homemade coffee creamer

So, I’m trying to kick my coffee creamer habit.

I know, this is drastic.  Very.  But it just means I’m one step closer to going all-organic, all-natural, all-local…  At least for the most part.  I, obviously, eat out with no problem, and when I saw that an organic pork loin was $15.99 a POUND at Wegmans last night (should’ve bought the one from Arden Farms yesterday morning at the co-op…grrr), I almost passed out.  Seriously, I had to double-check to make sure the price was right.  Yup, it was…  And I’m sorry, I’m willing to pay more for organic produce and milk, but be reasonable people!  FIVE TIMES the price is insane!

Anyway, back to creamer.  If you’re just joining me, you can read about my thoughts on coffee creamer here.

A little bit ago, a friend of mine left a comment here on the blog about Deliciously Organic’s homemade coffee creamer recipes.  I was intrigued, to say the least.  I’ll be honest, I always felt a little guilty touting all this healthy-food info, all while keeping my fridge stocked with something so blatantly UNhealthy.  (When I say ‘unhealthy,’ I’m usually referring to something processed or from a box, as opposed to actual fat and calorie count.  Real food is what I’m after, not necessarily low calories.)

Anyway…  I decided I’d give it a try.  I finished up what remained of my Cinnamon Sugar Latte flavored creamer and purchased the ingredients to make the Cinnamon Streusel flavor.  (I’m a huge cinnamon fan.)

Whole milk, heavy cream, maple syrup, cinnamon and vanilla and almond extracts.  Simple enough.  One of my main concerns with making my own creamer is that it won’t last as long in the fridge, since it isn’t chock-full of artificial stuff and preservatives, obviously.  I ended up making the whole recipe (end product is about 2 C), and I’ll see how long it lasts.

You heat the milk and cream just until it starts to steam, then add your flavorings.  The recipe recommended straining out the spices, but I didn’t have anything fine enough (note to self: buy cheesecloth), so the cinnamon that didn’t settle to the bottom make it in.  It has since settled to the bottom in the container (below) so it’s not a problem in the coffee.

I have one of those handy-dandy Tupperware salad dressing shakers that I don’t use (I usually make so little at a time that I just whisk it together in a small bowl), and I thought it would be perfect for this, and it was.  The 2 C fit perfectly and it seals well with a great pour spout–hurray!

And the verdict on the creamer is…

….unfortunately, only so-so.  It’s not as sweet, which isn’t that bad since it’s probably better for me to get used to a less-sweet cup of joe, but I still want SOME sweetness.  In terms of texture, the creaminess of it was great.  And there are definitely hints of cinnamon and the extracts, but overall, I don’t think it added much flavor.  So, I think I’m going to try another recipe next time.  Or adjust on my own.  I’ve been adding about a teaspoon of sugar to my cups in addition to the 2 tbsp (72 calories = about the same as the bottled kind) of homemade creamer.  Deliciously Organic has some additional recipes that seem to have a different ratio of cream to sweetener, so I might try one of those next (after calculating the calorie-count!) to see how I like it.

However, making my own creamer has made me wonder, do I even NEED a flavored creamer?  Wouldn’t sugar and milk or half-and-half do just fine?  Maybe.  But I do want to enjoy my coffee, and I really like tasting a distinct flavor.  Which brings me to my next point:  the flavor of coffee.

One day, when our little Keurig bites the dust (it’s actually starting to make some funny noises), I’d like to get a really nice coffee maker and grind my own beans.  I mean, if I’m going to have a cup every morning, I’d actually like to (one day) be able to really TASTE the coffee itself, and have an appreciation for a certain type of bean or roast.  I mean, if I’m going to grind my own beans and make it in a french press or something like that, I don’t want to dumb-down that hard-earned flavor with bottled crap!

So, perhaps I’m just starting out on this journey to transition from Kuerig coffee with creamer to good coffee in a coffee maker.  For now, I think I’m still interested in experimenting with homemade recipes–one that will give just enough sweetness and actual flavor, without breaking the caloric bank or pumping me full of artificial ingredients.

I’ll keep you posted!  Happy SUPER BOWL Sunday all–I’m off to the pool for a swim before church 🙂

can food incite feelings of naked-ness?

Or, rather, the lack of food?

OK, what I’m really getting as is that feeling you get when you forgot to wear your watch.  You know, that naked/’I forgot something’ feeling?  I was thinking about it the other day, and I feel that way about my fridge sometimes.  As in, if I’m out of certain things, all is not right with the world.  I feel like we have no food.  I feel like I cannot cook or clean or anything until I get to the store.  Most are probably obvious, but others, not so much.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1.  Spinach – I probably eat this stuff at least once a day, if not more.  I’ve started trying to eat my salad FIRST, because I think if I did that, I would eat even smaller portions for dinner.  The trouble is, it makes sense to eat the hot food first, as it will eventually cool down, whereas the salad won’t.  Dilemmas, dilemmas.

2.  Yogurt – I make my own, which means I need some leftover yogurt as well.  Andrew is a huge fan of Kefir, so I like having that around for his breakfasts.

3.  Bananas – I use half to sweeten my oatmeal and have been known to slather them in peanut butter, too.  I used to hate them once they got really ripe, but now I don’t mind so much.

4.  Fruit – Right now it’s citrus, as well as these tiny organic Honey Crisp apples I found awhile ago.  They are THE BEST.  I don’t care that they are $5.99 a bag.

5.  Coffee creamer – Duh.  Although, I’m seriously entertaining thoughts of switching to one of the Silk or Coconut Milk flavors once I finish this bottle, or even one of the more “natural” ones.  Anyone have any thoughts?

6.  Eggs – I don’t eat them very often by themselves (although I LOVE a good omelette!), but the lack of them means no baking, which would put me in a tailspin.

7.  Cheese – I usually have a block of parm, as well as a container of something else like feta or blue or gorgonzola.  They go in eggs, on top of salads or even with fruit.  Cheese sticks are an essential item; I pair one with an apple for a snack.

8.  Nuts – I have a giant bin I keep in the freezer of just about every nut around (three varieties of almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds…) for baking, making granola or topping salads and oatmeal.

9.  Seltzer – I’ve started drinking flavored seltzer sometimes when I just want something other than water.   I used to absolutely hate the “flavor” (it’s carbonated water with a tiny hint of flavor, but not sweet), but it’s something I’ve gotten used to.  I’m vehemently opposed to drinking my calories (except infrequent sodas and small amount of honey in tea, and, of course, beer and wine), and at 89 cents for a large bottle, I figured I should try to like it.

10.  Ice cream – I’m actually on the fence about this one.  I am an ice-cream-aholic.  I am.  Except that I don’t eat it that much; if I did, I’d have more room in my freezer!  Seriously, I have like five pints of Jeni’s and Graeter’s ice creams we’ve brought back from Ohio, plus a christmas flavor of Perry’s I bought thinking Andrew would like it.  He doesn’t, which means I’m stuck finishing it.  What I need to do is learn to have just a small scoop each night–the problem is that even when I use a small bowl, once I start scooping, it’s like I can’t stop.  I think I need a 12-step program…

Well, that’s probably about it. I also like having the ingredients to make things like hummus and granola on hand at a moment’s notice, so I guess I could include oats, real maple syrup and honey on that list, too.  Oh and dried cranberries (as well as other fruits) and nut butters.  I guess I could just keep going…

The good news is that I’m all stocked up right now and feelin’ good!