Tag Archives: coffee

Chocolatey Banana Coffee Milkshake

 

Who loves a meal solution that is easy, healthy, and super fast??

I know my hand is raised. While I do love the occasional intricate breakfast (after all, what are weekends for if not a strata, homemade crepes, cinnamon rolls, or banana pancakes?) that is just not feasible for every day. Most mornings have between 2 and 10 minutes to devote to making sure I’m fed.

Now I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, trust me. That’s why I simply cannot go with having nothing at all. But man, it is just really hard sometimes to make a hot, solid food at 7 am! And I hate to admit the number of time I’ve eaten pop-tarts this year is not zero…

C’mon people, I know I’m not alone here.

Why do you think there’s a Starbucks on every corner, along with Dunkin Donnuts, Tim Hortons, and all the local coffee and donut joints nationwide? And they all always seem to have a line.

Boy, have I found the perfect solution! I like a healthy breakfast, which includes protein, fiber, and nutrients. And I need coffee. Why not combine them into one easily drinkable drink!

I find it’s hard to get solid food down sometimes when it’s so early my stomach hasn’t woken up yet. But a shake or smoothie is always possible. Now I finally understand protein shakes; for so many years I was mystified how people could replace solid food with liquids. Now I know.

This shake is chocolatey because of the flavored protein powder, but you could also use non-flavored protein and simply add a tbsp of cocoa powder for the same effect. Use a plant-based milk instead of regular milk, and a plant-based protein instead of whey for a vegetarian option.

The banana is also optional, but I like knowing that I got a serving of fruit with my caffeinated milkshake (which is what this tastes like).

Ingredients:

  • 1 sm-med banana
  • 8-10 oz coffee
  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup milk (optional)
  • Handful of ice cubes (optional)

Step 1: Blend everything well, until smooth. The longer you blend it, the creamier and ‘fluffier’ it becomes because of the whey. Other protein blends may not cause this, experiment until you find the type and amount you like best.

Now go conquer your day, caffeinated and protein-powered!

Coffee Body Scrub

 

Don’t you just love the feeling of soft, smooth skin? And doesn’t the smell of coffee energize you and wake you right up in the morning? It doesn’t hurt that I love finding new ways to use up things I would otherwise throw out, like used coffee grounds.

How about we combine those two things into a simple, practical body scrub!

You can make this for yourself to make mornings more tolerable, or gift it to other special people in your life. It’s sugar and coffee particles scrub skin smooth, the oil hydrates and softens, and the coffee scent just perks you up.

No one needs to know it took mere minutes to make (because there are only three ingredients), and is absurdly frugal to put together!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon white or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 3 tbsp fine coffee grounds

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Step 1: Just mix all three ingredients! You can scale up to make gifts by combining 1 cup sugar and 1 1/2 cups grounds, then adding oil and mixing until it reached a wet sand consistency. Put in a cute clear jar and tie a little ribbon around it.

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Or, if this is your own personal spa treatment, this small batch is perfect to whip up before your morning shower or for a relaxing afternoon soak. It exfoliates, has anti-inflammatory properties, and helps tighten skin. The perfect way to start a beautiful day!

How to stay cool, plus a Keurig give-away!

 

Summer is winding down, but there are still a few scorchers ahead. And even through the fall and winter, sometimes it’s nice to have a frosty beverage pick-me-up. Iced drinks are my number one favorite way to keep cool, as they taste great and also cool your internal body temperature, making it easier to beat the heat.

It’s no secret that I love my caffeinated beverages, and have finally figured out the secret to Perfect Iced Coffee. This trick works with tea, juices, or any other drink as well. Try it yourself and see how great it is to no longer have watered-down drinks that are still icy cold.

This summer, Keurig is sponsoring a nation-wide #StayCool contest! If you share a photo of how you stay cool on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, you are entered in a contest to win a Keurig K Cup and other fun goodies!

  • On your mobile device, take a photo and share it on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #StayCool & #Sweeps. Make sure to share your location!
  • Your photo will appear on the interactive map where you can see how everyone else is riding out the summer heat. You’ll automatically get a chance to win a Keurig® brewer and Brew Over Ice K-Cup® packs!

In other exciting news, The Budget Epicurean is partnering with Keurig for a K Cup beverage give-away! Readers who enter will have the chance to win:

  1. A variety pack of Keurig K Cups
  2. Coupons for BOGO K Cups
  3. An ebook with drink recipes

Top three entries will receive the prizes in order. One other mode of entry is to send an email to BudgetEpicurean (at) gmail (dot) com with your name and how you #StayCool! Raffle ends 8/25/2014. Winners will be notified and posted about on 8/26/2014.

