Tag Archives: coffee

Coffee Brands: Sure or Unsure

My second big grocery shop for all of life’s necessities in Austin took place at the original Whole Foods market in the heart of downtown. Great idea if my kitchen staples include items like jicama and organic sea salt, not a great idea if my kitchen supplies include rice and coffee–because these basic items cost way more than at a traditional grocery store (twenty bucks for a bag of coffee? ah!). So, I went home coffee-less, rice-less, and oatmeal-less… planning on grabbing some the next time I hit a regular supermarket (but I did gt the jicama).

two bags of coffee

The next time I went shopping, I found myself at Marshall’s with Dave, down their bonus aisle of random assorted food items like jalapeno olive oil, cookies, hot chocolate mixes, etc., when I came across Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Coffee. Because this little aisle in Marchall’s always enchants me, I fell for believing that the coffee was a special little find (at a store that buys defect products in bulk and resells them at cheaper prices… ahem..) and I grabbed it for $6.

The next morning, I brewed it, took a sip, and a saccharine taste washed over my tongue with a hint of caramel. Ugh. Not my kind of coffee.

Next up: a stop at HEB (for my New Yawkahs–it’s a big supermarket chain in Austin). This time I wanted to make sure I got something decent. After scanning the coffee aisle trying to balance quality and price, I ended up with a bag of Eight O’Clock French Roast. Instead of going for the bag of undeniably strong Starbucks, I convinced myself that while this other brand was old school, and the packaging looked fairly generic…. maybe it was a hidden awesome coffee gem of olden days. And French Roast is always pretty good, right?

Fail.

You would think after all my posts exclaiming my love for coffee, I would be able to pick right from wrong, quality from crap, sure from unsure.

Did you know that French Roast is actually the type of roast used on beans that are of a mediocre quality? It is a technique that roasts the beans longer than average, making them very dark and masking the flavor of their country of origin (or of their staleness, if they were old). Do not be fooled by the beret wearing flavor name, that was probably just a [very smart] marketer’s ploy. Check out this little blog post here for the full details.

I’ve been doing a scoop of each brand in the mornings to mix the badness away and just finish them so I can buy another bag. Or, if you can spare some brand advice, I’m all ears. Just try not to go over $15 a bag–or do I have no choice?

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I Finally Made Real Coffee.

I love coffee. Or maybe I have a ridiculous addiction to coffee, thus why I love it. I’ve written articles about coffee, mused about the dangers of high caffeine intake, even attempted to quit at times (longest coffee-free record is one month; still impresses me when I think about it.).

Growing up both of my parents drank coffee every morning, and perhaps it was the normalcy of this routine that set me up to follow the same path? Or, could it be that coffee is just that amazingly awesome? Maybe a combo of both. Last week, during the wisdom teeth saga, I was prescribed vicodin for the pain, and while I was on it, dazed in my bed, I thought to myself  “This is the opposite of coffee.” And then I stopped taking it.

Given all these facts, one would think I have a very specific type of coffee I make in the morning, and a very used coffee maker of some type. But the truth is, if I’m left to fend for myself for a cup of coffee in my apartment.. I make instant. I KNOW. I know. This is a crime. Don’t I know how bad instant coffee tastes? It shouldn’t even be called real coffee! I know. It turns out, I had an aversion to learning how to use a coffee maker. Who knew? No one knew. (I knew).

Oh, irony.

For my birthday last week, my best friend found out about this scenario through this blog post (and I imagine winced in pain) and proceeded to buy me a coffee maker for my birthday. This coffee maker went straight into my cabinet still in the box, waiting for the day I actually bought coffee and coffee filters. That process might have taken me months, had the boyfriend not stepped in and had an intervention with me (I procrastinate). Instead, we went to the grocery store, bought some Kenyan roast coffee and sugar, and got me all ready for this big, huge, step in my life.

Then I made real coffee:

big changes*

It was so much better than instant, that when my alarm went off this morning I actually jumped out of bed excited to make more. Coffee motivates me :).

If you’re like me, here’s all it takes to make coffee:

  • To measure the amount of water that goes into the coffee maker: use your mug.
    • Pour in as many full mugs as you’d really like to drink. Want four mugs of coffee made? Fill a mug up four times and pour it in the machine (my coffee maker is for individual cups, hence why you see my mug in the picture and not a pot o’ coffee).
  • Put in the filter
  • Add ground coffee: I put 2 rounded tablespoons per mug o’ coffee. I use an actual tablespoon measure.
  • Hit the brew button.
  • Wait 3 minutes.
  • Drink.
  • Pat yourself on the back.

