Pumpkin Spice Latte

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: time for everything to be coming up pumpkin. I saw this recipe on a friend’s Facebook thread about pumpkin spice lattes and decided to try it today, with a few alterations. I am so glad I did. Honestly, my first thought was that it might be a little bland, but it grew and grew and grew on me to the point that I can’t wait for it to be tomorrow so I can justify having another one.

Serves 2 (and I think it’s probably best fresh rather than warmed up, so either be prepared to drink a lot (eh) or make half)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (I use whole ’cause that’s what we have around here)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (more wouldn’t hurt)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • dash garam masala (you could skip this, but, really, I wouldn’t)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 2 cups strong coffee (a scoop or two stronger than you would otherwise drink it), hot

Directions:

  1. Combine milk, vanilla, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, garam masala, and maple syrup (so, everything but the coffee) in a microwave-safe measuring cup (or bowl) and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, or until very hot (you could also head the mixture on the stove)
  2. Pour the milk mixture into a blender and blend until it is frothy (about 2 minutes?)
  3. Pour frothy pumpkin milk into a large mug (fill it about halfway), and add hot coffee to fill the mug the rest of the way. You can play with the proportions to suit your taste.

Raspberry and Nut Smoothie

Another one from Real Simple. This one was a big hit with Simon.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup milk (we used almond milk)
  • 3/4 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter (we used almond butter)
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and frothy.

Hot Cocoa Mix

This recipe comes from our friend Kacy. It makes a huge batch, but it’s so good that it goes quick, quick!

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-quart) box powdered milk
  • 1 (11-ounce) jar Coffeemate (about 3 cups)
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1 pound Nesquik (about 3 1/4 cups)

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients together in a big, sealable container.

Note: Use about 1/3 cup cocoa mix per 1 cup hot water. It mixes best if you stir the water into the cocoa, instead of vice versa.

Jeremy’s Amaretto Sours

For my Amaretto Sour-lovin’ friends. You know who you are.

In a small glass, pour 1/2 oz sweetened lime juice.
Add 2 oz Amaretto and a few ice cubes.
Fill the rest of the glass with Diet Squirt.
Bob’s your uncle.

**I’m so relieved we have a beverage category AND a drinks category. We could consolidate them, but that might make too much sense! ; )

Green Smoothies

Thanks to this post on Sarah’s blog, I am completely and hopelessly obsessed with green smoothies. I have had a full blenderful every day this week, and most days I have to hold myself back from making another.(Why do I stop myself? I don’t know. They’re totally good for you, so what’s the problem?) I find it nearly impossible to get the recommended amount of fruits and veggies–especially veggies–every day, but these make it easy peasy.

The wonderful thing about smoothies is that you can experiment to your heart’s content with any combination of fruits and greens (the greens are what make the smoothies, um, green). So far I believe the two keys to making green smoothies drinkable are (1) use enough fruit and/or honey to make them sweet and (2) blend the living daylights out of them. I can see where some would think a third key would be to use enough frozen fruit or add enough ice to keep the smoothie cold.

The basic idea:

2-4 cups fresh or frozen fruit (strawberries, bananas, kiwis, peaches, mangoes, pears, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.)
1-2 cups water, depending on what consistency you like
1-2 tablespoons honey

Blend the fruit, water, and honey.

2-4 cups fresh greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.)

Add a handful of greens at a time and blend well between each one.

So far my favorite combination is this:

1 pear (take the stem off and cut into pieces; I didn’t even know pears had a core–it blends well)
2 kiwis (I left the skin on; you can peel them if you like)
2 cups water
1 tablespoon honey
3 stems kale (use just the leafy part, not the hard stem)
3 big handfuls spinach

Wassail

Wassail

I quadrupled the batch this time (recipe is for a single batch). I think it’s the first time I’ve actually filled up my biggest pot.

2 quarts apple juice
1 pint cranberry juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice
1 small orange
8 to 12 whole cloves.

In a large crockpot combine apple and cranberry juices, then sugar. Mix well. Add cinnamon sticks and allspice. Poke cloves into the orange and add to the mixture. Cook on high for 1 hour, then on low for 4 to 8 hours. Serve hot.