February 14, 2013
I went to a friend’s for dinner last night and left around 9:40 so I could make it home in time to catch the latest episode of Chicago Fire only to find snow on my car so thick and heavy, my windshield wipers couldn’t cut through it. So there I was without a winter coat or gloves on in a full snowstorm brushing snow off my car just to drive to my house less than a mile away. I think the weather people talked more about Winter Storm Nemo last week than about this little weather event which clearly created more snow. Anyway, snows like this which leave me wet and cold just make me want to curl up with something warm. And since I don’t want to drink anything caffeinated before bed, this Vanilla-Almond Steamer is a perfectly cozy warm drink on an unexpectedly snowy night.
Milk and sugar are warmed on the stove and flavored with cinnamon sticks, vanilla and almond extracts. If I could imagine what a warmed up vanilla milkshake might taste like, I think this would be it. Use whatever milk you fancy (I used skim and loved it) because I really don’t think it will matter. The cinnamon, vanilla and almond create a soothing backdrop for this hug in a cup. If you need something one of these cold nights but have had enough tea and just can’t deal with decaf, consider this. It’s a perfect before-bedtime drink that can even be kicked up with some bourbon or rum if you so choose.
Combine the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Add cinnamon sticks to milk mixture; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally (do not boil).
Remove from heat; let stand 20 minutes. Stir in extracts. Place pan over medium-high heat; cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks.
Garnish with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, if desired.
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Cooking Light Magazine
August 31, 2012
I had dinner with a friend last night and as I was driving home, under an almost-blue moon (which is tonight, by the way), with the windows down and the sunroof open, I felt a change in the air. It was the change that comes in the summer when evenings get slightly cooler and temperatures dip into the 60s for the first time. And even though it’s supposed to get a little warmer here for the weekend than it’s been the last couple of beautiful days, I’m eagerly waiting for those nights when I can turn off the air conditioning and sleep with the windows open. Which should be any day now. I hope. As I wait, I’ll just savor these remaining warm summer days and keep sipping on something cold and refreshing like this Strawberry-Mango Smoothie.
Fresh strawberries, frozen mangoes, yogurt and mango nectar are blended until creamy, smooth, sweet and tangy. I prefer to use frozen fruit in my smoothies as opposed to ice because I like the texture of the frozen fruit but obviously you can use fresh fruit and ice instead. Also, if you can’t find mango nectar (which I find in the international foods section of my grocery store), simply substitute orange juice or apple juice. Really, just throw in whatever you want. Smoothies are a sweet ending or a good accompaniment to a weekend brunch, as a way to get a couple servings of fruit in you, or just to cool off on a hot day. Whatever your day brings you, I hope you have fun today or tonight and do something you wouldn’t normally do, something off the cuff and unexpected. That way when you tell your kids/friends your story, you can officially say, “I did it once in a blue moon.”
Have a great weekend everyone!
Strawberry-Mango Smoothies (makes 2 smoothies)
- 1 cup strawberries, quartered
- 1 cup frozen mangoes
- 1/2 cup mango nectar or fruit juice
- 1 6-ounce carton fat-free strawberry yogurt
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for one minute until smooth. Garnish with fresh strawberries or mango slices.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for one minute until smooth.
Garnish with fresh strawberries or mangoes.
July 5, 2012
When I was coming back from a trip to Chicago a few weeks ago, I picked up Food Network Magazine in the airport and was very excited to find a little booklet tucked inside of 50 different kinds of milkshakes. Umm…whaaaaaa? Yes, please and thank you! So I settled in my airplane seat and read every single word of every single milkshake trying to decide which one I wanted to try first. Milkshakes seem so decadent that they only time I might allow myself the guilty pleasure is once in year in March when McDonald’s offers the Shamrock Shake. With ice cream being on sale now in grocery stores, a milkshake seemed like a perfect dessert to make when it’s oh-so hot outside. This Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake did not disappoint!
Marshmallows are toasted until golden brown (or jet black if you prefer) in the broiler and blended with vanilla ice cream and milk. Using light ice cream or frozen yogurt and reduced-fat or non-fat milk will help keep calories at bay so you won’t have to feel so guilty while you slurp this creamy dessert. I can’t really explain to you just how good this milkshake is. I just can’t. There are no words. All I can say is…try it. I can’t think of a better way to cool off from the summer heat than an ice cold milkshake like this one.
Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake (makes 1 large or 2 small milkshakes)
(From Food Network Magazine)
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Broil marshmallows on foil, turning, until browned. Blend 1 pint vanilla ice cream, milk, vanilla, pinch of salt and 6 toasted marshmallows. Top with remaining marshmallows.
Broil 8 marshmallows until desired brownness on one side and carefully flip over to brown the other side. (I broiled mine 1 1/2 minutes on the first side and 45-50 seconds on the opposite side.)
Blend vanilla ice cream, milk, vanilla extract and 6 toasted marshmallows in a blender until smooth.
Top with remaining 2 toasted marshmallows.
- Light ice cream
- Non-fat milk
Overall Rating: Love It
Source: Food Network Magazine