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Morning

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Birthday Cake Oatmeal

March 21, 2014

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As much as I love variety and change in some aspects of my life, like my work and my workouts, I really crave routine in some aspects of life. Take, for example, breakfast. I eat oatmeal or oat bran for breakfast every single morning. To me, it’s the perfect morning meal. But at the same time, I get bored with the same old oatmeal every morning. It’s good to mix things up every now and again.

I mentioned a month ago that I bought a box of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix. I realize it’s totally not very “foodie” to admit this, but I’ve been finding a lot of ways to put that box of cake mix to use in everyday life. Probably not the healthiest or most important skill, but considering that the box has lasted over a month, I don’t think I’m doing too much damage in the health department.

One of my new favorite treats is to stir a little bit of dry cake mix into my morning bow of oatmeal. Something about doing so feels completely indulgent, without being overly sweet or putting me into a sugar coma. If you’re looking for a way to make your morning a little more fun, I would highly suggest giving this a try!

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Birthday Cake Oatmeal
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
I make this oatmeal when I'm craving something a little more like dessert without totally indulging in a breakfast pastry or something similar. I keep a box of Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix around in case the craving strikes.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup milk (I like 2% but you can use whatever milk you prefer)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 packets stevia or 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip cake mix
  • Peanut butter, if desired
Instructions
  1. In small saucepan over medium heat, combine the oats and water. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until much of the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Add milk, vanilla, stevia and salt to oats and stir until well combined; stir in the cake mix and cook 1 to 2 minutes more or until oats are your desired thickness. Top with peanut butter, if desired.

 

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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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A Morning With: Natalie Lynn Borton

May 6, 2013

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Today I’m so excited to kick off a new series on Espresso and Cream! I’ve been obsessed with the “My Morning Routine” series on Bon Appetit’s website. For those of you not familiar with the series, it gives a little peak into the morning routine of famous people. I’m love getting to see how other people eat (and more specifically start their morning) so I’m going to do something similar with some of my favorite bloggers and people.

First up, my friend Natalie Borton. Natalie shared her “No Fat Talk” story last year on E&C. She is beautiful inside and out and a true champion for women and real beauty. Natalie and her hubby live in California (jealous!) Here’s how she starts her mornings…

6:00 My husband’s alarm goes off. Since I work from home and basically wear my pajamas all day, I keep sleeping until he’s done showering and shaving, then crawl out of bed by 6:30 or so to start the day. We always aim to sip our coffee together and have some quality time before the work day begins. Friday mornings are the best—definitely the most leisurely and pleasant.

7:30 I lace up my running shoes and head out for a quick jog—usually for just twenty minutes or so around my neighborhood.

8:00 I like to have slow, restful mornings. When I get back from jogging, I try to do my bible study homework, read, and do some blogging while eating breakfast.  I usually rotate between a green smoothie in a bowl with granola (or just a regular old smoothie in a glass); a bran muffin with green juice; avocado toast with salt and pepper; and oatmeal—it all depends on how I’m feeling that day. If the weather is nice, I love to sit outside in my backyard to eat and watch my puppy obsess over chasing her tennis ball.

9:00 I walk upstairs to my home office and begin working, which usually starts with me catching up on emails, touching base with my intern on her projects for the day, and making sure that content is posted or scheduled to post on Darling Magazine’s website.

Thanks for sharing, Natalie!
-Madison

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