Tag Archives: coffee

Tips For Making The Best Coffee At Home

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Tips For Making The Best Coffee At Home

A lot of people hit the coffee shop for a freshly brewed cup during the day. But what about those times when you’re at home and need a caffeine burst? Brewing your own cup of joe can save you money and time, but with so many methods and flavors out there, how do you know which way is best? We have outlined ten tips that will help you make better tasting coffee from the comfort of your very own kitchen:

Grind Your Beans Just Before You Brew Them:

Freshly ground coffee is the best way to ensure that you’re getting the freshest flavor possible. Coffee starts to lose its flavorful oils as soon as it is ground, so using ground up coffee will give you a subpar taste. If you can’t grind your own beans, try searching for a grocery store or cafe that has grinding options in the store.

Use Filtered Water:

If your water tastes bad, so will your coffee! Make sure to use clean cold water without any hidden odors of chlorine for the best results. If you don’t like the taste of tap water (or don’t have access to safe drinking water), bring filtered or bottled spring water to a slight boil and cool it for a couple of minutes before pouring it over your coffee grounds.

Avoid Grounding Beans In A Machine With Metal D Blades:

Ground up metal is not going to taste very good! Invest in a blade free or a burr grinder, which will ground all of your beans easily and consistently.

Clean Your Machine Often:

Coffee oils build up in household coffee makers quickly, creating an intense flavor that can be nearly impossible to clean out completely after every use. Make sure to keep the machine clean by running through several cycles without any coffee in it at all. A good rule of thumb is to clean it once a week or after ten uses, whichever comes first.

Avoid Over Filling the Basket:

Coffee machines are measured by how many cups they hold but, if you’re filling the basket with too many beans, you’re going to end up with watered down coffee that lacks flavor. Generally, one rounded tablespoon for every four ounces of water in your machine will produce an optimal cup of coffee.

Grind Your Beans To The Right Consistency:

It may be tempting to grind your beans to an incredibly fine powder so that more oils get trapped. However, this can create a gummed up mess in your grinder and lead to an over extracted cup of coffee. A slightly course grind will lead to a smoother cup of coffee with less grit.

Temperature Matters:

Water temperature is crucial in coffee brewing because it takes away any unpleasant, bitter flavors before the flavor has a chance to develop. In order for your water to be at an optimal temperature, bring it to a boil and let it cool for 30 seconds before pouring over the ground beans.

Get a Coffee Server:

Making coffee can be time consuming, but if you invest in a coffee server to keep your pot warm all day long, you’ll never have to waste the whole pot again. Instead, just pour yourself a cup whenever you want one! Buy the Hario Pour-Over Coffee Server Set to get started.

Skip the Sweeteners:

Coffee is a great way to clear up your skin, detoxify your body, and provide your brain with an energy boost so don’t ruin all of those benefits by adding in creamers or sugars that will increase your calorie intake and reduce the health benefits. Instead, try using natural substitutes like honey or maple syrup to add flavor without all of the empty calories.

If you’re looking to take your morning cup of joe up a notch, try these tricks for making the perfect pot every time. Cheers!

The Health Pros & Cons Of Drinking Coffee

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The Health Pros & Cons Of Drinking Coffee

Many of us rely on our morning cup of coffee to get our days off to the right start. Nevertheless, you might also be wondering whether that’s the right thing to do and whether we’re drinking too much coffee from a health standpoint. We’re going to take a look today at some of the most important factors to take into account when it comes to the health pros and cons of drinking coffee:

Sleep Problems When You Drink it Too Late in the Day:

Some people find it more difficult to sleep if they drink caffeine during the day. For the good of your health, you definitely need to make sure that you’re getting enough sleep at night. That’s why only drinking coffee and taking on caffeine in the morning is a good idea. If you drink it too late, it’s going to impact your sleep and that’s not what you want.

Healthy Antioxidants:

There are lots of healthy antioxidants that are associated with coffee beans, so you are getting a healthy dose of them when you drink your morning coffee. Antioxidants have been linked to all sorts of short and long-term health benefits, including reducing risk of inflammation in the body.

It Can Cause Teeth Discoloration:

One of the things that can happen very easily when you’re drinking too much coffee is teeth discoloration. When you drink coffee, it stains your teeth overtime, and even good cleaning practices might not be able to prevent that. There are options out there such as teeth whitening treatments and procedures, but it’s something to be aware of.

Increased Alertness and Focus:

Of course, the reason most of us drink coffee is so that we feel more alert each day. When you drink your coffee, you get a shot of caffeine that wakes us up and makes us feel more alert. Many people feel like they’re much better at being able to focus when they drink coffee and that when they’re short on caffeine, they have a short attention span and a more limited ability to focus on their work each day.

