Sleepy Tart Cherry Hot “Chocolate” – Caffeine Free

Today (January 31st) is National Hot Chocolate Day. I love me a hot beverage any time of day during colder weather, but tea, coffee and even a classic mug of cocoa can keep me up at night thanks to caffeine. Even though regular hot chocolate only has about 1/8 the caffeine of a cup of coffee, that little bit can still make a difference if you struggle with sensitivities, insomnia or other sleep issues. Plus, it’s so sugary – who wants that sugar buzz at night? Not me.Sleepy Cherry Hot Chocolate features tart cherry juice and almond milk that both help to promote sleep. Additionally, carob powder instead of cocoa power keeps it caffeine free

So, I made a few swaps to a rich and chocolaty recipe I make often for the kids. This homemade hot beverage will nutritiously satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you drift off into dreamland. Plus, it’s free of caffeine thanks to carob powder and also added sugars – only a bit of the natural sugars you get in the cherry juice.

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Sugar-Free Caffe Mocha POPCORN !

National Popcorn Day is coming up (January 19th) and that’s a food holiday on my food bucket list . . . my literal list of foods to eat from a bucket (haha)! But, seriously, popcorn is totally worth its salt as a snack food, it’s a healthy whole grain (a seed, actually) that is naturally low in fat and calories, non-GMO, gluten-free and a great source of dietary fiber. It’s inexpensive and delicious gobbled up simply fresh-popped or drizzled, coated or tossed with any number of other yummy things. And, “yummy things” is the segue into my recipe for Sugar-Free Caffe Mocha PopcornSugar-Free Caffe Mocha Popcorn makes a healthy snack with under 100 calories per serving.

Yes, Sugar-Free Caffe Mocha Popcorn! It’s like a coffee house and a movie theater hooked up and produced hundreds of perky little chocolatey offspring.  It’s just so delicious, and you don’t even have to feel guilty – only 99 sugar-free calories!

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Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte

Tea is . . . my cup of tea! I love that there are so many varieties available that meet me my body where it is for the day, whether that’s requiring an instant pick-me-up, desperately craving better sleep, or feeling bloated and in need a diet detox. Plus, the world’s most popular beverage, is packed with an abundance of antioxidants (varies on the type of tea) to help boost immunity and optimize overall health and well-being.Preparing Lemongrass Mint Matcha Chia  This month, I’ve been jump-starting my mornings with Lemongrass-Mint Matcha Chai Latte, it’s a exponentially more wholesome, herbal alternative the carbonated sugar-free energy drinks I sometimes guzzle prebreakfast (we all have vices, people). After just a few sips of this steaming green goodness, I know that the cold weather, shortened daylight levels, and lengthy to-do list are going to be so much more bearable.

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Giant Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie #TheNaturalCitizen

Sometimes I stumble onto something while shopping and I’m all like “ooooh, I want that so bad. . . but I totally don’t need it right now, I have way too many.” Usually, I cave in . . . and quick! Case in point, the continually growing size of my already enormous running shoe, compression sock, flip flop, trucker hat, miniature bowl, exotic herb, flavored tea and protein powder collections.

The Natural Citizen Organic ProteinYeah, yeah, I have a stock pile of protein powder of all different ilks and ingredients . . . some of it I found, must most found me for review or recipe development.  Naming a “best” protein powder is really so subjective, basically it boils down to individual nutrition needs, lifestyle, taste and tolerance. But, dang, some protein powders are definitely choices than others! My practical side tells me to use up all my stash before I actually BUY the product I prefer.But let me tell you, I recently found a protein powder that had me running to the trash with my mother lode of “meh” products – it’s the Organic Protein from The Natural Citizen. By the way, use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com        

Baking with Organic Protein from Natural Citizen

This new plant-based Organic Protein powder is totally on point to boost your next smoothie, but I’ve also used it for baking everything from pancakes and cookies – check out my Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie recipe below!  This protein powder is sublimely simple, and that gives me control over what I do or don’t put it my recipe. On its own, this powdered supplement has just four organic, whole food ingredients – hemp protein, brown rice protein, pea protein, and sacha inchi protein. One serving delivers 15 grams of vegan protein per serving along with fiber, omega fatty acids and amino acids – oh, and for only 80 calories!  Plus, there are no added flavors and other undesirable “extras” so the taste of Mother Nature’s other wholesome food can shine through.Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.

