Iced Coffee Tips 'n Tricks, Plus the Flour 411!

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Dear HG,

I love drinking iced coffee, especially with summer just around the corner! Do you have any iced coffee tips and tricks up your sleeve?

Java Jane

Hi Jane,

I LOVE iced coffee too. Just like regular coffee drinks, though, it's easy to wind up with a beverage that is a TOTAL calorie catastrophe if you're not careful. Here are some handy HG tips for whipping up guilt-free icy java drinks...

Don't be afraid of instant coffee! It's perfect for iced drinks, because you can dissolve it in just a little hot water, and then add cold water. This way, you don't end up with watered-down coffee. Starbucks VIA Ready Brew tastes FANTASTIC and comes in pre-portioned packets. (Just check the labels, because some flavors have added sugar.) I especially love the Veranda Blend Blonde Roast! Folgers and Nescafé Taster's Choice are also really good. If you'd rather brew your own beans, have fun with flavored varieties. Those are virtually calorie-free. Just brew your coffee extra strong, so it won't be too weak once some of that ice melts. If K-Cups are more your speed, Keurig has some cold-beverage versions that you can brew right over ice. Score!

Creamy mix-ins are where it's at. I like sugar-free and fat-free powdered creamers, like the ones by Coffee-mate. There are so many fun flavors, and even ones that aren't free of sugar or fat are pretty reasonable in the calorie and fat departments. Just dissolve them in a little warm water. BTW, there's a reason I tend to go for powdered flavored creamers as opposed to the liquid ones. With liquid creamer, it's easy to over-pour and add too many calories to your drink. With powders, a little goes a VERY long way, and you're less likely to overdo it. And here's a GREAT creamer tip: Dissolve the powder in warm water ahead of time, and then freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. Perfect for chilling your coffee! If you prefer liquid creamer, Coffee-mate does have some good options. Try the Low Fat Original (great stats!) and the low-fat creamers in the Natural Bliss line (all-natural!). Some of my other creamy favorites for coffee are light vanilla soymilk and Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze. You can freeze those in trays too.

Sweeten the deal. Stir in a packet of your no-calorie sweetener of choice. And to add some ZAZZLE to your drink, try Torani's line of zero-calorie sugar-free syrups. The SF Salted Caramel is a recent obsession of mine. SO GOOD! There's an insane number of sugar-free flavors -- everything from Coconut to Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough -- so find your favorite! Look for them at select supermarkets and specialty stores like Cost Plus World Market (click for Torani's store locator), or just order online. Finally, add a squirt of Fat Free Reddi-wip to your chilly coffee drink. Perfecto!

Thirsty for more? Check out these recipes: our Cherry Bomb Iced Mocha and this Super-Duper Cocoa-rific Coffee Malt! And if you're looking for on-the-go caffeine on ice, check out Starbucks' new bottled iced coffee line. There's a low-calorie version with just 50 calories!

Happy sippin'!

Dear HG,

I love your recipes for baked goodies! I've noticed that many call for both whole-wheat flour AND all-purpose flour, while others call for one or the other. Why is that? Can't I just use all whole-wheat flour all the time?

Confused about Flour

Hi Confused about Flour,

Glad you love the recipes, and thanks for the questions! Here's the deal... Whole-wheat flour is great because, unlike regular flour, it has a good amount of fiber. But all-purpose flour brings an airiness and fluffiness that whole-wheat flour doesn't necessarily deliver. That's why many HG recipes for baked goods call for some of each. We experiment to find just the right balance, one that brings a nice dose of fiber and the perfect texture. Our Coffee Crumb-Yum Cake and Choco-Banana Bread are two recipes in which a flour combo works really well.

Sometimes, though, whole-wheat flour works perfectly on its own. For example, in our pancake and scone recipes. Other times, a little all-purpose flour alone is what you need, like in HG cheesecake recipes.

You can definitely experiment with using one or the other across the board, but we try to do the hard work for you, finding the ideal balance for each recipe. And now you know... Flour power!

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