Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Almond Shake

Ladies and gents, I’m sure you won’t be surprised by this, but I have a new obsession.

It began one fateful day last month. My beautiful friend, Heather told me I should check out an amazing organic restaurant called Juicy Ladies in The Valley. A second recommendation from my friend Jonathan let me know that they carried vegan desserts! Sweet!

Finding myself having a big space in my calendar, I drove over the canyon and went to this supposedly fabulous place.

In all honestly, I really only cared to get a taste of their delicious vegan desserts. To my disappointment, when I asked for them, the pleasant girl behind the counter informed me that desserts were made by a local vegan pastry chef, and she only delivered them to Juicy Ladies on Mondays. It was Thursday.


Trying to hide my disappointment (I had just driven 30 minutes for these things) and not wanting the girl to feel bad, I quickly asked about their smoothies.

Honestly, I didn’t really want one. And they were expensive! But I had driven so far - I needed to get something!

After some discussion, she told me to try the Chocolate Almond Shake. Chocolate? Sure, I could do that. But dates? Yuk! Cocoa nibs? Did that mean it would be bitter?

I reluctantly (and with an embarrassingly closed mind, I might add) handed over my $7.25. After 3 minutes, I got my shake. I took my first sip, and I swear an orchestra popped out of the horizon and played a beautiful melody! It was so delicious! Who knew dates and cocoa nibs could rock my world like that?

It looks me about 5 minutes to suck every last drop out of that cup, and I was itching for more.

I dreamed of this shake for the next 7 days until I drove myself back over the canyon to get another one. This time, I asked what was in it. Then I watched them make it.

Guess what.

I went straight to the store, got all the ingredients, and proceeded to make myself that very same shake for 7 days in a row. It is that good! 

I had to lay off them this week not because I was getting sick of the taste, but because I was starting to crave them and nothing else, and at 500+ calories a pop, I should have been using it as a meal replacement rather than as dessert. Ooops. Sorry hips! 

So, I now give you the recipe with these words of caution: use it wisely!

Juicy Ladies Chocolate Almond Shake

4 dates, chopped
1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
1 teaspoon vanilla powder
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
2 tablespoons raw almond butter (I’m sure you can sure regular almond butter too)
½-1 cup coconut water (this will depend on how thick you want it, and how good your blender is)
2 cups ice

Place all the ingredients in a blender. If you have a vitamix, this is your best bet. Blend until smooth. If it’s not blending, add more coconut water, and shake the blender around. Every so often, you might want to open the lid, take the plug out of the wall, and move everything round with a spoon. Plug it back in and keep mixing! Make sure you blend it thoroughly - I didn’t blend it long enough the first time and there were chunks of dates in my sips - not pleasant!

Thank you to Juicy Ladies for being so amazing and wonderful and changing my culinary world!! Please do check them out if you are in L.A http://www.juicyladies.com/index.htm.

Have a beautiful night, everyone!


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