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How to Make Gourmet Coffee at Home

how to make gourmet coffee at home

Today’s post is about how to make gourmet coffee in the comfort of your own home!

Now, when I call it ‘gourmet coffee’ I am stretching the term ever so slightly…I mean, we’re not talking sugary, whipped cream topped, caramel drizzled lattes…I am talking about a quick, easy way to make delicious, special coffee.

Moms, if anyone, deserve special coffee! We need it to get through our day! Plus, buying caramel mochas every day gets expensive, and fattening.

So here’s how to treat yourself while exerting minimal effort-

How to Make Gourmet Coffee at Home:

how to make gourmet coffee at home

First of all,

Buy fresh beans.

Whether this really makes your coffee taste better, or it’s all in your head, do it anyway. Coffee experts say as soon as your coffee is ground, it begins to go stale.

 But if for no other reason, buy whole beans and a grinder, because you will save money in the long run! Whole beans are cheaper than pre-ground, and this #1 bestselling Krups Grinder is only $15! I have had this blade grinder for two years, and it is still going strong.

I have since upgraded to a Krups burr grinder (actually a $2 yard sale steal!). Now I use the other Krups blade grinder I had purchased for grinding spices, grains, or flax seeds, etc.

So what’s the difference between burr and blade grinders? Why does it matter?

 A blade grinder is less expensive, but it doesn’t really grind the coffee beans. It smashes them with two very fast moving blades. This results in un-uniform grounds, which matters if you are using a french press or espresso machines. Too powdery, and the grounds can cause clogging.

A burr grinder crushes the beans between two burred plates-hence the name, I guess! which increases their surface area. (Equaling more flavor per square millimeter, according to my theory!) Uniform grounds are key in maximizing flavor and avoiding clogs in your coffee/espresso maker or french press.

I read nearly a dozen articles before I discovered why uniform pieces are so important. Did you know that you can over-extract coffee? Over-extracting results in nasty bitter flavors. Read about it in the article here.

But remember! Any grinder is better than no grinder at all!

Next,

Buy organic.

Unless you like the taste of pesticides, buy organic beans. The great thing is, organic coffee isn’t outrageously expensive. I only pay a dollar more for my organic coffee! I’m already saving money buying whole beans, so I don’t feel guilty about it in the least. 🙂 I buy my coffee online from Copper Moon Coffee. Shipping is free after you spend $50, so go in with a couple friends if you don’t want to spend that much at once.

gourmet coffee at homeOkay, so now that you have the basics (good beans, good grinder), choose your method of brewing.

I love my moka pot for making espresso-like coffee. It doesn’t create a true espresso, but for budget home brewing, it’s not too shabby!

(Check out my post to learn how to make relaxing Lavender Infused Coffee with a Moka Pot here)

My personal favorite brewing method is the Bartelli Paperless Pour Over. It is amazing. A life changer. Now, when I want a quick cup of coffee for one, it is as simple as spooning instant coffee into a mug- except the resulting flavor is a million times better!

Using a pour over is simple:

I push a button to grind my coffee (extra beans are conveniently stored in a reservoir on top of my burr grinder), put the Bartelli pour over on top of my mug, spoon out two tablespoons of ground coffee and boil some water. Slowly pour the hot water over the grounds in your pour over and let the coffee drip into the mug below. Voila!

how to make gourmet coffee at home
Isn’t this gorgeous? I love my glass mugs!

Now, if I want to be even fancier, I froth my own milk. My sister in law taught me this amazing trick, that doesn’t require any special equipment if you happen to already have an immersion blender.

All you need to do is heat some milk in the mug you plan to use. (The amount of milk is up to you, about 1/3 cup for me, I think.) Then stick your immersion blender right in the cup and use the low setting to whip up the milk. Done in 30-60 seconds!

How to froth milk

(I have this Cuisinart immersion blender, a #1 bestseller on Amazon!)

If you sweeten your coffee, add it into the milk before you froth. You can froth milk, cream, half n half…but don’t use skim milk, or even 1% milk if you can help it. You won’t get much froth without the fat. Adding unrefined coconut oil is an option, too! Buy unrefined, because it should actually taste like coconut. I like this brand.) Add a tablespoon or less of coconut oil into your warmed milk. It is tasty, helps you feel full, and will help your 1% milk froth up better!

how to make gourmet coffee at home

I’ve included affiliate links in this post for your convenience. If you buy something I suggest, I might get a small percentage of proceeds from your purchase. So that would be cool!

Now go make some coffee!

