Love Coffee?

Love Coffee??

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Refreshing Coffee Quencher

Its only taken me two months of living in LA to realize if I don’t buy food and cook, it doesn’t magically appear in my fridge like it used to at home.  With that said I’ve invested in my first cookbook, “Hungry Girl Recipes and Survival Strategies for Guilt-Free Eating in the Real World.”  Author Lisa Lillien has released a number of books for the health conscience cooker.  One of her most recent, “300 under 300” (300 meals under 300 calories) is quickly becoming a best seller.

Chapter 11 of my new cookbook is all about Coffee!!!  Here is one of my favorite calorie saving drink recipes that's perfect for the warm weather we are having:

Vanillalicious Café Freeze

5 ounces light vanilla soymilk
1-ounce sugar-free calorie-free vanilla syrup
1 tablespoon Coffee-mate Fat Free French Vanilla powdered creamer, dissolved in 1-ounce warm water
1-teaspoon instant coffee
3 packets of Splenda
5-8 ice cubes
2 table spoons Fat Free Reddi-whip

Place all ingredients in a blender, except for the reddi whip.  Blend on high speed for 30 – 45 seconds.  Pour into tall glass and finish off with whipped topping.

Makes 1 serving.

**A traditional large blended vanilla coffee drink with whipped cream is about 540 calories.  This one weighs in at a slender 103J  The secret is in the Coffee-mate;)

Breezy let me pet him today!  I was so shocked I didn’t even think to take a picture. 

todays shot of coffee

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Coffee and my World Collide

I was stoked (the cali in me is starting to come out, people actually use this word all the time here) when I found these pita chips at Whole Foods.  Baked right here in California by a company called The Sweet Harvest, ground coffee  is one of the listed ingredients.  I haven’t yet found the perfect dip or drink to pair them with.  Usually my go to is a nice big cup of Joe but the coffee flavor in these are so robust it would be too much combined.  Yes, you heard me right, I do have a caffeine cap off.    So for now I am enjoying them on their own.  But it’s a great alternative pick-me-up in the afternoons.

I’ve had several unexpected coffee encounters this week.  Check out my Snapple fact:

Hawaii is the only U.S state that grows coffee

Also discovered this great new artist/writer who uses coffee as a medium in some of her artwork. The Christine Mason Miller collection Bought a piece for my wall.

Quick  little update to last weeks Boba blog: there is bubble tea now on the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk!  

Making even more progress with Breezy

Live Boldly
Live Passionately
Live each Moment in the TRUTH
   -Christina Mason Miller

Todays shot of coffee

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Boba Truck

One of the good things about working in downtown LA is the food trucks that stop outside our building.  My favorite by far is the Boba Truck, a mobile tea and coffee brewery.  Every drink is brewed made to order hot or cold. There are two distinct types: fruit flavored teas and milk teas.  So far I have tried the Mocha Milk Tea and Duet Milk Tea.  The Duet has a coffee flavor making it my favorite.  Looking forward to trying the Almond Milk Tea next. 

Invented in Taiwan, Boba Tea is best known as bubble tea because of its frothy mixture when stirred.  The concept migrated to Canada next, followed by West Coast colleges and then to Chinatowns throughout the US. What makes this drink unique, aside from the flavor, is the Boba.  Tiny jelly-like tapioca balls (aka boba) fall to the bottom of the cup but make their way to your mouth through an extra fat drinking straw.  Personally, I ask for my drink now light on the Boba.  Otherwise you get a few each sip and it’s a bit much.

There's a website you can log onto and locate where the Boba truck is stopping next.

Here’s a recipe for my east coasters who can’t easily buy Boba.
For the milk tea:
  •   A TEA base. (Green tea, black tea, jasmine tea, etc. I used green tea for this one.)
  • 1/4 cup of milk.
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar or whatever amount you want.
  •  Ice cubes.
  • Flavor powder. (Your choice of flavor)
Tapioca pearls:

  • Desired amount of tapioca pearls/boba.
  • Syrup: Honey or maple syrup, or make your own simple syrup of water + sugars. (1-cup sugar, 1-cup water, brings to boil until sugar is dissolved.)
1.     Prepare your tapioca pearls. They take approx. 30 minutes to fully cook, or even more. Prepare them as it says on package, or just simply boil them in water, stirring until they're cooked. (They're not hard on the inside -- take a pearl and taste if they're all chewy throughout.)
2.     Drain tapioca pearls, run them under cold water until those precious pearls are left.
3.     In the pearls mixture, coat 'em in simple syrup/honey/maple syrup. Leave aside.
4.     Brew your tea base now, and leave aside when done. Put ice cubes in the tea to help it cool down.
5.     When everything is prepared, in your desired drinking cup, put your bubbles on the bottom of youe cup. THEN, in a separate glass/cup, put the tea until it's about halfway full. Put the milk in afterwards, then the flavor powder. Lastly, add in the sugar and stir to get your right flavor. Pour the liquid into the other cup with the bubbles.
Add additional ice cubes in your milk tea, take a big fat straw and enjoy.

