Friday Favourites: The Christmas Gift That Cost Me $400

Hello lovely,

This is the first Christmas in two years that I'll be home. I spent that past two years with my now ex-boyfriend in Miami (not so secretly wishing we could be somewhere colder). I had hopes of travelling somewhere snowy this year but when those plans didn't work out, I decided to find another way to treat myself this year. At first I thought I wanted a tablet for blogging on the go but when I looked at the cost, given the tech specs I would want, it just wasn't a worthy investment, because I really wouldn't use it that often. I already bought myself the Google home, which really works better in pairs and with connected devices, so that area was covered. And after lowering my credit card bill, I was only reasonably left with about $200 if I wanted to spend wisely.

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While putting together the Gift Guides, I was browsing the home & kitchen section of Amazon when it stood out to me and I knew instantly what I had to get myself for Christmas: The Ninja Coffee Bar System. Everyone knows how much I love coffee. So much so I bought about 7lbs of it when I went to Europe this summer. I had seen the commercials and always wanted it so I figured after the ups and downs 2017 has brought me, I deserved this doggonit! I spent $220 BSD on the initial purchase on Saturday 2nd December and picked it up from Xpress-it this past Wednesday, but of course it wasn't that easy. Like the post says, this gift costs me FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!

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The price tag to bring it in to The Bahamas after customs, VAT and freight was $185.03, bringing the grand total of this ONE ITEM to $405! I couldn't believe it. I expected the freight price but completely forgot about the customs tax. I was heart broken, but I was also already $220 in the hole, so I had to pay the price.

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So was it worth it?

I told an old friend last night that I spent $400 on a coffee maker and she was like, "You mean a person right? Like someone who will actually come to your house and make the coffee for you?" I joked that if my mum wanted tea, she'd better make it with this machine instead of the kettle and we would make soup in this if we had to, to make me feel better about the price tag. Because it's still new, I haven't had time to really play around with it yet, but I did brew iced coffee with it this morning. I made enough for my travel mug pictured above and it was great! There's definitely a different flavour with this machine as it really tastes like something I would've bought in a coffeehouse. I also used my frother for the first time today and had a lot of fun with it. Yesterday I used the Cafe Forte just to see what it would be like (it's really strong).

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So far I love using it! I can't wait to tackle all of the recipes in the recipe book that came with it! The best part of the machine is how easy it is to use. I skimmed the manual, but it really is a straight forward process. I love setting it to automatically brew in the morning and I love that I can brew directly into my mug. I even got a new mug from one of my alumni associations that I can't wait to start using. It's a gorgeous red, just in time for the holidays! I can't wait to start making frappes and sharing the recipes with you guys.

How are you treating yourself this Christmas season? Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Do you think I spent too much on just a coffee maker? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Merry Christmas! 

The New Drink that Has Me Excited to Go to Starbucks

Hello Lovely,

I don't know if you've noticed, but internationally, Starbucks has a line of new drinks that's practically breaking the internet. (I"m still waiting to be able to order The Unicorn Frappuccino.) But there's a new drink that has me really excited to go to Starbucks.

The new Horchata Almondmilk Frappuccino® Blended Beverage is every lactose intolerant person's dream! Hands up everyone who hates being charged extra just for soy or almond milk? Starbucks' Horchata Frappuccino this is the first Frappuccino recipe that uses almond milk as the original "milk" ingredient. The best part? While the inspiration for the drink stems from a summer favourite, Starbucks' new Horchata Frappuccino is a permanent menu item.

The coffee giant's newest blended drink, the Horchata Frappuccino, is made with almond milk, cinnamon dolce syrup, coffee and ice. The treat is topped with whipped cream, caramel, and cinnamon and sugar sprinkles

So I'm not sure when this drink will hit us here in The Bahamas, but if it never comes, now that we know what the ingredients are we can just customise our order and have people think we're ordering something from the secret menu.

Which new Starbucks drink are you most excited about this summer? Share what you last ordered from Starbucks in the comment section below!

