Tag Archives: drinks

Enjoying A Coffee Maker At Home

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Enjoying A Coffee Maker At Home

So you like having an instant coffee at home or at your office because it’s easy to make? Just open the jar of grounds, put a tablespoon or two of coffee into a mug, add some sugar, and pour in hot water. Stir and you’re all set for a quick cup of coffee. You can try adding some cream or leave it black depending on your taste. You don’t have to grind beans or wait for the coffee to brew. Nothing gets easier than this right?

But, do you know you’re missing out on great tasting coffee because you don’t brew it? You’ll never know that brewed coffee could taste so much better and smoother than instant coffee until you buy your first coffee maker! You’re going to love your coffee maker once you experience the difference of taste between freshly brewed coffee and an instant coffee.

If you enjoy the taste of brewed coffee from your favorite coffee shop, you can do so from the comfort of your own home with the help of a coffee brewer.

Two of the most popular types of coffee makers are drip coffee makers and cold brew coffee makers. The former brews smooth and delicious cups of hot coffee and the latter is, of course, for a cold cup of joe. BUNN makes great drip coffee makers. You can read the reviews for the BUNN coffee maker and cold brew coffee maker found on Amazon.

Now, let’s find out the benefits that a coffee maker can provide you:

1 – They help save money:

You’re going to have to spend some cash to buy your coffee maker, but in the long run it’s such a wise investment. You’re going to save a lot of money by having a coffee brewer at home compared to buying cups of coffee at your local cafe.

Espresso can be hard to make and it would seem to be a better option to grab a cup of espresso at a coffee shop, but an espresso machine can help you with that too. Espresso machines are a lot better these days at making great cups of coffee as well as saving your hard earned money.

Note: I would advise you to learn how to make espresso coffee at home before you choose to do so!

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The breakfast of champions!

2 – A coffee maker brews fresher and smoother cups of coffee:

Preparing instant coffee is more convenient than brewing coffee, but a brewed coffee is far more tasty and the flavor is concentrated better. Freshly brewed coffee has a distinct aroma compared to instant coffee, because it is made directly from the coffee beans. Once you taste a cup of freshly roasted coffee you will never be able to go back to instant!

3 – Brewed coffee is better for your health than instant coffee:

Freshly brewed coffee from the coffee beans release healthy oils that contain antioxidants and nutrients that are very good for your body. The caffeine concentration is better in a brewed coffee than in an instant coffee, as well. Brewed coffee can help prevent heart diseases and cancer of different types because of the antioxidants. Just be sure not to drink too many cups of coffee in a day since the caffeine concentration is much higher in freshly brewed coffee.

4 – It is fun to brew coffee:

You can surprise your family and friends by playing barista in house. You can find tons of coffee recipe videos on YouTube. Check them out if you’re thinking about brewing Starbucks-level Cappuccinos, ice-cold Frappuccino’s, or Mochas/Lattes. Then, host an afternoon get together to show off your coffee concocting skills.

Here’s a YouTube video on cold brewing coffee to get you started:

This site has very good reviews on the best coffee makers, check them out.

Coffee might not be everyone’s cup of tea but, if you enjoy it, then you can’t go wrong with having a coffee maker in your home!

Featured Image By: Products You Can’t Refuse

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Dunkin’ Donuts Disappointment

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Dunkin’ Donuts Disappointment

Hi! This week, I received my freebie cold brew packets from Dunkin’ Donuts in the mail, and it was nothing short of disappointing. Take a look at some pics, don’t mind the Loony Toons pitcher, and let’s discuss:

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As you can see, the preparation of the cold brew coffee was easy and self explanatory. It wasn’t until I was ready to drink the coffee that everything went up in flames! In the morning, I woke up and was excited to give my cold caffeine drink a try and, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste one single drop.

While attempting to get the coffee bags out of the pitcher, they ripped and I had barely even touched them. It turned all of the liquid in the pitcher into a thick, coffee ground contaminated mess. Now, I probably should have just poured the drink into another pitcher so that I could add the extra water and then dispose of the bags, but I was tired and wasn’t thinking and really REALLY just wanted my coffee and ended up having none at all. So, needless to say, this freebie was an absolute and total bust. #disappointed

How do you like to drink your coffee? Who else has had some coffee ground disasters before? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Pop Some Bubly

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Pop Some Bubly

Hello everyone and welcome to a post on my latest obsession – Bubly sparkling water! A fact about me is that I am a huge fan of drinking pop, specifically Diet Coke. But, we all know that that isn’t the healthiest of drinks so I am definitely trying to cut back on it. I have always enjoyed drinking sparkling water and the cute as can be commercials for Bubly and Ellen DeGeneres’s Bubly Skybox on her show enticed me enough to want to give it a whirl. I’m glad I did!

