Friday, July 15, 2016

Low Calorie, Low Sugar, Low Fat Coffee Creamer

Its for more than just coffee: I like a little on my old fashioned oatmeal for breakfast (and dessert and anytime I need a sweet treat). It makes the oatmeal creamier, sweeter, and just a little tastier. Add fresh fruit for a dreamy delight.

Sure, you can purchase "sugar free" flavored creamers but not all of my favorite creamers are available in sugar free. Plus, if you make your own from scratch, you get less fat, sodium, sugar, carbs, and calories than the brands. Plus, you get flavors that aren't necessarily available on the market.

As a borderline diabetic, recent heart attack victim, and middle-aged lady looking to drop 50 pounds, I'm constantly striving to decrease my dietary intake of fats, sugars, carbs, and calories and, if you're a label reader, like I am, you'll find that when the manufacturer decreases one ingredient, another ingredient is increased. More often than not that ingredient is sodium. Its about flavor.

To combat the urge to purchase "pre-packaged" products, like coffee creamer, I devise my own recipes so I'll have a great tasting substitute on hand. That's fewer carbs and calories to burn on the treadmill.

You can use flavorings of your choice but my preferences are LorAnn Super Strength Flavorings. LorAnn has a multitude of flavorings (like Egg Nog and Bavarian Cream) so it takes less than an 1/8th ounce to flavor a cup or two of liquid (depending on your taste). I like to purchase the one dram combo packs. That way I get a variety of flavors that I can use in other tasty treats. You can also purchase LorAnn flavorings at Walmart and Hobby Lobby but those stores only carry the biggest sellers.

And now my recipe for Low Calorie, Low Sugar, Low Fat Coffee Creamer. Note that the ingredients I used were Walmart's Great Value brands. Therefore the calories posted are based on those brands.

  • 1 cup water (filtered or purified tastes best)
  • 1/2 cup Granulated No Calorie Sweetener ("sucralose;" Great Value Brand)
  • 1/3 cup Instant Nonfat Dry Milk (Great Value Brand)
  • Flavoring to preferred taste (I used a small drop of LorAnn flavoring; it did not even puddle in the spoon. You may want yours a bit stronger).
Mix sweetener and water in small sauce pan. Stir until sweetener is dissolved. Heat and bring the light syrup to boil. Boil one minute and remove from heat. Add instant dry milk, stir until dissolved. Allow the milk to cool to the touch before adding the flavoring.

When adding flavoring, place a drop in a spoon first - never add it directly to the milk in case you overdo it. (You don't want to make a gallon of this stuff to even out the flavor). Add the flavoring, stir, taste. Repeat the process if you want your flavoring a little stronger. 

Cool, bottle, refrigerate. Here's the nutrition facts from homemade - note that all of the calories, sugar, etc, are from the instant dry milk.

 Per Cup (8 oz)  Per Tablespoon
Calories  80  5
Fat  0  0
Cholesterol < 5 mg  < 1
Sodium  125 mg  8 mg
Potassium  390 mg  24 mg
Carbohydrates  12 g  < 1
Sugar  12 g  <  1

For comparison, here are the nutrition facts from my favorite, Nestles Coffemate Sugar Free Italian Sweet Creme PER TABLESPOON (serving size):

Calories: 15
Fat: 1 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 10 mg
Potassium: na
Carbohydrates: 2 g
Sugar: 0 g

If you try it, let me know how this worked for you. And let me know if and how you tweaked the recipe to improve on it.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

WV Flood & Disaster Relief

On June 23, 2016, one of the worst floods to ever hit southern West Virginia struck my hometown, Rainelle. Nestled in western Greenbrier County, former friends and neighbors were enduring a disaster. It would have been wrong for me to do nothing.

Many huge and heartfelt thank yous go to my co-workers, church family, neighbors, friends, and complete strangers - You know who you are - who donated to the disaster relief efforts.

Rainelle, WV: June 24, 2016.

Rainelle Appliance
Beauty Shop

Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home

Smathers Funeral Home

Furniture Store
Furniture Store 
Furniture Store

Marie's Fabrics and Crafts

Marie's Fabrics & Crafts
Rainelle Motor Lodge
House on Ninth Street
Rainelle Public Library
Rainelle Public Library
Summit Bank
Thrift Store, Main Street
Thrift Store, Main Street
Veterinary Office

We sorted and labeled the donations prior to leaving on Thursday, June 30 to make it easier for volunteers to shelve the goods . Food, water, cleaning supplies, paper goods, and toiletries were delivered to "Reach Out America Disaster Relief." Bedding and towels were delivered to First Baptist Church. Only the clothing donations were left behind because we'd been notified earlier that used items - clothing and shoes - were being refused due to lack of storage capacity. These items will be delivered on the next trip.

Yes, I rode in the cargo hold.

"State Senator John Unger & FEMA congratulated Greenbrier County for having the fastest non-governmental response they have EVER seen to a major crisis. They said our local churches, civic groups, & organizations are miles ahead of others in similar circumstances, which will aid our recovery."

Bob and Drema Callis, June 4, 2016 at my niece's (their granddaughter) wedding.
Bob & Drema's house on Ninth Street, Rainelle. They spent the night on the second floor June 23, listening to cries for help.

The Callis house showing French doors to the dining area. Swift Water Rescue rafted into the dining room through these doors to rescue Bob, Drema, and grandmother Roxie. Bob's shed (white building, green roof) is way over there on the softball field. It used to sit on those cinder blocks/bare spot on the left. The rustic shed on the left washed up into that location from a block away, still full of  firewood and a refrigerator.

Shower floor at Callis'. Brand new shower enclosure was recently installed.

Bathroom floor, dining room floor of the Callis home.

My sister Jennifer in her clean-up attire at the Callis house. Yes, that is a 13 gallon trash bag she's sporting as an apron.

My brother-in-law, Rob Callis, standing in the dining room doorway of his homeplace showing the high water mark.

Finally, this is Mr. Ed Thompson. One of many elderly people in Rainelle, who were unable to escape their homes when the flash flooding began.

By his son, Keith Thompson: "As many of you know I lost my father Ed Thompson early last Friday morning as he and my mother were fighting for their lives at their Rainelle home. Mom made it through the flooding, but dad's time on this earth was over sometime around 1:10am. He was 85. Due to the flooding in Rainelle the services had to be delayed. Services for Ed Thompson will be July 5th at Calvary Baptist Church in Meadow Bridge. Visitation is scheduled from noon till 2, with the funeral service at 2. A Military Graveside Service will follow at Wallace Mausoleum in Clintonville. Rather than flowers the family request a donation be made to Calvary Baptist and the wonderful work they do to help the community. If you would like to join the celebration of the life of Ed Thompson, we would be honored if you can join us.
He was a good man. He will be missed."