A Little Sweetness

After a crock pot fail earlier this week, last night’s successful slow cooker dinner redeemed my love for crock pot cooking.

Crock Pot Beef Stew

I made beef stew by following a recipe I found on AllRecipes.com. Though the recipe called for a few veggies, I added a bunch more and chopped up sweet potatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, carrots and an onion to include.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

It was veggie-packed and delicious!

Breakfast

Breakfast this morning included a bowl of steel cuts oats prepared on the stovetop with egg whites, half of a banana and pumpkin pie spice. I was a little heavy handed with the carton of egg whites, so the oats were a little fluffier than I meant for them to be, but still quite tasty!

breakfast

I also made a hot cup of coffee to sip on the side.

coffee with homemade foam

Last weekend I bought a small bottle of NuNaturals pure liquid vanilla stevia from Earth Origins in Ocala. One of my girlfriends is in love with this stuff and encouraged me to try it out in my morning coffee. She promised me it was on par with Starbucks vanilla syrup!

nunaturals liquid stevia vanilla

While I wouldn’t compare it to Starbucks vanilla syrup, I really liked it a lot! I added a few drops to the bottom of my coffee mug before pouring in Godiva peppermint crème coffee and topping it off with frothy almond milk. It added a touch of sweetness without a weird aftertaste. It’s pretty darn expensive, so I’ll be rationing my use of the stuff, but I liked it!

Question of the Morning

  • If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, do you add anything to your coffee or tea?

I like to add vanilla almond milk to my coffee but I prefer my tea without anything in it. Sweet tea gives me the heebie jeebies. Clearly I wasn’t born and raised in Florida because sweet tea is a staple around here!

Comments

  1. says

    Glad your Crock Pot meal was a success!

    I enjoy a little Vanilla NuNaturals in my coffee from time to time, but like you said, it’s a little pricey, so I try not to use it all the time. My new favorite thing is some spiced/flavored coffee with a dash of heavy whipping cream in my coffee. It makes it so creamy and wonderful!

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  2. says

    I use the Coffemate Natural Bliss.. fewer ingredients than other creamers and no artificial sweeteners. I keep it to a minimum though. I’d love to try a flavored stevia. The pure stevia extract has such a strong aftertaste that I can’t get past.

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  3. says

    I usually add milk (3%) or a homemade creamer recipe and somtimes some Starbucks syrup. I try to stay away from it but it makes the coffee so much tastier! There are some really yummy homemade coffee syrup and creamer recipes out there! We just tried a gingerbread syrup… so good.

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  4. says

    ooooh, I usually drink my coffee black. I’m not a fan of its taste at all, whenever I drink it , it’s for the purpose to keep me (more) awake. grr I like the idea of throwing in vanilla flavour!

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  5. says

    I LOVE NuNaturals stevia. I think it’s my favorite stevia brand. They make a cocoa stevia too – but I’ve found the regular plain stuff works great in coffee and then I can add my organic flavored creamer. Also, SweetLeaf makes amazing flavored stevia – like orange, grape, and rootbeer for adding into water or club soda and then chocolate, chocolate raspberry, and english toffee (my fav) that I have at work for putting into my coffee. It’s $12-14 a bottle but it’s strong stuff and you only need a few drops so I find a bottle lasts several months.

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  6. Natalie says

    Hi Julie. This recipe looks very warming and delicious. I love using my slow cooker so I will try this one over the weekend. Just what we need in the UK right now with all the snow we are getting. I actually just returned from my vacation in Orlando about 4 weeks ago. Missing the sunshine so much 🙁 Very jealous of you!! 🙂

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      • Natalie says

        We did Julie, absolutely love it there. Was our 6th vacation in Orlando and still not got around to seeing alot of the places there. Just read your post about where to go in Orlando other than theme parks and will bear that in mind for our next visit. Love the weather and all you locals are just so pleasant and polite. A breath of fresh air compared to our everyday lives in Manchester UK let me tell you. 🙂

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  7. Holly says

    I like coffee-mate but am glad to read in the comments about the natural bliss version, I’m gonna try that and an equal and sometimes if its a bigger cup one Splenda as well. I love coffee and have a keurig one-cup brewer that makes the best coffee ever! As for tea, clearly I wasn’t born in the south either cause to me ‘tea’ is hot and I like mine with cream (if its chai or anything similar) and honey. Thanks for your blog, I’ve really been enjoying it since the beginning of this year!!

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  8. Tailar says

    I’m lactose intolerant and always on the lookout for yummy non-dairy products, so when I found SO Delicious non-dairy coconut milk creamer I gave it a try. It is AMAZING! I used to use vanilla almond milk, but the french vanilla flavor of this stuff is to die for, and a little goes a long way! I would deffinately reccomend it!

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      • says

        I’m not lactose intolerant, however I use the So Delicious unsweetenef coconut creamer. It’s so yummy! I’ve only been able to find it at Whole Fooda, but I’m sure if you go to So Delicious’ website, you could find locations near you. I like it because it is low in calories. I used to use fat free half & half, but stopped since it’s most chemicals. I actually have the creamer on my shopping list!

