Stovetop espresso and easy lattes at home

Espresso pot black on black via besotted blog

Many people gave up coffee/caffeine as the new year rolled in (Michelle gave it up before then!). I on the other hand made a concerted effort to drink stronger coffee. I know that may sound odd, but I really only drink one cup a day (alternate days I’ll drink tea). On the mornings I have coffee I wanted it to really do its job and for me that meant I wanted something with a kick, something that was rich in a way only good coffee can be, not bitter, not waterey, something that felt like I was drinking a cup of luxury, because when you have a toddler, drinking a hot beverage while it’s still hot is truly a luxury. I did a ton of coffee research, which if you ever have gone down that rabbit hole can be both incredibly interesting and overwhelming. I decided on a stove top espresso maker. They are inexpensive (mine shown was under $15!), easy to use and easy-ish to clean. They do take more time than say a Keurig, but about as much time as it takes to make and steep a good cup of tea. My espresso maker reads that it makes 6 cups and I am sure it would if you were making espresso, but if you think you are going to get 6 cups of coffee out of it, you are not. You will get one strong cup of coffee. I don’t even use the entire pot. I have been making my own foamy lattes in the morning, heating the milk (in the microwave) and using a handheld frother, it may seem like a lot of work, but it’s a lot less work than trying to wrangle previous mentioned toddler, get her dressed, fed, in the car seat or stroller, off to Starbuck’s, ask for a lukewarm latte, get home drink latte cold. My extra step to froth my own milk, is totally worth it and I get to drink my latte hot!  Bonus, I save a ton of money and my sanity! This is such a revelation!Read More

Super Easy Spinach Pesto

spinach and almond pesto via besotted blog

We make pesto of some sort at least once a week, it’s so easy that most of the time my two year old daughter makes it (supervised of course), it takes about 5 minutes start to finish (clean up from toddler cooking–add an extra 30-60 minutes). On a side note, I realized that if E. makes something, she is more apt to eat it, it might be a good ‘trick’ to motivate those picky eaters to try something new. You won’t need any special skills, but a blender or food processor and you can really get creative with your ingredients.  Pesto is incredibly versatile it can be used on pasta (our fave), spread on bread or crackers, used as a dip for veggies, we’ve even been known to use them with our scrambled eggs! Mastering this culinary taskmaster is not only easy, but it gives you cred in the kitchen (perfect for a newbie chef)!

We have been using spinach instead of the traditional basil because we usually have a bag on hand, you can of course add some basil to your spinach pesto, sometimes we’ll add a handful of leaves if we have.

//INGREDIENTS//

3-4 cups Spinach firmly packed (we use a bag of Trader Joe’s organic baby spinach, you can sub for all basil or add some basil leaves, we’ve even used Kale, optional)

Garlic (2 peeled large cloves, or 3 small ones)

1/3 cup Olive Oil (don’t pour in all at once!)

3-4 T Parmesan

Salt & Pepper (a pinch)

1/4 cup Almonds (you can omit or switch them up and try walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, or the traditional pine nut, experiment! You can roast but we don’t)

//RECIPE//

We do this as a dump all your ingredients (except the olive oil) into the food processor or blender situation. I put the garlic at the bottom so it gets chopped nice and fine (you don’t want to chomp on a giant piece of garlic). We start with about a tablespoon pour of olive oil and pulse, we keep slowly adding the oil and pulsing until the pesto is finely chopped and resembles a thick paste, you may have to scrape the sides down with the spatula a few times after pulsing. You may not even need to use the entire olive oil!

To use for pasta just cook your pasta as directed on package and drain, we return the pasta to the now empty pot and start stirring in the pesto to coat the noodles. The heat from the pasta is sufficient to warm up the sauce, we sprinkle a little more parm on and dinner is served! Pesto also freezes beautifully, making this meal come together even faster! Enjoy!

//ALTERNATE PESTO RECIPES TO EXPLORE//

Brazil nut & argula pesto

Pea & spinach pesto

Roasted red pepper pesto

Sun-dried tomato pesto

 

 

 

 

DIY Cold Brew Coffee

How-to Make Cold Brew Coffee via Besotted Blog

My great grandmother always had homemade “coffee concentrate” at the ready in her refrigerator (it was in a tall glass juice carafe with an orange lid – isn’t it strange how childhood details can etch themselves into your memory?). Grandma claimed it made for a proper cup of coffee – flavorful but smooth, without any twinge of bitterness, and it didn’t upset her stomach like coffee from a pot. Well, as any true coffee connoisseur (or mason jar coffee hipster) can tell you, Grandma was right! The cold brew process reduces acidity and concentrates the flavor of the beans, making for a gentler but richer cup.

Whipping up a batch of cold brew has been on my mind for ages,  but I’ve been deterred by the chore of filtering watery grounds through cheesecloth and a strainer – the odds of ending up with a mouthful of coffee grounds or a floor flooded in ice cold coffee seemed high. Then I heard about using a re-usable filter bag instead of a cheesecloth (the same sort of bag that’s used for making almond milk) – hooray! I promptly ordered one, and made cold brew the very next day. My taste-testers positively RAVED (Tristan’s husband requested that she order the filter for their household ASAP), and we devoured the entire 8 cups of brew in 2 days.

