Add a Boost of Flavor to Your Coffee By Grinding These Spices With the Beans

Sugar and syrups are a pretty standard way to add flavor to your coffee, but if you’re looking to add flavor and complexity without upping the sweetness, take a gander at your spice rack.

One of my least favorite habits is my tendency to buy a bottle of spices, use them once, and then let them sit on a shelf until they lose their flavor, potency, and dignity. Luckily, one of my favorite habits can help with this problem, as those “extra” spices are just begging to be brewed with coffee.

The process is super easy and requires no extra work on your part. (Which is great, because no one wants extra work in the morning.) Instead of grinding the spices and sprinkling them over your cup of caffeine, just grind them along with the beans and brew as usual. To find out which spices, seasonings, and flowers (yes, flowers!) would be good candidates, I raided my own semi-neglected spice rack and experimented.

Source: Add a Boost of Flavor to Your Coffee By Grinding These Spices With the Beans

Cleaning out the grinder only works for blade grinders. And blade grinders are not what you want to use for your coffee.  Two reasons: inconsistent grind and oil extraction. Both are extremely important to a good cup of coffee.

The more you get into coffee, the more it becomes a pain in the ass. The more you can taste it, the more you can taste what’s wrong with it. What used to be fantastic… is now inferior and rancid. Nothing is ever good enough. And there’s always a merchant to peddle you a solution.

So you need a steady supplier of the good stuff. Vacuum containers that attempt to stop time but eventually fail. Special upon special grinder that’s somehow never good enough. Oodles of machinery, always more expensive than the next, never as good as some Italian industrial apparatus but you keep trying.

This is not good enough so you start roasting your own beans, which is another arms race against dissatisfaction. Or looking for coffee that came out of the ass of a wildcat because it’s the most precious. On & on & on…

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Have Granola Whenever You Please With This Super Quick Stove Top Recipe

The only drawback to homemade granola (superior to store-bought, on all counts, in my book) is finding the foresight to make large batches of it in advance. Maybe it’s just me, but my motivation for making anything is pretty closely tied to how soon I’m going to scarf it down.

Source: The Shortcut to Homemade Granola

The basic sequence of events is this: Add your fat and sweetener to your pan over medium-low heat and blend until everything is nice and liquid. Add in the grains and a pinch of salt and toast until golden (8-10 minutes). Mix in whatever nuts and seeds you like and cook for another couple of minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet and sprinkle with your favorite spices (or toasted coconut and chocolate chips!) and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Break it up and throw it in some yogurt or milk and you have a tasty homemade breakfast.  Or anytime snack; granola shouldn’t be confined to the morning.

Upgrade Store-Bought Applesauce With a Bit of Maple Syrup

If you have no love for plain applesauce, don’t give up on it as a topping for latkes, a partner for seared pork chops, or even layered with Greek yogurt for a breakfast parfait. Instead, use one of these simple tweaks to transform that innocent apple flavor into something way more deliciously adult. Each of these strategies will upgrade one cup of unsweetened “natural” applesauce…

Source: How to Make Store-Bought Applesauce Taste Amazing

  • If you want a sauce that’s sweet and a bit sour, add a splash of apple cider vinegar in there too.  This combination is particularly tasty with a ham.
  • If concerned about already-sweetened/HFCS applesauce, use fake maple flavour.

The Best Way to Bake Your Pies Isn’t With Vodka—It’s Like This

We’ve entered pie season—and with that also comes the season of people telling you their secret pie crust ingredient. For most people, that secret ingredient means one thing: vodka. I know because I used to be one of them. Until I found something much, much better.

Source: The Best Way to Bake Your Pies Isn’t With Vodka—It’s Like This

One of the store I shop at sells vanilla vodka, so I use that in the crusts. It adds that extra bit. But it seems to me that the best crusts have a long flake to them that you get from hand-mixing. The vodka crust is flaky but crumbly, like cheesecake crust. Still, I’m glad the vodka crust is so reliable.

I have a pie crust recipe that doesn’t use any alcohol, including vanilla extract.  It’s served me well.

Make Granola from Anything You Have On Hand With This Ratio

Memorize this technique, and you’ll never buy granola again.

Source: Granola Is Better and Easier to Make Without a Recipe

Having trouble finding cost effective rolled oats?  Look for Quaker Rolled Oats in the cereal aisle.

Bonus: If you are making granola and you want big chunks, pack all your ingredients tightly together on a baking sheet (I find it easier on a lipped baking sheet but plain should work fine). Once the granola is baked and cooled, you can break it into chunks.

Save Money by Making Your Own Pumpkin Spice Mix

As the leaves start to change color and cheery pumpkins show up on doorsteps, summer seems like a distant memory and we’re smack-dab in the middle of fall. And while pumpkin spice-flavored treats make their appearance just about, well, everywhere, do you even know what it contains? Here’s what it is and why you should make it at home. (Hint: It’s as easy as it gets!)

Source: How To Make Pumpkin Pie Spice

I spice my coffee with an equal parts mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. It’s so good!  Very popular with tea and coffee in India. Crushed Black peppercorns are awesome in them.

Recipe: Rum Caramel Eggnog Bubble Tea

Because why not?  You can omit the tapioca/boba for a standard eggnog – here’s the recipe.

Rum Caramel Eggnog Bubble Tea

  • Tapioca/boba is a plant starch – it’s both vegetarian and gluten free
  • Eggs are not technically animal flesh, but substitutes are covered here.
  • Dear lactose intolerant and vegans: The recipe calls for dairy milk, substitute appropriately because not everyone tolerates soy/almond/etc
  • Refined sugar: I will update accordingly when I have a vegan caramel recipe