Todays shot of coffee
from Coffee Cartel Cafe
in Redondo's Riviera

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cali's Catalina Coffee Company

Catalina Coffee in Redondo Beach has become my local coffee spot.  One block from the beach and walking distance from my mansion it’s South Bay's neighborhood gathering place.  Meetings are held here, people come with thick textbooks to study, even a cycling group has Catalina as a daily stop along their ride.

Aside from the eclectic setting, one of the reasons I love coming here is the amount of choices they offer. Upon ordering a coffee they ask you "dark, medium or light."  I have happily settled on the medium Italian Roast.  When I have time to sit and relax it is hard to pass up the large cappuccino.  It comes in a cup the size of a small soup bowl! Skip the gym and sip on one of these for a real arm workout.

I’ve eaten here on two separate occasions.  Once for breakfast and once for dinner.  The menu has enough variety to service both.  My favorite is the veggie cheese sandwich, on your choice of bread (six to choose from) and comes with three cheeses (your pick).  Opt to have it toastedJ

The back corner of the café has floor to ceiling bookshelves with stories you can take as long as you replace with another.  Tables made into large chessboards add another element to the place but rarely with an empty chair.  While these things can keep you busy Internet access is not free!  This kills me and is why I also found another coffee shop in the Riviera, but that’s for another time, another post.

Almost forgot....making progress with Breezy<3

Happy Days.....
Todays shot of coffee

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mooo-ving Day

Loving my new place in Redondo Beach, Ca.  Here are some of my favorite recent purchases that welcome me each day.  I stand by my original profile statement.....  coffee really can make even the most foreign places feel like home.

Creamer and sugar set from Target.  It only makes sense that you pour milk out of a cow.  Makes it taste organic even when its not;)

Used my oven for the first time and made coffee cake from trader joes.  It's one of my dad's favorite mixes.

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake Mix- Joseph's Recipie.

But the next thing is my all time favorite buy for many reasons, one of them being that I didn't have to buy it.  It was a gift from two of the most generous and thoughtful people I know.  Thank you guys.  Meet Oscar- my mini Keurig!!!!!!  It really feels like I have my own coffee shop in my apartment now, with all the different flavors I've been trying.  Once I get my wireless hooked up I think I might open up shop.  I'll name my cafe Breezy after the lil black cat that lives on my property.  He's been watching me from afar.  Pretty shy guy.  But I bought cat treats and plan on us being the best of friends soon.


Work has been an adventure of its own. Laura, the girls whos been training me, lives in Korea Town.  On my second day she saw the results of my coffee withdrawal (down to one cup from five) and handed me a yellow packet called Maxim.  Its the "Via" of Korea:)  In to go.  I really enjoyed it but its more a dessert drink filled with sugar and mocha flavor.  Perfect after dinner drink.  Planning on bringing Oscar to work with me asap.

Already discovered several great coffee shops I will be sharing with all of you.  Stay tuned......

 Todays shot of coffee

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Dunkin Donuts

As I am visiting my sister and her family in Boston it seems only appropriate I address the world’s largest coffee and baked good chain, Dunkin Donuts.  Originated in Quincy Mass in 1950 the headquarters now resides in Canton, MA.

I credit Dunkin Donuts for my degree from University of Rhode Island as I really did run on Dunkin.  I tried my first coffee freshmen year and it was their DD French Vanilla blend.  Around my junior year they changed their brewing process and now only brew original in store and flavor with syrups.  This was a very difficult day for me.  The syrups just aren’t the same.  Luckily the old school flavored coffee can still be purchased by the pound.

Its become a tradition with my oldest nephew (Will) I show up with a donut from Dunkin every time I visit.  Trevor (my other nephew) was inducted into the club this visit. J


In New England, Dunkin Donuts is basically a way of life.  My sister told me a funny story:  
Will (who is three) has a new friend named Duncan.  Walking into the YMCA he spotted him with his mom.  Will looks at my sister and says, “Look there’s my buddy Donut!”  Haha..common mistake.  Luckily Donut and his mom didn’t hear.  So let this be a lesson to you New Englanders.  If you choose to name your child Duncan be willing to accept all types of nicknames.

