What to do if you love coffee but need to watch the caffeine. (Have you tried Teeccino?)

Sometimes a person says something she means but doesn’t really mean. You know what I mean?

Take, for instance, when I say, “I love to drink. Drinking is so fun! Drinks make me happy.” You might think I have a drinking problem. It’s definitely not a problem, though, because I can stop any time I want to.

Now, what I’m talking about, isn’t drinking. No, no. I’m talking about drinking. Understand now? I actually stay away from drinking because my system can’t handle it, I’ve seen too many dear friends struggle with it, and anyway, I have way more fun when I’m drinking instead.

I drink at home and I drink with my family and it’s great to invite friends over and say, “Do you want to come over for drinks?”

Well now. I think after reading that we can all use a drink. What can I get you?

  • Coffee? (Iced or hot? Decaf or regular? With cream and a spoonful of my homemade chocolate sauce?)
  • Tea? (Hot or cold? Sweet or unsweet? Mango or peach? Raspberry perhaps?)
  • Water? (Ice or no ice? With lemon or lime?)
  • Sparkling Juice? (Cranberry is our favorite. Recipe is coming soon.)

Now that we’re all clear (as mud) on where I’m coming from, allow me to explain further.

I always drink a nice amount of water during the day so I stay hydrated and healthy. I actually like water, even if it is just…water. But I also really like to enjoy another fun drink or two throughout the day.

pumpkin_custard_drink

Desserts? I’m over them. Junk food? I really don’t want it. But a variety of drinks? Yes, please. I think they are a ridiculously fun treat even though I don’t even add sugar or stevia to them.

I realize this puts me over the edge into the complete nerd category, but you guys, sipping an iced coffee in the afternoon is as much a treat to me as brownies used to be back in my “I can eat anything” days. Tossing a slice of lemon in my water makes me feel like I’m indulging in something special when in reality, I’m still in my pajamas and I’m about to embark on a science lesson with my kids.

Having a cup of hot tea mid-morning (let’s call it a “spot of tea,” shall we?) in a special mug really hits the spot while I’m answering emails. Enjoying a flavored sparkling water (lime is my fav) with my lunch makes me feel like I’m splurging at a restaurant. And setting out an assortment of hot drink choices for my family before we begin a game night is way, way more fun than one would think.

Coffee Milkshake

This leads me to share about a fun drink many of you already know about (because several of you have mentioned it through the years). A sample of Teeccino came in my last Azure Standard order.

I made a BIG DEAL of trying it. As in, I made it, put on my pj’s and slippers while it was brewing, added cream, and snuggled under a fuzzy blanket in the living room so I could sip it slowing and savor it. I only had one kid at home with me at the time, so naturally I made him try it with me. He was a good sport, skipped the slippers, and added sugar to his.

We both came back with a thumbs up. So now I have yet another great drink to add to my drinking repertoire. Can life get any more fun than this?! I think not.

teeccino

What is Teeccino?

It’s an herbal tea, completely decaf, which tastes similar to coffee. But don’t expect it to taste exactly like coffee because it doesn’t.  I think it has a unique taste – kind of a mixture of coffee, tea, and chocolate.

It is delicious, though, and I love that it’s decaf so I can enjoy it in the evenings!

All of my family has tried it and enjoys it too. Therefore, I ordered a case which is a variety pack, because of ALL THE FUN this will provide for us.

Now that you’ve heard my drinking confessions, it time for you to share what your favorite drinks are. Also, have you tried Teeccino and do you like it?

Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake Recipe

If you’re wondering what I’m up to every single afternoon of every day during the entire summer – and obviously, you surely do wonder – you can be certain that I am making myself a smooth and creamy coffee shake and sipping it slowly. This, at about 1:30 each afternoon, CST. Set your clock by it. At 1:30 each day, you can think to yourself, Laura is most certainly enjoying her coffee milkshake right about now. We are so happy for her.

Thank you for your support.

