Tag Archives: coffee

Whoa, Santa! You kind of outdid yourself there. Way to go, big guy!

I knew I was good this year, but I had no idea I was this good. Either Santa was feeling generous, or he totally came to the wrong house. Either way, I’m claiming the ‘no take-backs’ rule and also the ‘I touched it last’ rule. So if this set-up was supposed to go to my neighbor instead, tough shitsky. Sorry; that was harsh. I should work on being nicer to others in 2012. But I’m still not giving it back.

Here’s what Santa done brung me:

1. Cuisinart Single Serve Coffee Brewer – it’s way cool, and it’s shiny. I love shiny. It has a huge water reservoir with a built-in filter to purify our softener-laden tap water AND it makes coffee, tea or hot cocoa one cup at a time, which means I can stop pouring leftover coffee down the sink every morning. See honey, I’m already saving you money!

2. Nespresso Aerocinno 3 Milk Frother – you heard me; it’s a milk frother. It heats milk and then whips it with a tiny beater to create that glossy, peaked foam you get at fancy coffee houses. And when I say ‘beats it to a frothy peak’, I mean it takes my cold 2% milk and turns it into piping hot milk with a head on it like whipped meringue. Talk about putting frosting on a cupcake! This baby is a keeper. Now I have to learn to make shamrocks and leaves and other fancy shapes in the top of my coffee (or not).

3. Starbucks City Collection Cups – this is a gift I give myself. It started years ago with a trip to Seattle and a visit to the ‘original’ Starbucks at Pike Place Market. Since then, I have collected these giant coffee mugs from cities around the world – Stuttgart, Istanbul, Prague, Amsterdam, etc. I love them. They’re a colorful way to reminisce about great trips over a morning cuppa joe. And did I mention they’re huge? Yeah… make mine a double.

4. K-Cup Rack and the cups to fill it – Santa was kind enough to provide a thoughtful variety of K-cups to kick-start my addiction. There’s Donut Shop Decaf for late nights and Tully’s French Roast for those mornings when I need a kick in the seat to get me moving. There is also a baker’s dozen of assorted other coffee flavors from a sampler box, as well as a supply of dark chocolate hot cocoa and some Twinings English Breakfast tea. Santa knows me well.

So I guess this wasn’t meant for my neighbor after all. Maybe I really WAS a good girl this year. That’s a relief. But then, that means I owe someone a BIG thank you. Lord help me; I hope that doesn’t mean what I think it means {wink}.

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“Buy Local” Spotlight: Lola Savannah Coffee Company of Houston, TX

Hawaiian Grog Coffee - Hello, Luvah

As I’ve said before, buying products grown or produced in my own community is a new passion of mine. I find myself looking for local products more and more often when I shop. I like the idea of buying stuff made or grown close to home. It makes me feel like I’m helping make Houston a better, more self-sufficient place. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to the Lola Savannah Coffee Company. They opened for business in 1995, and are known for producing an incredible array of coffees and teas while staying committed to sustainable agricultural practices. Their list of flavored coffees alone is staggering. My personal favorite is “Hawaiian Grog.” It’s incredibly tasty, and it also makes my house smell fabulous when I brew it. Here’s how it’s described on their website:

“You don’t need to be Hawaiian or groggy to enjoy this special mix of 100% Arabica beans, real coconut flakes, Highland crème, and just a hint of coconut crème. You’ll be saying “Aloha” with every sip!” -LSCC

They’re right. Sometimes, early in the morning, I whisper “Aloha, Hawaiian Grog! I love you soooo much!” before I take that first sip. It’s really good stuff, especially if you’re a nut for coffee and coconut like me. Other flavors I plan to try soon: Almond Bliss, Angel Dust, Chocolate Crème Brule, Strudel Cake and Tiramisu. My winner for their most unique blend is “Lunch with Elvis.” That’s right…it’s a peanut butter and banana flavored coffee. Yes, I know it sounds bizarre, but I’ve tried it and it’s actually pretty good. Unexpected, for sure, but it’s good! You’ve got to give it to them – it’s pretty clever.

I like to buy my Lola Savannah coffee from the large bulk barrels at my local HEB Market so I can grind my own, but HEB also sells small foil packages so you can try other flavors in small batches. They can also be found in Central Market and Fiesta stores in south Texas. If you’re not from the Houston area and/or you don’t have access to an HEB market, don’t sweat it! If you’re more of a tea person than a coffee person, that’s okay too! They sell both! They have a really nice website with online ordering. They’re also thoughtful enough to include a page called “Coffee 101” to help you learn more about coffee in general, and a “Brewing Tips” tutorial to help you make that perfect cup of Joe. Intrigued yet? I hope so. They certainly got my attention, and now they’re a part of my morning routine. You can check them out at www.lolacc.com.

As a special treat for one lucky reader, I’m giving away three sample pouches of Lola Savannah coffee. The flavors are Texas Pecan, Lunch with Elvis, and Chocolate Creme. Leave a comment telling me your favorite flavor or type of coffee and where you get it. Be sure to include your e-mail address. All entries must be received by midnight Central Standard Time on Thursday, October 7, 2010. One winner will be chosen at random and notified by e-mail on Friday, October 8, 2010. I’ll post an update on the blog to announce the winner, as well.

Lola Savannah Coffee Samples - 1.75 ozs. each

Disclaimer: The Lola Savannah Coffee Company of Houston, Texas has no earthly idea who in the tarnation NanaBread is, so it goes without saying that they have in no way compensated or bribed her to provide this endorsement. But that won’t stop her from buying her weekly pound of Hawaiian Grog and shooting her mouth off about it. The sample packs for the giveaway were purchased by NanaBread with her own cash money. That just proves how much she loves this stuff and how strongly she feels it must be shared with the coffee lovers of the world. Think of this as a public service announcement for fellow java junkies everywhere (12-step program not included).

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Mom’s Coffee Shortbread Cookies

My mother makes the most extraordinary coffee shortbread cookies. It’s a unique recipe I’ve never found anywhere else. I love that they are made from simple ingredients and are easy to make. These are perfect with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and even better when they’re dunked. And if you want to get fancy, you can drizzle them or dip them in dark chocolate.

Mom's Crispy Coffee Shortbread Cookies

Here’s the recipe:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2-3 tablespoons instant coffee, crushed to dust
2 cups all-purpose flour
3-4 tablespoons sugar, for dusting

In a large bowl, beat butter with a mixer until creamy. Add the brown sugar and coffee dust (I like to crush the coffee granules with the back of a spoon until it’s powdered); beat until well blended. Stir in the flour and mix well. The dough will seem pretty crumbly, not creamy like a chocolate chip cookie dough, and that’s good. Using a spatula or your hands, press the dough into a ball and then roll into a log. Wrap in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to firm up.

To bake, pre-heat the oven to 300F. Once the dough is firm, you have two choices. To make them like my mother does, cut the dough into pieces and roll into ping-pong sized balls. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip a glass into sugar and use it to flatten each dough ball to 1/4″ thick (it helps on the first one to dampen the bottom of the glass first; after that the butter from the cookie dough will help the sugar to stick to the glass). If you want to make them like I do, slice the log into rounds 1/4″ thick, arrange on ungreased cookie sheets so they’re 1″ apart, and sprinkle them liberally with sugar. Either way, the goal is to make the cookies fairly thin so they crisp up when they’re done. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes, turning the tray around after 10 minutes. Cool completely; the cookies will crisp up as they cool. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Then break out the coffee pot or that box of hot cocoa mix and start dunking.

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