Cold Brew Coffee

live seasoned spring 16 cold brew coffee-1 copy The necessity of coffee is fitting for a Monday post, yeah? Brewing your coffee at home is one of the easiest ways to save money each week. I’m so used to it that buying a cup of coffee is a luxury to me and one I really enjoy, which wouldn’t be the case if I was waiting in line day after day at the coffee shop. During the winter, I usually brew a small pot in a french press or opt for the single cup pour over method, but once March rolls around it’s cold brewed coffee all. the. way. Once I discovered this method there was no turning back.

Why cold brew coffee?

  • Extremely easy to make. The directions are straight forward and there’s no fancy equipment necessary.
  • It saves time. It’s brewed in a larger concentrated batch, so you make it once for the week, not every morning.
  • It tastes better. The acidity of cold brew coffee is lower because the grounds are never subjected to boiling water, which makes the chemical profile quite different than that of a conventionally brewed pot of coffee. Lower acidity makes for a smoother taste and naturally sweeter taste and in turn is less harsh on your tummy.
  • It’s never watery. Besides the acidity issues that arise with hot coffee and rapidly cooling hot coffee with ice cubes (iced coffee), you’ll never drink a watery cup of iced coffee again. Watery diluted coffee is awful. Less caffeine and less taste – who want’s that?
  • More caffeine per cup. Cold brew coffee has a higher bean to water ratio and a longer brew time, which means it contains more caffeine. I think of cold brew coffee as a concentrate and I often add water, but more on that below.

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Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin is our ingredient of the season. Today’s recipe is great for using up those last bits of pumpkin (just like this face mask potion!) when other recipes call for less than a full can.

We’re officially halfway through the fall season here on the blog, so it’s about time that we started crafting our own pumpkin spice lattes! Of course, in order to write this post, I had to do a little bit of research last week, stopping at Starbucks to taste the original before experimenting at home. Such. hard. work.

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The PSL syrup recipe I used is directly from A Beautiful Mess (hi there, we <3 you!). I just modified it slightly by halving all ingredients and upping the ratio of brown to granulated sugar. I made half a batch because I was worried about having more than I could finish, but fortunately, these are so good that I’ll have no trouble finishing the jar.

**Our dear friend Nicole provides a low-sugar version in the comments. Check it out!

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Independence Day Eats & Treats

JULY

Happy Independence Day my friends! This fourth of July is shaping up to be better than years past.  Our country continues to move forward in ways that warm our hearts.  When the Declaration of Independence was signed way back in 1776, it stated “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” It’s pretty easy to spot the blatant hypocrisy since slavery was still legal during the signing (and looong after) and here we are in 2015 fighting for the pursuit of happiness and the permission to love freely and marry.  Instead of boycotting Independence Day (many do!) I like to treat July 4th as a time to look back, review, and assess our country’s progress and daydream about the positive changes to come.  I tend to be quite the skeptic when talking about the United States of America’s government, but when it comes down to it, I know I’m extremely lucky to live and thrive in this country and I’m grateful for the progress we are making as a nation even if it seems like it takes light years.   I hope you’ll take a moment this Independence Day to be grateful for our freedoms and to know that you can aid others in attaining theirs both in America and around the world.

While you’re reflecting, you should probably feed that belly of yours too!  I plan on eating an entire watermelon by myself followed by lots and lots of delicious cocktails.  I’m actually experimenting with a few new ones that should be ready for the blog in the coming weeks!  So pull out that red shirt and light up the sparklers while you whip up some Independence day eats and treats.

As shown from top to bottom, left to right:

Watermelon Mint Salad     Mint Agua Fresca     Homemade Pizza Four Ways

Mint Simple Syrup Mojito     Cashew Fruit Dip

Watermelon Gazpacho     Mint Ice Cream     Rosemary Infused Bloody Marys

 

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Homemade Lemonade,

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Happy Wednesday!  Making homemade lemonade is one of those super simple activities that I don’t do nearly enough.  This past Sunday I reaaaaally wanted a treat, but I’m sure you remember that I’m saving up for a travel adventure, which means NO treats! At least no treats that I have to pay for. After gazing longingly into my freezer and still not seeing any ice cream, I spun around and spotted an enormous bowl of lemons on my countertop and that’s how this homemade lemonade recipe was born.