Coffee Milkshake

I would love for you to also have the option of beginning your afternoon in this way, so please, allow me to share this recipe so you can indulge and love your treat right down to the last drop. The good news is that this is very low in sugar (though you can add more if you like!) and includes all real food ingredients. I suppose the other good news is that the coffee will perk us all up for the afternoon so that we can rock on with whatever it is we need to do. Hi-yah! Glory, hallelujah.

Perhaps the one draw back to making this milkshake is that you must think and plan ahead. Hot coffee ruins the moment. All key ingredients must be cold or even frozen. And then there’s the homemade ice cream issue. The ice cream amazing and easy, but too hard to scoop if not set out a few minutes ahead of your milkshake making endeavors. So here’s the breakdown so that you can achieve Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake perfection:

  1. Cold brew some coffee, or make regular hot brew and chill it thoroughly.
  2. Make yourself some coffee iced cubes. This isn’t a must, but almost.
  3. Be sure to have Homemade Low Sugar Ice Cream in the freezer (it’s easier than you think).
  4. Set your ice cream out on the counter about ten minutes before making your shake so that it will be soft enough to scoop.

Don’t get the impression that this is a high maintenance recipe. It really is not. I typically have coffee in my fridge and coffee cubes in my freezer. It takes 2 minutes to whip up a batch of this Homemade Low Sugar Ice Cream. Then it’s just a matter of pulling it all together. At 1:30 every single afternoon.

Low Sugar Coffee MilkshakeYum

Low Sugar Coffee Milkshake Recipe
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-2 scoops Homemade Low Sugar Vanilla Ice Cream
  • 4-6 coffee ice cubes
  • 1-2 cups cold coffee
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a blender.
  2. Serve right away.

low sugar coffee milkshake

Take note that this is not a super-sweet treat as is, so you’ll want to adjust the sweetness level by adding maple syrup according to your taste. I personally love it with a strong coffee flavor and only a tiny bit of sweetness and creaminess. But the beauty of this recipe and the Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream recipe is that you can make it sweet or less sweet without messing anything up!

Get your ingredients ready! 1:30 will be here before you know it.

Gratituesday: Why I Will Always Have Coffee in My Fridge

gratituesday[2]

Remember that one time my oldest son graduated from high school and moved all the way to the other side of town to the college dorm

I am one spoiled mama, that’s what I am. While Asa is super busy (16 mostly upper-level credit hours plus work study) and super involved (soccer, choir, club, and everything else fun he can squeeze in) and is barely getting any sleep – every once in a while we do get to see his face. I love those moments. 

We get to see Asa at church most Sundays. We go to his home soccer games and the away games that are close-by. He comes home to do laundry every week or so. I feed him whenever a meal at home can be worked into his schedule. Sometimes he referees one of his brother’s soccer games. See? I am super spoiled. I know many moms who said goodbye in August and won’t see their son or daughter again until Thanksgiving or beyond. I’m blessed to see my boy here and there. 

We’re adjusting to life with just three boys at home. We’ve re-vamped the chore list and shuffled around beds in the boys’ bedroom and even figured out how to play games and watch movies without Asa being here. <— that part was so weird and hard at first. “We can’t watch that because not everyone is here!” had to be replaced with a sniff from Mom and an “I guess we’ll watch that without Asa.” Who knew that would be a tough adjustment? (It’s a “We love our family time” thing. That’s when we miss him most. That and when it’s his turn to take out the trash.)  ;)

Do you remember what it’s like to be a college student? We all stayed up way too late most nights and still got up for early morning classes. Somehow we survived. Now that I’m 42, my body is like, “It’s almost 9:45 and I might pass out if I don’t go to bed soon.” But 9:45 pm is still mid-afternoon for college students. That’s the time they have meetings, write papers, and hang out with friends. Night life in the dorm begins at midnight. But still there are 8:00 am classes. This is what motivates a college kid to begin drinking coffee, am I right?

So guess who likes coffee now? 

It happened like this: 

Asa’s girl, Brittany — Yes, Asa has a girl. Has had for over a year. I’ve respected her/their privacy by not going on and on about her here, but then I asked and she said it was okay so there you go — Anyway…Brittany has liked coffee shop coffee for quite some time. Asa teased her about it until the morning after the twelfth night in a row he hadn’t gotten enough sleep. That’s when he said, “I sure could go for some coffee” and she fell out of her chair. (See, this is why people shouldn’t give me permission to write about them on my blog.) 

