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Hey all y’all coffee-holics out there!  I’m changin’ it up a bit today and we’re going to have a little fun.  So guess what I’m blogging about? You guessed it. Coffee! That wonderful elixir that beckons to us to come, inhale the aroma, savor the flavor, partake in the richness, awaken your senses, and indulge in the glorious grandeur of it.

So if you’re a coffee devourer like many of us are, pull out your notepad and enjoy these personal recipes and tips from my kitchen.  I warn you ahead of time, these can be addictive and highly enjoyable.

JAVA FREEZE  –  serves 1

This is such a simple, versatile recipe that it’s a cinch to make it your own.

First, brew extra strong coffee or espresso, allow to cool, pour into ice cube trays and freeze solid.

  • 6 – 12 frozen coffee/espresso cubes
  • 1 cup ice cream or frozen yogurt in flavor of choice (try vanilla, chocolate, caramel, peppermint or buttered pecan)
  • Garnishes:  cinnamon, nutmeg, raspberries, chocolate syrup, caramel syrup, crushed peppermint candy, toffee pieces, crushed candy bar, chopped nuts, etc.

Directions:  Put the first 2 ingredients in a blender on a high setting. Whir it up until smooth but still very thick. Pour into a dessert serving dish or glass. Top with whipped cream. Garnish as desired.  Eat as a dessert or drink as a refreshing frozen drink. For guests, it’s a nice touch to add a crisp cookie to the dish as a garnish and a crunchy treat. If you like kahlua, you can add this during the blending.

RED EYE GRAVY

If you live in the south, you have either heard of or had red eye gravy. This is a rich, somewhat thin sauce like gravy that is often made with baked or fried ham, using the drippings and coffee.  Let me tell you, IT IS GOOD!

  •  2-4 tablespoons of Drippings/stock from baked ham
    or
  • Drippings left in skillet after frying ham slices
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup cold black coffee

 

Directions:  In a large skillet (cast iron works best), heat ham dripping over medium high heat, stirring with a whisk to keep loose in the pan.  Add flour to drippings, creating a rue, stirring with whisk until a light golden brown. Slowly pour in coffee, stirring continuously with whisk.  Allow to come to a low boil while stirring,  making sure to bring up all the bits from the bottom of the skillet, until gravy thickens.  Serve over ham, or with mashed potatoes, grits, biscuits, etc.

PEP IN YOUR STEP FRUIT DIP – yields 4 cups

When people try this dip, they will be begging for the recipe. But you can keep it as your little secret if you want…hehehe.

  • 1 (8 oz ) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 oz) container sour cream
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup coffee flavored liqueur
  • 1 (8 oz) container of non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, almond or mint extract (optional)

 

Directions:  Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix with your mixer until completely smooth & creamy. Put in a lovely glass or dip bowl, cover loosely and chill until ready to serve.  Serve with a variety of fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, grapes, blackberries, fresh slices of peaches, apples, nectarines, kiwi, melon, etc…just whatever fruit you want to serve. This goes with it all.

JAVA TIPS

  • Never store your coffee beans or ground coffee in the refrigerator or freezer. This allows the natural oils to extract and will cause coffee to be bitter
  • Add a dash (just a shake or two) of sea salt to your coffee ground basket before brewing or perking.  This removes mild bitterness and adds a smoothness to the beverage.
  • When making your own chocolate or vanilla flavored coffee beverage at home, instead of using the packaged mixes or flavored creamers designed for this, try using Carnation Essentials breakfast drink mix or similar instead.  This will add vitamins & minerals to your drink as well as flavor.  You can still use your flavored or plain creamers for extra creaminess.
  • Add instant coffee crystals or coffee flavored liqueur to smoothies or milkshakes, homemade ice cream recipes, or to cake, cookie or brownie recipes for rich coffee flavor.
  • Add fresh or left-over coffee (if there is any), instant coffee crystals or coffee flavored liqueur to soups, sauces and gravies for a rich kick of flavor.
  • Have you ever tried coffee in your meat marinades?  You should try just a little strong cold coffee in them for a wonderful surprise flavor.

Did you know that coffee has been reported in many studies to be good for you skin?  Coffee beans along with several other plant leaves contain caffeine. A water-soluble chemical, caffeine acts as a diuretic and vasoconstrictor. Now before we go farther, notice I specifically said caffeine is water-soluble. That means it can only be extracted in aqueous, water-based solvents. Such as when we brew or percolate coffee to drink. I’m sorry to have to burst anyone’s bubble but these “recipes” for “coffee infused oil” where coffee beans or grounds are put in a fixed oil for a time do not contain any significant amount of caffeine. Aroma and color, YES. But caffeine, NO. The same applies to anhydrous coffee scrubs made with just oils. Nope, no caffeine. Sorry, y’all. But ground coffee does make a wonderful exfoliant when used in a scrub and is more gentle on the skin than sugar or salt.

So what else can caffeine do for skin? Well, it’s has been reported to help with the appearance of cellulite and spider veins.  It can wake up and revive your skin with natural goodness while the antioxidants naturally present helps to eradicate skin cell damage from oxidation due to sun exposure, environment, etc. It can reduce puffiness around eyes and help brighten skin as well.  Recent studies have even indicated when consumed in moderation, caffeine may reduce the risks of skin cancer.

When it comes to caffeine, Neos Skin Care is on it and has been for years. If you hang out on the Neos page on Facebook, you already know I’m a devoted coffee and tea drinker. But did you know many Neos products contain a good dose of cosmetic grade isolated caffeine for it’s skin care properties. Over the years, I’ve reformulated many of the products in the Mineral Facial Care Collection to include caffeine. What I use is in a potent water-soluble powdered form.  So it works great in emulsions and water-based products. It’s entirely possible caffeine and maybe real bonafide coffee may show up in a body care product along the way too.  That’s all I’m saying!

Yes, when it comes to java, I’m on it. And I jump for it. But not too high because….well, this knee of mine does not like that and this 50-something tushie is a bit unimpressed with my jumping skills.

Do you Jump For Java?  What are your favorite java indulgent pleasures?  Do you have a recipe to share with us?  

Until next time, y’all!

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