Friday, September 23, 2016

A to Z Food Challenge: V

I absolutely, wholeheartedly, am obsessed with vanilla. Don't get me wrong, I am a chocolate girl as well - chocolate cake, fudge, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bars, you name is - but for me Vanilla is almost always my go to. Mostly because it goes with almost any other dessert. Fruit, chocolate, caramel, hot cocoa, everything. 

Seeing as how there are SO many things you could do with vanilla and vanilla flavored items, I thought I'd make a complete list of my favorite edibles to add Vanilla too! That way you don't just get one simple vanilla recipe, but all sorts of deliciousness! I'll also let you guys know my favorite vanilla desserts for when you're out and about at restaurants.

1. Coffee
This one is my personal favorite for the mornings. When you add vanilla ice cream, it's almost like an ice cream coffee, and if you add chocolate syrup as well, you'll create a mocha-like drink at home. Adding vanilla extract into any ground coffee when being brewed (through french press, machine, etc.) will give you an instant "french roast" style brew!

2. Tea
I always, always, ALWAYS, add creamer to my tea. Trader Joe's has a vanilla creamer that I'm absolutely in love with (check out my post HERE to read all about it and my tea collection). The thing about adding vanilla creamer to tea - or even vanilla extract - is that it creates a "creamier" taste that also enhances the flavors of the tea itself. It also adds a mild sweet factor, without having to add so much sugar. 

3. Batter
This is an obvious one, but sometimes people aren't always aware. I personally add vanilla extract to all of my cake, muffin, and cookie batters. Again, this enhances the flavor for me. I tend to always get compliments on my desserts when I add vanilla, compared to when I don't. 

4. Smoothies
I did an entire post on how I create absolutely amazing smoothies using vanilla. I either use vanilla yogurt or vanilla ice cream, to use as a base. The fruit, spinach, and nuts get a sweet and creamy flavor explosion with either the yogurt or vanilla. You can check out my favorite smoothie secrets HERE.

5. Fruit and nut medley
This one is mostly for breakfast, but also makes a magnificent snack. I love cutting up some fruit, sprinkling some chia seeds, adding sliced almonds, and topping everything off with a nice dollop of vanilla yogurt. This is extremely healthy and is my sons favorite snack as well. You can choose to go with almost any fruit you desire - bananas, papaya, cantaloupe - and easily "fancy" it up for a quick and healthy dish. 

BONUS: Stove top potpourri 
This isn't an edible - hence the "bonus" part - but I felt like it was a really cool trick to include. Whenever the holiday seasons start to approach, I absolutely love filling my house with the aroma of vanilla, cranberries, orange, and/or cinnamon. Sometimes all four or a combination of 2 - 3. To create this wonderful aroma without spraying scents all over the house, I simply bring a pot of water to a boil, with the ingredients listed above. Someday's I choose for Cinnamon and Vanilla, while other days I go for Vanilla, Cranberry, and Orange. The smell is intoxicating and completely natural without chemicals from sprays - not that there is anything wrong with your house sprays, my son just can't handle them. Since Fall has officially arrived, I figured this would add a festive feel into your home.

And there you have it guys. I know it's a simple and quick food challenge today, but I really wanted to share these tips with you. I've had a few friends who never thought to add Vanilla into some of these things and since they realized they were missing out - after trying these tips and falling in love - I knew I couldn't hold out on all of you! 

Happy Friday guys and have an absolutely wonderful weekend! It's the first weekend in Fall so be sure to go out and enjoy yourselves. Just be sure that you stay safe as well! If you plan on jumping in a pile of leaves, please do so in a safe manner - i.e. make sure there isn't a stump underneath that pile. I love you all and I hope whatever you do this weekend creates a wonderful memory! See you all Monday!!!

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