berries · breakfast · coffee · food · french toast · healthy · lemon · lemon zest · pancakes · with coffee

Berry Preserves Found Their Way to My Heart

img_5356One of my favorite mornings rituals on the weekend is to wake up, stumble to the kitchen with my eyes barely open and get the coffee machine going. Ahh, I love my coffee. It is the one thing I look forward to every morning and sometimes I even start to look forward to it before I go to bed the night before. The darker the better. The hotter the more enjoyable. Recently, I got into the (good) habit of making my own berries preserves to enjoy with my toast and of course coffee. I used to buy my preserves, but one day after scooping out the last bit of preserves left in the container I decided to try and make my own. Oh, heavenly was the day I realized how easy and delicious this was! Now, I make a small batch which lasts me about 2-3 weeks. Here’s how to make this magic happen:

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of Blueberries/Raspberries (I’ve used both fresh and frozen)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar (you can use regular sugar as well)
  • a splash of lemon juice and water and a bit of lemon zest

fullsizerender-20In a small pan cook down the berries with about 1 tablespoon of water over medium heat until they are soft and you can break them down. I use a wooden spoon to pop the blueberries as they soften. It will take a few minutes for the berries to break down. Add the sugar, lemon juice, zest and combine together. Let everything cook down until you see that jam consistency. Make sure you taste it. Sometimes I’m in the mood for more sweet while others I look for a more lemony taste. Total cooking time is about 5-8 minutes. Pour over a small container and place in the freezer for about a minute or two to cool.

In the mean time get that toast ready, by the time your freshly made berries preserves have cooled they will be ready to slather over your toast and to enjoy with that perfectly made cup of coffee. These also make a great topping for pancakes of french toast or even pie fillings! The possibilities are endless, all it takes is a little creative moment to completely change your life and a few berries to have a change of heart.





blueberry · breakfast · coffee · creativity · experience · hungry · lemon · lemon zest · muffins · prince charming · recipe · snack · tea

Looking for My Lemon-Blueberry Prince Muffin

If you like to bake you know there is something very therapeutic about it. Maybe it’s the focus on the ingredients and process so the outcome can be as delicious as you expect or the mere presence of flour and butter is comforting enough. Whatever the reason, this week I made some lemon-blueberry muffins. My very first attempt. I did replaced some ingredients with what I had at hand, but I had plenty of blueberries so no matter what, this was happening. I went for it because I have a few ideas for the tops of these that I’m excited to try like sprinkling those huge sugar crystals on top, a crumble and  dipping them in a lemon glaze with shaved almonds on top, but I wanted to first start perfecting this recipe. Though these came out pretty tasty (yes, they’re all gone now), I wanted my muffins to come bursting out of the pan cup like it was reaching for the oven sky! This batch must have been the non-flying sidekick muffin because even though they were good, they didn’t have the defined muffin muscles I was hoping to see coming out of the oven. These are perfect however for a small, late morning snack with coffee or in the evening with tea. It’s not the kind of muffin that you can grab to-go in the morning and have for breakfast because you will (I repeat), you will start to feel hangry by 10AM. 

I know a lot of recipes call for sour cream or buttermilk, but I didn’t have that at hand when my sudden need for baking happened. So, I used I made my own recipe and improvised using: 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of cane sugar, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1/4 tsp of salt, 2 eggs, 1 egg white, 2 tsp of vanilla extract, 8 tsp of unsalted butter, 1/2 cup of almond milk, 1/2 tsp of lemon zest, 1 cup of blueberries and some brown sugar to sprinkle on top of the batter right before placing them in the oven set for 375 degrees. 

I first combined the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside. I then mixed the cane sugar, butter, vanilla extract and eggs all together. After a good mix, I combined the egg white, salt and lemon zest. One thing I do is taste the batter throughout the process so I get it the way I like it. Lemon zest can make or break the flavor you’re going for so it’s important to constantly know how the flavor of the batter is coming together. I wanted my muffins to have a hint of lemon, but wanted the blueberries to be mostly front and center. I think next time I make these I’m going to add more blueberries, maybe about 1/2 cup more so that they are more prominent in every bit. The lemon zest amount was perfect.

Once the batter is done, I mixed in the blueberries using a rubber spatula. Remember to dry the blueberries before tossing in the batter otherwise they will sink to the bottom. The consistency should be heavier than cake batter. Fill the cupcakes to the top so the muffins can fully rise and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar before putting them in the oven. I think I left too much space for this rise and ended up not getting my super hero muffin this time around. It’s ok, I guess perfecting a recipe is like finding true love right? You have to eat a lot of muffins before you find the perfect prince muffin.

Enjoy that journey- it sounds delicious!

biscotti · chocolate · coconut · coffee · cookies · cranberry · goodies · month · orange · pastries · tea · yum

Biscotti, it’s not you it’s me.