        I also like Almond Breeze unsweetened almond coconut milk in my coffee. It adds a nice, light flavor. I’m all about unsweetened coffee, but like my hot tea a little sweet…. Iced is just lemon!

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        • Tailar says

          I first saw it at Whole Foods too, but recently found it at one of our local grocery stores called Harris Teeter. I think a lot of grocery stores are starting to carry the So Delicious products now!

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  9. Carol T. says

    I have coffee every morning with a 1/2 cup of almond milk. I use to use splenda but trying to get away from using artificial sweetners.

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  10. Alecia says

    I drink my coffee black – if it is the unflavored stuff that I usually get. If it is flavored, I add a little sugar to bring out the flavor. I like sweet iced tea, but with hot tea, I can either drink it unsweetened or with milk and honey.

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  11. says

    I actually have this random sweetener that I use called Sweet Thing. My mom got me hooked on it and I’ve only been able to find it in ONE place in Wilmington. (The only place in my hometown is a small grocery called Food King.) It makes me feel sassy with my morning cup-a-joe! Schweeeet Thangggg! 😉

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  12. says

    If you want to go cheap for a vanilla coffee flavor I will use unsweetened vanilla almond milk, Truvia / Splenda / whatever your poison is for sweet, and plain of vanilla extract! A drop goes a long way! You can also add a little cinnamon to the bottom! When it comes to coffee I have to put a slew of things in it to drink. When it comes to tea I do it plain though! I used to be a total Splenda whore but I have basically cut it out of my life by avoiding coffee and sticking to plain tea!

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  13. says

    I don’t like sweet tea either, I usually have that plain, and coffee with milk most days, and milk and sugar on the weekends. I don’t know why, but I like my weekend coffee to taste more special than weekday coffee…to go along with a more special breakfast usually 🙂

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  14. Samantha says

    I drink my coffee with almond milk, vanilla or original. Sometimes I crave sweetness so I’ll add some sugar in the raw. The trick I use is to add some cinnamon (sometimes nutmeg) to the coffee grounds for a healthier, and cheaper, way of making flavored coffee. It smells amazing and tastes so good! I’ve only started drinking tea in the past few years; I’ve always been a coffee loyalist. But, I strain green tea with mint and sometimes ginger – drinking that iced is so refreshing too!

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  15. says

    I love Stevia! I use the powdered form from Swansons. It lasts forever! I put it in my tea, greek yogurt, baking…so much!
    I drink my coffee my black. I started off drinking coffee with sugar and cream, then that faded once I started to cut back on dairy and sugar. Black coffee is the bomb! I <3 it.

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  16. says

    I used to add two creams and two splendas, but I’m trying to get away from artificial sweeteners (and sadly, found out the Stevia I used wasn’t pure stevia. Blarg). Lately, I’ve been doing coffee and flavored creamers, but making sure to measure as much as possible. Hopefully, I can wean myself off the stuff and be satisfied with just almond milk or straight cream in my coffee.

    And sweet tea is NASTY! Unless it’s sweetened by fruit. Then it’s okay. 🙂

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  17. says

    I like to drink black tea with almond or soy milk and coffee with milk and sugar free hazelnut syrup. I think I started drinking milk in tea when my stepdad started to make it for me. He is from england and they have there tea with milk and sugar, I skip the sugar though.

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  18. says

    I used to be really big about adding flavored creamer (peppermint!!) to my coffee. Then one day I decided I didn’t want to spend the money on the creamer and now I absolutely love my coffee black. I get turned off by coffee with creamer or sugar in it. Once every few months I will be crazy and get a 7-11 coffee loaded with cream and sugar 🙂

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  19. says

    i hate coffee and rarely drink tea (but when i do i drink it plain) but i LOVE hot chocolate…does that count?? i put in vanilla creamer and it’s so good. this winter there was a peppermint creamer out that just made it fab!!!

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  20. says

    I like my tea black and STRONG. I spent some time in Scotland two years ago where it’s completely normal–expected, even–that you’ll put milk and sugar in your tea. I tried it once and it was so strange haha. I’m perfectly happy with my tea 100% black, thank you 😛

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  21. says

    I am a black coffee drinker but lately I enjoy a splash of unsweetened almond milk and a squeeze of vanilla nunaturals. My newest obsession is a decaf chai tea with a spalsh of unsweetened almond milk and a drop of honey

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  22. says

    I’m from the south, so sweet tea ran through my veins as a child! Have you ever heard of sun tea? It is a giant glass container of water & tea bags that you put in the sun (our front porch) to let steep. Then we added TONS of sugar and fresh mint leaves that grew like crazy in our yard. Awww, memories…

    Now my metabolism forces me to use Splenda instead of sugar. 🙁 I use it in my tea (hot or cold) and in my morning coffee, along with sugar free vanilla creamer. I switch up the coffee flavors, but never what I put in it.

