Tuesday, January 13, 2015

White Hot Chocolate (To Go)

Ready to head to work with a sprinkle of fresh ground nutmeg.
Fluffy, coffee-house drinks may be very tempting on cold days in January. They're quick, easy, but also expensive and to be 100% honest, not as good as homemade. You can make white hot chocolate in my opinion that's even better at home. Dare I suggest--it can be a "skinny" version too. Morning's before work can often be rushed, but slowing down to make a white hot chocolate to go is a nice way to start the morning that you can take with you.

Whisk continuously to prevent the milk from burning onto the bottom of the pan.
On a winter morning putting milk to heat on the stove, combining fresh ground nutmeg and cinnamon  with Guittard white chocolate chips is comforting and worth the few minutes it takes. The chocolate melts almost instantly while you whisk the ingredients into a special white hot chocolate. The magic happens when the milk reaches a low boil--all of the ingredients fall into place.

My humble opinion? The chocolate matters. These are Guittard white chocolate chips.
The spices make this milky hot chocolate a touch cozier. They're not overpowering, and you don't really notice them, but I think it would be noticeable if they were missing. That "something" that's needed. You know? I took a travel mug of this white hot chocolate to work with me yesterday and it made my morning a little warmer. Outside it was dumping buckets of winter rain, that later turned to snow.

White Hot Chocolate for Travel Mug
1 or 2% Milk
1/2 C water
Pinch Nutmeg (fresh grated)
Pinch Cinnamon
1/2 t Vanilla
1/8 C White Chocolate chips
3 Splenda packets

Cool Whip Lite (Optional)
Sprinkle of nutmeg (Optional)

Fill travel mug just under 2/3rd's full of milk. Add water to bring liquid to about an inch below the container top then pour into a small pan. Add spices, vanilla, white chocolate chips and Splenda while whisking continuously, bringing to a low boil to combine. Pour white hot chocolate back into the travel mug and top with Cool Whip Lite and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Recipe inspired but a little different than: How to Make Vanilla Milk and Homemade White Hot Chocolate and reviewing several other white hot chocolate recipes that were similar to these too on Pinterest.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Peanut Butter & Blueberry Smoothie

Long ago and across town, there used to be a crêperie that made crepes to order. One option was peanut butter and blueberries. So very good! This morning I put said ingredients (not the crepes) in the blender and created a smoothie--instantly transported by taste back to the trendy little neighborhood crêperie and good memories of visiting the shop with my family.

After I poured a serving of the Peanut Butter & Blueberry smoothie into a travel mug to take to-go, I poured a taste and it was indeed a splendid concoction for a blueberry and peanut butter fan like myself. If you like this combo, I bet you'll like this too. :) 

Then I poured the last bit for my dachshund. He's a huge smoothie fan and this one was no exception. He's now content and taking his first morning nap.


Peanut Butter & Blueberry Smoothie
1/2 C Blueberries (frozen)
1 Chobani Blueberry yogurt
1 T Blueberry jam
2 T Peanut butter
1 banana
1 C ice
1/3 C milk
1/2 C water
2 packets of Splenda

Put the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth, serve immediately. 

Source: Suzanne Nikolaisen

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pumpkin Muffins (Lowfat)

I've been looking for lighter recipes for go-to favorites and found one that is a lot lighter than Heirloom Pumpkin Walnut Muffins. This recipe for Pumpkin Muffins calls for no butter, milk or eggs. Since it was Halloween I kicked the recipe up with Guittard Vanilla-Milk chips and walnuts. (The white chocolate chips were awesome with pumpkin in the Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes.)

This recipe works with just the pumpkin, the cake mix and the water.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 15 oz can of pureed pumpkin
1 Package spice cake mix
2/3-1 C water
1/2 C Vanilla chips (white chocolate chips)*
1 C Walnuts (chopped)*

Combine ingredients and mix well. I think (I was going for the traditional muffin batter consistency and added a little too much water and they came out a touch under done, so you might go for a little thicker batter--that you'll get with the measurement above.) Spray the muffin tin with butter flavored Pam and bake 20-ish minutes or until a toothpick test comes out clean.

*Optional ingredients.

Original Recipe Source: The Better Baker, Lowfat Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Smoothie: Banana Cupcake

I reached for some yogurt goodness today. Gotta run, but this is perfect for on-the-go. Enjoy!

Smoothie: Banana Cupcake
2 C ice cubes
1 C water
1 & 1/2 banana
1 Yoplait Light: Boston Cream Pie yogurt (2 points)
1 package WW Smoothies mix: Greek Yogurt & Honey (2 points)
1/16th tsp (Tiny, tiny bit, couple of drops) of almond flavoring

Blend ingredients together and serve immediately. (4 WW points, 24 ounces)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Quick Iced Tea (To-Go)

This was the sunrise yesterday. Beautiful!
Homemade iced tea is kind of a grass-roots thing we can do to make a smaller footprint AND drink more water. Win-win! Go you! Go us! :) A "coffee-shop rebellion?" If only they didn't sell those lovely breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and have such nice atmosphere!
On my way to work. In the parking lot.
This method of iced tea is super easy and calls for a reusable travel mug (no paper cup sent to the landfill), tap water and a bag of your favorite tea (which I believe is biodegradable: plant matter+paper). You don't have to drive anywhere to get it (no additional carbon emissions from your car per-serving). Most travel mugs seem to hold about 16-20 ounces of fluid/water.
One of the last roses of summer? Looked like a watercolor painting to me.
When we make our own tea at home we can choose to go herbal or caffeinated and we know what flavor we're getting. (There's no weirdness like the "cutting-edge" flavors at the coffee shops. The last time I ordered an iced tea from a coffee shop I ordered blueberry tea and it had a nasty sage(?) flavor as well. The tea wasn't even drinkable. I dumped it out thinking "What a waste of money! I've got to be able to make this better myself, at home.") Making tea to-go at home is a snap and we get to enjoy the "fruits" of our labor (fruit tea... ha!) Oye! It's too early for puns! Enjoy!

Iced Tea (To-Go)
1 Tea bag (your flavor of choice)
16 oz.+ cold tap water
Sweetner (2-3 packets of Splenda, optional)
1 Travel mug

Get your favorite travel mug and fill it with cold tap water (or drinking water). Add 1 tea bag of your  choice. I tend to use fruit flavors like blueberry or strawberry. Add sweetener if needed and add the lid to the container. Allow to steep approximately 15-30 minutes before drinking. (Just leave the tea bag in. There's less fuss, and with the blueberry and strawberry, it doesn't seem to affect the flavor and the tea bag seems to stay out of the way while drinking.) I make this before I leave for work and by the time I get to the office, it's ready to drink. (Option: Try 2 tea bags with different flavors like white tea and peach and see what you think.)


P.S. About the spotted tea pot...

I created this little pot of tea for The Cupcake Tree a book of silly poems I wrote for my daughter. You can see some of my other art at the Fabled Garden Press blog. I'm in the process laying out the book to publish to the Kindle and the Nook.


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