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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

DSC_0711 The last few weeks have been hard. Like, I’m-not-even-sure-how-I’m-awake-and-functioning-right-now hard. In an attempt to make ends meet when moving back to Boston, I took a job at a cafe, which was part-time, and worked as a temp through a temp agency. This worked out well for a while but then I landed a 9-5, M-F desk job through my temp agency. Yeah! But since it’s a temp job, I still needed to keep the cafe job. Which is how I ended up working every single day for the past 30 days- Desk job Monday through Friday, Cafe job Saturday and Sunday. Surprisingly, it’s the cafe job that has been the most exhausting. 8 hours on your feet running around, making sandwiches and coffee and being ‘on’ for the customers is a long day. This is why the recipes haven’t been pouring out. Mostly when I come home, I’m putting my energy toward seeing all my friends that I have missed over the past nine months…or I’m sleeping. Ok, it’s mostly sleeping.  Energy for dinner? Does an apple with peanut butter and chocolate chips count? How about left over chips and salsa and pumpkin beer? There’s veggies in salsa! Despite the hectic, hectic schedule I’ve been leading, I have had time to consistently make one thing: Cold brew coffee. Yes, please! It took me a little while to get used to and to work out the proportion of water to coffee I like but it’s so easy. I can prep it on Saturday night, strain it on Sunday night and have coffee all week. It’s perfect. Because clearly, I am running on nothing but caffeine at this point. DSC_0695 So here is the thing about cold brew coffee: there are a lot of different ways it can be made and everyone seems to have a different strategy. Some people suggest freshly grinding your beans but leaving them fairly course- others say to grind them super fine. Some say let your grinds sit in water at room temperature, others say in the fridge. You have to find what you like best. The below recipe is a combo of everything I read and found online and what works for me. What you have to remember though is that this is a concentrate. It doesn’t have the bitter, acidity that traditional coffee has so it may be easy to mistake the smoothness for it not being “strong”. So not the case. There was definitely a day when I didn’t cut the coffee  and boy was I  jittery at my desk! Another thing to note is cold brew coffee is naturally sweeter. American Test Kitchen suggests replacing your sugar with a pinch of sea salt to bring out that sweetness. I haven’t tried that but I can tell you that when I’m not using the below flavored sweeteners (which I use a very little of!) that I’m not adding any sweetener at all. It’s a great way to cut that morning sugar rush out. OK, Enough Talk! Here’s the coffee and flavored syrups I’m loving right now :

DSC_0689

Option 1 for filtering out your grinds: Fine Mess Sieve and coffee filter over a bowl

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Option 2 for filtering out your grinds: Single-serving coffee cone and filter over your storage container. My preferred option.

Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate with Pumpkin Spice Syrup or Chocolate Syrup

Coffee:

  • 1 cup of whole coffee beans, medium roast is ideal
  • 4-5 cups of water depending on your preference (American Test Kitchen recommends 1 cup of grinds:4 cups water. I like 5 just as much and it’s a little cheaper. Stretching that buck!)

Directions:

  1. Grind your coffee beans to a “fine” consistency* (To grind my coffee, I use something like this)
  2. Transfer grinds to a large bowl, french press or mason jar. I use a large 1/2 gallon mason jar
  3. Add your desired amount of water. Give it a quick stir to make sure all the grinds get mixed in. Cover.
  4. Let sit for 24 hours, preferably in the fridge.**
  5. Strain out coffee grinds. If you are using a french press, the french press does the bulk of the work for you. Depending on how fine your grinds are, though, you may still need to filter them. For everyone else, you can line a strainer with a coffee filter or you can use a single-serving drip coffee cone, which is what I use. So cheap and so effective. I’ve also done the mesh strainer/coffee filter combo over a bowl as well and both work fine. See the two photos above for these two options.
  6. Serve over ice or heat up. Either way, Enjoy!

