Sunday Morning Coffee

coffee. sunday morning. journal. coffee cup

Boots here to wish you a Happy Happy Sunday.  I don’t know about you but there is something special about the leisurely perspective that a Sunday morning has to offer.  Sunday is a day to sleep in, to go back to sleep to resolve a weird dream that has an awkward or disturbing ending, and to make time to stretch before getting into a vertical position.  Sunday is always a great day to join the human race.

It’s a day to get caught up on bills, make out a weekly to-do list, and organize the hodgey-podgey stack of random little notes to myself that have accumulated during the week.  A day to squiggle more notes on my white board on the wall and to micro-erase the things that I did manage to get done in the previous weekdays.  In short, I love Sundays.

And one of my favorite things to do is to grab my journal and doodle some drawings or scribble some words onto the page.

But one thing that is not a leisurely activity on Sunday morning is making my coffee.  I just can’t wait to get my Joe brewed and commence Operation Catch-up.  Sunday Morning Coffee is one of those week-long-awaited luxuries that I just don’t want to mess around with.  I’m not one of those people who starts a load of laundry or empties the dishwasher or sweeps the front porch before I brew my coffee.  No.  Sunday morning is about getting caffeinated and investing some focused attention into my one day of the week that says I can prioritize my preferences — which always feels like a brighter degree of great.

I just ordered one of these planners (click on the image or link below) and it is one heck of a goal organizer.  The best part is that it focuses on breaking down your goals into baby steps so that you can find your way more easily.  Do check it out.  I am really loving mine!

  • NEW & Improved Planner: JULY 2016 to JUNE 2017
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  • ❸ Ready To Make Every Day Count ?

Tools4Wisdom Planner 2016 2017 Calendar July to June – 4-in-1: Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Goals Organizer (8.5 x 11 / 200 Pages / Spiral / Academic Year)

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and here’s another one of the covers . . .

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Enjoy life and make some dreams happen by mapping out what you can do and then doing it!  Make each day count!

Monday, Monday . . . coffee in bed, please.

quote. It's Monday. Coffee in bed, please. Val

cabindoorcoffee.wordpress.com

Boots here with some Monday morning cheer.  This little pup knows how to make snoozing look pretty darned luxurious.  Coffee in bed, indeed!

I don t know about you but come Monday morning, the thought of adding another morning to the weekend, reserved for sleeping in and a second cup of coffee sounds pretty good.

For this Monday morning, think about treating yourself to some caffeinated sunshine.  Go to your favorite coffee shop and order that fancy latte that you have been thinking of ordering.  Go in to work a few minutes later, should that be an option.   Linger over the newspaper for a few more minutes.  Order a doughnut at that crazy-good doughnut shop that everyone is always raving about . . . what a fun way to salute the week.  Sometimes you just gots to step out of the day-to-day routine of healthy-eating discipline and order a doughnut.

Today?  Make it extraordinary.  Me?  I am thinking about one or three things that I plan to do that will make my day even better.  I am going to take the wobble out of my favorite music stand, chase some sunshine, go on my Meditation Walk, and organize some writing.  One thing I know I am going to do is make a fantastic caramel mocha, put my feet up on my desk, watch some fun youtube videos, and just while away a few moments while I drink my coffee . . . all of this to be woven into my day of honest labor.  There are days that feel as if “work” has robbed the hours from my good intentions . . . but not today.  Today is reserved for Extraordinary.

And about the time that you think life is just one work day after another, take some sunshine into the workplace with you.  Do something nutty.  Dance like a long-armed, 3-toed sloth in front of a co-worker who won’t understand.  Wear your shirt backward.  Mismatch your socks.  Braid your hair into pigtails.  Wear only one earring.  Pick a bouquet of dandelions and give them to a co-worker.  Smile at every single person you see today.  Stand up and stretch, on the hour.  I don’t know . . . just do something to make the day memorable and good.  Drink good coffee — that always helps make the day a happy place for me.

And check out some of these fun Monday morning coffee treats and accessories. Life truly is but a breath.  Enjoy yourself and be kind one to another.   Click on the images (or the links) below and have fun doing some imagining on this Monday morning.

. . . AND scroll to the bottom to listen to an AWESOME Monday morning song!  Make today all you hope it will be .

Wild Republic Hanging 3 Toed Sloth


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Torani Lavender Syrup, 750 ml Bottle. . . add to a white mocha.  Yummy!


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Ghirardelli Chocolate Chocolate Flavored Sauce Squeeze Bottle, 16 fl. oz.


