Guiltless Drinks to Warm You Up During the Holidays

I can hardly believe the weather here in the midwest latter half of November. I am amazed I can get around with just my leather jacket, and no gloves or hat yet. However, fall is definitely still in the air. The leaves are changing colors and falling, the sunlight during the day is shorter and the holiday parties have begun.

One Thanksgiving many years ago, I made homemade pumpkin spice lattes for everyone. I was with family we hadn’t seen in a while and we were catching up with. I made a huge pot of pumpkin spice lattes on the kitchen stove. Everyone gathered around in the kitchen reminiscing.

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Makes 1 – 2 servings

  • 2 cups soy or almond milk (vanilla is what I prefer), you can use nonfat cows milk
  • ¼ cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 ½ tablespoons sugar (can cut back if you don’t like it sweet)
  • 2 tablespoons imitation vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup espresso or ½ cup strong brewed coffee*

*I don’t make coffee at home, so I typically just pick up at Starbucks a pack of Decaf Italian Roast Via Instant coffee and make up one pack. I measure out just what I need.

Instructions

  1. In a large saucepan combine milk, pumpkin and sugar, cook on medium heat whisking with a wire whisk until steaming. An alternate method is to put ingredients in a small blender and blend all the ingredients and heat through in the microwave.
  2. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and spice.

Optional: Put in blender and blend until foamy, approximately 15 seconds.

Top with whipped cream, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg or cinnamon on top. Enjoy!

This next warm drink uses cacao, not cocoa. Cacao is actually what cocoa is before it undergoes a high heat roasting process. This is done to take away some of the bitter taste. Both forms have fiber and antioxidants, but the rawer form, cacao, has many more phytochemicals and enzymes that are great for your body. We know that cacao does great things for blood pressure, heart disease, helping manage insulin resistance and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Even though cacao and cocoa are closely related, you can’t just switch them out in recipes. This is why I experimented around trying to find a smooth taste with easy to get ingredients for hot cacao. This recipe has a mild chocolate flavor and rich warm milk taste to it.

I also wanted to create an easy to make bulk recipe that you can store in a canister and scoop out to make a mug when you are in the mood. If you want to just make one cup, not the bulk recipe, use this hot cacao recipe.

I store my hot cacao powder mix in a big plastic container with a quarter cup measuring cup stored inside. That way I can easily measure out 6 tablespoons or ¼ cup + half of the ¼ cup into my mug, and then add the milk. I have a warm mug at least three nights a week.

 

Cuddling Hot Cacao in Bulk

Makes approximately 20 servings

Instructions

  1. Measure out cacao, powdered sugar and cinnamon into big bowl.   Mix until blended.
  2. Get another big bowl and sift the dry mix into the empty bowl. The sifting ensures the lumps are out. Mix sifted mixture until well blended.
  3. Store at room temperature in a plastic container with a tight fitting lid.

For one smallish serving: measure out 3 tablespoons dry cacao mixture into a mug. Pour in ¾ cup almond milk (unsweetened vanilla almond milk is my favorite). Heat in microwave until desired warmth.

For one heftier serving: measure out ¼ cup + half of ¼ cup dry cacao mixture (6 tablespoons) into a mug. Pour in 1 ½ cups almond milk (unsweetened vanilla almond milk is my favorite). Heat in microwave until desired warmth.

Note: can substitute vanilla soy milk or nonfat cows milk.

Put on some music and sit back and relax, enjoy the warmth and indulge in the flavor.


I am a mother of 4, active in my church and community, and passionate about making food food fun, high energy and fascinating. I have no extra time to be slaving away in the kitchen or going to special markets for unusual ingredients and I doubt you do either. I will never ask you to eat food you don’t love. Read more >>

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