For years, my maternal grandparents, Loyal and Erlene, started their day the same way.
“This is the day that the Lord has made,” one would begin.
“We will rejoice and be glad in it,” the other would finish.
Waking up with the reminder that this particular day has been created by God and is a unique gift from His hands…what a beautiful idea! And in theory, mornings are amazing. An entire day stretches before you, full of infinite potential and possibilities.
But the reality at my house is a bit different.
I don’t like mornings. When I finally stumble across the room to turn off my back-up alarm (because I’ve ignored the first one), I head straight to the coffee pot. It’s on a timer, so there’s steaming hot coffee ready to go by the time I shuffle into the kitchen. And it isn’t until I’ve finished my first cup of coffee that my thoughts become slightly coherent. (Yes, ‘first’ cup implies that there are subsequent cups.) THEN, I might start thinking about rejoicing and being glad in the day. But pre-coffee? I’m just not there yet.
One thing that I’ve found that makes mornings a bit more tolerable is good coffee creamer. In particular, good pumpkin spice coffee creamer. Every fall, I look forward to the return of pumpkin spice creamer, but this year, I ruined it. This year, I accidentally read the ingredients on the side of the creamer bottle. Big mistake! I couldn’t pronounce 90% of them and couldn’t identify the rest. Mornings are bad enough to begin with – why make them worse by putting chemicals in my coffee? So I set about figuring out how to make my own spiced coffee creamer.
After playing around a bit, this is the recipe that I settled on. It has all the spicy goodness of store-bought creamers, but all the ingredients are pronounceable. You can also tailor it to your preferences by using whatever type of condensed milk and regular milk that you prefer: skim, 2%, or whole milk – even cream works. The creamer is good as soon as you make it, but it gets even better over the next few days as the spices soak into the milk. I highly recommend that you stir it every day or so, otherwise the spices all settle into the bottom of the jar in a sort of unappetizing brown sludge. When you use the creamer, you’ll get some spices floating in your coffee. If you don’t like this, you could always strain the creamer through a cheesecloth after letting the spices soak for a few days. I recommend leaving them, though, because the taste just gets better with time.
While homemade spiced coffee creamer hasn’t turned me into a morning person, it makes mornings a bit more palatable. And it reminds me to be thankful for small blessings, like a morning cup of joe. Maybe by 10am, I’ll be ready to say, “This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Spiced Coffee Creamer
1 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
2 cups milk, cream, of half-and half
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. (heaping) each of ground cloves ginger, allspice, and nutmeg
Mix the spices together in a small bowl. Add them to the rest of the ingredients (condensed milk, milk, and vanilla), and either whisk or or blend with a mixer. Alternatively, you can put them in a large mason jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake for a couple of minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to ten days.