Fall Is Here And So Are the Spices

And just like that....Fall is here. At least for me here in the Pacific Northwest. Actually on the Eastern side of WA. This is all new to me (Johnny has lived here before years ago) and exciting. 

We downsized quite a bit and really embracing the tiny living. We are enjoying new changes that are happening with Johnny Lolita's (we will keep you posted) HOWEVER...Fall hit us and I was walking around shocked at how cold it is now in the mornings. In the mid to upper 30's...thats C-O-L-D!!! Especially for someone that has spent their life in the Southwest and living in AZ for over 15 years. I'm certainly not used to the cooler temps and my "thin blood" from the hot desert has not adapted just yet.

On the plus side, I am really embracing the Fall weather and thinking of my favorite hot things to drink with "Fall style" spices. Of course it's coffee based...with some spice. 

I am sharing my recipe for Pumpkin Spice Crock Pot Latte again, however I am also going to share a simple recipe for Maple! Yes...maple! It's becoming very popular this season and something you should definitely try.

Here's the Recipe for Crock Pot Pumpkin Spice Latte:

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Which is great for large gatherings. However, you can cut the recipe down as well. 

Ingredients  

  • 6 cups of whole milk (you can use 2%, soy or almond milk)
  • 6 cups of strongly brewed coffee (Johnny Lolita's Brazil Dark or Lolita's Blend would be awesome) 
  • 1/2 cup of Pumkin purée  
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar ( depending on how sweet you want it)  
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 3 cinnamon sticks  

Directions 

  • Combine coffee and milk in your crockpot.
  • in a separate bowl, whisk/whip together the pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon and pour into crockpot. 
  • Mix all ingredients well.
  • Add the cinnamon sticks. 
  • Cover the crockpot and cook on high for 2 hours. If it seems like it's been boiling for a long time reduce the heat. 
  • Ready to serve and enjoy. 

This recipe will serve 15+ people. For the adults you can offer your favorite liquor to their spiced latte. 

Simple Maple Latte

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When purchasing maple syrup...go for the pure ones. I've read that pure maple syrup contains antioxidants, minerals. vitamins and 13 other antioxidant compounds (chemistry verbiage) many of those compounds exclusive to maple syrup. 

Its a great alternative to honey (at times if you wish). Bottom line its packed with nutritional value and tastes great too! There is a lot of info on pure maple syrup, you should take some time and read up on it. I've eliminated most artificial sweetener and turn to stevia and maple syrup. 

Here's a simple recipe for a Maple Latte

Ingredients

  • Strong coffee Johnny Lolita's Brazil Dark is a great choice
  • Milk of your choice 
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of maple syrup (depending on the size of your mug)
  • pinch (or two if you have a large cup) of ground cloves
  • pinch (or two if you have a large cup) of allspice
  • pinch (or two if you have a large cup) of nutmeg

Directions 

  • Add maple syrup and spices to the bottom of your cup and stir
  • Heat up your milk (whole, 2%, almond, cashew, soy etc) 
  • Add about 1/2-3/4 coffee in your cup to the maple mixture and stir
  • Pour hot milk and top with foam

A short cut to foamy milk

Another quick way to achieve hot foamy milk if you don't have a frother. Take your milk and add to a mason jar. Whatever size mason jar you are using, do not fill to the very top...leave some room. Place in microwave without lid or ring (no metal in microwaves). Heat milk...do not boil. Use an oven mitt if you need to remove mason jar. Add the lid and ring (tightly, I've learned the hard way) and shake vigorously. You will see that the milk gets foamy. Voila!!!! Instant foamy milk.  

Just writing these recipes is cause for me to go grab a cup and start making a latte. Let me know your thoughts or any ideas you'd like to share on making your favorite coffee drink at home. 

Lolita💋

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice & Everything's Nice Creamer

Homemade Pumpkin Spice in mason jar

Homemade Pumpkin Spice in mason jar

You had me at Pumpkin Spice! So far I am off to a great start in October! At least in Johnny's eyes. This man loves his sweets, however, he is not a chocolate kinda guy...or a super sticky greasy cookie sorta man either. He loves fruit pies and cakes (must have butter creme frosting, don't give him cream cheese frosting) and candy. Well...he likes a lot more than he doesn't like. BUT...he is a pumpkin pie man and I won him over making pumpkin pie from scratch over the weekend. So right now, I am on the pedestal. (family inside joke)

Adding the pumpkin purée, spices and cinnamon stick

Adding the pumpkin purée, spices and cinnamon stick

Being that I roast coffee, enjoy everything coffee and want wonderful people like you to enjoy coffee at home, I wanted to maintain my "pumpkin theme" this month and provide you a recipe at home for your very own pumpkin spice creamer. 

It's super easy and likely you have all the ingredients-minus the pumpkin puree. I roasted several mini pie pumpkins so I have plenty or puree frozen and ready when I need it. However, if you want to make your own pumpkin puree, go check out my blog "It's October...It's All About Pumpkin" on how to make pumpkin puree OR grab a can of pumpkin puree at the store...it will work just as well. 

Also, the recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice. Several options, if you have pumpkin spice already in your cabinet...great! Or, you can buy pumpkin spice at the store. However, I made a batch of pumpkin spice to keep on hand for the holiday season. Most likely (especially if you're a baker) you have the ingredients in your cabinet. I will include the Pumpkin Spice mix below the Pumpkin Spice Creamer.

The recipe calls for your choice of milk/cream. I actually used a combo of whole milk and heavy whipping cream. (because that is what I found in the refrigerator)

You combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and begin whisking the ingredients together. I also threw in a cinnamon stick...it's optional. Place the heat on medium...you do not want this to boil. I would whisk the ingredients for about 2-3 minutes. 