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  23. April V. says

    My all time favorite is a caramel macchiato but that’s a big splurge for me. Usually in the morning I’ll have black coffee with a touch of low fat milk, no sugar. Once I have sugar in the morning I crave it all day!

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  24. says

    I loveeeee green tea, and I drink it plain. I used to add sweetner to it but I’ve weened myself off it. I would love to try stevia one day to add to smoothies or something else but yeah, the price deters me right now!

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  25. says

    I agree on the stevia being pricey- I got a ton from a friend one time and thought it was great but have yet to buy more. Maybe one day!

    I add almond milk and 2-3 packets of purevia to tea and coffee. As well as creamer to coffee. It’s usually more white than anything.

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  26. says

    I drink my coffee black. I secretly like the bitter taste and how it’s so quick and easy. For my tea I drink a cup of green tea in the afternoon and add a spoonful of honey and a slice of lemon. Black tea I don’t add anything to

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  27. Emily says

    I usually drink my coffee with skim milk only! 🙂

    I bought a crock pot yesterday and definitely plan on getting some inspiration from your blog. Never used one before! 🙂 Also this morning I enjoyed a little modified version of your whole wheat pumpkin pancakes (with a chocolate/coffee flavored Chobani “bite” yogurt instead of pumpkin) — they came out great! I love your blog, thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

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  28. says

    Hmmm I’ve been curious about the flavored stevia drops for a while. Thanks for the review, I think I’ll stick with my Truvia and vanilla extract! I always add some chocolate or vanilla almond milk to coffee and some vanilla almond milk if I’m drinking my caramel black tea, otherwise tea goes plain!

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  29. Amber says

    Where do you find the Godiva peppermint crème coffee?? I’ve been on the seach for it since the first time I saw it mentioned on your blog. No luck yet! 🙁

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  30. Lisa says

    I use coconut vanilla creamer in my coffee. Your beef stew looks wonderful. I put Brunswick Stew in my crockpot last night, then cooled it off this morning and put in the refrigerator.

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  31. says

    I really enjoy the sugar free Torani syrups! Ever since I discovered SF caramel, Dunkin has lost a little business from me lol

    I’ve seen that vanilla stevia in recipes before. Is it just a flavored sweetener?

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  32. Kelsey Y. says

    Since I have a slight sensitivity to dairy milk, coconut milk is my add-in for my tea. Soy milk is my choice if I’m out at a coffee shop, its soy milk then!

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  33. says

    Love the liquid stevia! They now have a peppermint that I’m adoring in my green tea. Ron from NuNaturals is such a great guy and loves to work with bloggers. You should definitely reach out to him to see about trying their new flavors.

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  34. says

    I cannot drink coffee black. I always have to add creamer. My favorites are french vanilla and hazelnut. Very rarely do I need to add sugar. I’m trying to cut down on my love for artificial sweeteners in my coffee!

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  35. Zoe says

    Coffee is a big deal in my family- and I liked it with a splash of nonfat milk (raised on the stuff- now I can’t change!) and a sugar cube. I thought about what kind of sweetener to use for a while and I do love agave syrup. But, on a college student’s budget it was not really a feasible option for me. In addition I need the portion control of sugar cubes!
    For tea, I usually do the same for black tea especially Chai and Harney and Son’s Paris Tea (SO GOOD!) but for other teas I just drink them straight.

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  36. says

    A splash of Unsweetened Almond milk (when at home) and when I’m not at home…whatever is available between skim or non-dairy creamer. No Sugar in my coffee, please! 🙂

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  37. says

    I drink my coffee black (unless I get something at a coffee shop), but since I found out I am pregnant I am drinking half-caff now and sometimes with a little soy creamer in it 🙂

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  38. says

    Mmm, that crock pot meal looks delicious!! I like to add a tbsp of unsweetened vanilla almond milk to my coffee, or a 1/2tbsp of heavy whipping cream is pretty darn amazing. I have the liquid Stevia Glycerite & love that stuff to add to my tea & baking. Yes, it’s pretty darn pricey though! 😉

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  39. Carly says

    I don’t add anything to my tea because I drink tea for the calming affect-not to give me a sugar rush.
    Coffee on the other hand is meant to give you a buzz! I typically drink it black but on occasion, I add a little bit of almond milk if the coffee batch I made was too strong. If I’m in the mood for “dessert coffee”, I add some Bailey’s French Vanilla creamer to it 😉 So good! I love my coffee and tea 🙂

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  40. Erin says

    Julie- those drops last FOREVER! I use them almost daily in my coffee- 5-10 drops, as well as sometimes in pancake batter, and they have lasted over a year!

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  41. says

    Just started reading your blog (I read HTP and saw you on the Old Navy’s Facebook page). I drink green tea every morning and sometimes stir in a little organic honey.

    I’m a Floridian and I have never liked sweet tea. It’s just gross to me! I prefer unsweetened anyday!

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  42. Dex says

    you can buy those drops much cheaper online! iherb.com has a great selection of sweeteners and other natural/organic products if you have never heard of them. you can even use code SIZ056 to get $5 off your first order 🙂

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