Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

A while back I just couldn’t stop myself from buying some blueberries at the store.  They just looked so good!  I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but I knew I had to get them.  One of the ways I decided to use them was in a smoothie.  I love blueberries in smoothies because I never find the taste overwhelming.  For this smoothie you will need:

  • Blueberries
  • Oats
  • Yogurt
  • Milk
  • Banana

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

Blueberry Muffin Smoothie

Review

As usual, I love smoothies, so you’d be hard pressed to find me saying it wasn’t good and I would never make it again.  This one is no exception.  The banana helped with the grittiness that I sometimes get when using oats in smoothies, and the flavors were well balanced.  I won’t say that it reminded me too much of a blueberry muffin, but that’s okay because I can see how the ingredient list would lead to that name.  Most of the items in this smoothie can be found in my kitchen on a regular basis, so this is an easy go-to for me.  I think you could substitute just about any fruit for the blueberries and still have a winner.

Advertisements

Lavender Lemonade

I love lavender.  It’s such a fun, subtle flavor.  So the other day when I read for a recipe that called for lavender simple syrup, my life was changed.  How had I never thought of this?  Off to the kitchen!

Today I’m going to share how to make lavender simple syrup and how to mix the syrup with lemonade to get a delightful summer drink!  For this you will need:

  • Lemons
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Lavender

Lavender Lemonade

Process

Simple Syrup

  1. Measure out one cup of water, one cup of sugar, and one tablespoon of lavender.  Add all ingredients to a saucepan.
  2. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring regularly.
  3. Make sure the lavender has been well mixed in and let steep for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain out the lavender.  Your simple syrup is ready!

Lemonade

  1. Juice several lemons.  I just juiced a bag and stored the juice until I was ready for it.
  2. In a glass, mix together a ratio of one part simple syrup, one part lemon juice, and 4 parts water.  For me, I made one glass with 2 oz syrup, 2 oz juice, and 8 oz water.
  3. Stir well, otherwise the parts will layer (see picture).
  4. Add some ice (if that’s your thing) and enjoy!

This process is easy and makes for a great summertime drink!  I hope you enjoy it.  Let me know if you come up with some fun uses for your lavender syrup!

Thin Mint Smoothie

Like most people I know, I love Girl Scout cookies, especially thin mints.  Last year I bought something like 10 boxes of them, storing them in my freezer to carefully dole out over the year.  So when I saw a smoothie that claimed to taste like a thin mint, I ran to the store so I could give it a try!  You will need:

  • mint
  • spinach
  • dark chocolate chips
  • milk

For a full list of ingredients and directions, check out the recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

thin mint smoothie

Review

Let’s get straight to the point-does this taste like a thin mint?  No.  It does not.  However, it is fairly close, and it is an excellent chocolate and mint combo.  Honestly, even though it isn’t an exact, liquid replica, I would make this over and over again.  In fact, I am seriously considering putting in some mint in my herb garden this summer expressly for that reason.  It really is amazingly good.  I’ve only made it one more time, but that’s actually because my grocery store rarely carries mint (and then it’s kind of expensive).  Clearly this is another good reason to grow it myself.

This recipe calls for a LOT of spinach.  I was worried about that, but I shouldn’t have been.  Because you pack in so much mint, you cannot taste the spinach at all.  Would I make this again?  Absolutely!  I want to drink this every morning!  Time to put in that mint garden…..  If YOU have access to mint, what are you waiting for?  Make this today!

Caramel Frappuccino

I love coffee and am a real sucker for a good flavored coffee.  It’s probably best that there’s no where to get a coffee like that in town.  I’ve done lots of experiments with my own coffee syrups, but once you make those you start to realize just how much sugar is in them.  So, I’ve started to drink my coffee black and save flavored coffee for special occasions.  However, when I came across this skinny caramel frappuccino recipe, I knew I had to try it!  You will need:

  • Coffee (cold)
  • Ice cubes
  • Milk
  • Caramel Sauce

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

caramel frappuccino

Review

When I went to make this, I noticed that I only had about a cup worth of ice instead of three.  I only own one ice cube tray, and it only makes about two cups of ice, so I was never going to have 3 cups.  “No problem,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just add more coffee so there’s more liquid.”  I don’t think this was a bad idea, but it certainly didn’t end up with the slush mixture that it should have (which I knew).