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Retro Spoofs Workaholics Thank God It’s Monday


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Now Panic and Freak Out


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Keep Calm and Drink Coffee


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Thermik Handle for Tumblers

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kate spade new york Thermal Mug – Cold Hands Warm Heart


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and just for the heck of it because I like old wool blankets . . .

Extra Heavy Duty Swiss Army Military Wool Blanket Cover


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Enjoy the music!

The Mamas & The Papas – Monday Monday

Hello again . . . Boots is back in the saddle! Oh, and tip your barista!

Greetings to all of you good people!  I, Boots the Badass Coffee Babe, have been away — out on a trail gig — and have missed our coffee connection!  The past weeks, I’ve been out in the woods, away from any form of Internet communication, and restoring my Inner Outdoors Girl.  It has felt great!  And now I am back, so we can catch up on coffee. Tell me . . . What have I missed?

While out on the trail, I ran into a hiker, Niccolo, who was a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur from Italy.   We got to chatting about travel, trails, and coffee, and Niccolo said that he was curious about a lot of things in America but, once on the topic of Coffee, he asked why American baristas are so under-paid and under-respected.   Now, I might not speak Italian, but Niccolo was certainly speaking my language when it came to this conversation!

I really didn’t know how to answer to this — this not being one of those common questions that comes up when you start Coffee Talk.   I got to thinking about all of the things that American baristas have to be good at and their many multi-tasking duties.  I mean, just look at them.  They pull shots, steam milk, make eye contact with customers, do foam art, remember to ask about someone’s job interview, call back the next drink order to the register barista, and hand off your drink with a smile.   Impressive!

Now that I am back in town, I went to a busy coffee shop and observed the baristas in action.  Let’s take a look at what they have to do to serve an amazing cup of Joe.   A good barista . . .

  1. grinds coffee beans correctly so that the shots aren’t too long or too short
  2. tamps the grind into the filter perfectly
  3. pulls good shots
  4. times shots for high standards
  5. pumps liquid sugar into cups
  6. steams milk to satisfy requests (absolutely no foam, light foam, shaving-cream foam, dry cappuccino foam, bone-dry cappuccino foam)
  7. connects with the customers
  8. rinses shot glasses
  9. fills the bean hoppers
  10. continually re-adjusts the burr grinder to maintain perfect shots
  11. keeps everything clean and shiny
  12. re-stocks the refrigerators
  13. keeps the queue of drinks marching forward
  14. calls back drink orders
  15. works both the hot bar and the cold bar
  16. draws a cute smiley-face on certain cups
  17. asks about the family to the customers they know well
  18. smiles at you when s/he hands off your drink
  19.  . . . and I know that there are many other things . . .

This is a heck of a lot plates to keep spinning — all while maintaining a pleasant demeanor.   Now that I, Boots the Badass Coffee Babe, am back in town, I want to give a big shout-out to all of you baristas who work so hard to perfect your craft and to serve us fabulous beverages that many of us could never dream of making at home.

Just saying!  It makes me think of when I was young, pretty impressionable, flat broke, and just starting to work for someone who was eking out an existence on a history-laden homestead that he had inherited from someone who was as old as dirt.  The history of the place was pretty amazing and this old guy certainly knew it.  He was cocky and demanding and expected me to be his personal barista.   Well, I tamed that idea right out of him.

Sure, I was willing to haul the water from the lake and start the fire in the cookstove.  And I was even willing to grab a mug from the cupboard and set it to warm on the warming trivet.  But make the coffee?  Nuh-uh.  I knew that once I got roped into that lasso, I was going to be on call every morning at oh-dark-thirty to meet this buckaroo’s caffeine demands.

It’s weird to think that I wasn’t a coffee drinker yet.  I opted for healthful options that involved herbs and botanicals that now don’t even smell that good if I now catch a whiff of them brewing.   And this old-timer used the strangest contraption for making coffee.  He said it operated on a vacuum system  that involved some elaborate siphoning.  He expected me to learn how to use it and produce damned-good coffee, but I feigned ignorance (which was genuine) and confounded his expectations by making the very worst coffee (which was a ruse — I was smart enough to figure it out) that he swore — and I mean swore [#@$&*$$@!] had ever had the first day on the job.  I’ll give it up for the guy for having a colorful vocabulary.

I would call this a Big Life Lesson: There are benefits to Being Inadequate . . . this becoming a carefully-executed skill set of feigned ignorance that I happily applied to other areas of my professional life such as how to un-clog the paper in the copier machine on campus, how to clean the yuck out of the microwave in the break room, and how to sharpen a chain saw.   Some things are simply better left to those who feel more inclined toward responsibility.  And to showing others their higher state of abilities.   Thank God for different personality types is all that I am saying.

