Vegan Vanilla Hot Cocoa, Product Reviews & Finds


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How did Monday go for you?  Is it chilly willy where you live because it’s coooold and raining here!  Brrrr!!!  Just over Thanksgiving I was running on Thanksgiving Day in a sports bra, no shirt.  And now, a down coat!  Which is why I was grateful to get a nice, hot, yoga class in this morning.  One of the major perks of teaching at this one particular club is that I am able to take classes there and they have extremely low cost, practically free, childcare on the premises.  So, Skylar gets to play with a bunch of other sick and germy toddlers and bring some H1N1 germs back home, and I get a great yoga sesh in.  Works out perfectly! 

Today’s yoga practice involved holding all poses for 1 minute.  So Warrior A & B, right and left sides, were one minute each (4 minutes of Warrior’ing!)  The splits: left, right, center, for one minute each (Splitting my pants for 3 minutes!).   Handstand was 1 minute.  Headstand was 3 minutes.  You know a real light workout.  Kidding!!!

Any stories to fill me in on from Monday on your end?  I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to!

I want to thank everyone who wrote raving about the Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookies & Cookie Dough Balls recipe from yesterday.  

 Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookies & Cookie Dough Balls

Honestly, I am happily blown away by new commenters (thanks for coming out of the woodwork to those who’ve de-lurked) and faithful commenters who gave me major amounts of sweet praise for my creativity on that recipe.  

Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookies in container separated by parchment paper
Underside of Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookies
Close up of Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Dough Balls

Thank you and please make them and report back with pics, stories, and holiday cheer!

And thanks for catching me up to speed in the comments section about your favorite cookies, what you’d do if you came into some extra cash, and your blogging strategy for the holidays.  I lovvvvve the feedback…muah!!!!

Just wanted to give a shoutout to Kathleen who wrote me and said she melted semi-sweet chocolate over the stove and simply used organic peanut butter for the filling for her version of my Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups.

Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cup

If you somehow haven’t jumped on the Raw Vegan PB Cup Bandwagon, start jumping on it!  Maybe these pics will get you inspired!

Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cup being help on paper liner
Stacked Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups on paper liner

And here’s the inner workings of my Raw Vegan PB Cups.

Stacked Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cups on paper liner showing inside filling

Anyway here’s a few things I’ve been up to….
Shopping for yoga clothes.  It’s quite sad that I went to pick up my check at this one studio and pretty much spent my check and then some on yoga-wearOh well.  

A Pair of Hippy Dippy Tie-Dyed Pants

Tie-dyed pants on countertop

If these don’t scream Flower Child Earth Goddess, I don’t know what does.  But OMG these things are sooo comfy!   And I want to buy the entire collection!

Close up of Tie-Dyed Pants

Next was a burnout tshirt I found that had the phrase: Do You Practice?  on it.

Shirts saying do you practice?

So, what do YOU practice?  Yoga? Mindfulness? Meditation?  Chocolate and raw vegan dessert face stuffing?  What do you practice?

Shirt saying do you practice?

 And another burnout tee with a Tree with an Om symbol in the middle of the tree

Tee with a Tree with an Om symbol in the middle of the tree

The tee’s a perfect match for my Om tattoo

Tattoo on foot that matches symbol in middle of tree on shirt

And we’re going to be taking a little trip and I needed to get some essentials packed that may not be readily available: Agave, 2 types of Stevia, and organic cinnamon.

Bag full of various ingredients

And Gluten-Free Oats, And Sun Warrior Brown Rice Protein Powder in both Chocolate and VanillaNormally I don’t go nuts with protein powders, but when traveling, I’d rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

Packaged up oats and Brown Rice Protein Powder

Moving along to a few bars I’ve tried.  Sale finds, my friends.

