coffee

Powdered Coffee Creamer

It’s been one of those years where I look up and it’s early May. It’s not inherently a problem. However it is reminding me of that folk statement about time moving faster as you age.

I’m 32. I don’t want to think I’m at that point where I’m losing months.

I’ve been fighting this monster and am too stubborn to give up.

Dyngus Day has come and gone.

It’s iced coffee season again and I keep throwing money away on liquid creamer I forget to put back in the fridge. Powdered doesn’t need to be cold.

This is basically flavored powdered milk. I do use S.wagbucks to food prep via Amazon and order full fat powder. I don’t know where I grabbed this from, I did drop the added fat.

Powdered Creamer

1 cup dry milk

Spices- favored, I used pumpkin spice and turmeric

2 or 3 packets stevia
I put everything  [a tablespoon or so or spice and maybe half a teaspoon of turmeric] in a jar and shake hard. I reshape before use. I don’t miss the mouth feel of the extra fat, but I also use the full fat powder.

Homesteading Tip-Make Your Own Coffee Bags

coffee-424758_1920

Sometimes I will lay down for a nap and get to thinking about things, and really obvious ideas hit me.

I have a Keurig, that I use in the winter more than anything (with reusable filters, not the cups from the store), and a French press that I love but hate taking apart to clean (and then the grounds get everywhere). I also have a ‘normal’ pot that I don’t think I’ve used in years and keep meaning to pull out for camp.

I also have a box of fill your own tea bags that got pushed to the back of the cupboard and forgotten.

Have you ever seen those coffee bags? The ones that look like tea bags? I lived off of them in college. I actually love them, and you can dispose of them the same way you can tea bags (and I -believe- they can be composted. You might want to double check on that one though). But they’re so pricey.

If you have a box of filters and paper folding skills (I don’t) or a box of tea bags, you can make your own coffee bags. Just put  1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of coffee into the bag and tie off or staple shut. You can use a filter and then fold it into an envelope and staple that shut. You can staple twine to the bag to fish it out if you want.

You steep like a French press-almost boiling water for four and a half minutes or so, to taste.

Instant Muddy Tiger Chai Powder

muddy tiger powder

A dirty chai is a chai with a shot of espresso.

A white or black tiger is a chai with white or dark chocolate added.

If you add the two together, as far as I’m concerned you get a muddy chai.

You also get a drink that rings it at over $5 at Starbucks. Choke.

This is, admittedly, the fast and dirty way of getting to the same place. You do have some leeway here though. You could brew chai normally and add chocolate and a brewed espresso shot. Use homemade powders. Use just plain baking chocolate.

I found everything to make this for the same cost of the one drink, and the powder is transportable.

Muddy Tiger Chai Powder

Espresso powder (I bought a box of 6 tubes of shots)

Chai powder (I used Oregon Chai)

2 packets hot cocoa mix

In a large bowl, mix all powders.

Store in an airtight jar.

To use-mix about 2 tablespoons powder to 8 ounces of hot water, or to taste.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

spices-834114_1280

I do have ghost material to post-I went to the Central Terminal for the Carnival of Parahorror, and want to get that post written up at least.

I love pumpkin spice, but nutmeg’s been my current love (though I admit that I’m surprised Pixabay has photos of nutmeg-the camera on my phone is getting touch and go and it’s really gray here today). We went to Spot on Elmwood on Sunday to see someone, and they had cold brew iced coffee-another love-and a shaker of nutmeg. On a whim I made myself a nutmeg coffee, and now I’m off and running.

There’s something slightly retro about nutmeg, but I can’t put my finger on exactly what that is. But I love it. Don’t be surprised if you see it here more often.

Nutmeg is a general healing herb, folklorically speaking. Nutmeg/allspice berries, like most ‘berry’ herbs, can stand in for coins in money draws.

Note:

I mix my syrups a little strong, because I don’t like terribly sweet coffee but want the spice to come through when I use it-so I use a heavy hand so I can get flavor out of a small amount of syrup. Use a lighter hand if you like a sweeter coffee.

Don’t over boil simple syrup or you’ll end up with candy.

Nutmeg Coffee Syrup

1 pint water

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon each good quality ground nutmeg and cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (real/alcohol based preferably)

Mix dry spices and sugar together well, add to a pot with water and vanilla.

Over medium low heat bring to a gentle simmer and let cook down slightly to make a sugar syrup.

Take off of heat, cool, and keep in the fridge. It should hold for a fair amount of time, at least a couple of weeks due to the sugar content.