Cooking Without Pots 101

I used to have a set of pots and pans. All different sized cookware to say.. boil water for pasta, saute some stuff, scramble eggs. There’s more complicated things people do with pots and pans.. but I’d say that was my range. However, in my new apartment, I don’t have any of these items. How I found myself without pots and pans is a long, “did you really do that Mel?” story, that I won’t get into, but none the less, here I am.

Without pots, one is really limited to three ways of cooking/making food:

  • microwave
  • toaster oven
  • real deal oven

I’ve been pretty surprised with how versatile all of these items can be (yeah I guess real deal oven is not new news…). But I have to say I’m especially uncovering the awesomeness of the microwave.

Did you know you can make eggs in the microwave? Or a sweet potato? No? It’s really, really fast.

Eggs In The Microwave Directions:

  • Crack one egg into a microwavable mug
  • Scramble it up or leave it whole–whichever you prefer (I’m a scrambler)
  • Add some salt and pepper into the mug. Bonus: add oregano. Seriously, it makes the eggs rock.
  • Place mug in microwave for 1 minute (might be 1:20 depending on your micro power).
  • Donezo.

Sweet Potato In The Microwave Directions:

  • Either keep whole and poke w/ a fork, or slice into 1/2″ discs
  • Put potato on a plate and cover in plastic wrap
  • If whole: micro for 4-5 mins; if discs: micro for 3-4 mins
  • Donezo.
  • Bonus: Take discs, spread peanut butter and jelly on each bite, and eat it for breakfast. mm hm. I do this.

I’ve also found that microwaving tomatoes is the shit. Check it out:

micro power

What else can be done in the microwave? Coffee. Coffee?!?! Coffee. I don’t have a coffee pot or kettle to boil water in, so it’s me, the micro, and instant Folgers. Just micro a mug w/ water for 1:30, add teaspoon of instant coffee. Drink that shit. I find coffee is especially useful when drank on an empty stomach in the morning. I wrote this post in 15 minutes and my leg is shaking. heh.

Toaster over and conventional oven adventures to come.

Zumba Class Review and Then More Miles

Two days ago I was attempting to run 3 miles, and couldn’t make it without walking in between due to knee pain. Bullocks! On the plus side, I walked down some streets I usually pass right by and discovered some cute bars plus a new coffee shop called LaGreca on Wythe and South 1st. It must be new because the only indication of the storefront were two paper signs in the window. Sweet, more coffee!

mm hmm.

 

When I got home from that run-walk on Monday morning I was feeling slightly defeated, but also proud that I finally learned. I used to think it was all or nothing–“If I’m not running, what’s the point? Forget it.” Wah. Wah. Shut up mel.

What an unfortunate mindset I had, because that’s just not true. I got out there, and even though I couldn’t do the speed I wanted, I kept the distance the same and paced smart to keep from getting more injured. And then, on Tuesday, I did the unthinkable.

Zumba Class.

After work on Tuesday, having no run in the morning figuring my knee needed a rest, I decided to hit the gym (NYSC) for the first time since March.*

The workout? Eh. It was an hour of a bunch of different dancing techniques: salsa, samba, raggae, cha cha, merengue, African, and probably one or two more. The teacher was energetic and spunky. It was fun, but I wouldn’t say it was a kick-ass workout. My ass was not kicked. But it was shaken in rhythm, yes. I don’t think I’ll venture back to this class. There were others who were definitely getting a sweaty workout, so more power to them. But if you’re one of those people who needs a serious drill seargant pain sesh–it’s not here.

More Miles

Wednesday morning I woke up and ran 3.5 miles here. No knee pain! GLORY. Rest and zumba did me right for a day.

I feel obligated to remind you that I didn’t run for two weeks prior to the knee pain. Rest is relative, people. And I am the master of abusing it. But I always come back, and I’m always thankful.

*note: I’ve been paying $70 a month for a NYSC membership while my ass has not seen the gym for 8 months (running outside). I’m investing in my piece of mind? … Someone knock some sense into me.

Running Round Crazy

Holy hotdog, batman. I’m tired.

I have realized I am the type of person who takes on just enough things to make one’s self on the verge of crazy. And in addition, I try to keep all other variables (social life, romance) even. This is crazy. Loco?

Current I’m going !#*&@$ loco symptoms:

  • my eyes hurt.
  • i’ve had two cups of coffee everyday for the past week.

    this is peer pressure.

    this is peer pressure.

  • i stay up later than i should to get in everything i’d like to in one day, which leads back to points 1 and 2.
  • currently dormant running shoes. ef.
  • i want to eat everything i see at all times. not too much of an issue, but i know i’m not usually this hungry! i’ve read about less sleep = more appetite. this is true in my study of one.
  • my blog posts become erratic, sporadic, and wild. WILD!
  • failure to use initial caps in bulleted lists.

