CAN’T I JUST HAVE A LATTE?

Today is day 4 of the sugar detox, and I can’t already feel the results!

Surprisingly, the past 3 days have gone a lot better than I imagined. Not only have I avoided all added sugars, I’ve been eating a lot of fruits & veggies and just focusing on healthy choices. Because most processed foods also have sugar, I’ve had next to nothing processed, besides bread.

I will say, though – the one thing I am missing terribly is this.

I actually never used to be a creamer-in-my-coffee kind of person, but ever since I found this stuff I am. I love the SO Delicious creamer because it’s non-dairy, not full of crap (except carrageenan… I know), and it tastes amazing. The creamer is sweet enough by itself that you don’t need any sugar either.

But that’s exactly why I haven’t touched the stuff this week. One tablespoon only has 4 grams of sugar, and that’s all I’d use anyway. But no sugar means no sugar!

I’m not really craving sweets or sugary things. But I am craving a good cup of coffee, dang it! I love coffee! I wanted to see if I could make a decent latte without sugar, and guess what? I DID!

Okay, maybe I’ll a little more excited about this than I should be. But this girl loves coffee.

Ready for the recipe? It’s super easy.

NO SUGAR CINNAMON LATTE

I’m avoiding calling this a “sugar-free” latte because I associate that name with artificial sweetener. 

You’ll need:

  • cinnamon 
  • nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • unflavored coffee grounds
  • 1 1/2 cups water

To make:

Put your desired amount of grounds in the coffee pot to make 1 1/2 cups of coffee. Top with a heaping spoonful of cinnamon. Mix the grounds and cinnamon together. Brew as you normally would.

Put 1/2 cup almond milk in a sauce pan, depending on how you like your latte. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to your taste. I added about half a tablespoon of cinnamon and a few dashes of nutmeg. You don’t want to over do it on the nutmeg.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk mixture

Heat until warm. Froth in the blender on high for 1 minute or with a milk frother.

Pour coffee & milk mixture into mug and enjoy!

No Sugar Cinnamon Latte

Oh, beautiful little latte!

The verdict on this? It turned out WAY better than I thought it would. I usually use vanilla and honey to sweeten my lattes. While that’s good, this latte didn’t taste like it was lacking sweetness at all.

No, it’s not sugary-sweet like a Starbucks latte. But it’s not all, “oh, this is just a substitute for what I really want” kind of thing either. It truly did satisfy my latte craving!

Questions for You:

  • Do you care for “lightened up” versions of things you crave, or is it better to just have the real thing?
  • For those of you doing the challenge, what are you craving this week?

VERY VANILLA PROTEIN MUG CAKE

An unwritten blogging goal of mine for the year is to post more recipes. Trying new recipes definitely goes in waves for me, and I see that wave picking back up again. Sometimes I’m just interested in creating things and sometimes I’m not. While I never want to have a true food blog, I hope the creativity in the kitchen is back on the rise again. 

One of my top-viewed posts of all time is this Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Mug Cake. I figured that meant y’all really liked mug cakes. And so I gave this popular recipe a vanilla counterpart.  

Very Vanilla Protein Mug Cake - super easy healthier dessert option you can make in 5 minutes or less!

If you think you can’t have your cake & eat it too, I think this cake proves you wrong.

To make this cake healthier, there is whole wheat flour, no added fat (besides that of the chips), and there’s a protein bonus. Plus, you’re making this at home and not buying Little Debbie snack cakes, so you know what the heck is actually in it. 

Have your cake and eat it too! 

Very Vanilla Protein Mug Cake

I was skeptical that the protein powder would be chalky or obvious tasting, but it adds just the right amount of vanilla flavor and sweetness. This cake is so gooey, moist, and especially good warm right out of the microwave. 