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Hazelnut Liqueur

Nuts are our ingredient of the season.  Dips, cookies, and snack bars, are just a sampling of our many nutty posts. Today, we’re finally combining them with alcohol!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had Frangelico or any other hazelnut liqueur, but with nuts as our featured ingredient, it was high time that I tried making my own! While doing some research for this project, I came across a Serious Eats article that encourages anyone interested to make their own rather than buy, and I couldn’t agree more. The pure hazelnut flavor really shines through, and I really appreciate being able to taylor the sweetness to my liking, which is often less than store-bought liqueurs.

After liking what Serious Eats’ encouragement to make the liqueur, I clicked through to their recipe and also liked the simplicity of that, so I used it and that’s what you see reprinted below. Making this liqueur couldn’t be easier, it’s the waiting that’s hard. While I want to say it “only” involves three to four weeks of wait-time, that’s three (or four) too many, and I think you’ll agree once you see my new favorite treat below. I say four weeks, because I was supposed to go on to steps 2 and 3 while our family was in town, and I completely forgot! As a result, I had about an extra week of the hazelnuts steeping in the alcohol, but the flavor is that delicious and strong that I have no regrets… although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wait that long the second time I make this.

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Tonic Water (& Gin)

I love, love, love gin & tonics! When I was pregnant with Luc, our friends in Boulder (a big brewery town) would ask me if I couldn’t wait to have a beer, and I would always so no, because all I wanted was a G&T. In fact, when I hit week 39 of my pregnancy, I stopped in a liquor store to pick up some gin… I’m sure it looked absurd that a hugely pregnant lady was buying gin with her two year old in the shopping cart, but other women get the urge to nest, and I got the urge for gin.

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Meanwhile, waiting at home for me was an awesome homemade tonic water kit that Calder’s sister gave me last July for my birthday. That was days after I became pregnant with Luc, and it killed me to have to sit on it for all those months! While Sarah was in town last month, we finally made the tonic water and broke open some new-to-us gins.

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Sarah’s Warm Winter Drink

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I really didn’t know what to call this warm milk creation.  I certainly don’t want to call it that.  It is kind of a mix between horchata and Spanish rice pudding, but I wouldn’t want to offend anyone by calling it that because I made this recipe up. I don’t really know if it is anything like authentic Spanish rice pudding or Mexican horchata and that’s why we’ll refer to it as Sarah’s warm winter drink, a name that’s completely non-descriptive, whoops. It’s a pretty awesome drink though and you can make it several different ways so don’t let its disappointing name discourage you.  Vegan? We got you covered too.  Like most recipes and projects on Seasoned, we try to give you the gist of the recipe, but encourage you to make it your own. Katie and I cook depending on seasonal ingredients and what’s in our cupboards, which means lots of these recipes are adaptable.

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Citrus Champagne Spritzers

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Cheers to citrus season!  Growing up, my mom would order a half dozen boxes of oranges from the marching band fundraiser, which meant orangeade all winter long.  I miss those big boxes and that orangeade so today I made something a little reminiscent of my childhood + alcohol 🙂  This citrus champagne spritzer has fresh squeeze oranges and lemons, but don’t fool yourself, it is still winter.

This bubbly and fresh drink turned my cheeks pink! It was the perfect pal for present wrapping today.  Do I sound like the loneliest person on the planet?! Wrapping presents with a drink that I’m calling pal? Don’t answer that. But hey, if your holidays are hectic and you need a mocktail, try this recipe sans champagne and cointreau.  Replace the alcohol with sparkling lemonade or use the sparkling orange and lemon soda as the base, but whatever you do, ENJOY IT!

