Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Happy National Coffee Day! A Quick Guide to Ordering Your Perfect Cup

A Cortado from Hillside Farmacy in Austin, Texas
Happy National Coffee Day!

 After years of being a tea drinker, my children (and their terrible sleep habits) finally forced me into a lifestyle of coffee consumption.  Now, I actually look forward to my yummy hot cup of bittersweet in the morning!  It's like a little hug in a mug to start my day.  :-)

I like all different styles of coffee... it really just depends on the day (and time).  But, with all of the choices, how does a sleep-deprived momma know what to get?  I'll be honest, it has taken me years to really get a good handle on the ins and outs of coffee.  You don't need to go through all that!  So, in honor of today's gloriously caffeinated holiday, here is a quick guide to ordering a beverage that is just right for you.

Quick Guide to Ordering Coffee Beverages:

In order from most milk to least milk:
Latte - 5:1 ratio milk to espresso
Cafe au Lait - warm, steamed milk with coffee instead of espresso
Cafe Noisette - 2:1 espresso and steamed milk
Cappuccino - 1:1:1 espresso, steamed milk and foam
Cafe Mocha - traditionally 2:2:1 espresso, chocolate and steamed milk
Cortado - an espresso cut with a small amount of warm milk. 
Macchiato* - espresso with a dot of foam
Americano - 1:2 espresso and water (no milk)

*If your favorite coffee shop is Starbucks, and you want to order a true Macchiato, order an "Espresso Macchiato."  The "Caramel Macchiatos" on their menu involves lots of milk and sugar and are probably incredibly delicious, but don't really resemble a traditional Macchiato.

To make a decadently delicious beverage with a kick of peppermint at home, try this recipe! 


Monday, September 28, 2015

The Super Blood Moon

What an awesome experience!  My family and I had been looking forward to seeing the Super Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse for the last few weeks.  And although we weren't able to head to the county for a really great view, we still had a great time seeing the eclipse from our home in the city, streetlights and all.

Fortunately, our camera did a wonderful job of picking up the hauntingly beautiful dusky red of the Blood Moon.  This is my favorite picture of the night, captured just after the moon was in total eclipse:

The Super Blood Moon, Sept. 27, 2015.
Did you know that last night's full moon was also called the Harvest Moon?  This term applies to the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (aka first day of Fall). 

Back to the term "Blood Moon."  This actually seems to be a pretty recent term as applied to total lunar eclipses.  It's easy to see why it's caught on - it's a compelling name, easy to remember, and it describes the reddish hue of the eclipsed moon in a descriptive way.   However, historically, the name "Blood Moon" has more often been used to describe the Hunter's Moon, which is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon.  Theoretically, the Hunter's Moon tends to look more dusky-hued near the horizon than other full moons, therefore earning a descriptive name. 

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