*”espresso or turkish” consistency is how everyone describes it online but seriously? My coffee grinder is the cheapest out there and there aren’t settings. Just grind it really well. According to American Test Kitchen, the fine grinds release more flavor **You can let it sit for longer. I’ve left mine for 36-48 before in the fridge and it was totally fine. Just don’t go less then 24 hours or it will be too weak. Some will argue that letting it sit at room temperature produces better results but I like mine in the fridge because I almost always drink my coffee iced. Try both ways to see if you have a preference. DSC_0703 Chocolate Syrup from Vegan in the Freezer

  • 1 cup of water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

Directions:

  1. Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar.
  2. Stir until the sugar dissolves, which should be about a minute.
  3. Stir in cocoa and salt. Reduce heat so the mixture is simmering. Continue to let it simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  5. Let cool. It will thicken as it cools.

DSC_0742 Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup from The Messy Baker

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves (I used 1/4 cause I don’t love the taste of cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 TBS vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, add water and both sugars. Simmer on medium-low until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes
  2. Turn the head down to low and whisk in cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and pumpkin puree. Simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to come to a boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and strain through a mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth or a very thin, clean tea towel. If you are too lazy/too busy for this (um, me!), then skip this step. The spices and the pumpkin will sink to the bottom of the storage container leaving the syrup at the top to scoop out. You could also give the syrup a stir before using and include the pumpkin and spices in your coffee. I actually don’t mind it like that. I think it’s more flavorful! Just make sure you don’t forget step 4 below.
  4. Allow the syrup to cool to room-temperature before stirring in the vanilla extract. Store in a mason jar or airtight container. The syrup with last for 1 month at room temperature or 3 months in the refrigerate.

DSC_0696 So there are 3 recipes for you! Does that make up for the fact that I have been negligent for the past month? Probably not but I just gave you Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup so that should count for something! Seriously, these recipes are so versatile! I use the chocolate syrup in hot and cold coffee (though I prefer it in hot I think), drizzled over ice cream or really, drizzled over anything! As for the Pumpkin Spice Syrup, come on! This is about 10x better then that crap you buy at Starbucks. 1. It taste better. A confession for you: I really hate Starbucks PSL. And I love Starbucks and Pumpkin. It taste so chemically to me! This stuff does not, 2. There is actual pumpkin in it! 20 bucks says the PSL does not have real pumpkin and 3. You can also use it in black tea, which is delicious, or over ice cream. Really, you can’t go wrong with either and I think you should go ahead and make these now. Also, if you could send a jar my way that would be awesome. God knows, I can’t get enough coffee lately!

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Harvard Yard

Harvard Yard

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I posted. It breaks my heart! I love fall so much and I usually love cooking and baking during October. Things have been so full on though since I moved back to Boston. Until last week, I had been working every single day for over 30 days straight. It was exhausting!! I was lucky if I had the energy to pour myself a bowl of cereal for dinner and eat it before passing out at an embarrassingly early hour, never mind making actually recipes. I haven’t even decorated for Halloween yet!!

But things are marginally slowing down here. I have my weekends back (for now…) and I’m almost all caught up on things that I didn’t have time to do while working. So, I can finally devote some more time to the blog! YEAH! I made some insanely yummy pumpkin things: granola, muffins and simple syrup (SO much better then Starbucks), some chai cookies and a kale salad (cause, you know, veggies and stuff), which I hope to get to you in the coming weeks (though I probably just jinxed myself).

For now, here is a recipe round-up of all my favorite fall foods that I have posted on the blog before. I know round-ups seem like a cop-out but I love doing them. I enjoy going back through and revisiting recipes I forgot about (Hello, Pumpkin Beer Pretzels and Pumpkin Cookie Dough Truffles!!) and reminding everyone of some favorite dishes (Black Bean Butternut Squash Burritos, Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers and Beer Bread…all SO good!).

