Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

With everything that’s been going on with the new house and work and winter weather, it’s been busy!

My blogging schedule has changed – and I don’t mind it – but it’s taking me a while to find a balance again with everything else, too. Our new house is awesome and we love it and just feel so blessed to be in the place that we’re in, but we also have an even longer drive to work every day, which has caused us to make some changes in our schedules.

All in all, things are going well. It’s just taking some time to get used to it all.

While I haven’t been documenting all our meals, I’ve been trying to make sure I get pictures of great new recipes and things that are happening.

And right now, these are some of my favorite things:


My nephew. Seriously – one of the cutest babies I’ve ever seen. And I’m not just saying that because he’s family! He’s adorable, right?


Our hallway with the cabinet we got from Nick’s parents. The house is coming together and no longer feels empty.


These Xpress SmartCups that I won from Janetha!

They’re travel french press cups and they have given us the option for fresh coffee on a few busy mornings lately : )


So easy to use: put your coffee grounds in the cup, add in your boiling water, put the lid on and let it sit/brew for a few minutes – then take the rod and press into the lid slowly until it clicks in at the bottom.


And you can’t really see it in this picture, but right in the lid (where you take your sips), there’s a thin layer of mesh that also helps keep any grounds from getting out into your coffee.


I love these cups! I’m going to be sad when they’re gone.


But my favorite 2 things?

1. I finally have a KitchenAid! My mom and dad bought this for us as a housewarming present, since we finally have room for a stand mixer in this house. I am so excited about this and have been baking up a storm!

2. Eating dinner at a real table.


At our old house, our layout was a bit strange and our “dining room table” was more of a catch-all in a room that also served as a “catch-all” so we never ate at our table.

In the new house, we have dinner at our table every night and just catch up on the day. No tv blaring right in our faces OR in the background – just us enjoying our meal. It’s been really nice to have that time together each evening.


What about you? What are you loving right now?

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Yeah, I’m about 3 weeks late with this post.

I know the holidays are over.

I should be posting my resolutions and goals instead of a cookie recipe, but I can’t help it.

Maybe one goal I have this year is to eat more cookies.


I’ve been debating whether or not to share this recipe. It’s one I whipped out of nowhere that actually turned out really good.  So good that my husband – who isn’t the biggest fan of mint and chocolate – loved them.

And would you believe I’d never made crinkle cookies before this? I know – I’m way behind on my baking bucket list.

After snatching up a bag of candy cane Hershey’s Kisses, I had dreams of these cookies.


What I wanted?

Minty striped kisses barely melted into a deep, rich chocolate crinkle cookie. 


I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. And the cookies were good.

Bonus points for this recipe: No one knew they were whole wheat – I like finding tricky ways to get more whole wheat into my family and friends, and chocolate is one of the best ways to do it.


Mint Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 24 Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses
  1. Mix cocoa and melted butter and let cool slightly.
  2. Mix in 1/2 cup of the flour, brown sugar, sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, and salt until combined.
  3. Beat in the last 1/2 cup of flour.
  4. Cover and chill the dough about 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  6. In small bowl or dish, combine powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp cocoa.
  7. Roll dough into 1” balls, roll in powdered sugar/cocoa mix and place on baking sheet.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes until cracked and set.
  9. Let cookies sit for about 30 seconds and then place one Hershey’s Candy Cane Kiss on each cookie.
  10. After another 30 seconds – 1 minute, move cookies to a cooling rack/plate/cutting board to cool.




I love mint + chocolate together, so these were some of the best things I ate this holiday season. You can make them even more minty by adding just a 1/4 tsp peppermint extract to the dough, but even if you’re not a huge fan of mint, these cookies are still a fun recipe to make.

Either way, you’ll be left with very festive cookies – the red and white stripes will set these apart from any other cookie at the table.


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Do you have any friends who a await the arrival of the Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte?  It has been here for 2 months and people love it.

Unfortunately, a Venti (20 ounces) will set you back 510 Calories! (whole milk and whipped cream included)

ummm, ouch.  There is 60% of your daily value of saturated fat in this single drink.

But, since you read Branappetit you are probably ordering the TALL size (still 200 calories).  You can have all kind of fun on Starbucks’ website playing with what you add to their drinks ([[ Pumpkin Spice Latte]]).

