Skinny Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

I don’t remember my first pumpkin spice latte. 

I know, I know–sacrilege. White girls everywhere are denying they know me. 

But I do remember my first latte. You know, the regular kind, pre-pumpkin spice era. You’ve heard of them, right?

Let me take you back to 2002, when Starbucks was oh so cool (I think it still is? not sure…) and oh so elite. My cousins and I had heard of Starbucks, of course, but we’d never been to one. We’d definitely never had any Starbucks products.

One chilly Saturday night, we scoped out our nearest Starbucks. Upon discovering it was only a 15 minute drive away, we head out to taste the coffee that we’d only read about in US Weekly.

When we got there, I immediately realized that I had no idea what I was doing. I was only 13, after all. I had no prior coffee experience. I wasn’t ready for Starbucks. Beginners should really start off with Dunkin’ Donuts. McDonalds, really. Starbucks is the big leagues–the sizes are in Italian. That should tell you everything.

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

I heard my cousin order a latte, so I followed suit. “A latte, please. Mediu–err, grande.”

After I poured what I can only guess was about a half cup of sugar into the warm frothiness, we headed home to pretend we were celebrities sipping on our lattes in our grand California homes. Of course this is what really happened…

Monica and Donna fell asleep on my parent’s couch. I finished my latte and was watching TV when all of the sudden I got a rush of energy. Me being 13 and a coffee novice, I had no idea that I was even in the throws of a caffeine rush. I remember thinking the living room smelled weird. I got out a bottle of Febreeze and started spraying the entire room. Everything from the carpet to the curtains got a heavy spritzing.

My cousins, asleep on the the couch, weren’t even safe from the Febreeze air raid.

I was in my own world of caffeine-induced air-freshening when they woke up up, spitting out Febreeze and coughing. 

“What’s wrong with you right now?! Why are you being so crazy? You have so much energy! Calm down with that Febreeze!”

I came down from my Starbucks high shortly after, and that’s the story of my first latte.

These days I don’t get that much of a rush from caffeine (but I WISH I DID) and I don’t even own a bottle of Febreeze, so I drink lattes freely. And I am a girl, in her twenties, in America–so naturally I’m obsessed with pumpkin spice lattes. 

Pumpkin spice anything, actually. Pumpkin spice donuts, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin spice syrup, pumpkin spice peanut butter. Basically I’d eat my shoe if it were pumpkin spice flavored.

But take a look at the breakdown of a medium–err, grande pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks:

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Nutrition

Now, you’ll notice that this is the breakdown with nonfat milk and NO whipped cream. 260 cals?! 48g of sugar?! That’s just too much. Far too much.

So when I came across this recipe for a skinny pumpkin spice frap, I knew I had to try it!

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

This recipe is amazing for so many reasons. It’s not only dairy free, but naturally gluten free. The ingredients are natural and you get the pumpkin flavor from real pumpkin (imagine that) instead of a chemically enhanced flavoring. 

The recipe as is in the recipe is only 110.25 with 14g sugar. However, if maple syrup is completely omitted (and a zero calorie sweetener such as Stevia is used in it place of it), the calories would drop to 58.25, and the sugar would drop to 2g. That is amazing.

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino

I personally like the flavor of a little maple syrup, but the choice is yours. Play around with it and find out what you like! 

Now this recipe requires a bit of prep, but it’s worth is–I promise. To make this Skinny Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino, you need COLD coffee. This shouldn’t be a problem for you if you love cold brew, like I do. But the secret to this recipe is…an ice cube tray.

Yup! After you mix all your ingredients together (except the coffee), pour it into an empty ice cube tray and leave it to freeze. I usually do this the night before and wake up to an ice cube tray of frozen pumpkin goodness…mmmm.

