CopyCat Ice Coffee Make-Ahead Powder Mix

Emmi Coffee DrinkI will say straight up that I am NOT a coffee drinker. Period. But my husband is. And here in Switzerland, a company called Emmi makes a chilled coffee drink that is his favourite, but it’s also downright expensive per serving. So it got me thinking about how to make a powdered mix that would mimic its taste without the huge expense, and with my husband’s very-willing role as taste-tester, we tweaked the mix until the following recipe is our end result. Now, he’s got a jar full of the mix that will last him quite a while for a fraction of the cost!

Copycat Emmi Coffee Mix

80 gr. powdered skim milk

15 gr. any instant coffee with a bit of a chocolate nuance (the one I used is pictured below)

1 tsp. Caotina milk chocolate powder *

40 gr. Nescafé Espresso powder (the finest grind)

 

Add to a large jar and shake well to mix.

To use:

~3 tsp. mix

1/2 a glass of water – mix in the powder

Top up with your favourite ice cream and enjoy!

 

* For those of you unable to get this, just use whatever you have locally – it is a sweetened chocolate milk powder used in cooking, sprinkled on ice cream, or straight up as drink powder. Do not use that chalky chocolate powder that makes your tongue cleave to the roof of your mouth and refuse to swallow. That does not count as chocolate anything. 😉

Dark Mayan Chocoalte Coffee

 

Mock Whip Cream

I’ve been going through my old recipe cards this past week, and where possible I’ve been adding them to my Pinterest boards and eliminating the actual cards. Sometimes, a similar recipe is okay; but other times, when either the recipe is a family tried and true, or I know that the recipe itself really works as-is, a substitute just won’t do. This recipe is one of the latter – I’ve used it before it a pinch, and know that, at least if I put it here on my blog, I’ll know exactly where to find it when I need it again!

This recipe is for those times when you are out of whip cream, but need some and you simply don’t have time to (or don’t want to) run to the store for one item. As long as you have these items on hand (which I recommend – powdered milk can be used for a number of recipes, such as my Ranch dressing dry mix), you can whip it up in 10 minutes! Chill, and serve it up! No eggs, and you can make it either with or without sugar – depending on whether you need it for spaghetti carbonara or for apple pie.

mock whip creamMock Whip Cream

½ C. cold water

1 Tbs. lemon juice

¾ C. skim milk powder

A dash of salt

Whip together, beating 8 minutes or until the mixture stands in stiff peaks.

For sweet cream, gradually beat in:

¼ C. sugar

¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Chill before serving.

 

Down-Home Biscuits & Gravy

Bisquick BiscuitThis is one of my favourite childhood dishes; it was usually served as a hearty breakfast on my grandparents’ farm.

Biscuits:

2 C. flour

1/2 to 1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 C. milk

Blend together until the mixture “cleans” the sides of your bowl. Turn out onto a floured board and knead slightly (if you handle it too much, the biscuits can become tough). Pat out to 1/2″ thickness, and cut out rounds with the floured rim of a glass. Bake at 200°C (400°F) for 10-12 minutes, until light brown. In the meantime, prepare the gravy.

[For the biscuits, you could also use this Bisquick mix.]

Gravy:

225 gr. ground meat (hamburger, sausage, etc.)

Flour, milk (this is where you’ll need to go by feeling; for me, it’s about coating the meat with the flour – the milk amount will become apparent as it cooks)

Brown the meat; drain, but not thoroughly. Mix flour into the moist meat, then over low heat, gradually stir in the milk, letting it thicken between additions while stirring constantly. Keep adding milk until the gravy is the amount and thickness desired.

In a serving bowl, split the biscuits, then pour gravy on top. Spice to taste (usually just a bit of salt and pepper will be enough with the meat flavours). Enjoy!

Basic Crepes

crepes

Photo Credit: krampouz.com

I’ve used this recipe for years; in fact, it’s one of only a few that I have taped to the inside door of one of my kitchen cupboards for fast access. Crepes are quite popular in many European countries, and each one has their own variations, so the possibilities are endless!  Sweet or savoury, side dish or main dish or dessert, these crepes will fit the bill!

 

Basic Crepes

100 gr. flour

3 eggs

1/4 tsp. salt

3 dl. milk

30 gr. oil (+ oil for the pan)

Blend until smooth; let the batter rest, room temperature and covered, about 30 minutes.

Fry with a minimum amount of oil (I usually use only a drop or two, spread around the pan), pouring batter as you turn the pan (holding it and tilting it around) just until it coats the bottom of the pan. Once it firms up, flip it over and fry until golden brown.