Frankly, I don’t like the Pumpkin Spice Latte because I find it too sweet.  I do adore pumpkin spice so I thought I would attempt my own version.  It turns out that ANYONE can make their own pumpkin spice latte.

Why would you want to make your own?  You will save:

*Calories – mine is 130 calories less than Starbucks’ lite version

*Money – saved about $2.50

*The Environment – no paper cup and lid to toss away

You don’t need an espresso maker with a milk frother to make this drink.  You can buy a milk frother that runs on batteries called an Aerolatte.  I have one (first saw it in Europe) and it works great! 

Buy some pumpkin spice from the baking section of your supermarket, skim milk, sugar, and you are ready to go.  Try adding just one teaspoon of sugar and see if you like it.  You don’t need a lot of sugar to make this taste delicious.


Pumpkin Spice Latte Recipe

4 ounces coffee or espresso

1/2 cup skim or nonfat milk

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (plus extra to dust on top)

Brew coffee and heat milk until hot in microwave.  Foam milk with Aerolatte or other milk frother.  Mix sugar and pumpkin pie spice in coffee and pour milk on top.  Enjoy!

(77 calories, 0.2g fat, 14.8 g carbohydrates, 4.3 g protein)


Bio:  Lisa Cain, Ph.D. writes about healthy snacks on Snack-Girl.com. She is a published author, mother of two, and avid snacker.

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Ready to Refill

Okay, I’ve got my list ready and I’m set! I planned out some meals and possible lunches for this week in case we don’t have dinner leftovers, plus have all the random stuff we need (face wash, lotion, a new razor for me since I left mine in Honduras…)

I was actually up and out of bed at 6:45 this morning, although I’m not sure why. I just couldn’t sleep anymore. I went ahead and took my shower, then looked up a few recipes online and finished making my grocery list before Nick got up.

We decided to make some breakfast before I hit the road into town. It kind of sounds like we live in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t it?  🙂

I knew I wanted to use this with breakfast today:


We bought this Blackberry Honey in Zamorano (where the orphanage was in Honduras) and I really wanted to use it this morning. It cost 39.59 lempira, which is about $2 for this big bottle of honey. It actually tastes like a cross between blackberry jam and honey.


We each toasted up some bread and spread it with crunchy pb, the blackberry honey, and had some bacon and sliced apple.


Not my normal weekend breakfast, but it was really good and just what I wanted.

And actually….I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think I’m a little tired of bacon? i really did not want it this morning. My one slice was good, but I couldn’t eat any more of it.

Plus some of our Honduran coffee – delicioso.


I also got to try some new bread this morning! I used 2 slices of the Essential Flaxseed Bread by Alvarado St. Bakery, and I really liked it! The only bad thing is that I found this bread at a store near Nick’s parents and I’ve never seen it here. I’ll have to keep my eyes open for it.

I’m off to pick up my glasses, hit up the market and grocery store, and then head home for lunch  🙂

Do you ever just get tired of a food or all of sudden just NOT want something?

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Good morning!

Happy Saturday, and thank goodness it’s finally here, right?

I’ve got a super busy day today and am already taking too long to get going. Oh well – having no alarm clock going off this morning was glorious, breakfast was awesome, and now I’m getting on my way.

Nick gave me a lesson on how to make French Press coffee in our big press, so now I can make it if he’s not here!

We have 2 French Presses – 1 baby, 1 mama.


After finding out how much better french press coffee was, we went out and bought the big mama french press a few months ago…and we rarely use the baby one anymore. It would be the perfect size if just one of us wanted coffee, though.

I also got to grind some of our Sumatra beans in our antique grinder this morning!


Does that count as an arm workout?  🙂

All in all, I made a good cup of coffee this morning!


We had the end of that cinnamon raisin loaf left, so Nick made some french toast + the last of the turkey bacon this morning while I worked on the coffee and cut up fruit.

This cinnamon raisin bread made the BEST french toast! I eat my french toast naked – no syrup, nothing. I never used to put syrup on it when my mom made her french toast, and I just got used to it that way! I love being able to taste the bread, eggs, and cinnamon/vanilla in the batter.


I got this bread at our farmer’s market last weekend and it was still perfect today. This new bakery at the market started just par-baking some of their breads, so they last longer. Basically, they only bake them about 1/2 -3/4 of the way and then it has instructions for you to finish it at home AND that means you get to have hot, fresh bread out of the oven when you make it. They also have freezing instructions on the bag, too, which is nice.


