Iced Coffee Cubes

These mocha iced coffee cubes are the perfect way to keep your iced coffee bold, while adding a fun flavor twist. They’re gluten free, dairy free, and a great easy to make treat.

Oh how I love me some iced coffee. I’m sure this comes as a shock to all since I’ve never, ever mentioned it. I’ve surely never posted a picture of me drinking iced coffee on Instagram….

Ok, #busted.

Though I get my fair share of iced coffee on the go, I love making it at home too. I even perfected my own homemade cold-brew method before it was trendy and cool. Luckily I’ve discovered something way way easier than a coffee filter precariously balanced on top of a strainer on top of a pitcher…and actual cold brew set.

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Iced Coffee Cubes

But the best part of making iced coffee at home is that I can load my cup up with iced coffee cubes before filling it with cold brew, meaning if I don’t get to chug it down in one gulp, it doesn’t end up in a watered-down mess.

Iced coffee cubes - dairy free, gluten free

Here’s a fun twist on plain-old coffee ice cubes, which give your iced coffee just a hint of mocha character without being overwhelming.

dairy free iced coffee cubes

Simply combine leftover coffee or some cold-brew, Almond Breeze Almondmilk chocolate, and a dash of cinnamon. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze so your iced coffee cubes are ready whenever your next cup is calling. Which is always.

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Or you know, just eat them plain, like some unnamed three year old. Winking smile

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This “Easy as Breeze” post was originally sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk.

5 Tips for Super Simple Smoothies

This super simple smoothies post is sponsored by Silk.

Did I tell you what supremely dumb thing I let happen when we were packing up our house and moving out at whirlwind speed? I stopped supervising for approximately 30 seconds and let the box with my beloved Blendtec get packed into our POD instead of the easy access storage unit I could get to at any time. OOPS. That may not sound significant, but for someone who uses a blender 3,495 times per day, that was a huge mistake.

Never fear, my mother-in-law’s well-stocked kitchen included a blender, though I will be oh so happy to be reunited with my own personal powerhouse of a blender when the time comes.

Anyways, today we’re talking smoothies. I don’t know who likes smoothies more, me or the three year old blur that rules these parts. Needless to say they happen a lot around here.

Smoothies are one of those things that sound like a good idea but also sound like a lot of work and a lot of mess, but when it actually comes to making them instead of just thinking about it, they’re a breeze. Over the course of several thousand smoothie-making sessions, I’ve come up with a few strategies that make things super simple. Easy prep, easy to make, and easy clean up.

Here we go:

1. Smoothie cubes. Probably my most favorite smoothie shortcut of all time. I make a giant batch of smoothie “base”, then freeze it into ice cube trays. Once they’re frozen, I pop them out on put them in baggies. Then when you want a smoothie, you can just pull a bag out, dump it in the blender, and you’re done. You can either leave the smoothie as is, in “base” form, or add whatever other ingredients you’re feeling at the time. I typically do a spinach base, then add whatever we have on hand that I’m in the mood for. I’m always in the mood for spinach though.

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2. Smoothie bags. Similar to the above, but even less prep: just dump all your favorite smoothie ingredients into individual freezer bags. Label them and store them, then just dump and go. Frozen fruit makes for a great textured smoothie!

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3. Up the protein. I don’t always want extra protein in my smoothie, but when I do, there are a ton of fun ways to make it happen that go beyond your basic protein powder. {Although a good vanilla or chocolate protein powder can add great flavor.} Next time you’re looking to kick the protein factor up a notch, try one of these great add ins:

  • hemp seeds
  • quinoa
  • pumpkin seeds
  • nut butter
  • cashews

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4. Make it creamy. There’s nothing wrong with an icy-smoothie, but I prefer creamier bases. This is super easy to do by adding in some plant-based milk. My favorite go-to’s are canned full-fat coconut milk and Silk Cashewmilk. {Have you tried the cashew version yet? It is so super creamy and blends really well. And makes delicious hot chocolate in the winter, which is when I discovered it this year.But it’s too hot for that now; I’ll stick to smoothies this summer.} My son’s favorite is Silk’s dairy-free yogurt, but he usually eats it before I can get it to the blender.

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5. Easy clean up. I’ll admit, the clean up part of anything is my least favorite part, but it’s super easy to clean a blender. Just add some water into the pitcher with a tiny squirt of soap, then turn it on. It foams up the soap and gets all the gunk off the sides without any scrubbing. Voila, done.

What’s your favorite tip for making smoothie prep easy?

You can find more smoothie ideas, including low calorie and kid-friendly options on Silk’s Smoothie Solution page or sign up to receive Silk coupons here.