VERY VANILLA PROTEIN MUG CAKE

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk (I used unsweetened)
  • 1 egg 
  • splash of vanilla extract (more if you love that flavor) 
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I used Skoop) 
  • not quite 1/4 cup whole wheat flour 
  • handful of white chocolate chips 

Frosting

  • hanful of white chocolate chips
  • splash of almond milk 

Directions 

1. Put all cake ingredients in a bowl and stir well. If it seems super runny, add a little dash more of flour. 

2. Spray a mug of your choice with cooking spray before pouring the cake batter into the mug. 

3. Cook in the microwave. Times vary greatly so do 15-30 second increments. This cake took me 1 minute and 15 seconds until it looked “done” to me. The middle was still raw looking, but it was just the surface and was done all the way through. 

4. Take a plate and plop the cake onto it. It should slide out easily. 

5. Make the frosting by putting the chips and a little almond milk into another bowl or rammekin. Microwave for 30 seconds until chips melt. Stir and drizzle over cake. 

6. Serve with additional white chocolate chips if desired. 

My biggest draw to mug cakes is the fact that they are quick and single serving.

When my sweet tooth strikes, which is really all the time (who am I kidding?), it’s so much easier to make something like this with ingredients I have on hand instead of buying (and eating) an entire tub a mini chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s (no, I’ve never done that before…). 

If you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you! Have a favorite mug cake recipe or other healthy dessert? Feel free to share it in the comments  

Questions for You: 

  • Yay or nay for mug cakes? 
  • Vanilla or chocolate? 

Boston Butt vs Pork Shoulder

Asked about Boston butt vs pork barrel, a person, who is not particularly keen on what he eats, will surely say that both are the same; after all, he is just eating the same meat. But if you would ask an expert, the expert would tell you that there are similarities and differences between the two.

Boston Butt vs Pork Shoulder

Boston Butt and Pork Shoulder: Similarities and Differences

Some recipes will ask you to buy Boston butt while others will tell you to buy pork shoulder. Moreover, you may sometimes ask which is better to buy between the two. You can’t, however, resolve this question if you don’t know the differences and similarities between the two.

Boston Butt

Boston butt, of course, is an American name for a certain cut of pork. This cut is derived from the upper section of the pig’s shoulder, just right above the front leg. It may also contain the blade bone.

Boston Butt is also referred to as the “pork-shoulder-on-the-bone.” Moreover, it is the most common cut of pork for pulled pork which is the staple of barbecue popular in the southern parts of the United States. In the UK, however, Boston butt is referred to as “pork-shoulder-on-the-bone.”

The name “Boston butt” originated from the pre-revolutionary years of New England. In New England before, butchers usually took less-prized pork cuts like shoulders and hams, and then, packed them together using barrels for easy storage and transport.

These barrels were known as “butts”—a term that is etymologically derived from “buttis” which is a Latin word for barrel or cask. Soon after, the name “Boston butt” has been casually used to refer to a particular shoulder cut. The use of this term, however, first officially appeared in print in the year 1915.

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder, on the other hand, is a cut of meat that refers to where it comes from. This cut specifically comes from the pig’s forelimb’s shoulder. Other terms for the pork shoulder include “picnic roast” and “picnic shoulder.” The pork shoulder is best cut-up for stews, braised, or used for making ground pork.

The pork shoulder is characterized by a triangular cut derived from the area of the pig’s body, right above the front leg. This cut is often not expensive. It also contains the skin and fat layer when sold. The picnic ham cut includes this cut and more often it contains the leg bone.

This pork shoulder cut is derived from an area that is well-exercised. Hence, it is flavorful, but it doesn’t contain much fat marbling. Moreover, the meat of this cut is tough and needs to be cooked properly.

The pork shoulder is best cooked using a long and slow cooking process. With slow cooking, you can tenderize it as well as melt its fat. You can best cook the pork shoulder by braising or by stewing it. It can also be baked or fried if it has been turned into ground pork. Furthermore, it is best for serving in slices

Boston Butt vs Pork Shoulder

The Boston butt and the pork shoulder are taken from the same section of the pig’s body. So, if you would ask me which between the two is better tasting, I would say they almost have the same taste. Pork shoulder, however, comes from the triangular-shaped end of the pork shoulder.

