Coffee… my life blood

This post is in no way a paid advertisement for Keurig or any of their products.  They do not have any knowledge of my post.  The same goes for Starbucks.  I endorse them of my own accord.
I used to spend A LOT on coffee.  Going out and buying a cup of coffee for $4 every day times two (me AND Matt) got expensive very fast.  Before we knew it, our coffee habit got out of control.  Something something, caffeine addiction.  There’s just something about having a cup of coffee the same way no matter which branch you go to, prepared exactly how you want it.  You can’t get much like that.  Anyway, Matt and I decided it was time for a coffee intervention.  We had to do something about our out-of-control take-out coffee habit.  The problem was that we like our coffee completely different ways.  He likes coffee with his artificially-flavored french vanilla cream and sugar and I like my coffee plain and black.  He only drinks a cup in the morning.  I drink one in the morning, one around nap time and a cup of decaf at night.

We finally found a solution to our problem.  And all our coffee woes ended with three shining blue lights where you select your brew size and a digital display that read “Ready to Brew”.  

My Keurig.  I love my Keurig.  It has transformed so many aspects of my life.  It makes me happy to wake up in the morning.  It makes me jump out of bed and look forward to facing the day.  Okay, that’s a little exaggeration.  A couple hours of more sleep would probably make me happier, but my Keurig definitely helps with my morning blues.  The individual brew cups are perfect for us to customize our coffee how ever we want it.  Matt can have the French Vanilla flavored coffee to take to work and I can have whatever else I want.  On top of it, I have begun expanding our flavor selections, making it more and more like a coffee shop at home.  You can buy any of the Starbucks syrups from the stores or their online store.  I have found their brand of syrup to be the best tasting with less funky aftertaste than other brands you can buy at the grocery stores.

Below are recipes I have made or found for coffee and creamers:

My Starbucks Rip-Off Mocha mix

2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon Dark Chocolate cocoa powder

Combine with small cup Keurig button (or for those of you that don’t have a Keurig, about 6 oz or 1/3 cup) of brewed coffee or espresso and 1/3 cup warm milk.  Add more milk or less to your taste.

I like my mocha to be less sweet.  When I make the mix at home, I leave out one of the tablespoons of sugar, so I have equal parts of cocoa powder and sugar.  Then I add one pump of the Starbucks Raspberry syrup.  Other recipes I have found online say to add Caramel syrup to get the knock-off Salted Caramel Mocha.

Perfect Iced Coffee – from the Pioneer Woman
Her recipe makes 2 gallons that can be saved in an airtight container for up to a month.  I didn’t want to have quite that much coffee sitting in my fridge (not that it wouldn’t be consumed, mostly because I don’t have the spare room) so I halved the recipe.

I took an empty rinsed out milk jug, filled it with water and poured it into my HUGE stock pot I use to boil my turkey brine.  Then I stirred in a half pound of coarsely ground Starbucks Blonde coffee.

*Side note on why it’s coarse ground – I have a French Press (that I haven’t used in forever) and this prep is very similar in brewing methods.  By having coarse ground coffee beans, you can soak the beans in the water to get all the flavor and oils you want but it makes it much easier to filter.  When you go to filter this brew, you won’t have to worry about getting tiny particles floating in your coffee or sticking in between your teeth (happens to me often).

After stirring in the coffee with the water, I covered it with the stock pot cover and let it sit overnight.  The Pioneer Woman recommends eight hours minimum, overnight maximum.  Depending on how strong you want your coffee, let it brew longer.  It smelled divine.  When it was “brewed”, I took my mesh strainer, lined it with two layers of paper towel (I don’t have cheese cloth.  I don’t even know where you buy cheese cloth other than Amazon.  Paper towel worked perfectly for me.  You just need something to catch the bean grinds so it doesn’t end up in your coffee concentrate.  Coffee filters would work also.) and put that on top of my 4 cup pyrex measuring cup.

Then I began pouring and ladling my coffee brew into my mesh strainer, which filtered out the beans and poured into my measuring cup.  Once my paper towel was saturated, I just replaced it with two more paper towels.  When my measuring cup was full I poured that into a one quart mason jar.  This made four quart mason jars.  I stuck them all (minus one I gave to a friend) in the fridge to be consumed after fully chilled.

To go with this, I made a sweet cream creamer (similar to what the Pioneer Woman says at the end of her post).  This is a good general creamer.  Because the iced coffee is so strong (you really do need a full glass of ice to help cut the strength), I actually like adding this to my coffee.  I like that it has the subtle sweetness from the condensed milk.  You can’t put regular sugar in iced coffee.  It won’t melt and sweeten your drink.   If you haven’t already tried it, I just want to warn you.  You’ll get a big mound of sugar at the bottom of your cup.  It took me a time or two to figure that out.  If you don’t want to use the condensed milk, you could use a cooled simple syrup (equal parts sugar to water, boiled until dissolved) in it’s place.

Sweet Cream coffee creamer

1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Mix the two together and store in an airtight container in your fridge.  Make sure to shake it before you add it to your beverage.

Drink and enjoy.  Even though it has caffeine in it, I feel like coffee is one of those drinks you can just sit back, relax and drink.  I think that’s why I consume so much of it daily.  Having something I can enjoy how ever I want, whenever I want, makes me feel like I have some form of control over my chaotic life.  We do still visit Starbucks’ while we’re out and about, but being able to have the same comfort while sitting at home in my pj’s and not worrying about the kids running wild… there’s nothing like that.

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