Tag Archives: coffee

Appliance serial killer

16 Aug

I have declared my blender dead. I am sad, but it’s time to come to terms with the facts. The sooner I mourn, the sooner I can move on to a new blender.

It appears, however, that I may be to blame — not only that, but I may be out of control. This morning, the coffee pot at work decided not to function. I spent an hour troubleshooting to no avail, searched for the manual, and then texted a colleague who is out of the office today.

Ahhh! What if she’s right? What if I’m on a killing spree without even realizing it?! And I’m a vegetarian. 😦 So now I suspect I’m like the Wolfman, except that instead of, you know, turning into a wolf during the full moon and doing unspeakable acts I cannot remember, I am blacking out perhaps at night and destroying my favorite appliances with no memory. I MUST BE STOPPED.

Hide your food processors. Hide your toasters. I’m on the loose.

Creamy Dreamy Oats and Coffee

19 Nov

I went to sleep sometime between 2:30 and 3:00 this morning. However, I still woke up at 7:40 unable to go back to sleep. Ugh. I am not the kind of person who operates well — or at all, really — on little sleep. I expect a nap is in my afternoon plan.

This morning, though, I have some things to take care of, so I decided to make a warming, filling, caffeinated breakfast. Behold:

Let’s start with the caffeine. Caffeeeeeeeeine! I normally avoid it in the mornings, but if a day ever called for a dose, it’s today. I have my French press at work, so I decided to Italian it up in the moka pot Alice gave me when we stayed with her in Brescia. My first attempt to use it a couple of weeks ago was a disaster. The coffee was cold sludge and totally my fault. This time, however, was a resounding success, thanks to a great explanation from a Venezuelan coworker:

I did it caffe macchiato-style. For those of you whose coffee knowledge begins and ends with a certain Seattle-based java chain, macchiato means “stained,” so a caffe macchiato is coffee “stained” with a little milk. A latte macchiato is basically what we call a latte in this country: milk with a little coffee. It isn’t frothed, though. The macchiato you’re used to bears no resemblance to the real deal. I used about a tablespoon of my homemade almond milk plus a pinch of powdered sugar to make mine.

If you’ve never used a moka before, basically this is how it works:

You work the pieces from left to right. First you put water in the lower chamber up to the air-pressure valve (the copper circle). Then place the middle piece atop it, making sure no water comes through the holes. Fill it to the brim with ground coffee (more or less espresso grind) and wipe any excess from the rim. Then screw the top part on tightly so it seals. Heat it on medium heat until you hear the water boiling in earnest. Delicious!

For some protein, carbs, fiber, and calories, I made my first bowl of oats in a long time. I was inspired by a lot of bloggers who use peanut butter and non-dairy milks, so I did things a little differently than my usual water+oats+maple syrup combo. Witness:

These were so incredibly delicious that I felt duty bound to share the recipe with you.

Creamy Dreamy Oats with Peanut Butter and Banana

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup homemade almond milk
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (NOT instant or quick-cooking)
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1 small banana, cut in slices
  • Sprinkling (~1 teaspoon) dark brown sugar

Bring water and almond milk to boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Water carefully because the almond milk will get all frothy and try to boil over like real milk. When it’s boiling, add the oats and cook, stirring occasionally, about six minutes. The oats are done when they are creamy and have reached the desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and then stir in peanut butter. Top with banana slices and brown sugar.

This was so freaking good. Seriously. I really don’t want to sound like a braggart, but I was practically moaning while I ate it. The banana and the brown sugar lend some sweetness without turning breakfast into dessert. Plus, it was perfect alongside my coffee. Basically, I think I may be conscious now.

I’m off to bake, so expect another post this afternoon.

On cupcakes and amazing soup

7 Nov

Today my taller half and I ventured to Oklahoma City to attend The Girlie Show, a super kick-butt craft show full of talented ladies held every November. It’s a great opportunity to get started on holiday shopping, and it’s also a wonderful way to blow some of your holiday-shopping money on yourself.