So, raise your hand if you want a cookie for breakfast but thing you shouldn’t?!  Well, my single-serve Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie will make you think you’re really splurging first thing out of bed, but actually its super healthy and balanced with 25 grams protein for sustained energy and muscle-making and 25 clean carbs to help power your body and brain for the morning’s tasks, workouts or whatever you do! In about 15 minutes from start to finish, you’ll be enjoying a super-sized, under-300-calorie cookie with your morning coffee – and that’s my cup of tea!  It’s also gluten-free, if that is a concern.

Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a gluten-free, single serve way to start the day -- or eat later for a healthy snack.

The Natural Citizen has a full line of other wonderful products that are all non-gmo, organic, gluten-free and vegan including Organic Digest, Organic Greens, and  Organic Energy.natural citizen productsAs a totally on-the-go person who probably doesn’t get as much sleep as she needs, I’ve fallen in love with the Organic Energy. This blend features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support – no more getting jacked up on too much caffeine.  I found the ripest, sweetest Texas melon yesterday and blended up this recipe for a Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie.

Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie features maca, quinoa, green tea and Rhodiola rosea to offer truly balanced and uniquely simple energy support.

Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie - Natural Citizen

This is how you make the Honeydew Natural Energy Smoothie:

Blend together and pour in tall glass (or melon bowl):

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 2/3 cup chopped honeydew
  • 1 scoop Organic Energy
  • Stevia,  to taste
  • Ice, as needed

 

This post is sponsored by The Natural Citizen, however all opinions, recipes and enthusiasm are my own!

Use coupon code THEFITFORK to get $10 off your purchase at TheNaturalCitizen.com

What is your go-to morning meal? Are you getting enough protein at breakfast (you need around 25g)?! What are your non-negotiables in a protein powder? What do you “collect”? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)
Print Recipe
3 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking blend 1 teaspoon 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons e 1 teaspoon coconut oil 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon dehydrated cherries (about 10)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie is a single-serve, gluten-free recipe for a quick and balanced morning meal or snack.
Giant Cherry Almond Protein Breakfast Cookie (Gluten-free)
Print Recipe
3 tablespoons 2 tablespoons 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking blend 1 teaspoon 1 tablespoon 3 tablespoons e 1 teaspoon coconut oil 1 tablespoon 1 tablespoon dehydrated cherries (about 10)
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 2 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. In small bowl, mix together protein powder, oats, baking blend, stevia and chia seeds until combined.
  2. To these dry ingredients, add coconut oil and egg white and stir until incorporated. Use hands to form into one large dough ball.
  3. Spray center of baking sheet with cooking spray, or use silicone baking sheet. Set dough ball on top of this spot.
  4. Use hands or spray a flat-bottomed bowl with cooking spray and press down on dough ball until spread out approximately 5 inches in diameter. Use hands to shape sides, if needed.
  5. Top cookie dough with dehydrated or dried cherry pieces and almonds and lightly press down with bowl again to “set” them. You can also just mix these into the dough, if you don’t want to get fancy.
  6. Bake at 350 F degrees in the oven (or toaster oven) for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or center set and edges and top turning light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest on pan for 2 minutes. Eat.
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Buh-Bye Bloat! Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.Oh, we all have those days when the dreaded bloat is out of control. Personally, sometimes my tummy can stick out more than my butt.  I’ve reduced my family to tears of hysteria (and fear) on more than one occasion by sticking out my distended middle as far as humanly possible – I look like a skinny 6-month pregnant woman or have an awful basketball sized tumor!  Maybe it’s too much salt, not enough water, low fiber intake, that time of the month . . . or all of the above. I think we can all agree that being bloated and retaining water is not only an uncomfortable feeling, but also a self-confidence shaker – even though we all know that by eating healthfully, this gut grief not a lasting situation. Can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’ll share pictures of me taken within a short period of time — before dinner and already bloated (left) and feeling fabulous early one morning (right)! .

