Winter Comfort

Cold, snowy winter days are made for warm comforting hot drinks.  My favorite hot drink is a Mocha, hot chocolate and coffee with plenty of milk.  My milk of choice is goat’s milk from out own goats.  This time of year the goat’s are all dried up, so I’m struggling to come up with a healthy alternative.  I struggle sometimes to find foods that meet my criteria:

  • locally sourced (I interpret this fairly loosely sometimes-I will accept a few foods that can’t grow in Michigan if it’s supporting a local company with good practices)
  • healthy (no chemicals, I’m not allergic, prevents cancer or other illnesses)

Ingredients for my favorite Mocha recipe are as follows:

  • 1 cup coffee (made from fresh ground Higher Grounds Coffee or Truck Stop Organics  good local companies that make an excellent coffee)
  • 1 cup goat’s milk (fresh, from my own goats)
  • 2 Tablespoon’s Mindo’s 100% Cocoa Powder (mindochocolate.com)
  • 2 Tablespoon’s sugar (or to taste)

I don’t actually measure the coffee and milk and I’ll add more or less to taste.  I heat up the milk to a comfortable temperature, add the rest of the ingredients and drink it warm.

The trouble with this recipe is that it doesn’t quite meet my standards for health.  Coffee has all kinds of withdrawal systems and if I drink it too late in the morning it can interfere with my sleep.  The sugar I also have objections to.  Basically cancer and all other diseases love sugar.  So this recipe should be a rare treat.

The chocolate I consider totally irreplaceable, although Just Good Chocolate is every bit as good as Mindo and they are both a wonderful local company.  I avoid national companies as the chocolate isn’t as good and their practices are questionable at best.

When my goat’s are dry this time of year my family will either go without, or we’ll support one of our local dairies, like Shetler’s which offers quality grass-fed cow’s milk, and isn’t homogenized.  Unfortunately for me, all cows milk causes me slight allergies.

So here is my new recipe that substitutes healthy tea’s for coffee, stevia for sugar and oatmeal for the milk.  I like to make a big batch and store the extra in the fridge for reheating.

Vegan Chocolate Tea

  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup tea blend (such as nettle root, burdock root, chicory root, twig tea, green tea, yerba mate, Essiac tea, these can be mixed and matched etc…)

Boil water with all roots and twigs for 10 minutes to make a decoction.  Steep tea leaves for 5 minutes more in same water.  Strain and pour into a blender (or Vitamix).  Blend with:

  • 1 cup oatmeal

Strain and pour back in blender with:

  • 2-4 Tablespoons cocoa powder to taste
  • 1 teaspoon stevia

Blend and serve warm.

The oatmeal is a little unconventional, but it thickens the brew enough to give me the satisfaction of milk without any potential allergies.  If you don’t like stevia, honey can also work.  The stevia isn’t exactly local, but it doesn’t feed cancer, so I consider it a good substitute.

Bitter teas are more like coffee, as an added bonus nettle and burdock root are excellent blood cleansers.  Essiac Tea is great for treating cancer.  Green Tea has caffeine, but is also very healthy.  Light of Day Organics (lightofdayorganics.com) is a wonderful local tea company near Traverse City.  If you can’t find a good local tea source, order directly from Mountain Rose Herbs, an exceptionally conscientious herbal company with the highest standards that specializes in Fair Trade and Organic sources (www.mountainroseherbs.com).

For cold winter days like this, sometimes we all need a little comfort.  Enjoy!