If you are not redirected automatically, follow the link to Gretchen, In-Between almondmilk | Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen!
Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 8 comments

Boozy Vegan* Hot Chocolate

*Well, I suppose that depending on your definition of vegan, this recipe is only vegan-ish. But we’ll get to that.

So. The government has shut down. And while Ron Swanson is probably having the best day of his life…

… a lot of people are very unsure as to what their future (and their future paychecks!) may hold. And hey, I get it! While most government contractors and federal employees have gone quite a while between shutdowns, let us remember that I used to work for the FAA. Which meant going through the emotional unquiet that is an impending, looming, potential FAA shutdown at least twice a year. I’m definitely grateful that my job now is unaffected by the shutdown, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel the pain of all my nearest and dearest.

So I’m trying to help in the only way I can: by giving you a recipe that makes it’s totally acceptable to start getting sauced first thing in the AM. Enter: Boozy hot chocolate. I mean, hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

332A0036.jpg

Besides, I suddenly found myself with a couple of flippin’ adorable custom whiskey airplane bottles, thanks to one Miss–oops, I mean MRS!–Army Pants and Flip Flops, whose wedding I attended last weekend. 😀

332A0038.jpg

Boozy Vegan Hot Chocolate
Makes 1 large steaming mug

Ingredients:

2 cups Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almond milk (I used original unsweetened)
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp honey (this is where the whole maybe-it’s-not-really-vegan argument can begin — just replace with sweetener of choice if you don’t want to use honey)
3 tbsp whiskey (sorry kiddos, these tricks are for adults only)

Instructions:

1. In a small saucepan, heat almond milk on medium heat.
2. Add cocoa powder, brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey. Stir until combined (the lumps in the cocoa will continue to break apart as the milk heats up.)
3. Add in whiskey, stir to combine, then pour into a mug. Top with whipped cream, if you have some available, and enjoy!

332A0046.jpg

This recipe is sure to put some warm-fuzzies in your belly, believe you me. I mean, I may or may not be a little bit buzzed while writing this post… though to be fair, I didn’t even use the entire airplane bottle in the recipe! 3 tbsp uses up about 3/4 of the bottle. But it didn’t really seem fair to just leave that little bit left in the bottle all by its lonesome, so…

332A0044.jpg

Just consider me having poured one out (into my mouth) for my government homies. Salud! You can also clearly make this a non-alcoholic (but still vegan-ish) hot chocolate simply by omitting the whiskey. If you do that, it might be fun to try adding in a tsp of various extracts — mint, almond, etc!

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

Read More

Posted on Jul 29, 2013 in Food, Recipes | 11 comments

Homemade Bubble Milk Tea

So, I throw the word “Whasian” around here a lot. And yes, I know it’s partly because I have a bit of a complex about people not knowing that I’m half-Chinese… since I don’t look particularly Asian (except for maybe a handful of times of year, which usually coincide with things like Chinese New Year or my brother’s Chinese Banquet-style rehearsal dinner). Though, to be fair, I went on a cruise with my family the summer after my Freshman year in college, and the ship’s photographer thought that I was Ben’s girlfriend (gross) rather than an actual part of my family. So I think said complex is at least somewhat understandable.

IMG_3950

ANYWAY. For as much as I mention my ethnicity on this blog, I don’t really highlight too many Chinese recipes. Mostly, this is because my mom is such an amazing cook that I don’t dare try to copy her recipes for fear of ruining the dishes for myself. But that’s not to say I don’t prepare my fair share of Chinese cuisine. I love whipping up a batch of frozen xiao long bao at home (steamed soup dumplings), I adore going out to dim sum, and I am absolutely OBSESSED with bubble milk tea.

IMG_5443

Bubble milk tea, boba, pearl milk tea, zhen zhu nai cha — whatever you call it, I love it. I was first introduced to this most magic of beverages during the three years I spent living in Taiwan, and to this day it is one of the surest ways to make me a happy, happy girl. Unfortunately, all the most authentic bubble milk tea places around here seem to be up in Rockville, and I don’t enjoy braving Seven Corners traffic enough to frequent the Eden Center on a regular basis. So, I’ve had to figure out ways to satisfy my total obsession occasional craving on my own.

332A7354.jpg

Now, admittedly, I cheat and use a milk tea powder more often than not. But! For you folks, who have probably come here to read at least a somewhat healthy-ish recipe, I decided to brew up a batch from scratch. You’re very welcome. 😉

332A7351.jpg

Introducing my very own taste-tested and Whasian-approved recipe for bubble milk tea. And because I love you guys so much, I even made it dairy-free, don’tcha know! I used regular ol’ black tea bags, but if you really want to go authentic, head for your nearest Asian grocery store and pick up a can of looseleaf Hong Kong-style black tea. Also, since I imagine most of you don’t keep the pearls in your pantry, you can zip right over to Amazon.com and pick up a pack of tapioca pearls, along with some of those nifty fat bubble tea straws.

332A7347.jpg

Bubble Milk Tea
Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

4 black tea bags, or equivalent looseleaf black tea
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup uncooked tapioca pearls
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk
Ice (optional)

Instructions:

1. Steep tea in boiling water. You are aiming for a very strong brew, so let steep for a good 8 – 10 minutes. It is also best to allow the tea to cool somewhat before mixing your milk tea.
2. While tea is steeping, heat water on stove in a small or medium sauce pot until boiling. Add tapioca pearls and cook until all pearls float to the top, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, add sugar to pot and stir just until dissolved. Cover and let sit for an additional 5 minutes. Reserve about half of the tapioca pearls and sugar water for each serving of bubble tea.
3A. For frozen bubble milk tea, add tea, milk, sugar water from the pearls, and ice cubes to a blender, and blend until ice is fully incorporated. Add tapioca pearls and enjoy!
3B. For regular bubble milk tea, simply combine tea, milk, and sugar water in a pitcher or glass, then add pearls. If the mixture is not cool enough, you may add ice cubes or refrigerate* the tea first. Enjoy!

*Do not refrigerate the pearls in the tea — store them in the sugar water separately. The pearls become hard when cold, and will need to be reheated in the microwave to become soft again.

332A7355.jpg

So there you have it. You can add as much or as little additional sweetener as necessary to achieve the desired taste of your milk tea, but I tried to keep it fairly light. As mentioned, you can store any leftover pearls in the sugar water mixture (a mixture of water and honey is also a great preserver, and gives good flavor to the pearls). Just reheat the pearls for about 30 seconds in the microwave if you decide to use them later! Easy peasy.

almondbreezelogoThe above post was sponsored by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, but all content is 100% my own.

Read More