add to it.
- Strain out your cloves and cinnamon sticks before you serve.
Thanks to Melissa from The Inspired Room for this creative recipe!
This wouldn’t be a proper list of delicious hot food beverages if chocolate weren’t included, and more specifically, cacao. Amazingly, cacao contains bioactive ingredients called flavanols that help to reverse the memory decline that comes with age. Cacao helps to relieve stress, lower cholesterol, and improve brain power, and it has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any food. It’s also loaded with minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, fibre, phosphorous, zinc, and selenium.
- One 13.5 oz can “lite” coconut milk (this truly is the best milk to make hot chocolate, I would advise against subbing as others I’ve tried were not good. Lite leaves NO coconut taste!)
- 2 tablespoons (12 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 heaping tablespoons (40 g) semi-sweet dairy-free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
- 1-2 tablespoons (20 g) maple syrup, depending on your sweet-o-meter
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground espresso or instant coffee (you can leave out if you want, it just makes the chocolate flavor stronger)
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Optional: whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, etc.
- If you have a Vitamix, then add all of the ingredients to the blender and blend for a few minutes on high until completely smooth and frothy. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, then add all of the ingredients, except the chocolate chips, to a blender or food processor and process until smooth and frothy. It will only get frothy on a high speed and after a few minutes.
- Add the mixture to a pot over medium heat and then add the chocolate chips. Once it begins to bubble, whisk continuously for about 4 minutes until well heated and has thickened just a bit. You don’t want to overcook it, or it will get too thick. I found this to be the perfect level of sweetness, but if you want yours a tad sweeter, add a little more maple syrup. Remove and pour into mugs and add whipped cream, shaved chocolate, marshmallows, cinnamon, etc. Enjoy!
- This makes enough for 2 mugs. If you are just wanting 1 serving, then place the rest in the fridge and when you are ready to use it, give it a good whisk and reheat on low.
Thank you Brandi from The Vegan 8 for this mouth watering recipe!
Pumpkin spice latte
Of course we had to add a pumpkin spice latte, and yes, pumpkins also come with a long list of awesome benefits. Pumpkin seed oil is full of phytoestrogens, which help prevent hypertension, and contains vitamin A, which promotes good vision. Pumpkin seeds also contain zinc, which can assist the brain in converting tryptophan into serotonin — great for sleep issues — and the flesh, used in the recipe below, is high in fibre, which helps protect the heart, improve digestion, and manage blood glucose.
For the Salted Pumpkin Spice Syrup:
- 1/2 cup (80 g) coconut sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) unsweetened pumpkin purée*
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla bean powder or 1 vanilla bean, seeded or 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the pumpkin spice latte:
- 2 tablespoons (1 shot/1 ounce) espresso
- 1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened almond milk
- 3-4 teaspoons (15 to 20 mL) Salted Pumpkin Spice Syrup
- Coconut Whipped Cream, for garnish (optional—I usually skip it)
- Dash cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, for garnish
- For the Pumpkin Spice Syrup: Whisk together all syrup ingredients in a medium pot over medium heat. Simmer for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently, until smooth and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Once cool, pour leftovers into a jar and secure lid.
- Prepare the espresso or pick some up from a local coffee shop.
- Add milk into a small pot. Heat over medium and bring to a simmer. Immediately remove from heat. Froth the milk using a milk frother or a French press. Tip: I use my French press to froth the milk. Simply add the heated milk into the press and secure lid (make sure it’s closed and not vented). Pump the plunger vigorously for about 30 to 60 seconds. Be careful, as the hot milk can shoot out.
- Pour hot espresso into a mug. Top with all of the frothy milk. Add 3 to 4 teaspoons of the syrup, to taste, and gently stir to combine. Top with a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and Coconut Whipped Cream, if desired. Serve immediately. The syrup will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 2 weeks, most likely longer. You can use it in regular coffee, too, or try stirring it into a bowl of hot oatmeal for a seasonal twist!
*If your pumpkin puree is on the grainy side (some brands are more than others), it might benefit from a quick blend or puree in the blender or food processor before using.
Source: Collective Evolution
You may also like: