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coffee

Food & Recipes

Coffee & Cream Pops

June 19, 2015

Coffe and Cream Pops (2)

Living in Minnesota, the summer months are treasured more than in most areas of the country. I mean, we only get a few truly beautiful months each year so not taking full advantage would be a tragedy. Sure, Minnesota can be awfully cold, but when it’s beautiful? It’s pretty much the best of the best. And perhaps my favorite part about summer is the food.

Frozen pops have always been a favorite sweet treat, and I love that people have been getting more creative with their flavor combinations in the last few years. They can swing anywhere from totally diet-conscious to downright sinful. These Coffee & Cream Pops I made? Well, they’re in the “sinful” category for sure. Hardly an every-day indulgence but worth every single cool, creamy, coffee-laden calorie when you’re looking to splurge on something truly tasty.  Continue Reading…

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My Morning Routine + Giveaway!

March 9, 2015

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One of my favorite blog series of all time is a series on Bon Appetit called “My Morning Routine” where celebrities and Bon Appetit editors talk about how they start each morning. I’m not sure why I find the column so fascinating, but it gets my attention time and time again. Does anyone else love hearing how people start their days?

I’m partnering this year with Lavazza, one of my favorite coffee companies, to promote some of their amazing coffee products. I’ve loved Lavazza since we traveled to Italy in 2013 and drank our fair share of their coffee and espresso. It was everywhere! I know some women are quick to give up coffee during their pregnancies, but I just couldn’t stand to give up my beloved morning cup of coffee and my afternoon cup of decaf. I took a little time before Ainsley arrived to write down what my morning routine looked like pre-baby and had planned on posting this before she arrived, but since our little lady arrived early, I never got it posted pre-baby. As you can imagine, my morning routine has changed quite a bit since Ainsley arrived; I’m not sure I even have a morning routine right now! But here’s a look at my pre-baby mornings.

COFFEE FIRST
I head straight for my coffee the minute I get out of bed. My method of coffee preparation takes different forms. We have a Keurig 2.0 that I’m partial to because of the convenience factor and the fact that I can make different coffee for myself and Joe. But on mornings when I want to make a really wonderful cup of coffee I gravitate to using my stovetop espresso pot or French press with some quality dark roast or espresso roast coffee grounds. Lately, I’ve been using the Lavazza Perfetto Espresso Roast coffee and it’s divine. My coffee has to be super dark and strong because I like to add a little whole milk or 1/2 and 1/2 without losing that good, strong coffee flavor. On the weekends when I have a bit more time I’ll use my Nespresso milk frother and make a cafe au lait.

FUEL FOR THE DAY
I’ve never been someone who can wait very long after I wake up to eat breakfast. It’s probably the reason I’ve always hated brunch! I usually wake up first thing in the morning absolutely starving, so I waste no time preparing breakfast for myself and Joe. Joe’s pretty easy to please as far as breakfast goes and will eat whatever I make. If he had strong preferences, I would probably tell him he was on his own! (I’m only sort of kidding…)

Breakfast has to be something healthy and balanced or I find that my whole day is thrown off and I tend to make bad food choices the rest of the day, although I have to admit that pregnancy has thrown my appetite off a bit this entire 40 weeks. Oatmeal is usually my favorite and I typically make it with some chia seeds or a little ground flax thrown in for good measure. I used to be a fan of stevia in my oatmeal, but once I got pregnant I started to think more about what I was putting in my body and switched over to using plain old brown sugar with a bit of almond or peanut butter for protein. Sometimes I’ll mix things up and make eggs and whole wheat toast or my current favorite, a mixed berry smoothie made with a little orange juice, milk, ice and frozen berries.

TAKING MY TIME
Joe and I have always had a bit of a habit of waking up earlier than we really need to in order to give ourselves a little bit of time to wake up, watch the news, talk about our mornings and do our devotionals. It’s amazing what an impact an extra half an hour in the morning can have on the entire day! I feel like that extra time gives us the opportunity to talk and make sure we’re on the same page about what we have going on. Sometimes sleep takes priority and we opt to hit the snooze button a few times rather than wake up early, but that’s rare.

LUNCH PREP!
My extra half an hour in the morning also creates a little time for me to pack a lunch for Joe. Once again, he’s not picky (thank goodness!) so the standard is kept pretty low. We eat a lot of leftovers for lunch since it’s just the two of us eating dinner each night. Otherwise it’s a rotation of sandwiches with yogurt, fruit and some sort of raw veggie like carrots.