She didn’t fall. She just hopped up and ran to our local coffee shop.

Long story short(ish) – now they both love fru-fru coffee but aren’t enjoying paying high prices or drinking oodles of sugar. They have loved my Frappes when I’ve served them, so recently when they were here, I said, “Anytime you want coffee, text me. My coffee will cost you nothing and it’s not full of sugar (plus then I’ll get to see you both which will make my day so please want coffee often and text me daily).” 

coffee for asa and britt

Lookie there. Frappes in to-go cups. 

I will stop here and tell you the specifics of my favorite way to make a delicious Frappe, because everyone needs to know this.

How To Make an Amazing (Much Healthier) Frappe

1. Grind some of the best coffee beans in the world. (I discovered these beans from Guatamala and I can’t stop loving how good the coffee is.)

2. Brew coffee as normal or make some via the cold brew method. By default, I usually brew coffee to drink in the morning, then cool and refrigerate leftovers to use in Frappes.

3. Make coffee ice cubes

4. Make Chocolate Frappe as directed here. Or this: Put cold coffee, a few coffee ice cubes, some cream, and a few squeezes of this amazing stevia sweetened chocolate syrup into a blender. (Note, that stuff is not cheap, but is still much less expensive and absolutely healthier than coffee shop coffee, so I grab some when I have Amazon or Vitacost credit.)

5. Blend until frothy and serve. 

Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Frappe

Starbucks is jealous of how delicious this is. Asa, Brittany, Matt, Justus, and Elias all love this drink. I’m still in the “plain coffee with cream” camp because it is so delicious as-is. It is so much fun to drink coffee with my people! (Malachi will come around, and for now will stick with hot chocolate.) 

The above combination of ingredients also tastes delicious as a hot drink (minus the ice cubes, I hope that was obvious). This is why I grabbed to-go coffee cups with lids because it is getting chilly outside and cold frappes for the college students probably won’t cut it much longer.

coffee cups

So there you go. I will always have coffee on hand so that I’m ready to say “Yep!” whenever I get a “Can we come get coffee?” text. For the record, I will also always have food to warm up (do not ever question this), fresh fruit, boxes of kleenex, an assortment of natural remedies, and if ever there is a request that I cannot immediately fulfill, I will put it on my Walmart list because I can’t even help it.

I’d love to hear what all of you are thankful for this Gratituesday!

Pictures of Last Week’s Food – and Why We Had Ice Cream Cones For Breakfast

Before we talk about ice cream for breakfast, we should probably talk about lettuce. Spoiler alert: the ice cream we ate is the same color as the lettuce, which means that one of them has food coloring in it and the other doesn’t, yet I still let my family eat both.

Hahaha, I let them eat lettuce. As if they had to beg me for it. “Please Mom can’t we just have more salad?!” said none of my children ever.

I mean, they don’t dislike salad. They just like other parts of the meal better. But whatever. They are good eaters and they eat a wide variety of fruits and veggies and so what if they ate green ice cream for breakfast last Wednesday?

So lettuce. Let-us talk about that already. (get it? lettuce=let-us. that is so amazingly funny) Look what came out of our garden last week!

food week may 92

We’ll be enjoying meal after meal of this lettuce from our garden as the rain has made our lettuce go crazy. (I won’t even tell you that none of the rest of our garden is even planted yet. Hello graduation preparation and bathroom remodel. You are cramping our gardening style.)

See what a pretty lunch we had the first day we picked lettuce? Creamy Mac and Cheese with peas and salad is the easiest lunch ever, by the way. (Can you actually call it a salad if you don’t add anything but Ranch Dressing? We were out of other salad veggies that day.)

food week may 96

Now, about that green ice cream. First the back story:

About four years ago I surprised the boys by making Homemade Ice Cream for breakfast on our very last day of school. The following year, they declared that we had always had ice cream on the last day of school and that it was a tradition and that we simply must do it again. I believe they told me this at bedtime the night before our last day of school, which of course meant that while I loved the idea, I did not love the idea making homemade ice cream at midnight or 6:00 am. So I told them no, and then I decided on a splurge of all splurges and surprised them the next morning with not only store-bought ice cream – but a box of ice cream cones too.

