The Best Powdered Vegan Hot Cocoa Mix + Other Thoughts
Pull up a chair, and let's have a chat over a cup of steamy, soul-warming hot chocolate (vegan this time? yas). I finally shared it on my instagram Monday, so I feel it must be shared here too. But before I get really intimate, let's set the mood. Have you heard of the artist Izzy Bizu? Or what about any of the musical makings of Sonder. Play "Too fast". Or, since Christmas is now only just 5 days away, if you want something more in tune with the holidays, maybe some throwbacks to Luther Vandross's sultry songs and voice, Boyz II Men, Mary J. or Leon Bridges' "River"--not Christmas themed but always appropriate. Play this song by Jorja Smith or this one, let it fill the background, get your cup filled, then let's continue while I babble on about the best cocoa and my opinion of ("real") blogging. But first, the Cocoa: This is an easy but full-flavored hot chocolate. I focused on the essentials to make it pop on all edges. You have the cocoa powder-- I recommend one that you love, one that is your go-to, because this is what'll most likely make or break the flavor for you. Get something rich and real. I add powdered sugar because it dissolves effortlessly, and it helps it stay super thick because of the cornstarch. If you want to make your own powdered sugar, you can replace the powdered sugar by just throwing cane sugar or another less refined sugar in a high-powered blender and blending on high for a while until the sugar turns to dust. You can also add about 1-2 tsp of arrowroot starch( a healthier alternative to cornstarch) to 1 cup of blended granulated sugar if you want to really make it a sweet and powdery thickener. And then of course, the instant coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate, and the cinnamon adds the perfect amount of spice without being overwhelming. You can always add more though :)
5-Ingredient Vegan Hot Cocoa Mix:
Makes about 4 cups:
1/3 cup packed cocoa powder (you're favorite)
1/4 cup powdered coconut milk (make sure to declump before measuring)
1/2 cup packed powdered sugar (or see above for an alternative)
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee powder
(Plus some sea salt for sprinkling in each cup)
Directions: Mix all the ingredients together, and then sift them through a sieve before measuring into your mug. Add 1/3 cup sifted mixture to 3/4 cup hot water--more or less water depending on how thick/thin you like it, and add a pinch of salt to taste. For this version I topped it off with the last little bit of a Portuguese red wine I had--I have been obsessed with every Portuguese wine we've tasted thus far, it's all we get now-- and a cap of frozen coconut cream I sweetened with powdered sugar. For the coconut cream cap: I chilled a can Thai full-fat coconut cream overnight and then opened the can, poured out the liquid/scooped out the solid cream, and whipped it using a handheld beater or a stand mixer until it fluffed up. Add a little powdered sugar or other sweetener to taste, and then spoon it into a piping bag with a star tip. I took a piece of wax paper, traced the lip of my cup on the wax paper with a pencil, flipped the wax paper over, and piped the cream into a beautiful cone. Then froze it for an hour or so. When I was finished making the hot cocoa, I just plopped it on top. It cools it down nicely and melts slowly. Soooo delish!And that's just rugelach from the cookbook sitting beside it. I have stashes of different unbaked desserts from recipe testing that I've kept in the freezer awaiting days like today. No work, just tranquility, good music, and real talk.
Us on Christmas: We are keeping it pretty chill this Christmas. Wild plans for flying here and there--Toronto, Colorado, Orlando and then Miami--, meeting the Guy family on some adventure in a new place, flying back to Dallas to see the Harrisons and all mutual friends, have all settled. We have officially set our sights on a calm, Boston Christmas. Just the two of us. And I'm guessing there will be lots of snow joining us too.
My blog is a Sketchbook: A RomanticizedTransition and My Tangled Thoughts on Food Blogging
I had the chance to attend Expo East in September, and I listened to a guest speaker talk about what companies should look for when looking for a food blogger to sponsor. "Consistent Posting" a speaker stressed. I felt myself shrink in my chair. I didn't feel like a real blogger at that moment. Was I fraud? Was I not working hard enough? Instantly, I felt embarrassed of my constant tangents and my inability to show up to this url errrday and post something useful someone could use in their kitchen. Isn't that the only thing a blogger is supposed to do??? Why was I not "just sharing all my damn food! Just doing it, even if it felt like I was just going through the motions?!"I realized it was because it goes against every goddamn thing I believe in! Fast forward two months later, and I'm driving alllllll the way down to New York from Boston to attend a weekend-long convention for The School of Womanly Arts at the Javits Center, hosted by the woman who wrote the book Pussy: A Reclamation. Read it! It's fascinating and helpful. And after reading it, I got some confirmation that I am on the right track, and that the voices yelling at me, "No Pain No Gain" and "Just Do It!", the ones I'm violently rebelling against at the moment, aren't the only appropriate approaches to successful business and life. I think we need more ideas like this that break the mold of what normal is, but until then, I will just keep tuning out the superfluous white noise that makes me feel momentarily defective, and follow what feels right in my gut at every single moment like I've always done.
(For those who resonate with this, more confirmation:"Abraham Hicks On the Importance of Consistency" with regards to the law of attraction. The thing is, I know I am a blogger more than I am a line cook or lawyer. I can keep this up for the rest of my life. Maybe not everyday or every month, making it my primary profession at the moment, but I can keep it as a journal, documenting where I am--geographically, spiritually, emotionally--in my life, and I find the most amount of value in that right now with where I am on my journey, and I didn't feel that way before. I have journals that I have kept for yeeeaaarrsss. And there are some nice thick chunks in there in which I've scratched down some juicy thoughts over a handful of consecutive weeks, and then other entries that I prelude with the cliche: "It's been awhile since I've written in you..." I think everyone can relate. At times, like my journal or my sketchbook, my blog is the most relaxing and enjoyable thing in the world to me. It helps me sort where I stand, specifically on food and indirectly on my identity. I feel good keeping it around my entire life JUST to look back on where I've been. I'm not opposed if it becomes more than that, but I am so satisfied with that being its purpose for now.And while I'd love my words and work to eventually become a staple in people's homes, a reliable source of good-tasting food built from a structured blogging routine that focuses on customer interaction and pumps out recipes on the daily that people can use to solve problems in their own kitchens, it's clearly not my path at the moment, and quite honestly it may turn me mad if I tried to force myself into this beautiful mold I keep seeing. Maybe this url will turn into that--or maybe another blog I build will be that instead. But I know I will use this blog right here in a way that feels the best to me right now. Whether it's a self-discovery tool, a way to make statements and send them out into the world or just a platform to clear my mind--for me, food is all of these things, anyway.So I confidently claim this title of "real food blogger", but I also propose that I begin to think differently about how I and we share our food, why we share our food, and what blogging about food really means and does for us, specifically the person blogging.
Mood/ Today's Inspiration: Follow Elizabeth Bray's @ebllustrations on Instagram and all other platforms. Work is on point!