Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coffee. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lots of new challenges, let chat over a drink

It's been a whirlwind with moving a family of 6 to a new town, new schools and starting new jobs, but we are finally settling in! Temporary anyway.  We have stumbled upon many challenges in our new town that has strained our budget a bit, but thankfully we are figuring it out and I figured it was time to start to share my challenges with my readers.  Thank you to all my loyal readers who keep messaging me saying they can't wait for me to come back and welcome to all my new readers!

Where to start off a new post?  How about with a drink?

Ahhh, nothing like a rich chocolate hot drink on a cold day.  And even better with frosty the snowman melting in it!  A few weeks ago I stopped at one of my favorite coffee shops because they had a great deal going on.  Ok a confession, I love Caribou Coffee's turtle mocha's.  I rarely get them because well at almost $5 a drink, I have better places to go with that money. But they were offering a buy one drink, get a second for $.20!  It was too good of a deal to pass up.  And I was even feeling in the giving mood so I got 2 sets of their special and decided to surprise Mr. Bacon and Brother Bacon with a morning break at their work.  With 4 turtle mocha's I set off.  Sometimes there are other's helping at the work site and I'd figure I'd come prepared with an extra drink to hand out, however that day it was just the 2 of them.  I dropped off their coffee and had a dilemma on my hands, there was no way I could handle the caffeine in 2 big cups of coffee like that.  I hate the though of dumping a treat like that so I did what any budget saving person would do, freeze it!

It was a great time to try out the cool ice cube tray Sister Bacon bought me for Christmas too. Coffee bean ice cubes! Perfect for freezing my coffee for my iced drinks. 

In went the turtle mocha and out came cute coffee bean shaped cubes!

 I tossed a few in a mug, and then added some hot water and a packet of hot cocoa mix I got in a gift basket for Christmas also. 

Mixed it all up but it was still missing something.  Melting frosty the snowman!  Nothing better than a scoop of whipped cream in your hot chocolate.  A few days before I had some left over whipped cream from a recipe. No wasting it here, (and good thing I got to it before the kids because they'd eat it by out of the bowl!) so I took out a mini cupcake pan and added a few spoonfuls to each spot.

And had some fun decorating them, a few with sprinkles, others with some mini chocolate chip eyes and orange sprinkle nose.  Then they went into the freeze. I popped one out and tossed it in my drink to melt away.  Delicious!  The Bacon kids love these in their hot chocolate too along with a few marshmallows!
So now that I have my warm drink, on to those challenges.  A few things we are figuring out is managing in a house half the size we used to have along with a much smaller kitchen and fridge.  This has put a challenge on how much we can keep on stock in our pantry and fridge. We are finding that we are shopping for 1 week only at a time now because there just isn't much room to fill up the fridge.

Where to shop is another challenge, Walmart here is not so great.  I have to say there are good Walmart stores out there, we were spoiled where we used to shop.  This one has many empty shelves and the produce is less than desirable.  So we are exploring other stores.  Thankfully I have found a great bread store!  I can get healthy whole wheat bread for $1-$1.25 a loaf.  So I stock up the freezer with it.  We'll keep exploring around town and working on our budget now that we shop weekly.

We're also working on adjusting to a 2 parent full time job family and we have also added to our family! A month before we moved we had a  kitty adopt our house, she was a stray and we decided to give her a home and welcomed Meow Bacon to our family.  And Brother Bacon's dog had a litter of puppies who needed a new home so we welcomed Woof Bacon to our family just last week.  It's a crazy new life and so many things have changed and challenged us the past 3 months but we continue on our path to save money!  I hope you all stick around, I will be having more recipes to come and I'm hoping to update the very popular and over a year old post  on how we budget our grocery money soon too.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Thanks a Latte!

A little package arrived on my door step today.  I'm always happy to get good mail.  Ok so I knew this one was coming, but I'm still excited.  Little Miss Bacon is happier to get the junk mail!  She happily opens and plays with the pieces until it's time for them to go in the recycle bin.  But my box in the mail was not destine for the recycle bin, oh no, this one held a yummy treasure!  So what did I get and who sent it?  I got a grinder! Not just any grinder but one to feed my addiction.... COFFEE!  Sis Bacon sent me a surprise grinder for my fancy coffee drinks (THANKS SIS BACON!).  It's a combination of sugars, chocolate and coffee beans.  Of course I had to try it out right away.  And what better way to try it out than on something new! 
The weather has been cooler the past week or so and I'm loving it. Really if it could stay mid 70's during the day with lows in the upper 50's I'd be one happy camper!  That is just how the weather has been the past few days and it makes me think of one thing. FALL!  Of course I don't want any talk of that white stuff that falls from the sky though. I'm no where near ready for that!  Ah yes, fall, and pumpkins too.  Which means pumpkin cookies!  Yes I made my first batch of those yummy pumpkin spice cookies already too.  They didn't last long! Go on try them out if you didn't last year.  But how about some coffee to go with them? Perhaps a pumpkin latte!

