Cold Brew Coffee 101 (Series!)

Happy July! In addition to my usual series for National Ice Cream Month, I am also bringing to you a simple series on cold brew coffee: how to make it and ways to use it. The recipes will be quick but I hope they will become staples in your future! Check back each Wednesday for a quick coffee endeavor, and follow up on Friday with the latest ice cream adventure. Hope you enjoy!

About two years ago I discovered the glorious world of cold brew coffee. Admittedly, I took forever to board the train for this latest fad largely because I don’t drink a ton of iced coffee and even to this day I always see cold brew served cold, especially in restaurants. If you, too, have been skeptical on the awesomeness of this adventure, I am here to entice you into joining. It feels a bit silly posting something so easy as a 4-part series, but hopefully what I’ve learned along the way makes it that much easier for you to get started.

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For years I have rarely consumed more than one cup of coffee per day, possibly two on some truly exhausting occasions. Since M is not a coffee fan, making standard drip coffee for one started to feel inefficient and wasteful. Resigning to try this fancy shmancy cold brew thing, I gave it a shot.

As it turned out, I *loved* that coffee. No bitterness, extremely smooth, and with the discovery that I could make a super strong concentrate and combine it with boiling water for my usual hot morning beverage, I finally boarded the cold brew coffee train. However, the process was messy, time-consuming, and honestly just kind of exhausting. Coffee filters were too small to use in the quantities I was making, and straining the ground afterwards through paper towels and coffee filters was tedious and slow and not something I wanted to do every couple of weeks.

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After trying a mesh filter for my pitchers with mediocre results1 (it didn’t have great circulation, and I still had to strain out the silty texture), I discovered my new best friend: the CoffeeSock. With stellar reviews and a pretty inexpensive price, I quickly ordered one to try out. Nearly two years later, it’s still a perfect fit.

Easy, reusable, perfectly strained, and consistently delicious results make this one of the best things I’ve ever bought. It takes only a few minutes active time to set a batch brewing, and even less to finish the process a few days later. I love that there’s no disposable waste and that it doesn’t allow a strange texture to seep through the cloth. And, of course, it makes great tasting coffee.

Cold Brew Coffee 101 {{Baking Bytes}}

If you’re interested in cold brew I highly recommend this product, and for ease of pouring later these silicon jar lids are fantastic. They make it way easier to pour out of the large jar and keep everything nice and fresh for as long as it lasts in your fridge. For me, this size batch typically lasts about 3 weeks so I can vouch for freshness for at least that long.

Cold Brew Coffee 101 {{Baking Bytes}}

Using cold brew is pretty straightforward but just for fun I’m going to split my favorites out into their own posts. Get a batch brewing in your fridge then check back next Wednesday for my most-used “recipe”!

PS – I don’t get anything if you purchase those products; I just really love them!

Cold Brew Coffee 101

Makes about 1.5 quarts

Ingredients

6 oz ground coffee (about 2 cups, regular drip grind or slight coarser)
Cold water

Suggested Equipment

2-quart CoffeeSock Kit
Brew Armor lid

Directions

  1. Drape a CoffeeSock over the edge of your Mason jar and fill with 6 oz of ground coffee.
  2. Slowly stream cold water through the grounds until the jar is full. Do not try to do this quickly, just let it slowly soak through the coffee.
  3. Tie off the CoffeeSock (or cheesecloth) so the grounds stay contained, then put the lid on the Mason jar.
  4. Place in the fridge for 2-4 days, I like to put a sticky note with the date I started brewing onto the jar. Occasionally flip the jar upside down to better circulate the water inside.
  5. When coffee has reached your desired strength (I usually do around 3 days, sometimes as many as 5 depending on how full life is at the moment), remove the CoffeeSock from the jar and squeeze to get as much of that extra strength coffee back into your jar as you can.
  6. Discard grounds into the trash (or your garden), thoroughly rinse the cloth, and hang to dry.
  7. Return coffee to fridge until ready to enjoy. Recommend a Brew Armor lid or similar for easy pouring!

Notes

Works great for sun tea though!

Spinach & Gruyere Crustless Quiche

During my lower carb adventure last month I came across a recipe for quiche that sounded delightful, but didn’t fit with that goal. Recalling that crustless quiche is definitely a thing you can do (bonus – it’s also easier) I decided to modify this recipe to better fit my macronutrient needs.

Spinach & Gruyere Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

I often eat eggs for breakfast, and a scramble is one of my favorite things after a hard run. With my weekday runs increasing in length and intensity, and my go-to peanut butter & banana toast being too high in carbs, it became necessary to find something easy to eat at work on those days. Throughout the winter I regularly prepped a scramble the night before but not only is this a time-consuming process, it requires me to remember and have the energy to do this on a weekly basis. As someone who prefers to meal prep all at once, it didn’t fit well into my schedule once I consistently preferred a hearty post-run meal twice per week. Since this deep-dish quiche makes 8 servings, one quiche will last me nearly a month of weekday runs.

