apple cider
Drinks

Apple Cinnamon Cider

apple cinnamon cider.png

It’s no secret by now that I’m a major fan of anything flavored with apple and cinnamon. And since this is fall, it’s the perfect time to indulge in a little apple cider – or maybe a lot, if you really like it. Hot or cold, hard or soft, cider appeals to people of all ages and all walks of life.

And this apple cinnamon cider is going to be a family favorite for years to come. My girls have already told me they want me to make this again…and again…and again. That’s a sure sign of a fabulous recipe, and here’s how it’s done.

Apple Cinnamon Cider
Recipe Type: Drinks
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 12 mins
Total time: 17 mins
Cinnamon and other spices give this delicious apple cider recipe an extra kick. And the orange juice gives it an extra health burst.
Ingredients
  • 4 apple cinnamon herbal tea bags
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cups apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
Instructions
  1. Place the tea bags in a sauce pan.
  2. Pour in the orange juice and apple juice.
  3. Place the pan over medium heat.
  4. Stir in the cloves.
  5. Cook for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove the tea bags, and serve either hot or cold.

I prefer my cider chilled, and so do my children, so I always put a few ice cubes in the pan right after cooking to speed the cooling process. If you prefer warm cider, you can drink this immediately after cooking. But if you don’t get to it right away, you don’t have to worry too much. This is just as good (or maybe even better) reheated because the flavors have had longer to blend together.

Now you tell me: what’s your favorite way to drink apple cider?

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

mcdonalds frappe
Drinks, Just Desserts

Copycat Recipe: McDonald’s Caramel Frappe

mcdonald's frappe
A few years back now, McDonald’s introduced something that would soon become one of my favorite drinks EVER – the caramel frappe! I don’t know what it is about this drink. Maybe it’s the coffee. Maybe it’s the caramel (incidentally, I think the caramel frappe is SO much better than the mocha frappe, so it might actually BE the caramel that does it for me).

So, when my husband bought me the Ninja Master Prep as an early anniversary present, and then I found out this was National Frappe Day, I immediately started trying to figure out how I could replicate my favorite drink. I came up with what I thought was a delicious facsimile, but my husband tried it, and said it was good but “it could use a little more sugar.” So, if you’re really into sugar, like he is, you might want to add another couple of tablespoons of sugar…or maybe even double the amount of sugar in this recipe. I’m going to try that the next time I make this, and maybe that’ll satisfy my little sugar monster.

Copycat Recipe: McDonald’s Caramel Frappe
Recipe Type: Drinks
Serves: 2 servings
I’m so excited to bring this copycat recipe to you because it’s a variation of my very favorite drink ever – McDonald’s Caramel Frappe!
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup frozen brewed coffee (about 4 ice cubes)
  • 1 cup ice (about 6-8 cubes)
  • 3 tablespoons caramel syrup
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • Reddi-Whip and caramel topping for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pour 2 cups of brewed coffee (this fills about 4 cube squares) into an ice cube tray and fill the rest of the tray with water.
  2. Freeze for a few hours, or overnight.
  3. Put the coffee and plain ice cubes in the bottom of a blender.
  4. Add the caramel, sugar, milk, and yogurt.
  5. Blend for about one minute, or until well blended and smooth.
  6. Top with Reddi-Whip and drizzle with more caramel.
  7. Serve immediately.

The caramel I used for this recipe was the same caramel I made for my microwave caramel custard recipe. I really liked how it turned out then, and it was absolutely amazing in this recipe – and surprisingly similar in taste to the caramel McDonald’s uses in their frappe (at least as far as I can tell).

All I know is, from this point on, McDonald’s may lose a lot of my frappe business because now I know how to make my own delicious caramel frappe (and I have the tools to do it with).

Want to see more restaurant copycat recipes? Check out Foodaplenty’s guide to making 30 favorite restaurant-style meals at home. It’s only $4.99, and it includes dishes from Olive Garden, IHOP, Cinnabon, Cheesecake Factory, and so much more!copycat restaurant recipes

30 Restaurant Copycat Recipes

Want to see more before you buy? You can grab your very own copycat recipe of Red Lobster’s Crab Alfredo by clicking here!