Skinny Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino
Yields 2
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Ingredients
  1. 1 and 1/2 cups (12 oz) cold coffee
  2. 1 and 1/4 cups (10 oz) unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or any milk)
  3. 1/4 cup (57 grams) pumpkin puree
  4. 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup (or equal amount of honey or agave)
  5. 2 packets stevia or other 0 calorie sweetener (or 2 more tablespoons maple syrup)
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. Brew the coffee and refrigerate overnight. Coffee MUST be very cold.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, pumpkin, sweetener of choice, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg together until combined. Pour into ice cube tray and allow to freeze.
  3. Once coffee is cold and pumpkin ice cubes are frozen, add everything to your blender and blend on high until smooth. Add more milk for creamier texture. Add more sweetener or spices if needed.
  4. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Instead of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves - use 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Lavender & Cream http://www.lavenderandcream.com/
 Budget-friendly, creamy, natural, and oh so yummy. You’re going to want one of these fraps ASAP–so get that ice cube tray ready ;)

What’s your favorite Starbucks seasonal treat? Any other pumpkin spice lovers out there?

Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart

I haven’t been my best self lately. 

For many reasons that I won’t get into here, I just haven’t been giving it my all for the past month or so. I’ve been ordering takeout almost exclusively. The pizza delivery guy recognizes my phone number, I’m sure. 

This is what happens when I’m feeling down.

When things are gloomy my kitchen goes untouched for weeks. And when I’m not cooking I really don’t feel like myself. 

Cooking gives me an opportunity to tune out all the noise. I can reconnect with myself and process the day, how I’m feeling, what’s going on in my life. This is also the reason I choose to stay out of the kitchen when I’m feeling low. I don’t want to think about these things.

So I order a pizza. I don’t have to think about anything except what toppings I want –and really, I don’t even have to think about that. The answer is always sausage (duh).

After a few weeks of feeling incredibly bloated and having skin that has clearly rebelled against my eating habits, I decided it was time to get back on track.

I came across the Fit Girl’s Guide 28 day jumpstart through Instagram. Exploring the hashtag  (#28dayjumpstart) pulls up thousands and thousands of images of people all over the world who are on their own fitness journey. It’s inspiring just to see other people living their journey–their struggles, successes, binges, cheats, workouts, recipes, and more. The honesty of it amazes me. People are openly sharing their victories as well as their defeats. And the support seems endless.

So after a few hours of sifting through other people’s stories, I decided to start writing my own.

I joined the Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart and the challenge started yesterday. There are tons of awesome prizes for things like best transformation pictures and best food pictures (I’m clearly gunning for that one). And best of all, when you use the hashtag you’re guaranteed interaction, engagement, and support from all the other people who are doing the challenge as well.

To join, all you needed to do was purchase the ebook (which was on sale AND I found a 25% off code–woohoo!) and post a picture of yourself with the ebook with the hashtag #28dayjumpstart and tag @fitgirlsguide.

Here’s mine:

Fit Girls Guide eBook Selfie

Please don’t mind the lack of makeup and the chipped nail polish. It was late and I was lazy.

Next, I needed to make a goal heart. A goal heart is the Fit Girl’s Guide’s cute way of making you physically write out your goals. They could be fitness goals, emotional goals, etc. I put my own little spin on this and used a small chalkboard that had preciously only been used to write “Happy Fall!” two months earlier. I actually really like how my goal board turned out:

Goal heart

Of course I’ve been tracking my progress on Instagram with everyone else (blowing up your feed, one food pic at a time).

So here’s my day one recap:

cherry pie overnight oats fit girls guide 28 day jumpstart

cherry pie overnight oats

chicken sweet potato street tacos fit girls guide 28 day jumpstart

chicken and sweet potato street tacos

strawberries and dark chocolate fit girls guide 28 day jumpstart

strawberries and dark chocolate

mulled apple cider and roasted pumpkin seeds fit girls guide 28 day jumpstart

mulled apple cider and roasted pumpkin seeds

 I’ll be updating you on everything I’m eating about once a week, so stay tuned!

