Sunday Coffee Love

sunday coffee love

Nothing says Sunday like a cup of coffee with some love added.

3dRose A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges-Pierre Seurat – Two Tone Black Mug, 11oz (mug_127363_4), , Black/White

http://amzn.to/28ThB7e

Happy Sunday!

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I can’t feel my face!

. . . before coffee . . . after coffee . . .

Happy Whatever-it-is Day!

Check out these really sweet dog-coffee mugs below.  I think Dean Russo’s art is beautiful and his sweet sentiments about people’s best friend say it all.

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Sweet Boy Themed Dean Russo Dog Art


http://amzn.to/28SyDoV

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Wag Heart Themed Dean Russo Dog Art

http://amzn.to/28S5ANc

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Perfect World Themed Dean Russo Dog Art

http://amzn.to/28Tc0gn

Tree-Free Greetings Extra Large 20-Ounce Ceramic Coffee Mug, Beware Heart Stealer Themed Dean Russo Dog Art

http://amzn.to/28WPesy

Life is a lively event.  Pet your dogs and tell them that you love them, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

xox Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

 

[image of dogs on beach:  http://barefootcolo.com/%5D

Happy Whatever Day It Is of the Week . . . the Relativity of Friday

Boots the Badass Coffee Babe here.  And aiming from the hip like a shooting star to the center of life’s love and happiness on this Friday morning.

As determined by the calendar, today is Friday.  Or is it?  Do we assign a Day-Feeling to Time?  For some of us, it’s our real-time Friday.  For some of us, it’s our Tuesday.  Or Thursday.  Or Sunday.  We measure the days based on our perception of Relativity & Fun . . . Availability & Freedom . . . Choice & Priority . . . all relative to the Grand Scheme of How Life Flows.

That’s the thing about living a Lifestyle.  It’s different from Work.  And whether or not it’s my Friday or whether or not I am Lifestyling or Working, it’s always a great day to be part of the Human Race.

Enjoy today’s moments.  If you even take 3 minutes and 22 seconds to pause and just partake in some relaxation, isn’t that a rewarding way to extend some appreciating into your Day?  This video by OK Go is just plain fun. [OK Go makes the best videos!]  Enjoy the fancy of it all and Happy Friday-Feeling to you!

This band deserves a huge shout out for their ingenuity and commitment to spreading FUN with their music!  Click on their album below:

http://amzn.to/1V2cjF7

And . . . because the Weekend for Writing is ahead and because I can’t resist adding awesome things that strike my brand of Fanciful, check out this handmade saddle-bag style purse and journaling items.  This next week, we are going to be digging into the 4 Fundamentals of Coffee along with some journaling fun.  Me?  I love journaling!!!!!  And it’s always nice to have a stylish way to transport my ideas from one inspiring place to the next.

I l-o-v-e this bag!

Firu-Handmade Women Vintage Style Genuine Brown Leather Cross Body Shoulder Bag Handmade Purse

It’s under $50!

http://amzn.to/1OuJIvQ

Small 1842 Poetry Leather Blank Book

And this poetry book is only $8.59!


http://amzn.to/2684VA8

Antique Feather Copper Pen Stem Metal Nibbed Pen Writing Quill LL-14

And this ultra-cool quill set is only $29.99 . . . isn’t it super-inspiring to get you writing those sacred thoughts of yours down in your new journal?


http://amzn.to/1V2cTmb

Life is a lively event.

Do some carpe-ing diem-ing & free writing, drink some coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

xox Boots

Open Your Eyes to a Good Day

anytime is coffee timeAnytime is coffee time.  And anytime is a good time to open your eyes.  To look around.  To feel grateful and appreciative. To be inspired by the beauty that is all around.

Today is Thursday and it’s a day to kick up your heels and have some fun.  It’s a day to explore and to laugh out loud and to smile at every single person whom you encounter on your walk in the park.  A day to mention to someone something that they do well — something that might otherwise go unnoticed.  You answer the phone with a very pleasant tone.  You are always so good about replacing the ink cartridges.  I like the way you open the door for people to pass ahead of you.  Thank you for always emptying the dishwasher.  Little things that speak to the bigger Inside Things.  Anytime is a good time to express your appreciation to someone, anyone, everyone.

Have a GREAT & FANTASTIC day today!  Savor the moment.  Please, take 9:39 today to watch this amazing, unfolding TED talk by Louie Schwartzberg on Nature, Beauty, and Gratitude.  It is a life changer.  Truly.  Enjoy.  So beautiful.