Citrus Champagne Spritzer Ingredients:

  • Prosecco (1 bottle makes six+) refrigerated
  • Cointreau refrigerated
  • 3 TBSP orange juice
  • lemon or orange sparkling beverage refrigerated
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 sprigs of thyme rinsed and dried

Some notes:

  • I use a one ounce shot glass to measure the ingredients, but if you don’t, one ounce equals two tablespoons.
  • You can leave out the cointreau if you want.  The flavor is wildly different, but just as amazing.
  • You could use Korbel Brut or a riesling instead of Prosecco.
  • This is a perfect big batch cocktail because there is no ice!*

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 The how:

  • In a sauce pot, stir together a half cup of sugar and a cup of water.  Turn onto medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add four or five sprigs of clean thyme and place a lid or plate on top of the pot. Let steep for ten minutes. After ten minutes passes, remove the thyme sprigs and strain simple syrup if necessary (all my thyme leaves were intact so I didn’t have to strain).
  • In a tumbler, mix 1 ounce thyme simple syrup, 2 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and half ounce cointreau. Stir well.  Add prosecco (I didn’t measure, just pour accordingly)
  • Top with a splash of sparkling lemon or sparkling orange soda.
  • Garnish with a thyme sprig or two and serve.
  • *If you are making these citrus champagne spritzers for a crowd, stir up a big batch all at once.  In a large pitcher combine 3/4 + 2 tablespoons simple syrup, 1 + 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/3 cup lemon juice and a 1/3 cup cointreau. Stir well, add the champagne and top with one can of sparkling orange or lemon.

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These sparkling citrus champagne spritzers are perfect for a holiday party *ahem champagne toast ahem* or in my case a preholiday wrapping party.  Mix up a whole batch or put on Mixed Nuts and drink one by yourself 😉

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Apple Sidecar

Apples are our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve done some baking and some drinking.

I don’t know about where you live, but here in Boulder we’ve had a string of chilly fall-like days with views of fresh snow on the mountains. What’s better on a chilly Thursday than a cocktail that warms you up from the inside out?! If you haven’t had a sidecar yet, get ready to sit back, enjoy it in front of the fire, and plan on doing nothing for the rest of the night.

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Sidecars are traditionally made with cognac, triple sec, and lemon juice. Today we’re substituting an apple-infused brandy for the cognac. Funny thing  – cognac and brandy are the same thing, but to be called a Cognac it must come from a specific region in France. In the past I’ve used Jacques Cardin’s Apple Flavored Cognac. Today we’re making it with Santa Fe Spirits Apple Brandy because we wanted to try something new, and it’s produced closer to home with apples grown in New Mexico!
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Ingredients

  • 2 parts cognac or brandy
  • 1 part triple sec
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • ice
  • optional – simple syrup

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The How-to

  • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice
  • Add all of the ingredients and shake
  • Pour into the glass of your choosing, traditionally a cocktail glass would be used. I prefer a rocks glass… but then I thought that this would be perfect for drinking around a campfire, so why not use an enamel camping mug?!
  • Garnish with a bit of apple & enjoy!

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Extra Tips

  • As I mentioned, this can be a strong drink. You can do a number of things to weaken the drink. Start by using some simple syrup – either adding 1 part to the mix above, substituting it for the triple sec, or using equal parts of your choosing. You can also serve the drink over ice to add even more water as you drink.
  • I enjoyed sampling the sidecar with the Santa Fe brandy, but remember the Jacques Cardin cognac to be slightly smoother (although it’ll still knock your socks off).

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Fresh Apple, Carrot, Ginger Juice

Apples are our ingredient of the season. Before falling down the rabbit trap of indulgent baked goods, we’re kicking of this series with a wholesome, homemade juice.  liveseasoned_fall14_applecarrotjuice-8

Now that apple season has arrived, I find myself juicing those little gems on the daily.  We have a whole host of apple beverages in store for you this season, but we thought we would start out with some fresh cold juice while the weather is still warm.  I never feel better than when I wake up and immediately make myself a big jar of juice and a cup of coffee.  It’s 1 part routine, 1 part you’re doing yourself a favor-if you know what I mean.  I’m also not a big breakfast eater, so juicing allows me to fuel my bod without munching too early, which I almost never have the appetite for.

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