Spinach & Gruyere Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

Sautéed garlic, onion, and spinach are given a protein boost with shredded chicken (I occasionally purchase the packaged rotisserie chicken meat from Costco which makes this super easy) and a generous amount of Gruyère cheese. With a base of eggs and half and half, this hearty and creamy quiche is perfect for any meal. Some paprika brings a fun flavor that blends nicely with a multitude of toppings and side dishes; I like to top mine with a sprinkle of goat cheese or feta and extra freshly ground pepper. Sriracha is a welcome addition if you’re looking for extra kick.

Spinach & Gruyere Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

Serve with dressed greens (for the keto crowd), fresh fruit (for the starch conscious), and/or roasted potatoes (for the classic American pairing.) Toast or scones would round out a brunch nicely, especially if you offer some homemade jam to accompany them. If you’re vegetarian, stir in some black beans or your favorite meat-replacement in lieu of the chicken, or just add extra veggies instead.

Spinach & Gruyere Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

This recipe is superbly easy and will definitely become a monthly endeavor for me. It’s easily customizable (Bacon and cheddar? Turkey and gouda? Yes please!), super simple, and a healthy way to start the day. Don’t be afraid of the half and half – fats keep you fuller longer, especially with a low-carb diet, and even with all that goodness each slice is still less than 250 calories. (However, if you’re super concerned you can probably substitute whole milk instead.)

Spinach & Gruyere Crustless Quiche {{Baking Bytes}}

Leftovers keep well in the fridge for a few days or the freezer for long-term storage. Wrap slices individually in aluminum foil and then heat in the microwave when you’re ready to enjoy. I’ve found that putting the frozen slice on a folded paper towel to soak up excess water, defrosting for 2-3 minutes, then cooking for 30-45 seconds results in the most evenly heated experience.

Whether you’re low-carb or not, this easy quiche is perfect for a weekend brunch or weekday prepping; let me know what you think!

PS – Are you ready for National Ice Cream Month? My annual ice cream series starts July 6!

Spinach & Gruyère Crustless Quiche

Inspired by Positive Health Wellness
Makes one deep-dish quiche (8 servings)1

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 clove elephant garlic, minced (or 3 cloves regular)
3 cups spinach, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

4 oz Gruyère cheese, diced

8 eggs
1 cup half and half (or whole milk)
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and coat a 9″ deep-dish1 pie plate with olive oil or cooking spray.
  2. In a large frying pan heat oil over medium until hot.
  3. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are beginning to look translucent.
  4. Stir in a handful at a time spinach and sauté until wilted.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in chicken until mixture is well combined.
  6. Spread mixture into prepared pie plate and top evenly with cheese.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half (or milk), and paprika until frothy. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste (I did 1/4 tsp salt and plenty of freshly ground pepper).
  8. Carefully pour into pie plate – it will be full! – and sprinkle generously with additional paprika.
  9. Bake for about one hour, or until top is browned and quiche is set. If it is browning too fast you can cover it with foil for the last 20 minutes or so.
  10. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving plain or with some extra goat cheese or feta sprinkled on top, plus freshly ground pepper. For some kick, Sriracha is a delicious complement. Fruit, dressed greens, toast/scones, or roasted potatoes are excellent choices for side dishes.
  11. Store leftovers in the fridge or wrap completely cooled slices individually for a pre-portioned and freezer-safe breakfast.2

Notes

If you do not have a deep-dish pie plate (mine holds over 32 oz and was plumb full), use a standard 8×8 glass baking dish instead. It should bake about the same but I will try this next time I make it and update with any necessary adjustments. As a bonus, rectangles would be easy to wrap for meal-prep purposes anyway.

To reheat: unwrap and place in the microwave on a folded paper towel (to absorb excess moisture.) Defrost for 2-3 minutes then heat normally for 30-45 seconds. Enjoy!

Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Quinoa

Springtime in Montana can be a bit….wintery. Around my mid-March birthday is usually the time I stop dreaming about skiing and start wanting to get on the trails again. Unfortunately Montana is more of the “maybe let’s snow until May” mindset which is great for extended ski seasons and less ideal for the hikers and runners.

It also makes it challenging to match meals to the season when the season is January in the morning and June by the afternoon. My brain says citrus and the snow says soup, which can be matched successfully but not without a lot of sighing involved.