Delicious sums it up and here is how to make your own and one to share!
This recipe makes 2 large mugs.

Pumpkin Spice Latte
2 cups milk
1.5 cups coffee
3-4 heaping teaspoons of pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of both ginger and nutmeg - these are both optional
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 TBSP sugar

First place 2 cups milk and pumpkin puree in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for two minutes. 
Next carefully (because this is hot remember!) dump the milk and pumpkin into a blender.  Add in coffee, vanilla, and spices. 

Place the lid on the blender and mix. I used the puree and liquefy buttons on my blender.  You don't have to mix it long, a minute or two and you're good!  See all the frothy goodness!  Yes this is why you use the blender, for the foam!  The other reason is it helps mix up the spices easier, and you won't feel like you're drinking grit in your coffee. 

Place your pumpkin latte in your favorite mug.  And don't forget to add some cool whip.  Every good barista knows the cool whip makes the coffee!  Add a little sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.

And don't forget a few twists from the new fun grinder too! 
Now you're ready to enjoy!  Ahhhh.... Happy (soon to be) Fall!

Now like I said, this makes a large batch, don't worry if it settles out while you wait for your second cup.  A whip though the blender and it's mix back up.  So go enjoy your second cup too, it tastes great with those cookies!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Frappi

By now you might have guessed, I love my coffee!  The other day I was waiting to pick Little Miss Bacon up from a birthday party and happened to wonder over to Starbucks. Everything smelt SO good, and I love hot coffee. But being over 90 degrees outside and humid enough to swim in the air I really didn't want something hot that day.  I decided on a frappuccino.  It was delicious!  But once again the $4.50 price tag shocked me.  How can one little cup of coffee cost so much?!  I knew there had to be a way to make it for much cheaper, and have a way I could enjoy one all summer long from home without the drive to Starbucks!

I went searching for a recipe.  I found lots of them. Some seemed more interesting than others.  I tried out a few, some were too sweet and other's just didn't have the right taste.  Then I found one that was amazing!  And it's super easy to make. I also just happened to have a few of these in my freezer too!
 When I have extra (GOOD) coffee that Mr. Bacon and I didn't drink the the morning I freeze them in those handy cube trays I make Bacon Bits food in. He's getting a bit big for pureed food now anyway!  It works for freezing coffee cubes to use and this recipe they are perfect for. 

Here's what you need to make your own frappiccino.

Pint size (16oz) mason jar with clean lid and ring- or any 16oz container with a tight lid
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee - any brewed coffee is fine
1 Tbsp chocolate sauce
2 Tbsp of your favorite coffee creamer, I used vanilla carmel. Don't have any? Find out how to make it here!
3/4 cup milk
whipped topping optional- but yummy!
and 3-4 ice cubes

Place your coffee in the jar and add in chocolate sauce, creamer and milk.  
 Next toss in your ice cubes. I add in more of my coffee cubes.  This way when they start to melt there is no watered down coffee flavor in my frappiccino!
 Place the lid and ring on the jar.
 And shake like crazy!  I considered it my workout for the day. Who needs shake weights right?!
 See all the yummy bubbles! Everything looks blended, shaking complete.
 Take off the lid, top it with some whipped topping and a little more chocolate sauce. 
Homemade Frappiccino for pennies!  It's AMAZING good. There's no need to dirty another cup either, add a straw and you're all set.  
Go try it out today!  I'm sure you can't stop with just one. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So about that coffee shop?

Remember a while ago when I talked about buying a coffee shop?  No we didn't buy one, and no one moved into the old shop so we still have no coffee shop in town.  That's defiantly a good thing for my budget though!  But I have found I am addicted to my morning cup of joe.  And it has to have creamer in it.  Not just regular creamer, I prefer the flavored liquid kind.  But once again it's one thing I hate to pay for because it's not cheap.  We do buy the big bottles of liquid creamer but they only last about 2 weeks. It's not a huge budget blower, but I wondered once again if I could make it cheaper.  And so my recipe search continued.  I've tried a few but I think I've found one that is pretty yummy!  And thankfully it doesn't require much work.  Another good thing about it is there are lots of variation you can make from it!