Next, take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool. Then place in a heat resistant container to keep in the refrigerator. The creamer will keep up to five days if you can keep it that long (wink wink smiley face).

I used a mason jar and placed in the fridge. When you are ready to use be sure to give a couple of shakes to your creamer to mix the ingredients since they will settle. 

One of my favorite ceramic creamers...a dachshund!  

One of my favorite ceramic creamers...a dachshund!  

Next morning, I was ready to enjoy. I used my very special creamer holder...a dachshund that was given to me by my wonderful sister-in-law, Tami. I enjoyed my coffee with a couple of neighbors to see what they thought. It was a hit! The taste was sweet enough but not over the top. It tastes really good and fresh. Much different than the actual store bought kind. 

I love this little guy... 

I love this little guy... 

I don't use creamer in my coffee. I typically enjoy my coffee black and time to time with creamer. I don't use any sugar. However, this creamer was great it didn't make the coffee too sweet. It was a nice change for me. 

The big bonus was gathering people at my house to sit and enjoy some coffee and fun conversation. One of the big reasons I roast coffee...so you can enjoy at home with family & friends. Enjoy your coffee the way you like to drink it...whether cream & sugar...just cream or black...enjoy with someone and create a great memory. 

Pumpkin Spice Creamer

Ingredients

Pumpkin Spice Creamer in my coffee=Yum!  

Pumpkin Spice Creamer in my coffee=Yum!  

  • 1 1/2 cups of half-and-half (you can use milk, heavy cream, soy, almond, your choice)
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (purchase at the store or make your own)
  • 2-4 Tablespoons brown sugar (I used 2 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 Teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice ( I made from scratch and have the recipe below)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon stick (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and turn heat to medium-high. Begin whisking ingredients and stir 2-3 minutes. Do not let the milk/cream boil. Simmer is fine. Set saucepan off heat to cool and place in airtight, heat resistant container. When you are ready to use be sure to shake up contents as the homemade ingredients tend to settle. 

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoon ground ginger
  • 4 Teaspoons ground nutmeg **( I used 2 1/2 Teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg)
  • 2 Teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a small bowling whisk until well blended. Store in air-tight jar. **If you use freshly grated nutmeg, you may wish to add slightly less. The flavor can be more intense. 

I would absolutely L-O-V-E any updates and comments when you make it. Please feel free to share on our Facebook page or Instagram. 

Lolita 💋

 

 

It's October...It's All About Pumpkin!

Pumpkin bread, Pumpkin pie and of course Pumpkin Spice Latte! The beginning of Fall is the beginning of the holidays...may favorite time of year. 

This month, I will dedicate several blogs to the squash plant for all the Fall/Pumpkin Loving people out there. Stay tuned this week as I show you how to make your own "Pumpkin Spice Creamer" to enjoy at home. 

Pie pumpkins  

Pie pumpkins  

So to start, I wanted to make my own pumpkin puree. I have never done it before and since I want to make my mini "lid pies" (I will soon share) for customers I wanted to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. 

I had a couple of "naysayers" touting their opinion on why mess up a good thing... just go and buy pumpkin puree in a can. However, making fresh baked pumpkin pie for customers, I wanted it all from scratch...including the crust.

So I grabbed some of the small pumpkins at my local grocery store. Gee, I always thought these little guys were to decorate.(wink wink smiley face) I buy these every year and typically I am painting them and carving them for mini versions to decorate inside the home. Who knew that I should be roasting these and making puree. 

Nice & roasted 

Nice & roasted 

It's not hard at all, you cut the stem off, then cut in half and scoop out the fiber and seeds. I saved the seed as I do with any pumpkin. I have to tell you...these little pumpkins pack a lot of seeds. You then cut the halves in half. I foiled a cookie sheet and laid then flesh side up and roasted in the over (350 degrees) for about 45 minutes. It's ready when you can pierce the flesh easily with a fork. 

Once roasted, scrape the flesh from the skin and place it in a food processor, vitamix blender or whatever you have to puree the pumpkin. That's it! From there you are ready to use in your made-from-scratch recipe.

Roasting time

Roasting time

In making your puree, you may start wondering why your puree doesn't seem as dark in color as the ones in the can. I also noticed a different taste in my homemade pumpkin pie than when I use the puree in a can version. Actually...I really enjoyed the homemade version. The puree wasn't as sugary-sweet, but it was de-lish! 

I started researching the pumpkin-in-a-can puree to see the ingredients. They all seem to say "pumpkin, sugar, dextrose and natural flavors". HOWEVER...I found from several sources that the USDA/FDA allows some leniency in what they can classify as pumpkin. We all know what pumpkin is...an orange round vegetable that we see during the Fall either small or much larger. I've read that there are other varieties of squash that companies use along with pumpkin. Particularly Libby's...they grow a proprietary strain of squash called Dickinson Squash. It is more of a squash...closer to a butternut squash. As I mentioned, the FDA allows companies to classify the pumpkin and many of your winter squash as pumpkin. What you will find is that the squash varieties that are incorporated in with the pumpkin will give a sweeter taste. I have enjoyed for many many years the pumpkin puree in a can and if you enjoy...you should continue to do so. I know that it is a great tasting pie. Super easy to use and make. 

Lid pies! 

Lid pies! 

I DID enjoy this pie and I was successful in making my mini pumpkin pies. I have a customer that is looking for 2 dozen for an event in two weeks. SO I will be practicing lots!!!!! Johnny is being my hand model to show you the mason jar lid and the easy removal of your mini pie. Johnny said he'd rather be the "Guy eating pie model". I said..."Maybe later". (Wink wink smiley face) 

As I mentioned earlier...stay tuned for this weeks recipe for homemade Pumpkin Spice Creamer. 

Lolita 💋