My plan of attack is to turn this weekend into a chillcation (trademarking that word after I post this). I am going to get started on research for my upcoming WG News piece. Play my guitar. Drink one cup of life jesus coffee a day. Run. Wash my sheets because really, it’s been too long. tmi?

I am going to remember that I need to keep myself balanced and happy before I am able to give the same thing to anyone else. And then I am going to eat a piece of chocolate.

Who wants to eat chocolate with me?

How to Be Productive on Saturday

There are two key steps to follow to set up a kickass Saturday:

Step 1) Don’t get drunk Friday night

Step 2) Wake up the same time you do during the week. If you can get your butt out the door to work for someone else, damn straight you should give the same attention to yourself.

Saturday morning I opened my eyes at 7:15am and rolled myself (somewhat painfully but I knew I wanted it) out of bed. Mike 1, Mike 2, and all of Greenpoint, Brooklyn was still asleep. So the morning was all mine. Small victory for mel.

I started the morning with an old standby breakfast: 1/2c oatmeal made with 1c water, blueberries, walnuts, and a drizzle driz of honey. Then I positioned it on the floor of my room to present you with proper lighting in this photo. Yes, I did feel strange arranging it on the floor.pre-run oatmeal breakfast

About 2 hours later I set out for a run. I was running short on time due to plans to meet my friends for an apple picking excursion (woohoo!) so I decided on an Ewald workout to kick more ass in less time. I hit up the McCarren Park track and felt really good about it. I only had 1/2 cup of the coffee also which is noteworthy. Mel – 1, coffee – 0.

Saturday morning workout:

  • .5 miles to the McCarren Park track
  • 8 pushups
  • 40 bicycle crunches
  • 10 reverse crunches
  • 4×100 sprints with 100 recovery in between
  • repeat steps 2 through 5
  • finish with another round of pushups and crunches
  • .5 miles back
  • stretch in front of my apartment while the old lady on the first floor watches me through her window and then says “i like watching you”. note to self: bake her some cookies and/or never get old.

I was surprised that the oatmeal kept me goin’ from 8am – 1pm. Nice. I then met up with my friends Sam and Hayley for a New Jersey apple picking adventure. It was glorious!

serious. business.

serious. business.

There were endless rows of apple trees. I kind of wanted to run through them like that scene in the Sound of Music and sing with the VonTrap family.

 

apple tree rows
We taste tested until we felt sick, naturally.

eating an apple

My basket of applefruits:

just picked apples

I arrived home exhausted and happy. It’s sad that September is already peacin’ out! Now I’ve got about 3 lbs of apples, and a pie waiting to be made. I hope. Someone call me and ask me where it is tomorrow so that I feel guilty. Otherwise there’s a good chance it aint happening.

At night I headed out to Staten Island to get wacky with some friends. In which 3 margaritas and an unknown amount of beer was drank went missing. Went to sleep at 3am. Woke up at 11.  And that, my friends, is how not to have a productive Sunday. :).

Back in the Run Game: Week 1

It’s always  mentally daunting for me to get back in the game after more than 2 weeks off, but it really only takes about 5 runs to be in it to win it again. I’ve gotten in 4 runs in this week which feels great. And by great, I mean saweeeeet.

My mileage is fairly low, but I dig it:

– Sunday: 2.6m

– Monday: 2.6m

– Tuesday: mini Ewald workout

– Friday: 3m

I passed out at 9:45 last night, and woke up at 6am today without an alarm. Woohoo! I made my instant coffee just before Mike 1 got up to brew a pot. Bullocks. But we chilled on the couch for 10 minutes with our respective cups o’ joe none the less. I drank about half a mug. Then it was off to get my gear on.

Today is the first day of the fall season that I donned a long sleeve t-shirt. Don’t you love running in those? I started out with the sleeeves pulled over my hands (cozy) and by mile 1 I was rolling them up. Perfect temperature transitional gear. A good ol’ cotton shirt. Most runners would think running in cotton is crazy, but I rarely spree for expensive technical gear.

I ran a 3 mile loop here and it rocked. At the halfway mark my runner’s knee started to kick-in, but it ended up fading away. Check plus.

On my way to work I picked up a post-run breakfast of 1 egg on whole wheat toast (salt, pepper, ketchup. yeah.) and a cup of coffee. Egg sandwiches always do the trick when I have a crazy morning at work and lunch will be late. Breakfast of mel championship. I’m not sure if that last sentence works, but I’m not changing it.

post-run breakfast

Technically this brings my coffee total to 1.5 cups already. Oh well, it’s freakin’ Friday. Tonight I’m meeting a friend for drinks in the city.. and if I can keep a Saturday long run in the back of my mind maybe I’ll minimize hangover damage?