Rather than staying swollen up like a balloon, you can stop the suffering and get on the path to that slim and trim you with my Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie.  Packed with all sorts of healthy ingredients that promote healthy digestion and hydration, this green smoothie recipe is also very light, so you don’t have to fret about overdoing the liquid calories.

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles

detox smoothie nutrition

For under 120 calories, you get a 20-ounce glass of goodness that has no added sugar, progresses you towards your daily fiber needs, and even has a touch of protein from the dandelion (surprise!) It’s also rich in many vitamins and minerals, especially potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamin K.

Here’s a rundown on the ingredients and how they can tame your tummy troubles.

Cucumber: Not only is this veggie is loaded with water (95% to be exact) which helps improve hydration, it also is a good source of a flavonoid antioxidant called quercetin that help reduce inflammation and puffiness – that’s why  we have all long-loved to put slices over our eyes.

Coconut Water: High in potassium and other electrolytes, this watery juice from inside the coconut helps to flush sodium out of the body and restore healthy hydration levels. For convenience, I love to have this Coconut Water Powder on hand.

Banana: Bananas are rich in potassium, a mineral that helps manage fluid levels in our bodies and can assist in shedding salt-related water retention. Also, this dietary fiber in this popular fruit keeps things moving along in your digestive system.

Ginger:  This root is a wonder when it comes to health benefits, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, migraine relief and more. It also contains an enzyme that optimized the absorption of proteins and Lessing protein-related bloating and gas in the process.

Dandelion Greens: Dandelion greens (as well as the root) are a fantastic detox food that cleanses the liver, flushing toxins and excess water out – perfect if you have lots of water retention. Dandelions have a surprising amount of protein for a “green” and even more calcium than spinach.  You can also use the greens (mainly found in the early spring) in salads or sautés or reap benefits from drinking a dandelion tea or taking a dandelion root extract or supplement.

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles

Linking Up With: Happy Fit Mama, The Fit Foodie Mama, Hello to Fit, Fairy Burger, Chocolate Runner Girl, Jill Conyers,

Have you ever tried dandelion greens before? What do you do to beat bloating? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothi
Print Recipe
Tame your tummy troubles with this low-cal smoothie filled with bloat-busting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, coconut water, ginger and more.
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothie is a low-cal way to cleanse your system and tame tummy troubles.
Dandelion Greens Detox Smoothi
Print Recipe
Tame your tummy troubles with this low-cal smoothie filled with bloat-busting ingredients like cucumber, dandelion greens, coconut water, ginger and more.
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 20-ounce smoothie 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: 20-ounce smoothie
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth, adding more ice if necessary. Pour into tall glass and enjoy immediately.
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Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie

Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie Wild Blueberries . . . I’m, well, just wild about them. I stir them in my oatmeal, toss in my salads, and blend up in smoothies – like this recipe for Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie I’m sharing today. This smoothie is super yummy, and yes it tastes like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided! In one tall glass, you get natural energy and antioxidants from Wild Blueberries, hydration-balancing electrolytes from coconut water and satiating, muscle-making protein from low-fat cottage cheese.  I love to make this vibrant Wild Blueberry smoothie for a quick breakfast, as post-workout or long run refueling or as a healthier dessert option after dinner or before bed. Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.