Slip the crepe onto a plate, covering it with another plate – this keeps them warm, and warms the plates, too! Add to the stack as you go – either directly onto the previous crepe, or separated with squares of baking (wax) paper.

Serve with whatever you choose – fresh fruits, jams, grated cheese, spiralized vegetables, meats… the sky is the limit!  Enjoy!

Home Cornbread with Variations

This is one of my “memory” recipes – whenever I eat it, I remember scenes from my childhood when it was eaten – it’s the combination of taste and smell that brings them flooding back. A big plus is that it’s a delicious recipe! It can be eaten alongside hearty soups and stews, or simply drizzled with honey.  Enjoy!

cornbreadHome Cornbread

2 C. flour

2 C. cornflour *

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. baking powder

4 Tbs. honey

3 eggs

4-6 Tbs. butter

2 C. milk+

Mix, pour into a buttered casserole or pie dish. Bake at 200°C (400°F) ~30 minutes.

* If you don’t have access to this, you can use either a mixture of 1 C. polenta and 1 C. flour, or 2 C. Masa Harina (corn flour used for tortillas).

Variations of additional options: Add:

Bacon bits or chopped ham

Grated cheese

Cream cheese

Whatever you add, compensate with either milk or flour, maintaining a viscose bread dough consistency.

Variation: Corn-Onion Shortcake

Shortbread recipe as above – pour batter into a casserole dish or deep baking pan; then:

butter (amount to taste, for sautéing)

1 can corn (average size)

1 C. sour cream or plain yogurt

1 large onions, thickly sliced into rings, separated

2 C. grated Cheddar cheese

Sauté onions in the butter. Mis the rest into the onions, and then spread over the cornbread dough. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for ~35 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.

Chilled Soups

Summer ChillWe’ve been having a heatwave here in Switzerland, with nearly every day well above 30°C for the past couple weeks; cooking is the last thing I want to do, let alone eating a hot meal.  Enter: Chilled soups!  They are versatile, can be a side dish if we decide to grill meats, and can be served with nothing more than bread or crackers if that’s all we want.

One of my most favourite soups to eat, chilled or hot, is my North African Spiced Carrot Soup, but I’ve been trying out others found around Pinterest; so I thought I’d share a few links with you.  If you’re like me, and you hate flashy ads and pop-ups, most of these sites can be neutralized by Firefox by clicking the “page” symbol found to the right of the web address – just sayin’.  So without further ado, here’s a short line-up to whet your appetites!

Quick and Easy Gazpacho – with tomatoes, cucumber, bell peppers & onion – delicious!

Chilled Persian Yogurt Soup – This is an amazing combo of yogurt, fresh herbs (mint, dill and chives – all of which you could use from a dried form [hint: for dried mint, open a tea bag!], and raisins. Only 2 unusual ingredients, though both are optional.

Moroccan Carrot Red Lentil Soup – This is a variation of my soup above, with lentils & a dash of cinnamon!

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt & Coriander – With a few ideas for optional additions, this recipe is based on Greek yogurt and cucumbers, with a jalepeno for a bit of a kick (optional!).

Cool and Creamy Beet Borscht – Beets give this soup an amazing colour, while lemon juice and green onions give it a juicy tang to make your mouth water.

To find more, you can check out my Pinterest board for Chilled Soups.

Hospitality: Wine Charms

Here in Switzerland, when you are invited to someone’s home for dinner, you bring a gift; usually it’s chocolate, flowers, or a bottle of wine, though people also bring homemade things like jams, pickles, or – if you know the people well and know what their home decor is like – a handcrafted item.

I love crafts, and recently I started making wine charms again – the perfect gift to take, as those bottles of wine will be enjoyed.  For the presentation, I put together a few of my own cards – pulling graphics from Pinterest and combining – none of the elements are my own design, and if anyone recognises an element as their own work, please let me know so that I can give credit and a link where it is deserved!

To see my collection of ideas for wine charms on Pinterest, click here.  Enjoy!

White Wine CharmRed Wine CharmStain Wine Charm 1Stain Wine Charm 6Stain Wine Charm 5Stain Wine Charm 4Stain Wine Charm 3Stain Wine Charm 2

Tex Mex Party Menu

Last night we had a large dinner party, and I made Tex Mex.  Not many people are familiar with such cuisine here in Switzerland, so it was an adventure for quite a few of our guests!  Rather than a recipe this time, I’ll give you my menu with links to the recipes I based my dishes on:

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For the Apero:

Spiced nuts, Guacamole & Salsa with tortilla chips, and Pina Colada (virgin, with Coruba Rum or Malibu Coconut Rum on the side for those who like it spiked)

Drinks served for the main meal:

Corona beer; Desperados tequila beer; a variety of drinks such as Coke, 7-Up, etc.