Follow on Pinterest for more food news, drink ideas, and beverage updates!

GERMAN ICED COFFEE - EISKAFFEE

Hello Lovely,

For serveral years, I've wanted to travel to Europe. To celebrate my anticipated June graduation,  I had planned on taking an Italian cruise this summer, but plans changed and now I'm visiting a friend in London at the end of June. From there I plan on visiting many other European countries including Switzerland, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy. Not sure if I'll have time (or money) for Germany or France but that's a pretty lengthy list already! I know I'll be jet lagged at least three times this summer, but I can't wait!

In preparation for this trip, I'm trying recipes with European influences. First up, this super easy Ice Coffee from Germany! What's funny about this recipe, is I used to do this whenever I was out of coffee creamer. I had no idea this was actually a thing! This coffee is totally refreshing on a hot day and requires no added sugar.

GERMAN ICED COFFEE

(EISKAFFEE)

Ingredients:

  • Strong brewed coffee, chilled
  • 1 – 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream (bourbon vanilla, if you can find it)
  • Whipped cream (Germans use unsweetened)
  • Chocolate shavings or cocoa powder as garnish

There won’t be any of my usual “how to” photos because there’s just really nothing to this recipe.

Directions:

  1. Pour your chilled coffee in a glass while leaving enough room for the ice cream.
  2. Add 1 – 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream (or however much your heart desires).
  3. Top it off with a healthy dose of whipped cream (whipped cream is healthy, right?).
  4. Garnish with chocolate shavings or cocoa powder
  5. Serve with a spoon and drink with a straw. This is a must. Okay, not really but it is the way it’s usually done.

The other way to do it (AKA the way I did it) is to simply put your ice cream in first. This gives the Eiskaffee more of a latte look.  

A note about the sweetness:
To save on calories and avoid an overly sweet drink, I wouldn't suggest adding sugar. However, if you’d prefer a sweeter version, I’d recommend adding the sugar to your coffee while it’s still hot, as sugar does not dissolve well in cold drinks. 

Variations:

  • Try using chocolate ice cream for a caffè mocha twist.
  • Other garnish options include chocolate sprinkles, instant coffee or cinnamon. Oh, maybe even some ground cardamon. 

BAILEYS™ IRISH COFFEE

Hello Lovely,

What does your morning routine look like? For me, I have to have a cup of coffee every morning. It's not even a caffeine addiction. I just like routines. Whether it was water, juice, tea, cocoa, or a particular breakfast item, I like to have a routine and coffee is just a delicious part of that routine. 

But let's face it, some mornings, your regular cup of coffee just doesn't do it for you. And with St. Patrick's Day coming up, I thought, what better way to celebrate than with a good old cup of Irish Coffee. To make mine even more Irish, I used my O'Donnell's Irish Cream, which you can pick up from any Aldi's store. The O'Donnell's brand of Irish Cream is a direct product from Ireland just like Bailey's. So feel free to use either one (O'Donnell's is much cheaper though at only $8 per bottle). Because I believe the best part of waking up, is Bailey's in your cup! (Someone get Folger's on the line and tell them I have a new slogan for them).

BAILEYS™ IRISH COFFEE

The classic cold weather cocktail taken to new heights of flavor with Baileys Original Irish Cream.

INGREDIENTS

2 OZ Baileys™ Original Irish Cream

6 OZ Hot Coffee

1 OZ Irish Whiskey

1 DOLLOP Whipped Cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS 

  1. Combine Baileys, coffee and Irish Whiskey in a tall "Irish Coffee" glass. I went with the first mug I found in my cupboard, but the glasses typically look like this.
  2. Top with whipped cream.

For more great coffee recipes, check out these ones below and try to see which ones you can sneak a little Bailey's into! 

Love Your Skin: Ground Coffee Body Scrub

 

Hello Lovely,

No matter the season, loving our skin is always in!  And what better gift to give this holiday than the gift of glowing skin? The latest body scrub combines 3 amazing ingredients that not only leave your skin feeling silky.  Each of these hold essential properties that give back to our body's biggest organ in effective ways:

 

·        Coffee -This natural bean contains Caffeine helps tighten the skin, which can help reduce cellulite and improve circulation.  This ingredient can also help reduce stretch marks and varicose veins.