(The “Best Mom Ever” Award went to me that day. But then I made them do their living room and bathroom chores so I immediately went back to “Best Mom Ever” status after breakfast.)

Anyway, the Last Day of School Ice Cream tradition has continued (which I only do because we home school because it would truly be wrong of me to feed my kids sugar cones filled with drippy sugar and then send them to be instructed by other adults). The three younger boys finished their school work last Friday, but patiently waited for Asa to finish his last college final on Tuesday (he’s been getting dual credits for high school/college this year – woot!) so that we could celebrate by having ice cream for breakfast.

food week may 9 5

food week may 94

It was grand. But now we should probably talk about vegetables again.

I hit some great price matching deals on berries this week. 99¢ for blackberries? Yes, please. Plus I got great prices on strawberries and raspberries. We’ve been eating these delicious fruits with just about every meal, so these are already almost gone. (We put the food away at our house, I’m telling you.)

food week may 93

Don’t ask me why I bought mixed greens this week. Hello, Laura. Your garden is kicking out lettuce right now, remember??

Have any of you ever tried that Hormel Natural Choice Bacon? I was excited to see it at the store since it is a “better for you” brand. It was quite tasty!

Friday night I experimented with another new recipe we all loved: Sloppy Salsa Chicken. Don’t tell, but I’m almost finished with a project I’ve been working on for several months in an effort to simplify our (yours and mine!) evening meal time. Later this week, I plan to reveal some packets I’ve been putting together which include recipes, complete grocery lists, and instructions for creating five meals that can be made ahead all at once, then frozen for fast real-food meals for your family. Details coming!!

sloppy salsa chicken 1

Here’s a little sneak peek at one of the packet cover pages:

Eat Right Away Beef Edition 50

There’s also a Chicken Edition, and then I’ll be working on several additional editions (I couldn’t resist) for the future like breakfast, lunch box, ground turkey, and others!

So back to last week’s food details. It was a Bountiful Basket week for me, and I almost bought the whole truck. Man, we get some good deals from BB!

food week may 91

Along with all you see here, I also got a huge box of sweet corn. Which leads me to Mother’s Day.

I wanted grilled burgers with watermelon and sweet corn. So that is what my men made me. As you can see, I worked on my corn and melon before my burger. Ooh, and Matt put some fresh asparagus from our garden on the grill too. So yum.

food week may 99

After we digested, we played our traditional game of three-on-three Mother’s Day soccer. I so stink at soccer. But it sure was fun.

One final bit about last week…

Some sweet friends gave me a basket full of thank-you gifts and look what was included!

food week may 98

Yes, it is a coffee mug that is almost as big as my head. Almost. As you see here, I filled it just about to the top. This meant that after I finished drinking it on Saturday morning, I absolutely did conquer the world and solve all of earth’s biggest challenges (it’s a caffeine miracle).

So there you have it. Berries, vegetables, ice cream, and a huge mug of coffee. That about sums up last week for me. (I also did laundry and cleaned, but who wants the boring details on that? No one.)

Tell me about your week in food! Find great deals? Make yummy meals? Drink giant-sized mugs of coffee? Splurge on ice cream? Share, share, share!!!

The Best Mocha You’ll Ever Need

Aside from telling you that I have a mocha recipe for you, I have nothing cute to say.  That time of year has hit in which not only is it still winter, it is also still winter.

Yesterday I saw a picture of myself wearing a sun dress and sporting a healthy tan.  “Oh, oooh!!  Remember that!?” I exclaimed to my husband. “That picture was taken on that really fun day when our family did that really fun stuff because the SUN WAS SHINING and it was HOT OUTSIDE.”  He just grinned and handed me another blanket.

