Easy Coconut Chocolate Sauce

So much tasty food has been made in our home lately, although it has mainly been from recipes. Last Saturday morning, we had vegan red velvet waffles care of anunrefinedvegan! Soooo tasty, and the recipe stays true to red velvet–which contrary to popular belief is not just chocolate with red food colouring! In truth, it was the second weekend in a row we’d had these beauties, but with no soaked cashews, we needed a different sauce.

My mom frequently would make coconut syrup for pancakes and waffles, and while she verbally told me it was just sugar and coconut milk, I never did get that recipe. I suspect it was something like half and half. So, deliciously delicious, but incredibly unhealthy. I did try once with a recipe I found online, but it wasn’t the same.

Instead of dwelling on that, I decided to take a new tactic altogether–make it healthy. It is a very easy recipe, that builds on 3 simple ingredients.

Easy Coconut Chocolate Sauce

  • 1 can low-fat coconut milk
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Mix the coconut milk and cocoa powder in a saucepan, and turn the element onto medium heat. Stir frequently. The goal here is to boil off some of the excess water, so this may take awhile. Take it off the element when you like its thickness (something like 30 min). Then add the maple syrup, stir and serve!

Image

Now this makes a very mild sauce, so if you want something with a bit more punch, increase the cocoa and/or sweetener to taste.

And then, put it on everything. Waffles, pancakes, ice cream, and even…

Image

 

Raw vegan cheesecake! The recipe can be found over on The Rawtarian. It was especially amazing because we already had all the necessary ingredients. And there was no soaking of cashews required so that when I decided I wanted to make it 45 min before our dinner guests arrived…it worked out!

One of the people we served it to had eaten a few bites before saying, “Wait…you’re vegan, how is this cheesecake?”

Seriously, make that cheesecake, even if you’re not vegan.

What’s your favourite tastes-like-the-real-thing-but-not recipe?

Going Vegan: The Response

So as a previous post mentioned, I’m trying to go vegan. It has been a very eye-opening experience so far. It was amazing how both of our families have been so supportive and done their best to accommodate (even over the holidays!). And some of the responses I’ve received from non-family have been very…interesting.

Top 5 most interesting responses, and my thoughts about them:

  1. “Oh wow, that’s so great for you! I could never do that!”

This, however, actually splits into two separate issues:

a)  “I could never give up meat / dairy / eggs”

Not even 5 years ago, I insisted that I enjoyed meat too much to give it up. Now, it’s a bit gross.

Just 6 months ago (probably less), I was insistent that I could never give up dairy. I LOVE ice cream. It is my comfort food, and one of my great joys in life. It is the treat you could use to bribe me to do almost anything. I had a friend say to me after learning I went vegan, and I quote, “I am so shocked, though. Ice cream was like your vice.”

(Fortunately for me, there are non-dairy ice cream alternatives, like coconut milk ice cream and sorbet, otherwise my mood would be permanently down the tubes.)

Sure, there were (and are) transition periods, but the cravings eventually tapered off. I don’t even crave cow’s milk ice cream that much anymore.

b)  “It’s just too much work”

I’m going to turn on the sass a bit here, but that’s really just a copout. Yes, it would be hard, and yes, it would take work. But don’t all the best things take work? If they don’t, then they don’t really feel that good in the end.

2.  “How do you get enough protein / vitamins?”

Here’s the thing: fruits and veggies have tons of nutrients! The more one incorporates into their diet, the better — vegan or not. As for the protein, there are tons of alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs out there! (i.e. soy, beans and nuts).

3.  “What do you eat instead?”

I drink unsweetened almond milk and have it on my cereal instead of cow’s milk. I eat coconut milk based ice cream. I eat dairy-free dark chocolate (I highly recommend this one). The cheese dilemma has not been solved but I’m fairly hopeful about the daiya fake cheese we just got. I eat tofu and quinoa and beans and greens and fruit.

Honestly, I have never enjoyed fruit and vegetables so much. They were always a chore, before, but now, they taste pretty frickin’ amazing. I marvel at how after stuffing myself (not good, I know, but it’s so tasty) with a raw vegan meal, I can walk for long periods of time without getting nasty stomach cramps.

4.  “How’d you “convince” [force] your fiance to do it?”

Here’s the truth: I didn’t. He was as ready to take the plunge as I was. I find it very hurtful to have people tell me that they think I would force someone into making that change. It’s a huge change, and the only person I can make that decision for is myself.

5.  “Why?”

Because I love all animals and think they deserve to have a good, humane, life and death. Because I care about my health and after thinking about it enough I really started to wonder about all the crap I’ve been putting in my body over the years.

And there you have it. Overall, I’m really impressed with how people are taking it. It wasn’t too many years ago when I treated veganism with equal parts shock and dismay. How different it feels from the other side!

What experiences have you had where you made a big life change and got mixed responses?

My Journey With Vegetarianism

It was over 3 years ago now that I made the decision to go “free-range-itarian” which essentially meant that I would only eat meat/fish if the animal had a good, happy, life. This was a decision that agreed with my morals, as I care about animals and their treatment, and it was time to do something about it.

I won’t lie, it was hard at first. I had a “once a week” exception, not to mention exceptions for when other people made food for me (I didn’t want to impose). It took about a year before I stopped making weekly exceptions, and it took another year before I stopped making exceptions when food was made for me. The last 6 months has been the transition to exclusively free range eggs and organic milk. I have gotten to the point where I avoid marshmallows (gelatin), leather, medicine capsules (also gelatin), and all those “hidden” animal products. It started restricting what cheese I could get because rennet is in a lot of cheeses.

These choices all felt natural to me, as I made them. And these choices have all been leading in the same direction: veganism. But I didn’t know that until last night.

Last night my fiance suggested that we watch a documentary that had 3 New Yorkers go vegan for 6 weeks, called “Vegucated“. It was a very graphic movie, and forced me to face the realities of the production of dairy and eggs that you can buy at the store–even the organic/free range kind. Watch it at your own discretion, please. It was an extremely intense experience for me (I cried), but it made me come to terms with the fact that I will be happiest the more vegan I become.

The reality is, living in a big city as I do, being vegan is an option. It is a relatively easy option. There are lots of health-oriented grocery stores filled to the brim with vegan food. Okay, well, not lots. And not filled to the brim. But they do have a fair number of alternatives.

This part will be harder though. I am much more attached to dairy products (cheese and ice cream are comfort foods for me) and eggs, which are both good sources of protein when you’re not consuming any meat. However, there are places you can actually buy eggs where the hens are allowed to live out their days even though they’ve stopped producing eggs, and where the male chicks are allowed to grow up, too. It’s just a matter of finding them. And there are ice creams made out of non-dairy products.

There are other reasons to go vegan though. For one, it’s healthier. It’s harder to buy food out which means that we will do it less. Not to mention that dairy, while high in protein, is also high in sugar and fat. There are many fewer available junk-food-y vegan products. It’s easy to supplement a diet with lots of bread…much harder when you have to make the bread yourself.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are vegan breads you can buy out there. Unfortunately for us, we recently made the decision to try a low gluten diet (for health reasons). Low gluten and vegan? Right. I guess we have our work cut out for us.

The weirdest part of all of this is, if you’d told me even 5 years ago that I would be trying to go vegan, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. If you’d told me that I had (mostly) become a vegetarian, I also would have looked at you like you were crazy. But I can tell you for sure that I am very proud of myself for making this decision.

It was time for a new journey anyway.