My daughter Hannah started drinking coffee about the age of 13.  We used to have a carafe style type coffee pot and I think Tony and I were blaming each other for drinking all the coffee, when Hannah was sneaking cups out of it.  Fast forward 10 years and I think she goes to Starbucks at least every other day.  I am more of a “seasonal” Starbuck’s visitor – like when their pumpkin spice lattes come back every fall – it’s kind of like a right of passage into the holiday season.

Turns out my co-worker is a fan of the pumpkin spice too, so I decided to see if I could make a much cheaper version at home.  After seeing a bunch of different recipes on Pinterest, I combined what I liked about several of them, and then tweaked it until I got the taste I wanted. 

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (I used McCormick)

Put the water and sugar together and bring to a boil – like you are making a simple syrup.  Once the sugar has dissolved (after a few minutes) remove from the heat, stir in the canned pumpkin and the pumpkin pie spice.  I used a whisk to just make sure the canned pumpkin was incorporated.  I let it cool, then put it in one of my empty ketchup bottles.  I kept it in the refrigerator and then just packed it in my lunch bag before work.

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Here’s the deal – I never knew you could make steamed milk in a microwave!  I lost the link to where I found it, but you basically fill a mason jar half way full with low fat milk.  They said that low fat milk gives you better foam.  Put a lid on the jar, and shake it for about a minute.  Then microwave for one minute.  The milk on the bottom will be hot, and the top half of the jar will be nice and frothy.

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I poured a cup of coffee, then stirred in about a tablespoon of the pumpkin syrup.  Using a spoon, I held the froth back, and poured the hot milk into the coffee, then topped with the foam.  And because I can, I decided to make it “with whip!” and added whip cream on top, another drizzle of the pumpkin pie spice and a bit of cinnamon sugar.

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And yes, for the record, my snowmen mugs have come out of hibernation.   The one above is about one of 20!   The verdict?  It was delicious!  My one friend doesn’t like an overly sweet coffee, so that was perfect for her.  My boss loves sweet, so I added a tablespoon of Italian sweet creamer to hers and she was skeptical at first having never had a Starbuck’s pumpkin latte, but she loved it too.  I am guessing the syrup will last a couple weeks in the fridge?

So I decided to cut the dozen whole wheat rolls I got from the $1 rack in half – so now I have 24 halves for $1 – or .4 cents a half if we are keeping track.  I toasted one half while my egg whites, spinach, ham cooked, then topped the eggs on the toasted bun and put some Swiss lorraine on top, and melted it under the broiler.  With some grapes on the side – totally filling breakfast.  And now I have 23 more halves to go!

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I really wanted to put an extra effort into my workout, and I did.  I had arms on tap, and that only took me 15 minutes, so I did alternating walk for 3 minutes at 4.0 mph, then run for two minutes, upping my pace each run until I hit 2 miles – I got up to 6.8 mph!  Then I still had time and did half a mile on the stair climber.  I have avoided the stair climber because of my knee, but it was just fine.  The side view was to show you that my face was red, but now all I see is a couple moles I probably need to have checked out!

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Lunch was leftover food from the Halloween party from last Friday.  My buffalo chicken chili lasts a good week in the fridge – I’ll probably have more today for lunch.  With some blue corn tortilla chips on the side for dipping.  Yum!

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And in case you are wondering, those are not green onions (ew!) but chopped up jalapeno peppers.  Although they weren’t that spicy.

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I bought some thin steaks because I know Tony prefers thinner cuts of beef these days.  But he didn’t have a taste for it.  I still scored though – I have actually never seen this cut of beef before “sirloin tip pan steak.”  My guess was that it was part of the sirloin, and it looked lean and the price was right, so score!  We got two 4.5 ounce steaks.  I seasoned mine with salt and lots of black pepper.  I put the other one in the freezer for later.

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I looked it up after dinner last night, and I guess this cut is from the round portion, which is next to the sirloin.  All I know was that it was a really tasty steak.  Since it was so thin, I decided to crank up my cast iron skillet, added a touch of peanut oil and seared it for exactly one minute on each side.  While it rested, I made a quick side dish.  Now before Tony, I had never had creamed spinach.  Well, strike that.  Before Tony I never would have eaten spinach.  Like ever.  But we had it at a restaurant once and OMG, is that tasty!  Nothing like a side of heavy cream and Parmesan cheese to go with your healthy spinach!

My version was a super quick weeknight version.  You all know I like to bake off potatoes over the weekend, you never know when they will come in handy.  I cut up half of one baked potato and pan fried it in a bit of peanut oil for about 4 minutes, tossing along with way to get some nice browning all over.  At the very end, I tossed in about 1 cup of chopped spinach, 1/8 a cup of heavy cream and one tablespoon of Parmesan cheese, and just tossed to coat.  While there wasn’t a whole lot of “sauce” per se, you got the mouth feel of the creaminess of creamed spinach, and that was good enough for me.  I actually only ate 3/4 of this plate, but the rest got scrambled with egg whites and more spinach, and will be stuffed into the leftover potato skin my husband didn’t eat for breakfast this morning.

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If I had to make a guess, I’d think it was probably $3 for that serving.   I love when a “cheap” meal tastes restaurant worthy!

I don’t think I’ve told you guys but I am catering a dinner party for 9 people at my bosses house next month.  I brought in my “story” board of the dishes I wanted to do, and she loved every one of my ideas.  I’ll post more about it as it gets closer.  This is a very make ahead menu.  The only thing I’ll actually be cooking at her house is heating up a couple of the appetizers and baking the beef tenderloin.  Everything else can be made a head of time.  I take that back – she decided against the brittle, and decided on a bigger slice of regular pecan pie with vanilla bean ice cream, and then the butterscotch pudding with whip cream as the dessert duo. 

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So let’s just say that I was much happier going over my menu plan with her than making copies and scanning documents yesterday.  Maybe I am in the wrong profession.  Ha!

While Tony watched the football game, I watched more Biz T.V. – I watched a show called “the oldest living teenager” about a girl in England that has progeria.  At the end of the episode I was watching, she was getting ready for a date with another boy named Harry who has the same disease.  I texted this picture to Tony:

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I got my steps in and then some! 

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And I have to give a shout out to blog reader Heather from Kuwait!  She sent me some loot through Amazon and I just got them yesterday.  The funny thing is though, is that she sent me the spiralizer before I posted the picture of it on Sur La Table!  She knows me too well!  And she got me a box of Kind bars – I actually love those, and they are perfect when I need to bump up my blood sugar before working out if its too low – thank you so much Heather – hugs!  

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Now I have to scoot so I can vote before getting to work.  I hope our governor Pat Quinn is out on his ass today.  I don’t really think much about politics because it’s horse shit most of the time, but it’s time Illinois got a new governor.  So don’t forget to vote today – every vote does count!  And in Chicago sometimes one vote is worth five! Open-mouthed smile

Make it a great day!