Most of the year I start my day with a bowl of oatmeal or a veggie scramble, but as summer gets closer I start looking forward to something new to switch it up. I still want something warm since it’s often chilly in the mornings, but my standard peanut butter and banana oatmeal can feel a bit heavy some days. Having recently seen a couple recipes for breakfast quinoa, I decided to give that a try.

Springtime always means lemon to me, and since I’ve been craving poppyseed muffins lately that seemed like the route to go. Fresh and light with citrus but still a bit sweet and cozy with poppyseeds, it turned into an easy breakfast perfect for those days when I am just not feeling the oatmeal vibe. Much like all porridge creations, there is a lot of subjectivity to what makes a perfect bowl, so use my recipe as a guideline to get you started and then play with it to your heart’s content. I keep mine pretty low sugar and I will not be upset if you want to add more sugar or more lemon juice to bring it up to your par.

I added sliced almonds for a little crunch and a protein boost, and a drizzle of my favorite Meyer Lemon Vinegar on top. An ardent Olivelle fan, I use their products whenever possible, but I understand you may not have access. (Although they do have sellers all over, and they also ship. I’m just saying. They should really give me a commission.) It is not a necessary addition but it does add a boost of flavor and a touch of sweetness that I found complimented everything nicely.

If you, too, need to mix up your mornings a bit, give this a try. With around 15 grams of protein per serving it should satiate you nicely, while feeling fresh and light for spring. Hope you enjoy it!

Lemon Poppyseed Breakfast Quinoa
Makes one serving

Ingredients

1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1-3 Tbsp lemon juice (Meyer lemon if you can get it, otherwise regular is great)
enough water to total 1 cup
1-2 Tbsp sugar (or simple syrup)
1 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp almond extract (or vanilla)

2 Tbsp sliced almonds
Meyer Lemon Vinegar (optional but fun!)

Directions

  1. In a small pot, briefly whisk together quinoa, lemon juice, water, sugar, poppyseeds, and extract.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy, about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in half the almonds, then transfer to bowl. Top with remaining almonds, and, optionally, a drizzle of Meyer Lemon Vinegar.
  4. Serve immediately.

Notes

Pour desired amount of lemon juice into a measuring cup, then add water until the total is one cup.

For reference, I used 1 Tbsp sugar with 2 Tbsp lemon juice because I don’t like my porridges to be very sweet but I prefer a decently strong lemon flavor. If you like a sweeter experience definitely up the sugar and/or reduce the lemon juice.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Oatmeal is my go-to breakfast for all but the hottest months of summer, and somehow I rarely get tired of it. My default is peanut butter and banana with copious amounts of cinnamon, but depending on the season and produce availability I’ll occasionally concoct new flavors. As a huge fan of pumpkin pie, blending that flavor into my morning meal seemed an obvious advancement.

I always buy pumpkin puree from Costco, in those delightful 3-packs of 29oz cans, which typically leaves me with some leftovers after making whatever recipe for which I’ve opened the can. Oatmeal is a great way to use up leftovers but also an excellent reason to open a brand new can. All the cozy feelings of pumpkin pie in a much healthier version to start your day.

I opted to complement the pumpkiny goodness with a homemade pumpkin spice mix, but you can absolutely substitute a store-bought pumpkin pie spice if you prefer. With my cinnamon obsession I like to tailor mine a bit more cinnamon heavy, and mixing up your own allows you to kick up or tone down the individual spices to suit your preferences. If you do use the store-bought version, I *highly* recommend twisting a tiny amount of freshly ground pepper into each bowl, as it really adds a little extra something. I patterned this off of my favorite pumpkin pie recipe, and I now consider it a necessity in all things pumpkin.

For protein boost, I stir in chia seeds and chopped walnuts, but these are completely optional additions. If you’re more of a pecan person, use those instead. Since pumpkin is not sweet on its own, a little maple syrup brings out the pie flavor we all know and love. I keep my oatmeal fairly low on the sugar content, but no judgement if you want extra maple syrup stirred in or drizzled on top.

The final touch is a dollop of heavy cream; this is non-negotiable in my personal opinion, as it really improves the texture, adds a wonderful creaminess, and balances the whole flavor profile. Half and half could be substituted in a pinch, but the heavy cream is the more delicious option. A single tablespoon won’t hurt you, as fat and protein are both things your body needs. (If you are vegan, you could probably substitute full-fat coconut milk, or whatever your favorite cream replacement might be. You *can* just leave it out, but it’s really better with something creamy stirred in.)

Start your fall mornings off right with a hearty bowl of oatmeal, plus all the happiness of a pumpkin pie. (But if you prefer to start your day with the real thing, you’ll get no judgement from me.)

