Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Banana Cream Pie Smoothies

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Banana Cream Pie Smoothie (Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine, makes 2 servings or 4 smaller servings)

1 cup sliced ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons whole wheat graham cracker crumbs (about 1/2 cookie sheet- we have been omitting this ingredient)
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ice cubes (about 1/4 cup)
Graham cracker crumbs (optional)

Arrange banana slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until firm (about 1 hour). Place frozen banana and remaining ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately.

Blueberry Syrup for Coffee or Iced Tea

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Blueberry Syrup for Coffee or Iced Tea

4 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups water
1 cup sugar

Place blueberries in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Set sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth or paper towel over a bowl and pour in the blueberry mixture. Gently press out the juice with a spoon or by twisting the cheesecloth. Discard the pulp and measure the juice into saucepan. Add 1/2 cup sugar for each cup of juice and cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Chill and pour into covered jar. Store in refrigerator. Add two tablespoons to each glass of prepared iced tea or coffee. Stir well.

Thrifty Breakfast: Banana Cream Pie Smoothies

Monday, August 24th, 2009


If you have a big eater like me, making a breakfast that will fill your child up in the morning can be a real challenge. Although my little guy looks like a lightweight, he has been known to put away three to four bowls of cereal in the morning. This makes breakfast one of those meals that can really add up in our grocery budget.

Since his school year started, I am getting up early with him and have been making affordable breakfasts a priority in our house. Eggs, bread, oatmeal, and milk are inexpensive ingredients that I am trying to work into our morning meals.

One thing that I know my children really love is milkshakes. When I happened upon this recipe for banana cream pie smoothies, I knew that this would be a thrifty solution to get my kids fueled in the morning… in a really fun way.

When I got home from the grocery store, I sliced bananas and put them in this little dish in our freezer for our smoothies in the morning. I can get a whole bag of bananas at Aldi for $.99. I also bought the large tubs of low fat vanilla yogurt to add to the smoothie mixture. This is also an affordable steal compared to those small containers of yogurt. One tub equals approximately four batches of smoothies (eight smoothies in all).


To round out the meal, I make one or two slices of whole grain toast with a little smear of peanut butter on it. The kids love the combination and feel like they are getting a special treat in the mornings. I love to have one of these myself because they fill me up in the morning and have been a nice addition to my “only coffee” routine.

Just as one more fun idea to add to your morning routine, my son gets to choose his favorite breakfast on Fridays. They have a, “Fun Friday” at school where they get to wear their school t-shirt instead of a uniform. To go along with that theme, I make a “Fun Friday Breakfast.” He gets to choose what the breakfast will be that morning and all other days, I get to choose based on our time constraints. Can you guess what he chose this week?

I highly recommend adding this fun and thrifty smoothie to your morning routine!


Banana Cream Pie Smoothie (Courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine, makes 2 servings or 4 smaller servings)

1 cup sliced ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 tablespoons whole wheat graham cracker crumbs (about 1/2 cookie sheet- we have been omitting this ingredient)
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ice cubes (about 1/4 cup)
Graham cracker crumbs (optional)

Arrange banana slices in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until firm (about 1 hour). Place frozen banana and remaining ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Calories: 216 (12% from fat)
Fat: 2.8g (sat 1.5g,mono 0.8g,poly 0.3g)
Protein: 9.8g
Carbohydrate: 39.3g
Fiber: 1.9g
Cholesterol: 9mg
Iron: 0.4mg
Sodium: 145mg
Calcium: 315mg

A Fresh Blueberry Addition to Your Iced Tea or Coffee

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Making homemade syrups for drinks is something that I love to keep in our refrigerator to fancy up a glass of iced tea or a mug of coffee. Making homemade syrups does not take a lot of time, but it can make a regular glass of iced tea go from a standard glass to a fantastical gourmet treat.

Today, I wanted to share with you a fun recipe for making Blueberry Drink Syrup that can be added to your iced tea, your coffee, or even your margarita! Whatever gets you going in the morning, I promise not to judge!

To begin with, you will need four cups of fresh berries and two cups of water. Put these two ingredients into a pot and bring it to a boil. Once it is boiling, you can turn it down and let it cook for ten to twelve minutes on the stove.