Make Your Own: Creamy Iced Coffee

make your own creamy iced coffee(Yes, even after the tater-tot debacle I’m still playing with the photography. I need to take a photo for this project at a later date anyway, so might as well test out the filters.)

I was standing in Tops feeling sorry for myself.

Pretty much the only thing I wanted in the world was a box of that creamy premade iced coffee that everyone has out right now. The one that comes in the blue box (they all seem to come in blue boxes, I don’t know when blue was made into the iced coffee color, but there you go).

But there were two things standing in my way:

A. We’re broke. We’re both working again, but we’re trying to replenish the savings we ate into when Mid was out of work and I’m trying to work down my debt.

B. Since Mid works weekends now, my grocery runs are done on foot. I don’t drive, I don’t want to drive-to put it mildly I’m a traffic hazard-and unless I can get Mid to drive me to Target, the weight of every item has to be taken into account.

So there I was, feeling sorry for myself that I couldn’t buy a $5 box of iced coffee and milk.

…Then it hit me that it’s literally iced coffee and creamer in a box.

My current batch tastes like rum. I want to make some that tastes like vanilla.

Tips

-Make a batch of coffee concentrate (instructions here) or make a pot of very, very strong dark roast coffee and let it cool.

-Use your favorite creamer, but I definitely recommend making your own. You can adjust the flavor to your preferences, and I honestly feel like my creamer made for a ‘creamier’ creamy iced coffee.

2 Step Creamy Iced Coffee

3 cups coffee concentrate or dark roast coffee

approx. 2 cups cream (actual cream or half and half) or coffee creamer, preferably homemade

In a large lidded container with a pour spout, add your creamer and coffee (cooled coffee). Serve over ice. Should hold for about 3 days.

The Thing About Secret Menus

the truth about coffee secret menus

I’ve discovered Stumbleupon, or rather, Stumbleupon discovered me so I’ve been returning the favor.

Last night I found a link describing the ‘Starbucks Secret Menu’ with all these wonderful sounding drinks-including something called the Penguin Mocha.

Being that two of my most favorite things in the world are penguins and coffee, when I made my once a week Starbucks run, I got me a penguin mocha.

Here’s the kicker though, and I do stress this with all seriousness: Starbucks DOES NOT have a secret menu. Most coffee bars DO NOT HAVE A SECRET MENU.

This is not information I have through word of mouth: I put myself through both of my degrees working as a barista. I was Starbucks trained for four years. There is no ‘secret’ to the secret menu. These are -not- drinks that baristas are trained to know.

A barista can definitely stack a drink for you that’s not on their main menu-the ‘secret’ of the secret menu is knowing what’s in the drink. Don’t even bother with the name-because even if the drink has a cutesy name, there’s a strong possibility that it’s not a consistent name from bar to bar. But, if you know the shots and ratios that go into your drink, it’s going to go a lot easier for everyone involved. Because while the Penguin Mocha is easier to say-if your barista has no idea what you’re talking about, things are going to get muddy fast.

Especially if you have new baristas-I’ve had Starbucks baristas get very confused when I’ve ordered a cafe au lait, because it’s technically a misto at ‘Bucks. Yes, I cringed a little inside. But you have to start somewhere.

The one that comes up the most often is the Captain Crunch frapp. I’ve had people insist that their location knew it by name. Okay, that’s awesome. I’m telling you that if you walked into the bar I was trained at and ordered that by name, we would have asked you what was in it. Because there was no paperwork handed down to us that listed a drink by that name.

So by all means, order a Penguin Mocha. They’re awesome. Just make sure you order a half white/half dark mocha with a raspberry shot.

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How to Make Coffee Concentrate

coffeeconcentrateadjusted Just another simple idea, with an updated photo. I posted about coffee concentrate a few years ago, but in case you haven’t seen this idea before coffee concentrate is an easy way to make iced coffee at home.

In a French press or large jar add 1 cup ground coffee and fill with 2 to 3 cold water. Let sit at least 4 hours to overnight, and plunge in the morning (or filter through a fine sieve). Store in the fridge. Your concentrate will keep up to two weeks.

Dilute with cold water or milk. Serve over ice or use in recipes.

Life is still quite busy. This weekend is UBCon. I’m hoping that life will calm down soon, if only for the sake of my blood pressure. But I think it’s just going to phase from one type of busy into another. How is it that I’m getting bills dated for May? That can’t be possible already.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

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Chai Coffee Creamer

I’m serious about my refusal to give up coffee.

I’ve cut way back on how much I drink and I make my coffee concentrate with half caff now. But I still drink it. Coffee’s part of my morning routine that helps ground me before I have to face reality.

