Coffee is ruined for me forever

I just passed my three year anniversary of moving from Breckenridge. It’s pretty amazing to believe that I’ve been in Portland almost as long as I lived in Breckenridge. I still miss Colorado (considerably more than I thought I would, to be honest), but also love where I am. It’s a weird sensation to feel both at the same time.

3 years since I drove out of Breck. How is it possible to love where you are and miss where you were so much. #tbt

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But Portland has been good for me, and has actually ruined me for quite a few things.

Perfect Light

Say what you will about the PNW grey and rain, but it actually does make for the best light for photography. Bright, direct sunlight can be too hard, and cause glare and shadows. Grey days still offer brightness while being naturally and evenly diffused.

Food

Not that we didn’t have good food in Breckenridge, but the options are relatively limited in a town where your Main Street is a mile long. The plethora of options in Portland has blown my mind. In almost three years here, I’ve only had a handful of meals that are just ok. Literally everything else I’ve eaten is amazing!

Coffee

I thought I was a coffee fan before, but now that I’ve lived in Portland for nearly three years, the obsession has reached an all-new level.

Note, this photo was taken at Locale on a GREY day. Perfect light!

Not to say that I didn’t have good coffee in Colorado, because I did. And I hardly have a developed palate for flavors and whatnot. But I was able to still drink not great coffee without too much fuss. Now I can only have Starbucks if there’s no other option. As Jamie, Nic, and I discovered leaving Sonoma this spring, if it’s not good, we’d rather go without, even though we really needed it. I can’t call myself a snob, especially compared to Jamie, Nicci, and Alyse (who travels with a mini French press!), and others in Portland, but the obsession is real at least.

This summer I discovered cashew milk lattes. I’m not usually a fan of almond milk, so I was skeptical of cashew milk at first. There’s a roaster at the base of one of the trails we frequently run on. After some miles on the trail, we stopped to do a little work and sip on some delicious coffee. Jamie and Nic both ordered cashew milk cappuccinos while I was sipping on a boring ole cold brew, apparently missing the memo on this delicious concoction. They did successfully convince me to try a taste, and the world of coffee was never the same.

GAME. CHANGER.

It’s now my favorite coffee drink. It has a creamy, nutty, delicious flavor that I just can’t get enough of; I like it so much, in fact, that I will plan a trail run just to have an excuse to stop by this coffee shop and get a cashew milk latte.

Up until now it’s been a post-run treat, but thanks to one of our SweatFest sessions, it is now in my realm of possibility to partake in my favorite coffee treat every day. At home. AND I can keep it healthy while I’m at it.

During this year’s SweatFest, Heather of The 30 Clean gave us her top tips for staying on track and healthy during the holidays, including her healthy, homemade swap for coffee creamer.

Store bought coffee creamer is often full of preservatives and chemicals, and overloaded with sugar. Which is always exactly how it tastes to me: artificial and too sweet. Blech. Heather’s recipe only has three ingredients and is just as simple to make.

Those of you who love creamy, milky drinks will love this healthy swap! Her recipe starts out with a can of FULL-FAT coconut milk. LOVE that good-for-you coconut fat. The sweetness will come from a pitted date (or maple syrup or honey). And now the fun part can start: flavoring! Mix it up each time you make a batch by adding in vanilla extract, cinnamon, or cardamom. Or get even more festive for the holidays with pumpkin spices, peppermint extract, or cacao. Blend everything together, and store in the fridge for 4-7 days.

Substitute cashews to make cashew milk for my current obsession! It’s the same ingredients with dates and vanilla, and any other spices, with 1 cup soaked cashews (soaked 4 hours – overnight). For coffee creamer, soak 1 cup cashews in 1 ½ cups water to obtain a nice and thick consistency. (Drooling yet?) Or use 2 cups of water for 1 cup of cashews to make cashew milk. And then just blend!

I absolutely LOVE mochas! They’re such a treat, and I rarely ever indulge myself with one. The idea that I could have a guilt-free mocha that I made myself easily at home makes me positively giddy! Just add cocoa and peppermint extract to my at-home cashew milk brew and voila, a healthier and delicious mocha!

As Heather says: You’ll never want to buy store bought milks again! Or go to Starbucks again… Want to watch all of Heather’s tips? Tune in here!

Thanks to The 30 Clean for helping keep us healthy this holiday season!

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