While that is boiling away, grab a glass bowl (or something that won’t stain easily) and put your strainer on top. Line your strainer with a square of heavy-duty paper towel or cheesecloth.

Now bring your berries over to your bowl and pour them over the strainer. While you are doing this, stand way-the-heck-back because you will get splattered and it will be difficult to get those stains off of everything.

Once you have all of the juice strained, put it back on the oven and add one cup of sugar (or a 1/2 cup of sugar for each cup of juice that is strained). Reheat for two minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.

Now your syrup is all done and you can pour it into a clean jar. This can be stored in your refrigerator and you can use it whenever you feel like a little blueberry pie in your coffee or tea.

Add two tablespoons of blueberry syrup to your drink and please sit back with your feet up when you drink this! It is that kind of drink that speaks of summer and laziness to me. If you add a little cream to your coffee, I bet it will taste just like that slice of blueberry pie you have been craving!

This would also make a lovely summertime gift for a friend or loved one. Add a bowl and a label to the front with the instructions. I bet your friends will think you have truly risen to Martha Stewart status with this one!

Blueberry Syrup for Coffee or Iced Tea

4 cups fresh blueberries
2 cups water
1 cup sugar

Place blueberries in a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Set sieve or colander lined with cheesecloth or paper towel over a bowl and pour in the blueberry mixture. Gently press out the juice with a spoon or by twisting the cheesecloth. Discard the pulp and measure the juice into saucepan. Add 1/2 cup sugar for each cup of juice and cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Chill and pour into covered jar. Store in refrigerator. Add two tablespoons to each glass of prepared iced tea or coffee. Stir well.

Homemade Wendy’s Frosty

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

We really put our blender to work in the summer and I wanted to share with you one of my kid’s favorite treats for our homemade pizza night.

This is another fantastic recipe that I found on Hillbilly Housewife called, “Magic Milkshakes.” To me, this recipe tastes just like a Wendy’s Frosty with a fantastic balance of chocolate, creaminess, and the spoonable or sippable goodness that makes them one of my favorite summertime treats.

The magical component about them is that there is no ice cream in this yummy milkshake and that all the ingredients can be found in your cupboards. I adore recipes that can be whipped up as a fun surprise without the need to run to the store.

If you haven’t tried this recipe before, do not let another summer pass you by without putting this into your rotation! These are inexpensive, delicious, and will score coolest mom every points!


Homemade Wendy’s Frosty (The Magic Milkshake courtesy of Hillbilly Housewife)

1-1/2 to 2 cups ice water
1-1/2 cups nonfat dry milk powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 to 1-1/2 trays of ice cubes, as much as you can spare
2 tablespoons corn oil plus a 5-second squirt of non-stick spray for emulsification purpose (I substitute the corn oil with canola oil & you can read her notes on why you need that non-stick spray)

Place all of the ingredients into the blender, including the oil and the non-stick spray. Use less water for thicker milk shakes and more water for shakes that are easy on your blender motor. The blender should be about 3/4’s full. Place the lid on. Process for a full 2 minutes. Pour into cups and serve. Makes 4 – 12oz servings.

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Homemade Slushies

Homemade Slushies

Monday, April 27th, 2009

World’s Greatest Homemade Slushies (Courtesy of Hillbilly Housewife)

2 cups ice water
1 packet fruit-flavored drink mix (use your favorite flavor)
2/3 cup sugar
4 cups or 1 full tray of ice cubes

You need a blender to prepare this recipe. Put all of the ingredients into your blender. It will be about 2/3 to 3/4’s full. Put the lid on. Process the mixture on high for a full minute. Stop the blender, use a spoon to stir it a bit. Look for unchopped ice chunks. If all the chunks are grated up, then go ahead and serve it. You may need to process it for another full minute though. Serve immediately. I usually have to spoon this out of the blender with a measuring cup because the mixture is so thick. Makes 4 – 8oz servings.

World’s Greatest Homemade Slushies

Monday, April 13th, 2009

One of my kid’s favorite treats in the world are mom’s homemade slushies. I have been making these for years now and they never fail to be a hit with everyone in the family. My husband loves slushies even more than ice cream and he lights up just as much as the kids do when I break out the blender.

