Category Archives: Coffee

The Keurig Curse

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I drink coffee.

I like coffee.

If I’m at home, I have a pot in the morning and a pot at night, basically.

And I am happy.

However, at my fiancé’s house, he doesn’t have a coffee pot.

This does not mean I live without coffee. This just means that I drink expensive coffee. Because he has a Keurig. Which means that you must commit to a cup of coffee – one cup at a time.  There is no “topping up.” There is no “finishing off the pot.” There is a single cup. And they cost anywhere from 40 cents to 75 cents each.

To people who do not drink a lot of coffee, this is no major consideration. 

To me, it’s a line item on my budget.

I feel like a drug addict going to a pusher when I grocery shop these days. Do you have any K-cups? How much? If I get the 18 pack, is there a price break? Do you have hazelnut?

I can spend ten bucks at home and have coffee for a month and a half. 

I spend ten bucks on K-cups to eek me through a scant week.

That’s maybe the only real reason I’m looking forward to seeing my $9 Wal-Mart coffee pot. I may not have to sell a kidney to afford my coffee.

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Cinnamon Spice Tea and Mexican Coffee

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With whiskey.

It’s important to note that the cinnamon spice tea is, in fact, some sort of mildly alcoholic beverage.

Because it’s not coffee. 

Not even remotely.

Now the other night, I bent and made myself a Mexican Coffee.

(This is before I came down with a real, tangible fever and decided that tea at 10 o’clock at night was perhaps a better choice than coffee. This just goes to show how feeble-minded I can be under the influence of a fever.)

I had no idea that such a thing as Mexican coffee existed until I went to Cozumel, Mexico, and attempted to order an Irish coffee. The waiter politely informed us that they did not have the ingredients to make an “I-rish” coffee, but that I would most likely enjoy a Mexican coffee.

He then went on to explain that it had ice cream, whipped cream, and tequila.

Tequila? Why didn’t you say that first? Did you even have to ask if I’d want one?

But then, alas, the drink order never arrived. So here I was in coffee-interruptus for nearly a month, having ordered a delicious coffee beverage that I did not, in fact, receive.

So I took it upon myself to make one while I was making a rootbeer float for my child. Scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, dark magic coffee, tequila, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup.

The first thing I noticed was how smooth the ice cream made the coffee and how well it blended with the tequila. Then, being an incorrigible whipped topping licker, I attempted to siphon off all the chocolaty whipped cream with a masterful side cup sipping technique. Then I sipped the coffee, and it had already incorporated the chocolate, tequila, vanilla, and cream into its general coffee goodness. So I reasoned that I could go ahead and enjoy the ice cream before it all melted. By then it was a small spoonful that sipped up in delicious cold contrast to the heat of the coffee. I savored the rest of the cup and decided that I should ban myself from the knowledge of its making if I didn’t want to die from over-exposure to delightfulness.

But that was the other night, when I did not have a fever. For me, fever = no milk based anything, not if I ever want to get better. 

So tonight it is cinnamon spice tea. With whiskey. It makes it quite palatable.

Now I can just hope that I will knock this fever out and be able to enjoy a trip to the beach tomorrow.

Coffee Hot Toddy

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Summer colds suck.  Let me just get that straight. I don’t want you to think for one moment that I’m enjoying this experience…

Except that maybe, perhaps, I have found a way to make them suck a little less.

Two days ago, my fiancé caught me doing a throat cough.  You know, one of those little coughs you don’t even think about because it’s like you’re clearing your throat.  Except that it was during the conversation about me being concerned about my daughter’s symptoms – runny nose, cough, congestion, but thankfully no fever.

This morning, I woke up at 3 am thinking I was going to die. Yes, I think one of my dreams was the funeral eulogy, in which I’m sure coffee was praised for its significant role in my life.

Rolling out of bed this morning, I imitated a toad croaking as I informed my fiancé that I felt as though the French resistance had installed barbed wire in my throat.

Immediately, he brought me water and medicine (Can you see why I love this guy?), which I downed and then realized that hot liquids would make me feel that much better, thank you.

Then I recalled my BFF mentioning a “hot toddy.”

This involves tea.

Tea.

Now, tea in the abstract is a good thing. Tea in the specific is a good thing. It’s just that tea in my mind happens post coffee. 