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A Mexican Twist on Tabbouleh

Healthy Mexican Quinoa Salad- My Mexican Version of Tabbouleh

Hubby is traveling (again) this week, and I wanted to use up some produce sitting in my crisper drawer, so I came up with this easy Mexican inspired quinoa twist on tabbouleh! I admit I have eaten cookies and/or chocolate for dinner one too many nights this week, so this quinoa tabbouleh was a welcome, healthy change!

Glass Storage for Pantry Staples

I started keeping some of my long shelf life pantry items in plain view on my counter, because, well, out of sight out of mind! I cooked up some rice recently that ended tasting like the plastic bag it was sold in. I had no idea that was even possible and decided then and there to start switching to glass containers when possible. So right now I have hemp hearts (so I remember to use them in smoothies), sunflower seeds (for salads), chia seeds (for everything- Smoothies! Pudding! Breakfast Bowl!), and quinoa. Spotting the quinoa reminded me how my hubby doesn’t like it and I should make some since he’s out of town. This dish turned out so yummy though, I’m convinced he will like it and must try when he returns home tomorrow!

With out further ado, here’s what you need for :

Mexican Quinoa Salad

Ingredients Needed For Mexican Quinoa Salad - my Mexican Inspired Version of Tabbouleh!

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 large, juicy lime (or a couple small)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • dash of black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground red pepper
  • half a pint of cherry tomatoes
  • half of a red or orange pepper
  • can of black beans (more or less is fine-I saved a bit for scrambled eggs tomorrow!)
  • small handful of cilantro leaves (1/4 cup?)
  • couple handfuls fresh spinach, ripped into small pieces (1/2 cup or more, whatever you like)
  • Avocado, diced (optional)

First, cook your quinoa. Bring water to boil, toss in quinoa, and put a lid on the pot. (If your bag of quinoa doesn’t say pre-rinsed, be sure to do so very first thing!) Reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes, until water is absorbed. Uncover pot and let cool while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Squeeze lime juice into a large bowl. Stir in cumin, ground red pepper and salt. Also a sprinkle of black pepper. Dice tomatoes, red or orange pepper, and cilantro and throw in the bowl. (Diced very small is best, in my opinion. I like small, uniform pieces so I get some of everything in each bite. 🙂 ) Rinse and dump your black beans in there, too. Next, rip up some spinach and mix everything up. Finally, add the slightly cooled quinoa and mix again. Taste, and add more salt or pepper if you ned to.

I was going to add avocado and I forgot. So that’s optional, but I bet it would have been good! I also sprinkled a little bit of Wildtree Chipotle Lime Rub over top, even though it tasted pretty darn good already.

I thought this would need to sit awhile for all the flavors to meld together, but I ate some right away for a mid-afternoon snack and it was DE-LISH! So you can eat right away or chill for later.

 

Quinoa Black Bean Salad Recipe

 

Don’t be afraid to change up the ingredient list or volume of ingredients to suit your preferences. You really can’t mess up here! I may toy around with the ingredient list below sometime, closer to a typical tabbouleh (really I think I just like saying tabbouleh- it’s fun isn’t it??) :

 

Variation Idea:

Lemon juice instead of lime

Parsley instead of Cilantro

Green onions

Cucumber

 

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to pin it for later!

 

My Week Of Healthy Breakfasts

I’ve realized if I’m going to survive motherhood, I am going to have to give it my best shot. Most of us do that already, but there’s always room for improvement! There are many things on my “Better Mommy To-Do list”, but the one I’m going to talk about today is healthier breakfasts…

The many health benefits of eating breakfast are no secret- I’m sure nothing I could say on the topic would be news to you! For myself, I’ve seen firsthand how irritable I get when I don’t eat a filling, nutritious breakfast and how evvvvveryone around me suffers as a result. When I eat breakfast, I spend less time on social media and more time cleaning. Or interacting with my kids. Or planning meals. I have way more energy! It puts me in a better mood for (most of) the day. My husband has said that it’s a good thing humans don’t eat their young…because our kids would have been goners. That’s probably because I was hangry! (see definition-it’s a real word)

hangry

So, I know by now you all are aching to know what I typically eat for a healthy breakfast. (haha!) Well, here is everything I ate for the past past week, recipes linked!

My Week of Healthy Breakfasts

First up is my absolute favorite healthy breakfast, and believe it or not, it is made with chickpeas. I beg you not to turn up your nose at the oddity of that- give this Vegan Cookie Dough Bowl a try! I tried it only out of desperation and a plethora of chickpeas, but I love it, and my kids love it! Chickpeas are like a blank canvas! Dinner, breakfast, appetizer…the possibilities are endless. In this recipe, I pulverize peanuts first to make the peanut flour, and I leave out the chocolate chips. Honey or maple syrup works for the agave if you’re not vegan. I double or triple the batch and have enough for several days of breakfast. Between the nuts and the chickpeas, a small bowl of this will keep me full until noon, every time!

