Sweeteners: Stevia

Stevia is my choice sweetener. I really prefer it in drinks over all the other sweeteners I've tried.
I prefer the liquid form, in the bottle with the dropper. It takes an average of two spoonfuls of sugar to sweeten a cup of coffee, were only a couple drops of stevia would suffice. Apparently it's 30-45 times sweeter. It also can be found as a green powder, and a refined white powder. I usually purchase mine at a local health food store. But you can also get it online at several different places, I like the NOW brand, nowfoods.com.
It does have a particular taste, which has kinda grown on me since I started using it. Though my Mom and sis, Abi, are dead set against it. Mom says it gives her a headache, and Abi doesn't like the taste. But I feel I need to mention, Abi also likes to drink watered down apple cider vinegar, sweetened with honey, so you can just keep that in mind. (I have a deep dislike for apple cider vinegar)


Penzeys Spices: Hot Chocolate Mix, with a hint of mint.

I just love chocolate and mint. I'd be happy to replace a regular cup of hot cocoa with this any time. And it has very simple ingredients, which I appreciate.

Their website is not the easiest to navigate, I think might be geared more towards the retailers. http://www.penzeys.com

On the side of the jar, they recommended adding a spoon full of this mix to your morning coffee, which I did try, very yummy.

And you can actually see the sugar granuals in this.


Recipe Review; Mock Champagne

I'm not really into making the non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks. But I found recipe in an old Betty Crocker cookbook, and the name 'Mock Champagne' just caught my fancy.
It was nice. If you like apple juice and bubbles, than you would probably enjoy this. It's a very simple recipe and the soda pop could easily be substituted with carbonated water for a little healthier version.
The only thing is, it needs to be enjoyed right away, the bubbles soon expire. But a possible solution would be to store a pitcher of plain apple juice in the fridge, and then whenever it's wanted you could fill a glass, 2/3 soda pop - 1/3 apple juice.

Mock Champagne Cocktail
Betty Crocker's Cookbook; Text Edition
7 oz. lemon-lime carbonated beverage, chilled
1/2 cups apple juice
3 thin slices lemon
Just before serving, mix carbonated beverage and apple juice. Serve in stemmed glasses with lemon slice in each.
3 Servings.

I used a can of soda pop, and it was actually 12 oz., so I just doubled the apple juice and made 6 servings.

We really like our old cookbooks. They're like a history book, you can learn so much about past cultures from them.


Recipe Review; Picnic Punch

Ahhh, pineapple and orange juice. I simply love good pineapple and good oranges. I like it so much, sometimes I get sores in my mouth from (I think) too much vitamin C.

The cranberry, pineapple and oranges all went well together. I think I might skip the lemon next time, and add a little bit of sweetener. I really want to try stevia. Also, carbonated water might be something to try, instead of the ginger ale.
Of course, after adding the ginger ale, gotta serve right away, otherwise the bubbles get spent. But if you mix just the juices then it could be stored in the fridge and a cup could be mixed anytime desired.

Picnic Punch
(I have forgotten what recipe book this was from, but as soon as I figure that out, I'll mention it here)
2 qt.. cranberry juice
3 cups pineapple juice
3 cups orange juice
1/4 cups lemon juice
1 liter ginger ale, chilled
1 medium navel orange
Combine the juices in a large container, refrigerate. Just before serving stir in ginger ale and orange slices.
Yields: 5 qt.

Special Teas; Cocoa Cardamon Tango

In my Grandm's kitchen there is a basket full of small packages of teas from this Special Teas company, I'd never heard of them before, so I checked out their website and found they sell all kinds of different loose-leaf teas, among other tea related things.
Grandma had some larger packages and some of the smaller ones, which I really liked. Just the right size to try a blend out, without committing to a bunch of it.

Cocoa Cardamon Tango is the one I decided to try first. I would say that it was more on the cocoa side, then the cardamon, and I liked it that way. When sipped plain it's kinda bitter, I liked it best with plenty of cream and sweetener.


Recipe Review: Columbian Chocolate

I would give this recipe at least four out of five. Often hot chocolate is just too sweet for me. But this was really nice. And when I was melting the chocolate with the coffee and cinnamon, the smell was simply wonderful.

Columbian Chocolate
Betty Crocker's Cookbook, Text Edition
1 pkg. (60z) semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup strong coffee
1 t cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/2 t vanilla
In lg saucepan heat chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and salt over medium heat, stirring until chocolate is melted and liquid is smooth.
Add milk, heat through, stirring occasionally, but do not boil. Stir in vanilla. Just before serving beat with hand mixer until foamy.
10 servings, about 2/3 cups each.