Life is such a lively event.  Savor and appreciate, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?  xox Boots

These coffee mugs make me happy.  The art, the colors, the message . . .  all combined give me happiness.  What a message to start the morning with . . . and to carry with you on your way out the door to your next adventure of the day.   Enjoy the journey!

Karma, by Stephen Joseph KA140957 Happy Trails Fox Travel Mug, Multicolor

http://amzn.to/28RNLBI

Karma, by Stephen Joseph KA140929 Happy Trails Sugar Skull Travel Mug

http://amzn.to/28OEwUb

Karma, by Stephen Joseph KA140976 Happy Trails Owl Travel Mug, Multicolor

http://amzn.to/28TdhGY

Spoontiques Positive Affirmations Travel Mug, White

http://amzn.to/28TcWnK

Question: How does roasting affect the coffee bean?

Just the facts, Ma’am . . . and pour me another cup while you’re at it.

How does roasting affect the coffee bean?

Roasting brings out the essence . . . the aroma, body, and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans.  The roasting process transforms the chemical and physical properties of the beans . . . and the different degrees of roasting produce characteristic taste profiles and different amounts of caffeine.

City Roast, Full City Roast, Vienna, Espresso, Italian, New Orleans, French . . . so many different roasts!  At the risk of over-generalizing . . . lighter roasts make for a brighter, more lively taste profile while darker roasts make for a sweeter, lower acidity coffee.  Drinkers who prefer a low level of acidity in their brew are steered toward a darker roast . . .  French roast being one of the more common choices for a low-acidity coffee. This comes with a caveat though, as many people do not like what they describe as the “burnt” or “oily” taste of a dark French roast.  Perhaps French roast is an acquired taste.  Or maybe people have just gotten used to buying it as they equate dark roast with a more-refined coffee choice.

You may come across those people who are misled by the misguided notion that Dark Roast is “better.”  If you like dark roast, enjoy.  If you don’t like a dark roast, don’t feel like a wimp.  You will not be judged by the Secret Society of Coffee Snobs — not on my watch.  Feel safe with this knowledge.  If some French Roaster looks over his or her coffee cup at you drinking your light and lively cup of city roast, share with him or her that you prefer a brighter, higher acidity level in your coffee.  You can also add that your lighter roast contains more caffeine than their French roast.  This should stop any Snob from further judgment.

Of course, there are all manner and degree of roasts in between on the spectrum of light, medium, and dark.  Coffee beans contain oils that include some 600 chemical substances.  When the beans are roasted, the beans expand and, as a result, lose moisture.  The beans’ aroma comes alive and the oils give the beans a shiny appearance – especially in the darker roasts.

A light roast (Light City, Half City, Cinnamon Roast) have a light body with a detectable acidity.  This roast is often described as being “bright” or “lively.”  Drinking light-roast coffee is a personal choice and should not be an invitation to judgment.  All of you snobs, be nice.  Coffee should be fun and others should be allowed to drink cinnamon roast without being called wimps.

Medium roasts (commonly called Breakfast Blends) are generally considered to The Middle of the Road when it comes to drinking coffee.  This roast has more body than light roast beans and are more balanced in the areas of flavor, aroma, and acidity.  If you don’t know what roast of coffee bean to bring to your future in-laws for the weekend, bring a medium roast.  There is nothing wrong with going down the middle of the road on this topic.

A dark roast (Italian, espresso, French, continental, New Orleans) is dark brown in color and has a sheen of oil on the surface of the bean.  It is believed that the bean’s point of origin is disguised as a result of darker roasting.  With some dark roasts, you may taste a smoky, or even burnt, flavor.  And remember that the amount of caffeine is decreased as a result of added roasting.   While not being a French-roast drinker, I do like a darker roast myself and do not mind giving up some of the caffeine for this taste profile.

In the early days, the green coffee beans were roasted in a heavy pan over the fire.  Nowadays, coffee is roasted in a roasting factory– some small and some ginormous – generally in the country in which the coffee is going to be consumed.

It takes so little equipment and time to roast your own coffee.  I am wondering why no one has shared this information with me before.  After watching the videos below, I am ready to arm myself with this simple equipment and roast my own beans.  I love this kind of thing.

There are so many cool facts about this humble and elegant drink.  One little bit of information leads to another interesting tidbit.  I am thinking about taste profiles, aged beans, acidity, food pairings . . . you name it!  So much to know.  So much fun to learn.

Here is a super informative video that takes you on a Color Journey of Coffee Roasting.  It’s only 4:23 long and worth watching.  It also will help you understand why you prefer the roast that you do, as it discusses taste profile with different stages of roasting.  Cool!

