Urban Nester tells us that she has unlocked the secret of creating that amazing autumn beverage we all love at home with her Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Latte recipe!

 

There’s no way we could turn a treat like this down, especially when there is enough to share.

 

Join us for a test-run that could take the crockpot to a whole new level of awesome!

 

Please click here to visit Urban Nester and see the instructions that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Sarah

Mission: To find an easy way to recreate the coveted Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte – with a crockpot no less!

 

Details:

cooking - SarahI’m currently living a Paleo lifestyle, so I wanted to adjust this recipe to work for me.

  • I substituted dairy milk with almond milk.
  • I also decided to substitute homemade maple syrup for the confectioners sugar.

Once I got everything ready, I followed the directions closely. Since I was substituting the sugar with maple syrup…

  • I cut the amount to 6T since it was a liquid sweetener vs. sugar.

As soon as I poured in the vanilla extract, I decided that 8T was probably too much – I instantly smelled the alcohol and wasn’t too keen on it. I instantly wished I would have cut the amount down a bit.

  • In addition, based on comments on the recipe post, I decided to up the ante on the strength of my coffee and did about 1.5 teaspoons of the instant coffee I used per cup vs. just 1 teaspoon.

As it cooked in the crockpot, my kitchen began to smell of fall, which was awesome! I loved the scent it left around my home – so festive. This is my favorite time of year, so anything making it feel even more festive is so fun!

Once the latte had cooked for two hours, I gave it a whirl! It was much better than straight black coffee, but it just didn’t turn out as awesome as I had hoped. I have no doubt if I tried it as specified that I would have really liked the end result. I did forget to pick up some cinnamon sticks, so I lacked the extra sizzle those would have added.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Be open to trying all recipes – in my opinion you can adapt most of them to work for your own eating habits. Adapting this recipe to meet my Paleo lifestyle worked just fine!

Pros:

Super easy to prep and a fantastic idea for a group gathering.

Cons:

Didn’t love the end result as much as hoped.

It was a bit slimy from the pumpkin puree and it had a strong aftertaste, which wasn’t super pleasant. I’m not sure if the aftertaste was due to the vanilla extract, the additional coffee I added or the lack of sugar.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

Unfortunately, I probably won’t try this again as much as I’d like to say I would.

It is a fabulous idea and some may love it!

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Maren

Mission: A great way to combine some of my favorite things: pumpkin, coffee and time with friends!  The lovely Alicia joined me to whip up this fall delight.

 

Details:

We measured everything out and followed the recipe to a “T”, including the massive amount of vanilla called for.  Good thing I had homemade vanilla on hand by the boatload from last year’s Christmas gifts!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

My Crock-Pot cooks at warp-speed, so I knew that this drink would be done in half the time.  After an hour, we checked and it was indeed done!  I wouldn’t cook it any longer.

I would think about adding more (if not doubling) the amount of pumpkin and spices in the future, as well as adding more of the strong coffee and less milk to get that “Pumpkin Spice” flavor that we all know and love.

I’d skip the cinnamon sticks, too.  While they’re a super cute garnish, I felt like adding more cinnamon spice may have been better.

Tap a little Pumpkin Pie Spice over your whipped cream for a little coffee shop flare.

Pros:

Pretty darn tasty after an hour, and very easy to throw together!

Cons:

This needs to be enjoyed as soon as it’s done.  By the time we had gone back for seconds, the milk tasted like it was a little funky.

Then, after Alicia left, I tried adding a little more pumpkin puree and it got even funkier.  Bummer.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

Sweet and a little spicy.  A nice change from the regular weekend coffee routine, although I would cut the recipe in half to make sure that you can enjoy it all before it gets weird.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Kristy

Mission: Nothing better than the smell of pumpkin spice to bring you into the fall season! This is by far my favorite drink this time of year!

 

Details:

Cooking - Kristy

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Refrigerate the left overs!  I read a lot of questions on the original post regarding this and I must say, it was just as good the next day!

I would use a tad bit less vanilla, as I think it took away from the spice.  I will try Pumpkin Pie Spice next time as I like a richer taste of the pumpkin spice!

Pros:

Cheaper than Starbucks and can made in large patches to share!

Cons:

Travelling with this is scary in that crock pot!  Get a large thermos!

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

Mike and I both enjoyed it!  We aren’t coffee drinkers so it was a nice treat to have in the morning!  A couple of tweaks and I believe this will rank higher on my list than Starbucks!

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Amanda

Mission: Kick fall off with a crock of pumpkin goodness.

 

 

Details:

I mostly followed the original recipe minus the whipping cream.