We had 3 slices of bread to use: 1 big, 1 medium, and 1 little. We each had one slice and then split one between the two of us.


I also cut up our last farmer’s market peach + some strawberries.

I’m hoping to stop by the market today for just a few peaches to get us through Tuesday. They are so good and I’m already sad that we ate the last one this morning.

Alright – I’ve got to get going!

My agenda is super full today and I’m getting a late start:

  • Target for tiny aleve containers
  • Walmart for some food stuff plus sanitizer, tp, etc for the trip
  • Kroger for the rest of the food + the few groceries I’m getting
  • Farmer’s market?
  • Goodwill/YMCA thrift store to look for extra suitcases for the trip

Then back for something for lunch?, laundry, and starting to get stuff packed.

At least I have a fun dinner planned that we haven’t had in a while!

What do you like on your french toast? AND what’s your favorite QUICK and EASY lunch? I need ideas for today  🙂

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Food Goals for Life

Good morning!

Yes, it’s humpday but it’s also technically “Thursday” for me since we have Friday off – do you have a long weekend for the holiday? I’m excited to have a 3 day weekend – we have some fun stuff planned!

After seeing Kelsey’s breakfast yesterday, I knew it was time (again) for one of my favorites –

eggs + oatbran


fruit + the most amazing bacon from the Amish market near Nick’s parents.


I can honestly say this is the best bacon I have ever had – I’m glad we remembered to pick up some and bring it home! We first had it a few months ago when we were visiting and selling stuff at the huge neighborhood yard sale. We all raved about it. I don’t know what it is that’s different about this bacon, but it’s awesome. Super salty.

I’m taking some fun coffee to work that my sister got me for my birthday – how could you not want to try this?


It smells amazing, so I’m thinking it’s going to taste pretty good, too.

So, I got this article link from Nicole at Real Simple the other day and it got me thinking. She sent me a link of 15 Recipes to Make Before You Die – fun, right?

I’ve made a few on the list, but there are still some that I have not tried yet.

I think my list of things I want to make at some point in my life would be:

  • homemade bagels
  • a pretty layer cake – I’ve made one but it was a little crooked  🙂
  • the perfect chocolate chip cookie
  • cheesecake
  • VeggieGirl’s blondies!
  • Gina’s macaroons, although I don’t have a dehydrator
  • a fabulous Thanksgiving meal. It’s my favorite holiday!

Plus many more!

So, what’s your list? What do you want to make at some point in your life?

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Shake It, Saturday

Man, I don’t think I should have caffeine in the afternoon any more! It’s been a while since I have had any after lunchtime, and I have been going, going, going since I made this earlier:


I tried to make a homemade frappuccino and it turned out pretty well! This was –

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup cold coffee
  • 1-2 cups ice
  • nesquik powder  🙂

it was good, but I’ve been so hyper! I also had about a cup of Lesser Evil popcorn (plus a few more small handfuls right out of the bag).


This stuff is so good! It’s a good thing the bag I have isn’t very big.

I got one load of laundry washed + dried + folded + put away, and I have one more in the dryer right now.

As that stuff was washing, I decided I needed a toenail color change:


So cute and light! I got this in a sweet little care package from Nicole at Real Simple, along with a super cute purse organizer and a magnetic notepad – it’s like she read my mind on what I use the most: notepads for making tons and tons of lists and huge purses where I can’t find anything   🙂

Of course, the name of the polist was just as cute as the color –


Real Simple – cute huh? They have their own nail color  🙂  Thanks so much Nicole!

I just got back from finishing up grocery shopping and Nick just finished cutting the grass, so dinner tonight is some big & easy gumbo-laya leftovers.


Mmm…just as good as last night  🙂

I haven’t made the shakes yet, but I’m making them based on this recipe that I got from Nicole at Real Simple the other day. I knew I had to make them as soon as I saw the recipe.

I’ll only be making 2 and I’m planning on using almond milk, frozen mixed berries, and slow churned vanilla ice cream. I think they’ll be good.

If they look as pretty as their pictures, I’ll post one in the morning – just to prove we had them.

We’re about to watch Taken and I’m excited about it! I’ve seen some good reviews, so I’m hoping it’s as good as I’m expecting.

Hope you’ve had a great and less-klumsy day than me!

