Sweet Sips

As a Tastemaker for Daily Buzz Food I get to opt-in for different products and cross my fingers I get chosen. So, when we were offered the chance to sample some Sweet’N Low, I signed right up. I’m not one to use “fake” ingredients which is probably your immediate thoughts when thinking about sweeteners, but I grew up with the pink (Sweet’N Low) and blue (Equal) packets littered in my parent’s coffee cabinet. Due to my dad’s health, he can’t have caffeine and also has to lay low on sugar, so I grew up knowing all about the boy and girl colored packets.

Typically, I abide by the “all in moderation” mantra, believing that if you use real ingredients (no matter how ‘bad’ they are for you), as long as you don’t gorge yourself, it’s okay. While this holds true for the most part, there are those instances where you either don’t want the real stuff or you can’t have it. That being said, I think it’s important to have options like Sweet’N Low available. The sugar substitute is made with saccharin, which they describe on their website is “the oldest of the approved low-calorie sweeteners available in the U.S. today.”

In their quest to make the world a little sweeter (something I can absolutely get behind), they have a slew of recipes where Sweet’N Low can be substituted in for regular sugar. So, I figured the logical place to start would be with drinks. While I don’t usually add sugar to my regular morning coffee (I drink it as-is because I’m hardcore, obviously), I’m more than okay with other sweet treats in liquid form. I’ve been all about tart cherry juice lately (thanks to winning a Cheribundi giveaway), so I wanted to somehow incorporate the juice into my concoction. Couple that with a bunch of mint laying around from my CSA box and we have ourselves a Cherry Mojito!

Now I’m far from a cocktail connoisseur, but this combination had just the right amount of sweet, tart, and of course alcohol flavors. It may rub some mojito purists the wrong way (do those exist?), but I think it’s a light and refreshing cocktail that’s perfect for the summer.

Cherry Mojito
– Serves 2 –

4 oz. rum (I used Bacardi Superior)
6 oz. tart cherry juice (I used Cheribundi “skinny cherry”)
3 Sweet’N Low packets
10-15 mint leaves
Splash of seltzer water

1. In martini or margarita glasses, place half of the mint in each glass.
2. In a shaker, combine the cherry juice, rum, and Sweet’N Low with some ice, and shake until mixed.
3. Pour the liquid over the mint, and top with a splash of seltzer. 

Disclaimer: The Sweet’N Low packets were sent to me as a member of the Daily Buzz Food Tastemaker Program. All opinions are my own. 

Smoothie Central

When I was contacted by the folks at Vega to see if I’d like to try their new line of smoothies, I jumped at the offer. I currently have a tub of their vanilla performance protein at home and enjoy that post-workout, so I was excited to see what their smoothie powders were like.

I love smoothies, but I never make them. It isn’t that I’m too lazy to make them, rather the majority of recipes I find online involve one fruit I just can’t stomach – banana. I realize banana can easily be omitted from most recipes, but most of the time they’re used for texture rather than taste, and I’m too much of a smoothie novice to know what would be a good replacement. I’ve tried packaged smoothie mixes before, and have always been left feeling like they were missing something, so I was looking forward to see what Vega had to offer.

So, when I learned about Vega’s pre-made smoothies, I couldn’t help but wonder if they would really have the same level of both nutrition and “yum” factor as a fruit-blended drink. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was skeptical. I mean, how could something with ingredients like pea protein powder be made to taste like vanilla and almonds? Or fruit? Well, I don’t know how they did it, but the smoothies are good enough just with water! Each serving contains two servings of veggies, 10 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, and 1 gram of omega-3. I was impressed with those stats, considering it’s just a bunch of powder. The best part (in my opinion) is that it’s completely plant based – so when you look at the ingredient list, they’re all things that you can pronounce, and more importantly, you recognize.

Winning combo!

While the directions say to just add water and shake, I wanted to do a little more than that. Instead of using water, I decided to give their Vanilla Almondilla a try with some Cheribundi tart cherry juice. Since I typically drink some type of protein mid-afternoon at work (you know, to help me reach my buff arms goal), I swapped this out on Tuesday and was pleasantly surprised. I loved that I could just bring the individual package to work with me and make it whenever I wanted. And, the cherry and vanilla almond combination was delicious; I gave myself a little pat on the back for coming up with that one. I had my husband try the Mango Tango, and he was equally impressed with the flavors, and he’s a tough critic!

I’m looking forward to sampling the last few flavors, and I’m trying to come up with something creative for the unflavored package I received. The bottom line is that I would absolutely recommend these to someone looking for a quick, easy, and tasty way to get in some extra nutrients throughout the day.

Would you try these quick & easy smoothies?
Do you have any non-banana smoothie recipes that you like and want to share? 

Disclaimer: Vega sent me these protein powders to try at no cost to me, and all opinions are my own.