 

Some smoothie faves:

cranberry smoothie recipetropical smoothie recipe

Key Lime Pie Smoothie

Cranberry Mango Smoothie

Summer Sunrise Smoothie

Peanut butter Hazelnut Protein Frappuccino

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Homemade Tart Cherry Sports Drink

The following post about tart cherry juice is sponsored by FitFluential, Inc. on behalf of The Cherry Marketing Institute.

When you’re training for an athletic event, be it a marathon, triathlon, or adventure race, or whether you’re just an exercise enthusiast, there’s one aspect of training that seems to slip by the wayside: recovery.

tart cherries for muscle recovery

It’s kind of how like sleep is the forgotten element of health: diet, exercise, sleep!

How you recover between exercise sessions is as much a part of your training program or exercise regimen as the actual miles logged and the drills performed. Two ways to maximize your recovery are a) rest and b) nutrition.

By nutrition, I mean what you eat or drink before, during, or after training. It may seem a little dull compared to the excitement of building training plans {oh, just me?} but it’s just as important. If you expect to see improvements in your time, your strength, or even simply decrease your fatigue or injury risk, you should consider your recovery strategy.

Most of the time we turn to protein for recovery after a workout. The amino acids that form protein help rebuild and repair the microscopic tears that occur in muscle tissue during training. {It should be noted that carbohydrate after a workout is also important as it helps replenish lost glycogen stores.}

tart cherry juice recipe

But you really probably already know a bit about protein. Instead, let’s talk tart cherry juice. {I know, what a segue.} Some people view juice as an empty source of calories or sugar, but when it comes to muscle recovery, tart cherry juice could actually be a beneficial tool. Tart cherries may help decrease inflammation, muscle damage, and oxidative stress. From elite athlete to weekend warrior, tart cherry juice can help decrease muscle pain associated with intense exercise.  Interestingly enough, tart cherries may also help improve sleep. Better sleep = better recovery.

Tart cherries work in a different capacity than a carb + protein combo post-workout (tart cherries contain a compound called anthocyanin, which has been linked to reducing inflammation)In fact, drinking/eating them before intense exercise can aid in recovery after exercise. That means a pre-workout shake or drink can be beneficial, as can post-workout.

It’s important to note that the research that indicates tart cherry juice aids in recovery is done on tart cherries, not sweet cherries. {Specifically Montmorency cherries.} One of these studies looked at cyclists who drank tart cherry juice twice a day for seven days. They showed less inflammation after a race-scenario than those who didn’t drink the tart cherry juice. I’m going to embark on  The Cherry Marketing Institute’s 7-Day Tart Cherry Juice Challenge to see if I notice a difference myself. Granted I’m nowhere near an elite athlete, but I exercise hard enough to be sore afterwards. Case in point: I can’t lift my arms above my head today.

Here’s a great way to add tart cherry juice to your pre/mid workout routine: add it to a homemade sports drink, like this one:

homemade tart cherry sports drink

Homemade Tart Cherry Sports Drink

by with a Side of Sneakers

Ingredients

  • 4 cups liquid {water, coconut water, or even herbal/fruity tea – a combo of water and coconut water is my favorite}
  • 1/2 cup tart cherry juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 T honey or agave {adjust to taste}

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together and store in fridge. Drink before, during, or after workouts, or just as a hydrator throughout the day. Tart cherries have been shown to have the most benefit when used twice a day.

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I’ll be checking back in on my 7-day challenge soon – who wants in with me?!

To learn more about tart cherries and how they can aid your recovery {or for recipe ideas} visit ChooseCherries.com or:

12 Succulent Summer Drinks

summer drinks

This collection of summer drink recipes is sponsored by Foodie.com.

It’s hard to believe it’s pretty much just now officially summer considering it’s been well over 90 for at least the past few weeks. But let’s face – July really means “summer” is already almost half over. Time to embrace summer full on if you haven’t already. July around here means not only the 4th of July, but the husband’s birthday and our annual family beach trip with my in-laws. Lots of reasons to celebrate and what’s the best way to celebrate? With a refreshing summer spritzer. Be it alcoholic or not, there’s nothing better than something decadent poured over lots of ice. That to me just screams summer vacation and relaxation.

I’ve put together a collection on Foodie showcasing twelve fabulous beverages to indulge in this summer, from iced coffee to green juices to marvelous cocktails, of course.

Check out 12 Succulent Summer Drinks

by Heather at Foodie.com

Find more of my favorite drink recipes on my Pinterest board. Feel free to leave a link to yours if you have one in the comments.

What’s your favorite summertime drink?

 

P.S. The winner of the Southern Breeze Sweet Tea giveaway is …

Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie

Shoot me an email to claim your prize!

This collection of summer drink recipes is sponsored by Foodie.com.