Next up is Pumpkin Spelt Muffins. Now, if you don’t collect ancient grains like I do, don’t worry- whole wheat can be substituted. These were quick and easy to whip up. Plus, my girls loved them, so it fed the whole family! My only complaint is that they were eaten up too quickly!

Another slightly strange one, but also a favorite- Overnight Buckwheat Parfait from Oh She Glows. It’s totally worth buying a bag of buckwheat, due to its versatility. Easy to grind up in a coffee grinder and use as flour in baked goods, or use whole for a slightly nutty crunch in recipes like this one! Buckwheat is gluten free and high protein. What I love about this recipe, is that you prep half of it the night before and even that only takes about two minutes. In the morning, rinse off your buckwheat and throw everything together, topping it with your favorite fruit(s). I leave out the banana in this, because they’re gross. I sweeten it with a bit of maple syrup. I like a warm breakfast sometimes, so I like to nuke this for 30 seconds or so- especially good when strawberries are in season! Mmm…warm strawberries….

On the weekends, hubby often makes me a bagel, egg, and cheese. No recipe needed! I consider this healthy because well…it’s an EGG, and we only use half a bagel, usually whole wheat. Plus calcium…we all need calcium! I love that my hubby does this for me!! ♥

Last up, Pumpkin Coconut Flour Pancakes. I bought coconut flour to experiment with and still have some to use up. Not a huge fan, mostly because it soaks up the moisture in everything and you need to use a TON of eggs for any recipe. If you follow a grain-free diet though, this isn’t a terrible option. Coconut flour is high in protein and fiber, so it helps you stay full! This recipe makes 12…it barely fed me and two toddlers, but I have a one year old who can eat like a man. Ha!

A whole week down of healthy breakfasts, and I’m starting over tonight with my overnight buckwheat parfait already soaking in the fridge. Yum! For more breakfast ideas (some healthy, some not), follow my Breakfast board on Pinterest! Take care of yourself, and your family will thank you! Actually, they probably won’t…most likely they’ll continue to be ungrateful wretches. But you never know. If you are nicer, maybe they will be, too.  🙂

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What’s your favorite breakfast that keeps you going?

Beer Mac N Cheese Soup

smashing a snow chair!When life gives you snow, make a snow chair. Then smash it to smithereens. That’s what my girls did this weekend! It has been so cold here! I grew up in Northern Indiana, but I didn’t seem to mind the cold as much back then as I do now that I’m at the ripe old age of twenty-something. 😉 Having two kids to load and unload from the car does not make getting out in these frigid temps any easier. I wish they could wear a coat in their car seats, but-safety first! So we zip and unzip every time we get in and out! My one year old has a little fleece jacket she can also wear sort of like a cape. It is great for running in and out of stores, so people don’t give you dirty looks for your unjacketed/unhatted child.

This soup I made last week sure hit the it’s-cold-outside spot! It’s not too healthy, but it sure was tasty! I adapted this recipe from The Food Charlatan, also getting ideas from recipes for beer cheese soup. In addition to a bottle of beer, I added worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. I started by sautéing an onion for extra flavor and to make it better for you-haha! My adapted recipe follows:

(photo credit goes to The Food Charlatan)


beer cheese soup

Beer Mac N Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 cups dry macaroni noodles
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup (half stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (more to taste)
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 28 ounces (3 and 1/2 cups) chicken broth
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 pound (about 5 cups) cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups diced ham (use leftovers, or buy a ham steak)
  • One 12 oz. Bottle Beer (I used a Sam Adams Summer ale of some sort)
  • 1-2 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain as soon as they are al dente. Add a little oil and stir so they don’t stick if you are not ready to add them to the soup right away.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, sauté one chopped onion in butter.
  3. When onion is softened, add the flour and mustard. Use a whisk stir it up. (You may want to add a dash of extra broth or milk at this point before you can add all the flour. Just make sure to ‘brown’ the flour a bit- give it a few minutes before moving on to Step 4.)
  4. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, half and half, and milk. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add as much or as little garlic powder as you like (I admit I did not measure this ingredient. It was a dump and run). Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a low boil, about 5 minutes.
  5. I used my immersion blender at this point to make a smoother soup.
  6. Immediately reduce the heat to low and stir in cheese. ( I used 1/4 pound fresh gruyere, 1/2 pound fresh colby, and 1 cup pre-shredded 4 cheese…Use whatever you like!)
  7. Add beer and worcestershire sauce.
  8. Stir in the macaroni and ham. Keep the burner on low until it is as warm as you like.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!