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Friday, January 4, 2013

Allergy Friendly and All Natural Coffee Friday!

Hello friends! I hope you are ready for our FIRST Coffee Friday Party of the year! May this year be filled with blessings and with lots of coffee (tea or hot chocolate) for all of you! I hope you've remembered to mention the word "coffee" somehow in any of your posts of the week, remember, the "word" can be in any of its forms, you can randomly mention your "coffee table" or even the name of your favorite Coffee Shop, it doesn't even have to be "the main subject" in your post. Then, just make sure you link back to us... You can use our "Coffee Party" button (find it on my right sidebar) and voila! We're good to go!

Today I have a very special guest, Julie, she is very enthusiastic and just a pleasure to work with! If you say hi to her she'll always say "hi back" so make sure you read what she has to say (below) so you can get to know her better... she's also sharing a delicious coffee-themed recipe with all of us! I would add a lot more about her but I think she's got it all covered... here she is:

About Me:
 Hello! My name is Julie, and I am SO excited to be here on The Coffee Shop to share a little bit about myself, my blogs and a recipe with you! Thank you, Paloma, for the opportunity! :) Let's see...A little about me. Well, I'm a housewife with Fibromyalgia (and I refuse to let it define me), Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and a heart arrhythmia; I have a passion for helping those with food allergies/sensitivities find the resources they need to enjoy life; I have a love for my family, my God and my country that just won't quit; and I love to blog. I've been married for 12 and a half years to my college sweetheart. I am also the mother of 3. My first born is a very intellectual, reading and writing-crazed, just-turned-10-year-old boy who has Hashimoto's Thyroiditis just like his momma and an excessive swelling issue with bug bites. My middle child is a zany, fun-loving 8-and-a-half-year-old boy who has Functional Hypoglycemia and trouble with reading and writing, but does the best he can always. My youngest is a darling little nearly-2-and-a-half-year-old daughter with just a hint of drama who loves to laugh and smile. Life is full with potty training, housework, games, church, school and trying to eat right and get just enough exercise for all of us...And finding time to blog about it all! :)

Oh, yes, and we have a cat, too. Her name is Crush (named after the turtle from Finding Nemo because she's tortoise colored and my hubby thinks he's funny :) ), and she thinks we're her kittens...We don't have the heart to tell her otherwise. :)

About My Blog:

I actually have 2 blogs.
  1. Natural and Free : This is my recipe/information blog for those who have or take care of those who have one to all of the top 8 allergens (soy, wheat, fish, seafood/shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, eggs and milk). This blog actually started years ago (2006) as just a web page I designed called Soy Allergy off a site my husband and I have called when I was struggling to find information on soy after I was "diagnosed" with allergies to soy, fish and nuts and was to avoid all forms of soy, fish, seafood/shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts (I no longer have these allergies, if I ever had them to begin with.). It's since morphed into Natural and Free, going through several stages in between. (You can read more about this on my Facebook page and under my "Why I Started This Blog" page on my blog, if you like.) 
  2. Fibro, Fit and Fab!: I started this blog to share my personal journey about becoming fit and fabulous despite having Fibromyalgia after I was diagnosed with that chronic condition on August 8th of this year. Where Natural and Free is more recipes and information, Fibro, Fit and Fab! is more about my daily life. 
I have: 
• Facebook: /NaturalAndFreeBlog 
 • Twitter @NaturalFreeBlog 
 • Pinterest /naturalandfree 
 • Google+ 

Feel free to add me at any or all of these locations if you wish (I update about both blogs at all these locations whenever I post), and let me know so that I can keep in touch. You can also email me, and I'll get back with you ASAP. :) I look forward to connecting with you! 

And now...  A Coffee-themed Recipe Just For You!

Seeing as it's January, cold and snowy (at least in the Northern part of the Michigan where I'm from) and I am visiting here at The Coffee Shop, I thought I would offer you my allergy-friendly, cost-effective, natural food alternative to a Caramel Mocha. My version (an adaptation from one I found here: Homemade Salted Caramel Mocha) is soy, egg, wheat, nut and fish-free, and it can even be milk-free and sugar-free (see variations)! How awesome is that? Allergy-friendly never tasted so good! :)

Caramel Mocha 

3/4 Cup white sugar, divided
3 Tablespoons salted, full-fat butter
 4 1/2 Cup milk, divided
1/2 Cup cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons instant coffee
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  1. In a medium saucepan, cook 1/2 Cup of the sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula (if it becomes lumpy, reduce heat and refrain from stirring), until it turns a deep amber color; add the butter and stir until it is melted. 
  2. Add 1/2 Cup milk, coffee, cocoa, salt (if using) and remaining 1/4 Cup sugar and mix until well blended. (Note: Be careful! The hot sugar will bubble up when you add the milk.) 
  3. Add the remaining 4 Cups of milk and stir until everything is heated thoroughly. 
  4. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir in the vanilla before enjoying. 

Yield: Makes about 5 one Cup servings.

  •  Milk-free: Use a dairy-free milk for the milk and a dairy-free butter for the butter. Just keep in mind your allergen needs when picking a substitute. 
  • Sugar-Free: Use a sugar substitute in place of the sugar.
  • Frothy Top: Place a 1 Cup portion in the blender and blend for a few seconds before pouring into a mug for a nice frothy top.
  • Coffeehouse Style: Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce, cinnamon or any combination that you like to make a more "coffeehouse" style drink. 
  • Iced Caramel Mocha: Let the mocha cool and then serve over ice.
  • Caramel Mocha Frappe: Let the mocha cool and add a 1 Cup portion to a blender along with 1/2 to 1 Cup (amount based on preference) of ice and blend until desired consistency. I would start with the 1/2 Cup of ice and add more if you want it thicker. 

I hope you all enjoy the recipe! Thanks again to Paloma for having me! I enjoyed my visit tremendously! :) I hope you all have an amazing 2013 and stop by to visit me at my blog(s) soon! –Julie 


Don't wait any longer! And stop by Julie to say hi, thank her for sharing some coffee with all of us (good stuff!) and start following her... Thank you again Julie for being part of "The Coffee Shop".

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