The Best Hot Chocolate for Braving a Blizzard

Nor’Easter? No problem! Beat the blizzard blues with a cup of the world’s best hot chocolate.

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Is there anything better than a creamy cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter night? We don’t think so. And with buckets of snow about to be dumped from the sky (here on the East Coast, at least), there are few things we’re craving more right now than a steaming mug of marshmellow-covered hot chocolate.

Whether you’re currently curled up under the covers, or preparing for an evening on the couch, we’ve got a hot chocolate recipe that’ll rock your indoor routine during the raging Nor’Easter.

What You’ll Need

3 cups of whole milk

1 cup half-and-half

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Marshmellows

 How You’ll Do It

Pour milk and half-and-half into a saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat.

While the milk and half-and-half are simmering, combine the cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon in a separate pan. Carefully pour the milk and half-and-half mixture, a few teaspoons at a time, into the cocoa blend until it turns into a smooth paste. Transfer the paste back into the original saucepan with the milk and half-and-half and let it simmer for two minutes. Make sure it doesn’t boil. Complete by stirring in vanilla and transferring the hot chocolate to your favorite mug. Top off with mini marshmellows or a dash of whipped cream.

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.

Mad About Matcha: 2015’s Top Tea Trend

Tea trend alert! From industry experts to it-girls, Matcha tea is taking the world of wellness by storm.

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In case you haven’t noticed, there’s much ado about Matcha these days. Even famous fashion blogger Leandra Medine of Manrepeller.com is singing the praises of the age-old powdered beverage. So what’s all the fuss about? Let’s get right to it.

To start, when it comes to health and nutritional value, Matcha is no match for any other green tea on the market. Unlike other teas, drinking Matcha involves consuming the entire tea leaf, rather than just ingesting brewed water. Packed with catechin polyphenols, as well as vitamins A,B-complex, C, E and K, Matcha’s inventory of antioxidant compounds is through the roof. In fact, Matcha’s antioxidant activity is twenty times that of blueberries or pomegranates. So go ahead and add the miracle mixture to your cancer-fighting shopping list.

But it’s not just in the impressive arena of cancer prevention where Matcha’s high antioxidant content excels. Matcha’s amazing antioxidant properties also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stabilize blood sugar levels, lower high blood pressure, enhance the body’s resistance to harmful toxins and even slow the aging process. Oh, and let’s not forget that this divine drink is nearly calorie-free. Boosting your metabolism to help the body burn fat is yet another of Matcha’s infinite fab features.

No longer surprised this tea is trending? We thought so.

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.

Is Farro the New Quinoa?

Find out why farro could dethrone quinoa as the healthiest (and tastiest!) grain of 2015!

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At a recent dinner party we were introduced to farro, the latest nutrient-packed grain to hit health food stores, and we have to say we were quite impressed. The Mediterranean ingredient indigenous to northern Italy stands to dethrone quinoa as the trendiest grain, large in part because of its superior health benefits.

Not only is farro packed with protein, fiber and magnesium, which support digestion and make you feel full, but Vitamins A, B, C, and E also provide a beauty boost for hair, skin and nails. Another reason we favor farro over its quinoa-counterpart is that it’s much easier and faster to cook!

The final reason to switch to farro is that the nutritious grain is highly versatile. Aside from utilizing farro as a salad filler, you can use it to cook rich risottos, flavorful vegetable stir-frys and more.  So without further ado, we present you with the most mouth-watering Pinterest boards filled with farro recipes that are equal parts flavorful and fantastic for your 2015 wellness goals.

1. Mrs. Katie Lugar’s Farro Pinterest Board

2. Faith’s Farro Pinterest Board

3. E Thornton’s Farro Pinterest Board

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

Tomato and Vegetable White Bean Soup

Warm up with a delicious bowl of soothing and savory Tomato and Vegetable White Bean Soup by the Minimalist Baker.

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If there’s one thing we find ourselves reaching for in the bitter winter months, it’s warm, savory and soothing soups. And while it’s hard to resist a creamy bowl of corn chowder, we all know that soups laden with cream and butter do little to support our wellness resolutions.

So when we discovered a hearty and healthy soup recipe that leaves you feeling satisfied every single time, we immediately added the ingredients to our grocery list. The Minimalist Baker’s Tomato and Vegetable White Bean Soup serves up a double dose of delight because it incorporates nutritious ingredients that make you feel full throughout the day while giving your body the vitamins it craves.

Chock-full of kale, carrots and buttery white beans, this recipe may be vegan and gluten-free, but even the pickiest of eaters won’t be able to resist coming back for seconds. Get the recipe and full list of ingredients at minimalistbaker.com.

Photo courtesy of minimalistbaker.com.

Noelle Chehab is the Senior Writer of Spa Week Daily.

15 Healthy Holiday Recipes

Don’t pack on the pounds! These fifteen healthy holiday recipes will satisfy all your cravings this Christmas.

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Christmas is only a couple of days away and we can barely contain our excitement! From putting bows on the final batch of presents to planning our outfit for Christmas Eve, there’s no shortage of activities to look forward to with anticipation. But out of all the season’s fabulous festivities, we still have one clear favorite—that’s right, the food!

For us, the Christmas experience really comes down to what we consume. And although we love a good helping of ham swimming in gravy, we could certainly spare ourselves the caloric intake that accompanies it. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious holiday dishes that don’t come loaded with calories. Don’t believe us? Well, we’ll show you! Check out our fifteen favorite Christmas recipes from around the web:

Herb and Citrus Roast Leg of Lamb via CookingLight.com

Salmon with Mushrooms and Red Pepper Sauce via FitDay.com

Roasted Chicken with Lemons and Thyme via WallStCheatSheet.com

Whole Grain Apple Cranberry Stuffing via FoodNetwork.com

The Best Damn Vegan Mashed Potatoes via MinimalistBaker.com

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Onions via Delish.com

Flash-Roasted Broccoli with Spicy Crumbs via FoodandWine.com

Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions and Red Potatoes with Fresh Herbs via TheRoastedRoot.com

Lemon-Garlic Green Beans via MyRecipes.com

Healthy Waldorf Salad via TheFitHouseWife.com

Sweet Potato-Cauliflower Gratin with Crispy Sage Leaves via WholeLiving.com

White-Chocolate Holiday Bark via Health.com

Vanilla-Pomegranate Parfaits via EatingWell.com

Skinny Frozen Hot Chocolate via SomethingSwanky.com

Chocolate Mint Brownies via 80Twenty.ca

Elle Fure is the Editorial Director of Spa Week Daily.