I have also switched to almond milk in my coffee. The DASH Diet involves a lot of nuts, and this is one of the ways I’ve found to get some more into my diet.

You can make this coffee creamer with dairy if you would like. You can also use white or raw sugar in place of the honey; up the sugar to 1 cup if you do so (or to taste). If you don’t have a loose leaf chai, use 4-6 chai bags.

Modified from here

2 cups vanilla reduced sugar almond milk

1/3 cup honey

loose leaf chai-I used Adagio’s Aries blend

Overstuff a tea infuser or a tea bag-use more than you would normally for a pot. Set aside.

Over medium heat bring milk to just before boiling.

Lower heat and infuse tea into the milk for at least 8 minutes.

Remove tea and discard. Add honey to milk and raise heat, stirring to incorporate honey. Once the milk comes back to almost boiling, pull from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place in fridge in a covered container.

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Operation Autumn-Number 27, Pumpkin Lattes and Voodoo Chips

I wasn’t going to post twice in a week about Operation Autumn because I have a hard time believing that my seasonal antics are just that interesting.

But then I went for my latte.

This is my yearly week off, and I have two days during the week to fill. Every other day is spoken for, but I decided to spend part of my free days with a relaxing hour reading and drinking a pumpkin latte. Those things are pricey, but it’s a tradition.

I didn’t feel like getting terribly pretty to go to Starbucks so I pulled on one of my orange skirts, an Army of Darkness t-shirt (as in, the movie) and an orange headwrap and off I went. I’m standing in line and one of the baristas is very excited to see the t-shirt, and I’m happy that someone’s not giving me the side eye when I’m wearing it for once. We get to talking and the barista on register asks me for the name to put on the cup.

Ripley. Yep, I’ve finally been able to fulfill one of my long-held dreams. And…the barista pegs the reference.

By the end of the encounter my drink’s free because I’m awesome. The barista’s opinion, though yeah I think that I’m pretty awesome myself.

latte

A couple of weeks ago XoJane had an entry talking about potato chips, and there was a thread in the comments about Zapp’s Voodoo Chips. People were really excited about them but no one actually said what a Voodoo Chip tastes like. They’re apparently a Gulf Coast thing. I sort of pushed it to the back of my mind as something I would never taste.

Voodoo Chips taste like the dirty potato chips that sometimes pop up around here. For whatever reason Dollar General came through again with the southern snack foods. I have no idea why but the Dollar General near my house has started carrying regional foods in larger and larger quantities. Dirty potato chips taste sort of like they dumped all the ends of different flavor batches into a pile and use that. It’s better than it sounds.

Everything Fit to Put in a Bottle

(Oh, busy season how I have missed you. I was gone for 12 hours yesterday which means I didn’t have chance to get a tree post together.)

I just got back the results of the ‘what do you mean you haven’t have your levels tested since 2008’ blood work. The good news is that other than the vitamin D deficincy that every woman in Buffalo seems to have (which means I get to take a mega dose of vitamin D once a week for a month- nothing like 50,000 IU at one go) I’m healthy.

There’s a lot of wriggle room there though, and one of the things that I’m working on this year is hydration. I’m putting a lot more fluid into my system than I had been.

I’m well aware though that some of these points have nothing to do with hydration. I just didn’t want to write a post on nothing but water.

-Have you ever tried making your own coffee syrups? It’s actually fairly easy. I won’t go so far as to say good for you because it’s still sugar syrup, but at least it’s not corn.

Make a simple syrup-I generally do a light syrup (more water than sugar) and add a few teaspoons of your favored flavoring. I’ve used mint extract before, and pumpkin spice is a favorite. Store in your fridge and add to your coffee. It’s cheaper than the store stuff to boot.

-I do drink stuff other than coffee. But not necessarily by choice. I’m really not a fan of plain water. I really don’t like the stuff, to be honest. I do better with water at work but if I’m at home, if I’m not careful my blood pressure is skyrocketing and I’ve just drank 10 cups of coffee.

Infused water is a good balance. Right now what I make most often is mint cucumber citrus-to a gallon pitcher I add a cucumber, sliced, about 1/3 of a cup of lemon or blood orange juice, and about a quarter cup of chopped fresh mint. I fill the pitcher with water and let it sit overnight. It’s enough flavor to overcome my water hatred and it’s not loaded with sugar.

-Speaking of that blood orange juice, I’ve gotten better about my choices for treats. Not cheaper, necessarily, not at $3 a bottle, but definitely better for me than chocolate. My current favorite mixed drink is 1/2 a shot of Kraken rum, blood orange juice, and seltzer water in a pint jar. I guess it needs a name so let’s call it an Angry Octopus.

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