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Thundering Hunger

I was woken up last night a couple of times by the loudest, closest thunder I have ever heard. It honestly sounded like our house was about to be ripped in half – the house was shaking, it was pouring outside, and there was lightening. This storm came out of nowhere! Yesterday was beautiful and we weren’t supposed to have any rain or storms last night. It was crazy – Nick told me this morning that he woke up at one point, heard the super loud thundering, said he thought “well, maybe this is the end of the world” – and then just went back to sleep! I guess if you’re gonna go, you might as well be comfy in bed  🙂

Our dinner was pretty early last night (5:30) and I usually have a snack at night if we eat that early but I was still full when I went to bed. That usually means that I’m going to be starving in the morning when I get up. And I was.

Nick made me some coffee this morning, for starters. We both missed it yesterday!


They had a little coffeemaker at the cabin, but we weren’t sure if they would also be bringing some with breakfast so we waited to find out. They didn’t, and by then, we were just too lazy to make any since we needed to get home. The coffee was good this morning.

All I could think about was a humongous bowl of oatmeal to fill my belly this morning


  • 1/2 cup oats, 1 cup water, pinch salt
  • 1 whole banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup or so frozen mixed berries
  • cinnamon
  • flax


I always forget that I have flax in the house – I love it, but never remember to use it.

I’m trying a new sandwich combination at lunch – it should be good and I’m excited 🙂


What’s your favorite way to use flax?

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As The Ziti Turns

I’m not sure what happened with the weather here, but it is nice outside right now! There are still tons of clouds in the distance, so I’m they just pass on through. We have had so much rain lately, and I would really like to be able to run when I get home.

I was really happy when I got to work this morning because this was waiting for me in my fridge!


This is called “The Favorite” and is from a local coffee shop here. I bought it yesterday at lunch but then was too warm in the office to drink it! No problem – I had it this morning, and it was perfect. This was a fat free latte made with sugar free white chocolate and caramel syrups. For some reason, most sugar free things do not agree with me, but I have no problems with the sf coffee syrups.

Work went along like normal this morning and I was ready for lunch around 11:30 – I was just counting down the minutes until Nick got over here to eat.

I had a serving of the baked ziti on top of another cup or so of spinach


And yes, I apparently ate it sideways. This picture comes up right when I open it on the computer, but then shows up like this? Oh well – you get the drift. There was a ton more spinach in the bottom of the dish that got a little wilted when I heated this up. Yum!

I also had the last of the green/yellow beans


And am now chomping on this apple


I am going to miss this ziti once it’s gone! I think there’s only 1-2 servings left, so you won’t have to see it too many more times  🙂  It was such a great recipe.

T minus 12 hours until our 5 year wedding anniversary! I am beyond excited and cannot believe it’s been 5 years. I’m going to have a fun post tomorrow, so look out!

One of the sweetest/coolest things Nick has done for me:

When I was in my junior year of college, Nick was already back in Virginia and I was still in Arkansas at school. It was long distance the entire 8 months we were engaged and planning our wedding. Needless to say, we talked on the phone – a lot. I was having a really hard year that year at school, and being away from him and my family while trying to plan the wedding was tough.

He sent me a package one time while I was at school that was an entire box of the Hershey’s Cookies’n’Mint bars! They are my favorite candy bar and I’m so sad they don’t make them anymore. I guess they were out again a few years ago for a limited time and he sent me an entire box. 🙂  He knows the way to my heart is through chocolate, usually.

What’s the most fun gift you’ve ever received?

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Solo Road Trip

Well, Nick and I just had a lazy morning instead of running  🙂  I love weekends with him –  most Saturdays, I’m usually up and gone to get groceries before the stores get crazy, but it’s nice to just lay around sometimes and be lazy and just enjoy the morning. Not having an alarm clock go off was nice today. We slept in til about 7 (we’re old, I know – we just can’t sleep in late anymore), took showers and made breakfast so I could finish packing and get on the road soon.

Nick made some awesome coffee – I think this is one of our coffees from Mill Mountain? It’s a local coffee shop here that roasts their own beans.


I had some over easy eggs and grits


and half an orange plus some lean sausage that I apparently didn’t take a picture of?


I’ve got to go finish drying my hair and packing my bag and then I’m off! I usually take road trips, no matter how short, with Nick so this one might be a little lonely   😦  We don’t have a cd player in the truck so I hope I find some good radio stations!

I may not “see” you guys again today so if I don’t – I hope you all have a great Saturday!!!

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