The Last of the Summer Blooms

The Last of the Summer Blooms

The last of the summer blooms, our garden Nasturtiums.
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Bex, over at Crow Cottage is exploring a sugar-free lifestyle. More power to her! Bex mentioned that her morning coffee, with just a dash of milk, was not quite as enjoyable without the sugar. Amen to that! So I thought I’d have a look around for sugar-free coffee ideas, to see what is out there. Below I have listed a few of the healthier sounding alternatives. Maybe Bex will try them out, and do a review on what works, and what does not.

What some people are doing to cut sugar out of their morning coffee:

Cardamom – A spice that’s commonly added to coffee in the Middle East, cardamom gives coffee a bit of an exotic flavour. Cardamom, commonly used inAyurvedic medicine, is promoted as an addition to coffee because it helps to neutralize the stimulating effects of caffeine. Sprinkle ground cardamom into a cup of brewed coffee, or add a few whole cardamom seeds to your beans before you grind them.

Cinnamon – If you’re a regular cream and sugar person, you may want to consider switching up your routine and adding cinnamon instead. Doing so can apparently save you several calories per cup, as well as reportedly provide a few additional health benefits, like helping to boost your immune system. You can even brew your coffee with a cinnamon stick to replicate the Mexican drinkcafe de olla.

Vanilla Extract – If you like to sweeten your coffee, you don’t need to depend on sugar and processed creamers. Try a few drops of pure vanilla extract instead. For a different taste, you can also try almond extract.

Coconut Milk – Craving a non-dairy latte? Make your own with coffee and coconut milk. Some may not like the coconut flavor that comes through, but for those who do, it provides for an interesting alternative to regular milk. Mix it with vanilla extract for a homemade coffee creamer.


Add Some Cinnamon to Your Coffee Cinnamon is a tasty herb that mixes particularly well with the flavor of coffee. Studies show that cinnamon can lower blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetics (9). If you need some flavor, try adding a dash of cinnamon. It’s surprisingly good.

Add Some Cocoa to Your Coffee Cocoa is loaded with antioxidants and associated with all sorts of health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease (11). If you want some flavor in your coffee, try adding a little organic unsweetened cocoa to your cup.

If you like to ‘spice up’ your coffee
Spices are not just a great way to add flavor to coffee, but they can provide surprising health benefits:
• Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar, helps improve LDL (bad) cholesterol and is a good source of vitamin K and iron.
• Nutmeg is a very good source of manganese.
• Cocoa powder is a good source of protein, potassium and zinc, and is also a very good source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese. However, it’s also high in saturated fat, so use it sparingly. And go for the unsweetened kind.
• Cardamom is a good source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc, and it is also a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and manganese.


Cocoa and cinnamon
Cocoa and a couple drops of peppermint extract = peppermint mocha 🙂
Vanilla extract or almond extract would be good too.

I have a little shaker of “pumpkin pie spice” I use that’s good in a pinch.

Raw oatmeal. The hot coffee cooks it and its like breakfast in your coffee. Sweeten if you like.

These can go directly into the filter with the grounds to infuse the coffee (a few may sound strange, but don’t knock it till you try it)
• orange rind (other citrus rind will probably be good too, but I’ve personally only tried orange)
• ginger (preferably fresh ginger
• crushed chilies
• vanilla bean (the real stuff, not the extract)
• pumpkin spice
• cocoa

I often add some vanilla bean powder to my coffee. It sweetens it a bit without a heavy sugar feeling. Warning, it will leave tiny black specks on your teeth and gums, so best to swish a little water when you’re done with the coffee.

A mixture of cocoa, cardamom and cinamon. Or vodka. Infact, skip the coffee.

No one ever believes me on this, but it is delicious. Take an orange and cut a very thin flat slice (should look like a circle, not a wedge)and put it in the bottom of your cup, now pour black coffee over it. TRUST ME.


Note: None of these sites represent anything other than personal opinion, medical claims would need to be substantiated by a reliable source such as the Mayo Clinic. On the other hand, as far as I can tell, none of the suggestions above will hurt you.

The weather is beautiful! I managed to get out for a walk during the day, as I have been for the past few days. Attila is working days this week, who knows what schedule he will be on next week; always a surprise. The unpacking has progressed to the point where I can leave the house for half an hour, and not feel guilty when I come back through the front door. A real bonus is that Attila, in this new and improved lifestyle we now enjoy, has time, and inclination, to go for a walk in the evening. I love walking with Attila. Right now we walk through a darkening landscape, the same landscape as I walk through during the day, but with a completely different feel to it.