So, back to the berries. Did you know Wild Blueberries aren’t the same thing as regular cultivated blueberries? I was already stalking the frozen aisle to buy these special berries for their intense sweet-tart taste long before I came to learn of all the healthy attributes. For example, Wild Blueberries have double the antioxidant capacity of regular blueberries and recent research is suggesting that they may play an important role in gut and brain health and also lower the incidence of diabetes and certain cancers. Talk about small but mighty! Handful of Wild Blueberries

Wild Blueberries are primarily grown in Main and Eastern Canada and date back more than 10,000 years!  About 99% of the crops today are individually quick frozen to lock-in nutrition and taste – it also means you can cater to blueberry cravings anytime of the year just by grabbing a bag out of the freezer.  There are many “brands” of Wild Blueberries, and I don’t prefer one over the other — just look for the word “Wild” on the package to ensure you’re getting the most potent and powerful blueberries around!

So, have you ever eaten WILD blueberries? What is your favorite ingredient to put in a smoothie — surprise me, I’m always looking for creative new things to try. Share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.
Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Wild Blueberry Coconut Ginger Smoothie taste like a coconut cream pie and blueberry cheesecake collided, but it's actually a smart choice for breakfast, a workout snack or healthy dessert.
Wild Blueberry Coconut Pie Smoothie
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to blender and process until smooth. Pour into tall glass, garnish with additional blueberries and coconut flakes. Enjoy immediately.
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Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake #HeartMonth

Disclosure: I was compensated for my time as part of the @CocoaVia Supplement #HeartMonth campaign through the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network.Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre Workout Shake offers your workout the benefit of cocoa flavinols, caffeine, quality carbs and sustaining protein.

Does it sound strange to say the favorite part of my day is working out? Some people hate exercising, but I love it. It’s a time to forget about everything that stresses me, focus on achieving personal goals, and cater to my competitive side while still having fun with friends. But, more often than not, it’s hard for me to get my rear in gear for a run or workout. However, I’ve found that the right nutrition about 30 minutes before I head out to the gym, trail or track helps me win the day. Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com BVM CrossFit

Since I’m typically in a rush tying up work and family obligations, I need an easy pre-workout snack that I can stash in my gym bag. Personally, I prefer a drink over food because it’s easier for me to stomach before a workout — unfortunately, many beverages need refrigeration. However, I came up with a delicious recipe for Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake that can be prepared right on the spot with no blender, fridge or heating appliances.

CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink

The workout friendly ingredients include canned espresso for a caffeine boost, honey crystals for some quality, quick-energy carbs, chocolate whey powder for sustained energy and CocoaVia® Daily Cocoa Extract Supplement for a dose of cocoa flavanols, which are scientifically proven to promote a healthy heart by supporting healthy blood flow†.Sharing CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink

I didn’t have any trouble finding taste-testers at my CrossFit gym!

Seriously easy, all you do to make the “recipe” is bring along a mason jar filled with a bit of dry honey crystals and a half-scoop of your favorite chocolate protein powder. Before drinking, just add your 8-ounce can of espresso, 4 ounces of water and a packet CocoaVia® Daily Cocoa Flavanols Extract Supplement (Unsweetened Dark Chocolate). If you don’t want to use the canned espresso (or can’t find it), you can just add black coffee to the Mason jar brought from home – however, I do recommend the 8-ounce can of High Brew Double Espresso because it’s convenient and is made with just a light touch of cane sugar. Whole Foods usually carries it.

Shake, shake, shake up everything in the Mason jar and enjoy – this pre-workout shake isn’t too filling, so it stays down even if burpees are on the whiteboard.  Another thing, and GENIUS, if I might add – if you are in a situation where there might be multiple “mason jars” hanging around or if you want to differentiate concoctions in your own fridge, those cheapie rubber bracelets fit perfectly around the rim – everyone gets a different color! Scroll back up and look at the photo for my orange bracelet!

