Tag Archives: beverages

Vanilla-Spinach Shamrock Protein Shake

Does anyone else get nostalgic for minty shakes from their childhood around St. Patty’s Day? I hadn’t yet thought about it until I saw this Instagram photo from Food Network last week. And just when I convinced myself that I was going to get ice cream to make the recipe in the photo, I decided that I could probably make a similar tasting shake in a much healthier way. The result was this Vanilla-Spinach Shamrock Protein Shake.

Almond milk, vanilla protein powder, spinach and peppermint extract are all combined in a blender resulting in a healthy, low-calorie, minty shake. The spinach provides a natural bright green color and the vanilla protein powder adds just enough sweetness to keep this shake just under 150 calories. If you prefer a slightly thicker shake, just add some ice. Whether you are watching your weight or not, this is one guilt-free way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day.

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Vanilla-Spinach Shamrock Protein Shake (makes 1 shake)

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I love Silk)
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used Tera’s Whey rBGH Free Bourbon Vanilla Whey Protein)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, to taste
  • 1 cup (or large handful) fresh spinach or baby spinach
  • whipped cream and sprinkles, optional

In the jar of a blender, combine almond milk, protein powder, and peppermint extract. Blend until combined, about 10 seconds. Add spinach to the milk mixture, pressing lightly down into milk if need be. Blend for 30 seconds until spinach is thoroughly combined. (If any spinach is left unblended, use a spoon to push it down into the jar further and blend a few seconds more.) Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired.

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White Chocolate Mocha

Did you do a lot of baking around the holiday and still have partial bags of chocolate chips laying around your cabinets? Well I do. What do you do with those leftover chips? Sure, I could combine them all into a fabulous mega-chip cookie but I’m a bit cookied out after the holiday and need a break from that. I’m not inclined to snack on white chocolate the way I might regular chocolate so when I came across this recipe for White Chocolate Mocha, it seemed like the most perfect way for me to a)use up those chips and b) warm up!

White chocolate and milk are melted together with a little coffee, a tiny bit of rum, and a tinier bit of vanilla. The trivial amount of rum isn’t significant enough for me to consider this an alcoholic beverage and while you could leave it out, it adds yet another layer to this mocha that feels so deep and complex. I’m not usually the biggest of white chocolate fans. I mean, I like it but I’ll generally take any brown chocolate over white any day. But this! Oh my goodness! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved this. It was so boldly flavorful without being too sweet or too rich. The coffee flavor was just subtle enough to make this a mocha without making it overwhelming. This mocha was like getting a warm, sweet, childlike hug before bed. Please, if you have any white chocolate lingering in your cabinets, make this as soon as you can!

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In a large heavy saucepan combine white chocolate and 2/3 cup of the milk. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until chocolate is melted. Add remaining milk.

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Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Stir in coffee, rum, and vanilla.

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Serve in mugs topped with marshmallows.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Gingerbread Cocoa

It really is kind of amazing how different your house can feel once you put up Christmas lights. So when you have the lights on and look out the window to see it is snowing delicately outside, doesn’t your mind instinctively develop a hot chocolate craving? Not to mention that it’s so cold out that sometimes you want to drink something other than coffee to warm you up. This Gingerbread Cocoa is warm cup of festive comfy goodness.

Cocoa, sugar, apple pie spice, and ground ginger are combined with milk and whisked together until warm and smooth. The cocoa and spices melt away and develop a warm, subtle spicy flavor that will make anyone wonder what’s in this milky cup. This recipe called for a gallon of milk which was a little more hot cocoa than I needed so I cut this recipe in half… and in half again. I also used unsweetened vanilla almond milk because I’m crushing on it lately and it’s what I had on hand. The result was a creamy, chocolate-y thing that makes you go hmm. And perfect for a snowy day.

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Whisk together first sugar, cocoa, apple pie spice, and ground ginger in a pot or Dutch oven until blended; gradually whisk in milk.

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Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

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Transfer to a slow cooker, and keep warm on LOW, if desired.

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Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Overall Rating: Like It

Source: Southern Living magazine

Mulled Cider

Are you someone like me who reaches for something warm as soon as you get home from work because you are so cold?  I admit I usually reach for some red wine (warm in it’s own way) but sometimes I’ll have some hot tea which just gets boring after a while. Warm apple cider is just a perfect drink around the holidays.  This non-alcoholic Mulled Cider is a perfect way to warm up on a cold day.

Fresh apple cider is simmered with orange slices, brown sugar, cloves, star anise pods and cinnamon sticks and allowed to steep to get a festive, deep flavored, and slightly spicy mulled cider.  Good for both adults and children alike, this cider will warm you to your core and prepare you for a cold night (or morning) by warming up your insides.  Make this ahead of time to sip on Christmas morning and simply warm up (and add a splash of bourbon if you feel so inclined).

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The ingredients:

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                        In a large saucepan, combine apple cider, orange slices, brown sugar, cloves, star anise pods and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep at least 2 hours.

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Strain out spices before serving.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Family Circle magazine

Witches’ Brew

When I first started this blog, I made a cocktail each week and posted it every Friday.  After all, when you’ve had a long week at work, what a better way to unwind than to sit down with a new tasty beverage? I love trying new drinks but as a result of making a cocktail each week, I ended up with an overstocked liquor cabinet and needed to slow things down.  Well, as the weather gets a little cooler, it’s got me in the mood for trying more new drinks.  With Halloween being this week, there is no better time than now to try this Witches’ Brew.

White beer (like Blue Moon) is jazzed up with pomegranate liquor and pomegranate juice.  That’s it.  Being a lover of white beer, I was curious to try this concoction but at the same time freaked out.  Why ruin a perfectly good beer? But it doesn’t ruin it. Instead, the pomegranate adds a little something-something and mellows out the beer’s flavor which makes this taste more like a cocktail than a beer. Pomegranate has a hearty flavor which you may or may not like.  I personally love the flavor of pomegranate so I think this works well with a white beer that already has citrus tones to it. Now, I have no idea why this is called Witches’ Brew as there really isn’t anything particularly Fall or Halloween-y about it.  But who cares? While I’m cuddled up on the couch shivering from watching Halloween for the millionth time, I’ll be glad I have this to calm my nerves a bit.

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The ingredients:

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Stir together beer, liqueur and juice in a pitcher.

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Serve in a glass over ice.

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Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:  None

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Family Circle magazine

Vanilla-Almond Steamer

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.

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The ingredients:

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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).

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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.

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Garnish with ground cinnamon and cinnamon sticks, if desired.

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Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Non-fat milk

Overall Rating:  Love It

Source:  Cooking Light Magazine

Toasted Marshmallow Milkshake

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)

8 marshmallows

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.

The ingredients:

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.

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Light ice cream
  • Non-fat milk

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Food Network Magazine

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