And how about this idea of roasting coffee beans in a popcorn popper?  Fun!  It is a recommended method for getting started with home roasting.  If you’re like me and like to experiment with new ideas and learn about how things work, I am thinking it would be a fun taste treat to try this.  It literally takes minutes to have your coffee fresh-roasted each morning.  Wow!  What a fun thing to do on the weekend for your Monday morning coffee!  [P.S.  According to other research I did, shoot for a popper with a minimum of 1250 watts.]

Here is the Popcorn Pumper that he talks about lasting a long time in the video.  It has the recommended 1250 watts.

Proctor-silex Hot Air Popcorn Pumper 5 Quart

http://amzn.to/28TUWZe

. . . and here is a real-deal coffee roaster if you don’t want to mess with the popcorn popper:

FreshRoast SR500 Automatic Coffee Bean Roaster

http://amzn.to/28MgkSh

Papua New Guinea Organic Wild-grown Unroasted Green Coffee Beans (1 LB)

http://amzn.to/28PkmIX

Home Coffee Roasting, Revised, Updated Edition: Romance and Revival

http://amzn.to/28MiAsU

Bellemain Micro-perforated Stainless Steel 5-quart Colander-Dishwasher Safe

http://amzn.to/28OaluO

And this?  I want!
Lodge Cast-Iron Skillet L10SK3ASHH41B, 12-Inch

http://amzn.to/28Nb8yy

Whew!  What started out as a simple question has my mind spinning.  There is no short answer as coffee roasting is a complex and fun science that brings to us such a miraculous beverage.  Experiment with some green beans and leave a comment, reporting to us your roasting results!  Fun, fun, fun!

Life is a lively event.  Roast up some beans, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

[Just the facts, Ma’am is inspired by and extracted from personal experience and research, informative youtube videos, and “All About Coffee Knowledge Cards” – published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc.]

Retro Percolator Coffee, Grandma Cussing in Polish, & All’s Well That Ends Well

old percolatorBoots the Badass Coffee Babe here to talk Percolator Coffee . . . Are you thinking that this brewing method is just too old-timey or outdated or un-hipster-esque?  Does the image of a percolator bring back your mother’s or grandmother’s Wednesday morning kaffee klatch?  Or a church supper?  Or a rousing Saturday night of Polish polka on a waxed dance floor? Or Uncle Dean’s summer mountain cabin?  Or old-timey conversating between the old folk sitting around a kitchen table?

I can’t think about percolators without hearkening back to my very early childhood and my morning-grumpy, bootlegging, Polish grandmother.  It was at this tender age that I learned the life lesson that caffeine serves as an Adult Lifeline and Morning Saviour.  And another thing that I learned: Don’t mess with Grandma’s coffee and no one will get hurt.

percolator topIgnorance is bliss, or so they say.  What I considered to be an innocent Borrowing turned out to be an act of Brazen Temerity: I borrowed (translate: nearly lost) the glass plug that fits into the percolator lid for my playtime pleasure.  I was setting up an opulent mud-pie party for my dollies and, after scavenging the kitchen cupboards and drawers for Items of Elegance, I came across the glass perking plug — which was to become the most perfect and elegant crystal teacup.  I didn’t give it another thought until the next morning . . .

. . . when my caffeine deprived grandmother went on a cussing rampage while she looked for the necessary glass plug.  Looking back, she probably dropped the equivalent of a few muttered F-bombs, but as for me being the Guilty Party who had absconded with such an Integral Element of her Morning Ritual?  Well, I was quaking in my Buster Browns, I am telling you.

If you have never heard someone cussing enthusiastically in Polish, you will not understand how terrifying and mesmerizing this was to my innocent, yet guilty, little soul.  To put it plainly, Grandma wanted her coffee and she wanted it bad.  And I knew that my intrepid borrowing had led to this moment of extremely-motivating personal terror.

Grandma searched the dish drainer, the kitchen junk drawer, and garden bucket of peelings.  It didn’t take long for me to realize the error in my judgment, the epiphany of which sent me on a reconnaissance mission to Recover the Crystal Grail.  I found said Grail out in the sand box and, surreptitiously so, replaced it in the dish drainer that my grandmother had already checked 3 or 4 times.  It was gritty and dirty and it bore all the signs of having been abused by someone who was not yet of an age that could fully appreciate the Sanctity of the Crystal Grail.