BudgetEpicurean Keurig giveaway, by Rafflecopter.

This is why I was super-pumped to get a Keurig K-Cup brewer! IMG_4471

I’ve long laughed at the idea of a one-cup wonder, as I tend to brew a big ‘ol pot of java on Monday and use it throughout the week (or freeze it… hint hint). However, I’ve been more and more curious as tons of new options come out for this bad boy. What if I only wanted one cup of hot coffee? What if I wanted to try a new type of tea? What if I wanted cold tea?

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Well, now Keurig has the answer to all these dilemmas! Hot tea, any kind you want, just one cup, and no tea kettle required. Cold tea, perfect for sunny days, porch sipping, or watching your show on the couch. Coffees, flavored coffees, decaf too. All at the touch of a button.

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I have to admit, I’ve only tried a few varieties so far and I’m already in love! This guy had earned its counter space the first day I had it. Set-up was a breeze, and it was ready to brew within minutes of leaving the package.

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The first thing I tried was the Vitamin Burst acai berry Cold Brew. It smelled delicious the second it began brewing.

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Simply fill up a tall glass with ice cubes, pop in the cup, and hit ‘brew’. Easy peasy.

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This is a 24 oz cup I think, and it was done in less than a minute.

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I just popped on some berries and a cute umbrella as garnish, and enjoyed!

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The flavor is delightful, refreshing and light. I found the highest brew setting was just sugary enough for me, though you could choose lower amounts of water if you like it stronger.

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Trying to re-create the ice cube “splash” on the box. =)

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The Keurig obviously works wonders for coffee. For just one cup in the mornings or afternoon, pop in your favorite and hit the button. You can have six people with six different favorites, and serve up a hot fresh round in minutes. My counter is now half dedicated to beverages.

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The brew-over-ice coffee is equally wonderful. Yes you will get some watered down effect, unless you use my tip

In case you missed it above, The Budget Epicurean is partnering with Keurig for a K Cup beverage give-away! Readers who enter will have the chance to win:

    1. A variety pack of Keurig K Cups
    2. Coupons for BOGO K Cups
    3. An ebook with drink recipes

Top three entries will receive the prizes in order. One other mode of entry is to send an email to BudgetEpicurean (at) gmail (dot) com with your name and how you #StayCool! Raffle ends 8/25/2014. BudgetEpicurean Keurig giveaway, by Rafflecopter!

Disclaimer: Keurig machine and K-Cups were provided by Keurig Green Mountain, Inc., all opinions are those of the Budget Epicurean.


 

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Perfect Iced Coffee

 

If you ever tried to make an iced coffee at home only to end up with lukewarm, watery coffee; or if you’ve ever tried to make a homemade Frappuccino and ended up with cold coffee-scented water, this post is for you.

My friend B is a bit of a Starbucks addict. Any time the S word is mentioned, off we go for venti frappuccinos. Because of the significant toll this takes on your wallet, we started experimenting at home. Regular hot coffee is a no-brainer; it is far cheaper to brew your own in the mornings, saving you $1-4 per day. About $5 per pound of coffee and $1 for 100 filters will give you a few months of java.

The problem is when it heats up outside, a steaming cup of coffee isn’t so desirable. When you pour hot coffee over frozen water, physics dictates that you end up with a watery, tasteless, lukewarm beverage. Then she came up with the most brilliant idea ever: freeze extra coffee into coffee cubes!

coffee cubes

We then pop these into a plastic bag in the freezer, and use them when the hankering for an iced coffee hits. They can also be blended into your own version of a frappuccino. Feel free to add in sugar, honey, creamer, cocoa powder, Hershey’s syrup…

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This saves money twice: extra coffee is not wasted, it is instead frozen for later. Also you can use that frozen coffee for two different types of frozen caffeinated beverages during the warm summer months.

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Step 1: Just fill your mug with coffee cubes, and pour more coffee over it. It is best to let the coffee cool down, or even put it in the refrigerator to chill before pouring. Physics still says hot liquid over frozen things will cause it to melt. =)

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Step 2: Add in your creamer and/or flavorings.

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Step 3: Give it a mix, and enjoy! Take your iced drink to work, school, the pool, a picnic, whatever. If you want a Frappuccino, simply fill a blender with coffee cubes, pour in a cup of cool coffee and flavorings, and blend until smooth. You can add whipped topping, cinnamon, Khalua… whatever your heart desires.

