Tag Archives: espresso

Coffee and Other Funny Things

We are running low on the Tassimo coffees I like so I am slowly using up the random pods I can’t remember buying and which they probably don’t even make anymore.  That’s how old they are.  Today I am enjoying a cup of Gevalia Caramel Espresso to which I have added extra water, French vanilla sugar-reduced cream and a dash of Truvia.  It tastes like pancake syrup.

And if you don’t think that’s funny, wait until you see what else my caffeinated brain has found for you.

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Happy Sunday.

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Mocha Date Brownies

There’s a little health food store I go to whenever I’m feeling like I have way too much money and would like to get rid of a bunch of it.  They always give me a complimentary copy of a magazine called

alive, Canada’s natural health and wellness magazine

which contains lots of information on ways to go broke in the pursuit of health.  But that’s not all.  Along with the nice pictures of supplements and protein powders and smiling people with healthy immune systems there are recipes with random ingredients I’ve never heard of and promises of great results that are disgustingly good for you.

If you would like to go directly to alive.com and the mocha date brownie recipe you will miss all the incredible photos of my brownie baking experience.  I’m sharing them here because I feel like everyone should know that not everything I bake goes directly into the compost bin.

Here’s the list of ingredients (with my substitutions and helpful comments in brackets):

1 1/2 cups (350 mL) whole dates
1 cup (250 mL) fresh orange juice (I think the stuff from a jug is fresh enough)
1 Tbsp (15 mL) vanilla extract
2 large free-range eggs (I used ordinary eggs)
1/2 cup (125 mL) cocoa
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) espresso powder (I do not know what this is exactly or why anyone would have it in their kitchen at all times, so I used a couple of packets of Starbucks Via ready brew.  It’s all coffee, right?)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) unsalted butter (my butter is salted, so I used that and left out the above 1/2 tsp of salt)
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour (I am trying to go mostly gluten-free, so I used gluten-free brown rice flour)
1 cup (250 mL) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325, line a square baking pan with parchment paper.  Check.  So far, easy peasy.

Simmer dates with orange juice until tender.  Looks like lumpy brown sludge, but smells good.

brownies 002
Purée to a smooth paste.

brownies 005Look ma, no more date lumps.  Well, hardly any.  Use the same saucepan to melt the butter, and then pop this goop back in with it and stir it until it’s warm and bubbly.  Still looks like sludge only smoother and more oily.

brownies 006
Okay! Now you’re supposed to whisk the eggs with cocoa, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt (if you added the salt.)  I took them seriously when they said to use a large bowl.

brownies 003
before…

brownies 004…after.  You know what?  Using an actual whisk for this was a big mistake.  The reason there’s a knife in the picture is because using it was the only way I could get this stuff unstuck from between the blades of the whisk.  Just stir it with a fork.  No one will know.

Next you add the date mixture to the chocolate mixture, and then fold in the flour and the chocolate chips.

brownies 009I forgot to take a picture of this all mixed up, but you’ve probably seen brownie batter before and it’s not that exciting.  You’re supposed to smooth the top when you put it in the baking pan, and now I know why.  I also didn’t take a picture of the oven ready stage, but it’s okay because it came out of the oven looking pretty much the same as it did when I put it in there, unsmoothed top and all.

brownies 010Yes, this is baked.  It takes 30 to 35 minutes, which, if you’re anything like me, is about how long it takes to clean up the colossal mess you just made in the kitchen.

brownies

I would like to take credit for this last photo, but it’s from the magazine.  Let’s just pretend mine were identical to these.  The brownies are dense and rich (even though there’s no added refined sugar in them!) and they’re soft and chewy and really, really good.

They are also all gone.

Know Your Coffee Because Your Coffee Knows You

Why does this feel like a Doppio day?  And where’s the sweetener?
IMG_0156

what-your-coffee-says-about-you

Picture from positivemed.com

My favourite is strong coffee mixed with one of those creamy ridiculously bad for me sweet flavoured whiteners which have no nutritional value whatsoever but boost my mood from blah to zing.  Let’s call it Lazy Canadiano.  If you like this kind of coffee you are smart but disorganized, cheerful and animated (after coffee, not so much before), scatter brained and yet easy-going because you don’t care.  And you get things done on sugar highs.

5 Things I’m Looking Forward to This Week

Tassimo T-Discs, assortment
Tassimo T-Discs, assortment (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Coconuts
Coconuts (Photo credit: randomlife)

Smelling like coconut lime.
Not sure why that made top of the list. Surely to God there’s something more exciting in my life than having picked up a big tube of lotion yesterday while grocery shopping. Don’t worry, something is bound to come to me. The coconut lime won out by THIS much over pink grapefruit. It was a tough decision, and now I’ve resigned myself to living with the results of that choice.

Letting my skin breathe.
Well, the skin that’s not covered in coconut lime, at least. And the skin on my face is soaking up the atmosphere as we speak. No work means no make-up for me, and this is the start of my six weeks away from work. WOOHOOHOO!! Yep, my skin and I are uber thrilled.

Having sit down breakfasts with my husband of 39 years.
Our anniversary was yesterday. Almost 4 decades with the same man! That should be some kind of indication of my resolve when it comes to sticking with choices, no matter how bizarre they may be. We went out for dinner and had an argument about what the weather was like 39 years ago. It was not snowing, it was freezing rain. It’s amazing to me the drastically important things he can’t remember. So now we can have some leisurely breakfasts together and I’ll see how much of our personal history I can alter before he catches on that I’m just making shit up.

Drinking Tassimo coffee numerous times a day.
Whoever invented the Tassimo, if he’s not a millionaire already, he should be. Another one of my dubious impulse buys, but I seriously love that thing. It is SO deliciously lovely to brew one perfect cup of coffee whenever the mood strikes me. Espresso, cappuccino, au lait, crema, breakfast blend, Columbian, suchard hot chocolate….be still my heart. Well, like that’s gonna happen with all that caffeine.

Getting my Christmas Shopping done before December 6th.
Won’t that be amazing! And no, I haven’t started yet, but I have complete confidence in myself. On the 6th I’m flying up to ‘the ranch’ to spend time with my daughter-in-law and four of my grandchildren, all the way to Christmas. She actually asked me to come! How’s that for a hard to believe mother-in-law story. The rest of the family will fly or drive up closer to Christmas, so I have to get the gifts ready for my spouse to bring with him. I also have to train him in the art of caring for a fish, and will say my goodbyes to Phinaeus before I leave, just in case.

Huh – I guess that’s 5 things, so that’s it. Coffee anyone? It’s not like I have to get to sleep and be anywhere important first thing in the morning. Oh yeah, except for the breakfast thing. Smelling like a coconut. It’s going to be a great week.

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