Smoothies & Shakes, Snacks & Treats

Chocolate & Strawberry Dairy-Free Milkshakes

I don’t follow a dairy-free diet (I love Greek yoghurt, soured cream and cheese too much!), but, you know how much I love everything coconut-related! I was inspired to get my blender out and mess around with different milkshakes when I read an article in the latest Women’s Health magazine, which contained a recipe for a healthy burger, chips and milkshake. The addition of dairy-free ice cream in that milkshake I feel was unnecessary, and I tend to try and avoid using loads of substitute foods, so I concocted these two traditional-flavoured milkshakes, with a healthy twist.

Each of the ingredients images show enough for 1 large milkshake or two small ones, but I actually just made half of this (so 1 small milkshake in each flavour) as I was making both flavours. Regarding the amount of ice you use, well, that all depends on how you like it! The strawberry milkshake is thinner than the chocolate one, because of the addition of banana to the chocolate shake. You can add more ice to thin them out if you want, but I think this is a balanced amount to start with.

I almost feel like I’m copping out here. A recipe with only 4 ingredients? I know. I have been in an ‘Oh my god, what am I going to do with my life?’ kind of crisis. October marks the start of the final year of my PhD, and I never though I would feel so terrified of the real world approaching. I have to get a proper job after this. Oh god. To stop too much comfort food passing my lips, I’ve been sipping on the odd coconut milkshake. Mmmm, creamy coconut! Anyway, Liam and I have really been enjoying these milkshakes recently (and a tropical one – think banana and pineapple!) so I thought I would share it with you.

Although coconut milk contains loads of saturated fat (if you hadn’t heard!), it is the specific type of saturated fat in coconuts that is actually thought to have a beneficial effect. Long chain fatty acids, the bad type of saturated fat, are linked with heart disease. Medium chain fatty acids, for example lauric acid, are known to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial effects (and so help out our immune system). This is the main type of saturated fat in coconuts! Yippee! Lauric acid also increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, which lowers your chances of developing heart disease.

Pass me a straw!

Ingredients

(Each makes 1 large milkshake, or 2 small milkshakes (like the ones pictured)

Chocolate:

1/2 can coconut milk, refrigerated

150g or so of ice, crushed

2 tablespoons organic cocoa powder

1 banana

Optional extras to sweeten it a little: drop of vanilla essence and a squeeze of agave nectar (yum!)

 

Strawberry:

1/2 can coconut milk, refrigerated

150g or so of ice, crushed

100g strawberries

4 pitted dates

 

Directions:

1. If your blender doesn’t handle ice well (like mine), pop it in a bag (the ice, not the blender) and place on a chopping board, cover with a tea towel and give a good bash with a rolling pin. Quite therapeutic.

2. Add crushed ice, coconut milk, and either banana and cocoa powder, or strawberries and dates, to a blender.

3. Blend until smooth. Add agave and/or vanilla essence to the chocolate milkshake if using, to add sweetness.

4. Enjoy!

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Snacks & Treats

Healthiest Chocolate Mousse

I remember Liam’s face when I first told him the main ingredient of the delicious-looking mousse I had made, was avocado. He wasn’t too keen! Its a good job he is open to trying new things, because he did, and he absolutely loved it. Me too, for that matter!
The avocado makes this mousse so creamy and velvety, and the cocoa powder adds a richness and bitterness, that is tamed to perfection by the agave nectar. This ticks boxes left, right and centre for me!

The recipe is from the honestly healthy book (I need to dust some of my other recipe books off, for sure), which has a pretty decent-looking dessert section. I’ve not really made many others though, because a lot of the recipes use loads of unheard of ingredients and different sugar substitutes that I don’t own. This one is so simple though, and it tastes so indulgent too.

The mousse tastes good regardless of whether you eat it straight away or after chilling for a couple of hours. Chilling it it sometimes nice to do as you can really slice through it with your spoon, but when I made this the other day I just plopped it on a plate and scooped it right up, because it is thick enough right out the food processor to hold its shape

I bought 6 avocados this week. Six! I’m into all of that healthy fat business, which avos are rammed full of. The fats in avocados have anti-inflammatory benefits, could help with lowering the risk of heart disease, and also help with the absorption of some fat-soluble nutrients, such as carotenoids (so popping one in a salad is a pretty good idea!). Avocados also make a damn healthy chocolate mousse, apparently.

I love healthy desserts!

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 avocado, skin and stone removed, and flesh chopped

1 tablespoon water

2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons agave nectar

Raspberries, to serve

 

Directions:

1. Melt the coconut oil in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water.

2. Add the melted coconut oil, avocado flesh and water to a food processor (I use my mini one). Whizz it up until very smooth.

3. Add the cocoa powder and agave, and whizz it all again u til really, really smooth!

4. Either put into ramekins and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, or enjoy straight away. Serve with fresh raspberries.

 

Enjoy!

Alice x

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