Okay, at Love at First Bite, I’m officially calling the month of July, biscotti month. I don’t think I’ve made a pastry more often than I did this one in such short period of time. One of the reasons for this is I realized how easy it is to make (and this is just dangerous), then it’s the fact that I can 

have it fresh with my coffee (and we all know how much I love my coffee). So, today as we come to the close of biscotti month I want to share with you the different ways I made biscotti: coconut-vanilla with a coconut glaze, orange-cranberry with an orange glaze and a different version of the orange-cranberry dipped in cabernet-dark chocolate. *Caution: Reading beyond this point can cause a biscotti making reaction that can interfere with summer fitness goals and weight watching efforts.

Let’s start off with the first one I made earlier this month, the cranberry-orange dipped in a cabernet-dark chocolate. This version is different than the rest because I didn’t use regular cane sugar like I normally would. Instead, I replaced it with brown sugar for a bolder flavor. You can see that the biscotti looks a bit darker than the other versions where I used the cane sugar. The flavor was a lot a bit different, since it kind of gave it a slight caramel-like taste. I also dipped this biscotti batch in a cabernet infused dark chocolate from the Ghirardelli Factory.
It brought out the cranberry flavor when I bit into the biscotti and the nuttiness when I dipped in my coffee. To make this dip just boil a small amount of water in a sauce pan. Break apart the chocolate and place in a glass bowl that can easily sit on top of the sauce pan. Let the chocolate melt with the steam coming from the sauce pan. One the chocolate is soft dip and place in parchment paper to dry. If in a hurry to eat (not that I would know about this…ahem) place in the freezer until the chocolate hardens.

The second other cranberry-orange biscotti was orange zest and dried cranberries. I added about 1 tablespoon of orange zest, chopped cranberries into small pieces and added to the dough. I then drizzled an orange infused glaze once it cooled using powdered sugar, orange zest, juice from the orange and a bit of coconut oil (be careful not to use too much coconut oil because it will change the flavor of the glaze). The orange flavor in the biscotti really popped with this drizzle and it made it taste like a completely different biscotti, especially since I used cane sugar instead of the brown sugar.

In the coconut- vanilla biscotti, I used sweetened vanilla flakes that I chopped to smaller pieces and combined to the dough and added an extra ½ tsp of vanilla extract. The glaze for this was made of coconut oil, powdered sugar and water. *Note: the water in the glaze is only to get it to the right consistency, if too much is added the drizzle will be too watery and will not set right.

Want to try make the dough and go crazy with your add-ons why don’t you!?

2 cups of flour

2/3 cups of cane sugar
6 tbsp of unsalted butter
2.5 tbsp of baking powder
2 tbsp of vanilla extract
2 eggs

The only rule here is to mix the sugar and butter to make it a soft mixture before you add all the other stuff. To make the double batch this morning I split the dough in half before my adding. 

Lay on a sheet of parchment ( not you, the dough!) and spread leaving it nice and thick. It does not have to be perfect, dough is beautiful even with all its imperfections. I mean, just look at it!

Bake in 350 degrees for 20-25 min until toothpick comes out clean. Cut huge cookie while it’s warm to create the biscotti shape and put the pieces back in the oven for 30 more minutes or until all the sides are golden brown. Yes, this means that you’ll have to watch your biscotti babies bake during those last 30 minutes and rotate them so that they all brown evenly. Trust me, show your love to your biscotti and it will satisfy you later!

acid reflux · alternative · bloating · coffee · gut flora · h.pylori · herbal coffee · probiotics

My Love Affair with a Coffee Alternative

A few months ago after getting rid of an H.Pylori infection along with all of my good gut flora thanks to a 10-day dose of antibiotics, my stomach and lining have not been the same. I’ve been left with issues like acid reflux and bloating which have forced me to find alternatives to some of the things I love the most until my flora can be restored (or so I hope!). One of the loves in my life is coffee. In the mornings I most look forward to my hot cup of coffee (black, no sugar). Sometimes I can’t wait to go to bed just so I can wake up and have it again. Except now in my current health condition I’ve notice that when I have coffee it irritates my stomach and it can cause issues for a week.

So, in my quest to find even lower levels of acid in coffee because what I had was just not low enough, I found a coffee alternative that I absolutely adore. Just to give you some background about me, I am a bit of  coffee snob so for me to accept another (for the time being) to replace the real deal is a BIG deal.

Teeccino is a product that is made from: chicory root, dates & figs, ramon seeds, barley, carob, dandelion root, among other natural flavors such as herbs and spices. It really doesn’t sound like it would be anything life coffee, but it really is! The grind is ready for the coffee maker or french press, and even the color is on point. The one thing that is missing is the aroma that coffee has that can fill your entire home and get you out of bed in the mornings…aah.. or is that just me? Right.

Anyway, until I can fully recover, I plan to stick with this and maybe even keep it around since it seems to also have great health benefits and antioxidants. I’m excited to try their other flavors. Currently I am drinking their french roast blend and I love it. So, while it may not be forever, this affair with Teeccino is definitely keeping this coffee fiend satisfied.