Slushies at our local ice cream joint really add up and we could easily spend about ten dollars getting everyone one of these. This recipe costs me about fifty cents for four and is just as good. Aldi offers Mixade variety packs that are even cheaper than the Kool-Aid brand and still make vibrant and delicious slushies.

I tried this with the no sugar varieties and they flopped and tasted more like a shaved ice than a slushie.

Go ahead, live a little! Bring on the sugar for a special family night treat!

World’s Greatest Homemade Slushies (Courtesy of Hillbilly Housewife)

2 cups ice water
1 packet fruit-flavored drink mix (use your favorite flavor)
2/3 cup sugar
4 cups or 1 full tray of ice cubes

You need a blender to prepare this recipe. Put all of the ingredients into your blender. It will be about 2/3 to 3/4’s full. Put the lid on. Process the mixture on high for a full minute. Stop the blender, use a spoon to stir it a bit. Look for unchopped ice chunks. If all the chunks are grated up, then go ahead and serve it. You may need to process it for another full minute though. Serve immediately. I usually have to spoon this out of the blender with a measuring cup because the mixture is so thick. Makes 4 – 8oz servings.

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Our Favorite Hot Cocoa Mix

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Hot Cocoa Mix

4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate fudge pudding

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. If a finer consistency is desired, you can pour the mix into a blender or food processor and run it through that. Store in an airtight container. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on your cocoa preference) of the mix to an 8 ounce mug of boiling water.

Our Favorite Cocoa Mix

Monday, December 15th, 2008

A good cocoa mix is harder to make than it might seem. I like my hot chocolate to be the right balance of creamy and chocolate goodness. It needs to be yummy enough on it’s own, but also be able to endure my loads and loads of whipped cream and marshmallows.

After trying and testing many variations in our house, we finally have determined that this is the best cocoa mix of all. It is the perfect ratio of everything and can make a fabulous gift to give to someone special in your life.

Most of the items, I am sure, you will find lurking in your pantry. We store ours in a thrifted jar with some festive ribbon. As a special Friday night treat, I load up a breakfast tray with all the fixings and mix up a batch of this to enjoy with a little popcorn. It is our holiday tradition that I hope the kids will remember. This recipe is tucked away in my holiday journal to give to them when they are older. I hope they will someday be serving this same mix to their own children. Ah, a girl can dream can’t she?

Hot Cocoa Mix

4 cups nonfat dry milk powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup non-dairy coffee creamer
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (4 ounce) package instant chocolate fudge pudding

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. If a finer consistency is desired, you can pour the mix into a blender or food processor and run it through that. Store in an airtight container. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on your cocoa preference) of the mix to an 8 ounce mug of boiling water.

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea

Monday, November 10th, 2008

It was cold and rainy today. The leaves have fallen off of the trees and the cold weather has come on with a vengeance. As soon as the weather starts turning, I start thinking of all the things that I love about autumn. The crisp leaves, the cool air, my cozy slippers, flannel sheets, and warm drinks.

My favorite warm drink is chai tea. The drink mixes are expensive, but mixing up a batch of this yourself can help to keep your pockets nice and warm with a little extra money. Most of the spices, dry creamer, and dry milk are already stocked in my pantry. The only additions I usually have to run out and get is the instant tea and powdered vanilla creamer.

To make the batch more smooth, instead of gritty, I process everything through my blender. I first mix all of the white ingredients in my blender (milk, sugar, creamer, vanilla creamer). I dump those in a plastic container and then I mix up all the brown ingredients (tea and spices). I pour this on top in the plastic container, seal the lid and give it a good shaking to incorporate or mix it up with a spoon. If you have a large food processor, you may be able to process it all together, but if you have a blender it is best to do this in divided batches.

Not only is this drink mix wonderful for yourself, but mixing up a batch of this and tucking some of it in a mug would be a wonderful gift to give to someone special in your life.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Homemade Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer
1 cup French vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
2 ½ cups white sugar
1 ½ cups unsweetened instant tea
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
¼ tsp white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it is a fine powder. Add two-three tablespoons of mix to 8 ounces of hot water or milk.

What is your favorite autumn/winter drink? Do you have any recipes to share for drink mixes?