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The Secret To My (Summer) Success: Iced Skinny Starbucks drinks on the cheap

20 Jul

I’m a bit of a Starbucks junkie.  Not such a great thing for the wallet (or the belly).  I decided long ago that if my Starbucks addiction was to continue, then I would need to figure out how to build my own lower-fat drinks that didn’t cost $5 a pop.  Since it’s summer and my drink list is forever evolving, I’ll share some of my current iced drink favorites.

Iced Coffee, Nonfat milk, shot of Toffee Nut syrup, and a Splenda

I wont take all the credit for this coffee drink. My sister is in her second year of college and sometimes her college budget inspires creativity. This drink has become one of my favorites. I would consider the Toffee Nut syrup a small splurge (being that it isn’t sugar free) but it really makes this drink something special.  If you are looking to be extra “good,” switch out toffee nut for sugar free vanilla or caramel.  Also, sometimes the coffee comes out too dark for my taste.  If this is the case, head over to the do-it-yourself bar and add in some more skim milk, 2%, or creamer.  This is truly a poor man’s latte!

Nonfat Iced Tazo Chai Latte

I love the Iced Chai for its spicy, yet refreshing flavor.  How do they concoct this magic?  The last time I ordered this drink, I became extra nosy so I could find out how they make it.  Apparently the Chai flavoring comes from a concentrated syrup.  Being the stickler I am for knowing exactly what I’m putting in my mouth, I headed over to the Starbucks website to verify I wasn’t inhaling a million calories.  I wasn’t (thank goodness).  In fact, a tall Iced Chai Latte contains 150 calories and 0 grams of fat.  Not too bad!

What are some of your favorite caffeinated summer iced drinks (Starbucks or otherwise)?

Tip: I was in a Starbucks today and sampled the new Starbucks Iced Via Ready Brew. I was REALLY  surprised how great it was!  If you don’t have time (or extra cash) to stop into Starbucks daily but still need your fix, I think this might be your answer.  Simply pour the packets into cold water, shake, fix to your liking and enjoy! Be your own Barista 🙂

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Yelp! I’m going to NYC and don’t have a food plan…

19 Jul

My husband and I are making a trip up to NYC very soon to visit his 95 year old grandmother (I will be asking what’s her #1 health secret).  One of our many topics of conversations around our NYC trip is where to eat.  We will only be visiting a couple of days and since there are only 3 meals (well sorta) in a day, we need to chose where we will eat wisely.  With so many amazing places to chose from in NYC, I would hate to be starving on a street corner settling for street meat.  I’m a firm believer that if you have a food plan, you will most likely make better choices about your meals. There have been a number of times when traveling that I was willing to settle for anything because I didn’t have a plan and as a result, either spent too much money, ate something that tasted terrible, or ate something terrible for me!  On this trip, I’ve turned to yelp.com for, well, Help! I’ve listed a couple of places that have caught my attention.

In Vino – Just the photos of the Italian restaurant remind me of my last visit to Italy!  I love how cozy and rustic it looks and the menu looks simple and well priced.

witchcraft – ok ok. You might think, “If she read the yelp reviews she would know better!”  I have to admit my food crush on Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio is the only reason I would consider going here.  If I decide to skip this, are there any recommendations out there for other “famous chef” cheaper (perhaps lunch) eats?

Grom Gelatto – I know you can pick up gelato on any block in NYC, but this place looks TOPS!  They use all natural organic ingredients fresh from their own farm!

Caracas Arepas Bar – I grew up eating arepas as a child so when someone says arepas, I say YUM!  Apparently, this place can get crazy busy because word on the street is it’s crazy good.

Taim Falafel & Smoothie Bar – Yelp reviews already warn that the line will be out the door for this wonderful cheap Mediterranean lunch spot.  Even though I’m not going to enjoy the wait, it’s usually a good sign.  I keep debating between this and Mamoun’s Falafel (both get great reviews).

Any other good recommendations? (Asian, Indian, & French food recommendations come highly appreciated!)