The Boston butt, however, is taken from the same area just above the pork shoulder. This area is thicker and more marbled than the pork shoulder. Both are also derived from the front limbs and not from the hindquarters.

When it comes to cooking, the pork shoulder is considered by many as best cooked when whole. The Boston butt, on the other hand, is best for other recipes and for making pulled pork wherein the meat is meant and allowed to fall apart. What I mean is that since the Boston butt has more marbled fat, this marbled fat usually falls apart easily once you cook or tenderize the Boston butt. 

Conclusion

Both Boston butt and the pork shoulder are great cuts. You can use them interchangeably in many recipes and you will find it hard to tell which is which when cooked. So, the phrase Boston butt vs pork shoulder is really irrelevant because both cuts are almost the same and are interchangeable in many recipes.

Charcoal Grill with Smoker box Attached

Charcoal-grilled foods are some of the best-tasting foods in this world. Yet if you add a smoke box on top of your charcoal grill, you would surely further add flavor to your favorite foods. However, finding the best charcoal grill with smoke box attached is not easy. You need to consider several factors like the type of grill, its size, its design, and many other factors.

Charcoal Grill with Smoker box Attached

Factors to Consider When Buying a Charcoal Grill with Smoker Box Attached

Aa mentioned above, there are several factors that you need to consider when buying a charcoal grill with a smoker box and here are these factors:

Size and Type

There are myriads of charcoal grill models on the market today. Some come with a special smoker box that is attached to the charcoal grill’s side. The box, called “firebox” comes with its lid. While other types come with a smoke box that you can fill with different types of wood. Some come with optional smoke box and may cost less than those with a smoke box attached to them. Charcoal grills also come in vertical or horizontal forms.

So, if you want to buy one of the best charcoal grills for your needs, you should choose something that has a large cooking surface. Something with 500 square inches to make the cooking process easy for you.

Choose Something with Good Design!

Great charcoal grills come with adjustable air vents underneath the burning charcoal area. These vents let you control the heat and temperature of the grill. It also helps oxygen flows into the grill to keep the coal burning. Thus, when buying a grill, you should also consider the position of the vents if they are well-positioned. Carefully consider also the quality of its grates. The grates should be able to withstand intense heat. It should be cast-iron to get the best results. You should also consider its shelves. If you intend to cook vegetables, you should go for something that comes with many cooking shelves. You should also go for stainless steel grills to ensure it can handle intense heat.  

It Should be Easily Transportable!

Some grills don’t have casters or wheels for easy mobility. However, when you buy a grill, you should go for grills with wheels or casters. This will allow you to easily move the grills from one place to another.

Trays and Accessories

You will surely need worktables that readily fold out on each side for extra space for food during, before, and after cooking. You should also choose something that allows for added accessories. Some accessories also include special cooking pans and cooking woks.

How Ashes are Collected!

Beneath the cooking grates, you would put burning charcoals during the grilling process. If there is no ash-collection mechanism underneath, you will surely find it hard to clean the grills after using it. The coals are usually suspended above the area where the ash remains. Thus, if the ashes disposed of easily, then, the coals would burn better, and the air circulation would improve within the grill. Thus, in its design, the ask collection for disposal should be quick and easy.

How to Smoke Food Using a Charcoal Grill?

If you have a charcoal grill, you can enhance the flavor of your food by simply creating a smoker box. Here are some simple steps on how to create your own smoking grill. If your grill doesn’t have a ready-made smoker box, you can then buy a smoker box. You can use this smoker box to enhance the flavor of the meat that you are grilling by putting wood or wood chips onto your disposable smoker box. Each wood can usually add a distinct flavor to the food that you are cooking. You will be needing several handfuls of wood chips during the grilling process.

You should arrange the coals for indirect cooking. You should ensure that one side is cooler than the other side. Then, place the smoker box on top of the coals. If you want to smoke food, you should regulate the temperature of the grill to slow down the cooking process. Lastly, the length of cooking usually depends on which type of meat you are going to cook. If you have money however, the best way is to buy a charcoal grill with smoke box attached to use specifically for smoking food.