Posted in Bite of Breakfast, Dining with Friends, Sneak a Snack

Breakfast of Champions: Part 2

Because last week was devoted to coffee, I figured we should get the ball rolling for the rest of our meal! Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and the only thing that makes it better is sleeping in and turning it into brunch.


Brunch is not a meal, it’s a game: and I always win.


One of the easiest ways to look like you have your $**! together is throwing together a breakfast that needs zero cooking. By that I mean, just chuck a bunch of fruits on a platter and pour some yogurt and honey in a bowl, and you look fancy AF. My queen, Ina Garten, is the best at fruit platters. But she is also the best at everything. I may be biased….

But seriously, all you have to do is get a handful of your favorite fruits and pile them all next to each other on a platter. Smaller fruits like berries are best, since you don’t have to cut of peel them. If berries aren’t in season then just buy the freshest and most flavor fruit on the market!

This spread's just for YOU. You killed it these past three days!!! Treat yourself and keep an eye out cause we'll announce the winners tomorrow! Hanks for the  @earthyandy by sambazon:

If you like fruits that sit on the exotic end of the spectrum, try something like this!

Hey guys  I wasn't having the best day, so thought I would cheer myself up…:

Voila! The easiest breakfast ever. Just put this in front of your guests along with some yogurt and honey and the perfect coffee that you now know how to make and they will be tres impressed. Happy brunching!

Posted in Bite of Breakfast

Breakfast of Champions: Part 1

cup-of-coffee

For those of you who may not know me very well, I love breakfast. It has earned the title of being the most important meal of the day, and privately it garners–from me, at least–the title of the best meal of the day.

Breakfast should be our largest meal, since it is what starts our day, with lunch and dinner growing respectively smaller. While that may not be true for most people (myself included…who doesn’t love a full-course meal?) it is true in a scientific way. Anyway, I am going to take the next few installations her on FFT to talk about all of the amazing aspects of brunch.

The first post shall be dedicated to……drum roll, please……COFFEE!

Coffee is the only thing that keeps me on my feet anymore. If I go to long with out it I get caffeine withdrawal headaches, and super cranky to boot. being confined to a college dorm I have to get my morning jolt from my trusty one cup at a time Keurig. Here it is alone in the dark, at midnight. I usually set it up the night before so I just have to hit ‘Brew’ and fall asleep on the couch for another five minutes.

For everyone else who doesn’t have a Keurig, I must assume that you grind your beans and brew them in a more old-fashioned way; you buy the beans, grind them up, then pour them over a filter so they can do their magic. Well, let me tell, you, it isn’t that simple.

You know, for a poor college student who doesn’t eat out much and who doesn’t prepare coffee the way that I wish I could, I may sound like a coffee snob. And you’re right! I am a coffee snob, but that just means if you want your coffee to be the best cup of your life every time, follow my advice. Seriously, it will make or break your morning mug of joe.

The first thing that you need to consider when brewing coffee at home is bean storage. Coffee beans aren’t actually beans but seeds, so they can run the risk of absorbing flavor from other foods, or worse, losing their volatile compounds. The volatile compounds are the oils and acids that are locked inside your beans, and they need to be protected. In order to protect them, store your coffee beans WHOLE in an airtight container, vacuum sealed is better, but a glass jar with a screw top lid is good too.

(Oh, and I shouldn’t have to remind you to not buy your beans in bulk, Right? Or to pre-grind them? Because then you run the risk of losing those compounds and flavors before you even get the chance to use them!)

Once you have your favorite type of bean selected, measure out how much you will need with a small kitchen scale. The rule of thumb is to use 10.5 grams of grounds to every 6 ounces of water per cup. For anyone who doesn’t know their conversions, that’s 2 large tablespoons and 3/4 of a cup of water, roughly.

chart
Here is a chart to help you

MAKE SURE THAT YOU GRIND YOUR BEANS AT THE LAST POSSIBLE MOMENT


Grind your coffee beans so that they have an even shape and size that resembles sea salt from a table grinder. Add your coffee grounds to your brewer, be it a vacuum or siphon, or a French press or percolator.

If you happen to think that coffee at home always tastes too bitter, Do Not add extra water. By changing the ratio of more water to the same amount of coffee you run the risk of over-extracting the flavors and oils from the beans, making it taste even more bitter. Instead, add a sprinkle of sea salt to the coffee grounds to help cut the bitterness. Our tongues receive signals from the brain when we eat salt that then causes our bitterness receptors to be blocked, making natural flavors more enhanced.

When you are pouring the water, make sure that it is fresh and filtered. If you happen to have chlorine added to your water then I suggest boiling it for a few minutes to kill any residual chemical. Also, it may sound silly to say that water can get stale, but it’s true. When water is stagnant it loses its aeration. Because water is a partial gas, it needs those gasses to dissolve the chemicals inside the coffee grounds that you are so desperately searching for! So, avoid letting water sit in your coffee maker overnight. I know how hard that may be for those of you who rely on the alarm function on your coffee maker to start your day, but if you save grinding until the last possible minute, then you can save pouring the water too!

