Fresh Mint Mocha Cold Brew Coffee

Fresh Mint Mocha Cold Brew Coffee

When there were only two coffee shops in town, you had your pick between Cup of Coffee, a large coffee shop with lots of seating and lots of windows (so many it feels fish-bowl-esque) and Vic's, which was downtown so you'd have to find parking or walk (or find parking and then walk). This was not, for any kid in their late teens, "the promise land." When you asked around, no one was looking towards graduation and saying, "I think I'll stay here." 

At first, things changed slowly. Too slow too notice even. A restaurant went in one year and just sat for a while, becoming an icon of main street in it's own time. A few years later a new coffee shop opened, and it was far cuter than the original two. They sold coffee from an old-timey house that was full of character, called their shop "Bitter Sweet" and encouraged you to sip your drink from their patio. Bitter Sweet turned on twinkle lights after sun down and served wine. 

Then it was like dominos. Almost the entire west side of Main Street was revamped. It feels like it happened over night but these things take time. I was in college, and every time I came back it looked different: A new barbeque joint replaced something that none of us remember. A taco shop went in next door (a second went in around the corner, because every small town needs a selection when it comes to tacos), and a new ice cream parlor opened up down the block. The old ice cream shop has since closed. The new shop serves flavors someone could've made up on a whim, like Honey Maple Grapefruit and Apple Pie. In terms of ice cream shops, it's pretty darn good. 

Next came, an artisan bakery that serves espresso and sandwiches. Pizza. A new yoga studio. A kitchen store 😍. You get the picture.

Fresh Mint Mocha Cold Brew Coffee

Living in the town you grew up in never had much appeal. Part of me never even considered it as an option. The way my mom spoke of her hometown probably reinforced this. The way my dad spoke of the suburbs certainly did. I was young, I had plans! I was going places. I wasn't sure where, but I was getting my degree in Spanish and that was certainly going to take me somewhere. 

It's a mixed bag when you tell people, "I'm from here," because part of you is so proud that you--yes, you!- are the one native left on the block. You are the O.G. Other than that small nugget of pride, part of you also shrinks inside: "Hi, I'm me, and I'm still right here where I've always been." 

Fresh Mint Mocha Cold Brew Coffee

Not a century ago, generations on generations stayed in the same home town. Today, it comes with such a stigma. And what for? This town has grown with me. I have grown with it. I have seen plenty of other towns. They were great. This one is too. So I'm taking all of the feelings that come with that stigma, and I'm balling them up, and I'm throwing them out the window. Will you join me? Toss out the heaviness you feel when you explain why you are where you are, and instead wear it with pride (this goes for anyone, where ever they are--home town or not). You worked hard for it, after all. (This is a technique a sports psychologist taught me: Bad day? Ball it up, and flush it down the toilet. Let go.) 

Fresh Mint Mocha Cold Brew Coffee

Mint Mocha Cold Brew Coffee

Paleo, Primal, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Cold brew coffee is refreshing and less acidic than regular coffee. The addition of cocoa and mint add a smoothness to this cold brew and a note of freshness that will wake you right up.

Yields: 4 cups   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup ground coffee of choice
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 liter water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a pitcher and put in fridge. Allow to seep for 24 hours.
  2. Remove from fridge and strain coffee through a coffee filter or even a very fine mesh tea stainer into serving glasses/mugs. Serve with ice and milk or cream as desired.

Fresh Mint Mocha Cold Brew Coffee
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Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

I have this terrible habit of buying the fruitiest trail mix at the store, and eating pretty much only the nuts before deciding I'm done. Buying the trail mix without fruit takes some serious self control-- at the store, it looks like sweet little pieces of candy. A few bites in, I'm done and ready to move on. 

What's better is when the nuts are somehow transformed into a treat, like the cocoa-dusted pecans in this trail mix, which are roasted with a bit of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne. 

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix
A healthy dose of chocolate never hurt, so I usually opt for the trail mixes with dessert-like names. No regrets. This trail mix follows suit, with chocolate-covered espresso beans and cacao nibs. It's the perfect afternoon pick-me-up to keep in my desk drawer, with a little bit of chocolate, a little bit of caffeine, and some healthy fat from hazelnuts and macadamia nuts to slow it all down so I don't end up bouncing off the walls (that part is important).
Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Time to get ready for National Trail Mix Day (It's on the 31st!)! 

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Mexican Mocha Trail Mix

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

Cocoa-dusted pecans with cinnamon and cayenne, along with chocolate-covered espresso beans make this trail mix a sweet and spicy treat!

Yields: 4 cups   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

    For the pecans:
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • Pinch cayenne
  • Small dash salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the trail mix:
  • 2 cups macadamia nuts
  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Whisk egg white to soft peaks. Fool in pecans until coated. In small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, coconut sugar, cinnamon, and cayenne. Toss pecans in mixture. Spread on cookie sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until fragrant. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Toss pecans with macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cacao nibs, and espresso beans. Store in airtight container.

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Paleo Cinnamon Roll Iced Latte

I’m back! Ok, so you probably didn’t notice I was gone, but in my last post I mentioned that I was off to Wyoming for a weekend of climbing. I mostly wish I was still there, so I’m using this "Cinnamon Roll” Iced Latte to help myself ease back into the real world. 

This recipe was originally inspired by a totally different experience—one much less recreational: the coffee machine in our office. You see, our office coffee machine was recently replenished with some Cinnabun Coffee. I was totally skeptical at first as flavored coffees are not usually my thing, but I do love cinnamon in my coffee (Am I one of those people that dump more than socially appropriate amounts of cinnamon and cocoa into my coffee at a coffee shop? Yes.) so I gave it a shot. I was immediately hooked: it was sweet, with hints of vanilla and warm cinnamon and a creamy finish. Everyone else in the building must’ve caught wind, because our Cinnabun Coffee supply vanished before the week was up. 

Anyways, since I’m now back “on the grid,” sufficiently mosquito-bitten, and at last well-showered, I wanted to share this recipe with you because I have a feeling I’m not the only one remorsing over the end of the long weekend. Hello, Monday.  

Of our 3 days outside of Buffalo 2 of them were blazing hot and I wished out loud, more than once, for an iced coffee. I’m not even a huge coffee drinker, but there’s something about a hot nap-beckoning afternoon that makes iced coffee the ultimate beverage. Not going to lie: a coffee was the first thing I bought when I returned to “civilization”. It was glorious.  

*Skip below the recipe to see a few shots from our trip!*

Paleo Cinnamon Roll Iced Latte

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegan    |       |    Print This Recipe

A creamy, cold coffee with warm cinnamon and vanilla.

Yields: Two 16-ounce lattes   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk,frozen into cubes
  • 1/2 cup almond milk, frozen into cubes
  • 2 cups chilled coffee
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • Dash cocoa

Directions:

  1. Place first 7 ingredients into a blender, and blend until liquified and frothy.
  2. Pour into serving glass, and sprinkle with cocoa.

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