That said, I still found this to just be okay.  Even though I had less ice than the recipe called for, it still tasted a bit watery to me.  That might have been because my coffee was still luke warm when I used it and it might have somewhat melted the few ice cubes I did have.  Also, my version is no where near as skinny as hers is.  She used almond milk, but I only have soy.  Turns out there is a HUGE calorie difference between the two.  According to the source, she’s only in for 15 calories over 24 ounces.  I, on the other hand, am in for 110 over just one cup.  I guess that means I need to start looking for almond milk because dang if that isn’t huge.  Because of this, she ends up with a 50 calorie frappuccino (which, I believe, is not accurately counted because you can’t just say 15 calories is basically the same as zero because it’s not), whereas I end up with 60 calories in just milk following the same recipe.

Will I make this again?  Maybe.  It didn’t wow me, but sometimes you’re desperate.  Besides, I think I owe it another chance with closer to the right amount of ice.

 

***UPDATE:  So, I wrote this post and saved it for a morning when I didn’t feel like writing.  Since then I have gone to the store to check out almond milk.  Now, I don’t have a fancy grocery store (I’ve written about how some days I can’t even buy normal items), but the lowest calorie almond milk I could find was 30 calories over 8 ounces.  Even when I looked online, I couldn’t find any almond milk (that told me the calories) that was under 30, so I don’t know where she gets her milk.  Furthermore, I’ve decided to stick with my soy for now because of all the nutrients that I get from it.  It might be more calories, but I am getting things for those calories, so I think it’s a worthwhile trade-off.***

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

I love a good smoothie.  It never ceases to amaze me just how much flavor can come out of mixing a few things together in a blender.  The majority of my Drinks on Me board is smoothies because I can’t get enough.  Chocolate and raspberry can be very hit or miss for me, so I was curious how this was going to turn out.  You will need:

  • Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Milk
  • Cocoa powder

Check out the full recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

Chocolate Raspberry Smoothie

Review

The original recipe is vegan and calls for almond milk.  I used soy milk (because that’s what we have at our house).  I also halved the recipe as it makes two and I was only making this for myself.  I threw everything in the blender and hoped.  I tend to think that cocoa powder doesn’t give me a fabulous chocolate taste, and I feel like that continued to be the case here.  Sure it did have chocolate flavoring, but it was very powdery in my mouth.  I honestly had to force myself to finish it.  As is, I wouldn’t make it again.

But then I got to thinking.  I have dark chocolate chips in my house, so what if I switched them out?  So, the next day I set out to try again.  The results this time were much better.  I actually enjoyed sipping this smoothie.  The consistency was much better as was the overall taste.

Let’s talk numbers for a moment*.  I found this recipe inside another list of “healthy low calorie smoothies.”  So what are those numbers?  1 cup of soy milk is 110 calories, 5 oz of raspberries is around 47 calories.  So that means 157 calories before we add the chocolate.  1/4 cup of cocoa powder is 4 tablespoons, but I halved the recipe, so I only used 2 Tbsp.  Each Tbsp is 15 calories, so that’s 30 total.  So, for the original recipe, one serving would be 187 calories.  As for my modifications, I used 2 Tbsp of dark chocolate chips.  Each Tbsp is 70 calories, so that means an additional 140 calories get added.  This makes my modified recipe 297 calories.  Obviously that’s a big caloric difference, but I’d still rather drink my modified version.  Maybe I could compromise with myself and do one tablespoon of each?

 

*These numbers are all based on the calories listed on the packaging of my specific ingredients and any necessary math to get the serving size to match with my actual usage.

Peppermint Coffee Syrup and Latte

Obviously I love my coffee syrup and think it’s a great way to get into the seasonal spirit.  I’ve had some successes and some failures.  You can check out those syrups here, here, and here.  Since my gingerbread syrup was gone, it was time to jump into another favorite seasonal flavor:  peppermint!  For this recipe you will need:

  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Peppermint candies

You can check out the original recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

Peppermint Syrup

Review

I’ve used this set of recipes before with great success, so I felt good about this one.  It seemed so simple (as the others had been).  What I got, though, was a bit of a mess.