You’ve got to check out this old timer’s crazy way to make coffee below.   This gentleman’s contraption looked more Frankenstein-ian than this modern and sleek version, but it is the very same concept.  Who would have thought that you could extract coffee via a siphon?  Weird, right?  Go to Amazon by clicking on the images/links below:


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and how about this lower-priced one . . .

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AND . . . tip your barista.  As Niccolo pointed out, they are under-paid and under-tipped.   Your barista is partly responsible for your morning happiness . . . why not reciprocate with at least a very nice smile and a “Good job!”

Oh, and one more thing.  I am so excited to be back, I can’t stop adding coffee stuff!

Check out this new organic, Arabica coffee I found on Amazon.  I am going to try it out!  The name alone sells me — Happy Belly — let alone that it is organic, sustainably sourced and Fairtrade!


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PREMIUM COFFEE BY HAPPY BELLY

spacerHappy Belly makes artisan, small batch roasted blends like those found at your favorite neighborhood coffee shop, conveniently delivered to your doorstep. From growing and harvesting to roasting and packaging, ensuring our coffee’s freshness and flavor is our main focus.

Life is a darn good event.  Have fun, drink coffee, and tip your barista!!

 

 

 

The Way of Toast & Snooze-Button Bill

Camp coffee . . . camp toast!  Camp toast is so much fun, I could write an ode to camp toast . . . although I don’t think I could write a more beautiful ode than OK Go’s “Last Leaf” video (below).  This is such a beautiful song and their creative and fanciful and artistic use of toast is nothing short of exquisite.  Please, do watch it.  The melody, like a good cup of Joe, will stay with you throughout the day in a good way.

Camp toast.  It’s like comfort food on the trail and so simple to make.  Add some almond butter and slice some fruit on top of it all, and you have yourself a very hearty breakfast that delivers good hearty nutrition with minimal time expenditure.

When I think of Camp Toast, I think of a buckaroo named Bill.  Bill was a Late Hire on our Whip-It Crew.  Being on a Whip-It Crew involved going into a post-logged slash area and cutting out all of the little saplings and shrubs that were sprouting up, prior to re-planting.  I am sure that there is someone out there who is going to say that there is no such thing as a Whip-It Crew . . . It doesn’t sound very woodsy-technical, I will agree — so I just want provide the caveat that this is what we called our crew for that and subsequent contracts involving the removal of adverse vegetation in a slash area.

Being on the Whip-It Crew was not what I would call Fun.  It played with your mind and the day did not move quickly.  The work involved tripping your way through acres of slash while being whipped about the face and body by lithesome sprouting trees.  In order to get an early start to beat the heat, we had to wake up very early in order to get a cool start on the day.  We would climb into the Crummy each morning to save gas and to afford the non-drivers some extra sleep.  Who knew that we were way ahead of the Rideshare curve?

Much to our ever-heightening annoyance, Bill used to arrive late to the Crummy every morning.  Every single morning.  He’d come roaring into the Meeting Lot, a wide spot on Highway 54, in his ’72 Chevy — spraying an arc of gravel while chewing on the end of wadded up cigar.  I am guessing that Bill’s overall effect was one of eccentricity and I’m sure funny as hell to anyone who didn’t have any alarm-clock association with him.  But funny to us on the crew?  Not so much.

aviator gogglesI remember the morning Bill came skidding into the parking lot wearing some old WWII aviator goggles.  The goggles being necessary as his windshield was blown out.  When we asked him about it — how could you not? — he grumbled something or other about a Late Night and Trees that Jumped in Front of His Rig.  Who knows what the real story was, but I am suspecting it had something to do with reading his fortune at the bottom of a gin bottle.  You would have thought seeing some old Bull of the Woods cruising down the highway wearing these vintage goggles, his longish gray-black hair blowing back in the 55-MPH-generated breezes, would have been hilarious.  Heck, he could have likely pulled over alongside the road and charged tourists good money for a ride in his plane-mobile.  But to us?  His chronic lateness stripped him of any comic relief.  I can laugh now, but not so much at the time.

cinnamon roll. cakespy

Check out cakespy.com’s blog for the recipe to make these jumbo cinnamon rolls! Link below . . .

