Homemade Lime Soda | VeganMoFo 2018 Day Three

Week One: Inspiration Week
This week is all about using different things as your inspiration for great food.

Just like yesterday, today I’m drawing inspiration from India! No matter where we stopped for a meal — fancy hotel, unpretentious roadside eatery — the drinks menu almost always included lime soda. Served in tall, thin flared glasses, lime soda is way more than the sum of its parts. Lime-infused simple syrup melds with sparkling water to create a dreamy, super refreshing drink that we couldn’t stop ordering. Many restaurants offer both salty and sweet versions, but I couldn’t resist sweet every time.

Since returning from India, I’ve been craving lime soda, so obviously I had to make my own! We have a SodaStream, which made the sparkling water part pretty easy. I shook up some fresh lime juice with sugar for an extra-simple simple syrup, then added it to my water to taste. So easy and so refreshing! Next time I’m going to mix in some raspberry simple syrup I made a couple weeks back with some less-than-perfect berries. It would also make an amazingly simple cocktail with a little gin or vodka. The possibilities, as they say, are endless!

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Vegan Spiked Maple-Molasses Mug | VeganMoFo 2017 Day Seventeen

VeganMoFo 2017

Week Three: Ingredient Challenges
Let’s get boozy! Food involving booze, like beer brats, Welsh rarebit or a boozy dessert. Feel free to make a non-alcoholic version if you prefer.

It is perhaps not in the spirit of this prompt to offer up a recipe for a drink. But I made this delightful hot beverage the other night and knew I had to share, so I’m flouting the rules.

You might recall the hot molasses mug I shared during VeganMoFo 2014. It remains one of my favorite cold-weather beverages, a surprisingly nutritious and warming drink that’s superbly easy to prepare. Not satisfied leaving well enough alone, however, I took it a step further this weekend and added a healthy pour of my favorite maple liqueur. Holy smokes! It’s delicious, and just in time for the cooler weather. Forget hot toddies; this spiked hot maple-molasses mug is my new favorite boozy drink for the cold months.

Vegan spiked maple-molasses mug For added deliciousness, I topped my mug with aquafaba whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Additions like those are optional but delicious. ;)

(As a side note… did you know that you can make a single (well, single-ish) serving of aquafaba whipped cream with a  powerful immersion blender?! Game changer! I didn’t even bother with the cream of tartar and it worked fine.)

A caveat: If you’re not fortunate enough to have maple liqueur in your liquor cabinet, you can most likely substitute about 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup and a scant shot of bourbon or something similar. I haven’t played with alternatives like that, so let me know if you try it! Or go buy some maple liqueur. It’s worth it.

Spiked Maple-Molasses Mug

Serves one

  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk of choice)
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
  • 1 shot (or more?!) maple liqueur
  • Dash pure vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, warm the almond milk until it begins steaming. (You can also microwave it if you’d like.) Transfer to a mug and add the molasses, maple liqueur, and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until combined. Enjoy.

PIN IT

Vegan spiked maple-molasses mug // govegga.com

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Treat Yourself to Vegan Maple Liqueur

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I love maple syrup. Maple is one of my absolute favorite flavors; it balances an undeniable sweetness with a caramel-y complexity you don’t find in straight-up sugar. Which is why I was delighted when Steven gifted me a bottle of this maple liqueur last Christmas. (He knows me so well!) It’s handmade in Vermont, which — as far as I, a born and bred New Englander, am concerned — is the best place in the world for maple syrup. (Canada? Eh, where’s that?)

Maple liqueur // govegga.com

When I brought this bottle home, visions of complicated maple-y cocktails danced in my head… and then I tasted it, and since then, I’ve pretty much solely enjoyed it straight. Unlike some cheaper liqueurs, this is the real deal. Rather than employing artificial flavors to approximate maple, this beautiful beverage relies on pure maple syrup. It’s smooth, rich, and basically an ideal liqueur for a maple-lover. I treat it as a digestif, enjoying it after a meal, but its sweetness and lack of bitter herbs makes it more like a sweet dessert drink. And it looks so beautiful in these antique aperitif glasses we got from Steven’s mom.

