So the weather here in Upstate New York has been AMAZING this past week. It’s as if we are being rewarded for the extra long winter we’ve had – the skies are a cloudless, bright blue, the birds are chirping enthusiastically, even the grass seems to be celebrating.
I love Spring, for obvious reasons. I love the fact that I can now plan on going on a run/walk with my baby after work almost EVERY DAY this week. I love the fact that I can wear shoes without socks and not look like a freak anymore (I get strange looks when I go sockless on a -30 below zero day). I love the fact that sunny weather means guacamole can be used as a condiment on EVERYTHING. And I LOVE switching my morning pick-me-up from hot coffee to frozen coffee.
I’ve had quite the long love affair with cold coffee beverages. I was actually introduced to coffee via a pitcher of deliciously cold, insanely sweet iced coffee my college roommate used to make when the weather got warm. I was so enamored by the flavor that I pretty much gulped down the whole pitcher, not realizing the effect all that caffeine would have on me. Sure enough, 20 minutes later, I was inspired to clean our entire apartment. And then run five miles. And then clean our apartment again. From that moment on, I was hooked.
So, due to my enthusiasm for cold coffee, I thought it would be appropriate for me to share my current favorite blended iced coffee beverage (In my head, I call it Mocha Nirvana) as my first ever blog recipe. It’s actually pretty weird that it has taken me this long to share my secret food preparation strategies, seeing as I love to cook (and cooking pretty much goes hand-in-hand with mommying). Nonetheless, I’ve dawdled in that department. I kind of hope that sharing this very simple recipe will be a gateway drug to sharing more of my passion for cooking (especially since, in the near future, I should have a lot more time to cook for our family).
My first issue with most coffee-chain ice blended drinks is that the coffee element kind of separates from the icy part of the drink. The first part of the blended coffee drinking experience is wonderful, because you are slurping down a very delicious combination of concentrated coffee flavor and chocolate flavor or whatever else you’ve asked them to add in. But the second part of the drinking experience is disappointing, because you’re left with this flavorless, slushy mess that is not delicious at all.
My second issue with coffee-chain ice blended drinks is that they cost about $84 dollars a pop.
With this recipe, I’ve managed to address the slushy flavorlessness AND the crazy cost of those coffee-chain concoctions. My Mocha Nirvana is delicious from beginning to end, and won’t set you back more than a dollar per serving.
Oh, and have I mentioned it actually has nutritional benefits?
I won’t make you wait any longer. Here’s my recipe for one serving of Mocha Nirvana:
5 ice cubes of frozen double-strength coffee
1 cup of vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp. of Chocolate Syrup
1 tsp. or more of chia seeds (the “superfood of the Aztecs”) – optional
1 Tbsp. of Enriched Infant Oatmeal Cereal (the “superfood of the babies”)
So all you have to do is brew up a double-strength pot of your favorite coffee, let it cool a little, and then pour it into ice cube trays to freeze. My husband and I keep a couple of trays of frozen coffee cubes in our freezer at all times now, so we can have our Mocha Nirvanas whenever we want.
Use 4 – 5 ice cubes per serving, adding in the vanilla almond milk (or vanilla soy milk, rice milk, cow’s milk… totally up to you), the 1 Tbsp. of chocolate syrup, the 1 optional teaspoon of chia seeds (they sell them EVERYWHERE now), and the 1 tablespoon of infant oatmeal cereal (I confess, I happen to have this on hand in our house for my baby boy, and one day I just got creative and added it in to my blender. You could definitely just use plain old oats, if you prefer).
Of course, you can totally add in other ingredients as well, to suit whatever mood you are in. I’ve personally tried adding a banana (yum), a tablespoon of peanut butter (double yum), and yes, a scoop of ice cream (I deserved it)!
Blend all the ingredients together. Pour it into a tall glass and decorate the top of it with a teeny bit more chocolate syrup so that you feel like you have just spent $84 on this drink. Stick a straw in it. ENJOY THE DELICIOUSNESS as you sit on your porch or your green grass, thanking heaven that Spring has arrived.
Parenting with imagination. Or at least trying.