Potential Caffeine Crashes:

However, that rush you get from taking on more caffeine is not always going to last for a long time. You need to think about the ways in which too much caffeine can also cause crashes. When you don’t have caffeine for a few hours, those energy and focus levels can come crashing back down to earth pretty quickly and that’s something that can definitely be a problem.

As you can see, there are clear pros and cons that come with drinking coffee. Like almost anything else in life, it’s probably best to make sure that you’re treading carefully and drinking coffee in moderation!

Featured Image By: Pixabay

Fall Is In The Air

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Fall Is In The Air

Hi! I am not the biggest coffee drinker any more and prefer my morning Diet Coke to give me a caffeine jolt before my work day. However, when Starbucks introduces their fall flavors back on the menu, I always just have to treat myself to at least one of them per year! I can take or leave their Pumpkin Spice Latte because apple is my all time favorite fall flavor. So, when I learned that there was an Apple Crisp Iced Macchiato available I couldn’t wait to give it a shot:

Nothing feels more fall than a seasonal drink from Starbucks and I decided to have my yearly fall beverage during my break at work. I was ready for all things caramel apple but, unfortunately, I wasn’t too blown away by the Apple Crisp Macchiato. It was tasty, yes. Sadly, it just wasn’t apple-y enough! I think I talked it up so much in my head and with my sister that anything less than a super apple coffee drink just wouldn’t cut it. -_-

I will say, though, that the last few sips of the drink were magnificent because it tasted exactly like my favorite fall candy – the caramel apple suckers. It was just getting to that point that was the problem, lol! I am also going to be the first one to admit that I definitely could have done with getting a Grande sized drink rather than the Venti. All of that caffeine made me so jittery and HOT at work and I am normally freezing all of the time. Such a rookie mistake!

Was this my favorite drink ever? No. But it was pretty good. Now, I will just be eagerly awaiting my yearly Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks during the Christmas season. 😀

What is your favorite drink from Starbucks? What is your favorite seasonal flavor? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

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Kitchen Upgrades To Try Today

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. We tend to spend a lot of time in this space, cooking, chatting, hosting guests. So, why not consider giving your kitchen a little overhaul with some new appliances that will not only look great, but will add to your cooking too? Here are just a few examples you might want to consider:

A Stand Mixer:

Into baking? Throughout the past year and a half, many people have picked up baking as an activity to keep them preoccupied with free time found during the pandemic. We can’t blame them! Baking can be carried out easily from the comfort of your own home – and you get a delicious treat at the end too! Now, if you’ve been practicing and are getting better at your breads, cakes, pastries and other baked goods you may be aware of just how tiring it can be thoroughly mixing ingredients. This is where a stand mixer could help. Stand mixers do the hard work for you, leaving you with a lovely dough or batter, ready to bake.

A Coffee Machine:

If you like a good cup of coffee, you don’t have to go to your local coffee shop to get one. If you have a coffee machine at home, you’ll be able to make delicious brews within your own four walls. A coffee machine can do much more than simply pouring hot water from the kettle into some granules. When choosing your machine, make sure to look for good reviews and recommendations. This will give you an idea of other people’s experience with your chosen machine and whether it’s worth the money. There are different options on the market to suit different budgets but, generally speaking, the better the machine is, the better the coffee will be.

Cookware:

A lot of us settle for budget cookware only to find that food sticks to it or the food burns on it. This is less than ideal, so consider overhauling your cookware and investing in some new versions. There are different types for different cooking devices, such as the best ceramic cookware for oven, stove top, and more. There are also many different designs, allowing you to match your pots, pans and trays to the aesthetic of your kitchen itself.

A Slow Cooker:

Many of us are working from home now and would love to be able to prep a few simple ingredients in the morning to have dinner ready at the end of the day. A slow cooker can achieve this. Leave it plugged in with your ingredients inside and you can have some great casseroles, stews, and curries lined up for your evening meals.

There’s an endless array of other kitchen appliances and equipment out there. The options highlighted above are just a few useful suggestions that could do you and your home a world of good!

Featured Image By: Pexels

Mean Muggin: Very Nice Edition

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Mean Muggin: Very Nice Edition

Hi! We interrupt lifewithlilred’s summer wardrobe refresh with a new edition of Mean Muggin. Your regularly scheduled programming will return tomorrow. 🙂

For my twenty-seventh birthday, I was showered with love and gifts from my family and friends and just when I thought my celebrations were over, a late gift from my sister, Kristen, showed up in the mail. Check it out:

I have quite a collection of coffee mugs and, despite having enough to use for a week and a half, I still love to receive them as gifts. Coffee mug presents are fun because they tend to be customized or have an image on it that reminded the gifter of their giftee. Kristen’s birthday present to me falls under the second category and it only makes sense considering I quote Borat at least fifteen times a day! I also may or may not constantly be sending Borat quote text messages to her, lol.

