Monday, January 26, 2015

Hubbard & Cravens Coffee and Tea

For my first installment of "What's in Ott, A's Latte'?" I decided to stop in on a local coffee roaster that's been in business since 1991.  Hubbard & Cravens Coffee & Tea!  They have 4 locations in the Indy Metro area as well as providing coffee to numerous restaurants around town.  In fact 80 percent of their business is wholesale and it was while dining out where I personally heard about and tried their coffee..  Recently, I learned they had a coffee shops so I knew I had to stop in and drink more of their beans.
I sat down with one of their employees at their 49th & Pennsylvania street location for some "coffee talk" and learned of the owners travels all over the globe to source coffee beans.  The beans are graded on flavor and body and those that are top rated are then cupped (coffee tasting technique to evaluate the different characteristics of the bean) to ensure the aroma and flavor.  This process is done several times both during the growing phase and after harvest to ensure the perfect taste profile. And, if you follow along on their Instagram account you can view pictures of their travels and bean selections, as it's fascinating to see.
The coffee bean crop is seasonal, therefore the different blends of coffee offered for sale at Hubbard & Cravens changes throughout the year.  Since different regions of the world harvest their beans at different times of the year when the coffee bean offers the most flavor.  The variety of beans offered at different times of year changes to ensure a flavorful cup of coffee.

Once the beans are here in Indy additional work on roasting the beans to perfection is done in their test kitchen on ensure the distinct flavors they desire can be obtained.

While at Hubbard & Cravens I drank the Sobro Organic Blend.  These beans were sourced from Indonesia and East Africa and the cup had a bold initial flavor with a sweet finish.  And, of course I had to try a Lemon Poppy Seed muffin (which was delicious).

Looking ahead to the future the owners are looking outside the traditional coffee drinking regions of the world for new innovative ideas.  Places like Poland and Thailand have given them insight on coffee ice cubes and sweetened milk in coffee that will inspire them to new tastes and flavors back here in Indy.

Their coffee and teas can be purchased online or at their coffee shops and be on the lookout for their brews at some of your favorite restaurants.

Thanks to Hubbard & Cravens for hosting me for the day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

One Pot Apples, Brats & Squash

I have heard about and seen recipes for "One Pot Meals", but I have never actually made one before. So while I was at the grocery store I saw a stack of recipe cards sitting out and picked one up to look at it and it looked like it contained a lot of ingredients I like to eat.  Apples, squash, grapes, bratwurst... it all sounded good so I stuck the recipe in my purse and continued my shopping.  Well a couple weeks went by and I saw the recipe card in my pile of recipes to try and thought, this is as good of a time as any to make this.  It's super easy to make and the flavors of the squash and apples really do compliment the brats nicely.  So here is my version of One Pot Apples, Brats & Squash.   
Ironically, when I was in grade school I used to not like my food to touch on my dinner plate.  I wanted a space in between each and every dish because heaven forbid they would a little bit of potatoes would get on my green beans or meat or whatever else we were eating.  My mother would say, "it doesn't matter if they touch because it all ends up in the same place."  My response was, "Yes, but you don't cook it all in the same pot."  Well here I am 20 some years later and.... cooking it all in the same pot.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

New Series: What's in Ott, A's Latte'?

When I first named this blog I used my love for coffee and the play on the word Latte' to mean lots of things to blog about while I drank my coffee.  Throughout the past couple of years I have blogged about baking, gardening, decorating, canning, etc. and will continue to do so.  But, the thought occurred to me that while I'll mention coffee from time to time I haven't actually blogged about coffee.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lasagna with Eggplant

I think Lasagna is one of the best all time comfort foods.  Give me a slice of garlic bread, a salad, a glass of wine and a square of lasagna and I am all set.  It is just the perfect meal whether you need something nice or something warm.  Simply fix lasagna and everyone is full, happy and with this recipe gets an extra vegetable in their diet as well.  Lasagna with Eggplant makes me feel a little healthier about eating and eggplant goes great with the Italian flavors already in the sauces of this dish.  And Red Gold is celebrating the comfort of lasagna this winter by encouraging folks to make their own home-made gourmet lasagna.