  • I used skim milk and pure Vanilla Extract.
  • For the coffee I used 6 shots of espresso (we like it strong in our house). Since this meant less liquid I did substitute in an additional cup of milk.

I set the timer on my crockpot for an hour to be certain I stirred it often enough. I find that cooking with dairy products in the crockpot can be touchy. After an hour the milk had already started to get a little border line curdled so I decided to give it a good stir and taste it. The flavors had already combined so I turned the crock off and poured a glass.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Definitely cook on low and really watch your time since crocks can vary in temperature.

Pros:

Very easy to throw together and made the house smell like fall.

Cons:

Dairy in the crock is still risky in my mind and after an hour it was heading into bad places which proved my theory right.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

If I made this recipe again I would change a few of things. I would reduce the amount of vanilla. The flavor was far too intense. I would say half would be enough. I would also reduce the cook time and strain the liquid before serving. The pumpkin seemed to just settle at the bottom which was kind of gross.

 

 

Alicia - TCCReviewer #5 – Alicia

Mission: To create a yummy beverage for fall/cooler weather at Maren’s house. Who doesn’t love spice lattes and going to Maren’s?!

 

Details:

Cookin' MH + AWWe stuck to the ingredients just as they were recommend by Urban Nester, even the ½ cup of vanilla extract – really?!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

This recipe is as easy as it sounds. Add everything to the crockpot and heat on high for about 2 hours.

Maren and I thought 8Tbsp or ½ cup seemed like a lot of vanilla extract, but oh so good.

We also thought that the pumpkin flavor was not as noticeable and adding a bit more was definitely needed.

Pros:

This was deliriously delicious and it makes a huge batch.

Cons:

Large crockpot needed or cut the recipe in half.

We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

Conclusion:

I am not a coffee drinker. If I do indulge in a cup, it is severely flavored with cream and sugar with a splash of coffee. Maren was so kind to invite me over and try this recipe. It was delicious and tastes even better when chatting with a friend. We laughed and giggled our way through this recipe and it was a success! I will definitely make this again.

 

 We Tried It - Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes!


The lovely
Crockpot Pumpkin Spice Lattes and photo by Urban Nester


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Vianney from Sweet Life has concocted a special recipe showcasing her fave fruit, the grapefruit!  Her Grapefruit Margarita promises to highlight the grapefruit’s sweet Texas flavor and give it a kick!

 

Try out a tasty margarita?  Okay, twist our arms.

 

Please click here to visit Sweet Life and see the instructions that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission: To create a tart cocktail that will knock your socks off and go well with BBQ season. Oh and to dull the pain of a crazy week on the home front.

 

Details:

  • I am a woman of refined taste (or shall I say I prefer a clean, stiff drink) so I chose a silver tequila. I prefer it to gold. I am not sure why but to me it tastes less like it is eating away at your stomach lining and more like it is preparing to take you to your “happy place”.
  • I did try to purchase Cointreau but didn’t have any luck at our local liquor store so I opted for the Triple Sec I already had in my cabinet (I am a frequent margarita maker).
  • I did splurge for the Agave and feel like that made all the difference in how smooth it was. I typically use simple syrup but it is a whole lot easier to just pour something out of a bottle than having to make simple syrup.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I doubled my batch after testing out the first mix. Um it is that good.

I found that each batch required about 1 ½ grapefruits and 1 ½ limes. This would of course depend on how juicy your fruit was but this was my experience.

Pros:

This drink is smooth, satisfying and a tad bit dangerous. Yes. That IS a pro!

Cons:

Other than possibly consuming the entire pitcher and then suffering the next day I see no cons at all!

Amanda - Margarita

Conclusion:

This will be on my summer drink rotation for sure and may even replace my standard lime margarita.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Sarah

Mission: Who doesn’t like a freshly crafted cocktail…I mean really, is there someone out there that doesn’t?!? I really love grapefruit, so that was what initially intrigued me to this recipe and I also happen to like margaritas – so it was a winning combo from the get-go!

Details:

I started by picking up the alcoholic ingredients at our local liquor store.

  • It has been a LONG time since I have purchased tequila, so I honestly didn’t know where to start. I opted to not buy the regular ol’ Jose, but went for one a step up – the Jose Cuervo Tradicional – it seemed good and was an ok price.
  • I also purchased Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau due to the price.

I still ended up spending $45 in total on the alcohol, so it wasn’t a cheap liquor run.

I then hit up our local market. They have everything you ever need and it’s just a darling boutique style grocery store. I have an obsession with grocery shopping; it is an outing for me!