Coffee is in its own food group in my life.

Morning: Coffee. Breakfast. More coffee.

Mid-morning: Ah, there’s my coffee.

Lunch: Water before more coffee.

Mid-Afternoon: Coffee. And, why yes, thank you, I’d love another cup of coffee.

Evening: Water. Hmmm… you know what would go great after dinner? How about a coffee? Oh, my cup is empty. Do you have free refills?

Now, it just so happens that I managed to procure Bailey’s Irish Cream the other evening.  And my fiancé just so happens to believe in a fairly well-stocked liquor cabinet.

So, coffee + whiskey + Bailey’s Irish Cream + whipped cream + chocolate syrup = coffee hot toddy = deliciousness = yay happy goodness.  The only sadness is that it is completely a non-menu-friendly food. 

**Update: a couple of hours later, my throat still feels happy, and my day is going great.

Writing

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For me, the most important thing about starting to write is

breaking routine.

It’s so easy to fall into a routine of minutiae.  It’s easy to think that filling the day with little menial tasks is actually accomplishing something, is DOING something.  After all, it’s those little tasks that niggle at the back of your brain – or even sometimes at the front – that make you think you’re 

NOT BEING PRODUCTIVE.

Except that you can spend your whole day doing little things – those little things that get undone just as soon as they are finished – and it’s like writing love poems in the sand at low tide.  Just an hour later, they’re washing away with the incoming waves, and you have nothing to show  for your efforts, except perhaps a memory.

And are those the memories I want to create with my time?

Not precisely, no.

I think perhaps having the memory of seizing that 1:23 am surge of energy, getting up, fishing out my glasses from the bottom drawer of my fiance’s bathroom, making a cup of abysmally dark coffee spruced up with cinnamon and a half teaspoon of sugar, and writing something – ANYTHING – is the memory I want.  

I don’t care that I’m not getting a full night’s sleep!  

Let me shout that from the rooftops: I DON’T CARE!

I do care about finally getting my fingers on the keyboard, staring at the screen, and taking dictation from the little narrator inside my head.  

That’s what I need to do.

There are two books that I need to get out:

1) Uncertain Waters – though that’s just a working title – it’s the story of my life, my journal, my craptastic truth that is as strange as fiction

2) The Children’s Book – that is written.  It’s WRITTEN.  It’s complete.  I just need to type it up and discover how to pitch it to a literary agent. 

And it’s the fear of failure and the fear of success that are holding me back.  It’s easier to be a writer who hasn’t tried than one who has tried and failed.  And dammit, when I admit that to myself, it seems so chicken, so opposed to who I say I am, that I will do something about it.  

So I will post here.  I will blog.  I will update with weird irregularity.  Because I need a place to think out loud.  

And I will see this book thing through.  I will figure out how to share my stories.  I won’t just jot them down; I will send them along.  

My stories will be my fledgling thoughts, and I will urge them out of the nest to test their wings.  

They will soar.

Nail Polish and Pumpkin Bread

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I just realized those two things don’t exactly go together.  However, in my world, that’s what I’m thinking about.

So, my step-cat had a tick tonight, and my husband calls out and asks me to get him some nail polish.

Nail polish.  Nail polish.  Nail polish.  Do I even own any nail polish?

No.  My older daughter is the only one of us with nail polish.  So we have a choice of sparkly metallic hot pink or “Hard as Nails” clear.  I don’t think the “Hard as Nails” was actually hers, but it was on her shelf in the bathroom.  (Well, and technically we have the Barbie nail polish, but since that is not actual nail polish but instead some kind of colored glue, I don’t really count that.)

I am such a traitor to my gender.  I need a mentor to just take me, dress me, force me at gunpoint to buy (and learn how to use) all kinds of make-up and beauty supplies, style my hair, and basically teach me how to be a woman.

*sigh*

But at least I can bake.  I can bake and sew and craft and drive people insane, so I must have at least part of the second X chromosome.

Today I made little pumpkin loaves to share with neighbors, and we made an extra one for us.

Ah, pumpkin loaf with cream cheese frosting.  It was divine.

