I often find myself making a lot of food gifts this time of year. I love to cook and homemade edible gifts are the best—thoughtful, delicious and made with love. So why give your loved ones gifts filled with conventional dairy, refined grains and sweeteners in the name of holiday indulgence, when you could give them a decadent AND healthy treat that’s perfect for a cold winter’s night?
A Gift from the Heart for the Heart
I give you the high-vibe spiced hot chocolate. This stuff is out-of-this-world delicious, easy to make and oh so healing. This is literally a gift from the heart for the heart. Cacao is one of the best sources of heat-protecting flavanols. In the nearly 200 research studies of cocoa and cardiovascular disease conducted in the last decade, cocoa has been shown to:
- lower cholesterol,
- reduce LDL oxidation, which causes plaque formation,
- lower blood pressure,
- improve circulation,
- lower the risk of heart disease and stroke and
- improve survival after a heart attack.
And we’re not talking about your average Hershey’s bar here. To get these kinds of benefits you need the good stuff—the darker the better—and this spiced up concoction delivers. Your loved ones will never know this delicious treat is full of nourishing goodness. And isn’t that the best kind of gift?
This can be made sugar-free and spiced to your desire: plane Jane or whoa mama! Pair it with your fave plant milk (or make your own with my handy nut milk infographic) and you’ve got yourself a drink that is truly nourishing for the body and the soul. Make it extra special with a dollop of coconut cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I actually make a version of this recipe all through the year (‘cause sometimes you just need chocolate).
Curious about what else is on my gift making list? Here’s a few of my favorites from the blog:
- Chocolate Fig Granola
- Homemade Mustard
- Spice Blends (pumpkin spice, garam masala, dukkah)
- Herbal Masala Chai
- Homemade Nut Butter
Let’s take it slow
It’s the time of year when we gather with friends and family to celebrate and relax a little…or it’s what we should be doing. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season it’s easy to lose sight of what we are really celebrating – love, family, friendship, sharing with others and gratitude for all that we have.
In the spirit of takin’ it slow, I’ve planned on taking some extra time this year to spend with family and friends, and to rest and recharge. In other words this will be my last post of 2015. Have a wonderful holiday everyone and I’ll see you all in the New Year!
 Aggarwal, Bharat B. and Yost, Deborah. Healing Spices. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2011, p.92-93, Print.