Dairy-Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices

Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser

My husband and I just finished a Whole30, and I’m trying to ease into other foods gradually. While I don’t have any food allergies or severe sensitivities, I know that diving right into chocolate cake or pizza after having avoided grains and dairy for a month probably wouldn’t be the best decision! (I have to admit it’s tempting, though.)

That being said, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner—which means I at least need a little chocolate. We don’t typically make a big deal about Valentine’s Day, mostly because for the last four years we’ve been too tired or too busy with the kiddos. But, we do enjoy a good date night in at home, a bottle of wine that’s a bit better than what we’d normally buy, and something special for dessert.

This pudding is perfect for just that! It only requires a few ingredients, it’s dairy-free and vegan, and you can make it in advance. (I actually suggest making it in advance since it has to firm up in the fridge and the orange slices have to dry out.) The dark chocolate pairs perfectly with a hint of orange, and the candied orange slices add a fun, creative twist.

I will tell you, too, that this pudding is rich. It may look at first like the recipe doesn’t make very much, but a little goes a long way. You can also add a bit more maple syrup for a slightly sweeter version. (I love really dark, bittersweet chocolate.)

What do you do for Valentine’s Day? Or Galentine’s Day? Do you head out on the town or have a quiet evening in? Let me know in the comments below! I’m always looking for new ideas!

Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser
Dairy Free (and Vegan!) Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices | Sarah J. Hauser

Dairy-Free Chocolate Pudding with Candied Orange Slices
Yields 2-3 servings*
Adapted from Paleo Running Momma

⅓ cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons arrowroot powder
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup coconut cream (the hardened cream from a can of coconut milk)*
3-4 Tablespoons maple syrup (plus more to taste)
1 Tablespoon Cointreau (optional)
Coconut whipped cream
Zest of 1 orange
Candied orange slices (see note below)

In a small bowl, sift together the cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, and salt. (Sifting helps prevent lumps in the pudding.)

In a small saucepan, add the coconut cream and maple syrup. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking frequently, until the coconut cream melts. LIttle by little, add in the dry ingredients, whisking after each addition until smooth. Add in the Cointreau if using (it’s optional but adds the perfect bit of citrus flavor to the pudding. Skip this, though, if adults avoiding alcohol or kids will be eating the pudding!) Add additional maple syrup if you want a sweeter pudding.

Whisk the pudding constantly for 3-5 minutes until thickened. Turn the heat off and transfer the pudding to containers for serving. (Ramekins, small mason jars, and other types of dishes work great for this.) Refrigerate until cold and firm, at least a couple hours. To avoid a “skin” at the top of the pudding, cover the top in plastic wrap so that the plastic lays directly on top of the pudding.

Top with coconut whipped cream, orange zest, and a candied orange slice (see below).

*This recipe is very rich, so a little goes a long way!

**Put a couple cans of full fat coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours. The cream will separate and hardened at the top of the can, so you can easily scoop it off with a spoon.

Candied Orange Slices

For the candied orange slices, I followed this recipe from Taste of Home, but I cut the recipe in half. After the slices dried overnight, I dipped them in granulated sugar.

Make sure to keep the orange simple syrup that’s leftover. It’s perfect for cocktails and other fun recipes!


Citrus-Brandy Cocktail

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Happy Friday, Friends! 

I feel like I’ve been living in a cave until the last few days. We’ve been potty training the twins, which has been going mostly well…not counting the flooded bathroom due to an unnamed toddler stuffing it with toilet paper, the baby who threw up on Day 2, and the time spent cleaning pee off a friend’s floor (including the carpet) last night. But other than that, it’s going great! (You can’t see the facepalm happening right now.)

In all seriousness, though, we've turned a corner despite a few missteps, and I am thankful for that. We had twins before having our third baby, so we’ve never had only one kid in diapers until now. I think that’s reason to celebrate!

I mixed this Citrus-Brandy Cocktail up a few weeks ago as I experimented with drink ideas. The first time I made it, I used blood oranges since they were in season, but you can use any kind of orange (just note the color will be different than these images). I also threw a few sprigs of tarragon in the cocktail shaker. I love the combination of fruit and herbs, but you can leave that out or try other options like thyme or rosemary.

It’s a drink that’s refreshing, rich, and slightly sweet with a bit of tart – and the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

So cheers to the Friday, cheers to potty training, and cheers to whatever milestones you have to celebrate, from the big ones like anniversaries and birthdays, to the small ones you never realized would feel so monumental.