Bill’s extra snooze time each morning cost us precious minutes at Carol’s Coffee Cup.  Carol’s was famous for its fresh pie straight out of the oven and its hot cinnamon rolls the size of small dinner plates.  You might think I am exaggerating, but it’s true.  One of those rolls could send you into a sugar coma for the rest of the Crummy ride up the mountain to the unit.  And it then took some serious suggesting to get us roused and ready to tackle the Whip-It work that lay ahead of us for the day.  We would still be in that big of a stupor from all of Carol’s sugary goodness.

We loved Carol’s Coffee Cup — there was no other way to put it.  We stopped there every morning before heading up the hill.  Carol’s was a Dream Way to start out the morning.  It made the morning tolerable, or as Bill would say: tol-uh-ble.  I have mentioned the memorable pie and the cinnamon rolls and, even better yet, Carol’s version of a refill-to-go- was having one of the cheerful be-calico-aproned waitresses fill each of our Stanleys to the brim with Carol’s Signature Yuban before we loaded our sorry asses back into the Crummy.

Carol’s Signature Yuban had an extra sort of something to it that I could never quite put my finger on.  One day I just up and asked one of the Aprons — what all of the regulars affectionately or otherwise called the be-aproned waitstaff — what it was about Carol’s coffee that made it taste the way it did.  Pink  Apron said that Carol sprinkled ground cinnamon on top of the grounds before it started to percolate.  Carol figured that the cinnamon made it kind of special that way.  I am guessing that it was Carol’s way of making Designer Coffee out of a sow’s ear, being that Yuban wasn’t what I would call the most premium hipster bean on the coffee house market.

I can’t really say that I was ever that fond of Carol’s coffee additive, but I had to hand it to her for pure ingenuity.   And those cork-booted boys loved Carol’s coffee, cooking, and service.  When they saw a piece of hot apple pie with a slice of cheddar cheese melting on the top set before them, they felt like no less than King Solomon.

Snooze Button Bill was one of those annoying patrons who thought he owned the joint.  He would cluck about the downside of our cinnamon roll rush while he ordered himself his standard 2 eggs (sunny side up), 2 sausage links, and 2 slices of white toast.  Every single morning.

When Bill ordered, he would state his preference as to the runniness of his sunny side uppers, the brownness of his links, and the degree of toasting that should be accorded his toast.  His order wouldn’t have been so bad for the Aprons if he had simply stuck to the same script each morning.  But he didn’t.  It was all a Lesson of Degrees with Bill.  He wanted the eggs pretty firm or kind of runny or clucking back to the cook.  The sausages were pretty straight forward, but he would send back the toast if it wasn’t Pure Palamino Gold.

Suffice it to say, none of the Aprons liked taking Bill’s order.  Bill would extol his Varied Reasons for the Inadequacy of the Toast when he sent it back.  He would go off on some commentary, saying that there is just something about burnt toast that says someone didn’t care enough to check the setting before pushing the lever down.  Or someone simply was neglectful.  Or someone had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed.  Silly stuff that only cemented the Aprons’ and our opinion of Bill’s backsidedness.

Of course, the cook could hear Bill’s Toast Soliloquy, and I swear she would send out at least one Burnt Trial Balloon — all designed to get Bill’s dander up — before Bill finally got the Palamino-Gold toast that he demanded.

Out on the trail was something different.  Cookie would pull out the campfire toaster and, after having had to listen to two consecutive mornings of Bill’s Palamino-Gold laments,  we were all left on our own when it came to toast.  We were wisely allotted two pieces of bread each morning for our toasting pleasure.  If we weren’t mindful and we ruined our Toast Prospects by burning it to smithereens, we were on our own.  Cookie’s philosophy was pretty much Eat the Toast or return it to the ashes from which it originally came.  You can’t argue with good sense like that.

I actually enjoyed the whole Mindful Process of Toasting Bread on a Campfire.  You would be keeping a steady eye on your bread and it would be just about perfect for consumption and then — whoosh! — an errant draft would kick the flame into high action and your toast might get a dandy scorch.  I have to admit that I liked the Uncertainty of the Endeavor.  And when it came to toast, I pretty much ate any degree of toasting — burnt or otherwise — that went with the benefits of butter and jelly.  And it is always true that food — as is life — is always pretty darned great when you are eating in the Fabulous Outdoors.

One morning in camp, Bill asked us to watch his toast for him.  He must have thought we were Better People than we were — otherwise he wouldn’t have given up his Toast Autonomy to the likes of us.  Maybe it was all of those mornings that we had to wait for Bill to show up at the Crummy.  Maybe it was in honor of the patient Aprons who had been putting up with all of Bill’s Toast Nonsense.  Maybe it was Juvenile Revenge — pure and simple.  We waited for Bill to vacate the campfire premises, and we proceeded to incinerate Bill’s toast to the color and texture of a charcoal briquette.

