Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Search for Great Coffee Continues . . .

A while back I wrote about looking for a new coffee spot rather than the infamous Starbucks. I must say, I'm still searching. A local drive thru located in Damascus (that is within five minutes of my house) I've decided is not my favorite. I've tried it twice and wasn't impressed with the coffee on either occasion. I've also had the McDonald's iced vanilla coffee and I actually really like their coffee. However, supporting McDonald's kinda goes against the whole concept of finding a local homegrown coffee place to support. I've also frequented Peet's Coffee which is just down the street from me, but I have to go into the store and order as well as wait, as they aren't the fastest coffee makers and that includes holding onto a 20 month old and keeping him occupied in the meantime. So, I go to Peet's when someone is with me and can wait in the car with Luke or I'm alone. Great coffee, but I'm still searching for local and a drive thru! So, I must admit that I've returned to Starbucks on several occasions for convenience reasons. What is a coffee junkie to do? In the meantime, even my little boy is becoming a Starbucks junkie! (Don't worry, it's not coffee, it's the vanilla bean frappuccino and it's actually daddy's drink . . . someone just claimed it as their own - LOL)!!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Puree Day

So, after getting my hands on the cookbook "Deceptively Delicious" I purchased a few veggies: organic carrots & sweet potatoes and cauliflower to puree and put in my freezer for future meals. My sister-in-law April came over Thursday afternoon and while the boys played out on the deck we created a tornado in my kitchen of different colored purees. An hour later, the sweet potatoes were finally done baking, my carrots (which according to the instructions on my new rice steamer only took 15 minutes but actually took 45 minutes) were still in the process of steaming and April who resorted to using my microwave steamer for her cauliflower was whipping up puree in her minature food processor. By 4pm the kitchen was a complete and utter disaster area and the steamer was still in use, and a what felt like half of my kitchen gadgets and appliances were dirty and scattered among the kitchen including but not limited too: the blender, the mini food processor, the magic bullet, the micro steamer, my cookie tray, several spatulas, spoons, bowls and more. So, the least I could do is try out a recipe. So after the carrots finished steaming (FINALLY) we tried a little recipe out on my nephew who doesn't like veggies and even April (who doesn't like carrots) couldn't taste the deceptive ingredient! This is what we made.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Dip (with carrots) page 163

(modified to what I had in my fridge and I omited the salt)

1/2 c. creamy organic peanut butter

1/2 c. whipped cream cheese

6 TBSP. chocolate Hershey's syrup

1/4 c. organic carrot puree

sliced apples for dipping

So . . . the verdict. I still don't know. I have several bags of puree in my freezer and I think the recipes are going to be great, but I didn't go into it being organized. First off, I didn't have mini freezer bags, I only had quart size bags. Secondly, time savers would include doing smaller amounts of puree at one time such as 1lb. bag of baby carrots vs. carrots I have to wash, peel, and cut. Thirdly, it would really help to have a food processor. My blender was horrible and I wouldn't use it again for this type of job. I prefered my magic bullet because the puree came out more smooth and creamier and more quickly, but it wasn't good for large amounts of puree. So, I might attempt this again. I went into it realizing I could do this for Natalie when she's old enough to start eating baby food, instead of buying so much prepared baby food. The plus side to the puree day was doing it with a friend. The boys had a great day playing and April and I had a fun time together - eating McDonald's and preparing veggies . . . how ironic, don't you think?!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

People say the strangest things . . .

Today I was at our local grocery store where I usually frequent once a week for our milk and some produce. I was in line to purchase my items when the clerk asked, "have you gotten bigger since I've last seen you?" Mind you, I am 33 weeks pregnant, I was wearing a white t-shirt and no makeup (not the best outfit) and thinking . . . "what would that mean if my belly hadn't grown in the final trimester of pregnancy?" In other words, "DUHHHHHHHHHHHHH." Okay lady . . . here's your sign. (For those of you who don't know what a stupid sign is click here). She then proceeded to tell me that she had three children of her own. In other words, she has experienced pregnancy and still . . . asked a stupid question. Last Friday, I had two ladies in the same day ask how much longer I had to go, I said 6-1/2 weeks. Both women had eyes as large as saucers and said "Wow! You still have a ways to go!" or "That's a long time!" I was with my mom when one lady made her comment. I leaned over and said, "that's the second time today!" Apparently, people use to make the same senseless comments to my mother when she was pregnant too. So, that leads me to believe that not only to people say senseless things, but that my belly is large. I didn't accomplish the petite looking figure with a bump in front with my last pregnancy or with this one. Oh well. Maybe third time will be a charm. Only 6 more weeks to go. Might as well enjoy it and have a brownie : )

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Food for the Picky

Tonight I got my hands on this cookbook that I saw on Oprah by Jessica Seinfeld. The most wonderful thing about this is that the receipes are "normal" foods that my hubby and baby would be likely to eat. Macaroni, pizza, mozzerella sticks, scrambled eggs, chocolate chip cookies etc. The difference is you make vegetable purees and hide them in these "normal" foods. Now, my goal will be to make the purees and freeze them prior to little Nat showing up. I've got six weeks . . . I better schedule a day. By the way . . . Em I'm not trying to steal your thunder. I still wanna see a post regarding your experience. Emily made some awesome brownies from this cookbook and hmmmm, hmmmm, yum! I had two!!! What made it guilt free was the fact that they had carrots and spinach in them. Perfect for a big bellied prego gal like me! : )

Monday, July 7, 2008

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Search for the perfect coffee

Our family went to the beach this last weekend. My husbands folks have a beach house in Gearhart so for the 4th of July we celebrated at the coast. One of my favorite things to do anytime is enjoy a good latte or mocha. I'm a coffee junkie and have been for the last 12 years. I've had my favorite places over the years and often they have been little drive thrus or small coffee shops. However, I somehow switched to the big "S" at some point. Perhaps when I started working downtown with my husband, which I did for several years. You see, you can order the same drink at Starbucks and they are on every street corner & airport where ever you may be. A home away from home. And not only that, but they have drive thrus. Perfect when you are on your way to work and don't want to park, get out, and wait in line (that takes way too much time) OR when you have a baby, need some caffeine, but haven't had a shower, taken off yesterday's makeup or gotten dressed for the day. But somehow the coffee just isn't good anymore. In fact, there is a particular "S" drive thru that almost always makes a BAD cup of coffee or gets my order wrong. It drives me nuts and yet I continue to waste my money and support their poor service. It's finally dawning on me that I should quit going there and find a new coffee place. Something I can enjoy, is my favorite and I feel good about supporting. You see, my husband's folks own a construction supply store in NW Portland. They are not Home Depot or Lowes, or Acme they are locally owned and operated. Just like one of my favorite stores, New Seasons. They support local farmers & have some of the friendliest staff who genuinely care. So, I'm looking for a coffee place like that. So, while I was at the beach this weekend I frequented my favorite coffee place, The Human Bean (click on my title for the link). No, it's not a small mom & pop place, it's actually a small franchise that originated out of Medford, Oregon. Still, it's a step closer to local than supporting a huge corporation. And I must say, my first day home and I miss my 16oz. decaf Human Bean Supreme without whip. So the search is on and today I tried a local drive thru in Damascus. One thing, the drive thru is backwards and you order through your passenger window. A bit odd, or it could be charming. Apparently the Oregon Department of Transportation wouldn't allow them to direct traffic in the other direction which would have made much more sense. Not too sure how much I liked the coffee, but maybe I'll try it again before giving it an official thumbs up or down.
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