Once your coffee is brewed, drink it as soon as possible. The heat from the hot plate at the bottom of your percolator break down the chemical flavor compounds, making your coffee taste stale, or even burnt or weak. Don’t let your friends think you can’t make coffee–just brew enough coffee for enough cups to be enjoyed immediately, and make more when the need arises.

I sincerely hope that you have learned a thing or two about the delicacies that make up our dear companion coffee. If you are trying to save money, then quit the daily latte at your local coffee shop and make it at home. I promise that this method will make you a cup so good it will all but erase that whipped cream topped confection that dare call itself coffee!

 

Enjoy!

XXO Maddie

Posted in Bite of Breakfast, Seasonal Cooking, Sneak a Snack

Festive Apple Pie Cresents

While it’s not quite Halloween yet, I’ve been noticing myself getting a little ~excited~ for the holiday. Being the last day of the month, All Hallow’s Eve has its advantages of the dramatic build-up.

Pumpkin carving. Apple Picking. Costume hunting (or building, in my case). And of course the decorations. And scaring people. And the candy.

Where was I?

One of the perks about Halloween is the festive and creative food you can make. No need to go crazy with a turkey that needs a 24 hour marinade like on Thanksgiving, or a yucky fruit cake that no one eats on Christmas. Halloween food can get away with being made from the leftover ingredients you have in the kitchen.

brown-sugar

To make these yummy mummy roll-ups, you’ll need a roll of pre-made crescent dough, apples–preferably green so they don’t fall apart in the oven– both white and brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg (or if you are fancy you can use apple pie seasoning), and mini chocolate chips. Plus a little bit of butter, if necessary (butter is always necessary).

Pre-heat your oven according to the instructions on the tube of dough, then lay out and prep each triangle. You will only need 1 or 2 apples, since you’re just putting one large slice per triangle. Mix the two sugars with the cinnamon and nutmeg and sprinkle generously on the dough.

Once all the triangles are seasoned, roll them up, wide side to skinny side, so that the tip of the triangle is on the top. Lay each crescent so that the seam won’t fall open, then place two mini chocolate chips for eyes and TA-DA! Your apple pie crescents look like mummies!

apple-roll-up

Bake according to instructions and remove when golden brown. If you want them extra golden brown, spread a thin layer of melted butter over the top before popping them in the over (you’re welcome).

powdered-suga

Let cool before eating, and try not to eat them all in one sitting. If you can’t, justify it with the fact that they have apples and apples are healthy.

Trick or Treat!

Posted in Bite of Breakfast, Seasonal Cooking, Sneak a Snack

The Return of The Invasion of The Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

Today’s date: September 22nd, 2016. This is the official Autumnal Equinox, also known as the first day of fall. So, roll out the red carpet, gather the trumpeters, and a drum-roll please…

It’s here, it’s here! Autumn has finally arrived! But you know what that means: So has the Starbucks child prodigy, the Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Some of you may already stop reading there, and I cannot hold that against you. Once September 1st rolls around and Starbucks releases the PSL, it feels like that is all anyone can talk about. There are three teams: the team that loves PSL, the team that hates PSL, and the team (my team) that loves to watch the drama unfold between the two.

I may be a bit hypocritical in this area, because I have never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte. This is because I like my coffee to taste like coffee. I also like my bagels to taste like bagels, my pancakes to taste like pancakes, and my Cheerios to taste like Cheerios. All you PSL Haters can’t jump on Starbuck’s back for the mind wipe they perform every autumn, because they aren’t the only ones. It seems like as soon as the leaves change color, artificial (and sometimes *natural*) flavoring gets dumped onto everything.

If youre on the team of hating the PSL, I can see your reasoning. It seems like people drink it as an excuse to finally say they drink coffee (it’s not coffee, it’s ice cream that’s been microwaved and poured in a cup). It simply cannot be that good that you are willing to spend almost $6 dollars on a few ounces of a hot beverage.

If you are on the team of loving the PSL, I feel you. It is like autumn in a cup. The first couple sips are like drinking in everything that makes fall wonderful: pretty leaves, cozy sweaters, and nights by a fireplace. It gives you a feeling of nostalgia and excitement for the fun things to come that the season has to offer.

psl

If you are on my team, the team of loving the drama as it unfolds, grab a seat. I love to watch people in the Starbucks line roll their eyes whenever someone at the till orders a PSL. I admit, it does make me wish there was a separate line for people who just want to order a black coffee, but I digress. My roommate Jean says that the PSL is overrated and “basic as fuck” and I agree with her.

Besides the fact that it is an overpriced cup of hot whipped cream, have you ever seem a PSL without the lid? The surface of the beverage is dotted with little pools of oily flavoring that they pump into the cup. It looks like the BP oil spill got an autumn makeover (is that too aggressive?).

Either way, no matter what team you are on autumn is here! I hope you are all ready for the next few (dozen) posts about apple picking, pie making, and pumpkin carving. Fall is my favorite season, so pull on your tall knitted socks and get ready to dive in…to a huge pile of leaves!

XO Maddie