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Makes one serving

Ingredients

pumpkin spice mix
1 T ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch of freshly ground pepper

oatmeal
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
1 T maple syrup
1-2 T chia seeds, optional
3/4 cup water
chopped walnuts, optional

1 T heavy cream (or half and half, or vegan alternative)

Directions

  1. In a small jar, combine spice ingredients. Stir or shake until well mixed.
  2. Layer pumpkin, chia, spice mix, walnuts, and oats in a microwave safe bowl.
  3. Carefully pour in water and transfer to the microwave.
  4. Microwave on medium power for 4 – 5 minutes (stirring after 1-2 minutes), or until oats are softened and desired texture is reached.
  5. Stir in maple syrup and cream, then serve immediately.

Notes

You can also substitute store-bought pumpkin pie spice, if you prefer.

Bulletproof Coffee (Pods)

One of the biggest struggles of long distance running is nutrition. It’s a constant experiment to see what works best for your body. Running on an empty stomach vs with a light snack; fueling mid-run; post-workout energy boosts; all a matter of preference and can vary by day and type of run.

Running

For me, I can run on an empty stomach (minus coffee…I do love coffee) if it’s a shortish morning run and I don’t have a lot of time to kill between waking up and starting to run. Contrastingly, on half marathon race days I need to eat a pretty full meal to keep me satiated but not overstuffed, and even then I often need 100-200 calories during the race. As I become a stronger and faster runner I find I need less to keep me going, but it’s still something I play with a lot during training runs or the “off”-season.

Once per week I run up a set of hills near the office. The usual route is only 4.3 miles (unless I add onto it to align with a training plan) but if I push myself it’s a pretty challenging 40+ minutes. I’ve discovered I *can* run the course without eating but it’s a better workout if I have a little something. I’ve tried a number of the standard suggestions (a piece of toast; banana and peanut butter; etc) but they all made me feel a bit heavy and I never felt like I found *the* item that works the best for me. Enter: bulletproof coffee.

Bulletproof Coffee {[Baking Bytes}}

Although I don’t subscribe to any specific diet, I often read about them out of curiosity or to see if there are any pieces I want to pull into my own life. Bulletproof coffee comes from the Bulletproof Diet, which is a high-fat and low-carb situation. I was not inclined to take up the diet itself, but after reading about the coffee and people who had tried it, it intrigued me as maybe a good pre-run snack.

Since I always drink coffee before running anyway, this kills two birds with one stone by getting my calories and my coffee all in one. Since it’s liquid, it doesn’t make my stomach feel heavy, and the ~200 calories is a good amount of energy for me. Coffee blended with butter and coconut oil sounds, frankly, pretty terrible, but surprisingly it tastes more like a really creamy and mild latte than actual butter and oil.

Bulletproof Coffee {[Baking Bytes}}

Using a blender is key here, whisking or stirring by hand won’t work to properly blend everything together. I like to use slightly stronger coffee than normal, and add a dash (heap) of cinnamon because I love cinnamon. It also fits nicely into my Mindful Eating challenge, as it’s something that not only I enjoy drinking, but it makes me feel solid for running.

For me this would never be a regular breakfast substitute, and I eat another smallish breakfast after I run (toast or oatmeal with peanut butter and banana, usually), but it works great for an early morning pre-workout energy boost. I found I preferred slightly less than a 1:1 ratio of oil to butter, so definitely play with the ratios a little. Feel free to make your pods smaller if you typically drink less coffee in the morning, or just don’t need quite that many calories to fuel your early morning activities.

Bulletproof Coffee {[Baking Bytes}}

If you’re an AM exerciser looking for a lighter way to rev up your cardio sessions, and you like coffee, I highly recommend you give bulletproof coffee a try. I like to make the pods ahead of time so there’s no measuring required the morning of running, but until you figure out your perfect ratio you can always make them individually – just make sure your coconut oil and butter are chilled and solid before blending.

Bulletproof Coffee Pods
Makes 8 pods

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter
7-8 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Melt butter and coconut oil in a microwave safe container and stir to combine.
  2. Divide between 8 wells of a silicon tray or ice-cube tray.
  3. Freeze until firm (or overnight), then remove pods from tray. Store in the freezer until ready to use (or in the fridge if you’ll use them fairly quickly.)

Notes

I preferred it with 7 Tbsp of coconut oil for a slightly richer taste, so feel free to play with the ratios a little.

Bulletproof Coffee 
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients

10-12 oz hot coffee
1 bulletproof pod (above)

dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, etc (optional)

Directions

  1. Optionally, add a dash of spice to a mug.
  2. Add coffee and bulletproof pod to a blender, and blend until extra frothy (about 15 seconds).
  3. Pour blended coffee carefully into mug to stir in the cinnamon, then enjoy immediately.