As soon as I opened my new mug, I started laughing and there will be no better way to start my morning than with a cup of coffee and Borat wishing me GREAT SUCCESS. A coffee mug may seem like a small, simple gift but they are so much more than that to me because of the thought that goes into it. From minions and a customized me to Borat and hand decorated, I love my coffee mug collection and my Borat mug is a fine addition to it. VERY NICE!

Do you have a favorite coffee mug? What is your favorite thing to gift people with? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Holiday Haul: Gemini Twin Edition

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Holiday Haul: Gemini Twin Edition

Hellooo everyone! I hope all of you enjoyed happiness and safety throughout this holiday season and it has been a crazy one, hasn’t it? In fact, it has just been a crazy ass year in general, lol. A lot of people had to get used to video chatting in 2020 but my sweet best friend, Kate (Genius author of Live In The Nautical), and I have been hip to it for a good long while. As we both live in different states, all of our hang outs for the past several years (aside from one real life meeting) have taken place on video chat.

On a normal year, I would go crazy without Kate. But, in 2020, I know that I would have gone certifiably insane! I absolutely live for when we can spend an evening gabbing away and it is so refreshing to have that time with her, especially since I have been limited to my apartment and work since March. Kate and I met through the blogosphere and became fast friends through our passions of writing, figure skating, fashion, and Harry Potter! I simply could not imagine my life and enjoying our very close June birthdays without her.

Birthdays and Christmas with Kate as a friend is quite possibly the most exciting thing ever. I thought that I was a great gift giver but DAMN, lol Kate knocked it out of the park this year with the literal BEST gift that I have ever received. Check it out:

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Kate is the queen of customized gifts and I feel spoiled rotten. I have never once opened a gift that was so perfectly tailored to yours truly. The beautiful ice skate adorned card was a delight in itself and I love that she treated me to my own mini bottle of vino because, more often than not, I always have a glass handy when we are video chatting. How can you have girl talk without it?!

Just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, I unwrapped the painting and coffee mug with my likeness and clutched my pearls. The first thing I thought about when I saw the painting was when Kate and I ice skated together at Rockefeller Center. The second thing I thought was that I looked FIRE! Haha, both of these customized pieces capture a different part of my personality from glam skater girl to constantly needs to be caffeinated blogger. And each with the poise of a Disney Princess, no less.

I feel so incredibly thankful to have received the most amazing gifts from the most amazing friend. These presents made me feel known, understood, and so loved. Thank you, Kate. You are an angel! ❤

What is the best gift that you have ever received? How do you personalize presents? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Sweet Surprises: Starbucks Drive Thru Edition

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Sweet Surprises: Starbucks Drive Thru Edition

Hellooooo! Once Starbucks busts out their seasonal drinks during the holidays, I have to stop by at least once or twice (or ten times) to get a Peppermint Mocha. It is my absolute favorite drink from there that isn’t iced coffee and I can feel myself getting more into the holiday spirit with each sip of essentially caffeinated hot chocolate.

About five years ago, a Starbucks opened up right down the street from me and it was pretty much the best thing that ever happened in my neck of the woods. The convenience is, obviously, amazing. But, what I love most of all are the delightful employees that work there. I have made many friends via the neighborhood Starbucks and I think it’s safe to say that I just made a new one during my last stop at the drive thru. Check it out:

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When I was younger and to this day, I love running errands with my mom. One of the big things that I can remember in my youth is how my mom made an effort to talk to the employees that were helping us. Whether it be chatting about their day or offering a compliment, I could always tell that the workers felt happy after talking to my mom and that inspired me to follow in her footsteps. Why not make someone’s day with a few encouraging words? When I worked retail, I was so appreciative of the customers who would go out of their way to talk to me so I know first hand how good it feels to have someone be kind while I was on the clock.

The past few times I went to the Starbucks drive thru, the same guy took my order and he was so nice – not just to me but to all of the customers. When he asked about my day, I could tell he was genuinely interested and it was like a breath of fresh air. I couldn’t not say anything and I let him know that he has made my day every time I stop by and that I really appreciate it. When I received my drink at the window, I was informed that there was a little note on my cup:

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How sweet is that?!