Main Meal Choices:

Nopales (cactus salad) [I used Feta cheese, as Cojita is not available here.]

Spanish Rice (with coriander cooked in)

Chicken *

Barbacoa Beef *

Guacamole

Salsa

Tortillas, Tortilla chips

Toppings:

Sour Cream with Chives, shredded lettuce, grated Cheddar cheese

Desserts:

Apple Tiramisu

Sopapillas (Cheesecake bars) (I used phyllo dough, as crescent roll dough is strictly an American product)

I made the meats without hot peppers; I cannot eat spicy, and many people don’t like it, so I served spices and tabasco on the side for those who wanted a zing.

I basically set up the kitchen counter as the buffet, with tortilla chips and bowls of guacamole & salsa along the tables.  Needless to say, the whole menu was a hit!  The Apple Tiramisu has become my signature dish, as it’s requested again and again; I couldn’t leave it out, though it’s not Mexican, which is why I included the Sopapillas, for the authentic theme.

* I cooked both of these simultaneously in my crockpot:  I put the beef into a metal bowl that just fit into my crockpot width-wise; the chicken was in the main pot, and then I sunk the bowl up to the rim in the liquid, to get an even heat distribution.  They both cooked beautifully, though occasional stirring of the chicken was a bit tricky.  To serve, I set the bowl into a pan next to the crockpot to minimize mess.

[In gathering the recipes for these links, I was reminded again of why I have Firefox!  If you don’t yet have it, do yourself a big favour and download it as your browser:  It has a function that allows you to look at a basic website without all of the flashing, pop-up annoyances they call “ads”!!]

Moroccan Lentil Soup

I made this soup tonight, and wanted to snag & pass the recipe! It’s full of aromatic flavours, and cooks up in about 30 minutes. It was delicious hot, and I’m sure it will be delicious cold, too!

Spoon With Me

My husband and I met a friend downtown last Friday for drinks.  I’m not high maintenance by most standards, but it took me about 40 minutes and two outfit changes to switch over from teacher-mode to going out mode.  The mister, on the other hand, showered, shaved, chose a button up shirt and jeans, and carefully mussed his hair in less than 15.  He was sitting on the couch playing Angry Birds long before I emerged from the bedroom to ask him which shoes looked better.

My male counterpart is usually known around here by pseudonyms like Mr. Medium Rare, The Hubs and my favorite taste tester.  You may be surprised to know that he has a real name.  Meet Peder; 6 foot 4, blue-eyed and amiable, the keeper of  both random and highly useful knowledge.  Equal parts logical and creative,  stubbly and polished.  Peder has good kitchen sense, but cooks…

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Plarn Bags, & How to Fold Plastic Bags

I don’t know about you, but I find that plastic bags seem to multiply like rabbits; until they are no longer made, I say that we need to take lemons and make lemonade.  I use bags to crochet “plarn” items, and reuse some as waste bin liners.  This image below is from Pinterest; the source was not attached, so if you know who took the original image, I’d like to credit them for the image below.

I’ve been using this technique for years, and it’s simple, neat, and convenient.  I store my bags in an old whiskey carton; I can then grab a few and toss into the bottom of our smaller bins occasionally.  For larger plastic bags, I have a storage bag; the size of the triangle tells me roughly which size bag I’ll get, so I can quickly find the right size (or colour, if for crafts) of the bag I grab.

The last step is not very clear; it’s simply that you tuck the last fold into the other folds, to keep it from unravelling.  If you find that a bag’s “leftover fold” is too short to hold, back up one fold, fold the top in the opposite direction to form a triangle, and then tuck it in.

how-to-fold-plastic-bags

Below are a few of the bags I’ve made; the white plastic yarn, or “plarn” is made from the flimsy veggie bags you get at grocery stores.  Cut into one continuous strip; once they’re crocheted, they’re sturdy, and you can toss the bag into the laundry when needed!  The black bag is made from the thickness of bags you get at a clothes shop.  I use that bag to tote reuseable grocery bags in, and I’ve added pockets by ironing (between baking papers) cut-outs of drink plastic wraps (below), and ironing them onto the sides of the bag (be sure to slip baking paper under areas of the label that you don’t want melted to the plarn bag, to create the pocket!).  If you’re interested in doing something like that, there are tons of tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest!!

 

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