Read more about the Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart here, and make sure to follow me on Instagram (@lavender_and_cream) to keep up with every little thing I’m eating in real time. 

Good luck to everyone on the 28 Day Jumpstart–this is the perfect way to head into the holiday season with confidence :)

The Three Ingredient Pumpkin Cake You NEED To Try This Fall!

 

Three Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE, IT’S FINALLY HERE!

What am I talking about?  Pumpkin season, duh. Now, some people may argue with me about this, but I seriously feel that pumpkin flavored everything is appropriate once the calendar reads September. And to be quite honest, I wouldn’t be mad about a world where the flavors of fall infiltrate every season.But of course there are pumpkin-haters.

Three Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

They aren’t welcome here.

I was searching for some pumpkin recipes online so naturally I went straight to Pinterest. The Pinterest boards have been booming with pumpkin recipes lately and I’ve seen this one about a billion times, so of course I had to try it.

Three Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

Two ingredient pumpkin cake–have you heard about it? It’s so super simple. But me being me, I had to tweak it…just a little. So I added mini chocolate chips, and it took this recipe to a whole new level.

Three Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

One box of cake, one can of pumpkin, and chocolate chips–the three ingredient pumpkin cake! I used plain yellow cake mix, but you can use whatever you think will work best. Chocolate pumpkin sounds amazing, as does spiced pumpkin (I mean come on…a match made in heaven). The best part of this recipe is how moist the cake comes out. I’m not the biggest fan of cake or even cupcakes normally (too dry for me), but the pumpkin puree makes this cake almost fudgy. It’s a must try for the pumpkin season!

Three Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Glaze

 

I topped this three ingredient pumpkin cake with a lightened up cream cheese glaze that I made in about 90 seconds. I drizzled the cake with glaze, cut it into 10 slices, and stored it in the fridge (it will last about 5 days when stored properly). This cake is so decadent and is perfect after dinner…or breakfast. Yeah, that might have happened…more than once.

xo

 

Three Ingredient Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake With Cream Cheese Glaze
Yields 10
5 P+ per slice.
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For the cake
  1. 1 box yellow cake mix
  2. 1 15oz. can pureed pumpkin
  3. 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)
For the glaze
  1. 2 tablespoon light cream cheese
  2. 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
  3. 2 tablespoon powdered sugar
For the cake
  1. Preheat oven to 35o degrees.
  2. Mix dry cake mix and canned pumpkin until combined. Add chocolate chips and stir.
  3. Pour mixture into loaf pan and bake for 30-45 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean).
  4. Cool.
For the glaze
  1. Mix softened cream cheese, almond milk, and sugar in a bowl until a thick "paste" forms.
  2. Drizzle mixture over cooled cake and cut into 10 slices.
Adapted from Many pins on Pinterest
Adapted from Many pins on Pinterest
Lavender & Cream http://www.lavenderandcream.com/

 

72 Hours in Portland, Maine

72 Hours in Portland, Maine

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel over the Labor Day Weekend. Francisco and I decided a few months back that Maine was going to be our destination, and in true procrastinator fashion, we didn’t actually end up planning anything until the day before.

Luckily, we have a few friends who had visited before and we took their awesome suggestions. Portland is a foodie town, and we knew we would be eating a tonnnn (and we did, of course) so we were beyond excited to spend some time there!

It’s about a 7 hour drive from Philly to Portland. To break up the drive, we decided to stop in Boston, MA and Portsmouth, NH. After about 5 hours in the Kia were totally ready to explore Boston. And although we only had about two hours to do so, I’m pretty sure we killed it.

72 Hours in Portland, Maine

Just kidding. I want to go back and actually visit. But what little time we spent there was awesome! We ate a lobster roll from Neptune Oyster (waited an hour for a table, were seated in a teeny tiny crowded corner…completely worth it). Hands down, top five favorite meals of all time. It seemed like the roll was stuffed with an entire mutant lobster and then dipped in butter. It was a religious experience.

