It took a few years but I finally came to the conclusion that coffee just doesn't work for me. The smell, the habit, the ritual, none of it is worth the feeling it provokes within my body. I often get the jitters, sometimes even the taste and reaction in my mouth resembles a metallic like shot of gasoline. Headaches, anxiety and a dash to the toilet; And yes this took years for me to finally say enough is enough, coffee does not agree with me. There is just something satisfying about the way a cappuccino looks. The noise of the coffee grinder in the morning and the smell of fresh beans wafting through the air literally can pull me out of bed. Anyways, I do not like coffee, those days are over, clearly.
I am a tea drinker now; green tea, herbal teas and sometimes as a treat a good old cuppa earl grey ( the caffeine still doesn't agree). The problem for me is I miss the ritual and the creamy, smooth, comforting latte sensation. One day I walked into Amara Kitchen in Highland Park and decided to try something different, a dandy mocha. The word mocha jumped out at me, I had warm feelings of memories roll down my throat. I asked the sweet young girl behind the counter what the dandy part was all about. To my surprise and utter joy it was the herb dandelion, which meant it was caffeine free. The hot or iced beverage was a dandelion mocha made with homemade almond milk, I jumped right in, my heart and taste buds open to receive this new treat. It was delicious, the next best thing to a decaf latte. I began every morning after drop off here at Amara Kitchen alternating between a hot or iced dandy depending on the weather. I had to curb my new habit of drinking out daily and find a way to create this concoction at home. It was much easier than I thought, now I have a new ritual. I have my warm mocha mid morning and as a yummy treat, especially in this October heat wave I have an iced mocha in the afternoon to satisfy my sweet tooth.
So I asked the beautiful ladies at Amara to share the recipe with you so that you too can try to jump off the coffee habit and test out this coffee alternative. To take it one step further, we teamed up to host a dinner on October 26th at their beautiful restaurant. A lovely vegetarian meal paired with wine and a chance to taste the dandy mocha made with Amara's amazing almond milk for dessert. We will also be giving away gift bags full of all the ingredients to go home and create this drink for yourself. If you are interested in coming to our dinner, please see details at the bottom of this post and click here.
AMARA'S DANDY MOCHA
1 Tbs of Dandy blend
1 tsp of Cocoa
1 tsp of Coconut Sugar
8 oz of water to 2 oz of homemade almond milk
To make hot:
Blend together hot water, milk and add the dandy, coconut sugar and cocoa
To make cold:
Use room temperature filtered water, milk and dandy, coconut sugar and cocoa, blend together and pour over ice.
To make blended:
Do the same as above just add ice to the blender.
Dandy blend is basically a herbal coffee alternative, it is caffeine free and gluten free. It is rich and full bodied, without the bitterness or acidity which coffee tends to have. There is no need for brewing as it dissolves instantly into hot or cold. It is made of water-soluble extracts of roasted roots of dandelion, chicory and beets, and water extracts of barley and rye grains. Nothing else is added. Everything is organic and non-gmo.
Dandelion root beverages are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, it helps purify the blood in pregnancy and during breastfeeding lactation increases. Always consult your physician first, there is a small amount of chicory which in the first trimester there has been some small warnings but problems have been extremely rare.
Dandelion has many health benefits, including 10% of your daily Calcium intake. Also full of Vitamin K & A and rich in fiber. It is high in antioxidants, cleanses the liver, fights skin infections and diabetes.