Tag Archives: coffee

How to Make a Healthy Version of Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

It’s no secret that I love coffee. It is very rare that a morning goes by without me enjoying a cup or two. I also live in the coffee capital, the birthplace of Starbucks. They are on almost every corner & as you probably know, they are constantly launching new seasonal drinks. The lastest one that caught my eye was the vanilla sweet cream cold brew coffee.

my Starbucks version of the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew
my Starbucks version of the Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew

I usually order very ‘boring’ drinks. I get a black americano, iced coffee or cold brew. Last week I was in Starbucks between personal training clients at the gym and wanted something more than black coffee.  I decided to give the vanilla sweet cream cold brew a try. I asked for very light vanilla sweet cream. I just wanted a splash. Even with the light sweet cream, it was too sweet for me. As I sat there sipping on coffee, I realized that this drink could easily be ‘re-made’ in a healthier version to save on calories & sugar!

My healthy version!
My healthy version!

This healthy makeover also saves you some money & makes it a diary-free drink. I actually liked this healthy version much better than the Starbucks drink. Best part – it’s really easy!!How to make a healthy version of

Healthy Version Starbucks Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew


  • cold brew coffee concentrate
    • my favorites: Chameleon Cold Brew (available at Costco or Target) OR Trader Joe’s Cold Brew (my favorite is the new French Roast – blue label)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
    • my favorite:  Silk unsweetened Cashew Milk
  • vanilla flavored liquid stevia – try this one 
    • OR substitute 1 packet stevia + 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ice (add more or less according to your preference)


  • Mix up cold brew according to directions. Usually they have to be slightly diluted with a little water.
  • Add in 1/4 cup of unsweetened cashew milk & a few drops of vanilla stevia OR 1 tsp vanilla extract & stevia to taste
  • Add ice 
  • ENJOY!!!

This makes a 16oz beverage. Increase amounts to 1/2 cup cashew milk,  1.5 tsp of vanilla extract and 3/4 cup of ice for a 20-24oz beverage. You can also play with amounts according to your taste preferences. IMG_5240

In the graphic below, compare the nutrition facts for my healthy version to Starbucks. No sugar in my version and only 12 calories! 

Starbucks Version

With this recipe you can enjoy a delicious coffee that doesn’t pack a ton of calories. Perfect for summer or to change up your daily coffee routine! 

Summer Ready Coffee + Coffee Ice Cubes

Summer weather is here and guess what?! You can still enjoy coffee, even in the summer. In this post I’ll show you how to get your coffee summer ready! IMG_0492.JPG

You guys know I love coffee, and even in the hot summer days of August I drink it. Part of it is the need for caffeine (and I use it as my pre-workout) and the other part is I really love the taste of coffee!

IMG_0007-0.JPGThe last few years, iced coffee has been all the rage. What is iced coffee? It’s exactly what it sounds like, coffee that is brewed the traditional way (with hot water) and then cooled down and served over ice. This coffee is usually made stronger so that when the ice melts the flavor of the coffee is not affected.

Now, cold-brew coffee is taking over. What is cold-brew coffee? It is coffee that is brewed in COLD water. This process takes much longer (12-20 hours) but produces a much smoother and richer coffee that you can enjoy over ice. 

How do you get cold-brew coffee? You can make your own (blog post on how to do that coming soon), or you can purchase a cold-brew concentrate. Stumptown Coffee from Portland has one that’s pretty popular and really tasty, but it is like $3-$4 for a single serving bottle. Trader Joe’s cold-brew that is my favorite. Get more info on it HERE. Depending on how strong you like your coffee, it lasts at least a week, if not longer. Much less than going to a coffee shop every day! You dilute the concentrate to your liking with water or your milk of choice. IMG_0011.JPGWhether you like iced coffee or cold-brew, you obviously need ice! When we were in Hawaii, we ordered iced coffee at this breakfast place, and they served it with coffee ice cube. It was so delish! That inspired me to make my own coffee ice cubes to add to my cold coffee. It is SO easy, if you have a ice cube tray, coffee and and coffee maker you can do this! 

What you need:
Coffee maker (french press or drip)
Ice cube tray

This is the ice cube tray I used. It is silicon and makes perfect cubes.  I LOVE this ice tray, its so easy to get the ice cubes out and very easy to clean. The brand is Tovolo, you can buy it HERE. I found mine at Homegoods but it is actually cheaper on Amazon.

