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the best vegan hot chocolate, with Torani!

easy vegan hot chocolate recipe for the holidays with peppermint


Now I know a lot of people who use packets of “hot chocolate”, but once you you see how easy it is to make it from scratch you’ll ditch the packets for good, I promise!

The best taste comes from the best ingredients, which only you can control when you make it yourself. If you have a packet of hot chocolate at home, take a look at the ingredients and please post them in the comments below.
Now take a look at what we use: non gmo vegan milk, fair trade cocoa powder, organic vanilla and turbinado sugar.

I love when a product available in the mainstream world is vegan. Torani syrups actually have a LOT of vegan flavors like  Butterschotch, French Vanilla, Peppermint and Gingerbread but you can use their allergen chart to determine exactly which flavors are vegan. The flavors are so varied and delicious, I can’t wait to try more recipes with them for the spring and summer too.
Don’t forget, Torani Syrups are available at your local coffee shops and grocery stores across the country making it super easy to buy and use. You may flavor each cup of cocoa individually so that everyone can have a different kind. Super fun for the kids, and me!

Ingredients: 4 servings

4 cups vegan milk – we use soy or coconut
1/4 cup fair trade cocoa powder
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon organic vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon Torani Suryp per serving, we used Peppermint.


warm milk in saucepan over low heat, gradually whisk in remaining ingredients. simmer 2 minutes, serve immediately.







About Torani:
Since 1925, 3rd generation family-owned Torani has been crafting great tasting flavored syrups that coffeehouses use to make their flavored drinks taste so delicious. With over 120 flavors in Regular and Sugar Free varieties, Torani flavored syrups are perfect for flavored lattes, mochas, coffees, cocoas, Italian sodas, teas, lemonades, cocktails and smoothies. Coffeehouse professionals choose Torani flavors because they are expertly crafted and made with the highest quality ingredients, like natural flavors and pure cane sugar. The Sugar Free flavors have no calories and are sweetened with Splenda. Now, Torani flavored syrups are widely available at retail so you can easily create authentic coffeehouse quality drinks at home.

This is a sponsored post by Torani and SheSpeaks, the thought are completely mine.  

April 15, 2013 - 3:21 pm

misskitty914 - Holy Grail of Cocoa:  i adore cocoa so much that i drink it year round, cold in the summer.  so when i became vegan i was distraught that every alternative milk i tried tasted terrible with cocoa.  think of it like painting walls with red paint – it seems like a dark color but in fact, it’s the sheerest and if you don’t use dark primer, it will never look right.  likewise, chocolate seems like an intense flavor but it is easily overwhelmed by anything other than cow’s milk, often leaving behind an aftertaste of rope (despite so many recommendations of adding cinnamon/cayenne) or too watery.

finally, in desperation, i tried the very last alternative milk on the market, Pacific Brand’s non-dairy OAT milk.  cocoa nirvana at last:  it’s creamy enough, doesn’t compete with the taste of cocoa and leaves no aftertaste.  i sweeten mine with a PINCH of organic stevia (man, that stuff is potent!).  NOW try all those vegan cocoa/hot chocolate recipes!

if you just adore soy milk or some other variety, add all the cocoa to it that you want.  but if what you want is the pure, unadulterated cocoa/hot chocolate, Oat Milk is your ticket to enjoying a true cup of cocoa sans dairy.

southwestern black bean soup


vegan tomato black bean soup with corn

Wow- things have been crazy busy. So busy that I haven’t had time to cook anything which makes me quite cranky, well enough is enough. I had to create something and fast, so a southwestern black bean soup with corn was born. As you may have noticed, I like to keep my food simple and full of fresh flavors. The key here is to use fresh limes and cilantro for a soup that is way beyond what the canned versions give you.

This was a really surprise hit last night. I expected my husband and I to like it, but both girls loved it too! The great thing about soups is that if you simply add a salad or sandwich, you have a complete meal. It’s also easy and keeps well so everyone can eat when they want to. We needed this convenience with homework, soccer practice and kid showers. I was able to throw everything into the pan and eat when we all made it to the table, perfect for a busy hungry family.

Do you have a favorite kind of soup?


1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic- minced
1 14 ounce can organic diced tomatoes
2 14 ounce cans organic black beans- rinsed and drained
2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup cilantro – roughly chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup frozen corn
1 teaspoon chili powder          * reduce or omit if serving to children
salt – to taste
pepper – to taste

optional- tofutti sour supreme, lime wedges, additional cilantro, hot sauce


in large pan, heat olive oil over medium low heat. add garlic and cook for 2 minutes, add remaining ingredients and simmer 20-30 minutes.

Elf on the Shelf…

thinking I may just update this post with some of our elf”s escapades this year~


Rosie decides to play with the silver nutcracker chic… elf on the shelf Rosie meets the nutcracker

if you have seen Teagan’s cars before, they are always around and Rosie decided to play while we slept

elf on the shelf ideas, with hot wheels cars as a tree

she initially showed up without the scarf we made her last year and Ella was very sad. luckily. Rosie found it and showed up wearing it again with a few new snowflakes stick to it.

So what has your elf been up to this year?