Mini Pumpkin Baked Donuts

Mini Pumpkin Baked Donuts

Breads and Breakfasts

Apple Butter
Apple Cider and Pumpkin Spice Mini Baked Donuts

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Autumn Breakfast Hash
Beer Bread with Pumpkin Beer

Mini Pumpkin Loaves

Pumpkin Beer Pretzels
Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Cranberry Soup

Pumpkin Cranberry Soup

Entrees and Actual Food

Apple Sage Pizza
Black Bean Butternut Squash Burrito
Butternut Squash-Apple Soup
Butternut Squash “Cheez” Sauce (and Jack o’ Lantern Quesadillas)
Butternut Squash Chipotle Chili
Butternut Squash Kale Rice Bowls
Cream of Mushroom Soup with Cashew Cream
Pumpkin Cranberry Soup

Red Bean, Potato and Kale Soup
Southwestern Pumpkin Burgers
(aka my all-time fav vegan burger)
Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Soup (this is the most repeated recipe on the blog. In fact, my mom just made it for me for my birthday last week.)
Sweet Potato Lentil Stew

Peanut Butter Cup Pumpkins

Peanut Butter Cup Pumpkins

Desserts

Deep Dish Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Graham Crackers (for your pumpkin pie crusts)
Peanut Butter Cup Pumpkins
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
(I want these right now!!)
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

What are some fall staples I’m missing? I’m thinking definitely bulk up that dessert section! It’s looking a little sad. What are some fall vegan treats that you guys would like to see? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do for you.

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It’s Friday everyone! What will you be doing this weekend? My To-Do list says I’ll be cleaning my room, scrapbooking, catching up on blogs posts and going to the gym.

HAHAHA! That’s what my To-Do list has said every single weekend for three weeks.

Instead, I will most likely stay in bed too late on Saturday because, obviously, it’s the first day of the weekend and I need to recover from my week. Then I’ll spend the day watching bad TV and ridiculous movies until someone forces me to get out of my bed and my PJs by inviting me to do something. At which point, I will definitely need to shower and get ready, which definitely means no time for room cleaning!

On Sunday, I will most likely stay in bed too late because, obviously, it’s the last day of the weekend and I won’t be able to stay in bed late for 5 whole days! I’ll then go on a crazy cooking run making and photographing food for the blog next week, which definitely means no time for room cleaning!

This happens every. weekend.

BUT! While I’m vegging out watching another episode of Gilmore Girls, which I’ve seen 800 times, I’ll be munching on this delicious meal for brunch. I can not sing this breakfast hash’s praises enough. I seriously love it.

Autumn Breakfast Hash
serves about  5ish servings

  • olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion
  • 2 TBSP apple cider
  • 2 potatoes, I used russet
  • 1/2 a butternut squash
  • 1 apple, chopped into cubes
  • 2 handfuls of brussel sprouts (I would guessimate at 1/2 pound), ends and loose leaves removed
  • 2 pinches of pumpkin pie spice
  • salt to taste

 

Begin by slicing your onions into thin slices for caramelizing. Heat some oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Once hot, put your onions in the pan and stir. Keep stirring occasionally as your onions begin to caramelizing. Once then have begun to turn brown, about 10 minutes in, pour in your apple cider and stir. Let the apple cider cook down, stirring the onions occasionally. This should take another 10 minutes or so. When they are done, there should be no more liquid in the pan and your onions will be  dark brown and soft. Set a side.

Meanwhile, while your onions are cooking, begin to prep the veggies. Peel your potatoes and dice into small cubes. Peel your butternut squash (good luck with that!) and dice into the same size as your potatoes. You want them smaller so they will cook up fast in your skillet. I made mine about the size of a small brussel sprout.

Add a little more oil to a large skillet. When hot, add the potatoes and the butternut squash. Saute for about 5 minutes uncovered. Add the brussels sprouts, stir and cover with a lid. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until your vegetables are soft enough to pierce with a fork. Stir in your chopped apple, caramelized onions, pumpkin pie spice and salt and cook for a few more minutes, uncovered, until they are heated through. If you want your apples soft like your veggies, throw in a few minutes sooner.

We ate ours with whole wheat biscuits and apple butter but you could also stir in some crumbled, slightly pressed tofu for a scrambled-egg like texture or some vegan sausage for some spice.

This may be one of my favorite breakfasts ever. The sweetness of the apples and the onions is so good with the butternut squash and potatoes and it’s super filling! I may have had it every day for breakfast this week…and I may be preparing to make it again this weekend…

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

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