I stole the idea from a casual comment someone made – just take a cup of pumpkin and add it to a basic cake recipe with some pumpkin pie spices.  I did that, added an extra egg for the richness factor, and poured it into little loaf pans.  I baked them a little lower and longer than the recipe called for, trying to account for the extra moisture.  Clean knife test and popped it onto the cooling racks.  Topped it with some store-bought cream cheese frosting, and it was a little slice of autumnal heaven: this delightful, moist, pleasantly pumpkin treat, which we enjoyed over cocoa and coffee (more of the super-yum hazelnut!) tonight.  It was like having our own private little Starbucks, but without having to spend $20 or more for the four of us to have a little something.

Okay, so I may not have the whole “female thing” down, but I at least I can bake.  Maybe now I should go paint my nails.

Fasting

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This morning, I thought I was going to die.

I woke up just fine, got dressed, put on make-up*, did my hair, and started up a pot of coffee.  Now, this morning, I was particularly enjoying the process of making the coffee, because I had just gotten a new bag of Hazelnut Community Coffee, and its aroma was a sweet seduction, drawing me in, chanting a tribal rhythm to my soul.  The weather outside helped set the stage – cool, kissed by the night’s rain, grey, and still.  The perfect morning to indulge in a quiet moment communing with coffee, nature, and inner peace.

And then it hit me.

I was supposed to be fasting this morning for blood work.  I felt as though a little piece of me curled up like a brown autumn leaf, withered and dead.

So, instead of relishing that simple pleasure this morning, I get to go and have my blood drawn across town.  So much for inner peace.

On the bright side, my travel cup is clean, so I should be able to drink my coffee after being violated by needles.

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*Which, by itself, is a sign of the apocalypse, but in conjunction with doing my hair is a sign that you should assume the world has already ended.

The Food Plan

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Okay, here it is, the way I’ve been doing it:

  • Egg beaters for breakfast.
  • Coffee with pink death*.
  • Little crack-addict sandwich baggies of raw green vegetables (broccoli, cucumbers, bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash, and cauliflower) yes, I know some of those are not, in fact, green.
  • 18 million gallons of water. (Well, more like 80-100 oz.)
  • Lean protein for lunch – chicken breast, fish, egg beater, FAGE Greek yogurt.
  • Diet Mountain Dew or Sobe vitamin water.
  • Lean protein for dinner (see above).
  • More crack baggies of raw veg.
  • More water.
  • Vitamin supplements.

Things I’ve learned –

Yes, I can go all day without really “eating.”  I can have the egg beaters for breakfast (and who in their right mind counts that as food?) and then snack on the raw veg to take the edge off.  Dipping them in FAGE is kind of fun and adds protein.

If I go all day without “eating,” I get really tired.  I do NOT recommend this.  Although you get to see pretty colors and the world gets all floaty, it’s not very productive.  Entertaining?  Yes.  Productive?  No.

I do best having some kind of solid protein in the middle of the day to balance off of.  Then I just attack the raw veggies like they’re the enemy (Which they are – I mean, try to tell me that raw broccoli and raw cauliflower taste great.  Go ahead.  Try.), and I manage to eventually get them eaten.  At night, I’m not really hungry, but I generally do have some more protein and usually some of the veggies I like better, such as cucumbers or peppers.  These are my treat for having toughed it out with the brassicas.  Then I *want* another Sobe, but I tell myself I’ll be happier with plain water.

If I have cake (and my passion for cake is embarrassing), it actually makes me sick to my stomach right now.  It feels toxic churning inside, even with food.  Now, most people would have learned this lesson the first time.  Me?  No, I’ve got to push the envelope.  I’m the Stephanie Plum of my family.  If I don’t have cake on a regular basis, I go just a little bit more insane.  So, for the Halloween party, I had a cupcake.  Big mistake.  Huge.  Oh, it tasted divine.  It was heaven in a little paper wrapper, perfectly moist and delightfully rich.  10 minutes later, I was in agony.  My stomach did the Scooby-Doo, “Ruh-roh!” and informed me that I would be worshipping at the porcelain altar in atonement.  Did that teach me?  Did I learn that lesson of foodology?  Nope.  This past weekend, I decided not to resist the awesomest cake on the planet – a coffee-infused chocolate work of art with the most delectable fondant I’ve ever tasted.  I preloaded with lots of vegetables and FAGE, but my teensy piece of cake, though an ecstasy on the tastebuds, was torture to the intestines.  And what am I planning to make today?  You guessed it: cake.  My dog turns one year old today**.