Anyway, I don’t go to OKC terribly often because: 1. it’s an hour and a half away, 2. the toll costs $8 round trip, and 3. Tulsa is generally more awesome. Sorry friends, but it’s true. However, I do make it to Das Kapital several times a year, and it’s always a great opportunity to try out some tasty food. Today did not disappoint.

My first food encounter was the fine folks of culinary stop was a booth giving out free coffee samples from Elemental Coffee Roasters at The Girlie Show. I tried the Groove blend, which was light but still strong. I had about a shot-glass’s worth and was still bouncing off the walls. I should really never drink coffee twice in one day. All in all, it was a tasty brew, but I would have to try more blends before giving a real review. Also, I have no photos. No pictures, no write-up, I say.

Afterward, we ventured over to Saturn Grill in suburb Nichols Hills (which I didn’t realize until today even existed). Check out their interesting menu here. My cheese-loving half went with the Rustin Roman Pie:

It featured red sauce, roma tomato, red onion, fresh basil, mozzarella, goat cheese, and Kalamata olives. He was quite happy and ate every bite. I had a small nibble and gave it a thumbs up.

I veganized the Grilled Veggie Sandwich (held the mayo) and tried the daily soup, Pumpkin Ancho:

Oh my word. The sandwich was good — the veggies (zucchini, bell pepper, onion, portobello mushroom, plus spinach and tomato) were well grilled and full of flavor:

but the soup was one of the best soups I’ve ever had in my life. It had so much savory body and delectable spicy notes. It’s normally topped with sour cream and pecans, but I had them hold the dairy. I can’t imagine it would be better with it. I need to recreate the soup.

On the side were a trio of housemade pickles that I could sorta tolerate. That says a lot coming from me, an avowed pickle-hater. As I told the woman who worked there, they actually taste like a vegetable. My taller half loved the two pieces I didn’t touch.

Over all, I give it *** on the veggie-options scale and ***** on the tastiness scale. That soup inched it up an extra star. (See this post for more info on the scales.)

Saturn Grill has two locations, one at 6432 S. Avondale Dr. in Nichols Hills and another at 4401 W. Memorial in OKC.

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After lunch, we jetted a mere 0.7 miles up the road for cupcakes from Green Goodies by Tiffany — vegan cupcakes, in fact. A representative was there offering free samples at The Girlie Show, but none of the ones on offer were dairy-free. She told me, however, that vegan ones are available in the store every day, so I knew I wanted to drop by before we made the trek home.

It has an adorable exterior:

And an even cuter interior, but I didn’t take a photo. Silly Brigid. They offer a variety of flavors in organic, vegan/allergy-free, or diabetic-friendly and gluten-free. They do special orders, too. Pretty great, eh? Well, the proof is in the pudding cupcake.

Above is my taller half’s Salted Caramel (a vanilla cupcake with a caramel interior topped with buttercream frosting a caramel drizzle), and below is my vegan Green Hostess (a chocolate cupcake filled with vanilla buttercream and topped with chocolate ganache and a recognizable swirl). Here is what my love said about his:

The salted caramel cupcake rattled the walls and set fire to the floor!

I had a nibble and my goodness, it was incredible. Mine, however, was…also incredible! It tasted very much like a Hostess cupcake except instead of chemicals and beef fat, it was full of real-food flavor and a delicious dark-chocolate wallop. It was incredibly fluffy and moist, and the ganache was thick and chocolatey. The gal working today told me it’s their most popular flavor period. Check out the interior:

They can do any flavor in any of the preferred options (vegan, wheat-free, etc.) with advance notice. They also do cupcake towers for weddings and the like. If you’re in Oklahoma City, don’t miss out!

Over all, I give it ***** on the veggie-options scale and ***** on the tastiness scale. This is serious cupcake bidness. These are by far the best cupcakes — let alone vegan ones — I’ve had at a specialty shop.

Green Goodies by Tiffany is located at 7606 N. Western Ave. in Nichols Hills.

Make a vegan cupp-o-ccino

6 Nov

I’ve received five entries for the baking contest so far. Woo hoo! Don’t forget you have until tomorrow at midnight Tulsa time to submit.

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I’ve had a big, exciting Saturday, and I will post all the fun foodie details soon (either tonight or tomorrow), but first, I leave you with a little coffee tutorial.

