Transform Your Hot Chocolate by Simmering It With a Banana Peel

You’ve probably had a hot chocolate recently. And it probably came from an envelope. Today, we’re going to push that envelope. We’re going to push it far, far away.

The gold standard hot chocolate recipe is creamy, sweet, and a little rich. It’s almost perfect as is, but it can get better. Much better. Here are eight ways how.

Source: 8 Things You Can Do To Make Your Hot Chocolate Better Right Now

For lactose-intolerant, stir up your own hot cocoa mix with:

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder mixed with
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice optional

You can reduce the sugar a bit to taste. 2 1/2 tablespoons of this stirred into a cup of hot lactose free milk or soy milk or almond milk or whatever makes a wonderful, winter treat!

Use Slow Roasted Shallots to Make Creamier Salad Dressings

Let’s get one thing straight: A salad is really only as good as its dressing. Sure, it’s important to use farm-fresh, in-season produce. And yes, careful and creative preparation is not to be ignored. But hey: Without a good vinaigrette, you’re just eating forkfuls of dry spinach, and there’s nothing sexy about that. Some of our favorite salad dressings are rich and creamy, and well, not exactly healthy (although there is certainly a time and a place for blue cheese). That’s where these alterna-emulsifiers come in. When you’re looking to get a little creative, try these lighter, brighter ways to turn your dressing into the main event.

Source: What Sorcery Is This?! 7 Creamy, Rich Salad Dressings That Are Actually Healthy

I know what the headline says, but the avocado option would be my “go to”.  Way more healthy choice.  I have information about making your own nut “milk” and butter.

If you’re already grilling outside, throw a handful of unpeeled shallots on the grill along side whatever else is cooking.   Turn the shallots until the skins are blackened and the insides are soft, then let them cool. Scoop out the soft insides…  You’ll get a sweet smoky flavor that’s good in dressings, sauces, etc.

10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Many simple foods are not only easy to make at home, they’ll likely be cheaper, healthier, and much tastier than the store-bought varieties. From cheese to peanut butter, here are a few DIY, delicious food projects.

Source: Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

They forgot about tahini, but did mention nut butters.

Peanut Butter: Alton Brown Recipe

Wok fried peanut butter (crunchy) – youtube, 1:47 minutes

You need a wok, peanut oil, and a food processor.  Here’s the recipe.  I recommend watching the video – he suggests alternates/substitutes for making Thai-like peanut butter, or adding chocolate for a Willy Wonka style…

If you have a peanut allergy, you might be interested in this post about other nut butters (and milk).

Make Your Own Nut Milk and Butters

Here’s the direct link to the infographic.  It covers:

  • Almonds
  • Coconuts
  • Pistachios
  • Cashews
  • Pecans

You’ll need a blender or food processor.  Making the “milk” generally requires soaking the nuts in water for 12 hours.

Calling these “milk” is a misnomer, in the same way vein as “nut butter” but it’s done for easy understanding of how and why these would be used.