It's easy to take CocoaVia Favinol Extract Supplement anywhere.I think you’ll love this pre-workout beverage – it provides heat-healthy cocoa flavanols, sustaining energy thanks to the protein powder, and tastes great at any temperature. You’ll also really appreciate the CocoaVia® Daily Cocoa Extract Supplement that delivers the highest concentration of cocoa flavanols you can find. The use of cocoa flavanols, like those found in CocoaVia®, are supported by two decades of scientific research that suggest these powerful plant-derived nutrients may play a valuable role in cardiovascular health. It’s pretty much impossible to get enough of these cocoa flavanols through chocolate treats (you’d surely get sick!), the traditional cocoa processing, which includes drying, fermenting and roasting of beans, destroys many of the naturally-occurring flavanols. However, CocoaVia®supplement isolates the “good stuff” and packages it up for use in a convenient, versatile form, without all the calories and fat – my heart and I love them for that! For more information, visit www.CocoaVia.com

 †This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Are you a chocolholic? What do you eat before a workout? Did you run a race or have a competition this weekend? I’d love to know, please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink
Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake
Print Recipe
Win your day and your workout with this easy-to-make pre-workout shake featuring the benefits of cocoa flavinols, caffeine, quality carbohydrates and sustaining protein. No blender or refrigerator needed.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
CocoaVia Espresso PreWorkout Drink
Dark Chocolate Espresso Pre-Workout Shake
Print Recipe
Win your day and your workout with this easy-to-make pre-workout shake featuring the benefits of cocoa flavinols, caffeine, quality carbohydrates and sustaining protein. No blender or refrigerator needed.
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Servings Prep Time
1 serving 1 minutes
Cook Time
1 minute
Ingredients
Servings: serving
Instructions
  1. Add CocoaVia®, honey crystals, and protein powder to mason jar or shaker bottle. Add lid and lightly shake to combine.
  2. Add espresso and and water to powdered mixture. Shake vigorously until well combined.
  3. Enjoy as-prepared or serve over ice.
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Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte (with Protein)

Scary Pumpkin Spice LatteSince 2013, Starbucks has peddled hundreds of millions of their Pumpkin Spice Lattes making it the unofficial drink of the Fall season. I’ve served up . . .errr, dozens and dozens of my “not so scary” version, but drinking one gets you membership in a much more exclusive club – a club where members care about what their dumping down their bodies.

Did you know that a typical 16-ounce (“grande”) Pumpkin Spiced Latte has more than 50 grams of sugar coming mostly from sweetened condensed milk and 14 grams of fat.  Oh, and another surprise, the original coffee shop drink doesn’t even have real pumpkin in it! You can google all the other unhealthy benefits, but these are some that bother me the most!Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte

You can still enjoy a steamy, sweet mug of creamy cinnamon-nutmeg-clove goodness without popping the buttons off your jeans with this pop-culture addiction. My Not-So-Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte can be made two ways – either with your milk of choice . . . or I often like to use a Vanilla Core Power to get a little more protein in the morning.

Core Power Pumpkin Spice Latte

My 16-ounce Core Power version Pumpkin Spice Latte is so much better with 252 calories, 27 grams sugar, 3.5 grams fat (with no whip) and 26 grams of protein. If you don’t use Core Power, the calories are likely to be a bit less . . .but, also less protein. You can stock up on Core Power High Protein Shake here. 

Sugar Free Pumpkin Protein Donuts with Cinnamon FrostingAlso, would you like a Sugar-Free Protein Pumpkin Muffin with Cinnamon Frosting to go with your muscle-making PSL?  I can hook you up with my recipe here!

Are you a pumpkin spice addict (anything), or sick of the trend? Do you make coffee at home, or hit a coffee shop daily? Have you ever been to a pumpkin chunkin’ or hurled your jack-o-lantern? Just wondering! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Print Recipe
Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Not So Scary Pumpkin Spice Latte
Print Recipe
Optional: light whipped cream (just a dollop, it adds calories and fat) Directions: Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired. Serves 1.
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Servings Prep Time
1 2 minutes
Cook Time
2 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour prepared espresso and Core Power in tall microwave-safe mug and microwave on medium for approximately 1 ½ minutes (without overheating). Remove and stir in pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice until dissolved. Top with light whipped cream, if desired.
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