Delish! 10 Warm Drink Recipes to Sooth the Soul

Howdy there!

10 Warm Drinks that Won't Pack on Pounds - the first one is a skinny peppermint mocha. ; )

So let me see, it’s been about 3 months since I’ve blogged, give or take? Let’s just say that the latter half of my college experience has definitely taken a toll on me. I have barely had any time to work on Chic en Chocoat But never fear my lovelies…I will get to it.

To start, I’m gonna brief you on this amazing group of drink recipes that I found from Shape Magazine. They have made a list of recipes of 10 different drinks that won’t have you worrying about packing on the pounds. I went running outside today and GOODNESS ME IT WAS FREEZING! My fingers and face were bright pink and by the end of it I was panting because I thought my body was going to freeze into a popsicle! These are some nice drinks to have maybe a few times a week…a healthier option to some of those massive mochacchinos from Starbucks…now THOSE are dangerous.

Skinny Peppermint Mocha

Slash calories by replacing sugary syrup with peppermint extract and skipping the whipped cream on top. The boost of intense minty flavor in this mocha is balanced out by dark chocolatesyrup and nonfat milk.
Ingredients:
1/2 c. coffee
2 drops peppermint extract
1/3 c. nonfat milk
2 tbsp. dark chocolate syrup

Directions:
Brew coffee of your choice (or use one package of instant coffee) and pour into a mug. Stir peppermint extract and chocolate syrup into the coffee. Taste and adjust to your liking. Stir in nonfat milk.

Makes one serving.

Voli Hot Cocoa

On a chilly day, cozy up to this vodka-spiked hot cocoa that’ll only cost you about 161 calories. This vanilla-infused vodka offers a smart alternative to richly flavored—but calorie-heavy—alcoholic mixers. Cheers to that!
Ingredients:
1 1/2 oz. Voli Espresso Vanilla Vodka
1 packet dark hot cocoa mix
8 oz. hot waterDirections:
Pour all ingredients over Voli Espresso Vanilla and stir. Garnish with a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Makes one serving.

Hot Cinnamon Coffee

When plain black coffee just doesn’t cut it, enhance your java with a generous infusion of ground cinnamon. The aromatic spice is high in fiber, calcium, and iron. Plus, it adds so much flavor that it can be used as a replacement for sugar.
Ingredients:
1 c. coffee
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tbsp. nonfat milk
1 tsp. brown sugar, if desired

Directions:
Brew coffee of your choice. Mix in cinnamon and milk. Adjust to your liking. Add brown sugar if desired. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Makes one serving.

Matcha Milk

Matcha, a green tea popular in Japan, is the base of this warm, creamy drink. The nourishing tea is said to provide a plethora of health benefits, including increasing metabolism and reducing cholesterol levels, all while tasting perfectly delicious.
Ingredients:
1 tbsp. matcha powder
1 c. hot almond milk
1 tsp. agave syrup (or other sweetener)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Cinnamon or nutmeg, if desiredDirections:
Blend matcha powder with milk. Stir in agave syrup and vanilla extract. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired.

Makes one serving.

Spiced Cider Punch

Allow this cider to simmer on the stove on a cold day, and you’ll be rewarded with a richly flavored, naturally sweet drink. It’s steeped in spices like cinnamon and cloves, which are nutrient-dense sources of fiber and vitamins.
Ingredients:
1 c. unsweetened apple juice
1 c. water
1/2 c. orange juice concentrate
1/2 c. lemonade concentrate
1 tsp. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
2 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticksDirections:
Combine the first seven ingredients together in a slow cooker. Tie cloves and cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth bag and place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or until fully heated. Remove spice bag. Garnish with additional cinnamon sticks if desired.

Makes about two servings.

Spicy Pumpkin Latte

Pumpkin lattes are a seasonal favorite at most coffee shops, but you can concoct your own low-fat version at home with this easy-as-pie recipe. Agave syrup and soy milk promise lots of full-bodied flavor without breaking the calorie bank.
Ingredients:
1 c. coffee
1/3 c. soy milk
2 tbsp. agave syrup
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spiceDirections:
Brew coffee and pour into a mug. Add soy milk. Stir in agave syrup and pumpkin pie spice. Garnish the top with pumpkin pie spice if desired.