The Clif Spiced Pumpkin Pie bar

Spice Pumpkin Pie Clif Bar

Smells lovely, and very chewy, and sugar-lover that I am, the entire bottom coated in some sort of highly processed soy-based frosting was actually exciting in a very non-earth Goddess kind of way… 

Clif Bar out of package

….But the bar was a little bland and lacked rich pumpkin flavor

Clif bar broken in half and stacked

Just not the BAM of pumpkin I was hoping for, but for a $1 buck on sale, it was fine for Skylar’s liking.

Hand holding portion of Clif Bar

Moving to another $1 dollar sale find.  The Clif Cranberry Orange Nut Bread. 

Cranberry Orange Nut Bread Clif Bar

Super Moist as you can see by the ability to curl it without it breaking in two.   Nice.  Nothing worse than dry food.  Blech! 

Clif Bar being bent to show moisture

Flavor is Orangey and plesant, but again, just a little lackluster.  Maybe it’s because I am used to Green and Raw types of bars so these uber-processed bars just don’t cut it for me.  Which is actually a nice sign I think.  However, I don’t want to be negative on these bars because I do think for a non-raw bar they are fine, they are reasonable, you can find them easily, and they’ve got great fiber.  So there’s your silver linings.

Portion of Clif bar on packaging

Moving along to foods that ARE raw.  Salad eating included Mixed Field Green, Carrots, Tomatoes, Cukes…

Mixed green salad with sliced vegetables
Up close of mixed green salad with vegetables

….And then slathered with my Creamy Tahini “Cesar” Inspired Vegan Dressing

Salad slathered in Creamy Tahini "Cesar" Inspired Vegan Dressing
Up close of salad slathered in Creamy Tahini "Cesar" Inspired Vegan Dressing


And because it’s been so chilly here, I decided to whip up some Vegan Hot Cocoa.  I’ve made it before, check this post out for the microwave-able, fast and easy way to warm your tummy.

And I just kicked it up with some Vanilla Extract.

McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract bottle

And boy, it totally hit the Vegan Vanilla Hot Cocoa Spot.

Averie’s Vegan Guiltless & Fast Vanilla Hot Cocoa
In a mug combine:
1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder (Or 2 Tbsp if you’re like me & want it extra chocolaty)
5-6 oz water (or nut/seed milk of your choice)
Stevia or Agave to Taste (I used both agave and liquid cocoa bean stevia but I like things really sweet)
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract (or more to taste)

Stir well or Whisk
Microwave for 60 seconds and Voila…

Vegan Guiltless & Fast Vanilla Hot Cocoa in brown mug

Why do I say guiltless?  Because at probably under 50 calories I feel like I am really indulging in a decadent, warm, soothing treat without any regret.   

Optional Recipe Tweaks:
Add cinnamon
Add a drop of coconut oil
Add a drop or two of hazelnut or almond extract
Add a pinch of nutmeg

My Vanilla Hot Cocoa went perfectly with dessert!

For Dessert, I savored a few Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookies & Cookie Dough Balls

Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Dough Balls stacked
Up close of stacked Raw Vegan Gingerbread Cookie Dough Balls

Yoga Today is an Astavakrasana Variation

Woman doing Astavakrasana Variation yoga pose

Tip of the Day:  **Both Contests End Tuesday (tomorrow)**

And my Favorite Twins have a great Give Away going on!!

Next Tip of the Day: For anyone who’s written me asking if yoga is a workout?  YES!!!!
We burn calories doing anything from peeling an apple to running a marathon.  It’s just how many and at what level.  Yoga, depending on what style of yoga you do, most definitely burns calories!  I am into ashtanga yoga, that is my path, my calling because it challenges me physically and mentally, spiritually and emotionally, too.  But other higher physical intensity forms of yoga include: power, vinyasa, flow, viniyoga, and then random “styles” of classes like bootcamp yoga or yoga for runners.  Those are your code words for more physical forms of yoga because although it’s lovely and nourishing to chant and breathe, I also believe in asana (physical poses) practice, too!