Start by brewing the coffee. One 10-12 cup pot of coffee will fill the two ice cube trays. We only have a 4 cup coffee maker and I had to make two pots. 
Let the coffee cool a little bit before pouring into the ice cube trays. 
IMG_0015.JPGPlace the ice cube trays in the freezer overnight or until frozen. IMG_0014.JPG


Gently pop out how ever many ice cubes you need for your coffee. IMG_0013.JPG Then pour your iced coffee or cold-brew and enjoy! Don’t forget to dilute it a little bit with either cold water or milk, unless you like super strong coffee. 
IMG_0009.JPGI added cold water and a splash of cashew milk to mine. 

Do you drink coffee in the summer? Do you prefer cold-brew or iced coffee? Let me know in the comments below!

Stay cool!


Coconut Oil Coffee “Creamer”

Coconut Oil + Coffee ?

Sounds like it might be a strange combination right?! I thought so too, but let me tell you it is a delicious way to change up your morning coffee every once in a while. Coconut oil also has some added benefits that are worth mentioning as well. Another bonus: it’s REALLY easy to make!!
Just to clarify — this is NOT bulletproof coffee. The bulletproof coffee does have coconut oil in it as well as grass-fed butter. I have yet to try that combo in my coffee…but if I do, I promise I will blog about it. P.S. if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to my blog HERE


I know what you guys are thinking… I’ve jumped on the coconut oil train. The purpose of this post is not to tell you that coconut oil is some miracle food and can save the world.  Coconut oil has been shown to have health benefits, but they may not be the same for everyone. If you are looking for a way to add more coconut oil to your diet or a healthier way to doctor up your coffee in the morning – you MUST try this coconut oil coffee “creamer”.

I say “creamer” because it’s not dairy based creamer. Are you ready for the recipe? Here it is:

That’s it!! 

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plain brewed coffee & 1 tsp of virgin coconut oil
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Photo Apr 01 copy

 It is SO creamy and smooth. This ONLY happens if you use a blender. If you just add coconut oil to your coffee it won’t taste bad, but it certainly won’t be creamy and frothy. 

Photo Apr 01-2 copy

You may be wondering why coconut oil has gotten so much attention lately or why you should even bother trying it. Coconut oil is full of MCTs – medium chain triglycerides – these are easily converted to energy by our bodies and can help to rev your metabolism and can also reduce hunger. Some people get concerned that coconut oil is so high in saturated fat. These MCTs make up about half of the saturated fat in coconut oil.  There are good and bad saturated fats and coconut oil is one of the good ones. Just like any good fat source, it’s only good in controlled quantities so don’t over do it. 🙂 

Healthy fats help to steady our bloom sugar over time and also help us feel full, so drinking some healthy fat with your coffee in the morning will help you make it to lunch or snack time with more ease. 

Like I mentioned earlier, different things work for different people and I am not trying to tout this as a key to weight loss. It’s a great alternative to dairy creamer if you like to have creamy coffee and a creative way to add more healthy fats to your diet. 

If you give it a try, comment and let me know how you liked it! I’d also love to hear any fun coffee drinks you like – please share them in the comments! 

Stay sweet & caffeinated! 



Peppermint Mocha Makeover [Dairy, Gluten Free + no added sugar]

Do you love peppermint?? This time of year peppermint is EVERYWHERE! Whether its candy canes, peppermint bark or peppermint mochas. 
Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 11.34.28 AM

LOVE peppermint and dark chocolate together. My most favorite protein shake combo this time of year is chocolate protein powder with peppermint extract. 


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As an occasional treat, peppermint mochas are delicious too! However, the downside of the mocha of course is the amount of sugar… check out these stats:

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54 grams of sugar! Need I say more… 
If you really love peppermint mochas and want to have one every once in a while, consider having a skinny peppermint mocha from Starbucks. Check out the stats for the skinny:

Screen Shot 2014-12-05 at 11.05.41 AMStill has 13 grams of sugar, but comparably its’s so much better and the calories aren’t as high either. If you are out and about and want to have one as a treat, the skinny mocha is a much better option.
You can order a skinny peppermint mocha from any coffee place as along as they have sugar free peppermint syrup and sugar free chocolate sauce. And of course, leave off the whipped cream. 

The only downside to the skinny mochas is all the sugar free syrups and chocolates have a lot of chemicals and additives in them. SO – if you are able, try making your own peppermint mocha at home!! It’s so much easier than you would think! 