  • I opted for Texas ruby red grapefruits, and since it didn’t state how many were needed within the recipe, I purchased five grapefruits and five limes.

I set up shop and got everything measured and all of the fruit squeezed then mixed with a whisk right in the pitcher. I set it in the fridge to chill while I prepped the glasses for drinking. We have a plethora of Mason Jars, so that is what I used for serving this cocktail – seemed festive and fun! I used a slice of grapefruit to wet the rim of the glass and then dipped it in a plate of sea salt.

We just so happened to be making tacos for dinner that night, so it was a perfect pairing! We drank the first batch quickly, so I ended up making a second batch with the extra fruit I had on-hand. My hubby and I loved this recipe!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

You need about 1.5 – 2 large ruby red grapefruits and 2 limes to get the amount of juice the recipe calls for.

Use the lime or grapefruit slice you wet the glass with for the salt within the glass as garnish. Don’t leave any delicious fruit behind!

Pros:

Easy to make and easy to drink

Cons:

A bit pricey for the ingredients if you don’t have them on-hand, but many of you may already have all of the goodies in your liquor cabinet at home.

Sarah - Margarita

Conclusion:

Super tasty and easy to whip up. They go down a little TOO easy! And, if you love grapefruit like me, any left over make a great snack or breakfast treat.

 

 

Reviewer #3 – Sheri

Mission: You had me at “margarita” but lost me at “grapefruit.” However, my mama loves both. So treating her to this fruity cocktail on Mother’s Day was a must.

 

Details:

I’ll tell you right now that my bartending skills encompass popping off a beer cap or a swift twist and pull of a corkscrew. This was a new venture for me…aside from some crazy college nights over a decade ago. For this mixing novice, this concoction was simple.

  • I didn’t add the agave and it still came out great.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Sip carefully.

Pros:

Pretty and delicious.

Cons:

Not a single one.

Sheri - Margarita

Conclusion:

Mom was delighted with this margarita. It was a great icy and refreshing treat for our lounging afternoon.

Although I am completely anti-grapefruit I had to give it a try…and not too bad. I may just have to make one for myself with oranges.

 

 

Reviewer #4 – Maren

Mission: I don’t actually love tequila or margaritas, but what the hell – I’ll try anything!

 

Details:

  • I was afraid that going with good-ol’ Jose might have me dancing on my kitchen island at 6:30 on a Tuesday, so I went one shelf up and landed on Camarena Reposado Tequila.  I don’t drink a lot of tequila these days (or any), so I had no idea what I was doing.  This particular brand had recently won a big “booze award” and was about half the price of Patron, so I went with it!
  • While I did squeeze some fresh grapefruit juice for this, I swiftly forgot about it before it went bad.  I used Simply Grapefruit Juice instead.
  • I used my new favorite thing, Madhava Agave Nectar Light.
  • I stuck with the program with the rest of the ingredients.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

If you use bottled grapefruit juice, like I did, use a little more agave than suggested.  As Vianney mentioned, if you don’t use a Ruby Red grapefruit, the taste can be a little overly tart.  The agave is a quick fix!

Pros:

I liked the sweet, but not-too-sweet flavor!

Cons:

Blaghk!  Too much salt for me!  But, that’s just a personal preference.

Maren - Margarita

Conclusion:

Although margs aren’t my personal favorite, I could tell that this one was a winner!  I am excited to have this easy recipe on hand for our patio guests this summer!

 

 Margarita Conclusion


The lovely
Grapefruit Margarita and it’s photo by Sweet Life


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Strawberry Mojitos

Kokocooks has shared her recipe for Strawberry Mojitos that are as beautiful as they are fresh!

The gals of The Crafty Collaborative are always up for trying out our bartending skills; so this perfect-for-summer drink was right up our alley!

 

Please click here to visit Kokocooks to see the recipe that we followed!

 

 

Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission:  To create a drink worth drinking (can you tell I am not big on rum? More of a wine lady here).

 

Details:

  • I used Bacardi Rum and felt it was fine. Moderately priced. Really the fruit is the star here anyway.
  • The strawberries used were actually sliced because we were having company over and I had already done so.
  • Also, I didn’t use crushed ice but would definitely suggest it. I had to work for these drinks. Trying to crush whole cubes is not ideal so follow the tips from the orginal post.
  • I had never made simple syrup before but found it to be very easy and worth the effort. It made the drink sweet without being grainy with sugar.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Definitely used a tall glass. I chose a skinny mason jar (it was decorative and pretty – just the way I like things).  It was difficult to muddle the ingredients together in such a small glass.