Sigh.  I get it now.  Mr. Shakespeare had it right: “No legacy is so rich as honesty.”  My anguish could have been greatly minimized had I simply fessed up to Grandma and asked her to help me find it. I don’t know.  I still feel mildly twitchy when I think back on this event.  William Shakespeare wrote: “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good an ill together.”  In other words, All’s Well That Ends Well — as his play is so aptly entitled.

Mr. Shakespeare knew his stuff.  Being a sensitive kid and a quick learner of Human Nature in the Morning, I was never to borrow The Crystal Grail again.  All I can say is thank God for Saint Rita, the Patron Saint of Desperate Causes, for I was able to recover the Precious Plug.  My grandmother received her morning dose of caffeine, and all was, once again, right with the world.  Like Helen, in Mr. Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, life sometimes does end with a nice, neat ribbon tied ’round the Event. And like Bill tries to tell us: Don’t worry.  Be happy.  It’s all good.  You’re gonna be fine.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Things are going to turn out fine in the end.  And don’t mess with an Uncaffeinated Grandma.

So, if you are like me and you like happy endings and you like to have more than one gizmo for making coffee in your kitchen, why not add one more?  A percolator is fun, retro, and old school.  It has all of these cool parts that fit together kind of like Tinker Toys, and you will experience the beauty of making coffee with Essential Parts of a Greater Whole.

And people who perk say that perk coffee is the best.  After seeing my grandmother’s Tizzy Fit unfold, I am a believer.  So why not try it?  The percolator pot isn’t expensive to buy, and you will always be ready for whatever coffee emergency that may occur.

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING A PERCOLATOR?

Why use a percolator . . . when you already have a French press or an automatic drip machine or a pour-over cone or an espresso machine?   Here are some reasons why it might be a good idea to have a coffee percolator in your coffee arsenal:

  • You live in an area where you have frequent power outages.
  • You live off the grid.
  • You’ve run out of fine-grind coffee for your espresso machine and your grinder only does a coarse-grind.
  • You feel like doing something to honor Throwback Thursday.
  • Your grandparents are coming to visit and this is the only coffee they like to drink.
  • You like to try new things.
  • You are going camping and you want something that is super simple and unbreakable to bring along for your coffee brewing.
  • You like the look of a percolator on the campfire grate.
  • You feel inspired to belt out cowboy songs when you hear the percolator bubbling.
  • You feel a sense of magic when you see the coffee perking into the glass top plug.
  • You think of your grandmother and wish that you had learned how to cuss in Polish from her when you had the chance.

IS PERCOLATION A DINOSAUR BREW METHOD?

Is it a generational thing?  Are percolators going the way of cursive handwriting and mental math?  I don’t think so.  There are many people who still use this method of brewing.  And I know a few people who are pretty proud to make coffee with such a cool, retro looking pot.

HOW THE HECK DO YOU USE A PERCOLATOR?

This is a great question.  And I’m not going to lie.  It was TOUGH to find a decent video about percolating coffee to share with you.  I came across this particular one with Quaker Anne and said Eureka!  She walks you through the steps and convinces you that percolating is the way to go.  I especially like the way she talks about her special coffee treat of adding pure maple syrup and cream to her coffee as she is relaxing at the end of the video.  It looks like this gal knows how to savor and enjoy life’s little pleasures. Check it out.  It goes for almost ten minutes, but it is kind of restful and meditative to watch.

Quaker Kitchen: Stovetop Percolator Coffee (9:56)

As Quaker Anne so wisely says: “That which is worth having is worth waiting for.   I am thinking that QA is one smart cookie.

And here is a recipe/summary of QA’s How-To video:

  1. Use excellent coffee of a coarse grind . . . Grind is Essential
  2. Use good water . . . Good Water is Essential
  3. Use the right proportions of water to grounds . . . Proportion is Essential: (I don’t agree with Quaker Ann . . . As a rule, I use 2 T. per 8 oz water for brewing any coffee with any method.)
  4. Spread coffee evenly around basket and place lid on basket put in coffee pot and put all of the Percolator Guts into the pot..
  5. Assemble all of the pieces . . . oh, and make sure that the glass bubble is secure.  You don’t want it to go percolating off the top of your pot.  Messy clean-up.
  6. Put pot on stove and turn heat up to a medium heat and wait for the coffee to start percolating.  People who perk love this sound.  And who wouldn’t?  Coffee is on the way!
  7. When coffee begins to perk . . . turn temp down so coffee gently perks.  You don’t want a raging inferno perking into the glass bubble.  Think Gentle.
  8. Set a timer for approximately 8 minutes.
  9. Do not over perk.  Turn heat off right away.
  10. Let the percolator sit for about one minute to let all water drain through the basket.
  11. IMPORTANT: Pour the percolated coffee into a thermos or an insulated carafe.  There will be no microwaving coffee on Boots’ watch!  Keep it properly hot and you won’t have to reheat it!