What’s your theory on working out in the rain?  Yay or nay?  Or if you’re a cold-weather climate dweller, do you skip your outdoor workout if it’s cold out?  I grew up in MN and then Chicago and I was that freak person outside running, power walking, or doing something outdoors because I truly crave fresh air, daily!  But I dressed in a ridic amount of layers and normally wouldn’t go out if it was less than 0 degrees F.  However, had I been into yoga and knew that I could savor an indoor physical activity, I would have been doing that instead!  What about you, do you work out in inclement weather?


About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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  1. Hi Averie,
    Was just reading the recipe for the cookie balls. I think I might have to get out the vita mix and make a batch myself. They look and sound delicious! Hope you enjoy a little down time with the family.

  2. Last night as my entire family was sitting down to watch The Office, (my parents, me, and my older brother) I had my little napkin of desserts per usual (carob chips, chocolate chips, and YOUR cookie dough balls.) my dad wanted a ball, and naturally, I first refused him of mine (he could have gone straight to the freezer where the stash was) but then I handed him one, and as I did I made a TWSS joke, and I think I literally made him pee his pants. I'm not one to make those kinds of jokes in front of the fam, but your balls make such a good stepping stone. I had a good laugh. :) (And I was surprisingly clever? It was a new one!)

    Anywho- loving the plain sugar balls, but whats a ball without some chocolate?! he he.

  3. I totally left you a comment last night…wonder where it went…well truth be told..JJ was attacking my laptop as I was trying to click publish…maybe that has something to do with it.

    another great easy dough raw recipe to try…I just played with a VERRRRRRRY low sugar (like 1 date ) dough recipe…and I added coconut flour…LOVED IT.

    I rarely travel…I have no great tid bits to offer! boo.

  4. Hey!! Oh yum! The vegan sugar cookie dough balls sound amazing!! I love these balls! ha!! Great post too on air travel. The holidays usually is a super stressful time but I try not to get all stressy about things. The holidays should be fun and not panicky! If things dont go as planned..well thats life I guess. I honestly try to talk to people at airports. Seems strange but being really nice and positive to those around you seems to set the tone. I think by staying upbeat it helps others stay upbeat as well. Moods are contagious!
    Life has been super crazy lately..past two week have been really busy at work although I think that it will be ramping down soon. But either than that Im just getting ready for the holidays! Have a wonderful evening girl!!

  5. Ahh, so excited to try some of your vegan hot cocoa when i'm home over break!! :) It sounds fabulous.

    And so agreed–we just gotta breathe when times get stressful during the holidays (or life!), to keep us sane. I also think its important to just enjoy the holidays for everything they represent, and not get too overwhelmed by the christmas-shopping, traveling, planning, etc! Tis the season to be MERRY….hahah i'm such a cheese :)

  6. I BOW down to your skills Averie – genius! All your food looks so good…and I'm assuming healthy given your condition haha! – although they look purely decadent. Again – genius!

  7. I think you need to re-name your blog the raw vegan cookie ball blog! So many great ideas! Do you think the magic bullet would be strong enough to make these? I don't have a vita-mix…yet.

    And, holy strong arm yoga pose! You amaze me. My 20 min of yoga a day aren't going to cut it, are they? ;)

  8. ooooooooo vanilla hot cocoa! i would love a cup of that right now!!!

    and do you think your recipe would work with prunes or dried apricots?! i don't have any dates!!! maybe I could experiment!!!!! :D

    haha downward dogs at the airport!! i love it!! i have definitely done some crazy skating/ballet stretches and gotten a few looks!!!

    love the veggies and sp fries!!!!

    and gosh skylar's face!! from the last post and my x-mas card!! TOO TOO CUTE! She is going to be such a beauty!! i think a video post with the two of you is in order soon!!! :D


  9. I have to agree on the "remember to breathe" advice … that's one of my husband's mantras (he's a musician) and it's a great one, BUT I wish I was married to YOU (jk) when it comes to leaving EXTRA time at the airport … ugh.

