Dirty Chai Frappé & Hamilton Beach Blender Giveaway

frappe-hor2

I’ve been shopping around for a blender for a while. And I have to admit that I’ve been considering some of those super high-priced blenders like Vitamix and Blendtec. So when Hamilton Beach emailed me and let me know about their new Wave-Action blender, the timing was spot on.  I wasn’t sure what to expect. I looked it up and it had some decent reviews. It’s a $50 blender though.

blender-box

I have a good track record with Hamilton Beach products. I’ve tried their food processor and coffee maker, so I know that they have some great budget-friendly products that perform well. But could this blender compete with some more expensive blenders? Could this blender work in my kitchen?

I typically use a blender for a morning smoothie and occasionally some soup or even a frozen cocktail. Each year I commit to using the blender more though.

One of my favorite drinks in the summer is iced coffee. Another favorite is an iced chai latte. I make iced coffee at home all the time, but I’m ashamed to admit that the majority of my iced chais tend to come from places like Starbucks. I always tell myself that I should be making it at home. I shouldn’t be paying five dollars for a drink.

When I do get an iced chai, I often ask for it with a shot of espresso  – which is often referred to as a dirty chai latte. So I decided to pull this blender out of the box and make myself a dirty chai frappé.

I boiled some water and seeped the tea bags in a cup of water to make a strong chai concentrate. I also frozen some cold brew coffee in some ice cube trays.

chai

When the tea and coffee were ready, I blended both with some maple syrup and almond milk. I had myself a vegan dirty chai frappé! And it took me all of two minutes!

ings

This blender worked wonders on my iced chai cravings. It’s Wave Action technology easily pulls everything in to the blades. The blender does include a stirring tamper piece, but I didn’t have to use it on my frappé. I imagine that it will come in helpful with soups or veggie purees. But I was very impressed with it.blender-out

And thanks to Hamilton Beach, you also have the opportunity to win your own blender! Awesome, right? So check it out and enter.

And try my dirty chai frappé.



Dirty Chai Frappé
 
Author:
Serves: 2-3 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold brew coffee
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 chai tea bags
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
Instructions
  1. Freeze the cold brew coffee in ice cube trays
  2. Boil the water and brew the tea in the water. Stir in some maple syrup and chill.
  3. When both the coffee is frozen and tea is chilled, place in blender and blend with some almond milk.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

frappeverta Rafflecopter giveaway

Hamilton Beach #FlexBrew Coffeemaker & Giveaway

flexbrew1

You may not already know this about me, but I have a bit a of a coffee habit. I’m totally addicted to coffee. With that coffee drinking habit comes a lot of coffee gear. I’ve tried every affordable and some not so affordable coffee brewing system out there. So you can only imagine what my coffee habit combined with my kitchen appliance habit does to my kitchen. I’m always looking for the perfect coffee brewing system. So when Hamilton Beach mentioned their new FlexBrew coffee maker, I was excited to checking it out.

For the record, I’m the only coffee drinker in this house. So unless I’m hosting a crowd, I typically brew only a few cups each day. I do supplement with some coffee pit stops near my office. On a typical morning though, I’ll brew my coffee using my Bodum french press or a pour-over Melitta coffee filter. They’re both very easy to use. In the summer, I will typically prep a huge batch of cold-brew coffee in my Toddy.

What’s great about the FlexBrew system from Hamilton Beach is that you have a few options. You can brew a 12-cup pot of coffee through a standard paper filter, you can brew a single cup of coffee through the drip system AND you can brew a single cup of coffee using a Keurig K-cup. That’s a lot of options to get your coffee fix on. In addition to these brew sizes, you can program it to brew at a set time and you can adjust your coffee strength. This is great for me since I have crazy mornings and I love my coffee bold. Win win, right?

So I tried all three brewing options:

  • I made about 8 cups of coffee in the pot. It was great. I selected bold. It came out just how I wanted it. This made me happy.
  • I tried brewing with ground coffee in the single-cup mode. It gave me a good cup of coffee. My only frustration is that I was hoping for quick and it took a few minutes. Still, it produced a good, even cup of coffee.
  • Last, I tried the K-cup option. I used a Starbucks brand K-cup. I used the Verona Roast. It took a couple minutes to brew that, but it produced a consistently good cup of coffee.

All in all, this machine produces good coffee. I just wish that the single cup method was faster, but that’s just me. I’m impatient for my coffee fix. I highly recommend this coffee maker for anyone.

Glad to have this addition to my home.

And the good news? You can enter to win this coffee maker! Enter now. Enjoy your coffee!

 

*Please note that this coffee maker was given to me by Hamilton Beach but all opinions are my own.



flewbrewgive   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mocha Pound Cake

I am slowly conquering my fear of baking cakes from scratch.

I am sheepishly admitting here that in the past, I have been known to simply doctor cake mixes in to creations of my own. I had no idea that it was so easy to create a cake of your own. I’ve made a few cupcakes here and there, but by and large I have stuck to Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker.

Until last week.

mocha pound cake

Last week, I made some chocolate brownies from scratch! Whoa! They came together super fast, and actually tasted pretty good! Who knew?

So the other day, when I was working on my chocolate crouton recipe for the Kosher Connection link-up post, I decided to come up with something on my own. I will admit that I did look for a chocolate pound cake at Trader Joe’s. I couldn’t find it. So I made my own. I decided to turn it in to a mocha pound cake. I was so amazed with the results, I had to share the recipe.

Mocha Pound Cake – (adapted from King Arthur)


Ingredients:

1 stick butter, room temperature

1.5 cups sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking powder

2 tbsp. instant espresso powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

2/3 cup cocoa

2 tbsp. sour cream

3 large eggs

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.

mocha cake batterIn a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa, cinnamon and sour cream.

