I admit that I’m somewhat new to the back-to-school culture. I was under the impression that the first bell would bring a sense of freedom to explore new coffee shops, join a mom stroller gang or learn how to style my yoga pants so they could pass as couture. I’ve witnessed the glory on the faces of parents in the school drop-off line, and wonder where they get the energy for those round-off handsprings in the parking lot. I had already won 39 battles and lost 52 by 7:52 a.m.
Sure, I miss the boys. I still fight eye floods every time they walk through the school doors, but I have aspirations for goodness sake. I need my energy for all the mom gang activities I write on Post-it’s all summer long: “Drink our coffee on cute picnic blankets,” “Make up a secret handshake” and “Take up scrap-booking” are completely legitimate excuses to get my act together, and my energy up.
If you find yourself needing the energy to do any of the above, please read on. The recipes you’re about to be exposed to could change the way you eat forever. If you’ve only been drinking your caffeine all this time, it’s simply not enough.
Here are three recipes to make sure you’re properly caffeinated through every. single. meal.
Breakfast – Tiramisu French Toast
Credit: Rachael Nass
Rachael Nass of threetimesperday.com has the perfect breakfast or brunch recipe to give you a deliciously caffeinated start to your day or weekend.
Ingredients (serves four):
8 slices of brioche or challah bread, cut about ¾ inches thick and preferably slightly stale
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee (more if you want an more coffee flavor)
1/4 tsp vanilla
butter for pan
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Quick method: You can also pan fry the French toast if you don’t want to wait for the oven to preheat, but expect a denser toast.
2 Dissolve the instant coffee in the milk. You can do this in cold milk, or speed it up by warming the milk over very low heat.
3 Beat eggs, then add milk (cooled, if heated previously) and vanilla, and mix until combined.
4 Cut toast into lady finger-sized logs for a more authentic tiramisu look, or leave as whole slices.
5 Gently dip toast into egg mixture. Let soak to desired texture (if you like softer toast, let soak until quite soggy. Just dip it in for a firmer texture. Brioche and challah are quite absorbent.)
6 Lay toast in a very well buttered pan with a bit of space between slices and put in oven for 10 minutes (keep an eye on it). Quick method: Fry toast in a buttered skillet over medium heat until cooked through and browned on the surface.
7 Meanwhile, combine maple syrup and whipping cream and whip with hand or stand mixer (or whisk for a great arm workout) until it forms soft peaks.
8 Gently fold mascarpone into whipped cream.
9 At the 10-minute mark, flip the toast and let cook a few more minutes so the other side can also crisp up.
10 Remove bread from oven. Assemble “tiramisus” by making a single layer with half of the bread with logs touching. Top with about half of the whipped cream mixture. Repeat with a second layer. Quick method: Serve toast as is with just a dollop of whipped cream on top. All of the taste with none of the fuss!
11 Sift powdered sugar and cocoa powder over the top, to taste.
Lunch – Carla’s Coffee & Oats
Credit: Carla Primero
Carla Primero, a holistic health coach and yoga instructor serves up some caffeinated oats, chia seeds and a dash of collagen. You’ll be caffeinated and beautiful, from the inside out.
Ingredients (serves one):
Gluten free oats
Canned coconut milk
Unflavored collagen powder (optional)
Chia seeds (optional)
Toppings of your choice
1 Use water to cook 1/4 cup of dried gluten free oats. Set aside
2 Blend 1/4 cup of coffee, 1/2 banana, 1/4 coconut milk, 2 dates and unflavored collagen powder.
3 Once the oats are cooked, drain the oats of any excess water.
4 Mix your blended coffee and cooked oats.
5 Add in more coconut milk or coffee to your desired consistency and taste.
6 Top with any toppings of your choice.
7 Add chia seeds, other half of the banana, blueberries, goji berries and unsweetened coconut flakes.
Dinner – Coffee-braised pork tacos
Credit: Amy Lezca
This recipe comes to you by way of Amy Lecza of Amy Cooks Chicago. Amy just gave the gift of the best Taco Tuesday ever.
Ingredients (serves four):
6-7 lbs pork butt (shoulder), bone-in
1 large onion, large diced
1 head peeled garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. instant coffee powder
1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. cayenne
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
3 cups brewed coffee
3 cups chicken stock
Taco toppings – lime wedges, pickled onions, fresh cilantro, thinly sliced jalapeños, crumbled cotija cheese
1 An hour before cooking, put the pork butt in a large Dutch oven, sitting it on top of the diced onion and garlic cloves, with the fatty side up.
2 With a sharp knife, score the fat into a crisscross pattern – this will help render the fat during the cooking process.
3 In a small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Rub the pork all over with the mix. Let this sit at room temperature for an hour – if it’s not cold from the fridge, it will take less time to cook.
4 Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
5 When you’re ready to put the pork in, pour the brewed coffee and chicken stock into the Dutch oven along the sides of the pot. The liquid should be about 2/3 of the way covering the pork.
6 Cover the pot and bake, checking it after the two-hour mark, and every subsequent hour until it’s done – about 4 1/2-5 hours, depending on the size of your pork butt.
7 When the meat is very tender and easy to shred, it’s ready to come out of the pot. Remove the meat using a pair of tongs and a large slotted spoon, and let it cool a bit on a sheet tray and remove the bone. Use two forks to shred the meat. Reserve a cup or two of the braising liquid; the rest can be disposed of.
8 Taste and season the meat – it will probably need salt. Before serving, pour the reserved juices over the meat, taste and season again, then serve with the toppings of your choice and warm corn tortillas.
These recipes will ensure you stay properly caffeinated! Please share if you’d like to drop knowledge on a fellow coffee lover.
For more photos of coffee, find me at Chicago Mom Goes Suburban.