    I can't wait to try the sugar cookie dough balls! I am wondering if your daily personal menu includes just the things you mention in your blog? I mean, do you eat just the stuff you mention in your blog or are you adding a lot of other high raw vegan items as well? Just curious … give us a typical daily menu if you're so inclined. I have a 3 year old, so I'd be interested in Skylar's vegan menu as well. :)

  10. I love your sugar cookies! Your creativity amazes me! Lucky for me, I don't travel and I don't have to lodge with family. I am not sure I could do it all calmly though. I am such a creature of habit, don't throw me off! :)

  11. Staying calm? Who says I do!!?? :-) Honestly, I do try to hit the yoga studio a bit more if I'm stressing.

    The balls look amazing- all of your desserts look amazing!

    Hope Skylar feels better sooN!

  12. I just found your blog and bookmarked at least 10 recipes in the past 5 minutes of browsing. Your raw vegan treats all look so scrumptious!

  13. I'm amazed at that yoga asana!! Do you recommend that one for the airport? LOL :p

    I'm planning on travelling well stocked with raw snacks too. Today I made a raw trail mix – YUM!

  14. ooh, hope the little peanut is feeling better! another great recipe averie :)

    i try to do the cooking, to help mom out, and try to make it as healthy as i can!

  15. I actually love traveling (the actual flying in the plane thing, not so much), but I sort of look forward to the challenge of getting there in one piece, fed and relatively happy. Usually this involves more than one airport Starbucks stop.

  16. Your sugar cookie balls look delightful BUT so do those sweet tater fries.. yummmy.

    I believe in breathing.. I need to remind myself that. The hub and I are doing the northeast tour over xmas so it will be insane BUT I plant to relax and be happy that I am on vaca and go with the flow. Of course, massive amounts of food will be packed for LONG car rides and unprepared family members! lol

  17. Great post! Thanks for the recipes :) I love sweet potato fries!!! We are escaping to the beach for Christmas, like we did at turkey day so, my advice is make time for yourself! :)

  18. these look amazing!!! i can't wait to make these at home with a decent food processor! (and the gingerbread cookies. and the "hot cocoa". and basically everything else haha)

  19. I don't have a lot of experience with raw desserts, but I'm looking forward to trying your holiday dessert alternatives! I do love desserts and baking, but I'd like to make them more of an occasional treat. My sweet tooth still knocks on a regular basis, though, and I can't wait to try your all natural alternatives that won't make my blood sugar spike so much!

  20. you would whip out a few downward dogs and eagle poses in the airport — thus, why I love you :)

    I have to ask because I am so curious — what is your favorite "balls" recipe to date? I know, impossible to choose – I'm sure!

    keep breathing honey, and I shall try to do the same :) <3

  21. This is just kind of weird now. I kid you not, the girls and I are making vegan sugar cutout cookies RIGHT NOW. It's like you just know what we are going to do and then you raw-ify it. Well played, my friend.

  22. Great recipe Averie! Perfect holiday treat.

    Haha, that would TOTALLY be me busting the Down Dog in the airport… and that would also be my dad dying of embarrassement. ;)


  23. Yum! I bet those would be amazing in cookie dough ice cream or yogurt.
    When I travel, I make sure to pack pack pack. Food, entertainment, sanitizer, don't rely on anywhere for anything.
    Weather has been miserable here but I guess that's ok when you're supposed to be working anyway?

  24. Ok.

    These may be my favorite ones. They look incredible. I am blown away.

    Luckily (unluckily?) my family is all around and I rarely travel. If I do, we drive. Man, I am a

  25. wanted to say hi from FLORIDA!! I am finally in the sun and hot weather! (i know you are year round!) your balls look incred! (TWSS) but seriously amazing, that is what I would want for the holidays in your house for sureee

    the way I stay calm is just to relax and not be so uptight. I am lucky to have such a great caring family and I have learned its important to be patient, esp with my grandparents who are getting older. I need to get in as much of them as I can!!