I like coffee many ways, including black and with frothy milk. However, I am way, way too cheap to slap down $4 for a soy cappuccino every time the hankering sets in, and certainly too economical to buy a cappuccino maker. Fear not, fellow dairy eschewers: there’s a cheap, easy way to make your own at home with a French press.

If you’re not familiar with the French press, they are awesome little coffee steepers that let you brew up a cup without electricity. Well, as long as you have access to hot water, that is. For the record, I got the basis of this idea from a post over at Hungry Hungry Hippie. She uses a milk frother, but I do it all in my French press.

You will need: French press, course-ground coffee, non-dairy milk, two mugs, and anything you like in your cappuccino (sugar, vanilla, etc.).

Step 1: Steep your coffee.

Make it a lot stronger than normal because the “milk” will thin out the flavor. I have a 12 oz French press, and I use about four scoops of grinds. I also grind my own beans (as you can see in the background). Steep about four minutes and then depress the plunger.

Step 2: Meanwhile, fill up a mug about halfway with your favorite non-dairy milk. Soy froths up the best, but I greatly prefer the flavor of hazelnut (which hardly froths up at all). However, soy was what I had today, so that’s what you’re seeing. Stick it in the microwave for about a minute.

Step 3: Pour coffee into the empty mug and rinse out French press. Now pour the warmed milk into the French press and pump the plunger up and down. Do it fairly quickly as many times as it takes to make your milk frothy.

Step 4: Pour it into the coffee and top with whatever you like. I put a little raw sugar and cinnamon on mine. Enjoy!

I love this method because it’s cheap, easy, and makes me feel fancy. If you don’t have a French press, I highly recommend one. They are really easy, and one the size of mine costs about $20. I sometimes stash it at work so I can avoid the disgusting office coffee.

What’s your favorite faux milk to use in coffee drinks? What else do you put in your coffee?

Vacation Recap Part III: Florence

3 Nov

This is Part II of IV recapping my recent Italian excursion. Read Part I here and Part II here. You can also read about my tirade against American Airlines here.

So let’s see . . . where did we leave off? Oh yes, ‘twas the morning of October 7 and our departure from Brescia. It was time to hop on a train bound for Florence!

Because Brescia is a small town, getting to Florence required changing trains in Padova. We had a narrow, 15-minute window, and I knew that was going to be trouble. Italian trains are notoriously late; in fact, this trip featured the most consistent trains I’ve encountered. Both of my overnight trains before had been hours late. Anyway, inevitably our train to Padova was exactly 15 minutes late, but I wasn’t going to give up. We sprinted, bags in hand, down a flight of stairs, back up another, and then to our car on the other train. We made it! I can’t imagine it took longer than 30 seconds.

When we arrived in Florence, we walked to the hotel, Locanda Orchidea:

Ahhhhh. The fates smiled on us and gave us a free upgrade to a room with a private shower. Woo hoo! Look at how amazing the room was:

We paid €65 a night for this place. It’s unreal!

Over the next two days, we did the things one should do in Florence, such as climb 463 steps to the top of Brunelleschi’s dome in the Duomo:

Check out that view of Tuscany:

And wake up insanely early to be the first people in line for the Uffizi:

And enjoy the sunlight reflecting off Ponte Vecchio (that’s sunrise, folks, not sunset):

And buy clothes you just can’t live without:

Sweater dress from Zara and the most amazing vintage boots from a lovely boutique along the Arno.

If you go to Florence, you must:

  • Visit the Uffizi. It’s touristy for a reason. Every room is filled with amazing art, even the hallways. Get up early and go!
  • Have gelato at Grom.
  • See The David. Even if you don’t look at anything else in the Accademia, you would be crazy not to see this massive masterpiece.
  • Shop at Boutique Nadine on the Lungarno.

And now, food:

October 7
Our day started with the unpictured brioche and coffee I mentioned in Part II. The eating continued that afternoon with gelato from Grom:

I had salted caramel and fiordilatte, which is basically cream. My taller half had coffee and crema di Grom, the house specialty, which combines egg, Piedmontese cookies, and dark Columbian chocolate. The flavors were incredibly smooth, and I loved that the place uses some organic and lots of seasonal ingredients.