Maple liqueur // govegga.com

Sometimes I’ll enjoy it over ice; the cold really brings out this liqueur’s flavor. And I’ve been known to add it to hot chocolate (see: here). But really, straight-up is where it’s at.

And that is why, on this first Friday of Vegan MoFo, I’m treating myself to a little maple tipple. Drink up!

How would you enjoy maple liqueur?

The Best Vegan Hot Chocolate

VeganMoFo 2016 graphic

Week One: Treat Yourself (and others)!

Welcome to Vegan MoFo, aka the Vegan Month of Food! This year, the organizers created both weekly overarching MoFo themes and daily prompts within each theme. I’m choosing to follow the weekly themes; last year’s daily prompts left me feeling a little stifled for creativity. But a broad theme that provides guidance without pinning me down? Sold!

In the interest of treating oneself, today I bring you a revelation in hot chocolate, just in time (?) for the cold weather. (Unless you’re in Maryland. 75˚F in November? Ugh!) If you’re still making your hot chocolate with water, this technique might just blow your mind. If you’ve already graduated to making hot chocolate with milk, it’ll still be a step up — I promise.

The secret? Making hot chocolate with chocolate milk. I’ve been using the new Ripple chocolate plant milk, which I picked up on a whim. I don’t love it on its own, but it does make a damn fine cup of vegan hot cocoa. And make sure you’re using a high-quality hot chocolate mix; I’m really digging Cocoa Felice currently. The result is a creamy, ultra-rich cup of cocoa just waiting to be topped with whipped cream and savored after time spent in the nippy outdoors.

The best vegan hot chocolate -- creamy, rich hot cocoa. // govegga.com

The Creamiest, Richest Vegan Hot Chocolate

Serves 1

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate plant-based milk
  • 3 T hot chocolate powder
  • Optional add-ins:
    • 2 T strong coffee or espresso
    • 2 T liqueur (I love adding maple liqueur)
    • Vegan whipped cream (coconut, aquafaba, Soyatoo)
    • Vegan mini marshmallows (vanilla or pumpkin!)
    • Chocolate shavings

Combine the two milks and heat until it just starts to steam — don’t let it boil. I use the stove, but you can also microwave it if you watch carefully.

Whisk in the hot chocolate powder until dissolved. Add optional extras and enjoy!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my links, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies. I’m not looking to make a fortune, just to cover hosting costs. :)

Hot Pumpkin-Molasses Mug

LVV MoFo 2014 main

Real talk part deux: I nearly considered moving my Lazy Sunday posting schtick to today because, um, it’s Friday night and I’ve got things to do. (“Things” being “sitting around in my flannel PJ pants reading Agatha Christie and maybe drinking some wine if things get crazy.”) And then I thought, No, because “Lazy Friday” just sounds stupid. And then I thought, Maybe I can repurpose my Hot Molasses Mug! Blackstrap molasses has tons of calcium, and so does almond milk! And then I thought, No, you lazy fool. Stop being so lazy.

And then I remembered the Kathy Patalsky’s Hot Pumpkin Mug that I made last year for MoFo, and I realized that those mugs needed to meet. Stat.

Hot Pumpkin-Molasses Mug

Hot Pumpkin-Molasses Mug
Serves one

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Dash ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt

