I’m sad to say that my (possibly last ever) spring break came to an end yesterday. However, lately I’ve really been trying to enjoy things for what they were instead of fixating on the fact that they’re over and done with. Lucky for me, I have a lot of great memories from this spring break! The second half of last week was packed with different adventures. I went to the Reid Park Zoo for the first time and was surprised to see a female lion and her four baby cubs! They were so adorable that I could have watched them play for hours. I also saw giraffes, a rhino, zebras, bearded dragons, and cockroaches (as is I don’t see enough of those already). I still feel conflicted about zoos, but I did enjoy learning about the different animal species that I saw. What do you think about zoos? Are you for them? Against them? Or do you think they have both pros and cons?
On Thursday I went hiking on Mount Lemmon, a beautiful peak in Tucson. Mt. Lemmon is known as a “sky island” because the ecosystem on the mountain contrasts so starkly with the desert around it. It’s basically a haven for tucsonans, who can go from a 110 degree sweltering desert to a 70 degree forrest in an hour. Oh, and it’s absolutely beautiful! My dog loved hiking part of the mountain and sniffing all of the different things she never gets to sniff in the desert. Isn’t it great how easily pleased dogs are?
When I got home from hiking, I decided that I needed one of my favorite refreshing drinks: horchata! Horchata is a drink commonly found in Spain and Latin America, and it’s very popular in Arizona. Although its ingredients vary depending on the country it’s made in, the version I’m accustomed to is made with milk, rice, loads of white sugar, and cinnamon. Its a cold refreshing drink that can satisfy a sweet tooth and quench your thirst.
One thing I don’t like about horchata? The large amount of processed sugar in it, which adds empty calories and is sure to make you crash about an hour after you drink it. So I set out to make my own healthy version of this popular drink. When I learned that most horchata recipes take a few hours to make, I decided I was more in need of instant gratification. I wanted my healthy horchata, and it wanted it now! Or then. Or whatever.
Because of this, I decided to leave out the rice. I knew that I wanted to use almond milk because I prefer it to cow’s milk, but what sweetener would add both thickness and be consistent with the traditional taste of horchata? Dates, of course! Quickly my quest for horchata was satisfied with only three healthy, simple ingredients: unsweetened vanilla almond milk, medjool dates, and cinnamon.
The result was incredibly delicious. Sweet, spicy, and creamy, this drink is perfect as a snack, with cookies, or brownies, or basically anything. And guess what? Medjool dates have about 1.6g of fiber per date, which makes this a filling drink. Finally, horchata that will not only leave you feeling guiltless, but that will nourish your body!
- 4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 6 pitted medjool dates
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Add all ingredients to a blender.
- Blend on high for one minute or until dates are completely blended.
- NOTE: If you are using a Vitamix or other high-speed blender, blending time will probably be shorter.