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How to Make a Healthy, Thrifty Version of Starbuck's Frappachinos
I have a minor confession to make - those bottled Starbuck's frappachinos they sell are delicious! But around $5 for a pack of four tiny bottle-ettes that are gone in just a few seconds? I was pretty disenchanted with that, not to mention the guilty aftertaste of evil from having given money to a company like Starbuck's. I asked myself what could possibly be in them that would justify charging so much, and checked the list of ingredients. Coffee, milk, sugar, vanilla flavor. "I can do that," I thought. "In fact, I can probably out-do that, easily!"
I brewed up a pot of really strong coffee, poured it into a pitcher and added an equal part milk. Added sugar until it tasted right to me, and sure enough it had everything but the vanilla flavoring to make it taste just like its corrupt corporate counterpart.
I didn't want to use artificial vanilla extract, because it usually ends up tasting narsty. I went and picked up some Vanilla-flavored soy protein powder from Trader Joe's, and added that. "That's awesome!", I thought. "I can have all the Fraps I want, and I'm getting a protein boost too!" So I've been known to make pitchers of Soy Faux-pachinos and quaff them throughout the day. It really aids my online writing and coding, and being pretty caffeinated makes it easy to remember to take a li'l bit away from the computer every so often and get some exercise in.
I have really sensitive teeth, so I wasn't particularly into the idea of ice in my drinks. But if you enjoy it, you can toss your Faux-pacinos in the blender and add some. You can also pick up flavor shots to add, like Caramel, Creme de Menthe, Hazelnut, Amaretto and so on. Different flavors keep things from getting too routine, and they're just the thing for having friends over. Some people just enjoy a good cup of coffee so strong that it stirs itself ("Another slice of coffee, anyone?"). That's fine with me; they're not hurting anyone, right? But it's tough finding someone who doesn't appreciate the freedom and options that new flavors can afford. In fact you may find yourself becoming increasingly selective about which friends you invite over as you watch the levels in your flavor bottles get steadily lower and lower.
With summer on the way, having refreshing and delicious caffeinated drinks could be just what the doctor ordered, and a great, healthy way to have fun with your friends. Caffeine does cause a small amount of calcium loss, so milk is a great addition. You'll probably want to keep your Faux-pachinos in a pitcher that seals - allowing you to shake it just before you drink it - because the soy protein does have a bit of a tendency to settle to the bottom. Other than that it's practically ideal, and great both for situations with your friends when you just want to stay in, and when you're off to something more active or athletic.
Enjoy, and here's to your health!
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