Heartwarming Drinks For Valentine's Day
Words and recipes by Danielle Wiens, C.N.P.
As we move past the heart of winter, the month of love is here to help us usher in brighter days (at least this is how I’m approaching Valentine’s Day this year). From heart-shaped everything to red roses by the dozen, we all have our own way of celebrating this holiday. This year, I would like to propose that we get back to basics and celebrate Valentine’s Day for what it really is: a chance to treat ourselves as well as the ones we love, namely through food and drink.
In celebration of this, I have created three drink recipes all with specific intentions behind them. So turn your kettle on and get your blender ready; whether you’re single, looking, in a relationship, or just searching for a new recipe, these drinks have something for everyone!
* Note: Majority of the ingredients can be found at your local natural health food store or online at Well.ca.
The All-Day Night Cap
A comforting latte
Intention: To restore a sense of well-being
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Makes: 2 servings
- 500 ml. hot water
- 2 tbsp. cashew butter
- 2 tbsp. cacao powder, finely ground
- 1 tbsp. coconut butter*
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- ¼ tsp. ashwagandha powder
- ⅛ tsp. vanilla bean extract
- Pinch of cardamom powder
- Pinch of Himalayan salt
*Note: coconut butter is different from coconut oil in that the whole plant is used, including the fiber.
- Add ½ cup of hot water to a blender with all other ingredients. Blend until smooth.
- Bring the rest of the water to a boil. Add it to the blender and blend again.
- Serve hot. Go the extra mile and top with freshly grated nutmeg and rose petals.
Ashwagandha is a herb used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Various parts of the plant are harvested, but the root of the plant is most commonly used for its medicinal benefits. This herb falls under the classification of plants known as adaptogens. Simply put, adaptogens help the body cope with, and adapt to stress. While some adaptogens are energizing, others can be calming and even sedating, with ashwagandha falling into the latter two of those three categories.
Ashwagandha has a pungent smell to it and a strong bitter taste. Its name in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, can be roughly translated to “scent of a horse” (sounds appetizing, I know). These properties make ashwagandha good for culinary uses where there are other strong flavours involved. Some form of sweetener is highly suggested, as well.
Citrus Chaga Chai
A stimulating adaptogenic tea
Intention: To give life, spirit or vigor to
Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook Time: 12 hours | Makes: 4 servings
- 1250 ml. filtered water
- 3 pieces of dried chaga (2 cm in diameter)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 4 cloves
- 1 star anise
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Add water, chaga, and spices to a crockpot. Let simmer overnight (12-14 hours).
- Remove from heat and stir in honey and lemon juice.
- Serve hot, with cinnamon sticks for an extra kick.
Chaga is often referred to as “The King of Mushrooms,” and with good reason. For centuries chaga has been used medicinally for its ability to promote longevity and support the immune system. We now know that these benefits are partly due to its superior antioxidant and adaptogenic (see above) properties.
Chaga does not look like your average mushroom. It has an almost wooden appearance, ranging in color from light to dark brown. It has a prominent earthy flavor to it, with more subtle flavor notes ranging from vanilla to cocoa. When using chaga at home, it is best to brew it at low heat for long periods of time. This helps to extract many of its medicinal compounds. Like all mushrooms, consuming chaga with some fat helps our body utilize said compounds.
I like brewing a chaga tea, in a similar method to the above recipe. I use this tea in anything from herbal lattes to smoothies or even soup broths. Chaga’s earthy and bitter flavors also make it a great addition to coffee for when you need an extra boost.
Bounce Back Tonic
A healing juice
Intention: To bring about balance
Prep Time: 20-30 minutes | Makes: 2 servings
- 1 medium grapefruit
- 2 honeycrisp apples
- ½ lemon, with peel
- 2 tbsp. pure cranberry juice
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 500 ml. sparkling water
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- Juice the grapefruit, apples, and lemon half. If you do not have a juicer, add fruits to a blender and blend into a puree (you might need to add a little bit of water for this). Strain the fruit puree through a fine-mesh sieve.
- Wisk in maple syrup and cranberry juice.
- Fill glasses halfway with sparkling water, then top with juice blend.
- Serve chilled with slices of citrus, and sprigs of rosemary.
Cranberries are a recognizable yet often under-appreciated fruit. The tart berry, native to the northern hemisphere, has a number of documented health benefits including antibacterial properties that help aid in anything from the treatment of UTIs to everyday self-care routines (especially in winter).
When purchasing cranberry juice it is important to look for a few things. Unsweetened cranberry juice will offer the most antibacterial benefits. Buying organic is a great choice, as cranberries are grown in bogs. Since bogs are often home to lots of insects and pathogens, cranberries can be a highly sprayed crop when it comes to pesticide and herbicide use. Cranberry juice from concentrate simply means that the juice has been reduced in volume. Often this is done by heating and evaporating some of the liquid, leaving a concentrated juice behind. This method will produce a sweeter cranberry juice, but it can also make it less nutrient-dense as the heat may damage and/or denature some nutrients.
Cranberries tart flavor is complemented by sweetness and is balanced out nicely by fresh herbs. This fruit also works well with bold spicy flavors; think of cinnamon, ginger, and anise.
About Danielle Wiens:
Danielle’s interest in nutrition started at an early age when she first experienced diet-related health issues. This interest became somewhat of a hobby and led her to pursue a formal education in nutrition. She attended the Institute of Holistic Nutrition graduating with First Class Honors in 2017. During her academic years she began working in the field of nutrition within the food industry. She has worked as a product developer, recipe tester, menu planner and nutrition consultant for independent clients, as well as many Toronto based companies, such as Planta and Village Juicery. Danielle continues to work within the food industry, bringing her background in nutrition to all the work she does.