Lavender Hot Chocolate with Homemade Whipped Cream

 

lavender week

 

On this day last year: White Bean Hummus with Lime, Parsley, and Cilantro (2014)

Lav. Hot Cocoa

DSC_0050

One of my very nerdy culinary dreams is to have a beautifully organized and fully stocked spice rack. I know that sounds silly, but it’s true. Ever since I started cooking I have drooled over the magnetic spice racks, the ones you label yourself, with all the little bottles. I’m truly revealing my inner organized nerd.

One of the spices I have always wanted to have in my stock, is a little jar of dried lavender buds. Lavender is a very affordable herb, but takes real intentionality to get. You are not likely to find it at your regular grocery store, unless you shop at Whole Foods!

I think part of the reason I wanted a little jar of lavender in my reserve, is due to its’ rarity. I had never tasted anything lavender flavored before! And who doesn’t want to incorporate edible flowers into their meal- helloooo?!

Thus, despite the fact that my little rented kitchen does not have an organized spice rack, yet, I have decided to bust the secrecy of this fragrant herb through a series of lavender food posts.

So, hold onto your apron, because this week is bringing you a series of scrumptious, sweet, and fragrant lavender meals!

On your mark, get set, lavender!

DSC_0044

DSC_0049

DSC_0039 2

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate (70% cacao)
  • 3 Tablespoons milk chocolate (I used chocolate chips!)
  • ¼ teaspoon lavender buds

Homemade Whipped Cream

  • ½ cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ Tablespoon granulated white sugar

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine the cold cream, vanilla, and sugar. Beat with a hand mixer on high until stiff peaks form (should take a few minutes!). Refrigerate until read for use.
  2. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and lavender buds over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the milk begins to simmer.
  3. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the milk and lavender buds to steep for five minutes.
  4. Strain the lavender buds from the milk, and return the milk to the saucepan. Stir in the chocolate and continue stirring until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated.
  5. Whisk milk mixture until frothy, about 20 seconds.
  6. Prepare the whipped cream by beating the cold cream, vanilla, and sugar with a hand mixture in a small bowl, until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use, and then add a dollop of whipped cream to each mug, and sprinkle with a few lavender buds! Enjoy!

DSC_0042

DSC_0038 2

Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: a la mode
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious hot chocolate recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe Links found below!)

Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

muffins

DSC_0347

On this day last year: Gluten-Free Cauliflower Crust Pizza

DSC_0342

I am fortunate enough to be food-allergy free. I recognize that to be a true gift, because this day and age, food allergies are becoming more and more the norm. Thankfully, our society has grown increasingly sensitive to such food allergies, and restaurants and grocery stores are offering more and more items.

I too want to be more sensitive to food allergy concerns, and thus thought it was time I post a gluten free muffin recipe! This recipe was so delicious, I can promise it will not be the last gluten free muffin recipe!

This recipe is the ideal gluten free muffin recipe because it is incredibly moist and soft, unlike many firm and dry gluten free recipes out there. I took these muffins to a potluck and no one was able to recognize the absence of flour. I consider that a success!

If you are someone who is looking for gluten free recipes, I hope you will find this site helpful! In addition to the recipe I have dozens of other gluten free recipe options found under the ‘Gluten Free’ heading on the Recipe page. For example, last year’s Gluten- Free Cauliflower Crust Pizza.

Happy Eating and cooking! Come back and see me!

DSC_0341

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate hazelnut butter blend*
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini (squeeze excess water out of the shredded zucchini)
  • ¾ cup gluten free flour mix (you can use a mix of your own choosing, or sub in your favorite gluten free flour alternative. I like oat flour and rice flour, personally)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F, and line two muffin tins with baking cups.
  2. In a medium bowl, using a hand held mixer, beat the butter, eggs, syrup, vanilla, and sea salt together for two minutes.
  3. Add the baking soda and vinegar and beat for an additional 30 seconds. (The vinegar might fizz some!)
  4. Stir in the shredded zucchini and four mix until well blended.
  5. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tins, and sprinkle the tops with a few mini chocolate chips.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes, testing that a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, before removing.

DSC_0345

Notes and Tips!:

  • If you are following a Paleo diet, you can replace the butter blend with almond butter sweetened with 1 Tablespoon of maple syrup and 1-2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder!
  • Adapted from: Whole Lifestyle Nutrition
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious bread recipes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’ (Recipe links found below!):

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats


DSC_0459

DSC_0465

School just started for many. I know this, because as I type, sitting in my neighborhood Starbucks, every freshman and sophomore from the high school down the street are in line ordering their frappuccinos. If I had to take a shot in the dark, I would assume that caffeine is not what most of these kids need right now, but that’s for their parents to enjoy, not I.

Anyhooooow, when you have school 8 hours a day, it is pretty crucial that you have a good healthy breakfast. That’s what we’re always taught, right? However, so many things are easier said than done.

At the beginning of each school year growing up I would often start off strong, taking the time and energy required to whip together an egg breakfast with some fresh fruit. However, by October, it would be goodbye healthy breakfast, hello eggo waffles.

