By Jennifer Rice
9 Nov

A Lightened Latte for the Holiday Season

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

As I have gotten older, the holiday season and its meaning for me has changed. It is no longer about the cool presents that I am going to get or the snow days to look forward to (working in a hospital means no snow days—ever). The holiday is much more about spending time with family, partaking in those special traditions, and enjoying that “Peace on Earth” feeling.

Along with a different meaning of the holidays comes different responsibilities. As an adult, the holiday season has taken on a life of its own, with much to do and a lot of stress associated with it. What am I getting for whom, did I remember all the items I need at the grocery store and why didn’t I upload that holiday CD to my iPod last year!?

I definitely look forward to this special time of the year—I am no Scrooge—but there is one thing I am not looking forward to. The cold weather! But let me backtrack just a minute and tell you why… This year I officially made my transition into the adult congenital heart “side” and with that I got a new cardiologist, heart team, and some new medications. My new cardiologist and the cardio-specific nurses who work with her are amazing! What doctor makes a note that you work nights and won’t call you until after 3 p.m. so you can sleep? Mine! I truly feel lucky to have such an understanding and supportive team, but one thing that I do not like—the new medications.

Three new meds to be exact. A different blood pressure pill, a diuretic and the dreaded Coumadin. Coumadin runs my life. It tells me what I should and shouldn’t eat, what other meds of which to be aware, and it makes me get my blood drawn way too often for my liking. I take the Coumadin because I have a clot that has developed on the wall of my right atrium (a side effect of the Fontan procedure), and to make sure it does not get bigger or new clots develop. Forever.

One side effect that I am dealing with is constantly being cold. Like, really cold. So cold my fingers and hands turn white and they hurt. A sharp, intense hurt. It’s not like I can just stop the meds. I know that really, they are good for me, so what do I do? How do I cope? One word, friends—latte.

I love lattes. And one of the best parts of the holiday season is holiday lattes! They are everywhere! Every big chain, mom and pop shop, and grocery store is selling holiday-inspired lattes or latte mixes. But why do that when I have a tasty, inexpensive, at-home latte recipe for you?

Holiday Latte


1/4 cup Almond Breeze Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk
1/4 cup liquid creamer (you can pick the flavor)
2 tsp chocolate syrup (we use the sugar-free)
2 shots of espresso (or 1/3 cup strong coffee)
Peppermint stick

Combine the first three ingredients in large cup. Microwave for 1 minute or until steaming hot! Pour in the espresso (or coffee). Use the peppermint stick to stir. Top with Reddi-wip and more chocolate syrup if desired and enjoy!

Our favorite creamers for this recipe are the seasonal ones from Coffee-mate. The sugar-free peppermint mocha is great! They also make a lot more holiday-inspired (and regular) creamers that you can experiment with for this yummy drink.

I can sip the latte, letting it warm up my freezing cold hands, de-stress from holiday shopping, and rejuvenate from the inside out. But I do limit myself to a few per day. I am sure all that caffeine can’t be great for you, but it’s the holiday season. What would it be without a little splurge, right?

The best gift for me this season would be you telling me:

What is your favorite part of the holiday season?


How do you cope with side effects of meds?


Add yours below.


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The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.