Breakfast

Homemade Date Caramel and Vanilla Coffee Creamer

I have been making my own coffee creamer for about a year now and love playing around with different flavor combinations.  I start with my original Chocolate Almond Creamer recipe and swap in different extracts and sweeteners to change things up.  While I love the chocolate-based creamer, I have been on the hunt for something with a sweeter profile without a huge amount of sugar or other sweeteners.

My husband and I started a Clean Eating Challenge with our gym at the beginning of the year and have migrated to a semi-Paleo lifestyle, omitting all grains and most sugars and dairy.  Since I am addicted to food blogs and Pinterest, I have spent some time finding lots of different recipes that fit this lifestyle.  After making my 3rd or 4th batch of Homemade Larabars, I came up with the idea of making a homemade date caramel to add to my creamer.  While the caramel is pretty mind-blowing by itself, adding it to coffee every morning is pure heaven.

First step is to make up a batch of super easy date caramel.

Homemade Date Caramel and Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Homemade Date Caramel

6-8 ounces whole pitted dates
3 T. unsweetened almond milk
1 T. coconut oil
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
Sea salt to taste

Soak dates for approximately one hour.  This will make them more pliable and easier to process.  Strain and add to food processor.  Add almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract and blend until fairly smooth.  It doesn’t have to be perfect, as you will end up straining any larger particles at the end of the creamer process.

Add a pinch or two of sea salt and blend.  This will help with the sweet/salty flavor and gives the caramel the perfect kick.  Add more if desired.

Homemade Date Caramel and Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Ingredients:

6 cups half and half
1 batch Homemade Date Caramel
2 T. honey (I use organic raw honey from Tropical Traditions)
2 T. vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine first 3 ingredients in a medium sauce pan, whisking well to fully combine the caramel.  Bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat (usually takes 5-7 minutes).  As soon as it starts to simmer, remove from heat and add vanilla extract.

Pour through a fine mesh sieve into container of your choice and immediately refrigerate.

You can definitely adjust the recipe to make more or less, but this amount will last me about a week and a half in the fridge.  You could make the date caramel ahead of time and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to make your creamer.  You could also use vanilla beans for a stronger vanilla flavor.  Amazon generally has them for less than $1 each, Winco also has them in the bulk section but they are crazy expensive.

Please note: This is nowhere near as sweet as the store bought stuff.  It took my taste buds a week or two to adjust to the different flavor profile, but now I prefer the homemade version.  The flavors are true and are a great complement to my morning coffee.

Check out our Recipe Box for more ideas and inspiration.  Don’t miss our list of Homemade Pantry Staples as well, with great ideas for replacing boxed or processed items with homemade.

Don’t forget to follow This Beautiful Frugal Life on Facebook so you don’t miss an update.  We post lots of fun recipes, random thoughts on parenting, our journey through the clean eating world, our obsession with CrossFit and more.


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Recipe: Ham and Vegetable Frittata Muffins

by Melody on February 13, 2013

Ham and Vegetable Frittata Muffins

Now that my husband and I have started going to CrossFit on a pretty regular basis, we have really started to notice that our bodies are crying out for the right balance of foods.  We are trying to make sure that we are getting a good amount of protein to fuel our muscles and healthy carbohydrates for energy.

We have almost completely cut out grains from our diet, which makes quick make-ahead breakfasts a bit of a challenge.  Read: No toast, oatmeal, cereal, minimal fruit.  My husband leaves for work super early in the morning, so I needed to find something I could make ahead of time and would reheat well.  I’ve tried several different versions of these egg muffins and this is by far our favorite.  These are also really open to interpretation.  Change up your veggies or meat, add cooked and diced bacon, use sour cream instead of cottage cheese, what ever you prefer.

We heat two of these in the microwave for about 45 seconds each morning.  Quick and easy and delicious!

Make Ahead Ham and Vegetable Frittata Muffins

1 T. butter, bacon grease or coconut oil
8 eggs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup cottage cheese
2-3 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup green onions
1/8 t. fresh ground black pepper
12 slices deli ham

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter, bacon grease or coconut oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add diced mushrooms and cook down until liquid starts to release from the mushrooms.  Add spinach and give it a good toss.  Cook until spinach is wilted but not browned, about five minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

Add all additional ingredients, mixing well to distribute all the vegetables.

IMG_1985

Coat a 12-cup muffin tin with butter or coconut oil.  Place one piece of ham in each cup to form a bowl.  Evenly divide the egg mixture among each cup, fill them right up to the top.

Bake for 17-20 minutes.  The tops will be puffed up a little and the eggs will be just barely set on top.  I let mine sit in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: You could also use frozen spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry and roughly chopped.  Just add it straight to the additional ingredients instead of sauteing with the mushrooms.

Check out our Recipe Box for more ideas and inspiration.

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