Portsmouth, NH is only an hour away from Boston, so it’s a great place to stop before getting to Portland. I would describe this town as a smaller Portland. Al fresco dining at great little restaurants, independent clothing stores selling Pashmina scarves and smudging sage, a local brewery. Portsmouth is quaint and lovely.

DAY .5 (We got there around 10, so it doesn’t count as a full day): When we finally got to our Maine cottage rental in Portland late Thursday night, we were starving and exhausted. We drove over to Slab–an awesome pizza place with local brews, live bands, and a lively crowd. The pizza was fluffy, the beer was tasty, and the band kept everyone on their feet. This place is happenin’.

72 Hours in Portland, Maine

DAY 1: We got up on Friday morning with a plan. First stop was Scratch Baking Co. Scratch is located in South Portland (very close to where we stayed) and the locals go crazy for this place! We got there at 10:30 hoping to snag a bagel before they sold out, but we were too late. Le sigh. I kicked myself for sleeping in and vowed to wake up earlier tomorrow.

Although we didn’t get a bagel, I was fortunate enough to grab one of these sea salt snackers (and a cookie, naturally). Cisk got a turkey sammie on fresh baked nine grain bread and we both made sure to get coffee. We took our goodies to Willard beach–located just down the street–and we sat and ate and watched the kids play in the small waves.

72 Hours in Portland, Maine

Later that day we made our way to downtown Portland. Going off a tip that our Air B&B host, Mercedes, gave us, we bought two tickets to Peaks Island.

This was by far my favorite part of the trip. Peaks is located just off the coast of Portland. Its own little island community, you need to take a ferry to get there. The ferry itself is even a trip–you can actually drive your car right onto the ferry and take it to and from the island. Cisk and I opted to rent bikes to explore the island once we got there. For $5/hour, there is not better way to see this place. The views are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. We biked around the perimeter of the island, and I collected wildflowers in my basket whenever we stopped. The flowers were growing everywhere and it was just gorgeous.

72 Hours in Portland, Maine 72 Hours in Portland, Maine 72 Hours in Portland, Maine 72 Hours in Portland, Maine

During our little self-guided tour, we came upon a large area of rocks. A few people were stopped and walking around, gazing in amazement, so we waked over. Someone (or many someones) had built hundreds of tiny sculptures..no, they weren’t quite sculptures…formations? Well, anyway, they were built out of these rocks and they were incredible.

72 Hours in Portland, Maine 72 Hours in Portland, Maine

After a seafood dinner we visited Novare Res, an awesome beer garden with an absolutely ginormous selection of brews. Really cool place.

DAY 2: The next day we got our bagel (woohoo!) and took some really cool brewery tours. There are a ton of breweries and distilleries around Portland (I’m talking dozens of them). For the most part, they’re all totally free. Score!

We ate dinner at a restaurant called Fore Street. Go there, admire the open kitchen, and order the lobster. I didn’t even know lobster could be that tender.

72 Hours in Portland, Maine

DAY 3: Our last day, Sunday, was spent perusing the town. We meandered down the cobblestone streets with no real plan. Exploring the shops, admiring the views, and not wanting to go home. We stopped at Standard Baking Co (sorry, Scratch!). I ate a blueberry hand-pie that I still dream about.

We ate much more than I could possibly write about here. We enjoyed so much, indulged so much, saw so much, and we still want to come back again for more.

Although it’s not usually what people think of when they talk about Portland, South Portland really stole my heart. I already miss the sea salted air and cozy beach bungalows. Downtown was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something so peaceful about the beach-townieness of South Portland. I definitely recommend staying there if you get the chance (Portland is just a 5 minute drive over the bridge). You can find a good amount of Maine cottage rentals and Maine Beach rentals on Air B&B

72 Hours in Portland, Maine

Has anyone else been to Portland? Visit if you can!

xo