Friday, October 7, 2011

REAL Flavored Creamers

One of the last things I gave up on my food journey was flavored creamer. I adore a cup of hot coffee with a hint of vanilla nut, or cinnamon, or my all time favorite... peppermint mocha! Such a little tiny treat. Was it really that bad?

I began to notice that the coffee had a metallic taste to it when using the commercial creamer; a taste that I just couldn't ignore. And it seemed I had to use so much just to get the flavor! When I used just plain half and half, I used a fraction of the amount.  Something didn't seem right; red flags were going off in my mind.

Have you ever actually read the ingredient label on commercial flavored creamer? Cream isn't exactly listed. I noticed on one product's website, Coffee-mate, they don't tell you what's in the bottle except on their new line called "Natural Bliss". Good for them that they are getting the message... "We don't want fake food!".  In the Natural Bliss Caramel flavoring they only have "nonfat milk, heavy cream, sugar, natural flavor". Unfortunately, they only offer the caramel, vanilla, and sweet cream, but it's a start!

Another option was to do it the Starbucks way... add my own cream and an Italian syrup. Torani is the most well-known line in this department. The choices in flavors are endless! Let's look at the ingredients on my bottle of hazelnut (their site doesn't list ingredients either)...

"Pure cane sugar, water, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid, sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate (to preserve freshness), caramel color."

No thank you!

I went back to my half and half and tried to be content. Except during the holidays. I confess that I treated myself to a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Latta every chance I could get. They only have them for a couple of months a year, I reasoned. I needed to get them while I could. But the problem for me is that their coffee has way too much acid for my stomach (I have a hiatal hernia which means coffee is a no-no unless it's low acid). And the cost! The $3+ dollars per treat is a bit over the top when a cup of coffee from home is a fraction of the price. 

Then... a new day dawned!

Nicole at Pinch My Salt had a post last week that led me to Deliciously Organic where Carrie had a list of homemade flavored coffee creamers! (Please visit her site for the actual recipes). Creamers with ingredients like milk, heavy cream, maple syrup, extracts, and real spices! 

{jumping up and down with joy!!!}

So I tried the cinnamon strudel and it tasted like REAL cinnamon strudel, without the metallic aftertaste! It was easy to whip up in a few minutes because it was made with REAL ingredients I keep on hand (except I substituted half and half for the heavy cream the first time I made it because that's what I had; the second time I used the heavy cream and of course, I liked that, too!).

While I didn't do a break down of the cost per serving, despite the OUTRAGEOUS price I paid for the heavy cream, I'm almost 100% sure it was a lot less than $3 per cup including the coffee!

Win, win, win!!!

So for those of you who dearly enjoy a cup of hot flavored coffee on a cold, foggy morning before the sun is completely up (and the kiddos), may you now be able to indulge with only the guilt of a few added calories!

(I'll just exercise 5 minutes more today and live with it).


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