Vanilla Green Tea Chai Soy Latte

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This is my go-to drink when I’m stressed out and need a reminder to chill out.  Being the Type-A individual that I am, I drink this beverage a lot.  Like two-three times a day a lot, on top of my several cups of coffee.  Reason would dictate I not have that third cup of coffee but it also calms me, it calms me I say!

Have you tried the Starbucks Tazo Chai Latte?  It’s gross in my opinion and you’re paying $4.00 for concentrate liquid, screw you Starbucks.  You can buy the Tazo Chai Concentrate at the store, but guess what, the first ingredient is water.

Starbucks Tazo Chai Tea Latte w/ Soy (16oz)

Calories: 240
Fat: 3.5 g
Carbohydrates: 47 g
Protein: 6 g

My Awesomer Vanilla Green Tea Chai Soy Latte (16oz)

Calories: 150
Fat: 6.5 g
Carbohydrates: 17 g
Protein: 6 g

I use vanilla chips in mine when I want to feel fancy but it tastes very good with just artificial sweetener which cuts the calories down to 80, sugar down to 2.5 g, and carbs down to 8 g.

Recipe:

2 bags green chai tea (or your choice, obviously)
8 oz boiling water
8 oz vanilla soy milk (or whatever)
1 tbsp vanilla chips (or 1-2 packets of artificial sweetener)

Bring 8 oz water to a boil.

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Steep your tea.  For green, 3-4 minutes.  Since we’re adding more liquid to it later we’re making it double strength.  Eventually I’ll make my way to the tea house and get myself some loose leaf, but every time I’ve gone they never have green chai.  And I love me some green chai.  And no it’s 7:00 am, I don’t feel like making my chai tea from scratch.

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While your tea is doing its thing, melt your vanilla chips with your milk over low heat on the stove.  Like I said earlier, this also tastes very good using artificial sweetener or half sugar/half spenda, whatever you feel like doing.

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Once your chips have melted pull off the heat.  Add a little vanilla extract and some cinnamon if you’re feeling frisky.  I’m of the mind there’s no such thing as too much cinnamon.  This coming from the girl who used to lick Big Red wrappers and stick them to her forehead just to feel the burn.  Does that make me weird?  Yes, it absolutely does.

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Now whip, shake, froth your mixture.  Whatever way is available to you.  I use an immersion blender for 30 seconds.

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Pour your milk in.  I hold back the foam with a spoon until near the end of my pouring since it’s not a traditional foam and won’t fill the cup like a real latte foam.

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Enjoy with some sweet biscuits if you would like to feel a little British, although I’m sure a Brit would scoff at you for putting so much milk and sugar in your tea.  I prefer Quadratinis with my tea, but that’s just me…and I’m not British.

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Orange Chocolate Latte

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Okay, it’s not really a latte because I don’t have a steamer (one day) but it’s close.  Justin and I have a winter season tradition where we visit a bunch cocoa hot spots.  This “latte” or “coffeecoa” as Justin likes to call them was inspired by a recent trip to Jacques Torres.  His was just an Orange Hot Chocolate but I can’t resist adding the delicious wonder that is coffee to many a beverage.

Justin bought two of these mugs from a random store in New York.  I swear we’re adults…I’m lying.

Recipe:

1 cup espresso or strong coffee
3/4 cup skim milk
1 tbsp dark chocolate chips
1 tsp cocoa powder
zest from one medium orange

Make your coffee.  I use a Moka Pot, I fully recommend it.

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While your coffee is brewing heat your milk and chocolate over lowest heat possible.  You want to still be able to touch your vessel.

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I add cocoa powder to the mixture instead of just adding more chips to boost the chocolate flavor without adding more sugar or fat.

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Zest your orange and add it to your milk mixture.  It seems like a lot of orange and it is, it’s delicious!  You were just going to throw it out anyway.

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When your chocolate and powder is integrated pull your mixture off the heat and whip in any way you have available to you.  Some people put it in a jar and shake like maniacs, some people buy fancy milk frothing unitaskers, I use a cheap immersion blender and it suits me just fine.

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Pour your coffee into your mug, the more childish the better.  Is that a jumbo princess pen in the background, of course it is.  Why, don’t you have one?  Follow with your milk, reserving your foam.  While this is certainly not the correct way to pour a latte foam it works for my purposes and when I get my own spiffy espresso machine with a steam wand I too, will learn how to make superfluous latte art.

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Top with any random bits of orange zest you can find if you so desire and enjoy.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Smoothie

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One day I was walking the streets of Manhattan, doing what I do when I suddenly I realized I had depleted my granola stash and I was starving.  I hate buying food while out and about because it’s so expensive but sometimes you’re hungrier than most days and you want a treat.  Usually I go for sushi or smoothies.  When you think of smoothies on the go you usually think of Jamba Juice.  I kind of have a love/hate relationship with Jamba Juice, I love the fact there is a place completely devoted to smoothies (and they don’t completely suck, granted I’ve only had 2 or 3 different kinds–I find what I like and stick to it) but I hate how stupid expensive they are.  Every time I go I think to myself, “These ingredients are so cheap and it takes no time for you to make them.”  “Oh, but you’re paying for the convenience, blah, blah, blah.”

Fine.  Where was I?  Oh, so on this particular day I go in and see they have ‘Pumpkin Smash Smoothie’ on the menu, I had never thought of such a thing!  I ordered the light version and even that was pretty sugary for my tastes, but I’m not much of a sugar person (freak, right?).  Like many things I order or buy I thought I could make this fit my taste indulgences better at home.  Skinny Kitchen makes a lighter version of this smoothie that I used as a jumping point.