So what do you need to get started?  Really all you need is one can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk) and milk.  That's it!  Anything else you add is just for flavor.   I wanted to try out the cinnamon bun so I added in vanilla, almond and cinnamon.  
 First take your your sweetened milk (14oz can)  and pour it in a bowl, Next fill up your empty can with milk.  Yes all the way to the top, and no I didn't even spill!
 Take out your handy whisk and mix away!
 For cinnamon bun, I added 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon almond extract and 1 tablespoon cinnamon. This was almost too much cinnamon for me, next time I'm cutting it back to 1.5 tbsp.   Mix well again.  I poured everything in a quart jar, secured the lid and gave it a good shake.  If you prefer not to have so much cinnamon floating around in it, you can line a strainer with a few coffee filters or cheesecloth and strain it out before storing it too.  
It tastes wonderful!  Just like the cinnamon creamer we buy at the store!  I love when I can make things for cheaper than I can buy them.  Really it's not much more cost than a can of sweetened milk.  You can store this in the fridge for 2 weeks if it lasts that long.

Interested in some other varieties?  I haven't tried these out yet, but I thought I'd post the recipes I found.  If you try one out, I'd love to hear how it turned out!  Add any of these to the base recipe:

     2 Tbsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Almond
     2 Tbsp cocoa powder
     1 teaspoon almond extract

      1 teaspoon almond extract     
      1/2 teaspoon orange extract

Cinnamon bun
      1 tablespoon cinnamon  
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 teaspoon almond extract

 Chocolate Raspberry
      2 teaspoons cocoa powder       
      2 tablespoons raspberry syrup

Pumpkin pie
     4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
     2 teaspoons ground ginger
     2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
     1 teaspoon ground cloves
     1 teaspoon allspice (optional)

Peppermint Mocha
     3 tablespoons cocoa powder
     1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Honey Vanilla
     1/4 cup honey
     2 teaspoons vanilla 

Pumpkin spice
     3 Tbsp pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
     1 tsp pumpkin spice
     1 tsp vanilla
     2 tablespoons hazelnut syrup

Monday, March 7, 2011

Do you want to buy a coffee shop?

Last week was the final week before our little coffee shop in town closed. I can tell you we were not frequent visitors though, can you guess why? The cost! But we did have 2 gift cards to there that had to get used up before it changes hands. So Mr. Bacon treated me all last week to chocolate turtle coffee in the morning. YUM! They were so good, it's probably a good thing they are closed now! My pocket book for sure wouldn't be able to keep up since just a small was $3.50! Sigh... but they were good. And I kinda missed the turtle drinks over the weekend. So I set out to find my own version I could make for pennies at home. Guess what, I found one! Mr. Bacon approved and we've been sipping on them all morning. I just had to hop on here and let my readers know how they can get an amazing coffee house drink right at home for cheap. Oh and the other good news, no special machines or equipment needed!

Here is what you need:
Vanilla carmel coffee creamer
Chocolate ice cream topping

Oh and some coffee. You can use espresso if you have it, I don't. So I just used regular coffee. You can add more zip in your coffee by making a small 4 cup pot and brewing double strength coffee (use double the coffee). We tried this before bed last night, lets just say extra caffeine at night time for Ma Bacon isn't the best idea!

Take a regular size coffee mug and place 1 TBSP vanilla carmel coffee creamer and 1.5 TBSP chocolate ice cream syrup in the bottom of the mug. Next fill the cup so it's half full of coffee and mix well.

Now you need to prepare your frothy milk. Take a 16oz container that has a lid. A pint canning jar works well for this. Add in 1/2 cup milk (any kind works, we prefer to drink skim here and I'm sure it helps cut some of the calories out of this drink too). Screw the lid on the jar and shake it vigorously for 30-45 seconds until the milk doubles in size. Little Miss Bacon was quite happy to help with this step.

Next unscrew and remove the lid. Place the jar in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Watch this carefully, you want the foam to rise to the top of the jar, but not overflow it!

Carefully remove the jar. It should be warm but not so hot you need to use a hot pad to take it out. With a spoon carefully hold back the foam and pour the hot milk into your coffee drink. Mix well. Now you can spoon the foam on top of the coffee. I like to mix some if it into the coffee and add an extra scoop to the top! If I had some cool-whip I would have added a dollop of that to the top as well, perhaps a drizzle of more chocolate too!

I guess there is no need for us to buy that coffee shop after all. Fast, delicious coffee treat for pennies instead of paying the big bucks for it! ENJOY!