And I like QA’s idea to use real maple syrup as a sweetener.  Have you tried it yet?  It is as special a treat as she describes.

Shopping tips: Buy a stainless steel or a granite ware percolator.  Stay away from aluminum.

Have fun with this!  I love trying new ways to make coffee, don’t you?  Plus, it’s nice to have a dependable way to make coffee the next time a lofty windstorm pushes some giant Douglas firs down across the power lines.  At least you’ll have your percolator to fortify your day with some Joe!

Life is a lively event.  Percolate some coffee, pull up a chair, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

Happy Shopping for Cups, Percolators, & Carafes below!

For starters, how about these Retro cups for your freshly-percolated coffee?  I love these cups!  Makes me think of all of those Kaffee Klatches that my grandma shared with her other Polish-speaking friends.  I couldn’t understand a word, but I enjoyed their stories, nonetheless.
Momugs Unique Retro Hit Color Ceramic Coffee Cup with Spoon and Saucer Set, 10 oz mug, Orange

http://amzn.to/1Qee3iB

Or these?  Fun!
Diner Coffee Mugs Red Set of 6

http://amzn.to/1UJpLhl

Copco Brushed 4 to 8-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Percolator

http://amzn.to/1tE2MOM

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator

http://amzn.to/1UJokzj

And for those times when the percolator glass knobs go missing!
2 pack Fitz-All Replacement Percolator Top, Small (2)

http://amzn.to/1SdkNYk

And every kitchen should have at least one carafe:
304 Stainless Steel Double Walled Vacuum Insulated Carafe with Press Button Top, Quality Thermal Carafe, Water Pitcher with Lid, coffee Pots, Serving Pitchers Coffee Thermos, 2-liter,Silver

http://amzn.to/1UJol6y

Panesor 2 Liter(68 Ounce) Coffee Carafe Thermal, Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Carafe, Hot and Cold 24 hours

http://amzn.to/1YC0cV7

Happy Perking!

xox  Boots

A Cup of Coffee, Freebird Boots, & Lynyrd Skynyrd

Good morning, People!  Yay for Thursday!

Grab a cup of coffee, scroll to the bottom of this post, click on the music link courtesy of the good Lynyrd Skynyrd, and check out these Thursday boots.  The Sadie boots and Mabel boots are especially cute!

Life is a lively event.  Pull on some boots, drink some coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?

good morning coffee cup

These boots need no special occasion . . . they are for everyday fun.  Happy shopping!

Freebird Women’s Sabra Boot

http://amzn.to/1WOgMkU

Freebird Women’s Sadie Boot

http://amzn.to/1UwILna

Freebird Women’s Mabel Boot

http://amzn.to/1PuXDNd

Freebird Women’s Phoenix Low Boot

http://amzn.to/1sHhOmd

Freebird Women’s Belle Boot

http://amzn.to/1UwK7y6

Freebird Women’s Chief Boot

http://amzn.to/1UwKlFE

Freebird Women’s Sammi Boot

http://amzn.to/1PuYlKg

Mobius Mitch, the Meal Mutiny, & Camp Muesli

camp at high lakeHowdy to all of you super-outdoorsy souls who are planning your menu for this summer’s camping, climbing, rafting, bicycling, kayaking, or hiking trip.  It’s a general truth that dehydrated meals are the way to go when you’re going to be carrying any kind of weight on your back  or in your boat . . . and it’s also a general truth that while some of these ready-made meals that you buy in expensive outdoor stores are pretty darned good, others are, at best, kind of mediocre.  Why not set mediocrity aside and start each day on the trail with a fresh and energizing cup of Bircher muesli?  It’s easy to make, it’s healthful, and it tastes great!

muesli IIBircher muesli is one of those meals that tastes good for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is a healthy and creative choice that tastes good if you roughly follow the script of oats, fruit, coconut, honey, nuts, berries . . . you get the idea.  It’s made of good stuff that is easy to pack and you can prepare it in advance of the trip.  And the best part?  Muesli doesn’t require any cooking, which makes it an ideal choice for those trips that are going to include some dry camps.  Easy, healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare . . . you can’t get it wrong.