Thus, I introduce to you one very healthy, sustaining, and easy breakfast recipe in honor of the new school year. (You can thank me later). The beauty of these overnight oats is that you simply throw everything together in a jar, let it sit in your refrigerator overnight, and simply roll out of bed to enjoy it in the morning. From one who is not an early riser, there’s pretty much nothing better than that!

Give it a try. You might just revolutionize your morning routine- for the better.

xoxo A Rented Kitchen

DSC_0457

DSC_0463

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup strawberries, sliced
  • ½ cup almond or soy milk
  • ¼ cup Gluten Free Steel Cut Oats
  • ½ ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
or ground flax seeds
  • ½ Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ Tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Optional Toppings: 1 Tablespoon sunflower seed butter, ½ Tablespoon dark chocolate chips, or ½ Tablespoon shredded coconut

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl, and mix until completely blended.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a medium/large mason jar, cover with a lid, and refrigerate overnight.

DSC_0456

Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 1 serving
  • Source: Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth 
  • If you like this recipe, try these other delicious dishes from ‘A Rented Kitchen’! (Recipe links below!):

 

Homemade Chocolate Granola

DSC_0252

DSC_0263

Considering I do a vast majority of my shopping in the hippy isle of the grocery store, I should probably like granola more than I do. However, for some reason, I have always been skeptical about granola. There seems to be to much sugar, too much crunch, it’s too dry, or too nutty- I don’t know! Call me high maintenance.

However, in the face of my discomfort with granola, I recalled one of my favorite ladies, Eleanor Roosevelt, encouraging us to ‘do something that scares you everyday.’ While cooking granola definitely does not scare me, it does push me outside of my comfort zone a little by baking and playing with food combinations I might not naturally choose. However, playing in the kitchen always seems like a success to me, so, there I went!

If you know me at all, or have followed this blog in the past, you know that I have a chocolate section on the recipe page, and thus this recipe doesn’t leap TOO far out of my comfort zone. What can I say, baby steps.

The good news is this recipe single-handedly has changed my perspective on granola. I literally had cravings mid-afternoon for a bowl of this delicious granola with vanilla yogurt. Oh my goodness, it was soooo good. Never again do I want to spend too much money on store bought granola. I’m a convert. Homemade granola for the win!

I have actually already looked up the ingredients for a new granola recipe, which goes to show that trying new things and stepping out of one’s comfort zone, really can be a glorious thing.

I hope you like this recipe as much as I did, and I hope you come back and see me!

Happy baking, and even happier eating 🙂

DSC_0259

DSC_0255

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups quick cooking oats
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Place the oats in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, over high heat, combine the brown sugar, oil, and honey. Bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder.
  4. Pour the cocoa mixture over the oats and stir until evenly coated.
  5. Spread the oats in a 9 x 13 inch pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven, turn the oven off, and stir in the chocolate chips.
  7. Place the pan back in the turned off oven (yes, turned off oven!), and allow to sit for 1- 2 hours. (This additional time can help add crispiness to the granola without over baking it!)
  8. Serve with milk, yogurt, or ice cream, and enjoy!

DSC_0262

DSC_0254

Notes and Tips!:

  • Granola will keep for several days! Store in an airtight container in your pantry!
  • Gluten free? Use gluten free oats! Vegan? Use dairy free chocolate chips!
  • Source: Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious treats from ‘a rented kitchen’! (Recipe links found below the photos):

Cookie Bonus!

Finals bring out the best in people. And by that, I mean not at all. Finals brings out the worst eating habits, a complete lack of discipline with one’s money (in my case, far too many coffees), and snippy attitudes. Woops.

Quite possibly the only positive side to finals, is productive procrastination. You know you’ve been there- when you have something pressing looming over your head, and all the sudden, the lawn you’ve been avoiding for two weeks gets mowed.

Welcome to the classic college mentality.

In my case, productive procrastination often takes the form of cooking or posting on the blog. Tonight however, instead of a normal blog post, I have something very exciting to share with you! (Drum roll please….)

I am about to offer you a chance to win a dozen free, fresh-baked cookies!!! (And who doesn’t love cookies?!)

Ever heard of Red Eye Cookie Co.? They’re a new small business that has opened up in Richmond, bringing late night fresh baked cookies and milk to your door past midnight! That right there peopel, is proof it’s a beautiful world. If you have not heard of Red Eye, no offense, but you’re behind the times, and should fix that immediately.

In order to win these delectable free cookies you must do one simple easy thing: Like ‘a rented kitchen’s facebook page. BOOM. done.

If you have already liked my facebook page, and you still want to be eligible to win a free dozen cookies, go to the facebook page and share the status about Red Eye Cookies. Both methods, liking the page and sharing the status, will be counted, and tomorrow evening one lucky person will be drawn to win one dozen free cookies!

It’s a really good day when free cookies are involved, so don’t miss this opportunity to both win a free snack, as well as to stay updated with what’s happening at A Rented Kitchen! It’s the best of both worlds.

And if all this cookie talk has inspired you to get into the kitchen, I’ve posted a few of my favorite cookie recipes below. I would love to hear what kind of cookie you all would like to see next!

Recipe Links:

In the mean time, go like the Facebook page! And may the odds be ever in your favor.