Blend all ingredients with a standard blender or an immersion blender until well combined. Transfer to a small saucepan and head over medium-low until the mixture begins to steam. Pour into a mug and enjoy.

~~~

I am, admittedly, still pretty lazy, because this recipe is obscenely easy. But holy heck is it good! It’s the perfect blend of two of my favorite flavors, with just a touch of pumpkin pie spices. And—get this—you will get 65% of your recommended daily value of calcium in this mug. 65%! (Well, assuming you use Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Original Almond Milk…) The iron content is not too shabby either at 24%. Guess my laziness paid off this time!

Hot Molasses Mug (and a brief disquisition on iron needs)

LVV MoFo 2014 main

If you’re a woman and you’ve ever gone through a spell of exhaustion, chances are you’ve gotten the “Maybe you’re anemic!” suggestion from a concerned friend or family member. Although anemia is technically a lack of hemoglobin in the blood, the term tends to be used colloquially for an iron deficiency. (1)

So—why can an iron deficiency make you tired, both mentally and physically? In over-simplified terms, it’s because iron is an “essential component of hemoglobin,” a protein that carries oxygen from your lungs to your tissues… tissues like your brain and muscles. (2) In truth, it’s actually rare for people in developed countries to have a serious iron deficiency; it’s more common in the developing world. Most of us get enough iron from our diets. However, pregnant women are often encouraged to take iron supplements because their bodies require more iron—it takes a lot of red blood cells (which carry hemoglobin) to feed the fetus and placenta. (2)

One complication for us vegans stems from the difference between heme and non-heme iron sources. Heme iron comes from animal sources and is absorbed more efficiently than non-heme iron, which comes from plants. Therefore, you technically should consume more iron if you’re vegan. However, you can increase non-heme iron absorption by eating foods containing vitamin C at the same meal—and many iron-rich foods are also naturally high in vitamin C. (1) And the good news is that as far as we can tell, vegetarians don’t have greater incidences of iron-deficiency anemia than meat-eaters. (3)

The CDC’s recommended daily allowances (RDA) for iron vary by age and sex, and it’s good to have a sense of how much you need. As a 27-year-old ciswoman, I need 18 mg according to the CDC. However, the Vegetarian Resource Group notes that vegetarians could require up to 1.8 times more iron than omnivores. (3) That’s about 32 mg for me.

Luckily for us, non-heme iron is not hard to find. One cup of lentils has 6.6 mg. An ounce of pumpkin seeds has 4.2 mg. One cup of cooked fresh spinach has 6.4. And blackstrap molasses—that unassuming viscous liquid!—has a whopping 7 mg in just two tablespoons.

Blackstrap molasses, as it turns out, makes an excellent hot beverage when whisked with hot almond milk. (Thanks for the inspiration, Pinterest!) Beats taking it by straight by the spoonful, as I’ve been known to do.

Hot Molasses Mug

Hot Molasses Mug
Serves one

  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk of choice)
  • 2 T blackstrap molasses
  • Dash pure vanilla extract

In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, warm the almond milk until it begins steaming. Transfer to a mug and add the molasses and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously until combined. Enjoy.

Hot Molasses Mug

With one warming beverage that could barely be any easier to prepare, I’ve got nearly a third of my iron requirement fulfilled. And—bonus!—I’ve found my new favorite fall beverage.

How do you take your molasses?

Sources cited:

(1) http://www.cdc.gov/nutrition/everyone/basics/vitamins/iron.html
(2) http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iron-HealthProfessional/
(3) http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php

Note:

I’m neither a doctor nor a dietitian; please don’t treat my posts as medical advice! Consult a medical practitioner for specific medical or nutritional recommendations.

MoFo Monday: Hot Pumpkin Mug


A confession: The recipe I made for this week’s MoFo Monday isn’t actually from a blogger who’s participating in VeganMoFo this year. I knowww. However, Kathy Patalsky from Healthy. Happy. Life. is a rockstar vegan blogger and cookbook author who just so happened to post a recipe that I desperately wanted to try. I’d actually planned to make Angela’s crazy-amazing Apple Pie Chia Seed Breakfast Parfait, buttt I didn’t realize that Costco closes at 6:00 on Sundays, and that’s where I was planning to stock up on chia seeds (rather than pay out the nose at Whole Foods). Oops. Next week?

Anyway, I quickly changed plans last night and decided to make Kathy’s Hot Pumpkin Mug this morning instead. Basically, Kathy stripped out the caffeine that you typically find in a hot pumpkin beverage and let the pumpkin shine. It’s a creamy, spicy, frothy drink that’ll warm your belly and fill you up.

hot-pumpkin-mug_9771820471_o

My pumpkin drink wasn’t nearly as orange as Kathy’s, even though I cheated and added some turmeric for color. And I didn’t have time this morning to make coconut whipped cream. But it was still absolutely lovely! S is sitting at his computer right now, drinking it and making satisfied Mmm sounds. :)

What’s your favorite warm beverage? What’s your favorite pumpkin beverage?