·        Olive Oil –As one of the few oils that can penetrate deeply into your skin it has ultra-moisturising properties and contains three natural antioxidants including Vitamin E which is a top skin care vitamin.

·        Brown Sugar – A 100% natural ingredient with alpha-hydroxy acid, and draws moisture out of the environment and can impart it into the skin.  Brown sugar also improves area of scarring and is ideal for exfoliation.

 

This scrub is one of my favourite that I've used for years and as my husband would say, leaves the bathroom smelling like Starbucks when I walk out!

 

Follow this recipe for amazing results:

·        1/2 cup Ground Coffee (I love the smell of Folders' but any brand will do.  You can select between the grades of coffee or types such as roasted, medium, classic, etc.)

·        3/4 cup Olive Oil (This depends on the consistency of the scrub, some prefer thick and some prefer a bit smoother.  Adjust this amount based on your preference.)

·        1/2 cup Brown Sugar

Directions:

Place oil, coffee and brown sugar in a bowl and mix well.  Sample a small amount onto your hand to test texture and enjoy!  This makes a 1oz batch.

Tips to remember:

·        Remember to apply the scrub in gentle circular motions for best results.

·        The finer the coffee, the smoother it will be applied onto the skin, while the course will be used in bigger chunks as you scrub.

·        An even coffee/sugar ratio works well with gaining the best out of your scrub.

·        It's best to use a scrub once every week or 2 for best results.  Remember to rinse with warm water, pat dry and use a moisturiser afterwards.

·        Coconut Oil is also very nourishing and is my usual go-to for skin care.  Substitute Olive Oil for this.

What are your favourite body scrub recipes? How did your skin feel after using this scrub? Is there anyone you know who would love this as a Christmas gift? Share with us your reaction in the comment section below!

Classic Iced Coffee with Coffee Ice Cubes

Hello Lovely,

Who doesn't need a shot of coffee at this point? Christmas is almost here, school ends next week for the Christmas break, and then there's travelling, in-laws, Star Wars Rouge One...Arrgh! At least I can honestly say that Christmas Shopping is done, so that's one less stress! I'm so excited for the holidays, and even more excited to spend Christmas with my beau! But until then, I've got to get through the last week of school!

So if your morning cup of coffee isn't cutting it any more, try this! There really isn't much of a recipe for this because it's so easy! All you have to do is take some espresso, room temperature, and pour it into ice trays. Freeze overnight so that in the morning, when you make your iced coffee, you can have ice cubes.....that are LITERALLY....made of COFFEE!

Espresso Mug Cake Recipe

Hello Lovely,

Coffee lovers rejoice! If you're looking for the perfect pick me up snack after a hard day at work or school, I've got it for you! The bitterness of the espresso adds a wonderful toasted flavour that is not too sweet, but still not too bitter. If you're looking for a little extra sweetness, don't feel guilty about adding some vanilla ice cream! I still think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The combination of bitter and sweet, along wih the boost of caffeine is what makes this my new favourite dessert to share with my beau!

Trust me, do not make the same mistake I did. I looked at the batter and thought there was no way it could be enough for me but it was more than enough! This is great shared between two people (maybe a bestie or your significant other).

Espresso Mug Cake Recipe

 

Prep time:  2 mins                              Cook time:  2 mins                                    Total time:  4 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 6 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Put the sunflower oil, milk, instant coffee and egg in a bowl or jug and whisk together.
  2. When fully combined add in the self-raising flour and sugar and whisk in again. The mixture gets very thick so it’s not very easy for the kids and will need an adult to help.
  3. When all the flour lumps have gone spoon the mixture between two microwave safe mugs.
  4. Cook each one in the microwave for 2 minutes on 800W and allow to cool for a few minutes before devouring!