Archive of ‘Drinks’ category

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Coffee (Inspired by Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte)

Confession: I’ve never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. 

It’s true! In general, I’ve never been a big fan of Starbucks coffee, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that I have managed to miss the PSL craze year after year. However, people seem to go absolutely bananas over this thing. Why? I don’t get it.

I decided to investigate, and was shocked as to what I found out. Granted, most people are not freaks about reading ingredients and most folks don’t pay attention to things like sugar content, but I am, and I do, and my reaction was something like this:

First, the pumpkin spice latte contains no actual pumpkin. It’s basically a mix of espresso and high fructose corn syrup. The average size PSL has 49g of sugar and 51g of carbs! Holy. Moly. That is more sugar than a regular can of Coke (39g), more sugar than a bag of Skittles (47g), more sugar than a can of Red Bull (27g), and more carbs than a Big Mac (46g). Y-I-K-E-S! And, don’t think those numbers drastically improve by using non-fat milk or ordering it sans whipped cream because they don’t.

Sorry, I’ll stop being a total buzz kill and get to the recipe!

I discovered this recipe when I was trying to make Pumpkin Pie Popsicles for a dinner party. I had some leftover popsicle mix, stored it in a mason jar, added it to my coffee the following morning. WOW! Yum, yum, yum!

Homemade Paleo Pumpkin Pie Coffee

Note: This recipe will fill a pint-sized mason jar. I was adding this to a 16 ounce travel mug and it easily lasted a full work week and then some!

Pumpkin Pie Coffee - Cucina Kristina |cucinakristina.com

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free… we’re taking care of all dietary restrictions in one fell swoop!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut milk – (I use Silk brand, not full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of high quality sea salt

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week.
  3. Use in place of creamer in your favorite coffee.

Note: The pumpkin puree will settle in the bottom of your mug if you do not drink this quickly. Have a spoon on hand to give it a stir if you are savoring the flavor.

Also, apparently vegans are up in arms because the current Starbucks PSL cannot be made vegan. Guess what? The above recipe is vegan! Pass it on :-)

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!)

I’ve been intrigued by juicing ever since watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix a few months ago. The film follows a man who was 100 pounds overweight with all kinds of autoimmune disorders. He starts juicing in an attempt to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle. It was an interesting film and inspired me to start using the juicer that was collecting dust in my basement.

One of the main motivations to start juicing was the fact that I had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to be at school by 7:30. It was hard for me to eat a full breakfast that early; nothing sounds appetizing when you are still half asleep! But, since I didn’t want to leave the house on an empty stomach, I decided to give juicing a try.

The results were amazing! I had a ton of energy and didn’t experience the harsh crash in the afternoons that I usually get with coffee.This is one of my favorite juice recipes. I stuck to this one almost religiously because it wasn’t overly sweet. The lemon gave it a nice tartness and the parsley added a refreshing finish.

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!) - 1/2 cucumber, 1 small apple, 1 lemon, 1 small handful of parsley (about 1/4 cup), 3 stalks kale, 2 handfuls of spinach (about 3 cups). Roughly chop apple and peel lemon. Run all ingredients through a juicer. Enjoy immediately! | Cucina Kristina cucinakristina.com

No mid-afternoon crash!

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!)
*This recipe requires a juicer.

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!). No mid-afternoon crash! Run all ingredients through a juicer. Enjoy immediately. | Cucina Kristina cucinakristina.com

Green Juice Boost (of energy)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small handful of parsley (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 stalks kale
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (about 3 cups)

Directions:

  1. Roughly chop apple and peel lemon.
  2. Run all ingredients through a juicer.
  3. Enjoy immediately!

How To Correctly Put a Lid on a Coffee Cup

Fall is in the air! As much as I miss living in California, there is no better place to be during the fall season than the Midwest. It is always sad to say goodbye to summer, but these things help make the transition easier:

  • College football season (Go Bears!)
  • Boots (I’m in love with these, these, these, and these!)
  • The smell of burning leaves
  • Sunday drives through the forest preserve
  • Apple picking, apple cider, apple butter, apple donuts
  • Canning the last of summer’s bounty (my new project this year)
  • Pumpkin carving & roasting the seeds
  • Oktoberfest & seasonal beers (Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale? Yes, please!)
  • Scarves and hats

and finally…. warm pumpkin-spiced coffee drinks! I can’t think of anything more amazing on a chilly autumn day than the smell of fall in my coffee cup. I’m dying to try this homemade version of a Pumpkin Spiced Latte from Averie Cooks using pumpkin puree and almond milk. How delectable does that sound?