high lake camp.jpgI started packing my own version of Bircher muesli the summer that Mitch the Mobius joined the trail crew as Camp Cook.  This particular crew worked trail up in the high High Country so the work season was short.  We made summer base camp at one of the high lakes once the snow receded and the supply horses could make it up the trail. We  operated as Trail Rovers who did trail maintenance, cleaned up camp sites, and packed out a whole heck of a lot of annoying garbage from the High Country.  Depending on the destination, one might have to pack some overnight gear to cover the necessary miles — but, as a rule, we all generally did our best to return to camp each night to eat around the fire and sleep in our roomy, canvas wall tents.

pack horseWe actually had it pretty good in camp, as it was stocked at the beginning of each season with gear and supplies, compliments of Sam, Jim, and Katy — our much-appreciated district pack horses.  At the beginning of the summer, we had brief and glorious access to butter, eggs, cheese, and cream . . . and we even had an ice cream maker for our season-end Ice Cream Feed — the snowfields providing us with just enough “ice” to “freeze” the cream.  Albeit, the ice cream ran a bit on the soft side, but it was pure 100% wilderness luxury.

mobius stripMitch the Mobius was what you would call an Unknown Quantity.  He came from Havre, Montana, and was a self-professed jack-of-all-trades.  I don’t know about the veracity of his self-professing, but one thing we were quick to learn about Mitch: He was an Ace Bull Shitter who ruled camp with a Mighty Spoon.  What Mitch made, we were to eat . . . all according to the Rules of Mitch.  And that was that.  His was a simple system: Whatever we didn’t finishing eating the night before was added to breakfast.  Whatever we didn’t finish eating at breakfast was added to dinner.  And so it went.  This might not sound that bad, but think back to your past few meals.  And imagine combining them all together.  Trust me.  It’s a bad idea.

Mitch wasn’t that great of a cook to begin with . . . and then add to this fact Mitch’s Recycled Leftovers . . . well, dinner started to feel more like a punishment than a satiating pleasure.  Example: If you’ve ever had Montana chili added to your morning oatmeal, you’ll know what I mean. Think about it.  Do you add brown sugar and milk to the concoction?  Or Tapatio sauce and alfalfa sprouts?  Or do what we ended up doing and that was to add nothing at all and simply eat it for its value of mixed-media sustenance. It was always a tough choice, one that we didn’t feel we should have to be making.  I mean how hard is it to make a simple, decent, edible meal?

are-you-going-to-eat-that-funny-dogsNo matter how much complaining we did, Mitch stuck to his Zero Tolerance Policy of Leftovers.  Mitch added dinner macaroni to breakfast scrambled eggs, and he then added said macaroni-scrambled eggs to beef barley soup for dinner.  There was no end to the ludicrous chain of combinations.  Leftover Morning Coffee was used as the liquid ingredient for dinner cornbread –> coffee-cornbread went into the next day’s breakfast pancakes –> coffee-cornbread-pancakes went into dinner biscuits.  I think you get the idea.  You had the sense that what had been served as our first meal our first night in camp was still morphing itself in Mitch’s Petri Pot of Anthropological Proportions — resulting in an enduro of marathon indigestion that would only end when we ate our final camp meal in early September.

The more we complained, I swear, the more we were subjected to Mitch’s One-Man Campaign of Retaliation and he made even larger portions at meal time . . . meaning that even more Special Ingredients were destined to be added to Mitch’s next Mazy Meal.  And on it went.  We were caught up in Mitch’s Infinite Mobius Meal Plan of Frugal Retribution.  As I could see it, there was no solution to the dilemma other than to take up fasting.

muesli IVThis is when I started to make my own Bircher muesli.  I could guarantee that I was going to start my day right with food that wouldn’t sucker-punch my gut later in the morning.  And it was simple.  I would soak my muesli in my mess kit the night before and hang it in the bear bag.  Voila!  Instant healthful breakfast awaiting my morning.

The rest of the crew became privy to the Revelation of my Bircher meusli breakfast and, before you knew it, we were all hoisting Survival Quantities of muesli up the cable in the bear bag each evening.  The result?  We weren’t eating Mitch’s cuisine quite as desperately and Mitch’s leftovers started to back up on Mitch in a big way.  Even Mitch couldn’t think of what to do next with his Salami Corn Salsa French Toast Chicken à la King if we weren’t going to consent to eat it.

