Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sell your McDonald's stock now....

Since my world got turned upside down a few months ago I have cut back drastically in certain areas of frivelous spending in order to make room in the budget for little things like food and the house payment.  My weekly, sometimes biweekly, restaurant dinners were replaced with pizza, first picked up from Pizza Hut to save the delivery charge, later picked up from the bake & take case at Wal Mart, then eventually from Aldi's frozen section.  My frequent McLunches were replaced with Subway Five Dollar Footlongs (you're welcome, the song will now be in your head for the rest of the day), which is now a rarely-enjoyed treat, more often I'm looking at a can of soup.

And, sadly, my daily Large McDonald's Sugar Free Vanilla Iced Coffee habit ($14 per week, so we're not talking Starbucks expensive here but still it adds up to a mind-boggling $728 per year) had to be cut back to a treat on Friday and maybe once over the weekend.

I have tinkered with home recipes to achieve the same glorious flavor, for 120 calories, and it always lacked....something.

Until now.

Behold...home made sugar free vanilla iced coffee...at 96 calories and a fraction of the cost.

Ok the picture isn't so great because I took it as I practically ran out the door for work.  But trust me...it tastes more like this:

Here's what I did....

Brew a pot of very strong black coffee, refrigerate.

Part of the trick is to not make it up ahead of time and store it in a pitcher in the fridge.  I've tried this and the taste is off.  So when you're ready, mix the following:

1 cup cold, strong, black coffee
1 cup skim milk
2 tsp Torani Sugar Free Vanilla coffee syrup (I found it at Wal Mart)
And the secret ingredient: 1 heaping tsp dry sugar free vanilla pudding mix.

I put it all in the blender on low for about 20 seconds while I'm drinking my breakfast (if you're new to my blog I'm not talking Bloody Mary's, I'm talking Shakeology) and when I'm either done with my shake or ready to leave for work I pour it over ice and YUM!!!

Honestly I don't know how much thickening the little bit of pudding and the waiting to consume accomplishes.  (update...I tried it without and the pudding is IMPERATIVE) But it seems to me to have a better consistency than when I tried a similar recipe without the pudding.  I got this idea from another website that recommended adding xanthan gum...but that's some expensive stuff. 

So here's the thing:  For the next month I will limit my dining out to once per week.  I'm not going crazy here, I will still buy take & bake pizzas and canned soup and such.  I'm not turning hippie and making my clothes from cow snot or something, but I am going to avoid drive thru's, sit down, quick casual, etc dining and even (gulp) my favorite "cheat", the prepared foods counter and salad bar at the grocery store.  Trust me, I can spend more there on lunch at Giant Eagle than I would at McDonald's.  I'm allowing myself once a week to allow for occasionally treating The Boy to his beloved Chepotle, a sunday brunch with friends or a date where maybe he doesn't pick up the tab. 

Stay tuned...this is going to be an adventure.

Today's lunch:  canned chicken chili (but wouldn't it be funny if I said McDonald's?)


  1. Timely post today! $14 a week is a lot. I should talk tho - Kerig K-cups are not cheap either at about $1.98 per cup. I have two a day so that's $20 for a work week. I demanded, and got several huge boxes of this coffee for Christmas--it's the only way--LOL.

    When I'm drinking it at work, I drink the entire cup (I take two to work in cups and reheat... all day long). But at home I don't finish a cup or I lose it in the house and make another (no patience when it comes to coffee). Ultimately I find the cup hours later so I stared freezing the coffee - right in the paper cup.

    This morning I noticed in the freezer several starbuck-esque paper cups with lids of coffee and extracted them to store in a baggie. Tons of little coffee cylinders; I do have.

    Maybe you could make the coffee and freeze in cube trays? they would blend well and keep the drink even colder.

    Also, the pudding mix probably works as a coagulant (?), much in the same way my protein powders work - a smoothie without powered is just too -- loose.

  2. Gosh if I had to support my own k-cup habit I would be doomed. My employer takes care of me during the week so I only have to worry about the weekends. And when times get tough I have the refillable dealio that goes in the maker.

    Yes without the pudding it's just too thin. I'm loving this new recipe!