Today baking was in order. A rhubarb crisp was baked and removed from the oven before the hydro cost doubled at 7:00 a.m. The rhubarb was picked and frozen last summer.

The crock pot sits provocatively on the counter, emitting an enticing aroma, coddling a new and experimental dish, rice pudding made from arborio rice. It uses one of the two cups of arborio rice that have been sitting in the cupboard for more than a decade. More vintage food, that it is no longer feasible to store, and yet, cannot be thrown out. Again, waste not, want not.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 AM EDT Thursday 15 October 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: 6.9°C
Dewpoint: 4.2°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: WSW 12 km/h


“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
Charles Kingsley
1819 – 1875


  1. WendyNC

    I’m one of those folks who likes my coffee black and plain, but I can see where these ideas might work for those who prefer flavorings. Another variation which strikes me is a slice of lemon, since that’s often served with espresso.

  2. I like tea without sugar too Joan, but seldom drink it as it upsets my stomach.

    Walking has always been a source of great pleasure to me, even when it involves covering the same territory over and over again. There is always something interesting to see, small changes made by nature, or humans, that offer endless variety.

  3. I did not have my first cup of coffee until I was 37 years old. I was working on a research project with the Peel Regional Police at the time, and was offered a cup of black coffee, by a very tall, very robust fellow. I said yes. During a telephone conversation with my then partner, a musician, he mentioned with surprise that my voice had gone up an octave, and wondered why… coffee! That was it, I have been a coffee drinker ever since.

    Now I drink coffee like a morning milkshake, caffeine and sugar, the combination is distinctive, irresistible, the sugar hit, combined with the high of caffeine… my drug of choice.

  4. So glad that you are having fine weather! I hope your winter this year will be kinder to you all on the east coast. I am a coffee nut as well, and so far, have not seen a downside to drinking it….even though everything I like these days is supposed to be bad for me!

  5. Wow, thanks Maggie! I am going to print out your information here.

    I don’t actually like “flavored” coffee though. I took my cousin Bobbie’s suggestion of adding a drop or two of Stevia liquid (I have it ordered, hasn’t arrived here yet). She has recently also given up sugar and she has the same tastes, likes, dislikes that I do it seems. So once I try the Stevia (by drops) I’ll report back on how it is. Meanwhile, I am slugging through my plain coffee with a bit of milk.

    That said, I was interested to read Nora’s comment in my blog about milk needing to have some fat in it in order to assimilate the calcium into the body! Well! Paul’s bloodwork that he had done this week showed his calcium a bit low, so I now have a half-gallon of “whole milk” in the fridge ready to try. I think maybe by using that myself in my cuppa, it might spruce it up a bit…

    I also have to admit that I never use “real” coffee – well, it’s “real” to me, but it’s called instant. I figure it had to be “real” at some point before it got to me, but I’ve always preferred instant for some reason!

    When I saw the word “popcorn” in your email notification, my first thought was that you’d gotten a new cat and named her Popcorn! I assume I was mistaken… but it IS a cute name for one….. no?


  6. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    I’ve always wanted to like drinking coffee, I love the smell of the beans, but the taste has always been too strong for me. Even most mochas and ice caps are too strong, as is coffee ice cream. I’ve gotten to the point, though, where I can eat a Coffee Crisp bar or Coffee Crisp ice cream. *sigh*

  7. I know what you mean Diane, about everything you like supposedly being bad for you! It is difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff when reading nutrition and health information. Millions of entrepreneurial self-proclaimed “experts” promoting their theories, and often their related product lines.

    Canada’s Food Guide in the 60s was a good guideline. It was produced before additives became so prevalent. Sugar was sucrose, from either cane or beets. Milk was simply pasteurized, not chocolate, and almost everyone drank whole milk. Margarine came into common use when I was a kid, but we still preferred butter. Farms were smaller, a lot less mechanized, there were no GMOs, and the biggest meanest chemical used in agriculture was DDT. And yet, people lived long and relatively healthy lives. There was comparatively little cancer, allergies, autism, and all sorts of other health related issues that are now very common. Cancer in particular strikes me as an odd one, because almost everyone gets it now, at least in my little world, and from my genealogical records, not very many people died of cancer. The low rates of longevity in previous generations, often cited, did not reflect how long most adults would live, but was an average, which was significantly lowered by very high infant mortality levels.