EMAIL, EMAIL, BLOG
My work schedule lately has, admittedly, taken on a bit of a different routine. Instead of rushing off to work, I’ve been settling down to some time in front of my laptop, responding to e-mails and brainstorming new ideas for the blog and working on freelance projects that I have in the pipeline. Usually about halfway through the morning I’ll help myself to another cup of coffee, this time decaf. For me coffee is only partially about the caffeine and almost entirely about the taste!

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Lavazza isn’t just supplying me with plenty of coffee to stay warm; they want to supply you with coffee as well! Below are a few ways to enter to win a $20 Lavazza gift card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Favorite Way to Make Coffee

January 17, 2014

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It’s no secret I love coffee. You know that, right? I love everything about coffee: the way it smells, the ritual surrounding it, drinking coffee with friends and ending the night with something sweet and a cup of decaf. I’ve been doing an okay job with cutting out caffeine, but truthfully I usually use coffee as a reward for doing something good. Drank a lot of water and ate plenty of veggies today? Okay, have a cup of decaf in the afternoon. You get the idea.

Joe and I like to joke that we have way too many ways to make coffee at our house. We own a Nespresso Pixie, a drip coffee maker, a Keurig Vue and a stovetop espresso pot. Out of all the methods available to me I find it funny that my favorite method happens to be the cheapest. We’ve owned a couple stovetop espresso pots and am always amazed at how great the coffee tastes versus other coffee-making methods. I’m not going to say it’s the best (since I know very little about using a Chemex or other pour-over methods) but I do think it’s pretty darn good coffee.

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Like any method of making coffee, there are a couple different price points for stovetop espresso pots. In my opinion, the best of the best is the Bialetti model, which is relatively inexpensive considering it is the top of the line. Right now I have a cheaper version and plan to go back to the Bialetti next time.
Bialetti 6800 Moka Express 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker

If you’re unfamiliar with this method, here’s how it works:

1. Fill the base of the pot with filtered water. Make sure it’s filtered when you make coffee if you care at all about your coffee tasting great.

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2. Place the small metal filter on top of the water and into the pot.

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3. Fill with strong freshly-ground coffee or espresso. Since I love my coffee strong, I don’t usually pay much attention to the ratio of coffee to water. I fill my pot up with water as full as it can go, then use as much coffee that the filter can hold.

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4. Screw the top piece of the espresso pot on tightly. Place on your stovetop burner over medium heat. The water will eventually start to boil, pushing the hot water up through the coffee grounds and into the top section of the pot, resulting in hot, strong and deliciously-flavored coffee. You’ll know it’s ready when you hear a lot of steaming/bubbling/gurgling.

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5. Pour your espresso into your favorite cup (I like mine with a little 2% milk or half and half) and enjoy!

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PS: Have you checked out Nellie magazine yet? I’ve been contributing with a bunch of other amazing women and am blown away by the great content everyone is sharing. And as a bonus, right now you can win a Nelli Magazine mug! Just click here to enter. Since I’m a contributor, I received one free, but it’s my favorite new mug, and I’m pretty picky about coffee mugs.

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Curbing The Caffeine Addiction

October 17, 2013

coffee

My love affair with coffee has been well documented on this blog. And it’s not an overstatement to say I love the stuff. But lately, I’ve been doing a little health inventory, searching for ways that I can eat and live healthier and feel even better. I’m already a pretty clean eater, but my caffeine addiction stood out to me as an area where I could make some changes. My typical coffee consumption, if I’m being totally honest, looks a little like this:

5:30 am: The alarm goes off, I brew a pot of coffee as the oatmeal cooks on the stove. I have a cup with a splash of 2% milk while Joe and I eat breakfast together.

6:45 am: I have another cup (this time black) while I get ready for work, doing my makeup and hair while taking sips of coffee along the way. Usually I only drink half of this cup.

9:00 am: I am at work for a while before I make myself a cup of coffee at work, usually in the Keurig or Nespresso machine, and usually served with a little almond milk or 2% milk, whatever I have on hand.

2:00 pm: This time is hit or miss, but usually I’ll make myself a cup of coffee in the afternoon as a little pick-me-up through my day.

8:00 pm: I make a cup of decaf coffee with a piece of dark chocolate for dessert after dinner while relaxing/watching TV/reading.

Just reading that routine made me a little embarrassed. It means that some days, I can consume upwards of 4 cups of regular coffee and a cup of decaf in a single day. It’s no wonder that I’ve been feeling a little sluggish lately and have had a hard time staying asleep at night! I think my body has been telling me something, and I’ve been ignoring it.