I knew to expect the pink color from the images on the original blog, but I didn’t expect the consistency I got.  It reminded me of the pink ooze from Ghostbusters 2.  I’m pretty sure that if it had been in a bathtub instead of a saucepan, it would have tried to eat me.

“No matter,” I thought.  “Just because it’s a thicker consistency doesn’t mean it can’t be delicious!”  So, I went about making my latte to try out my latest syrup.  I must say I was actually surprised that something so thick didn’t pack more flavor.  Over the next several days, I tried again and again thinking I had maybe made my latte wrong, but every time I had the same result.

So, sadly, this was a total bust for me.  I am open to the idea that I messed something up (even though I have successfully made other syrups and the process is super straightforward), and I am open to the idea that maybe it was the quality of my candy that was a problem, but I’m probably not going to be trying this one again.  What a shame.  Peppermint is an awesome winter flavor.

If you’ve tried this and had better luck with consistency and flavor, I’d love to hear where you think I went wrong.  I really wanted this to work, and I was sad when it didn’t.

Smoothies

A little over a month ago, I had finally saved up enough to purchase a Vitamix blender.  Our old blender had been a wedding gift, and it had died around the same time that my husband got his job here in Arizona, and I was stuck trying to sell our house.  Since then, I knew I wanted a new blender, but I wanted something with some power behind it that I could use every day to make smoothies.All of my research led me to my new Vitamix.

You guys, I love it.

So, today, I want to share with you three of the smoothies that I have tried out.  You can find these recipes and more on the Vitamix website.

Smoothie #1:  Autumn Sweet Potato

Now, before you try to tell me how odd a sweet potato smoothie sounds, let me tell you a little story.  Back when my brother lived in San Diego, my husband and I drove cross country to take some of his things to him.  While we were there, my brother took us to a sushi place and ordered a roll that had orange and sweet potato in it.  We all agreed it sounded weird and had to try it.  And wouldn’t you know, it was the best thing we ate that day.  We talked about it for days later.  So, when I saw a sweet potato smoothie, I knew I had to try it.  You will need:

  • Red grapes
  • Cooked sweet potato
  • Cranberries
  • An orange

There are several other ingredients, so check out the full recipe here.
Sweet Potato Smoothie

Review

I really liked this recipe.  My husband wasn’t as in love with it as I was, but he didn’t dislike it either.  I left out the dates because I simply forgot to pick them up at the store.  If you decide to use fresh ginger (like I did), I would suggest going even lighter than the recipe and adding more to taste.  We both thought the ginger was a little overpowering.

Smoothie #2:  Basic Smoothie

I started out adventurous, but then decided that maybe I should scale it back and try something simple.  Nothing says simple like the name “Basic Smoothie,” so off I went to try it.  For this smoothie you will need:

  • Milk
  • Banana
  • Pineapple

That’s it!  Check out all the proportions with the full recipe here.

basic smoothie

Review

My husband was not a fan of this one, as in, I will not be making it again.  He thought it smelled and tasted like sunscreen.  I will admit that it did smell like sunscreen, but I, personally, found the flavor to be nice and tropical.  This is something I would enjoy drinking on a beach in the summer.

Smoothie #3:  Vanilla Frappe

After the lack of success with the Basic Smoothie, I decided that I should try something I was confident he would like; something made with coffee.  After taking stock of what I had on hand and comparing that to the recipes I had, I only had one choice: the vanilla frappe.  This recipe calls for:

  • Coffee (brewed double strength or espresso)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla syrup
  • Ice

Unfortunately, the recipe doesn’t appear to be online, but it’s in the cookbook that came with my blender.  You’ll want 3/4 cup coffee, 1 cup milk, 3 Tablespoons of the vanilla syrup, and 1 cup of ice.

vanilla frappe

Review

I really liked this recipe, and have even made it more than once.  It’s definitely sweet, so it’s not really a morning smoothie or a smoothie I would drink often (there’s a lot of sugar in that syrup).  It also separated into a foamy top and a milky coffee bottom.  I think, though, that might be due to using soy milk?  I’m not really sure.  In any case, all I did was give it a quick stir, if I felt like it, and all was well.  This is something I might make a big batch of when I have friends over, especially in warmer weather.

