Ah, coffee. I could not imagine my life without you. I dream about you at night. I spend hours sipping you in the mornings, and get sad when the pot is empty. Sometimes I will make two pots. But only on special occasions. Coffee, you are my soulmate. My one true love, and the only constant in my life outside of er…uh, mah husband. He loves you, too (but not as much as me). After all our years together, coffee, I think it’s time we get a little more healthy with how we sweeten you. After all, you deserve nothing but the best ingredients.
There’s been plenty of well-publicized debate on whether coffee is good or bad for you, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that I drink coffee like a regular addict. It is what it is. And until recently, I never really put that much stock into the creamers I was using. I switched to mostly organic food a few years ago. My skincare followed soon after. But the one thing that I never stopped to regulate or even investigate was my one daily indulgence: coffee creamer!
Store-bought coffee creamers are generally not made up of actual “food.” At all. Common ingredients are corn syrup solids (yum!) or partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil. Partially hydrogenated oils = trans fats. There are also a lot of additives and preservatives in commonly used coffee creamers, and aside from tasting DELISH, they are likely doing you more harm than good. When you think of how much creamer you use in a week: 3-4 tablespoons a day (be honest, girl) x 7 days a week = up to 28 tablespoons of this gunk weekly.
Oh…but they have so many flavors now though, don’t they…? Cookie Dough. Bailey’s. GIRL SCOUT THIN MINT?! So. So. So. Tempting.
Well, I have a solution for you that is not only cost effective, but also YUMMY. A 16 oz bottle of Coffee-mate will set you back around $3. My solution will give you 30 oz for around $6. Not bad, eh? There are ways you can adapt this creamer to make it into one of your favorite flavors, and it will turn your coffee nice and creamy, like store bought creamer does, but without all the nasties. It’s also dairy-free for any of you with sensitivities. Each tablespoon is around 25 calories. All you need is five minutes and some cool glass mason jars. Let’s do this!
You will need:
- 24 oz or bigger glass mason jar
- 1 14 oz can of light coconut milk (for you purists, regular is fine as well! Light just cuts back on the calories)
- 2 cups of your favorite unsweetened milk: almond, coconut, rice (out of a carton)
- 1/4 cup stevia or raw sugar if you prefer
- Optional for flavor: vanilla extract, cinnamon stick, peppermint extract, almond extract, any kind of baking extract you love!
Pour your light coconut milk out of the can into a pot. Follow by pouring 2 cups of your favorite milk into the pot.
Measure your 1/4 cup stevia or sugar and pour into the pot, and set the burner to low heat. Stir.
Add in your flavor: For me, 3 tablespoons of my usual, vanilla, is perfect. For you hazelnut fans, you can try 3 tablespoons almond extract. Heat only until the sugar or stevia has been absorbed and consistency is smooth. Take off the burner. Do not let it boil, just low heat, and a few stirs.
Pour your concoction into a glass mason jar and seal. Set it in the fridge, and use as normal coffee creamer! I usually go through mine in about 2 weeks or so.
OPTIONAL: If you like a little spice (as I do) you can put 1 cinnamon stick into your mason jar in the fridge, and keep it there for about 12-15 hours. Remove after that and discard. This will give your vanilla creamer a little bit of a spicy kick, which is just how I like it. Not too strong, either, just a hint.
Another variation on this that I LOVE is chocolate peppermint: just sub in chocolate-flavored almond/coconut/rice milk and add three tablespoons of peppermint extract.
Digging into the ingredients: coconut milk has many benefits aside from being delicious. It may actually speed up your metabolism and has been linked to antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Coconut milk is so nutritious that it can also make your hair and skin more healthy from the inside out helping with dandruff, flaky skin, and even fine lines and wrinkles. Well, you would probably have to drink a can of the stuff a day to help with the wrinkles, but a little in your coffee creamer is a step in the right direction, I say! (I will take what I can get.)
These recipes can be adjusted to whatever you would like, and once you get going on it, trust me, you won’t go back to your conventional coffee creamers! These little mason jars full of homemade creamer make wonderful gifts as well, I have found. The recipe is so easy, and the price is nearly exactly the same…so I have no complaints whatsoever! If the cost and calories are comparable, and I am actually getting some nutrition out of my daily coffee creamer, I say this is a win on all levels, don’t you think?