Peppermint Mocha Makeover

This peppermint mocha is dairy free, gluten free and has NO added sugar! Yum, yum, yum! A delicious coffee treat that you DON’T have to feel bad about.  (recipe card at bottom of post)

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½ cup unsweetened almond milk (can also use regular milk)
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder (can also use unsweetened coco powder, just be sure it is unsweetened)
½ tsp. raw honey (optional) or stevia
¼ tsp. pure peppermint extract
1 cup brewed black coffee (or 1 shot espresso)

Photo Dec 05-6

I did not use the honey to sweeten my peppermint mocha, however you can sweeten with honey or with stevia if you wish. You can use your favorite brewed coffee, you can use a packet of instant coffee with hot water, or you can use an espresso machine if you have one. 

To make:
Bring almond milk, cocoa powder, honey or stevia (if desired), and peppermint extract to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Photo Dec 05-7Photo Dec 05-8This is what it looks like once it is boiling.
Remove from heat; mix vigorously with a whisk until frothy.
Photo Dec 05-5Making this frothy is a serious arm workout! 😛 If you have a handheld milk frother you can use that too. 

Once frothy, pour coffee into a large serving mug (if not already there) and top with almond milk/chocolate mixture.

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Then enjoy!!!!!
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Peppermint Mocha Makeover
Serves 1
Dairy free and no sugar added version of this popular espresso beverage. Enjoy the season with no guilt!
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  1. ½ cup unsweetened almond milk (or use regular milk)
  2. 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cacao powder (can sub coco powder, just be sure it's unsweetened)
  3. ½ tsp. raw honey (optional)
  4. ¼ tsp. pure peppermint extract
  5. 1 cup brewed black coffee (or 1 shot espresso)
  1. 1. Bring milk, cocoa powder, and honey (if desired), and peppermint extract to a boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. 2. Remove from heat; mix vigorously with a whisk until frothy.
  3. 3. Pour coffee into a large serving mug; top with milk mixture.
  4. 4. ENJOY!
A Sweet Blonde & Her Fit Life http://sweetblondesfitlife.com/

REAL Pumpkin Spice Latte

Every year people go crazy for the infamous Starbucks pumpkin spice latte (also know as PSL) – it signifies to most people that fall has arrived. I personally am never ready for pumpkin until October 1st and consume my fair share of pumpkin 😀  I am also a huge coffee lover and pretty much don’t go a morning without it. 

Today I am sharing with you my “re-make” of the pumpkin spice latte. My version has REAL pumpkin, and I used a non-dairy milk. There is no added sugar, and its quite delicious.  (recipe card available below)

Here is what you will need:

Photo Oct 16-9

  • unsweetened almond milk
  • vanilla extract
  • pumpkin
  • nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice
  • coffee or espresso 

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combine all the ingredients (except coffee or espresso) in a small pan on the stove top. Heat until desired temp. Beat with a whisk until frothy. (if you have a milk frothed or espresso machine, you can skip this step)

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Place your desired amount of coffee or espresso in mug/coffee cup. – I used the Trader Joe’s “Coffee a Cocoa” – it’s a coffee with a chocolate undertone so it’s like a mocha. I wanted the chocolate taste, I have tried with espresso as well and it is really delicious both ways. 

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Pour contents of pan on top of espresso/coffee in the mug. 

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TA-DA! You are done and have yourself a pumpkin spice latte that is much healthier, lower calorie and much less sugar than the traditional PSL 🙂  also a better option to the “pumpkin pie spice” flavored creamers that are available out there. 

(if you have a milk frother or espresso machine,  and pumpkin, spices and vanilla to coffee or espresso and whisk. Then steam the almond milk and add)

If you like pumpkin and coffee, give this a try. I would love to hear what you think! 

Stay Sweet!

P.S. here are the nutrition facts for a tall (12 oz) Starbucks PSL latte – 300 calories and 38 grams of SUGAR! 🙁


Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 1.25.13 PM

Pumpkin Spice Latte
A delicious non-dairy pumpkin spice latte with no added sugar. A healthy alternative
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  1. 1 cup unsweetened dairy milk
  2. 1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  3. ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  4. 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  5. 1 cup brewed black coffee or 1 shot espresso
  6. 1 dash ground nutmeg (to taste; optional)
  1. 1. Heat milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, and extract in medium saucepan over medium heat; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until mixture is hot, but not boiling. It is ready when there are many small bubbles on the sides of the saucepan.
  2. 2. Remove from heat; mix vigorously with a whisk until frothy.
  3. 3. Pour coffee or espresso into serving mug; top with milk mixture.
  4. 4. Top with nutmeg if desired.
A Sweet Blonde & Her Fit Life http://sweetblondesfitlife.com/