I’m a big believer in the rewards system. I set up rewards for everything — a completed day of work, a good night’s rest, taking time to notice something beautiful rather than something stressful, and the list goes on and on. We’re much more likely to do something hard if we’re promised something blissful, indulgent, and all-around wonderful afterward.
Now, we probably can’t have a chocolate cake every day. I mean, I may want a chocolate cake every day, but it’s certainly not going to help with my long-term bliss or health, even though it will probably be pretty joyful right in that moment.
So I settle instead for treats that are fun and good for me. So let’s get cooking!
Hot Chocolate, Herb Style
I'm a hot chocolate junkie. I admit it. I love them. And the way I make it? No sugar and very, very few calories (depending on what milk you use, of course). The absolute perfect indulgence. And in summer? Just make it cold and blend it up — you can even freeze this recipe in those little Popsicle maker thingies (or, in my house, paper cups with chopsticks as handles). Fabulous.
- milk (I like unsweetened almond milk, personally)
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- stevia (for the calorie-free version, but you can use maple syrup, sucanant, or honey, if you’d like)
- herbs of choice: cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, fennel, licorice, and pumpkin or apple-pie spice are all good options.
Heat your milk in a saucepan on medium-low heat.
Add a Tbsp of cocoa powder per cup (or to taste). Add sweetener and herbs to taste (for herbs, a half tsp. per cup is a good start). Add a dash of vanilla.
Blend. Drink. Bliss.
Rosy Bedtime Treat
So, this is really just a doctored hot chocolate, without the chocolate, making it perfect for bedtime.
- milk of choice
- Rose petals (herbal quality)
- sweetener of choice.
Heat your milk gently on the stove (if you’re using real milk, be sure not to boil it).
Add a tsp. of dried rose petals per cup of milk.
Once the milk starts steaming, turn off the heat, cover, and steep ten minutes.
Strain out the petals and return the milk to the saucepan.
Heat gently. Add a dash of vanilla, sweetener to taste, and blend. I like to use a immersion blender — it gets it all fun and foamy.
Pour into a preheated mug. Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon.
Sip and sleep well.
Infused honeys are just a fabulous, fabulous invention. I’m sure they were first derived to preserve the herbal harvest, as well as present a good (and palatable) delivery method for all kind of herbal goodness. However, now there are just endless ways to use these sweet infusions, from baked treats to tea to ice creams to cough medicines.
Fill a sterilized jar (size and quantity are your choice; boil for 10 minutes and then let air dry, or run them through your dishwasher on the hottest setting) with honey about 4/5 full. I prefer raw, organic, and local honey, but the choice is yours.
I use 2 Tbsp of dried flowers per cup, and I like my honey to be pretty herby, so use your own judgment and taste.
Stir, in order to get your herbs all saturated and immersed, then set the jar in a sunny windowsill for one to two weeks.
Look at the beauty of the jar each day. I mean, seriously — the sun shining through gorgeous, golden honey with little flowers suspended in it? Incredible.
After one week, taste the honey. If the flavor is strong enough, strain the herbs and toss them out (or compost them, of course!). If it’s not strong enough for you, I’d add another heaping Tbsp. of chamomile and let the honey steep for another week.
Bottom line? Be creative with your rewards. This is only a very limited list of things that make me happy. Maybe begin a list of things as they occur to you. Choose one (or more!) each day. Reward yourself for this journey; sometimes it helps to have a little encouragement. Be well and celebrate. Everything.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com