Vanilla gets a bad rap, in my opinion. People say something is “so, vanilla” when they actually mean “plain” and vanilla is not plain. Vanilla is sweet and just a tiny bit spicy. There’s creamy “french vanilla” and “vanilla bean” flecked with all the yummy black bits from the center of the vanilla pod. Either way it’s delicious. Chocolate gets all the glory, and gets all the fancy cakes and drinks named after it, but vanilla deserves some glory too.
For years I had trouble sleeping and just assumed it was normal for it to take an hour or two to fall asleep and that awakening every hour or so through out the night was also normal. Then one day I did some research and I realized that I actually suffer from insomnia and I got a prescription which changed my life. But then I got pregnant with my son and I couldn’t use the prescription for 9 months. Boo. So, I turned to the old standby: hot milk.
Surprisingly, it worked pretty well. Except, I don’t really like the taste of plain hot milk and I didn’t want the hassle of making hot chocolate every night. Besides, vanilla is delicious! So I started putting vanilla and sweetener in my hot milk and dubbed it “hot vanilla”. Adam thought it was funny (and I confess I thought myself a bit clever) so the name stuck.
Once Andy was born I was able to use my prescription again but I’ve never given up the hot vanilla. On cold winter nights it’s kind of comforting to hold onto a hot mug of something creamy and yummy. Of course, once Andy was born I could also add a shot of Bailey’s to it an give it an extra little kick. Which is nice, but definitely optional. (I omit it when I make it for the kids of course!)
10 oz. milk (I use skim or 1%)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp sweetener (I use sucanat)
1 shot Bailey’s Irish Cream (1.5 oz)
Pour the milk into a microwave safe mug and heat it for 2-3 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave). Then stir in the vanilla, then the sweetener, then the shot of Bailey’s (if using). Stir thoroughly and enjoy!