Plus, the side benefits of us planning on muesli for breakfast is that we could snack on some of the raw ingredients for lunch when we were out on the trail.  Muesli: a win-win choice.  And a big  Paleo Prize for us Rebels with a Righteous Nutritional Cause.

ice+cream+freezer+vintage+graphicsfairy5bwbgIt all came round right when the district’s horse wrangler came up the hill to pack our gear out for the season. It was Tradition that the wrangler would come bearing berries for pie and cream for the ice cream maker.  All of us were quite vocal, along with some strident cussing, that Mitch was not to lay the breath of a single fingerprint on our end-of-season Berry Pie a la Mode.  No, as much as we all knew the rules of the trail to respect Camp Cookie, Mitch was not going to throw a tangle into our Ice Cream Soiree.

Which just goes to show the power of Tradition.  We were willing to endure substandard, mean-spirited, frugal, gut-bomb meals for an entire season . . . but mess with our pie and ice cream?  We became a pack of mama bears protecting our beloved cubs.  The season was drawing to a conclusion, and we realized that we had somehow survived Mitch’s splenetic temperament and gastronomic combinations, for better or for worse.

I am happy to say, Mitch didn’t return to camp the following summer.  We heard that he fell in love with some gal from Missoula whom he met while grocery shopping in the meat department of Safeway and they were fixing to get hitched.  I wondered if she knew what she was getting into, what with Mitch’s extreme frugality and hard-line philosophy, but who can say what wins out in the ways of love?  And food to boot?  Certainly not me.  All I have to say is congratulations and best wishes to the couple.

All Mitch matters aside, here is one really simple recipe for Bircher muesli to make at home.  Once you read through the ingredients, you are going to see why there isn’t really any specifically-measured list of ingredients for this home and camp winner.  And I don’t know a lot about Gordon Ramsay, but I am thinking that he knows his way around a muesli recipe.

Bircher Muesli Recipe

A healthy breakfast from Food Network star Gordon Ramsay.

Ingredients2-1/3 cups rolled oats
1-3/4 cups low-fat milk
1 apple
1 tbsp runny honey
2/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
Apple juice to taste
Fresh berries
Toasted walnuts
Directions

Step 1: Put rolled oats in a bowl and pour on milk (or enough to moisten). Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, ideally overnight.

Step 2: Coarsely grate an apple over the oats, discarding the core and seeds.

Step 3: Stir in honey and plain yogurt. Add a splash of apple juice or a little more milk to loosen the mixture if it is too thick. Serve drizzled with a little more honey and topped with fresh berries and toasted walnuts.

Recipe taken from https://houseandhome.com/recipe/bircher-muesli-recipe/

AND . . . FOR YOU GOOD HIKERS, CAMPERS, GLAMPERS, RAFTERS, CLIMBERS . . . ETC.

If you are camping, hiking, etc. . . .

Don’t worry about the yogurt.  You can bring powdered milk or you can bring a container of almond, coconut, hemp, or rice milk in its stead.

Substitute dried fruits for the fresh fruit and brown sugar for the honey.

I make the oat mixture ahead of my trip and then add almond milk when I get to camp.  Muesli can be eaten by soaking it first overnight or soaking it when you are making your coffee or by eating it raw.  It’s your choice!  That is the beauty of muesli.

Here’s my general recipe:

  • rolled oats: start with about 2 cups and then go from there,  depending on how many other ingredients you add
  • nuts: walnuts, almonds
  • seeds: sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp
  • dried fruits: apple, apricots, pineapple, golden raisins, cherries
  • coconut, shredded or flakes
  • quinoa flakes
  • puffed amaranth
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of vanilla

Have fun with this!  And check out the containers below for carrying your muesli mix and for your milk of choice.


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As always, Boots here hoping that you will have happy trails and palatable meals to boot!

Life is a lively event.  Get out in the high country, drink coffee, and get to it! What’s stopping you?

Dutch Oven S’mores & the Misery of Hangovers & Hiking Out in Just Your Socks

Boots here to extol the virtues of Dutch ovens, S’mores, Guatemalan coffee beans . . . and to warn against the vice of imbibing too much Hooch and then finding yourself way out of your league when it comes to campfire games!

What you need for this twist on a campfire classic: A good fire?  Check.  Dutch oven?  Check.  Campfire coals?  Perfect.  S’mores ingredients?  Check.  Time to make some Dutch Oven S’mores!

This is a whole different take on making S’mores.  I know that 1) poking the fire with a stick is a whole lot of fun and 2) tempting the flames with a marshmallow at the end of a stick is even more fun.  Will it toast up buckskin tan or will it incinerate into a lump of carbon?