Brew a Batch of the Good {GIVEAWAY}

This Sweet Tea post is sponsored by Southern Breeze Sweet Tea. Read on for a giveaway!
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I still remember the day I moved into my southern college campus. A fellow student held the door of our dorm wide open for me while I was still 100 feet away. First I thought it was odd; then sweet. It was my first introduction to southern etiquette. I knew I was on to something with this random college I picked in the middle of North Carolina.

sweet tea bags

I spent more than my first year here in the south learning southern-isms and southern sayings. Some were easy to catch on to; others might as well have been a foreign language. I learned toboggans were more than just sleds, you mash the brakes, cut the light on, and get in a wreck, not a car accident.

Then I learned about Southern food. The first rule of Southern food: you don’t mess with it. Anything green is made with ham or bacon, everything gets more butter {I’m looking at you, Paula Deen}, and you don’t mess with the family biscuit recipe.

You also don’t ask for your tea “sweetened or unsweetened”, the way I learned in my waitressing days. Tea here is just sweet. Sure, you can ask for it unsweetened, but there’s a pretty good chance the waiter will think you made a mistake and bring you a glass of the sweet stuff. And no, “sweet tea” isn’t just iced tea with sugar packets emptied into it at the table. It’s brewed hot, with just the right amount of sugar, then cooled with ice.

brew sweet tea

Sounds like a bit of work for a refreshing glass of sweet tea. You can make it easier though. Southern Breeze Sweet Tea makes a family-sized tea bag with the sweetener in the bag, so all you have to do is let it steep and toss in some ice to let it chill.

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Refreshment, at your service.

Even the Southern husband gave it his seal of approval. That’s sayin’ sumthin.

Want to not take his word for it and try it for yourself? Southern Breeze is giving away a sweet tea gift basket.

southern breeze sweet tea

Leave a comment about what you love about Sweet Tea or share a memory of being together with family or friends and drinking Sweet Tea to enter! Feel free to share the giveaway on social media too, of course.

southern breeze sweet tea bags

Giveaway ends Monday June 30th. In case you don’t win, Southern Breeze Sweet Tea is available at Harris Teeter, Ingles, Wegman’s & Amazon.com, or find them on Facebook or Twitter.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Southern Breeze Sweet Tea.

Girls Night In: Raspberry Beergaritas {& a Mocktail too}

A few weeks ago one of my friends hosted a “Night In”, in honor of the lost art of cocktail parties. I love this idea, especially now that a night out includes the need for a babysitter on top of everything else.

While I’m always down for a casual night in, I’m also in favor of something a little fancier, require you me to dress up {as opposed to my mom-attire gym pants uniform} every once in awhile. The beauty of celebrating at home is that you have a little more room {in time and budget} to get a little fancier with the festivities.

I decided to merge the two somewhere in the middle and create a drink centerpiece that can go either way. Make a true Southern affair with mason jars, jeans, and wildflowers, or kick it up a notch with cocktail glasses and heels.  Either way, I’ve got a drink for you:

Meet the Beergarita.

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What once was deemed a classless action, dumping a beer bottle upside down in your margarita glass, has now become fanfare for celebration. It’s a drink in and of itself and it’s delicious.

You can even make it a Mockarita if you so choose to skip the beer part, or if you’re in need of refreshment and it’s just not quite cocktail hour yet.

This version keeps health in mind too, without going wild and crazy on the calories or the sugar.

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Kick it up another notch for summer and freeze some of the juice ahead of time. Then toss it in the blender with a little more juice or even some chunks of frozen fruit for a nice refreshing slushie. {Save the sparkling water for the end so you don’t make a ‘rita explosion.}

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Top it with lemon, limes, oranges, or whatever fruit you have on hand. You can even get a little adventurous and toss some mint or basil in the mix. Omit the beer and double up on the sparkling water for a mocktail version.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some fruit to drink. Winking smile

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Raspberry Beergarita

by with a Side of Sneakers

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 bottle beer (12 oz) {a light lime beer would be great. I used my favorite gluten-free pale ale}
  • 1 can fruit-flavored sparkling water {I used a cherry lemon. Lime would be delicious too}
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 12 oz Trop50 Raspberry Acai juice
  • Optional: basil or mint for garnish
  • Optional: ice cubes for slushie version

Instructions

Combine beer, sparkling water, and juice.

Squeeze in juice from lime and orange.

Stir to combine.

Pour over ice {or frozen juice cubes}.

Serve cold.

Also try frozen and blended!

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Trop50 has the great taste and goodness you expect from Tropicana, but with 50% less sugar and calories and no artificial sweeteners.

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Trop50 via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Trop50.

What’s your favorite healthy drink for a Girls’ Night In? For more ideas on how to make a rockin’ girls’ night in, check out the Foodie Girls Night In Pinterest board or the collection on Foodie.com {see below}.