Whenever you want to say something nice to someone, just say it. You have no idea what that person could be going through and it might help turn their entire day around. I was in a great mood all day from just one kind gesture and I think my new friend had a better day for it, too. The world needs more positivity right now so spread it in any way you can. As you can see, even the smallest things are super effective! ❤

What was the last Random Act Of Kindness you made? How do you like to make someone’s day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Ill Fitting Face Mask? Try This Quick Tip!

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Ill Fitting Face Mask? Try This Quick Tip!

Hello! It is so important to wear a face mask right now to help with the spread of COVID-19. It is also so important that your face mask fits well and that there are no gaps anywhere that leave parts of your face exposed. I love my cloth masks, myself, because I find that they fit much better than the surgical masks, which are very loose on me.

My mom is a very petite lady and has the cutest little face. But that means that some cloth masks can be really big on her. This past week, she told me her secret for improving the fit of her masks and it is so simple and smart that I just had to share it with all of you:

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If the top half of your cloth mask slides past your nose and can open up to expose the inside, then all you need is a bag of coffee grounds for the solution. Actually, all you need is the silver safety seal on a bag of coffee grounds to help keep it fresh.

Once your seal has been acquired, all you need to do is slide it up to the top crease of your mask through the opening. This will then act as a clamp so that you can tighten the top half, much like the tops of the blue surgical masks.

This quick fix has improved my mom’s mask game tenfold and all it takes is a bag of coffee. So, grab your favorite blend, keep caffeinated, use this tip, and pass it along to anyone who might find it helpful! 🙂

What are some of your fixes for an ill fitting mask? Where do you find the cutest face masks? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Sweet Surprises: Best Boyfriend Ever Edition

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Sweet Surprises: Best Boyfriend Ever Edition

Hello! So, last Thursday, I had quite possibly one of the worst work days of my life. I can’t go into more detail than that but it was emotionally charged and very sad for me. Despite being so upset, I knew Johnny had kind of a bum week too so I decided to pick him up some fast food from one of his favorite places in the area I was in. I texted him that I had his dinner and not to make anything for himself and he replied back that he actually had a surprise for me, as well.

Naturally, the word “surprise” put a tiny pep back in my step and I was eager to get home to see what Johnny was talking about. When I walked into our apartment, I laughed out loud because I saw this hanging from our rafter:

Originally, I thought the ghostie was the surprise but Johnny told me that it was for him to take to work to decorate his space with. Then, he handed me this adorable sugar skull coffee mug:

I absolutely love being gifted with coffee mugs because it makes me think of whoever gave it to me whenever I use it. I have so many cute mugs from my best friend and the ones that aren’t in my kitchen cabinet house little knick knacks and baubles throughout my apartment. Johnny hit the nail on the head with this pick me up and, somehow, we both knew that each of us would need one that day.

My new coffee mug is deliciously Day Of The Dead and I plan on keeping it out all of the time because it always makes me smile when I see it. My Johnny really is the best boyfriend ever and my day got a whole lot brighter as soon as I got home.

For the rest of the night, we watched The Haunting Of Bly Manor and Seinfeld and laughed every time the ghost decoration spooked me when I saw it in my peripheral. I am so thankful to have him because he turned my awful day into a wonderful evening and all I had to do was open the door to our place. ❤

Has anyone given you a Sweet Surprise recently? How do you unwind after a bad day? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Happy Birthday To Me Haul: Work Fam Edition

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Happy Birthday To Me Haul: Work Fam Edition

Hello! June seventh was my twenty-sixth birthday and, in true Lil Red fashion, it has been drawn out a few days with individual hang outs with friends and family. I also end up celebrating with the families who I work with and have ended up becoming a part of in the past three years of doing my job. One of my client’s families always ends up super spoiling me and I received the following this past week:

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As soon as I walked into work on Monday, “Happy Birthday” was sung and gifts were handed to me at an alarming rate. Each one I opened seemed to be more lovely than the next and “this is way too generous” was the catchphrase of the opening session. This was matched by each member of my work family assuring me that “you’re worth it” every single time.

Becoming a member of three different families wasn’t exactly what I was setting out to do when I began providing care for people with special needs. But, sometimes things just happen like that and, now, celebrations seem to happen constantly. Whether it be a holiday or a member of my “pseudo family’s” birthday, I am always a part of it and it feels good!

There is truly nothing better than walking into work Monday through Friday and stepping into a family environment. It has also been such a godsend during all of the craziness of COVID to have so many extra people to talk to! Work families are so important and I am so thankful for all of mine. ❤

Do you consider the people at your job a family? Are you an unofficial member of someone else’s fam? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah