Coffee and Cocoa Fix

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Trader Joe's Coffee and CocoaAs I’ve written about before, to keep my grocery spending in check without feeling deprived, I allow myself one impulse buy when I go to the store, if I want it. The other day while grabbing some things for the week at Trader Joe’s, I picked up this Coffee & Cocoa blend.

I think I made it about twenty minutes before brewing a pot. I have one of those little 4-cup coffee makers, so a pot is really not that much compared to what most people think of as a pot of coffee, but I digress.

Anyway, it was really good! The cocoa flavor is subtle but distinct. There is definitely no mistaking this stuff for hot chocolate, though—it’s more like a rich, smooth coffee with a little hit of je ne sai quois (I guess I do remember some of my high school French after all). Not bad for a $6.99 pick-me-up.

Any favorite impulse buys lately? 

A Few Good Things for Valentines Day

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Rather than post a chocolate recipe for two with witty little comments about having better things to do than the dishes, I thought I’d just share a few random good things on this Valentines Day.

Like this virtual Valentine from Women’s Health:

(I don’t want to admit that yesterday’s monster headache was likely related to inadequate caffeination in the setting of intense weather, but what can I say? #addicted)

10 Creative Ways to Eat More Beets.

The Getty Images “Lean In” Collection. As one of my Facebook friends put it, “Surprisingly awesome.”

This hilarious Serious Eats post debunking aphrodisiac food myths.

What it sounds like when a foodie and a non-foodie have a meal together. I think my favorite part is the description of the Sangiovese. I want to sip an adulterous wine, dammit.

In the spirit of my post on 10 Ways to Love Yourself this February, I’m cashing in a Christmas gift card for a massage. This is basically all I want ever.

What are you up to this Valentines Day? 

Last (Free) Meal

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When I started my job, free breakfast and lunch were offered to food service staff. While I can’t say it was gourmet cooking, on days when I didn’t have anything to pack, it was nice to be able to count on grabbing something at least slightly edible in the cafeteria. I also came to rely on the free—if nasty—coffee. morning coffee

Predictably, budget issues have dictated that free meals will no longer be available. Ditto free sh!tty coffee. Actually, I lied—we’re allowed to get free fountain drinks, and we also ask for a mix of lettuce, tomato, and cucumber from the salad bar. I think sandwiches may be available as well  at a reduced cost. On the one hand, I appreciate the company trying to still provide something, but on the other, I’d kind of rather it be all or nothing.

I kind of saw this coming a few months ago, which is why I’ve been gradually getting myself into the habit of packing lunch. Like so: antipasti salad

IMG_3784So photogenic, I know.

For better or worse, my last totally free lunch was kind of anticlimactic.chickpea stew

This chickpea stew was way better than it looked, but, well, yeah. The dietitians were chatting about how maybe this will motivate us to try some new recipes and get more creative. So we will see. Good times. Always an adventure.

What’s the lunch situation like at your job? 

Pics & Links

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First things first:

Owls > Gargoyles


cappuccinoYesterday I went to a few interesting seminars. When the first one turned out to be canceled, I was directed to a social media primer that turned out to be really helpful. I spent my coffee break brainstorming over a cappuccino at a cafe I would totally work at all the time if I lived nearby.

The second seminar actually turned out to be a wine-tasting class without the class part. It was just a bunch of tables with wines from different regions of the world. It was fun to try some new things and talk to the people pouring about the wines and where they came from. There was even a Riesling from Australia that I didn’t hate-most are too sweet for me the way that certain astrological signs are too overbearing sweet for me. My favorites were a Spanish red and this French red I actually finished almost the whole pour of (I’m one of those people who pours my wine into the bucket after a couple sips at tastings). wine tasting

Lately, I’ve been loving Sad Desk Lunch. You thought your lunch was bad? Check out this tumblr.

I want an excuse to make this cake. Vegan, fuss-free, and beautiful to look at. It also looks somewhat idiot proof. Maybe I’ll serve it at my hypothetical cocktail for my hypothetical new drinking friends.

Mark Bittman articulately addresses the question, “Should you eat chicken?” 

I kind of wish I was at FNCE this year, but maybe next year. Had to save my conference $$$/days for something I want to go to this winter. Besides, it’s been a nice week in NYC. No complaints.

What’s been the best part of your weekend? What’s your favorite cake recipe? Do you eat chicken? 

Weekend Kick-Off

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“Excuse me, but I believe I ordered a large coffee…”large decaf

Fortunately it was decaf. Catching up over coffee with a lady-friend was a great way to kick off my weekend. I’ve also got some cool-sounding seminars on the agenda for Saturday and a charity walk—followed by wine-tasting class—with the fam.

What are you looking forward to this weekend? 

Coffee Logic

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important things. Some days I pass the cart on the way to the subway and think, “I want coffee.” Then my logic brain takes over and says, “Why pay money for sh!tty coffee when you can have sh!tty coffee for free at work? Think of all the sh!tty coffee dollars you’ll save!”

My logic brain is pretty smart sometimes.

Not to be a traitor or anything, but the coffee where I work is so bad, it makes Dunkin Donuts look gourmet. Still, free is free, so let us not look a gift horse in the mouth, right? As long as it’s not cream of sum yung gai-flavored. Sadly, the calculator in the above photo just bit the dust today. The “add” button decided to stop working, after many years of faithful service. Somehow, this feels symbolic.


Tuesday Things

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1.) Life is too full of more important things to feel guilty about needing a cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning. IMG_2455

2.) I try not to be picky about this free lunch thing, but sometimes…just, no. I have to draw the line at meat that resembles a bald chicken nugget with painted-on grill marks. This is why I keep protein-rich snacks on hand at all times at work. IMG_3031

3.) Adding some finely grated/chopped carrots to my zucchini bread oatmeal recipe was a really tasty way to use up some baby carrots that had been languishing in the fridge. Sometimes impulse buys work out in weird-good ways. IMG_3028

4.) In case you ever wanted to know how to calibrate a digital food thermometer…Oh, the random things I find myself googling…

What are you thinking about this Tuesday?