Small Kitchen Cooking (SKC) How-To: Iced Hazelnut Mocha

Hi, everyone! I’m starting a new series for my recipes called “Small Kitchen Cooking,” (for short, “SKC”) and I thought the perfect way to start it off would be with one of my favorite things in the entire world, coffee.

Now, I do believe that a great cup of coffee from a coffee shop is worth it. But we don’t want to do that everyday, and when you find out how easy it is to replicate those drinks at home, why not try it?

And believe me, this hazelnut mocha is easy-peasy.

Iced Hazelnut Mocha

Ingredients:
1/2 cup strong coffee or 1/2 cup regular coffee (see note below)*
2 ice cubes (see note below)
1 tablespoon hazelnut syrup (you can find these in the coffee aisle at your local grocery store)
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
1/2 milk of choice (I use 1%)
Container with an air-tight lid

Directions:

1. Pour coffee into a coffee mug. Add ice. Set aside.
2. In the container, add in the hazelnut and chocolate syrups, along with milk.
3. Pour the coffee into the container.
4. Put on the lid, and shake. Shake, shake, shake! (For about 20 seconds.)
5. Pour into tall chilled glass.**
6. If you’re feeling particularly springy or summery, use a straw with an umbrella. Enjoy! 🙂

Notes:
*To make the strong coffee, here’s how I do it with my basic 12-cup coffee maker: Fill water up to the four-cup line. I add one scoop of coffee (I use a 1/4 cup) per two cups. For strong coffee however, you’ll need to add two scoops per two cups. This means for four cups of coffee, you’ll need four scoops. This is optional. The strong coffee will give the drink a stronger flavor.

** Tip for chilling the glass: place two ice cubes into the glass you plan on using for the drink. Remove ice before pouring in coffee.

I hope you enjoy this and try playing around with it too! Tell me what kind of iced drinks that you like to order in coffee shops, but would like to make at home (or have made at home). I’d love to know! Also, if you’re a tea drinker, try out this iced green tea with apple juice recipe.

Happy Monday!

~Ashley

Small Kitchen Tales: Veggie One-Pot Soup

Today, I was feeling slightly under the weather, and it rained all day. What better time to make soup than on a day like that?

I decided to forego a recipe- I figured I could make a decent soup with a few ingredients in my favorite canned soups: carrots, celery, chicken, noodles.

Instead of chicken, I subbed in chickpeas, which add a really nice flavor to many dishes that call for chicken. I also used vegetable stock in place of chicken stock.

At the grocery store, I picked up 4 fresh carrots and a bunch of celery, and some egg noodles, along with a fresh rosemary baguette.

I came home, excited to begin my first not-with-a-recipe soup. I peeled and chopped the carrots, chopped the celery. Drained the chickpeas. And then placed everything in my Crockpot.

For seasoning, I added the basics: onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and a splash (I’d say about 1 1/2 tsp) of soy sauce.

Then I turned on the Crockpot and walked away.

What happened next?

When dinner made it’s arrival, I ended up choosing a more breakfast-like meal, my comfort food, even before soup, when I’m sick. But that doesn’t mean this soup is going to waste. I’m going to hopefully tackle making my own pie crust, to make a homemade pot pie.

Wish me luck? 😉

Rainy Day Veggie Soup

4 large carrots, washed, peeled and chopped
3 stalks celery, washed and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups chickpeas, drained (if canned- I used canned)
1 tsp- 1 tbsp soy sauce (based on your own preference
1 pkg egg noodles
Various seasonings adjusted to taste:
salt
black pepper
red pepper
oregano
onion powder
garlic powder
cumin

1. Add all ingredients, except noodles*, to Crockpot.
2. Adjust time to cook for at least 4 hours, if not more.
3. Enjoy!

*I made the mistake of adding all the ingredients, including noodles, to the Crockpot at the beginning of its cooking time. I’d wait until at least the last hour to add them. Mine became, well, mush. I was quite embarrassed.

Other than the noodle mistake, one other change I’d make if I were crunched for time would be to sautee the carrots and celery for about five minutes in a pan over medium heat on the stove, with a touch of olive oil, prior to adding to the Crockpot. This would more than likely ensure softer, evenly cooked, vegetables.

Anyway, despite not having an actual serving of the dish, I did do several tastings and was very pleased with how it turned out. The rosemary baguette (which I must try to make homemade someday- but I really dislike making bread dough) rounded out the flavors of oregano and cumin in the soup. The filling itself was very thick- perfect to use in a filling for a pot pie.

What easy dinner/soup recipes have you created, sans recipe? I’d love to know!

**I always hate making mistakes in the kitchen. It makes me embarrassed, and frustrated. But a great thing to remember: like life, there’s going to be mistakes. Things can get messy, seem out of control. But eventually, with a little tweaking and even patience, it turns around.**

Happy Tuesday!

`Ashley