I’m thankful for every day and all that.  God is good all the time, you can bet on it.  If summer never comes, it really is okay because I have Jesus.  Look at me, I’m like Paul.  I have learned to be content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Whether I’m freezing or freezing or even if I’m freezing.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

That’s from Philippians chapter 4 in case you want to find more encouragement from that passage, to read it within its context, or maybe to be sure I quoted it accurately.  My brain gets a little fuzzy after enduring forty-three months of winter in a row.

I know that really, I have nothing to complain about.  I have a roof over my head, a beautiful fireplace, and a husband to pat me on the head and hand me another blanket when I burst into tears over a picture of myself in a sun dress from last summer.  I’m very blessed, the sun will shine again, and someday soon but probably not for at least 68 more days – I will be warm.  Can we just talk about something else now?

I came up with a little something to help me cope with my issues this afternoon.  Some might call it a Mocha.  Some might call it a Warm Chocolate Soother with a little coffee stirred in.  I’d like to call it the answer to every cold, desperate woman’s need for warmth and sunshine.  Not that I really have issues or am what one might call desperate.

mocha 1

I just need some sunshine, okay?

So this.  This mug of goodness saved the day…

Warm Nourishing Mocha 2

It’s Warm Chocolate Soother mixed with coffee.  The idea came from a dear reader, Missy, from South Carolina.  She sent me the idea months ago, then I remembered it while huddled beside my space heater this afternoon.  Here’s part of her email:

Good morning!  It’s a cold, wet, blustery day here in South Carolina.  I awoke to the sound of wind and rain hitting my windows.  My first thought was to brew a cup of coffee, but then I thought of my 2 boys and wondered what they would like to have warm and yummy.  I thought about your Warm Chocolate Soother and knew it would be perfect!
I gathered all the ingredients and set about making the soother.  I tweaked the recipe and used half whole milk and half unsweetened almond milk.  I love using real food ingredients to make treats for my family.  It all came together and I served my boys a mug full.  They loved it!
I served myself a cup of chocolate soother and tasted it – yum!  Then I remembered that I had wanted a cup of coffee.  I decided to mix the two. Oh boy – it was GOOD!  I have my coffee and the warm chocolate soother in my mug and I am a happy girl!  I know how you have begun enjoying coffee and wanted to share this with you, if you haven’t already discovered this!  Thank you for your Warm Chocolate Soother recipe – now to try coffee and Warm Vanilla Soother next!  Many blessings for today!  :)
Everyone (probably, especially, and mostly my husband) thanks you, Missy, for the fantastic idea.  Not only is this drink warm, comforting, and delicious – it is also very nourishing and can double as a filling breakfast or snack.

How to Make a Warm, Nourishing Mocha

Mix 1 cup Warm Chocolate Soother with 1 cup coffee.  Or 5 cups Warm Chocolate Soother with 5 cups coffee.  Or whatever it takes for you to survive these last few weeks of winter.

Warm, Nourishing Mocha

You’ll notice that I put my mocha in a bright yellow cup just so that I could pretend I was was drinking from a cup of sunshine.  And look.  I’m all better now.
mocha 2
Winter won’t get the best of us, friends.  We’ve got this!  Now hand me another blanket.

(How’s winter treating you, by the way?)

Chocolate Whipped Cream – Perfect For Your Coffee

I was so excited about putting my Chocolate Whipped Cream on strawberries that I never thought to put some in my coffee. Thankfully, I have smart friends.

Earlier this week, I had 11 other women in my home for Bunco.  (It was time for this Mama of boys to get some girl time!). I served BLT Wraps, veggies with Homemade Ranch Dip, chips and salsa, and Chocolate Whipped Cream on Strawberries. It was all simple to prepare and serve, which made it perfect for a fun night in with the ladies.

While many of us were enjoying bowls of strawberries with Chocolate Whipped Cream, one of my friends took her full coffee cup over and scooped in some of the chocolaty goodness. It didn’t take long for several of the rest of us to follow her lead. Before I knew it, I was brewing another pot of coffee and making another triple batch of Chocolate Whipped Cream. Mmmmm, so good.

