DIY French Vanilla Latte

Jasmine keeps no less than four coffee creamers in her fridge at a time. I’ve been at her house once when there were more creamers than condiments. I’m sure there isn’t a flavor she hasn’t tried. Me, on the other hand, is a different story ūüôā

I’ve been drinking caffeinated drinks for many years now -mostly Pepsi. I normally try to wake up about an hour before my son to prepare for his homeschool lessons for the day. This summer, I have been trying to sleep in as much as I can because I’m home with my active child all day and need my energy. As a result, when my husband wakes up for work before me, he makes the pot of coffee.

In the past, he hasn’t been much of a coffee drinker. Drinking any type of caffeine normally makes him super excited and pumped. But for some reason, a morning cup of joe has become somewhat of a habit. Most people drink coffee for the taste and the caffeine, right? Not him! In fact, he drinks it black sometimes!

This week the official school year has started, and I have to get back into my normal morning routine. For years, I’ve been drinking the same flavor of coffee faithfully. There’s something about the hazelnut creamer that warms my soul.

Being the rebel that I am, I bought a different creamer at the store last week. We tried it for a few days, and of course my hubby liked it each day. But I’m harder to please. So much for trying new things right?! It was already half way gone when I decided to add a few ingredients to make my own flavor. I was so determined to make this creamer work-mainly because I’m cheap and won’t throw food away. After trying honey and hot cocoa, I think I found it! I don’t think I will be buying this particular flavor again but if I do, I know how to make the perfect cup of joe.

DIY French Vanilla Latte
-2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
-Nestle Coffee Mate’s Italian Sweet cream, to taste
-Sugar, to taste

 It’s amazing how a few simple ingredients can be added to turn a basic coffee into a delectable experience. Now, my mind is spinning- I wonder what other flavor combinations I can come up with.

I’m looking for ideas. How do you spice up your coffee?


Sunday Dinner РProud Wife 

Sunday dinner has been a special tradition in my family since I was a kid. I remember my great grandparents -who I lived with for a time, always making sure we were together in the evenings. No matter what our hectic schedules were, we would get together and do this regularly. As a single mom, my mom tried to have Sunday dinner as a family as well. I can’t say she did this every week growing up, but it was enough times to see a value in it. Since being married, I have kept up pretty well with our traditional Sunday dinners. However, recently my hubby decided he wanted to master more than one dish. So, he is taking over Sunday dinners for a while. Most nights, dinner is ready for him when he gets home since he works during he week. Sunday tends to be my day to relax. It also allows him time to lookup recipes and prepare a meal without being rushed. This week he made baked chicken thighs with green beans and buttered white rice. He even cleaned the chicken and trimmed the fat! I must say I was impressed. It all turned out amazing. The chicken was flavorful, moist and delicious. The sides were cooked perfectly. Im sure he will be making this again for us very soon. I am definitely a fan of this Sunday dinner ūüôā 


Cooking with the Family

My husband and I have had this running joke for years- his best dish is spaghetti. That’s because, besides cereal, it’s the only thing he cooks. It’s delicious¬†and while I’m sure he and my son could eat this dish all day every day, I simply cannot. For my husband, standing in the heat is not very appealing- he shies away from cooking.¬†I actually love to cook and am always in the kitchen. Some members of my family would find that hard to believe. But my boys will tell you, they get a good number of home cooked meals from me and not just dinner.

I love finding new¬†and alternative ways to make a dish. Since I’m a work at home mom, I have plenty of time to prepare meals and think of new recipes that my family will enjoy. Lately, my husband has been meditating and paying more attention to his body, so I knew presenting¬†cooking as a way to stay healthy would be a good way to reintroduce him to the art of cooking. To me, cooking food is a way to bring the family together, to create memories. I would love to get my husband and son in the kitchen with me.

On my last trip to the thrift bookstore, I purchased The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cooking Basics. This book is like a dictionary from the culinary Gods themselves. We are definitely no idiots, but we felt ourselves a little overwhelmed by some of culinary terminology. I learned a lot flipping through this book and learned so many new terms.¬†

Barding РCovering the meat with a thin layer of fat before cooking.

Coodling РCooking food in simmering water for a very short time. This is primarily used with eggs. See below.

800px-Coddled_Egg_on_hashPhoto Credit: John Herschell via Flickr

Studding – Inserting spices, herbs or other flavorings to the surface of the food.

Trussing – Keeping the shape of a whole chicken or other poultry during roasting, tie the wings and legs with a string.

Fluting – Making a decorative edge on a pie or pastry. See below.


I have never heard of any of these terms before, but the techniques are something I want to try to incorporate in my cooking. A simple change like those listed above could easily turn a basic dish into a brand new flavor- without much additional work. New approaches are something my husband and I can learn together, which I hope will spark his desire to cook more. 

His spaghetti, although simple to make, is some of the best I’ve ever had. I know he would be a great cook if he tried, and I wouldn’t mind being his taste tester.

Are there any terms or cooking processes that you have learned recently? How do you incorporate family cooking/mealtime with your family? Please feel free to leave a comment and share.

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