For dinner that evening, we had panini at Antico Noe`. I apologize for the insane crappiness of this photo, but we ate outside after dark:

I promise that isn’t bacon. Mine was filled with a squash-blossom frittata, and my love’s was Caprese-style (mozzarella, tomato, and basil). We both liked ours a lot, but mine was really, really, really good. We had more Italian Cokes on the side. Craving a little snack, we also had something crunchy and salty:


PAPRIKA PRINGLES! I love these things so much. I am sad every time I remember that they are not available in this country. I don’t know why Pringles wants to deprive Americans of this most delicious flavor of potato chips, but they do. Oh yes, and we had the Hot & Spicy ones, too. They were good, but I love Paprika, forever and always.

October 8
This day started earlier than I care to admit: 6 a.m. The guidebooks went on and on about four-hour lines at the Uffizi. Since we didn’t have a ton of time in Florence, this was not a good option for us. My taller half turned to me the day before and asked, “What are the chances you’ll get up at 5 tomorrow?” to which I could only reply, “Honestly, honey, there isn’t a chance in hell I’ll wake up that early.” We compromised with 6 instead. The museum didn’t open until 8:15, but by golly, we were the first two crazy people there.

Anyway, rising that early meant no breakfast beforehand. Instead, we explored half the museum and then ventured down to their bar around 10:00. I had a cappuccino and brioche (cream-filled), and he had just the former. Since I didn’t let my booty touch a chair, it was surprisingly inexpensive. And tasty, too. It’s unpictured, though, since we weren’t supposed to use cameras inside.

We saw lots of wonderful art, and I encourage all of you to read about it. I did not take pictures because I find it insane when people photograph pieces inside museums. It’s disrespectful and degrading to the work (and I mean that literally). Instead, Google the museum and get out there yourself someday.

After all that culturin’, these Okies needed some food. We walked over to ‘Ino, a paninoteca, for lunch. Mine had stroza (a kind of cheese) and a pesto made of zucchini. Sorry again for the blurriness.

My taller half enjoyed gorgonzola and mustard, which was not at all like the American variety. Both came on phenomenal bread. I could have eaten my weight in it.

After viewing the David (hey, baby), we had more gelato. But of course. This time, the location was Gelateria dei Neri:

I had white chocolate and Mexican chocolate. He had chocolate with orange and hazelnut. The chocolate with orange took the cake for Most Likely to Make You Slap Your Mama.

After some strolling and shopping (see above), we decided to have aperitivo at Pop Café for dinner. I sipped a Coke, and he had sparkling water, then we dove into the free buffet:

It was all-vegetarian at the beginning, but eventually the meat came out. Of the meat-free choices, we enjoyed a grain salad (I can’t figure out what kind) with tomatoes, bread, veggies with curry dip, and a tasty risotto. I had seconds of pretty much everything. I was getting a migraine, so we couldn’t stay long, but it was a tasty end to the busy, busy day.

October 9
We awoke early-ish for our departure from beautiful Florence. Since the hotel did not have breakfast available, we strolled down the road looking for Chiaroscuro, a café with a very positive reputation. However, they decided not to open on time, so we had to scramble to find somewhere else. Enter Bar Cucciolo (which means puppy – I love it!). It was close to the hotel and open, so we went for it.

Gorgeous cappuccino and coffee (mine and his). I also had a cream-filled brioche (obsessed much?). The service was delightful, and since they had just opened, everything was fresh. They also didn’t make us pay to sit – woo hoo! The walls had fun pictures from the bar’s early years in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. So fun and unexpected. I highly recommend the place. It was a delicious breakfast.

And then we grabbed our bags for our departure to Rome. Look for Part IV soon!

Daily eats: September 8, 2010

9 Sep

Here is what I ate today.

Maybe it’s the weather, or maybe it’s the comedown from a long, lovely weekend, but I have not wanted to get out of bed this week. The dark outside my window isn’t helping, either. This morning, I actually thought about changing my schedule so I could sleep longer. Sad. Anyway, when I finally rose and showered, I was too lazy to put forth much effort. A quickie breakfast came to the rescue.