Here, so that you can drop whatever you’re doing and run make this, is the recipe once again:

Chocolate Whipped Cream for CoffeeYum

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 rounded Tablespoon cocoa powder
Liquid stevia to taste (we used about 10 drops)

In a bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add cocoa and stevia, and whip again for a few seconds until ingredients are mixed well. Serve on top of sliced strawberries…or coffee!

Chocolate Whipped Cream - Perfect For Your Coffee

Now, a few days later, as if I wasn’t already beginning an addiction to putting Chocolate Whipped Cream on my strawberries, now I’m adding it by the huge spoonful(s) to my coffee mug in the morning. Ahhhhmazing. And no guilt. It’s all real food, and there’s no sugar involved.

If you don’t want chocolate, can I interest you in making Peppermint Cream for your coffee? And if you really want a sugar splurge, but you still want real ingredients, how about Homemade Chocolate Caramel Creamer?

Listen everyone – with goodness like this to put in our coffee, why would we ever need to buy coffee creamers that are full of not-so-real ingredients? Why??

So what do you think will be your fav? Chocolate Whipped Cream in coffee…or on strawberries?

Gratituesday: Hot Drinks

I feel like this is a silly thing to be grateful for, but hey, it’s the little things, right?

I am typically cold from September until May. Slippers, long johns, wool socks, and sweaters are my best friends during these months. Beyond those, I love my hot drinks. Hot tea, Hot Cocoa, and Crio Bru really hit the spot, and yes, it even appears that I can now add coffee to that list. (Who starts liking coffee at the age of 40? This girl, apparently.)

What I really love about hot drinks is that now I associate them with my Bible reading time. There is something so comforting about enjoying my favorite mug filled with a warm drink while I spend time in the Word each morning. Then later in the day, even if I’m not able to sit down again to read, fixing a hot drink triggers memories of Truths I read earlier in the day and reminds me to keep my focus on the One I’m learning to completely surrender my life to.

legos_with_breakfast

Yep, sometimes I also share my Bible time with a Lego army.

So hot drinks remind me of Jesus? Well no wonder I am so grateful for them. :)  Are you a fan of hot drinks?

Share how God is working in your life on your blog, then come link up with us here. If you don’t have a blog, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you’re grateful for! Please read through the Gratituesday Guidelines so that you understand what kinds of posts you can link up to share here. Posts that are linked but do not fit our Gratituesday theme will be deleted.

If you are linking up a blog post for Gratituesday, please copy and paste the following sentence into your post! Thanks!

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!

My Coffee Drinking Confessions

iced_coffeeI don’t drink coffee. I don’t like coffee. Coffee smells great but tastes terrible. Coffee is super bitter, how could anyone like it? Yuck, coffee, no thank you. All things I’ve said about coffee for years and years.

I then experimented with a Homemade Chocolate Caramel Creamer because so many of you asked for a healthier creamer option. To my surprise, I kind of liked it. But only kind of.

Months went by. I maintained my “I’m not a coffee drinker” status. During the winter I was introduced to Crio Bru, which is brewed ground cocoa beans, and it is delicious. I began enjoying a cup during my God time each morning. Perfectly delightful.

Then, I started holding Meet and Greets. Many of them were in coffee shops. I began to try iced coffee, which were offered in some very tempting flavors. Hmmm, not bad. Not bad at all…

I believe the kicker was my Oklahoma City Meet and Greet. We met at Vintage Coffee, a lovely shop owned by my cousin and her husband. My cousin, Carie, talked me through options she thought I might like, which resulted in her making me a cold coffee with chocolate and toffee or some such wonderful combination. It was so delicious, I guzzled it down, wished for more, and have been craving another one ever since.

I blame my new interest in coffee on Carie. And on those who came to Meet and Greets. You all obviously forced the stuff down my throat, creating a coffee interest in me that I can no longer deny. I have yet to recreate the delicious brew Carie made for me, and that’s probably a good thing. I would be making them way too often.

So here’s my new coffee status:  Don’t like it hot. Can’t drink it black. Tastes great cold with an equal part of milk and a little bit of homemade chocolate sauce. Craving a Chocolate Toffee Cold Coffee drink from Vintage Coffee.

And now you know.

How about you?  What’s your current coffee status?