Makes one serving.

Wee One’s Hot Chocolate

Indulge in a mug of hot cocoa with Catherine McCord’s healthy twist on the cold-weather classic. The mom and model, who launched Weelicious in 2007, substitutes agave for sugar in this chocolate drink, so it’s not loaded with empty calories.
Ingredients:
1 c. skim, low-fat, whole, soy, almond or rice milk
2 tsp. agave
1 tbsp. chocolate cocoaDirections:
Bring the milk to a near boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Whisk in the agave and cocoa until thoroughly combined. Serve.

Makes one serving.

Kewl Masala Chai Tea Latte

Masala chai is full of antioxidant-rich spices such as fennel seeds and cardamom pods, so quench your thirst with this creamy tea latte, the creation of iCarlyactor and KewlBites founder Reed Alexander.
Ingredients:
3 c. water
1 tbsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. fresh gingerroot, finely grated
15 whole cloves
14 whole allspice
9 whole green cardamom pods
2 pink peppercorns
4 cinnamon sticks
2 bags unflavored, decaffeinated white tea
1/2 c. nonfat skim milk
Honey or other sweetener, to taste, if desired
Foamed nonfat skim milk, for garnish, if desiredDirections:
Pour water into a medium-sized saucepan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat on the stovetop. Place the fennel seed, cloves, allspice, cardamom and peppercorns into a mortar and lightly crush with a pestle. Add the crushed spice into the simmering water. Add the cinnamon sticks and gingerroot. Stir. Recover and simmer 20 minutes. Stir in the white tea leaves. Reduce heat to low and simmer 4-5 minutes. Stir in the milk. Remove pot from heat and pour tea through a fine strainer to capture and discard cooked spices and direct liquid into a large teapot or heatproof pitcher, or evenly divided into two serving mugs. Add honey or other sweetener, if desired, and garnish with foamed milk. Serve.

Makes two servings.

Healthy Eggnog

Made with whole eggs and heavy condensed milk, most eggnogs sneak hundreds of extra calories into your diet. Give this festive brew a nutritious makeover—without sacrificing its signature velvety texture—by incorporating skim milk and stevia.
Ingredients:
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/4 c. skim milk
1 tsp. stevia
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Ground nutmeg to taste
1/8 c. light whipping creamDirections:
Beat the egg yolk, skim milk and stevia in a bowl. Pour in a pot and cook over medium heat. Stir in vanilla and ground nutmeg. Right before serving, beat light whipping cream into the mixture until soft peaks form. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg.

Makes one serving.

Hot Lemon Tea

Dress up a steaming mug of green tea with a splash of lemon juice and vanilla extract. The sweet and tangy combo is refreshing, plus freshly squeezed lemon means your bevvie is bursting with vitamin C.
Ingredients:
1 green tea bag
1 c. hot water
3 tbsp. lemon, juiced
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. agave syrup (or other sweetener) Cinnamon stick, if desiredDirections:
Steep tea bag in boiling hot water for 4-5 minutes. Discard tea bag. Stir in lemonade concentrate and vanilla extract. Slowly stir in agave syrup, adjusting to your liking. Garnish with cinnamon stick if desired.

Makes one serving.

I don’t know about you…but I am sure ready to whip out my Spongebob mug (no shame!) and stir up some yummy warm goodness!

As always, have a lovely day!

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Hey y’all! It’s been a while. School has definitely been taking a toll on me. And it has most definitely inhibited me from having time to blog. Which is quite sad…but I assure you that once October gets started, I will be back to a somewhat, regular weekly schedule instead of a daily one. But…without further adieu…

Here is an awesome little graphic I found on my FAVORITE site. Pinterest. Seriously…if you haven’t heard of it, check it out. In my opinion, it’s like the girlie-version of Reddit. :)

New internships, new experiences!

Hello my lovely readers!

This week has been particularly special because after a long search for an internship in the museum-field and a lot of denials, I was finally accepted to be a part-time intern at the Attleboro Art Museum in Attleboro, Massachusetts. SO EXCITING!

