As many of you know, I attended the first ever Food Blog University in Cancun last week. It was pretty fantastic and suffice it to say that I took away a long list of things I need to start working on. But the real takeaway from my trip?
MEXICAN COFFEE IS MY NEW FAVORITE EVERYTHING.
We worked hard and played hard (ok mostly relaxed by the pool, but there WAS some volleyball and ping pong – which still counts, right?) during and after the conference, and every morning my new bff Mexican coffee was there for me to help start the day.
Before I get into why the coffee is so amazing (and why you should start making it STAT) I’ll just say a few things about the conference for those of you (mostly my fellow bloggers) who might be interested in going next year…
TOP TEN REASONS YOU SHOULD GO TO FOOD BLOG UNIVERSITY IN 2016
1. FBU is by design a more intimate conference with fewer bloggers invited – meaning that you get some serious quality time with not only your fellow attendees, but especially with the major talent that you are there to learn from. It’s a big deal.
2. I’ll be there.
Let’s hang out by the pool and stuff.
3. It’s in Cancun – need I say more?
Not only did a learn a TON from both of them, we had a great time with them during the progressive dinner and throughout the conference. Also the hand’s on photography workshop with Lindsay alone made this trip worth it – if you’re looking to up your photography game, this girl can make it happen and she’s an open book when it comes to sharing her tips and tricks.
She also has some really great video tutorials out on Food Blogger Pro if you can’t make it to a conference or one of her workshops, so you should definitely check those out if you’re in need of some help with lighting, styling, learning to use your camera, etc.
5. Mexican Coffee – seriously, it’s worth it.
6. The FBU organizers Diana & Eric from Eating Richly, and Melissa and Luis from Serendipity and Spice really have their act together when it comes to event planning. They were a dream to work with and they really went above and beyond in making the most of every second of our time together. In addition they contributed some pretty awesome content to the actual conference – especially regarding information I was looking for on creating videos for your blog. Once the conference was over, they were busy for days already getting the ball rolling for next year and it’s going to be EVEN MORE AMAZING.
7. Again – IT’S IN CANCUN – and held at the truly gorgeous Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa. It’s all inclusive people – and I mean alllll inclusive – even the many fabulous cocktails!! There are over 7 restaurants onsite and the food is unbelievable – even the room service was amazing (try the salmon for sure – I ordered it twice it was so good!)
The entire facility is really beautiful and well-maintained, and the staff at every level were incredibly friendly and professional. We had a blast hanging out by the pool on our off days watching the entertainment crew conduct aqua aerobics, volleyball, super fun races and other activities for prizes, and all sorts of cooking demos (making Paella, Ceviche, and even 5 different cocktail recipes.) A talented and hilarious group – it would be anyone’s dream job to hang out with these guys every day!
Seriously, I can’t say enough about how fantastic the resort was – and how much they spoiled us as FBU attendees with personalized desserts sent to our rooms, a beautifully framed group photo after the conference, and lots of other swag. Carla their social media specialist was super fun to work with and really went all out for us. I already can’t wait to go back!
8. Jaden and Scott Hair from Steamy Kitchen will hopefully be there again as well, and they are THE REAL DEAL. True professionals at the blogging biz, these guys know their stuff and are at the top of their game. I learned a TON from the presentations they gave, but also felt smarter just by hanging out near them – kind of an osmosis sort of thing. Very inspiring people with a lovely family, it was great to be able to learn from and hang out with them during the different events.
9. FBU is about families and I heart that so much. Not only is it about bringing your family to the conference and including them in a lot of the fun stuff, which is pretty great in itself – it’s about blogging as a family or a couple.
It’s built specifically for bloggers that are looking to live the dream of blogging being your primary source of income so you can spend more time together as a family and do the things you want to do rather than punching a clock 5 (or more) days a week.
It takes time, commitment, and hard work to get there, but FBU is committed to giving you the tools to do it – and you get to learn from and be inspired by couples and families that have already done it and want to help you get there too.
10. In case you weren’t paying attention – it’s in Cancun, people! CANCUN!
#FBU2016 – Make. It. Happen.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way – let’s talk about the beverage that will pretty much be solely responsible for me surviving my first full winter back in the Northeast. Brrrrr!
I’m already a lover of coffee as most of you know. This Mexican coffee has everything I love about regular coffee and also adds flavors of cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla. ALL IN THE SAME CUP.
I’m in love.
The only problem (for me) with the coffee we were drinking in Mexico was that it was sweetened with real sugar, and cloyingly so. I knew after my first sip that I would have to recreate it as soon as I got home in a low carb and keto friendly version.
I wasn’t sure that I could nail the flavors without the copious amounts of brown sugar and chocolate syrup, but I managed to make a truly delicious version using Torani Sugar Free Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Syrup and Saco Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder. Even Mr. Hungry agreed that it was as good or better than what we were drinking in Mexico – without the carbs and calories!
Move over Pumpkin Spice Lattes (or PSL if you’re one of the cool kids) – this comforting coffee+cocoa+homey spices concoction is going to be my go-to morning bevy this winter. I will be drinking it pretty much non stop – and you should too!
As a side point, you can also dress this up with some rum to make it a fun cocktail for when you’ve got some friends over (….orrrrrr when you’re sitting by the fire in your jammies binge watching Netflix.) Either way – a perfect evening, amiright?
I created this recipe to be sweet but not cloyingly so – you can absolutely adjust the sweetening to your personal preference. I used heavy cream to finish mine but you can use whatever creamer (or none) that you prefer – just make sure to count it in your calories/carbs for the day if you’re following a strict keto diet as I didn’t include it in the nutrition info.
If you can’t get the Torani Sugar Free Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Syrup, you can sweeten this to taste with any low carb sweetener and use 2 whole cinnamon sticks to get the flavor at least close. I do recommend the syrup though – it makes a big difference in my opinion!
- Combine the water, cinnamon, cloves, salt, cocoa powder, and ground coffee in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, sweetener, and flavored syrup. Stir and then let steep undisturbed for five minutes. Carefully ladle or pour off the coffee into 2 mugs, leaving the grounds undisturbed at the bottom of the pan. Alternatively you could pour it through a coffee filter, but it's really not necessary if you're careful when pouring. Test and adjust for sweetness and add the creamer of your choice.
In other exciting news, I’ve teamed up with Woman’s World Magazine and Atkins to create a super healthy and delicious soup recipe and menu plan that is featured in the November 9, 2015 issue of Woman’s World! Some of their readers who tested it out have lost 10lbs in just one week!
Grab your copy and check it out this week before they are all gone!
New to low carb and need some help getting started? Try out any one of my free low carb and keto menu plans with recipes and shopping lists and start losing weight fast!