    Sugar, well it was always a “treat”, not a part of the regular diet. We didn’t get much sugar when we were kids. But the adults we knew in the extended family daily ate jams, jellies, pies, cakes, tarts, ice cream, maple syrup, and the list goes on. None of these items had glucose/fructose in them, or chemical preservatives, or GMO ingredients.

    I think that the push to lower sugar consumption is a sound one, because sugar consumption has increased tremendously. It is added to so many foods, like spaghetti sauce, breads, salad dressings… then there is soda/pop, and fancy coffees from shops.

    “America’s sweet tooth increased 39 percent between 1950–59 and 2000 as use of corn sweeteners octupled.”

    “Average consumption of added fats increased by two-thirds between 1950-59 and 2000”


    So I think that if one eats a balanced diet, and tries to avoid the pre-packaged high fat/sugar/salt offerings on the shelves, it will serve better than any magic bullet food or diet the media and entrepreneurs can sell us.

  8. Bex, actually I like the idea of the Stevia liquid, I hope you share your findings on that when you have had a chance to try it in your morning coffee. I tried to grow it at the country house, a gardening failure I am afraid. Maybe I will give it another try now that we live in gardening country.

    That is so sweet, a cat named Popcorn! I was referring to the big bowl of popcorn Attila brought into the living room and sat down beside me to share. We are not going to get a pet in the immediate future, still thinking of Mist. Also, we would like to go camping, now that we get weekends, and we think a kitty would find it stressful being left alone for two or three days at a time with some regularity.

    Our neighbours across the street have a lovely grey cat, who hunts in our back yard. When I was out in the garden picking beans this past summer/fall, she would come over and sit beside me, just keeping me company. She is very sweet natured, and I love to watch her from the kitchen window. We do not know her name yet.

    I too drink instant coffee, Attila makes his from grounds in a coffee machine. I like the flavoured instant coffee, with 1% milk and maple syrup. I start my days with decadence!

  9. Teri, I can relate to liking the smell of the beans, freshly ground the aroma is marvellous. I did not like the taste, nor did I like tea. I drank water for the first decades of my life. But that first cup got me, I didn’t enjoy it, but found I wanted to try it again, and again… It didn’t help either that I was spending time with friends in coffee shops, when in Rome.

    To be honest, I think you are probably much healthier for not caring for coffee.

  10. NORA

    Hi Maggie, Nice photo of your flowers. They are edible and I wonder if you have tasted them. Peppery. Everybody is saying good bye to their gardens and putting some to bed. As the wheel turns. I waited all summer for fall and it seems to have cooled off suddenly and I’m wondering if fall decided to wander off.

    I am so envious of those who can drink café. So much I wish I was one. My body just will not allow it. Hubby got up today and drank 3 pots which is the most I have ever seen him drink! Then fell back to sleep….huh?

    I am watching Ty Bollinger’s series called “The Truth About Cancer”. It is filled with a lot of interesting and good information on alternatives to care. It is a fascinating topic. This is the second series he has done. This one is global. I’m enjoying it. A lot of folks in my family died of cancer. I am not going to be one of them.

    We are chilly here today. This apartment is proving harder to hold the heat than the last. I’m going to have the system looked at. meanwhile, sweaters!

  11. Hi Nora, I haven’t tried to eat the blooms yet, they are in the garden waiting for us, but we are still too busy unpacking to be adventurous with our cuisine. I love them as flowers, and the leaves are so beautiful, so we will be growing them, and can give them a try, next summer.

    Autumn is here, finally the local maple trees are turning colour. The ash trees on our property did not turn colour. The leaves shrivelled up and fell to the ground before the first frost. We think that the Emerald Ash Borers are killing them. We talk about what trees to plant if the ash trees die, I think we will go with good old maple trees.

    Like your hubby, Attila drinks pots of coffee and sleeps like a baby despite the caffeine. I cannot do that. I have my one and only cuppa first thing in the morning, then no more. It is too bad your stomach will not tolerate coffee, it is a real treat. Funny old world, we all seem to have something to deal with!

    Chilly Nora! I just came back from my walk, and wished I had worn a toque and gloves! Tomorrow I will be more warmly dressed. Autumn is with us!

  12. WendyNC

    The nasturtiums made me smile the first time I looked at this entry. Grandma used to go out to her flower box after breakfast and pick a few to place in a small vase to decorate the table. Then at lunch, she’d come to the table with her cucumber sandwich and add the flowers from the vase. As a small child, I found the while ritual hilarious.

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