Last semester I had a really tough time trying to land an internship. If you don’t know already, I am an art history major at school, and I am hoping to take my post-undergrad career in the path of doing museum/gallery work. If possible, I would also love to take my Business and Management minor and find a job at an auction house. Sotheby’s anyone??

There would be a viscous cycle of me sending in my resume to certain galleries in Boston (to be left anonymous) and I would consistently get a call back from them saying that they would love to meet and interview me. And of course, being so enthusiastic and bubbly and leaping at any offer they made, I made it a habit of traveling to and from Boston nearly every weekend to go to interviews. However, it would always end with “sorry, you’re awesome, but we chose someone else”. Normally I can let these denials slide and not effect me…but after a while it took a huge toll. I honestly got a little depressed and felt like all I was doing to succeed wasn’t worth it. After a while of this, I sort of gave up and ended up going back to my regular summer job of working at a kids camp in the arts. A great job, pays really well, but I really want to move on and find employment in the field I am actually studying.

But thank GOD for my school’s Career Services department. One of my advisers sent me an email about the Attleboro Art Museum and I sent my resume right away. Turns out, the woman in charge has had a lot of experience working with students from my college. I immediately got a call from her the next day and we scheduled an interview. The day I spoke with her, got the full tour of the museum and I was told that day that I got it. Finally…FINALLY the work pays off. I think the following image really applies for me here:

http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-snc7/395338_10151061002941840_1353360162_n.jpg

But after my lovely talk with my new boss, I was sent off to explore the museum and the current exhibition they have there called 8 Visions. It was really fascinating. It was a collection of works by 8 separate artists that were selected by a jury…that happened to be all women! Throughout the main gallery, there were these intricate looking dresses that were displayed. And of course, I could not leave there with out taking pictures, knowing that I would have to blog about them later. ;)

Here are some pics of some highlights:

As always, have a lovely day!

Sushi addicts rejoice!

Hello there!

Hope you all have been well these past few days…I for one have been doing my usual thing. You know…stressing about school work…scrambling around campus trying to collect all my components for my study abroad application. Time is passing so quickly! The first deadline is October 5. Holy guacamole that is coming up FAST!!!

But thank God for my boyfriend…he offered to order us take-out tonight to end a long, hectic week. And what else are we craving but SUSHI! While paroozing through Pinterest, I found an amazing Fab Find link that I wanted to share with you all. If you are a fan of sushi, but don’t want to break the calorie bank…check out these 6 low-calorie sushi options to keep yourself on track!

As always, have a lovely day!

run, Run, RUN!

Hello all!

Although it is Wednesday, it totally feels like it is a Thursday for me. For the past few weeks, we haven’t had our Monday classes due to holidays, wacky schedules, etc. So my entire brain is now one day ahead. Darn…still have to get over hump day.

This year at college I am paying special attention to my overall health by focusing on my exercise. I know that I post all sorts of articles on health and nutrition and fitness, but I never really tell you exactly what I do in terms of my workouts lately. About a month ago, I decided to sit down and write a precise schedule of what I would be doing for exercise while I was away (and hopefully for a LONG time after that!)

I stick to a schedule of working out at LEAST 5 days a week. Since I have so much going on in my day due to classes, extracurriculars, etc, I workout as soon as I wake up. I know that sounds like torture for most college-aged people because we tend to oversleep till noon or even later. But seriously, if you just get yourself awake early enough and use your willpower to get yourself out of bed, you WILL get yourself out that door and you WILL find success.

A nice little tip is to put your workout clothes and sneakers out in a lovely pile the night before. No excuses now!

For those 5 days a week that I work out, I do about 30 minutes of cardio. Doesn’t sound like a lot, right? Well, here’s an important fact: People are more likely to stick to a workout regimen if they set goals that are MAINTAINABLE for long periods of time. That way, you will achieve long-term success. If you tell yourself you are going to run on a treadmill for an hour a day and then do a total body circuit, you will burn out eventually…no question. It is more reasonable to set smaller daily goals that you can stick to and you can maintain for long periods of time so that you don’t find yourself yo-yo-ing. (A dangerous pattern that I have found myself in many a’times in my past.