 

 

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

veev
Cooking Healthy Food, Drinks, Fruit for Dessert

Vive le Veev!

vive le veev

Today is National Vodka Day! Admittedly, it’s not one I enjoy much. I used to drink screwdrivers back in the ’90s with Absolut and Smirnoff, but they never did very good things to my body. I could drink any other type of alcohol – and sometimes a LOT of it – and I was always a happy drunk. I was the “designated drunk” among my friends because I was so darn happy… except when it came to vodka. If I drank even a little vodka (but enough to get drunk, obviously), I’d turn into a manic-depressive, sometimes violent, psychopath. No one wanted to be around me then. I didn’t even want to be around myself. So, I quit drinking vodka. Actually, I haven’t had any sort of alcohol at all since before I conceived my oldest daughter – more than 7 years ago now.  And I don’t miss it. Not at all. Cigarettes? That’s another story. I miss them like crazy, but I’m completely okay with being a teetotaler.

But I signed up for this grocery shopping rewards program not long ago, ibotta, and I noticed that one of the rebate deals featured any restaurant where this Veev vodka was served. I’d never heard of this vodka before, so I thought I would do some research and find out more about it.

Unlike my old grain-based vodka nemeses, Veev is made from acai berries (although it does contain some winter wheat, as well). I like their assertion, “We are not ordinary, nor do we want to be.” I love the idea of a vodka that’s out of the ordinary.aronia berries

It’s a 70-proof liquor that’s completely carbon neutral, which means there is no net carbon release owing to its manufacturing process. It’s eco-friendly and relatively healthy. Acai berries are full of antioxidants, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

Is that enough to make me run right out and try some? Not exactly. Like I said, I’m not a really big fan of alcohol (certainly not when there are two little girls running all over the place that I have to keep up with every day). The $1 rebate from ibotta wasn’t even enough to entice me out to buy it.

However, I am intrigued by this new type of vodka featuring the delicious and wonderfully healthy acai berries. So, if I ever do decide to drink alcohol again, this is going to be a first on the list that I want to try. Perhaps my body will react better to the fruit-based vodka than it does the grain-based vodkas. Of course (unfortunately), I won’t know that until I try.

So, what about you? Have you tried Veev? Do you love it? Hate it? Let me know in the comments.

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.  

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!  

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.   

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?  

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page

Cooking with Kids, Drinks, Just Desserts

Happiness in a Glass: Chocolate Milkshake Day

 

chocolate milkshake day

Today we get to celebrate one of my girls’ favorite drinks. It’s National Chocolate Milkshake Day! We’ve made them promise, though, that they will eat a decent dinner before we partake of the cold, creamy, chocolaty goodness. My husband, as a matter of fact, may forbid me from enjoying one because my sinuses are currently wreaking havoc on my system, and he’s afraid that the milkshake will just make things worse for me. He’s trying to look out for me, not punish me by keeping me away from something I love…at least, that’s what I keep trying to tell myself.

The chocolate milkshake is such a simple dessert drink. Here’s all you need to make it:

  1. A blender
  2. Milk (white, or chocolate)
  3. Chocolate syrup (if you use white milk)
  4. Two scoops of ice cream (either vanilla or chocolate)

Still, it’s one of the most amazing dessert drinks ever created, and it has a long and fascinating history.

chocolate milkshake day

The term “milkshake” was first coined back in 1885 to refer to an alcoholic whiskey eggnog-type drink. By the early 1900s, however, the milkshake had lost its alcohol and gained a number of delicious flavors, like the classic chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Also, at this point, ice cream was included in most of the recipes. And why not? Ice cream makes pretty much everything better.

The history of the milkshake is inextricably connected with the history of the blender. The modern blender was first invented in 1922, and up until that point milkshakes retained their eggnogg-y form because they were mostly hand-shaken. The blender revolutionized the way milkshakes were made and served. Today, I wouldn’t even think of making a milkshake without a blender.