Beat in the eggs slowly.

Add in the flour and milk. Mix well – so that all the ingredients are combined.

cake batter in panPour the batter in to the loaf pan.

Bake the cake for an hour at 350°F. You may need an additional 5-10 minutes. The cake may be a little moist on top. That’s ok. Let the cake cool in the pan for a bit.

Remove the cake from the pan and let cool further.

I turned my cake into croutons. Check it out here!

mocha pound cake

 

Mocha Pound Cake
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 1 stick butter, room temperature
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ⅔ cup cocoa
  • 2 tbsp. sour cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, espresso powder, cocoa, cinnamon and sour cream.
  4. Beat in the eggs slowly.
  5. Add in the flour and milk. Mix well - so that all the ingredients are combined.
  6. Pour the batter in to the loaf pan.
  7. Bake the cake for an hour at 350°F. You may need an additional 5-10 minutes. The cake may be a little moist on top. That's ok. Let the cake cool in the pan for a bit.
  8. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool further.

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

One of the first cakes I ever made, that didn’t come from a box, was a coffee cake. It was snowing in New Jersey and we were stuck indoors. We decided to warm up the house with some baking. Being a non-baker, I had none of the ingredients. I crawled my way through the snow to the store at the foot of our housing development. I picked up whatever was needed and headed home to bake. That cake was awesome! Ten-and-a-half years later, and I still don’t bake too many cakes. I can handle cookies and brownies, but not cakes.

I had some plain yogurt that needed to be used up. I decided to pull out that wrinkled coffee cake recipe and adapt for what I had on hand. While I am not a cake fan, I love coffee cake. The cinnamon-sugar middle and topping…yum! I decided to up that yum factor with some chocolate chips. You can’t go wrong with chocolate!

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Cake Ingredients:
1 stick of butter
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup plain yogurt (can also use sour cream)
2 tbsp. half and half
2 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips




Preheat the oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and eggs. Add in the vanilla, half and half and the yogurt.

In a smaller bowl, mix up the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix the topping ingredients.

Spray a 9×13 baking pan and dust with flour.  
Spread half of the batter in to the pan. 
Sprinkle half of the topping ingredients over the batter.
Spread the rest of the batter over this.
Add the rest of the topping ingredients.
Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 or until done.
Cool for 30-45 minutes. Slice and serve.
IMG_1161
Enjoy!

Vietnamese Iced Coffee Popsicles

I rarely succumb to impulse buys. Especially when the ads show up in my inbox. I will blame the heat. These 90+ degree days are doing something funky to me.  I keep getting emails advertising a variety of popsicle makers and popsicle stores. There’s even a popsicle food-truck! 


I haven’t been in to popsicles since I was pregnant with my older daughter. Popsicles were my crack. I am not a fan of most store-bought popsicles. I like the occasional Fudgsicle or pudding pop. Do pudding pops still exist even? Trader Joes and Whole Foods make some pretty tasty fruit juice popsicles.  When I am there though, it’s just not something I reach for. When my sisters and I were kids, we used to pour juice into dixie cups and then stash them in the freezer. Only to have my mom open the freezer to half-frozen cups of juice pouring on to her. My parents stopped buying dixie cups at some point. They did buy popsicles.  They weren’t evil. They just didn’t like the sticky mess all over the freezer. I get it now.

Anyhow, those emails worked.  Good marketing, Amazon! Good marketing, Williams Sonoma! You got me on an online popsicle search. They have these handy dandy electric popsicle makers now! I’ll admit, that appliance was tempting. I don’t need my popsicles to be ready in 5 minutes, though. I also don’t really need another big appliance. I want more than 3 popsicles at a time. The old-school plastic popsicle molds are great, but you end up losing the pieces.  I decided to buy this one. I like the familiar shape of the popsicle and I like to use the traditional wooden sticks. It’s very easy to use. Highly recommended. It also showed up in my inbox, on sale, on a 100 degree day. Once again – good job, Amazon! 

It showed up in my house 2 days later and I had to make something. I knew that coffee had to be the star of my first shot at popsicle making.  We had just cleaned our pantry and noticed three cans of sweetened condensed milk.  3 cans? I never use that stuff? Good thing those cans have a long shelf life.

When I was in college and high school, I used to spend the majority of my time (when not in class or work) at a local coffee shop. Cafe Wyrd was the best coffee shop around. I used to sit with my school books, a pack of American Spirits, and a big pot of coffee. Being that I was a regular there, the baristas used to push special drinks on me every so often. They introduced me to Vietnamese Iced Coffee. I could get hooked on that drink. If it weren’t for the fact that I was a poor college student at the time – I probably would have been hooked.  I am not usually a fan of sweet coffee, but that stuff was good and it stuck with me, in the back of my coffee addicted mind. It’s so easy to make.  A good espresso and some sweetened condensed milk over some ice. It’s perfect popsicle fodder! I didn’t even need a real recipe!

Vietnamese Ice Coffee Popsicles
Ingredients:
2 cups espresso
1 small can sweetened condensed milk

I brewed up some super strong espresso. About 2 cups.  I let it cool for a bit. I poured the sweetened condensed milk into a small mixing bowl. About 3/4 of that small can. Add in the cooled off espresso. Mixed it all up. Let the mixture chill in the fridge for about a half hour. The poured everything in to the molds.  Put the mold in the freezer for an hour. Stuck the sticks in when partially frozen. Let freeze overnight.  



This made for amazing popsicles! What’s my next popsicle flavor?


1 2