This Dutch oven recipe takes the wondering out of the equation.  And everyone can enjoy their S’mores at the same time once you lift the oven’s lid.  Also, making the S’mores this way eliminates that marshmallow-eating Chubby Bunny contest (a campfire game for amateurs, at best) that has a tendency to heat up between competitive cousins and liquored-up uncles.  [Spoken by the wrangler who has seen too many campfire scenes that cannot be unseen.]

This way, while your treats are baking away in the Dutch oven, you all can turn your attention to telling ghost stories or to playing a rousing game of Shoeking! instead and see who just might end up hiking back down the trail the next day in his stocking feet.  [Note: Now this game of balancing your boot on your toes and flipping it back over your head and not into the fire actually is  more fun with liquored-up uncles.]

I’ll never forget the summer I watched a whole troop of good ol’ boys — all of whom looked to be bearing the Divine Punishment — leaving camp The Morning After with most of them missing at least one shoe.   All I could think was Those damned fools were playing Shoeking!  There was something about seeing their hangdog expressions and the dust cloud that followed their shuffling sock-footed procession that still makes me bust a gut.

This shoe-less band of travelers, clearly having partaken in a goodly portion of Hooch the night before,  was in such rough shape when they doddered past the cabin that they hired me on the spot to saddle up Eagle to carry the heavier items from their camp down the hill.  I sympathized.  Of course I did.  But there was a part of me that was thinking that there was going to be a whole lot of footsore at the end of the trail along with all of the blame and cussing that I was sure to bear witness to.  One buckaroo kept saying over and over, “My Gawd, my Gawd.”  Whether he was intervening for his sole-less foot or for his soul-less quaff from the night before, I couldn’t tell.   The other guys kept telling him to Zip It, Chet! — knowing that maintaining low morale wasn’t going to help a single one of them get down the trail any sooner.

Chet couldn’t refrain from his mantra of misery, so the rest of the boys started to call Chet “Mr. Tenderfoot” and other such insulting monikers with additional colorful embroideries.  I tried not to crack up and just kept Eagle steered down the trail ahead of the shoe-less pack, thinking that there are some stories in life that you just can’t make up.  This was one of those stories.

I just don’t know.  Life is funny and it is strange.  And thank God for stories that entertain the Disbelieving Parts that dwell within.  I can’t really say that participating in this experience enriched my life in any way, but I did file it away in my mental folder labeled “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.”  You know the stories.  The Fact-is-stranger-than-Fiction stuff.  The stories that cling to our memories’ heels through time for no apparent reason.  I would like to think that the things I carry with me have some edifying value from time past, but this particular tale?  It simply makes me laugh my ass off when I think back to that day.

Truth: laughter is its own medicine and these boys had given me a goodly dose as a result of their misguided and high-spirited Shoeking! folly.

But sorry stories aside, let’s get back to stuff that really matters like coffee, chocolate, and campfires . . . My coffee pairing recommendation for the sweet side of S’mores?  I am thinking a Guatemalan coffee for this particular sweet.  There is nothing like Guatemalan coffee paired with chocolate . . . although Arabian mocha beans are pretty great, too.  Check out this single origin Guatemalan coffee after you have stocked up on the S’more goodies.  You deserve good coffee with your campfire treat.  And what a cute bag that comes with it!


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Or how about this certified organic, whole bean, single-country-origin bean from Guatemala?


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Okay!  Now that you have your coffee, here is the recipe for the S’mores.  This recipe is taken from the Taste of Home Web site: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/pot-of-s-mores
POT OF S’MORES
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 25 min.
MAKES: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (14-1/2 ounces) whole graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows

Directions

  1. Prepare grill or campfire for low heat, using 16-18 charcoal briquettes or large wood chips.
  2. Line a Dutch oven with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Combine cracker crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom of the pan. Pour milk over crust and sprinkle with chocolate and butterscotch chips. Top with marshmallows.
  3. Cover Dutch oven. When briquettes or wood chips are covered with white ash, place Dutch oven directly on top of six of them. Using long-handled tongs, place remaining briquettes on pan cover.
  4. Cook for 15 minutes or until chips are melted. To check for doneness, use the tongs to carefully lift the cover. Yield: 12 servings.

It really is worth buying a Dutch oven.  You can make so many different recipes that benefit from its even heat.  You can use it hanging above the fire, in the coals, and in your oven at home.  I love this homely old cast iron pot that eloquently says, “Good Cooking!”  You won’t be sorry that you made the investment in something that is so versatile.

Boots, signing off and keeping my bootlaces tight!  xox

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Happy trails, good people!