For christmas one year my mom gave me a picture personalized DD card.  On it was a picture of me holding my niece, Annabel.  The funniest thing started happening when it came time to pay.  I would hand over my giftcard and the cashier would comment about the baby and give me free munckins or upgrade the coffee size for free.  I guess they figured I could use the extra caffeine.  Its fun being a pretend mom.  I get the perks without the dirty diapers and chaos!  Thanks K;) Keep the kiddies coming.

All this Dunkin loving got me wondering about their donut making process.  Are the donuts made fresh every day at each location?  Think about it, have you every seen a dunkin donut delivery truck?  Looking into this further I was surprised to learn very few locations actually make their own donuts from scratch each day.  For years it was a given every store owner arrived 3 hours before opening to make and bake.  Part of the franchise agreement was a 5 week donut-making course in Boston.  Now a day the donuts are mixed, shaped and delivered frozen leaving only the filling and toppings to be added.  Some areas have a local bakery that make the donuts from start to finish and deliver completed each day to stores within a certain radius.  Apparently, taste is not compromised.

I also stumbled across some of the most unusual dunkin donuts from around the world.  Any you want to try????
1. Mojito and Banana Daiquiri


2. Dry Pork And Seaweed


3. Pork Floss


4. Pink Dual Heart


5. Garlic Glazed


6. Donut Ball Sticks


7. Green Tea Chewisty


8. Lychee Orange, Lychee Blackcurrant, and Durian


9. Wasabi Cheese and Seaweed Cheese


There is a contest running on Dunkins website where you can create your own donut:
My creation
Coffee Creme Filling
Maple Icing
Graham Cracker Crunch Topping
Hershey's Vanilla/Cinnamon Shaving

Will's Creation
Chocolate Cake
Peanut Butter Icing
Orange Sprinkles
Reese Pieces Candy Topping

Dunkin Donuts- you are missed in LA

Today's shot of coffee

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Scouts Honor

At work the other day I told a story about something I did a week back and realized just how pathetic I am.  In hopes to redeem myself I am sharing it with all of you.  Here goes:

After a loooong day of shooting I pull in my driveway, hop out of the car and head straight for the kitchen.  I am starved and all I could think about on the drive home is cooking up a large, warm, banana filled bowl of oatmeal.  I know..... I'm strange; just go with me on this. After acknowledging Shadow with large exciting hand gestures and petting (she is deaf) I gather the ingredients for my feast.  

From the corner of my eye I see a man walking on my front lawn.  I inch towards the mudroom door, all while keeping my cooking oatmeal in sight, and realize the man is one of my neighbors.  He is not alone.  His 10-year-old daughter is a step away from the front door in her girl scout uniform.

I mutter the word crap quietly under my breath and duck.  I have never been good at saying no, especially to sweet, little girls in uniform. However, I don't want the cookies and I have no cash on me to even make the purchase.  Sooooo..... I hide.  I quickly do-si-dos around to the wall that houses the oven and stand still.  I can't go left or the tagalong father will see me through the mudroom door and I can't go right or the thin, mint colored cookie monster, who just rang my doorbell, will spot me through the front widows.  So I wait.

Letting out a long sigh, I suddenly recall what I had been doing.  My oatmeal is still spinning round and round in the microwave.  Amidst my eat or die mentality upon entering the house, I pressed start on the microwave without clearing the remaining time first (that would have wasted another 2 whole seconds!).  I planned on letting it cook for a minute and stopping the timer early.  Well, about two minutes have now passed and I am watching my meal overflow making a huge mess.  And there is nothing I can do about it.

Too scared to move I wonder how long I have to hide before she gives up and moves on.  It occurs to me they probably saw me pull into the driveway and timed their arrival just so.  I begin thinking up the excuses I could rattle off if confronted about my disappearance.  I was outback with Shadow and never heard the doorbell, the cats finally stopped attacking each other and went after me, I tripped over the broom in attempts to answer the door and couldn't get up.  I decided on the  “I was in the shower” excuse.

Feeling as though enough time had passed I slowing peek my head around the oven towards the front door.  All is clear.  I am free to move about the house.  Phewwww.  That was a close one.

See, pathetic, I know!  Worst part is I used to be a girl scout myself and go door-to-door selling cookies. After sharing my story it was clear to me what I had to do…buy the darn cookies.  So I went to my local grocery store and sure enough the girls were out front selling.  I walked up and purchased two boxes of cookies.  The little ladies were so polite and said, “Thank U Berry Munch”

Turns out the Shortbread cookies are quite tasty with a warm cup of coffee<3

If you are a girl scout, or parent of a girl scout.  Feel free to hit-me-up.  I owe you guys.  And I promise to answer the door....scouts honor.

Todays shot of coffee