My half hour cardio alternates every single day. I am a big fan on running, whether it is outside, on the treadmill, interval training, whatever. I call that my main workout. Meaning, I do this the majority of my 5 days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). However, if you are doing high-intensity, high-impact cardio like running, you should space it out by cross training. Basically, cross training is when you workout on any other machine other than your main workout. For me, I use the elliptical because it doesn’t have as harsh of an impact on my joints. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I stick to cross training.

Then comes my resistance training. I typically like to do one of 2 different routines that I also alternate in order to get the best results. On my running days, I stick to an ab circuit and on my cross-training days, I do a leg circuit. I normally do not use weights when doing these, because I am a fan of using your own body weight as your resistance for your workouts. The moves I use for both routines are from a program I did starting the summer after my freshman year called P90X. I don’t want to go into too much detail about P90X, but if you are interested in seeing the moves I do, you can see theab workout here and the leg workout here.

http://www.beachbody.com/images/beachbody/en_us/products/programs/p90x/base-2.jpg

It is crucial that you create a good balance between resistance training and cardio. You cannot just do one and expect good results. It’s like working out and eating, right? You cannot workout like a fiend and slack in your nutrition and expect quality results.

My 5 days a week, as you have probably noticed, pertains to Monday-Friday. However, I am a huge fan of adding additional activity to the weekend if you want to. Just don’t do anything too strenuous. For example, at school a group of friends and I have created a running club where we run routes around the campus on Sunday mornings. Also, I participate in Club Tennis at my college on Wednesday and Sunday nights. So that is DOUBLE the cardio in one day. And since tennis is too strenuous a workout, it makes the activity more fun.

Well, that’s pretty much the gist of it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading up on my routines and get inspired to create your own workout plan you can commit to. Trust me, you won’t regret it. ;)

As always, have a lovely day!

A much needed update…

Hello lovelies!

It has been a while…about 2 weeks, if I’m not mistaken? Since the end of August I’ve been readjusting to college life and my schedule, yet again, is hectic as usual. With my art history major almost completed, I am taking on a new mission: to complete a minor in Business and Management. I’ve spoken with my advisers on the matter, and from what I’ve gathered, it is very probable that I will complete the minor in my 2 remaining years at college. Hooray! I’ve always wanted to find a job post-college somewhere in the art world whether that be working in an art museum, or my preferred route, at an art auction house.

I have also been somewhat stressing about my upcoming semester abroad in London. I am in the midst of writing my application and meeting with my advisers to make sure that I am accepted and am able to transfer the credits I need to complete my major/minor that I take there. So exciting!

So along with all of this schoolwork, I am also trying to keep up my fitness regimen. As you guys have seen before, especially in the summer when I worked at the fitness camp, my posts became more in the health/fitness category than the fashion/style one. But the reason for that is that at work we are required to wear work out attire. And as much as I am a fan of workout gear and accessories, I would have much preferred to share more actual outfits that reflect my style. Luckily for me, my running routine are easily adaptable to my college environment and I run outside in the mornings down a lovely residential area. I have started taking photos of myself post-workout like one of my other favorite bloggers, TrulyJess, to keep me accountable and on track. Because as we all know…college is one of the easiest places to lose your footing and to fall of the wagon in terms of healthy living.

Rockin’ the sweaty-look…

But I just wanted to update you on what has been happening lately in my life, since I’ve been out of the loop and out of communication for a while. Look forward to some new content coming soon!

As always, have a lovely day.

Product Review: Zevia

Zevia? What the heck is that, you ask? Well, in order to answer that question for you, let me tell you a story…

So back in my freshman year of college, I grew more and more dependent on Diet Pepsi. Since I knew that regular soda was terrible for you and was basically liquid calories, I thought having diet soda instead would prevent any real damage to my health.

Here’s where it gets a little scary. I grew sort of…addicted to diet soda. I mean, the stuff was practically pumping through my veins! I would have it whenever I would feel a sudden craving or wanted to feel full because the flavor was always satisfying to me, and the carbonation of the beverage kept my tummy full. But it got to the point where instead of opting for water, or tea I would always turn to diet soda. And I didn’t realize this at the time, but diet soda, although it is called diet soda, has some serious health risks.