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Citrus-Brandy Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Citrus-Brandy Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

1½ ounces brandy
¾ ounce Cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice*
½ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
Fresh herbs, such as tarragon (optional)
Ice

Add the brandy, Cointreau, orange juice, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add a few sprigs of torn herbs, such as tarragon, to the shaker if desired.

Shake vigorously for 15 seconds, and then strain into a cold cocktail glass. Serve and enjoy!

*Note: I used blood oranges for the drinks in these images to get the pink color, but you can use Cara Cara, or another favorite kind of orange!


Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail [and Friday night mercies]

Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

I don't do well with little inconveniences. I know life includes hard seasons, but sometimes I forget it also includes a lot of annoying moments. I do not suffer these well. I too quickly lose my patience, I say unkind words, and my anxious mind races to the worst-case scenario in even the tamest problems. 

Monday morning started with ornery kiddos, and that usually means I'm more than a bit ornery myself. Then while I cracked eggs in a pan and poured cups of milk for the twins, I heard rushing water from the bathroom upstairs. Not normal rushing water, like the bathtub starting or the toilet flushing. No. I walked upstairs to find my husband soaking wet and water shooting across the bathroom as if it came out of a fire hose. 

I probably said something harsh (or at least looked like I was about to), and then I turned around, walked out of the room, and tried to pretend our bathroom wasn't flooding at 7am on a Monday morning. 

The chaos eventually subsided, my husband took the twins to Home Depot to buy a part to fix the shower, and I sat down to catch my breath. My impatience and weariness got the best of me that morning, and I needed a redo. I wanted to rewind those couple hours not to change the circumstances, but to change my attitude. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
— Lamentations 3:22-23

I can't say my temper and my heart instantly turned calm and gracious (although the flowers my husband brought home helped). But I can tell you that once again, I was reminded His mercies are new every morning. I was reminded of that same truth later in the week as my kids' fighting wore me out, when the baby wouldn't nap, and after anxiety got the best of me.

It's Friday. And thankfully, His mercies are new on Friday nights as much as they are on Monday mornings. So I'm breathing a sigh of relief and soaking in His goodness. Oh, how often I fail to suffer the little things well.

But time and time again, He shows up faithful. 

Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser
Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail - Sarah J. Hauser

Grapefruit, Elderflower + Tequila Cocktail
Yields 1 drink

3 ounces grapefruit juice
1 ½ ounces elderflower liqueur
1 ½ ounces silver tequila
1 egg white or 1 ounce aquafaba* 
Pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
Ice

Add all ingredients except the cayenne to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds, then strain into a cold glass. Top with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Serve and enjoy! 

*When shaken up with a cocktail, egg whites add a creamy, frothy texture to a drink. Because you’re consuming raw eggs, make sure they’re high quality. If you prefer a vegan option, use aquafaba, which is the liquid left after soaking legumes. The next time you use a can of chickpeas, reserve the liquid from the can and shake up a cocktail! (Make sure there are no other added ingredients like salt or other seasonings.) For more about aquafaba, check out this article from Bon Appétit


Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Well, shortly following my announcement over a week ago on Instagram that "I was back!", the kiddos and I went down for the count for another week. After a nasty stomach flu (which I won't go into too much detail about), a trip to urgent care, more bananas, applesauce, and toast than I care to ever see again for a while, and being quarantined for what felt like months, we are back to normal - which means I'm also craving something different than Pedialyte or water. 

But pregnancy with Baby #3 means it's a season of mocktails for me - which, to be honest, hasn't been all that bad. I've craved sparkling cider the last couple weeks, and there's something special about making a fun drink in a fancy glass...even if it lacks your favorite spirit. 

This mocktail is a combination of sparkling cider, pomegranate juice, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I prefer it on the tart side, but if you like your drinks sweeter, add a splash more cider. It's garnished with a sprig of rosemary, but to get more herb flavor, try muddling a few rosemary leaves in the cocktail shaker before adding the pomegranate and lemon juices. (And of course, if you're not avoiding alcohol feel free to add a shot or two of vodka.)

Cheers!

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail

Pomegranate, Cider + Lemon Mocktail
Yields 1 drink

1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce 100% pomegranate juice
3-5 ounces sparkling apple cider
Sprig of fresh rosemary
Ice

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the lemon and pomegranate juices. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. 

Strain into a cocktail glass and top with sparkling cider to taste. Garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary. 

Notes: Want more rosemary flavor? Muddle a few fresh rosemary leaves in the cocktail shaker before adding the lemon and pomegranate juices. 

To serve a crowd, just add 1 part lemon juice, 1 part pomegranate juice, and 3-5 parts sparkling cider to a pitcher with ice. Stir gently, and serve with rosemary sprigs.