Every now and again I put myself through a coffee detox, cutting out caffeine entirely for a week or two. Every time I cut out the coffee it’s incredibly painful, both physically and emotionally. Yes, I cry and get upset, and feel incredibly crabby. I’m more clumsy than usual and find it hard to focus. I read this article about the perils of caffeine withdrawal and can totally relate.

This time, instead of going cold turkey, I’ve been swapping out coffee for other beverages and allowing myself a cup of coffee or an espresso in the early afternoon, around 2 or 3. It’s amazing how great coffee makes me feel when I limit myself to a single cup. I used to think caffeine had no impact on me, but I think I was just consuming too much to notice.

So what have I been drinking instead? Here’s the breakdown:

1. Water!
This is sort of a no-brainer, but I’ve been keeping my water bottle close by throughout the day. It’s been really easy to drink extra water when I’m not constantly guzzling coffee.
2. Herbal Tea
Now that it’s getting colder outside, I need a little something warm to get me going in the morning. I’ve never been much of a tea person, but I do love a cup of mint tea, especially when accompanied by a little bit of steamed milk and stevia. At Starbucks, I’ve been ordering a Grande Refresh Tea (their version of mint) with a little steamed 2% milk. Around Christmas, they also have sugar-free peppermint syrup, which is my weakness.
3. Fresh Juice
When I’m at home and have time to juice, I have been taking full advantage. We still have plenty of apples from our CSA and it’s also a great way to use up leftover produce. My favorite combination lately has been beets and apples. I just love the color!
4. Hot Water + Fresh Lemon Juice
I’ve read a lot about the benefits of hot water and lemon juice. It seems crazy that such a simple combination could be so good for you, but I’m willing to give it a try. I don’t have this every day, but once in a while it’s a nice way to mix things up.
5. Steamed Almond Milk
We have a milk warmer/frother at home, making it super quick and easy to make hot steamed milk. I’ve been dressing it up with a little cinnamon and stevia or a little bit of local honey to keep things interesting. This is the closest I’ve come to finding something that satisfies me the way coffee does.

I have to admit that I feel SO much better without all the coffee. I’m more hydrated, energetic and appreciative of coffee when I do have my cup in the afternoon. And I have been sleeping much more soundly through the night, which is a welcome perk. Better sleep means I don’t need as much caffeine. Funny how that works!

Do any of you have other suggestions of what to substitute for coffee? Although the ideas above are great, I still find myself missing the rich, earthy flavor of coffee in the morning.
Madison

Coffee Ice Cream

July 21, 2011

I’m not going to lie, one of the major perks about getting married had to be all the amazing kitchen gadgets we got from friends and family. It wasn’t that my kitchen was bare and in dire need of pots and pans, but there were a few items that I have had my eye on for some time but was too cheap to actually buy for myself.

One of those things being an ice cream maker.

Thankfully, our amazing friends Kurt, Sarah, Caleb and Jill read my mind (err….our registry) and bought us our very own ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer. Needless to say, I was pretty excited and got to work making my first batch of ice cream in less than three days after returning home from San Diego.

The results were pretty darn stellar. The ice cream was smooth, creamy and full of rich coffee flavor – better than most coffee ice creams I have purchased. Of course, I can only imagine it would be stellar to stir in some chopped candy bars, chocolate covered espresso beans or a swirl of fudge, but for our first ice cream experiment I kept things simple.

Coffee Ice Cream
Recipe adapted from SimplyRecipes.com
Ingredients
*1 1/2 cups whole milk
*2 1/2 cups heavy cream
*1/3 cup granulated sugar
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*1 tablespoon instant coffee (I used decaf)
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*Pinch of salt
*4 egg yolks

Instructions
*In a small bowl, beat together the egg yolks. Set aside. 
*Combine the milk, 1 1/2 cups of the cream, the sugars, coffee, salt and vanilla in a large saucepan. Heat over medium high heat just until mixture begins to steam, stirring frequently.
*When mixture begins to steam, pour some of the mixture into the egg yolks, stirring quickly to combine and temper egg yolks so they warm but do not cook.
*Add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture in saucepan and continue to cook until mixture reaches 170°F or it coats the back of a wooden spoon.
*Remove mixture from heat and add in the remaining 1 cup cold cream. Transfer to a large bowl. Refrigerate until chilled, preferably overnight.
*Once mixture is chilled, pour through a mesh sieve. Pour strained mixture into ice cream maker and prepare according to manufacturers instructions.

Happy cooking!

Madison

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