Disclaimer: My version tastes healthy because it is, if you want pureed pumpkin pie go to Jamba Juice or make a pumpkin pie and stick it in the blender, I won’t judge you.  I lied, yes I will.  That’s a crazy thing to do to a whole pie, why would you go through the whole effort of making a pie just to stick it in the blender?  You kind of want to do it now, don’t you?  Stop it, there will be no blender pies today.

I think this smoothie is a wonderful way to start the morning and I can never get enough pumpkin.  And for those of you asking why I’m eating pumpkin in January and not November, because it’s frickin’ delicious that’s why…and I was eating it in November.

I decided to do the calorie comparison for this recipe.

Nutritional Info – Jamba Juice Pumpkin Smash Smoothie – 16 ounce
Calories – 390
Fat – 0g
Carbs – 83g
Protein – 10g

Nutritional Info – Jen’s Super Awesome Good For You Pumpkin Smoothie – about 16 ounce (While I was easily able to finish the Jamba Juice version, I couldn’t finish my version because it was so super awesomely filling–I say mine is two servings) 
Calories – 325
Fat – 4g
Carbs – 35g
Protein – 28

Now if you feel like making it lighter or if putting oats in a smoothie weirds you out (just try it, worst case scenario you hate it and you feed it to that one person in your household who will eat anything), take out the oats and you save 75 calories, 1.5g fat, and 13.5g carbs.  But you also lose 8.5g protein.  I love oats, they’re always in my pantry and that’s saying a lot because pantry space is something I do not have a lot of.

Recipe:

1/2 c pumpkin

1/2 c yogurt (I used 0% Greek)

1 tbsp honey

1 cup milk (I used vanilla soy)

1/4 cup oats (non instant)

1/4 cup carrot

At first I was annoyed at myself for buying this measuring tool, but it’s so convenient for things like shortening and peanut butter.  Justin always uses it for things that don’t require it, like water.  I think he likes to pretend he’s Alton Brown.  Add your pumpkin to the blender.

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Add your yogurt, I use 0% Greek yogurt.  You just can’t beat that protein content.

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Carrot, what?  It’s an easy way to add vitamins and it pairs well with the pumpkin.  You don’t have to grate it but it does make it easier on your blender.

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I love this milk for the sweet vanilla flavor it offers.  Buy your milk in cartons–vitamins are light sensitive.

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Honey is a magical thing.

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I realize I’m going to lose a lot of you with this oat thing, maybe start with 2 tbsp and work your way up to the 1/4 cup.  Whatever, I think it’s good.  Use non instant, instant turns into a goopey mess and really, if you’re honest with yourself you only save like 2 minutes.  Regular oats are pretty instant if you want them to be.

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Jeez, someone likes cinnamon.  It’s true I love it.  I buy mine here.

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Blend, then add your ice.  I find this makes things easier on your blender.  But if your lucky enough to have a Vitamix or something, do whatever it is you Vitamix owning people do.  Add as much ice as you like, I like my smoothies thick (it will already be decently thick because of the oats).  If you feel like planning ahead you can freeze your pumpkin, avoiding your need for ice.  I am not such a person.

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Top it with some whip cream if you’re feeling frisky or if you’re going to take a picture of it and you need it to look pretty.

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Peppermint Vanilla Latte

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It’s about this time of year that I get sad.  The holiday cheer is gone, the Rockefeller tree has been taken down (not that I’m particularly in love with that tourist trap but that’s another issue), and Justin is threatening to take down my Christmas tree.  I start bargaining with him, which then turns to guilt trips, “But I make you all these nummies!” And I get one more week.  This usually lasts until late January, but I get sad nonetheless.  Bear in mind I have had my tree up since the first week of September but it was a Halloween Tree, there’s a difference, and that difference makes me not crazy.

Now I want you to understand something, I am a coffee purist.  I like my coffee black, but when I decide to add something to it I’m going to frou frou that coffee up.

This post is a plug for the wonder that is powdered milk.  I love this stuff because I’m 92% sure I have IBS and milk and I can’t be friends because of it, but we can be distant non blood related cousins.  So most of the time when I need milk I buy soy, but every once in a while Justin wants cow milk or a recipe does better with it or you want to bathe in it like Cleopatra–I don’t know, I don’t know your bathing habits.

If you do decide to buy this, buy it on the internets.  It’s stupid expensive at the store.

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Recipe:

1 cup espresso or strong coffee (I use a Moka pot and I love it)

3/4 cup skim milk

1 tbsp white chocolate chips

2 tsp peppermint coffee syrup or a couple drops of peppermint extract (peppermint extract is preferred but the syrup was on sale)

Grind your beans or do whatever you Keurig people do.

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Make your coffee.  Can you tell my Moka pot gets a lot of use?

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While your coffee is brewing make your milk mixture.  Add 1 tbsp of vanilla chips to your milk.

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I think I would probably prefer peppermint extract but it’s always expensive.  This was $2 at the store one day, I couldn’t resist.  Add as much as you like, I like 2 tsp.

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Froth that business.  I use a bargain immersion blender.  For those of you with fancy schmancy frothers, I don’t really have anything smart to say other than…

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…enjoy your unitasker.  Look at my foamage!  I heat the milk mixture just enough to melt the chips (it shouldn’t get uncomfortably hot, something about over heating the milk inhibits it’s ability to create a silky foam–be able to touch your pot) then blend for 30 seconds on the highest setting.  I can feel you at home baristas cringing.  Cringe away.

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Pour your coffee in your desired receptacle, mine is a happy Santa man.  Then pour in your milk mixture, holding back the foam.  Convention states you should add your foam first and pour your milk on top when doing this spoon method, but I’ve been snubbing my nose at convention this entire recipe so I figure stopping now would just be kind of silly.

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Don’t forget to make it pretty.

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