Speaking of coffee, am I the only one that has major issues with coffee dribbling down the side of my paper coffee cup? I have coffee stains in my car, on my gloves, and on the front of countless shirts because of this. Little did I know there is a simple solution to this problem.

I was in Boston three weeks ago for the last leg of my honeymoon, and I stopped into Wired Puppy for my morning cup o’ Joe. At the sugar/creamer station, they had a photo tutorial explaining the proper way to put a lid on a to-go cup of coffee. Ever since following their directions, I have had zero coffee dribbles on the front of my shirt. This is seriously exciting news. I wish I knew this years ago.

How to Correctly Put a Lid on a Coffee Cup

Step 1: Find the cup seam.

Cucina Kristina: Cup Seam

Find the cup seam

Step 2: Put the lid on with the spout facing opposite the cup seam.

Cucina Kristina: Put the lid on with the spout facing opposite the cup seam and your beverave won't dribble down your shirt.

Put the lid on with the spout facing opposite the cup seam.

That’s it? Seriously? All I had to do was rotate the lid?! Does this mean I can finally have nice things? :)

Leftover Brewed Coffee? Freeze it!

I brew my coffee every morning using an electric percolator. My mother used to make her coffee every morning out of the same pot I use today when I was growing up in the 80′s. Now, as the only coffee drinker in my home, I am usually left with leftover coffee. What can you do with leftover brewed coffee?

Cucina Kristina: Freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays. Use to cool hot coffee without diluting it or add to a glass of milk for an iced coffee

Break out the ice cube trays!

Freeze it! Then, you can use the frozen coffee cubes to cool down a hot cup o’ joe in the morning or you can add a few cubes to a glass of almond milk and enjoy an iced coffee on a hot summer day. Like today. 84 degrees, 64% humidity, not even 11 a.m. Yeesh!

Cucina Kristina: Freeze leftover coffee and add to almond milk to make iced coffee

Iced coffee

Above, I have the Vanilla Chai-Spiced Coffee from Trader Joe’s – love! My grocery store sells individual packs of flavored coffee by a company called Steep & Brew for $1.29. The package claims it makes a single pot of coffee, but that is really inaccurate! I can typically get about 4 pots of coffee out of one bag. I tend to make my coffee quite strong, too. Some of their flavors include:

    • Icing on the Cake
    • Hot Buttered Rum
    • Amaretto French Roast
    • Chocolate Nirvana
    • Vanilla Taffy
    • Irish Whiskey & Cream

Delicious.

While we are on the topic of coffee, how cute is this ad for coffee from Beans & Beyond?

Cucina Kristina: Beans--Beyond---Extra-Strong-Coffee-Ad

“Hoo” wants another cup? :)

Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears

Our friend, Debbie, makes these whenever she has a party and they are always a huge hit. They are easy to make and deceptively innocent. What could be a better party treat? I made these for a Super Bowl party and they went faster than I had anticipated! You can use any type of vodka for this, but remember you will be consuming the alcohol so you might want to spring for something with a little bit of quality.

Step 1: Fill glass mason jars or a glass bowl with gummy candies. I used gummy bears, gummy cherries, and gummy raspberries.

Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears. Soak gummy bears in vodka for a minimum of 3 days. Much cuter than a jello shot! | via cucinakristina.com

If you do not have glass jars, you can use a glass bowl or baking dish.

Step 2: Pour vodka into the jars so it covers the gummy candies and place the lid on the jar. If you are using a glass bowl, cover it with plastic wrap making sure the plastic wrap does not touch the vodka, and place jars in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 days. The longer they soak, the stronger they will be!

According to some sources on the internet, plastic and vodka don’t mix. Apparently, the vodka breaks down the plastic causing it to be harmful when ingested. I keep finding conflicting information about this, and I am pretty certain I have seen vodka sold in plastic bottles. Just to be on the safe side, I am going to advise you to not let the plastic wrap touch the vodka.

Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears. Soak gummy bears in vodka for a minimum of 3 days. Much cuter than a jello shot! | via cucinakristina.com

Ready to head to the fridge!

Step 3: Occasionally, you will want to turn the jars and let them stand upside down for a few hours. This will promote even absorption. The gummy candies will swell pretty significantly so leave a little more headspace in the jars than I did.

Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears. Soak gummy bears in vodka for a minimum of 3 days. Much cuter than a jello shot! | via cucinakristina.com

My finger for size reference.

Step 4: When you are ready to serve you vodka-infused candies, give them a quick rinse under cold water and divide into small cups. I found 3-ounce cups (100 count) at Walmart for $1.29.

Vodka Soaked Gummy Bears. Soak gummy bears in vodka for a minimum of 3 days. Much cuter than a jello shot! | via cucinakristina.com

Yum!