Pros:

This time of year you should be able to get beautiful strawberries with lots of flavor and if you are a gardener fresh mint from a pot outside is a bonus.

Cons:

This drink is a little fussy for me but that is mainly because I prefer to open a bottle and pour – no effort made there!

Conclusion:

This beverage is not only pretty but a nice touch to a dinner party. Really adds visual appeal and the taste was fabulous! It would be perfect for a night of girl talk and appetizers.

 

 

Reviewer #2 – Maren

Mission: A refreshing and sweet treat for the hot days of summer?  Where do I sign up!

 

Details:

  • I used Bacardi Rum, because I love it.
  • I didn’t have a muddler, so I used a flat-end wooden spoon which worked like a charm!

Tips & Tricks Learned:

Making simple syrup is super easy – I made mine in the microwave!

Just dump your 1/2 & 1/2 in a microwave safe dish, nuke for a minute or so, and stir gently with a flat bottom whisk until dissolved and let cool!

Neither my mom [my official mojito tasting partner] nor I are fans of super sweet drinks, but after tasting mine, my mom replied with an enthusiastic, “Sure!  I’ll have one of those!”  I thought that it was pretty sweet but also pretty tasty!  I was also happy that I could still taste the rum!  I do think that when making these cocktails in the future, I would prefer cutting back on the simple syrup since it got really sweet towards the end of the drink.

Pros:

Although this drink required a few more ingredients than the average cocktail, it was easy to make since all you had to do is mash them together and pour in the booze!

Cons:

I wish I would have known just what size glass or amounts of soda that Kokocooks used, because I don’t like guessing when it’s my first time making something.

Conclusion:

Sweet and delish!  If you love fresh strawberries, mint and rum – this is the drink for you!  It’s surprisingly easy to make and hits the spot for refreshment.  It was over 100 degrees out when we made these cocktails and they delivered!

I think that the Strawberry Mojito would be a great addition to any summer get together, whether it’s a girls night or a block party!

 

The lovely Strawberry Mojito photo taken by Kokocooks


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Nutrition to invigorate Mind, Body & Spirit tells us that we can make a delicious and refreshing  White Sangria Sparkler without busting out our elastic waist pants!

The gals of The Crafty Collaborative don’t often pass up a great cocktail!  We just had to test this one out!

 

Please click here to visit Nutrition to invigorate Mind, Body & Spirit and see the recipe that we followed!

 

Reviewer #1 – Amanda

Mission:  Create a delightful pitcher of sweet, slightly bubbly White Sangria

 

 

Details:

I chose two fairly cheap bottles of wine. The Souvingon Blanc was Anekena from Chile and was $10 at my local booz store. For the Vino Verde I chose Gazebo which is perfect at the cheap and cheerful price of $6! I had to use strawberries instead of the same amount of peaches due to the fact that I am partly lazy and partly trapped in my own house more often than not thanks to a traveling hubby and my gaggle of children. The fruit was frozen (minus the kiwis) which added a nice coolness and they held their shape better this way too. I also used honey instead of liquid Stevia. I don’t typically keep sugar substitutes on hand.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

I suggest starting with the wine chilled to keep your drink fresh longer. The honey was a great change and a much cheaper option than liquid Stevia.

Pros:

Crisp, fresh and strong. Just the way I like my Sangria!

Cons:

None here. This drink was everything it promised to be.

Conclusion:

I plan to make this pitcher of deliciousness several times this summer. I have a large pot of mint flourishing on my deck and it will be put to good use. Now if only I could grow grapes and start a vinyard….

Reviewer #2 – Maren

Mission: To make a refreshingly crisp sangria that isn’t too hard on the waistline!

Details:

  • René Barbier Mediterranean White Wine – one of my favorite super light, crisp [and cheap!] whites, available at Trader Joe’s!
  • Fresh fruit and mint
  • I halved this recipe, but then forgot and added the full amount of raspberries.  Oops.
  • I didn’t use Stevia… I forgot to pick it up at the store.  Another Ooops.

Tips & Tricks Learned:

We first taste tested the sangria after it had only been melding for about 2 hours.  At this point it was extremely minty!  Then we had our second glasses at about 3 hours and the peaches and raspberries were much more prevalent and the mint more muted.  We loved it both times!

Pros:

Easy, delicious and totally refreshing!  I especially enjoyed noshing on the boozy fruit after the sangria itself was gone!

Cons:

I halved the recipe!  I wanted more!

Conclusion:

This simple sangria was crisp and refreshing as promised!  I will definitely make it again!

 

 

Lovely photo of the White Sangria Sparkler taken by Nutrition to invigorate Mind, Body & Spirit


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