Monday, December 24, 2012

Makeover Monday: Skinny Maple Gingerbread Latte

First things first today; Merry Christmas to everyone!  I hope you all are enjoying some relaxing time with friends and family.  And with that, let's get to the main event here.  While you are spending time with said family and friends, I am sure that a warm, cozy, delicious beverage would help make the season merry and bright.  Perhaps something like what you would get from Starbucks?  

I know you have heard the horror stories of coffees from Starbucks that pack more calories than a cheeseburger.  With all the holiday eating going on, I definitely don't want to spend a lot my precious calories on a drink.  That's what cookies are for.  Also, the holidays can do a number on the old wallet.  So if you don't feel like shelling out $4.00 for a 400 calorie drink, check out this yummy, light, cheap, and easy to make skinny maple gingerbread latte.  Consider it my Christmas gift to you.

Some of you city folk may find this hard to believe, but I could probably count on my fingers the number of times I have actually been to Starbucks.  My first trip there was 4 years ago while I was in Chicago.  It was October, and the pumpkin spice latte was the seasonal drink.  I tried one, and I fell in love.  The few times I have been to Starbucks, I think only once I have had something else.  

While traveling to Denver this year for Thanksgiving, my husband and I stopped in Colby, Kansas.  It was a chilly day, and I was thrilled to see that the appropriately named "Oasis on the Plains (for those of you unfamiliar with western Kansas) had a Starbucks.  We patronized the Starbucks, after purchasing pickled quail eggs at the gas station for my husband's coworkers (you can't make that up!), and I, of course, ordered my beloved pumpkin spice latte.  Then, as we were leaving, I saw a poster for their gingerbread latte.  I couldn't help but wonder if I had actually made a mistake by ordering my usual.  Could a gingerbread latte be even better?  I feared I would never find out.
Fast forward to this past Thursday.  Thanks to a few inches of snow and a whole bunch of sick kids, this school food service director found herself with an unexpected day off of work, just in time for the holiday season.  I happily brewed myself a pot of decent coffee.  While sipping it, my mind went back to that gingerbread latte.  I had to try it.  But, alas, I am no where near a Starbucks.  Fortunately for us rural dwellers, thanks to the magic of the internet, we have the world at our fingertips.  

So I got on my computer and quickly located a recipe for a gingerbread latte.  This is really simple, and a few minutes later, I was enjoying my very own handcrafted, skinny gingerbread latte.  Because I haven't had the pleasure of trying the Starbucks version, I can't compare theirs to mine.  But I can tell you that this was delicious!  It was creamy, sweet, and well spiced.  Plus, by making your own you can personalize it to your own taste.  For me, that means adding maple syrup whenever possible.  If you aren't Buddy the Elf or me, feel free to use another sweetener of your choice! 

I hope this tasty coffee drink warms your holidays.  Merry Christmas!

Skinny Maple Gingerbread Latte
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp lite maple pancake syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup strongly brewed coffee
1 cup skim milk
Lite whipped cream and nutmeg, for garnish
Whisk together spices, syrup, vanilla, and coffee in a mug.  In a glass measuring cup or small bowl, microwave milk until hot and frothy.  Pour milk into coffee mixture and whisk to combine.  Garnish with lite whipped topping and spices as desired.

Recipe adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie

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