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First of all, I LOVE Bubly’s packaging. Something as simple as putting “hi” on the tab makes me smile every time I see it and the color palette is bright and fun. Second of all, it tastes AWESOME. Sparkling water has such a distinctive taste and Bubly brings a splash of apple flavor to it that tastes like it belongs in the drink as opposed to a flavor added as an afterthought.

I have enjoyed all eight cans in the pack of Apple Bubly that I got and my only complaint is that there isn’t enough per package! I’m looking forward to trying all of the Bubly flavors and can’t wait to give the Strawberry one a go next.

Which flavors of Bubly have you tried? What is your favorite pop? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

You’ve Got Mail

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You’ve Got Mail

Shhhh…No one tell Kate from Ankhor You about this post because it’s about Dunkin’ Donuts and she despises it!! BUT can we just talk about the sample pack that I got in the mail from them this week FO FREE?! Take a look:

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About a month ago, I got an email from Dunkin’ asking if I wanted to try the picks that are in the running to becoming their new flavor, Blueberry Pancake, Dulce De Leche, and Coconut Caramel. In my mind, they were just going to send me one of the choices to try, but I figured “why not” and put my info in, anyways. So, imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox to find a package from Dunkin’ with a sample of all three flavors in the contest!

I was so excited about this package. I love getting mail and I had completely forgotten that I even ordered the samples to begin with, so it was a total pick me up treat. Not only that, but my sample pack was packaged so nicely and they also included a coupon for the next time that I make a Dunkin’ run. Score!

I wouldn’t necessarily call these packs a “sample”, though. For my coffee drinking purposes, I could easily get two uses out of each flavor option. That’s a hell of a…sample. I can’t think of another word to call it! We’ll go with sample. Anyways, that’s a pretty sweet deal – I literally entered my shipping info and got SIX pots of coffee for myself out of it.

I’m looking forward to trying all of these flavors and I will keep you guys updated on which one that I like the best! I’ve gotta say, though, it’s probably going to be Blueberry Pancake that takes the (pan)cake for me – I love me some blueberry flavored coffee! But the Coconut Caramel and Dulce De Leche each sound enticing too, so we’ll see!

Which flavor out of the three samples that I got sounds the best? Which store/restaurant/coffee shop gives out the best freebies and coupons? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Falling For Food! Season & Serve Style Dinner Party

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Falling For Food! Season & Serve Style Dinner Party

Hello everyone and happy Tuesday! I have a really special treat for all of you today, compliments of the absolutely amazing Melissa of Season & Serve. Melissa reached out to me in mid August with the idea of creating an incredible fall themed dinner party menu just for my readers. Food is something that I am extremely passionate about. I am a vegetarian who loves cooking, baking, and of course – EATING!! Obviously, Melissa offered me a pitch that I couldn’t pass up and a menu, recipes, and pics that are going to make you drool buckets.

Melissa has kindly linked to all of her recipes in this post, so if you are interested in learning more about her dishes or making it for yourself, then do check it out! Now, take a look at an absolutely delicious guest post:

Falling For Food! Season & Serve Style Dinner Party

Out of all the four seasons, fall is definitely my favorite. Not only do I enjoy wearing my cozy sweaters in the cooler temperatures, drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and watching the leaves turn a rainbow of colors, I love it because of all the delicious, seasonal foods that come along with it. Fall harvests bring us countless varieties of apples, squash, brussel sprouts, carrots, and parsnips…the list goes on…all from which we can make hearty and comforting foods. And what better way to enjoy these delicious seasonal foods than with a celebratory fall dinner party?!

When you think about it, fall is the perfect season to entertain at home. It’s not too hot, meaning that you can have your stove and oven going all day and you won’t be dying of heat in the kitchen, and it’s not too cold, meaning that outdoor entertaining is still possible. Whenever weather permits, I like to serve fun fall-inspired cocktails outside early in the evening so that my guests can enjoy the crisp fall air before it gets too cold. Once the temperature drops or the sun sets, they really enjoy coming inside and warming up by the fireplace, and maybe with another cocktail before dinner.

