Tag Archives: vanilla

weathering the storm

Monday Hurricane Sandy hit New York State, and I said goodbye to my internet, and house phone, and cable television, and electricity and cell phone service until today, Thursday. How did we weather the storm? Pretty well, actually, although it was mega-stressful and I’m pretty sure I gained a few pounds. Running the generator a few hours here and there during the day kept the food in the fridge good, and our gas stove meant we could cook even when the generator wasn’t running.

PumpkincoffeeUsing up what we had in the house was kind of fun. We converted some beef leftovers and a can of beer we had here into a French Dip for lunch one day. And then turned the leftover juice from that into French Onion Soup, smothered in cheese with a hunk of bread. Chili leftovers became Chili Cheese Dogs with Sauerkraut another day. We picked up some corned beef and the remaining sauerkraut and cheese became a Reuben.

Leftover coffee from the morning became a tasty gourmet treat in the afternoon when I rimmed the mug with cinnamon and sugar, added Vanilla Stevia, Pumpkin Spice booze, lots of whipped cream and a cinnamon stick and I celebrated Halloween yesterday by drinking my own invented Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

Yes, the storm was stressful. We had some tree damage. The generator didn’t work perfectly. I had to drive to town once on Tuesday to work in the parking lot of the bank because I needed the WiFi. And again I had to get in the car and go in search of signal last night to download edits from my editor that I could see in my inbox but couldn’t work on through the iPad. But all in all, we weathered Sandy well, and ate pretty damn well too.

my favorite things: stevia

Okay, I will freely admit that I hated Stevia the first time I tasted it. I’m not all that in love with its natural flavor now, to me it tastes like licorice and unless it’s alcoholic as in Sambuca, I don’t want licorice in my coffee. But I am slowly getting used to natural Stevia flavor the more I use it.

But the vanilla-flavored liquid Stevia I bought–OMG! What a difference some vanilla makes. I bought it as a non-calorie, all natural sweetener for hot coffee but I’ve ended up making the most delicious iced tea and iced coffee I’ve ever tasted in my life. And it’s healthy, and it’s not fattening. How can you go wrong? So now, instead of mixing powdered chemicals with water for my diet iced

tea, I boil a kettle of water, throw in a few teabags, sweeten with a squeeze of vanilla stevia and chill. It’s so tasty it’s like having a treat. And when I have leftover coffee in the pot, I put that in the fridge too, then add half and half and a squeeze of vanilla stevia and viola! My husband said it’s as good as the flavored iced coffee people pay a lot of money for at certain coffee shops we all know and love to hate. AND as I said before, no calories (except for that found in the half and half) and all natural (so my friend will stop yelling at me for using Splenda).

What is Stevia? My understanding is it’s a naturally growing plant but let’s turn to the all knowing Wikipedia for clarification.

220px-Stevia_rebaudiana_flowers Here’s a picture of the Stevia flower. Pretty, no? Now I like it even more! Here’s what Wiki says… “Stevia is in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America. The species Stevia rebaudiana, commonly known as sweetleafsweet leafsugarleaf, or simply stevia, is widely grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia’s taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar, although some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations.

With its steviol glycoside extracts having up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar, stevia has garnered attention with the rise in demand for low-carbohydrate, low-sugar food alternatives. Because stevia has a negligible effect on blood glucose, it is attractive as a natural sweetener to people on carbohydrate-controlled diets.”

I see it is also sold in chocolate flavor, which I’m very tempted to try for a Mocha Iced Coffee at home. There is also an Orange flavor which would probably be amazing added to sweeten whipped cream, though I guess the cream defeats the purpose of the low calorie sweetener. There’s also Root Beer, that I’m not so excited over but to each his own. I suppose it would be good in plain seltzer water for an all natural, low-calorie alternative to soda. Hmmm…..

So give it a try. It seems pricey but I paid under $10 for a bottle and I literally use only drops at a time. Perfect for summer, enjoy some Vanilla Iced Tea or Coffee without the guilt!