Starting today through February 3rd, twice a week they will be giving away a Le Creuset Lasagna pan, a Simple Gourmet Lasagna Kit, Red Gold Spatual, Garfield Toy, Coupons and aprons.  Just visit their facebook page to enter.  
 
And one lucky reader here will also win their very own Red Gold Lasagna making prize pack, later in this post.  But for now lets check out my recipe for Lasagna with Eggplant.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Reviewing 5 Recipes and a cookbook

If you've been following along the past couple of weeks then you've noticed I'm once again cooking out of a new Gooseberry Patch cookbook.  And of course reviewing a cookbook means cooking out of it so I've made two soups, one quiche, a casserole and a crescent roll bake to ensure this book was versatile enough for anytime of day.  I think it's safe to say that Gooseberry Patch's 303 'Round the Clock Recipes has a lot of variety.  I love a good casserole in the wintertime and one third of this cookbook is casseroles.  Lots of warm and hearty dishes that will stick to your ribs.  And I was excited to find a couple of new soup recipes to try from the section entitled 101 Soups, Salads and Sandwiches.  And lastly every great day starts with a good breakfast and I found a quiche in this cookbook that is perfect for your next brunch.  
Overall I think this cookbook is very diverse and loved that there is a picture of each recipe shown. 303 'Round the Clock Recipes is sure to give you lots of options for meals anytime of day.  And I will be giving away a copy of this cookbook at the bottom of this post, but first lets review those 5 individual recipes I made.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cheesy Lentil Casserole

One day I was busy in the kitchen and Ott, E made this random comment to me... "We don't have enough lentil's in our diet."  I was a little confused as to where that statement came from and said, "I don't recall us having any lentils in our diet."  Then I saw what he was reading.... it was the new 303 Round the Clock Recipes from Gooseberry Patch and one of the recipes was for a Cheesy Lentil Casserole and suddenly his comment made a little more sense.  So I figured if I'm always blogging about and encouraging my readers to try new foods in the kitchen then I better try something new and different myself.  So lentils were added to the grocery list and I made this casserole.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Peanut Butter & Bacon Soup

What could possibly be better than Peanut Butter in a soup recipe?!?!
Ummm...found it!!!
Peanut Butter and BACON in a soup recipe!!!!

Now I know at this moment you are either scratching your head or turning up your nose, but just go with me on this one for a minute.  Take your traditional soup recipe with beans, carrots, celery, and a tomato sauce and chicken broth base.  Then throw in a little bacon.  Sounds good right!?!?  Now, get that soup bubbling hot and add some peanut butter.  Your soup just went from good.... to..... AWESOME!!  

The creaminess of the peanut butter will give your soup a nice texture and the taste could almost be compared to that of Thai food.  We liked this recipe so much we ate it all before I got a picture of it and had to make a second batch later in the week.  The second time I did get a picture, but the soup did not last long.  
 This recipe came out of Gooseberry Patch's 303 Round the Clock Recipes.  Stay tuned after the holidays because I will be giving away a copy of this book!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

What Alex the Elf has been up to

The Elf on the Shelf has been living with the Ott family for the past month and having quite the time keeping tabs on Little Miss MacchiOTTo and shOTT of Espresso.  At our house the Elf has been named Alex.  Alex reports to Santa each night and then first thing every morning we find what Alex was up to while we slept.  MacchiOTTo has done well finding the Elf each morning and tries to guess what room Alex will be each morning when she wakes up.   Here are a few of the places and things Alex has been doing.
 Alex gets tangled up easily in lights, tinsel and toilet paper.  
 Alex makes friends easily with the other toys at the house and likes to go for rides.
Alex likes to eat and got into the Christmas cookies, candy, and even went our for McDonalds.  

One time Alex even ziplined across the bathroom but we didn't get that one caught on camera.  And then just today we found Alex dancing with our musical snowman.  So with 6 more days till Christmas I'm sure Alex has more trouble to get into between now and then, but I also know on the last day Alex will deliver a letter from Santa telling the kids if they made the nice or naughty list.  (It's a close call right now so we'll just have to wait and see.)   