Whole-wheat toast topped with about 1.5 tablespoons of Justin’s Maple Almond Butter and orange juice (about 1.5 cups).

Somehow that tided me over until noon. I don’t know how since I’m usually ravenous by 9:30. Even so, I enjoyed my usual morning tea at work:

Choice Organic Irish Breakfast Tea with about a tablespoon of raw, local honey. The sweet stuff has made a huge difference in me managing my seasonal allergies.

When the lunch hour rolled around, I ate something incredibly tasty:

A spinach salad topped with doctured-up dressing and two yamburgers on the side. Yes, yamburgers. They are based heavily on Gena’s Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers. The biggest difference is that I used yams from the farmers market, attempted to double the recipe but really just made the proportions off, and possibly undercooked them. Even so, I loved them. They are delicious! I promise I’m not a paid spokesperson for Choosing Raw. She just happens to have posted some very interesting recipes lately, and I gotta eat, ya know.

The salad itself was 2.5 ounces of organic baby spinach, and I made the dressing from about a tablespoon of tahini, two tablespoons of Newman’s Own Low Fat Sesame Ginger Dressing, and 1.5 teaspoons of the most flavorful, nasal-intruding Dijon mustard ever. Yum! The yamburgers were delicious enjoyed in concert with the salad and dressing.

I never did manage to wake up today, which didn’t make me a very useful employee. Don’t tell. During a quick jaunt to return some library books, I stopped at QuikTrip to get some coffee. I figured it had to taste better than the Java Dave’s executive crap sludge coffee service at the office.

Yeah, not so much. QT, I love your gas prices, your commitment to the community, your efficiency, and your fee-free ATMs, but I prefer my coffee a little less bitter, burnt, and acidic. I had maybe half a dozen sips before throwing it out.

I was feeling a blood sugar crash approaching when I got home, but instead of finding something too naughty, I had an unpictured banana. It was yellow. You can imagine it.

In the evening, my love and I enjoyed dinner:

That’s baked brown rice with mushrooms and white bean dip, both from the Joy of Cooking, as well as some baby carrots (Bunny Luv! Flashbacks to my childhood). I topped the dip with some nutritional yeast and both dishes with plenty of black pepper. The rice especially was incredible. We used shiitake mushrooms from Mushroom Planet, a vendor at the Cherry Street Farmers Market. If you’re local, you have to try some of her fungi. I am especially enamored of the maitakes. So, so good.

Have I mentioned my birthday is Friday? That I’ll soon finish my climb over the hill that is 25? I hope 26 treats me well. Anyway, I decided to bring cookies to work tomorrow in celebration. Other people bake on their own birthdays, right?

Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles. Oh mama. This is one of my favorite quick, easy, and unbelievably delicious cookie recipes. Snickerdoodle is a bit of a misnomer since they do not have the crunch or the cream of tartar bite that the name usually implies. Instead, these are pure, chocolatey heaven. I had two. Ok, three. And the batter equivalent of at least one more.

Also, look at how differently my two cookie sheets bake these things:

They don’t even look like the same kind of cookie.

So that was my Wednesday in food. It was a fairly balanced day, if you ignore all the cookies, but who would want to do that?

Don’t be disappointed.

7 Sep

This was a weekend of disappointments. Yet, I went to bed last night feeling better than I have in a long time. How can so many letdowns possibly result in such a perfect weekend? Check out the tally:

Friday
· Disappointment: Lunch plans with my taller half fell through. Remedy: I enjoyed a long-for-me bike ride and lunch at home instead.

· Disapointment: The historic drive-in movie theater in town burned to the ground. Remedy: The community has rallied in support.

· Disappointment: The dinner I was supposed to have with three of my high school friends (the core of the AP Crew – nerd alert!) and two of our favorite high-school teachers (what did I tell you?) fell through. Remedy: We rescheduled for a fun outing to the Greek Holiday Festival. And I got to spend the whole evening with my love instead.

· Disappointment: I had a migraine. Remedy: I popped a Treximet, stayed horizontal for as long as possible, and snuggled with my man.