 

Since I got my Vitamx, I have been making a new smoothie every day.  I love it!  You can be sure that I will be reviewing more smoothies in the near future!

 

Pumpkin Spice

Since it is fall, everything pumpkin spice is in the air!  I was determined this year to find a recipe for pumpkin spice coffee syrup so I could have a PSL at home any time I wanted.  I found this recipe and knew I had to try it.  For the syrup you will need:

  • Brown Sugar
  • Pumpkin Puree
  • Pumpkin pie spice

And for the latte you will need:

  • Strong coffee or espresso
  • Pumpkin Spice Syrup
  • Milk

Check out the original recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks on Me board.

pumpkin spice

Review

You guys, this was a real loser.  I was super disappointed with how it turned out.  For one thing, my grocery store doesn’t carry pumpkin pie spice, so I had to make some of my own by combining cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice.  I don’t know that it was an exact match, but I did the best I could with what was available and what I could find through a Google search.  So, perhaps my lack of appropriate seasonings affected the overall outcome, but I don’t think it did too much.  My syrup never really came together.  It separated and had to mixed every time I tried to use it.  That said, I used it three times before I decided it was a waste and threw it out.  Because the syrup wasn’t great, neither was the latte.  But that’s really all on the syrup.  The latte ratios were fine.

Needless to say, I will NOT be making this again.  Such a bummer!  I will have to continue my search for the perfect pumpkin spice syrup recipe.  I assume that by the time I find it, the world will have moved on to peppermint everything.  Oh well.

Butterbeer Latte

I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan.  When the final two books came out, I was working at a bookstore and we did midnight release parties.  Each of them rank very high on my all-time favorite work experiences. Once, when my husband was gone for the weekend, I marathoned through all eight movies.  So, obviously, when I saw this recipe for a Butterbeer latte, I had to give it a try!  You will need:

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon

Check out the full recipe and ingredients list here, or see my pin on my Drinks On Me board.

butterbeer latte

Review

This drink is full of things that I shouldn’t be eating any more, but I simply had to try this out. The flavor is amazing!  I loved this latte.  I also like that there are variations on the recipe to add coffee as well as how to order this at Starbucks.

One of the things that I found a little difficult with this recipe is the initial sugar and butter step.  Because the amounts are so small, you really need to keep an eye on everything so it doesn’t burn.  I think an excellent solution to this would be to have a friend over and make Butterbeer lattés for two!  That will increase the butter and sugar and make it a little less likely to burn quickly.  Also, you could use a smaller saucepan, but make sure that the saucepan is still large enough to hold the milk when you add it.

I LOVED this recipe.  I think that I will try it again with my soy milk and see how it turns out.  That won’t take care of the butter in the recipe, but it’s a change toward being better for my low cholesterol diet.  If you like Harry Potter, this is a recipe you HAVE to check out.

Lavender Hot Chocolate

I have been dying to do some cooking with lavender.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find any cooking lavender in Arizona.  Luckily, I am currently in Indiana, and my brother happened to have some lavender that I could use.  So, I decided to start simple with this hot chocolate recipe.  For this hot chocolate, you will need:

  • Milk
  • Dark chocolate
  • Milk chocolate
  • Lavender

You can check out the original recipe here, or my pin on my Drinks On Me board.

lavender hot chocolate

Review

As you know, I have a bit of a fear of things that involve heating milk, but have felt more confident with the success of the cream sauce for my quiche.  Well, add this to my list of successes!  This was not only super simple to make, but also amazingly delicious!  The lavender is a great complement to the chocolate, especially the dark chocolate.

The only thing I would recommend is making sure you have a good strainer.  The holes in my strainer were just a tiny bit too big, and not all of the lavender was caught.  You could probably use something like a tea ball to help with this.

This recipe is easy and tasty:  my favorite combination!  If you like hot chocolate and are looking for a twist, give this a try!