Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

 

Looking at my note, written in a buzzed state outside a bar in the Highlands of Louisville, I questioned my sanity:  bacon, bourbon, hazelnut hot chocolate.

WHAT?

Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what Johnna and I were talking about when that idea came to me. After some bourbon and moving on to hard cider, you stop questioning things and just write down the ideas that you think are genius because you know you’ll never remember them if you don’t.

I thought I was far from genius as I tried to puzzle out how I would pull it off.

Bacon. Bourbon. Hazelnut. Hot Chocolate.

Seriously. What the hell?

I know I like to put bacon in my food like:

Dairy-Free Corn Chowder

Grain-Free Bacon & Veg Quiche

Kitchen Sink Pasta

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Pancakes

I thought this idea went too far because I couldn’t figure out how it should be done. It only took me eleven months to figure it out. Candied bacon.

This may be more steps than you want for hot cocoa, but it is worth it. You will need Hazelnut milk, which you can make with Hazelnut Butter. This is not necessarily easily available and where most of your prep time will be if you make it yourself. The end result is heavenly though. Mine came out fluffier than you would expect a nut butter to be.

This is not dairy-free because of the whipped cream I used. I can’t make coconut whipped cream because of my allergies, but I think it would work well with this. If you can’t have dairy or coconut, there are lots of nut whipped cream recipes online. And if you can’t have nuts try marshmallows! I prefer marshmallows in my hot cocoa, but because of my corn allergy I need to make my own and I wasn’t up to the task when I developed this last week. I had a lot of other things on my plate.

I’m pretty sure you can make the candied bacon with coconut bacon if you are vegetarian or vegan. I’m guessing some of my followers will be trying it with candied bacon and letting me know.

Candied Bacon

2 teaspoons honey (or pure maple syrup)

½ teaspoon bourbon

2 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper. Mix together the honey and bourbon. Lay out bacon slices on the tray and brush half the mixture over the bacon. Turn slices over and brush remaining mixture on the other side. Bake for up to 30 minutes or until bacon is browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool before chopping into pieces.

Hazelnut Butter

3 cups hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Spread hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray. Roast them for 10-15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place hazelnuts between two towel and rub together to remove the skins or place in paper bag and rub them together in the bag. Remove as much of the remaining skins as possible and place the nuts in a food processor. Add a pinch or two of salt if desired. Process the nuts until you have a creamy nut butter consistency, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Creamy Hazelnut Milk

4 cups  filtered water

4 tablespoons Hazelnut Butter

Add ingredients to a blender and blend on high for a at least one minute. Transfer to an airtight liquid container and store in the refrigerator. Shake before using.Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa 2

Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

1 ½ cups Creamy Hazelnut Milk

1 – 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or Dutch processed cocoa)

1 tablespoon raw local honey or pure maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)

1 teaspoon maca root powder (optional)

1 ounce bourbon

Whipped cream (of choice)

Candied Bacon, chopped

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add cacao powder, mace root powder, and sweetener of choice. Whisk together until well-incorporated and allow to continue to heat. Add in bourbon and remove from heat, whisking together before pouring into a mug. Top with whipped cream then candied bacon.

Lemon Potato Salad

Lemon Potato SaladI love potato salad, but I’m back to my body not liking eggs. That means no mayonnaise based dressings common in some of our favorite summer salads with substance. I’m also back to no vinegar, which was part of my yeast-free diet. Hello dressings made with citrus and olive oil.

Now I don’t normally fix big meals that you typically think go along with potato salad. You know what I mean, the big picnic/BBQ meals with a table full of food. No, I made this potato salad to go along with a green salad and grilled chicken. I just wanted a little starch with my meal without reaching for the grains. I would definitely eat this with some top notch ribs or with a lettuce-wrapped hot dog.

Lemon Potato Salad – serves 6-8

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped

3 green onions, white & green parts sliced

3 celery stalks, sliced

1/2 lemon, juiced

olive oil (equal to volume of lemon juice)

salt

pepper

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain and add to a medium mixing bowl then refrigerate. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the green onions, celery, and dressing to the potatoes and toss together. Season with more salt and pepper if desired.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Toasted Coriander Lime Dressing

Grilled Chicken Salad with Toasted Coriander Lime DressingI wanted to do something bigger for the start of Celiac Awareness Month, but allergies combined with several other things have kept me down for the week. I managed to get in for an allergy treatment on Tuesday and I felt a little better after being treated for plant phenols (part of the chemical makeup of plants). I was reacting not only to nature while outside, but pretty much everything I was eating. My doctor said it was no wonder I felt like my body was trying to kill me. Seriously. I went in and told him I felt like my body was trying to kill me before giving him my laundry list of symptoms. I will be glad when we are done peeling this ginormous onion.

I should be sleeping right now, but I had to at least put this together quickly.

Yes, it is that time of year that everyone is posting about Celiac Awareness Month. This is the opportunity we take to help educate those new to a medically necessary gluten-free diet or those wanting to learn more because someone they love is on the diet.

This year, I want to challenge those of you who are veterans of the diet to make everyday an awareness day. I’ve stated before that it is our responsibility to educate others daily in a kind manner. This means not using vilification towards others when our diets are under fire from someone. This is a difficult thing to do because our natural reaction is defensive. Maybe if more of us can respond in a more rational manner to people there will be less jokes about our diet and more understanding of how it truly affects on a daily basis. Most people don’t know we have to learn what the derivatives of gluten are in food products and that we  have to be diligent about reading labels if we buy something packaged and when we use personal care products. We are our own best advocates and if we want to advocate for the entire community, we need to have cool heads about us to teach/correct the general public. Reactionary behavior/words only serves to inflame everyone and make us look like the irrational militants many people think we are.

In other words, BE NICE.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Toasted Coriander Lime Dressing – serves 2

2 chicken breasts

salt

pepper

1 romaine heart, chopped

3 handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped

5 radishes, sliced

4 mini-sweet peppers, sliced

juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup olive oil

2 teaspoons coriander seed

Season both sides of chicken breast with salt and pepper and set aside to come to room temperature. Grill chicken breasts until they reach an internal temperature of 185º. Let rest on a cutting board. Place coriander seed in a dry pan and toast over medium heat until fragrant. Grind the seeds in a spice grinder or use a mortar and pestle. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix together romaine, spinach, radishes, and sweet peppers. In a small mixing bowl, add lime juice, olive oil, coriander seed, and a pinch of salt. Whisk together well. Slice chicken breasts. Plate the salad with chicken on top and pour dressing over the salad, including the chicken.

*If you want more depth to your salad, add grilled onions and fresh chopped cilantro. If you or someone you love has a lime allergy use apple cider vinegar.