It all started on a boating trip in Maine when I was only about 10 years old. I was off fishing early in the morning at lake with some family friends. The guy driving the boat brought a thermos filled with home-brewed coffee. He asked me if I wanted to try some and said I probably wouldn’t like it much. Taking that as a challenge, I was happy to taste it and to my surprise, I loved it!
All through high-school, hitting local coffeeshops was one of my favorite things to do. I could sit in a coffeeshop with a good friend for hours at a time. Coffee is not only something I think tastes great, it gives me a much needed pick-me-up and has to be my all-time favorite “comfort foods”, if you could classify it as such.
A few years ago, I made the plunge and invested in my very own espresso machine. I purchased the Breville Barista Express from my favorite kitchen supply store in Pasadena, Sur La Table. It is a great entry-mid level espresso machine with a built-in grinder and steam wand. Breville makes some really awesome kitchen appliances and this is a very easy machine to get to know and begin experimenting with.
Making coffee at home is easy, with or without an espresso machine. I’ll go over other of my favorite methods sans-espresso-machine at a later time. As you can see from my real-life pictures below, coffee has some great mood-boosting powers! Before coffee:
For those of you new to making espresso, here is a simple step-by-step tutorial on how I make my typical morning coffee, the Iced Latte. This is a good base for any other things you’d want to throw in there like cinnamon, cocoa powder, pumpkin, honey, agave nectar, or whatever else you’re in the mood for.
What you need:
1 Large Cup
Soy Creamer (about 2-3 tbsp)
Espresso (about 2 shots)
Follow the simple picture steps to make yours at home with your espresso machine:
Get out your tall cup
Fill it to the brim with ice
Pour in your milk option. Enough to settle at the bottom (you can add more later). Espresso is best kept when it is suspended in some kind of liquid like milk because it prevents the oils and crema (foam on the top) from separating too much
Grind your coffee
Ground coffee should be just heaping
Gently smooth the surface of the brewhead
Tamp the espresso down using moderate force. Just enough to sink down the grounds a bit in the filter. You can experiment pulling shots with different grind coarseness and tamping pressure.
Tap the sides of the brew head with the tamper to knock down the loose grounds, gently tamp one more time to flatten and brush off the edges. Like this.
On my Breville, I like to cycle a little hot water through to make sure I’m getting full temp water when brewing
Attach the brew head and start brewing!
Experimenting with the grind and tamp pressure and even types of roasts will produce different pulls. Ultimately, you want to see two thin lines of brewed espresso coming out.
The golden-brown foam at the top is called crema and this is an indicator that your shot is being pulled right. Different roasts will produce different quantities of crema.
Pour your shot over the ice and milk. Add a second if you want!
Mix, add more ice and top with either water or milk. And you’re done!
Hummus is one of my favorite foods because it’s really healthy, very satisfying and can be used in so many easy dishes. This recipe is a basic variation from the Food.com recipe submitted by “Chris from Kansas”.
If you wanted to make this totally vegan, simply substitute vegan yogurt or sour cream. I suppose you could also use silken tofu as a substitution as well. The added yogurt gives this hummus a nice creamy texture and helped balance out all of the flavors.
2 Cloves Garlic
1 15-oz can Garbanzo Beans, drained with liquid reserved
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
1 1/2 tbsp Tahini
3/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Paprika
2 tbsp Fat Free Greek Yogurt
Handful of Fresh Parsley
(1) Add garlic to food processor and pulse until minced
(2) Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add all other ingredients, minus the reserved garbanzo bean liquid
(3) Pulse to roughly combine
(4) With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the reserved liquid only enough to reach your desired hummus consistency. For thicker hummus, add less, for more liquidy, add more
Follow the picture gallery for step-by-step instructions:
Peel the Garlic
Add it to the processor
Pulse until minced
Pulse until minced
Add all other ingredients
Add all other ingredients
Process, adding reserved liquid until you reach the desired consistency
This looks about right to me!
Serve and enjoy! You can enjoy immediately but as the hummus sits in the fridge, it will start to marry the flavors together even better. This is a great base for you to add any other combinations you’d like to add such as roasted garlic, red pepper, sun dried tomato, jalapeno or any other things you can think of!
There are literally thousands of ways you could use hummus, but one of my favorites is straight up. Serve it with some greens, balsamic vinegar and some whole wheat pita and berries for a really delicious and healthy meal that takes about 2-minutes to prepare!
Follow these simple steps to plate:
(1) a good serving of hummus in the middle of the plate
(2) Dollop a little of the greek yogurt in the middle (or sub your favorite vegan substitution)
(3) Sprinkle some ground paprika, cumin and ground red pepper (for optional heat)
(4) Drizzle with a little bit of good olive oil
(5) Surround by mixed greens, drizzle with good balsamic vinegar and add some cracked black pepper. Done and enjoy!
Images with instructions:
Use a large plate
Dollop greek yogurt (or substitute)
Sprinkle with paprika, cumin and crushed red pepper
Drizzle with olive oil
Surround by mixed greens
Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and add cracked black pepper
Juicing is fun because I not only love the taste of fresh vegetable juice, but there’s a part of me that’s just fascinated with how much stuff my juicer can tear through… I’ve always found that veggie juices not only help curb my hunger, but also give me a great boost of energy in the morning. After a couple days of juicing, my body craves it in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up my coffee anytime soon, but if you like fresh juices, give this one a try!
This recipe has a little bite to it because of the lemon juice and ginger. It is also pretty full of nutritious leafy greens, so if you’re new to juicing, maybe try leaving out the ginger, add more cucumber and less of the kale to start.
Recipe is from Choosing Raw’s blog
Here’s what you need:
6-8 leaves of Kale
1-inch piece of Ginger
1/2 large Cucumber
5-6 stalks Celery
Handful of Parsley
1/2 Lemon, Peeled
Tip: It is helpful to line the waste bin of the juicer with a plastic bag for easy clean-up.
You can make the juice by putting in the ingredients in the following order:
(1) Add the Parsley
(2) Add the Kale
(3) Add the 1-inch slice of Ginger
(4) Half, peel and add the 1/2 Lemon
(5) Add the Celery Stalks
(6) Quarter and add the Apple
(7) Half and add the 1/2 large Cucumber
Follow these simple image instructions:
Add 1-inch of ginger
Add 1/2 Peeled Lemon
The Final Result
Pour and Enjoy!