//RECIPE//

2.75 cups coarsely ground coffee beans (I used Trader Joe’s Organic Sumatra beans).

8 cups of good tasting water (definitely use filtered water if your tap water is less than delicious).

Place coarsely ground beans into the filter bag and set in your pitcher / container, then add water (if you’d like to make a different amount of brew just calculate a ratio of 1 part coffee grounds : 3 parts water). Refrigerate for 11-12 hours, then remove the bag of grounds- that’s it, your cold brew is ready to enjoy!

Drink it while it’s fresh! Keep your cold brew refrigerated and use it within 2 weeks (or it will start to taste like chewy old coffee – ew).

SERVING

Cold: pour over ice, add milk if desired, dilute with water if needed.

Hot : 1 part concentrate to 2 parts hot water or milk.

Note: 1 part ice-cold brew even when added to boiling water makes for a lukewarm cuppa. If you like your coffee HOT, you’ll want to warm up the cold brew portion or at least bring it to room temperature.

We think bottles of cold brew would make for very stylish homemade gifts or wedding favors – don’t you? The link for the labels we created is below – you are welcome to use them too! (personal use only of course)

//RESOURCES//

Here’s the filter bag I used.

This organic hemp bag was tempting too.

Coffee Bean Grinder

Label PDF

Swing Top Bottles

Kitchen Twine (used to tie on the labels)

Photo edited with Foto Rx First Aid Kit: I played Feeling Off-Color to get the white balance just right, and Slight Light at 30% opacity to make it nice an bright. 

P.S. Reading your quotes for our Maybelle Luxe kit giveaway is like a concentrated dose of inspiration! Cruise through if you haven’t peeked yet, and there’s still time to enter if you have a favorite quote to share!

P.P.S. The font I used for the cold brew labels was created for the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum – and it’s FREE! I recommend heading over to download it asap.

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, and the co-creator of Foto Rx Premium Photoshop Actions. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.

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Everyday Detox by Megan Gilmore

Everyday Detox via Besotted BlogI thought ‘Everyday Detox’ would definitely be a good book to mention, the name of the book and the site which it was borne from-‘Detoxinista’ might throw people off, thinking this is a diet book/site.  I don’t diet, I won’t diet and one day I shall share my super (okay, not that secret) secret (and totally simple) method to always be slim, have clear skin, shiny hair and be healthy with lots of energy and still be able to eat chocolate (or drink wine), but for today we will discuss the book. Another beautifully photographed and easy to follow guide to cooking whole foods. I had been looking to find ways to make bread type items out of vegetables or pantry staples like beans, something that wouldn’t taste like cardboard or have me soaking anything for hours at a time. Again, my search was inspired by my daughter who would love to only be allowed to eat bread and cheese (wouldn’t we all?) I wanted to find something that would replace the bread, I am always looking for ways to incorporate more vegetables into her life, seriously it is almost evangelical my veggie mission. My search brought me to Detoxinista and the companion cookbook. The cover photograph is of the cauliflower flat bread ‘pizza’ which as the name implies is a flat bread made from cauliflower, the best part is there is no added flours, it is pretty darn creative if you ask me. You’ll find lot’s of creative ways to re-work some of your favorite recipes/foods. This is another book that I downloaded on my Kindle from the library and I am so happy I did! I don’t get to indulge in too many hobbies these days, but cooking allows me to be creative without feeling guilty that I am taking away time from my family and being able to find a book that allows me to re-envision everyday foods in a beautiful and healthful way has really has upped the creative spark in my kitchen.

Have you discovered Detoxinsta yet? Do you also have a secret (not so secret) way to stay slim and be healthy? We would love to know if you have tried any of the recipes!

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.

The Skinnytastes Cookbook

The Skinny Taste Cookbook via Besotted Blog

Gina Homolka’s, Skinnytaste blog is one of my go-to’s when I’m stuck for meal ideas (full disclosure, I don’t cook or eat anything that is reduced fat, so I will just use the whole version for her recipes). The recipes are usually very simple to prepare and I have found many that are toddler approved. One of our favorites from her blog is the mini broccoli omelettes, these come together in minutes and supposedly are perfect for freezing but we have never had leftovers to try that. Gina has an active community and from her crazy Pinterest following (some recipes have been pinned over 700,000 times if that’s any indication of how wildly popular she is).

I have not bought this book yet, but I have had the opportunity to peruse it in person and it is gorgeous! The photos are by famed food photographer Penny De Los Santos, which should give you an indication of the quality of this book. I recently borrowed it from the library, which was a quick download on my Kindle, if your library has this option it has been like a ‘kid in a candy store’ fun to preview cookbooks and read novels that I ordinarily wouldn’t purchase, I highly recommend the service!

Have you discovered Gina Homolka’s Skinnytaste? Any recipes you have tried that you’d recommend?

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the co-creator of the world’s best + easiest product photography editing tool-Foto Rx | Shopkeeper’s Helper and one of the writer’s of this delightful blog. Her lofty goal here is to make this a creative resource repository and to inspire you to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with your life.