  1. Kidney damage.  A 2009 Nurses’ Health Study of 3,256 women found a 30% drop in level of kidney function for participants who drank 2 or more servings of diet pop daily. This means that those who drank at least 2 cans, bottles or glasses of diet drinks daily had 30% less kidney blood filtering ability than those who drank regular sodas or other drinks. The kidney function decline was noted even when consideration was made of other factors which may have affected participants, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.Why does diet soda harm the kidneys? Evidence is still coming in, but it’s thought that the sweeteners used in diet soda may scar kidney tissue over time.
  2. Weight Gain.  Perhaps surprising, but true: studies have tied diet soda consumption to an increased risk of obesity. In fact, a 2005 University of Texas Health Science Center study found a 57.1% risk of obesity for those drinking more than two daily servings of diet pop.How could a zero-calorie drink raise your risk of obesity? Researchers have a few theories. Some people may feel that drinking diet soda gives them a “free pass” to eat more foods that may not be so low in calories, thereby leading to weight gain. Another theory posits that the sweet taste of diet pop alerts our digestive system that high-calorie foods are coming. When they don’t, our bodies are confused and our appetite increases in anticipation of the food it’s expecting.
  3. Tooth Enamel Damage.  Soda is hard on tooth enamel, with the sugar and acid being the most problematic ingredients. Diet soda eliminates the sugar, but not the acid content of pop. Most of us are familiar enough with acid that we can imagine its impact on our tooth enamel, which is the main barrier our teeth have against decay.Phosphoric acid is found in many diet sodas, and its purpose is to promote carbonation. But it also erodes tooth enamel. Check your favorite diet drink to see whether it contains phosphoric acid; generally, darker colas are more likely to contain it than lighter diet drinks.Citric acid is another ingredient added to many diet sodas in order to preserve carbonation. Like phosphoric acid, it eats away at your tooth enamel. If you can’t give up your diet soda habit, try sipping it through a straw in order to reduce its contact with your teeth.
  4. Bone Loss.  Drinking diet soda can also lead to bone loss. This is because the phosphoric acid in the soda causes calcium in your bloodstream to be excreted more quickly than normal through urine. Your bones then give up some of their calcium in order to keep the bloodstream calcium level constant.(Info courtesy of Fitday.com)

So now that you can see how incredibly harmful diet drinks are to anyone’s well-being. But here is where things get good. While walking around Whole Foods one day I stumbled upon the soda aisle. I’ve been diet soda free since June of last year, and I wasn’t going to take any chances with other sodas, even if they were from Whole Foods. But then I saw the 6-packs of Zevia staring at me from the shelf. I mean, I knew of Stevia, the natural zero-calorie sweetener, but Zevia? What does that mean?

Basically, Zevia is a soda brand that makes their soda calorie AND sugar-free but not with any unnatural chemicals like in diet sodas that cause negative side-effects. Instead, they utilize two natural ingredients that make Zevia just as amazing as any soda you’ve tried: Stevia and Erythritol. Woah…that second one doesn’t sound too natural. But trust me…it is soooo natural. Erythritol is a natural component of fruits and vegetables and is classified as a sugar alcohol, even though it is neither sugar nor alcohol. It is derived from fruits and vegetables through a natural fermentation process, much like that of yogurt and has absolutely no calories and no effect on blood sugar.

And how does it taste…well, you’d have to look at my recyclables bin at my house to see how obsessed with this stuff I am. I LOVE IT! I can finally enjoy the bubbly awesomeness of soda without harmful side-effects. And they come in so many different flavors! (Black Cherry, Caffeine-Free Cola, Cherry Cola, Cola, Cream Soda, Dr. Zevia, Ginger Ale, Ginger Root Beer, Grape, Grapefruit Citrus, Lemon Lime Twist, Lime Cola, Mountain Zevia, Orange, and Strawberry)

Mind you, that Zevia is kind of pricy. For about $6 for a 6-pack it is relatively more expensive than your average soda. But hey, if you want to maintain your health in the long-run and cannot give up your love of the fizzy stuff, Zevia can be your savior!

As always, have a lovely day!