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pepper Jack Crab Bisque

Soup season is upon us... and I love this recipe I recently made out of Gooseberry Patch's 303 Round the Clock Recipes.  Firstly, you can never go wrong with Pepper Jack cheese.  It gives your taste buds that extra kick, so anytime I see a recipe with Pepper Jack... I know it's going to be good.  And the creamy tomato bisque pairs nicely with the crab meat that makes for a rich yet spicy soup to warm up to on a cold winter night or perfect for your holiday luncheon menu.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Mexican Turkey Crescent Bake

I love a good crescent bake recipe.  
What is a crescent bake you ask???
  Think of it as a casserole wrapped up in a crescent roll. 
Now doesn't that sound good?!?!  
We make these often at our house as they are quick to make, quick to bake and tasty to eat.  
You simply take a tube of refrigerated crescent rolls and lay them out in a circular fashion and then pile meat, veggies and cheese on top.  Wrap up in a circular fashion and then bake in the oven.  

I adapted this recipe out of Gooseberry Patch's 303 Round the Clock Recipes.  The original recipe was with similar ingredients but you braided bread dough.  As a busy mom of 2 small children I didn't think I had the time or coordination to braid dough, so I incorporated the crescent rolls in and it worked out great.  The turkey in this recipe is a great way to use up leftovers after your holiday meals.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Overnight Crock Pot Apple French Toast

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Around the holidays who doesn't love an easy breakfast, that skimps on the calories?!?!?  I'm happy to be working with Sara Lee® and sharing a recipe using their new 45 Calories & Delightful bread.  And this recipe is sure to make your Christmas morning less stressful as it cooks in the crock pot while you sleep.  I love putting all my ingredients in the night before turning it on and then going to bed.  And throughout the night you can start to smell wefts of apples and cinnamon. Then come morning simply make yourself a pot of coffee and spoon up a helping of this Apple French Toast.

Around the holidays it can be a challenge to eat healthy.  But I think any time you can shave a few calories off a dish it helps.  Sara Lee® new 45 Calories & Delightful Bread is a great way to do just that because each slice is only 45 calories.  As a new mom to our 2nd child loosing the extra baby weight as we head into the new year is something to think about and work at everyday.  But with daily exercising and making healthy eating a priority it can be done, and thanks to this Sara Lee® bread I know morning toast and lunch time sandwiches will have a delightful taste and texture, are heart healthy and provide an excellent source of fiber, and will all help me reach my goal.  I found this Sara Lee® line at Wal-Mart and it comes in the flavors of Oatmeal, 100% Whole Wheat, Multi-Grain and Wheat.

So what are your fitness goals as we head into 2015?  Are you going to drink more water, get more sleep, maintain a workout regime?  Whatever you plans head over to the Sara Lee® 45 Delightful People program and enter to win a free t-shirt and a chance to win some great prizes including the grand prize of $4,500.  Every entrant will receive a t-shirt so share your story, journey or even goals by December 15th.  
And like I mentioned before...busy mornings with 2 little kids can be quite hectic so to help I make a healthy breakfast in my crock pot which saves me time and calories.  The whole family likes it and I know they are getting a warm and hearty breakfast before the day begins and I'm keeping with my healthy eating goals.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Holiday gift: Carmel Apple Jam

With the holidays right around the corner, homemade gifts are a great idea to give to loved ones as presents or hostess gifts.  They are unique and come from the heart and are sure to be cherished. Since I love to can; preserved goods are usually on my homemade list and who doesn't love a jar of jam to enjoy all winter long?!?!  One of my all time favorite jams recipes is this one for Carmel Apple Jam. It's easy to make and taste great.  But before I get to the recipe I wanted to let you know that I'm working with Jarden Home Brands to promote their 25 Days of Making & Giving.

This contest runs November 28th - December 22nd and each day readers can enter to win a daily prize.  And let me tell you there are some fabulous prizes up for grabs.  Like todays prize is the Collection Elite Canner with Rack.  And each entry during the 24 days also grants an entry towards the Grand Prize; a FreshTECH Automatic Home Canning System (valued at $299.)  To enter simply visit http://www.freshpreserving.com/25days and follow the instructions.  Then be sure to check out Ball Cannings Pinterest and Facebook pages for more great homemade holiday gift giving ideas.  
 
And as a side note I wanted to share that with this recipe you can use whatever variety of apples you like.  Simply make sure you add 2 Tbsp. bottled lemon juice to recipe just to assure the pH is low enough as different apples vary in their pH levels.


 
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