Saturday
· Disappointment: My dog pissed me off and made me miss yoga. Remedy: I have to give myself credit for just getting over this, which is not one of my strong suits. I tend to stew.

· Disappointment: We discovered that Maggie Moo’s has left Tulsa and its surrounding area. Remedy: Baskin-Robbins, which is a pale substitute.

Don’t let the smile fool you. While I did enjoy this frozen treat (a Reese’s deluxe or supreme or whatever sundae), it was no Maggie’s mix of red velvet ice cream, Reese’s crumbles, cookie dough, and caramel sauce. Let this addiction reveal that I don’t always eat nutritious, vegan food. I am still not a full-time vegan, though I get closer every day. Maggie Moo is my soft spot and was my favorite splurge. I miss you, Moo.

· BONUS: After lunch at the amazing Café Samana (see my review), we decided to spend the afternoon at the Gilcrease Museum, where we enjoyed the photography exhibit, marveled at mastodon teeth and ancient pottery, shared in our distaste of Remington and his home boys, and critiqued the frequent errors on the informational placards. We also strolled around the grounds, which feed into a gorgeous city park. I left my camera in the car, but you can see some photos of the gardens here and the park here. Then we had ice cream, bought groceries, and spent the evening at home watching the first two episodes of House of Elliot, my current Netflix disc.

Sunday
· Disappointment: Our vegan blueberry pancake experience was a complete and total flop. Or should I say “splat?”
This is my first big Veganomicon letdown. Remedy: In a desperate attempt to salvage our homemade brunch from the ingredients on hand, I flipped through some cookbooks and decided to whip up a batch of lemon blueberry muffins from my lover friend, The Joy of Vegan Baking.

They totally saved the day! We enjoyed them with a pineapple spear and coffee.

Pretend that the pineapple doesn’t look like it might have been exposed to nuclear waste. It didn’t actually glow in the dark.

· Disappointment: We couldn’t borrow bikes from the apartment complex (because they closed Sunday, too, for Labor Day) or from the free rentals along the River Parks trail, and I had my heart set on a ride with my love. Remedy: We regrouped and decided to do some running around instead. After a jaunt to Whole Foods so we can continue feeding my craphead dog, we flipped through tons of vegan cookbooks at Books-A-Million in search of more brunch ideas, since that is my taller half’s biggest challenge when trying to eat dairy-free with me. Afterward, we were feeling snacky, so we popped into Peachwave to see if they had any dairy-free options. They did! It was quite delicious, too. I didn’t snap a picture, but mine was the Dole Pineapple flavor topped with kiwi, strawberry, and almonds. I also sampled the peanut butter, which I liked, but I preferred the fruitier version (surprisingly). In the evening, we took a trip to the Gypsy Coffee House for more snacks (Columbian Cocoa, which is their version of Mexican hot chocolate, made with soy milk and a basket of potato chips; my love had straight-up black coffee) and lots of chitchat. Sorry, no food pictures. Then we watched the first three episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show at home.

Monday
· Disappointment: I awoke to found that ants had invaded the rest of my homemade blueberry muffins. Remedy: I somehow did not cry. Instead, we grabbed a quick brunch at Coffee House on Cherry Street on the way to the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Delicious vegan eats on the go:
Bagel sandwich with hummus, spinach, cucumber, tomato, onion, and bell pepper. (I removed the slice of provolone and fed it to my taller half.)
Soy cappuccino with a ton of cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar. This may be the best soy cappuccino I’ve ever had.

· Disappointment: It took us an extra hour to find the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Don’t ever trust Google maps to get you there. Remedy: After driving in circles and then asking for directions, we finally made it. The trip is well worth it. See?

Wildflowers.

Prairie green.

Crick Creek.

Tallgrass Praire Preserve Fields forever.

Love.

· Disappointment: We returned covered in ticks. Remedy: There’s nothing sexier than tweezing a blood sucker from your beloved’s ankle. Oh, you don’t agree? Well, then, the trip itself was the remedy, as was the evening of Mad Men, conversation, and homemade white bean dip (recipe coming soon).

And today, we both returned to the grind, but at least I have something great to come home to this evening. 🙂

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too.