Milkshakes and “malteds” were all the rage in the 1950s, and it was about this time that a successful milkshake machine salesman named Ray Kroc bought exclusive rights to Earl Prince’s 1930s-era Multimixer and went on to use it to speed up milkshake production at his McDonald’s restaurants, which still proudly serve chocolate milkshakes.

Of course, in today’s more health-conscious society, the traditional milkshake is often ignored in favor of milkshake-like “smoothies,” which include more nutritious ingredients (and less refined sugar), but you can still get your chocolate fix with a smoothie. Just throw a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder in with a cup of plain or vanilla yogurt and a banana. Blend that together for 30-60 seconds, and you’ll have at least a pretty good chocolate milkshake substitute that will allow you to satisfy your craving with no guilt!

Now, tell me: Did you celebrate National Chocolate Milkshake Day? If not, why not?

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.

Cooking Healthy Food, Drinks

Apple Cider Vinegar Honey Drink

apple cider vinegar honey drink

It would be remiss of me to not include a post about one of my favorite ways to consume honey in my celebration of National Honey Month. I first learned about apple cider vinegar at some point last year and started drinking it daily as a pick-me-up. I was out of honey at the time, so I mixed in maple syrup with it instead.

I soon found out that (contrary to my prior belief), I really did enjoy the taste of this natural energy drink. Just one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (it has to be organic, and with “the mother” – I’ve found Bragg’s to be the best-tasting brand, by far) and one tablespoon of honey (honey, for me, just tastes better with this than maple syrup – the maple syrup is just too strong) mixed together in water does the trick.

I’d heard of apple cider vinegar in the context of weight loss. I haven’t found it to do much for me, in that respect, but weight loss for me is less important than the other benefits I’ve discovered. These include:

  • sinus infection treatment – like, total green, thick snot eradication
  • sore throat reliever – almost instant relief
  • excess water (bloating) relief
  • irritable bowel symptom relief (works for both constipation and diarrhea – it just regulates it all)
  • menstrual flow minimizer and cramping relief (as I get closer to menopause, my periods are getting ridiculously heavy and hard to deal with – I keep my apple cider vinegar close by me at all times during that most horrible of weeks)
  • slight stimulant – but not in a jittery, unpleasant way – I just get a natural lift at the most-needed times (usually a few hours after lunch)


In the Braggs’ apple cider vinegar book, they recommend drinking the apple cider vinegar and honey water two to three times a day, but I find all those benefits just drinking it once a day. I only drink it once (sometimes, if I have a really bad sinus infection, I’ll drink it twice a day) because of the only thing I don’t like about the apple cider vinegar. It has a tendency to crash your blood sugar, if you lean at all to the hypoglycemic side (and I do). This effect would be great, however, if you have a major problem with high blood sugars. But I always have to eat something with some carbs and protein when I drink the apple cider vinegar honey water (which may be why I’ve not seen much weight loss with it).

Apple Cider Vinegar health drink recipe

Still, the good outweighs the bad, in my opinion, so the apple cider vinegar honey drink stays in my daily routine. I even cook with the apple cider vinegar. I throw it into any recipe that calls for any kind of vinegar (and even some that don’t). I just enjoy it that much.

Now I want to know: have any of you tried the apple cider vinegar and honey water? What have you experienced? Talk back to me in the comments!

 

Screenshot 2020-03-22 at 2.05.23 PM

Fifteen years ago, I went to a party a friend was hosting and bought a stoneware mini loaf pan. I still have that thing today, and it’s just as awesome.

When I got married almost 13 years ago, I let the friend of a friend do a Pampered Chef bridal shower for me. I still have all those things too!

I’ve been buying Pampered Chef products at various parties (mostly online now) ever since. I have never been disappointed by a single thing I’ve bought with Pampered Chef.

So, when I recently attended yet another online party and saw that there was a $19.80 join special, I took the plunge. I’ve been enjoying Pampered Chef myself for decades. Why not share that love with others?

I’m so excited to start my Pampered Chef journey. I would be thrilled if you would consider joining me. Pampered Chef has so many tools that can help you as you seek to eat cleaner. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page.