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Enjoy non-watery iced coffee every summer from now on!

 

Chocolate Shortcake with Balsamic Honey Strawberries and Patrón Cafe Whipped Cream

 

This post was developed in association with The Daily Meal and Driscoll’s in honor of National Strawberry Shortcake Day this June 14th!  #Driscollsberry @strawshort

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As the days grow longer and hotter, we crave fresh, juicy fruits and light, refreshing desserts.  Every foodie’s favorite thing about summer is the abundance of fresh produce rolling in. From farmer’s market kale to home-grown lettuce to ripe berries, summer is a fresh food paradise.

Driscoll’s has been committed to growing strawberries for over 100 years. Each berry is loaded with vitamin C, folate, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Driscoll’s ensures year-round availability by growing strawberries in multiple locations. However, the summertime strawberries carry with them the warmth of the sun and long days to ripen, and are best used at the peak of the season.

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Therefore, in celebration of summer, fresh berries, and sweet deliciousness, I decided to make the world’s finest Strawberry Shortcake. This was to be no ordinary biscuit with berries sprinkled on top. I searched the world wide web for inspiration, considered all kinds of crazy flavors, and took apart each element of the classic cake to come up with this recipe.

Dense, moist, and decadent chocolate shortcake. Thinly sliced plump Driscoll strawberries bathed in sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar and local Colorado honey, and the tour-de-force, a homemade French Vanilla whipped cream spiked with Patron Cafe.

choc shortcake

If you aren’t salivating by now, just keep scrolling for the pictures…

Shortcake Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter (4 tbsp)
  • 1/2 cup milk

choc cake ingredients

For the strawberries:

  • 2 cups strawberries
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey

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For the whipped cream:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 oz French Vanilla coffee creamer
  • 2 oz Patron cafe (or other coffee-flavored liquor)
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar

Patron creamThis may seem intimidating, but trust me, it takes less than 30 minutes altogether. And the only ingredient I had to specifically go buy was the heavy cream. You can omit the Patron if you don’t like the taste or the alcohol content as well. Let’s jump in.

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients. Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, sugar. Sift together if you do things that way.

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Step 2: Cut in the cold butter or use a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse crumbs.

Step 3: Stir as you pour in the milk. Batter should be just wet, and a bit sticky.

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Step 4: You can just drop the batter onto a wax-paper-covered cookie sheet, but I chose to bake mine in cupcake pans for shape. Pour about 1/4 cup into each well.

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Step 5: Bake at 400 for 15-17 minutes, until beginning to brown on top. Remove from the oven and cool.

Meanwhile, chill a bowl and whisk in the refrigerator or freezer to make the whipped cream.

Step 6: Cut the tops off the strawberries, then stand them on end and cut into thin slices.

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I will totally not tell if you sneak a few as you’re cutting. Fresh strawberries are hard to resist! I know I had a few…

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Step 7: In a bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and honey. You may need to microwave for 15-20 seconds to get the honey and vinegar to mix well. Dump the sliced berries in, and mix well to coat. Set aside.

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Step 8: The home stretch, whipped cream time! Take out your cold bowl and whisk. Pour in 1 cup heavy whipping cream, and then whip the crap outta the cream.

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The cream will start to thicken, and form stiff peaks. Add the 2 oz of creamer, powdered sugar, and Patron. Mix well again. Be sure to not over-beat it though, you don’t want alcoholic butter. Or maybe you do…

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As you can see, my arm got tired and I resorted to a hand mixer. =)

Step 9: Now you have all three ingredients to assemble your masterpiece. Cut the cooled shortcupcakes in half, and smear on some cafe cream. Add a few slices of berries, and a drizzle of the extra juice.

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Put the top layer on, smear on some more cream, and top with berry slices.

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And there you have it! A delicious, fresh, unique dessert to wow a crowd or make a summertime picnic extra special. This recipe makes enough for 8 small cakes, you can easily double it to make a larger 9 inch round pan.

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The cake is flaky on the outside, yet moist on the inside, with just a hint of cocoa flavor. The whipped cream adds a mysterious bite, with a chocolate-complementing essence of coffee. Likewise, the balsamic vinegar is a unique, yet balancing tang to the coffee-chocolate notes, and the honey is just the right amount of sweet without being overwhelming. The longer you let the berries soak, the more they will take on this amazing flavor combination. You might want to make extra to just eat with a spoon!

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Now the next time you have a birthday, office gathering, garden party, or dinner you know where to turn for a uniquely impressive dessert that’s sure to bring compliments for years to come!