Happy Holidays ~ enter to win a kitchenaid mixer and keurig single-cup brewer!

elf on the shelf image and ideas


Like so many of you, I am slammed in the middle of Holiday fun and chaos. It’s fun. It’s chaotic. It’s stressful. did I mention fun?
Part of that fun for us is our elf on the shelf, Rosie. This is only our second year with her and it has been great for the girls, but much more so for me- ha ha.
Our sweet Rosie doesn’t cause too much trouble, she’s kind of a well behaved elf. Last year my daughter and I made her a pink scarf which she arrived without this year(oops), and Ella asked if maybe she had lost it 🙁 Luckily, Rosie showed up with it on again yesterday and had even added a few snowflakes! stay tuned as I continue to update with more Elf ideas and even a no sew DIY elf skirt later this week. 

Do you have an elf on the shelf? What has your favorite elf antic been?


oh yeah, and now fpr the BIG giveaway…

Mixing it up with a HUGE Holiday #giveaway  #kitchenAid Come and enter today!!!!

Now, use Rafflecopter below to enter to win one of these awesome appliances!
With that, I’m so thrilled to announce an awesome giveaway that a few other bloggers and I are bringing to our readers! We are giving away one KitchenAid Artisan Mixer (winner will be able to choose the color of their choice) and one Keurig Platinum Single-Cup Brewer! Merry Christmas to you, right?
Here’s how to enter: Simply follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. You’ll have two mandatory entries which will unlock two more optional entries which will gain you lots of entries into this giveaway valued at over $600! What are you waiting for? Enter now!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Two winners will be chosen by Rafflecopter (powered by The first prize winner will have the option of choosing between a KitchenAid Artisan Mixer – winner’s choice of color – (MSRP $429.95) or a Keurig Platinum Single-Cup Brewer (MSRP $179.95). The second prize winner will be awarded the item that was not chosen by the first prize winner.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to the owner of this Facebook page and not to Facebook.

This promotion is powered by Rafflecopter. Metric Feat LLC (“Rafflecopter”) does not sponsor, administer, or endorse this promotion. Participants must read and agree to Rafflecopter’s Privacy Policy before entering and participating in this promotion.

This is a non-sponsored post.

November 26, 2012 - 10:56 am

Meagan Richardson - I would be absolutely delighted if the KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer was under my tree this year. 🙂

November 26, 2012 - 11:46 am

Amanda - I know, good luck Meagan!

November 26, 2012 - 11:55 am

nik - The KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer would make me spinningly happy! Cheers!

November 26, 2012 - 12:11 pm

Amber Cheke - What wonderful Christmas gifts!

November 26, 2012 - 1:22 pm

Zo - A standmixer would make my day!

November 26, 2012 - 1:51 pm

Tyler - That would be glorious.

November 26, 2012 - 3:21 pm

Audrey - The mixer

November 26, 2012 - 6:46 pm

Shelby - A mixer would be such a wonderful gift!

November 28, 2012 - 4:55 pm

Eric - It would be really great and wonderful to win that mixer. My mo and I would have so much baking and cooking fun! I would love it! 😀 I’m excited!

Oh, and my grandmother has an elf on the shelf that her children, my mother and her brother, are creeped out by.

November 30, 2012 - 10:10 am

Robin Zarate - I would like to win the artisan mixer!
I have one and would love to be able to give it to my son!

November 30, 2012 - 10:29 am

jocelyn - i do love fun holiday giveaways!

adopt an Ubooly in time for the Holidays.



I know, I know, there are hundreds of apps for kids out there, but nothing quite like this.

 is not only adorable, he continually interacts with your child. Teagan was instantly smitten with the cute face and voice and wanted to take care of him. I thought my older daughter (9 years old) would be bored with it, but she loved it too. They both sang songs with Ubooly and laughed at his jokes for hours.
The Ubooly app is installed on your phone and he wakes up when placed inside the soft orange body. He then asks your child what they want to do. Would you like to  play a game, hear a joke or a story?  The games were very cute and had Teagan up jumping and laughing so that even though she was playing a game, she was up and actively moving. There were pretend play games my girls were able to play together too, like pretending to be in the arctic. I loved that my iPhone was protected in the nicely padded body of Ubooly so that while she jumped, I really didn’t have to worry about my phone getting dropped.
He’s really soft and cuddly too, something other apps can’t possibly offer.  It’s also small enough to take out to dinner and keep the kids entertained while you wait to eat, something we seem to need quite a bit.
So the next time you are tempted to download that app your kids want and will be bored with in minutes, remember that Ubooly will not only keep your kids intertained but will also protect your iPhone.  And I gotta say, the price is great! I would expect to have paid a lot more for something of this quality that also includes free monthly updates, but at $29 its a really great deal .
Not only that, but now you get a chance to win one too- yippee!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Moms are some of the most savvy mobile users and so are their kids. Ubooly is a toy designed for this new high-tech generation. While learning and sharing new content every week, Ubooly is the only toy that grows with your child. It encourages listening skills, and a break from high-energy / high-stimulation play. Through stories & interactive games, Ubooly’s curiosity is sure to awaken the creativity within your child’s imagination.

Ubooly is the hot toy of the season, it’s new to the scene and is on track to sell out this winter! Free updates through Wi-Fi creates ongoing entertainment for kids.

Click here to adopt your own Ubooly and get FREE SHIPPING now!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Ubooly. The opinions and text are all mine.

November 28, 2012 - 11:28 am

the Lil'Devil Mama - This is very cool and not at all hard on the pocket book! I hope I win one for my Monkey man.

November 28, 2012 - 2:49 pm

Trina - He is totally cute! Would love to see how baby’s react to it!

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