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Speaking of cocktails, I chose to serve one of my favorite fall cocktails for this dinner party, Whiskey & Spice Apple Cider. This cocktail will warm you from the inside out and totally get you into that fall mood. I also like to have a little snack to go along with the cocktail, just so your guests don’t get too tipsy before dinner. One really great idea that I recycle over and over again for parties is a cheeseboard. Because, really, who doesn’t like cheese?! I serve a traditional soft goat cheese, an aged cheddar, hearty Gouda, and powerful blue cheese along with whole-grain or seed crackers, nuts, dates, and red grapes to give it a fall twist. Plus, cheese is extremely portable, allowing your guests to move outdoors to enjoy the fall colors and back indoors again as they mingle.

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When your guests decide to move back inside, I like to bring the outdoor feeling with them, and my main avenue for doing so is through my table setting. The table setting really sets the mood for the party, and for fall I like to keep it relatively rustic and casual. I used a tan linen table runner down the center of my table as my base (This one happened to have pumpkins embroidered on both ends – so fall!) and I continue to build from there. I used some tree branches that still had healthy, plump, green leaves down the middle and added in some bright red and lime green Honey Crisp apples to make it pop (these happened to look the best at the farmer’s market that day). I dotted a few tea lights throughout the leaves and apples to add some sparkle and then anchored the table with a short emerald green vase filled with coffee beans and a tea candle. Of course, you can fill the vase with flowers, grasses, or anything that looks pretty to you!

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As for serving ware, I always think that simple is best. Plain large white plates for the main course, with smaller appetizer white plates placed on top is all you need. I added in my every day cutlery, silver forks and knives, to keep it simple but I went for some statement wine glasses. These wine glasses have been one of my greatest purchases to date. I am in love with the gold rims and the fact that they are stemless makes it even better – it’s so in style right now! I also added a personal touch to each table setting by writing my guests names on some extra leaves using a gold marker. It’s the little touches that make your guests feel warm and fuzzy inside!

Now, let’s get to the star of the dinner party, the main dish(es)! While there is a meat component to this fall dinner party, I also designed the menu keeping vegetarians in mind. For the appetizer, I chose to serve a simple Arugula Salad topped with sliced grapes, Parmesan cheese shavings and Maple Spice Candied Pecans. The salad dressing is very simple and is made from olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. With those tasty candied pecans, you definitely want to keep the dressing minimal. This recipe can be enjoyed by both your omnivore and herbivore friends. For vegans, simply omit the Parmesan cheese and add more grapes and pecans!

I also chose to serve a white wine with this salad, particularly a Gewurztraminer as it has a slightly sweeter flavor. This one is from one of my favorite wineries in Summerland, British Columbia – Dirty Laundry.

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For the main dish, I have two variations – both of which will make your appetite skyrocket. The first is for the meat-eaters, with my recipe for Red-Wine Braised Beef. While this dish looks complicated, it is actually extremely easy, relatively affordable, and looks incredibly elegant when plated (an entertaining trifecta for hosts!). For the Red Wine Braised Beef, simply brown the meat and vegetables, add the red wine, beef stock, and seasonings to the pot and bake in the oven for 4 hours. The slow baking process will tenderize this cheap, tough cut of meat (blade roast) so much that you can cut the meat with a butter knife. You can even do this the night before and simply reheat the meat before serving. How easy is that?!

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For vegetarians, I have a great substitute: Braised Mushrooms with White Wine and Garlic. I clearly have a braising theme going on here, but braised mushrooms are delicious and very satisfying! In this recipe, I use fresh oyster, trumpet, and cremini mushrooms and saute them in a mixture of olive oil and garlic until browned. I then add the white wine and butter, and cook them on the stove top for 5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced down a bit and then serve immediately. I mean, I eat meat and I know that Red Wine Braised Beef is delicious, but I would totally go for this, and vegans would too (minus the butter)!

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I chose to serve a red wine along with both of these recipes since I was looking for a more robust and bold flavor – it is fall, after all! I chose a Cabernet-Merlot mix for its spice and currant notes and for a slightly dry finish. I really enjoy this Cabernet Merlot from Sandhill Estate Vineyard in Oliver, British Columbia. This is definitely going to be my go-to wine for the season. ❤

Finally, for the grand finale, I present my Apple Coffee Cake with Maple Glaze. This is actually my mom’s recipe, but it is so good and so perfect for fall that I had to make it myself. The batter is very simple to make and the cake always comes out incredibly moist due to the sliced apples inside and on top of the cake. Again, you can make this a day in advance BUT if you make it the morning or afternoon of the dinner party, your home will smell absolutely amazing. I like to serve this with coffee (hence why it’s a coffee cake) or tea. No dessert wine here!