I also learned that milk is sweet.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, they always say that lactose is a sugar, but unless you’re diabetic and paying attention to that sort of thing, do you ever really believe them?  Well, today I followed the ‘official’ meal plan – not the bastardized version I highlighted above – and had my 4 oz. of milk.  You’d think I was drinking straight sugar!  That stuff was so sweet.  I know, I know, it’s the blueberry conundrum all over again – when you cut out added sugar, natural sugars are sweeter, but milk?  I guess so.

And the worst possible lesson?  I learned that the only thing people notice about me is my hair!  For crying out loud, I’ve trimmed down and look pretty damn good, and all anyone remarks about is that I have a lot of hair?  Jimminy Cricket.  It’s enough to make you want to throw a pity party.  Hmm… I wonder if there’s a cake for that…

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*Those little packets of sweetener which I’m pretty sure cause instant death in laboratory rats, but nonetheless are still marketed to humans who want their sweet fix.  Yes, I can drink coffee black, but that’s like eating a rat without ketchup.

**Yes, this is a big deal.  Try having 2 little girls.  You’ll understand.

Death and coffee

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It’s so hard to write this.  A good friend of mine died last night and I didn’t even realize it until today.  We hadn’t known each other long – only since December – but the time we spent together was special.  She suffered a traumatic break from a simple fall on concrete, and that was enough.  Everyone thought she was fine, but I wondered at the time if it was worse than it appeared.  Turns out I was right.  Sometimes it sucks to be right. 

I know I experienced every stage of grief – from simple denial (No, she really couldn’t have fallen that badly!) to anger, to bargaining (Please, just bring her back!), to depression.  Writing this is my catharsis.  My attempt to bring some closure, to find some way of accepting the fact that she is gone.

And the worst part?  The absolute worst part of it all?  It was my fault.  I was holding her.  I had too much to carry, and I dropped her.  And when I heard her plastic hit the driveway, I knew that I would indeed be lucky if she survived.  But alas, my travel coffee mug died.

I didn’t find out how serious it was until this morning at work when I filled her up with coffee, and the seepage began.  Her cheerful little snowmen all turned beige, and the brown spread alarmingly fast around the entire design.  When I looked closely, I saw the crack inside and the chipped plastic outside.  I thought it would be okay, that maybe she could live with me as a damaged but usable travel mug, hobbling along beside me, but no, when I went for the last sip, I found that she was retaining fluid.  There was no hope.  Ceremoniously, at lunch, I said goodbye and gently laid her to rest in the trash can.

Then a thought occurred to me – why, that cannot be the only travel coffee mug in the world!  I could buy one on my way home!  I can find a replacement

But is anything ever that easy?  No, no, of course not.

First, I tried Target, but all the mugs were overpriced and unattractive.  I even stopped at Starbucks, but I did not care for the design of the mugs or the bizarre method of accessing the coffee once it was consigned to its traveling prison.  Then, I realized I had no options left.  I had to face the land of the damned.  I had to go where I had forsworn ever going again.  I went to Kohl’s.

Now, for some people, Kohl’s is a mecca, a shopping paradise.  For me, Kohl’s is a labyrinthian enigma.  I do not understand the constant state of sale.  The 40% off of almost everything nearly all of the time?  Why not simply price the merchandise at the actual sales price?  Why make it into a guessing game?  Are people really that gullible that they believe that the merchandise is really worth the sticker price?  I weep for humanity.

However, the compelling piece of information I had was that my mug, my beautiful, wonderful, perfect mug, had come from Kohl’s.  Therefore, into the soul’s abyss I ventured.

Alack!  They had but one – one! – remaining travel mug, and it, too, was cracked.  And even if it hadn’t been cracked, it was but a stubby, squat substitute for my tall, slender, curvaceous friend.  Despair wrenched my heart as I wandered the aisles, searching in vain for the mugs I knew must be there.  But no, there would be no new travel mug for me today.

So, I end today in mourning for my morning companion.  She was true, she kept my coffee hot, and she had the cutest little way of closing her lid to keep from spilling. 

Goodbye, dear friend!  I will miss you!