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After this big, comforting, delicious meal, your guests will be completely satisfied and will be in a cheerful fall mood. And, of course, while these are just my tips for throwing a fall dinner party, just know that when you mix good people and good food together, you are guaranteed to have a successful dinner party – no matter what the season.

Have a happy fall, everyone! And thank you to Sarah for letting me guest blog for you!

Yum, yum, FREAKING YUM. Thank you infinitely to the author of Season & Serve, Melissa, for creating such a beautiful bounty for my readers. I want in on her next dinner party, and you guys can be, too! Melissa will be back on lifewithlilred in October with a how to guide for a spooky fun Halloween themed party. What would you like to see Melissa cook next? Would you consider yourself a picky eater? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Recipe

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Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Recipe

Hi everyone and happy Monday! Today’s post for my Falling For Fall guest bloggers series is a delicious Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Recipe by the darling Elle from Make It Blaine. Please be sure to check out her page and give it all the lovin! A huge steaming mug of hot chocolate is a fall favorite for many so let’s get to Elle’s recipe so that you can make some of your own the next time you get the autumn evening chills:

Cinnamon Hot Chocolate Recipe

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (or however much you want)
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks or cinnamon bark
  • whipped cream (optional)

First, pour your milk into a pot to heat on the stove and stir on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir in your cocoa powder until it’s completely dissolved. Next, pop in your cinnamon sticks and let the mixture simmer for 5-7 minutes. Take out the cinnamon sticks and pour into a mug (A cute one, if possible!).

Now it’s time for toppings! I personally like whipped cream with cocoa powder or cinnamon sprinkled on top but you can add whatever you want. I also like to make my own whipped cream by whisking whipping cream because then it doesn’t melt and tastes way better! Adorable mugs in autumnal colors doesn’t hurt and, last but not least, a straw to sip through.

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I hope you enjoyed reading!

-Elle xoxo

Thank you so much to Elle for teaching us her favorite fall hot chocolate recipe! Freaking yummm. What is your favorite fall beverage? What is your favorite fall flavor? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

3 Gift Ideas For That Sort Of Friend

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3 Gift Ideas For That Sort Of Friend

We’ve all been there. A friend-of-a-friend/kinda sorta friend has a get together and we’ve been invited. This might be a birthday party or something more intrinsically important, like acting as your friend’s plus one during their wedding proceedings.

This can leave you truly stuck with ideas for what to gift for them. How do you provide a gift that isn’t so generic that they feel like you’ve put no thought into it, but also a gift that doesn’t come across as too forward or could be taken the wrong way?

It’s likely that you’re overthinking this if you’re stuck. because most people aren’t of the opinion that they’ll read too much into what your gifts mean – they’re just happy to receive them in the first place. In order to find the perfect gift, consider trying out these following suggestions and reflecting on if they’ll fit well with the personality or event that you’re gifting them for. Take a look:

Alcohol:

Alcohol is one of the safest ways to provide a classy, thoughtful gift for someone without coming across as too forward or impersonal. Finding a convenient online liquor store for substantially good products and bringing them to the party won’t only seem thoughtful, but it could actually serve to the benefit of the party you’re attending by supplying the host with something to drink during it.

Make sure that you best appropriate the style of alcohol you’d think the guest would like. For example, wine or champagne might be received more fondly for a middle aged housewife rather than a full bottle of vodka, but this can be tailored depending on what you know about the individual. (And let’s be real, sometimes a full bottle of vodka might be just what someone needs!)

Gift Baskets:

Gift baskets are beautiful works of presentation and can stock a range of amazing products that are sure to go down well with whomever you purchase them for. Whether you’re looking for a food themed one containing charcuterie meats and cheeses or a basket filled with beauty and skincare products, this is a great way to fulfill a range of gifting items for the giftee.

A plethora of goodies in a beautiful container looks thoughtful and well-presented. This is my favorite method of gifting. What’s more, you can tailor and design the contents and presentation of your basket with the correct online service, so be sure to find one that delivers to your area and get creating!

Gift Cards:

Gift cards are rather impersonal but will allow you to provide funds for a store that you think the intended recipient would like based on their personality. It also gives the giftee the opportunity to choose what products they’d like to prioritize for themselves. For example, if you’re celebrating a baby shower, a gift card for a parental supplies store can help you seem considerate of the recipient’s situation, while not offering yet another set of onesies!

These tips are sure to impress and cover a nice range of items while keeping the balance of lack of intimacy/intent for growth of intimacy. Try them for yourself, and see how well they work!

Featured Image By: Flickr