The mind has a tendency to wander back to the Glimmers of Unexplained Irrelevancy, and I am guessing that this is what has happened here.  Bill’s role in this post’s Ode to Toast is obtuse at best.  He merely serves as the MacGuffin that brings Toast to the Campfire in this story.  The real story here centers on how great Campfire Toast is when you are out in the woods . . . or when you are sitting around your own home firepit.

And I’d like to say that there is some kind of moral to share about Respect for Timeliness or Be Kind to Waitstaff, but there isn’t.  All the Great Incineration gained anyone was the way that we laughed our asses off until we snorted when Bill came back and saw his Beloved Toast nothing but a wafer of carbon.

Bottom line: You can’t expect generosity from others when you are always riding their butts or acting all inconsiderate.  We finished the contract but after the Carbon Toast Experience, Bill’s demanding ways grew to be more humorous than harmful.  He still arrived late to the Crummy and we still complained about it, but there you go.  There are times in life when you can’t change circumstances completely and this was one of them.

Simply put: There are times when you just go with the flow . . .and I am thinking that this is the Way of Toast.

Bill the MacGuffin aside, take a look these awesome camp toasters.  I know that some of them might look like Rube Goldberg mouse traps, but they are so warm and fuzzy and reminiscent of times gone by.  You can watch your toast brown or burn, depending on your tolerance for carbon.  Get on board and get one of these for camping.  They are reasonably priced and they are fun!

UST Blue Sky Gear Toaster, Silver

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Camp-A-Toaster CT1 Camp-A-Toaster

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Chinook Plateau Folding Toaster

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Jacob Bromwell Original Genuine Pyramid Toaster (Tin)

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And you don’t want to burn your fingers!

Heat Resistant Oven Mitts Set – Hot Gloves for Cooking BBQ Grilling – Flame Retardant Kevlar Provides 662F Protection – Bonus Ebook

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And what goes better with toast than a hot, steaming cup of Joe that is brewed to perfection.  Imagine it.  You are taking in the sunrise, the air smells so clean you could have sworn that it had been manufactured for this very moment, the birds are tweeting and twittering in the forest, and  . . . wait! . . . was that a marmot you just heard whistling?  Yep.  You’re in the high country, your fire is crackling just right, the smoke is blowing just-so toward your blowhard Uncle Phil that is always waxing eloqent, and all is right with the world.  Pour yourself another cup and get another piece of toast a’toasting.  It’s the biggest goal you have to meet today.   Life is pretty good, isn’t it?

And check out this functional and adorable coffee percolator. It is hearty, fun to use, stainless steel so it’s easy to clean and easy to pack!

Texsport Stainless Steel Coffee Pot Percolator for Outdoor Camping

http://amzn.to/1YsYjd9

And did you know that there are entire cookbooks dedicated to toast?


http://amzn.to/1UVYx6Y

And on a side note . . . in case you indulged a little too heartily with the brandy flask last night around the campfire . . . did you know that burnt toast will help a hangover?  Yep.  It will settle your tummy-brain upset just like that.  Works every time!  Maybe Bill should have switched his order from Palamino Gold to Burnt Black!

And you must watch this . . . I love this video!  I guarantee that if you watch it once, you are going to watch it twice.  So lovely of a tune and so imaginative.  And that’s a heck of a lot of toast that went into the making of this very artistic video.  Kudos to OK Go!

Boots here, signing off.

Wishing you happy trails of perfectly-toasted toast and a satisfying tale to go with it.

Life is a lively event.  Watch your toast, drink coffee, and get to it.

What’s stopping you?  xox Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

[Here is Cakespy’s link to some ginormous, easy-to-make cinnamon rolls: http://www.cakespy.com/blog/2010/6/26/big-fun-an-enormous-and-delicious-cinnamon-roll.html]

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?

The Best of the Best in Camp (and Commuter) Coffee Cups

Boots here.  Looking at the best in camp coffee cups and picking out inventory for the Cabin Door Store.  I guess I have become one of those gear junkies that likes to have the best when I head out on the trail.  Long gone are the days when I used to wear wool knickers for alpine skiing on my humble, waxed, wooden cross country skis.   I used to be a purist.  Wool gloves, wool hat, wool socks, wool sweater.  I carried wooden matches, a nice piece of pitch, and a Buck knife that was razor sharp.  My cook box had Granite-ware plates, bowls, and cups.  Allllll natural.  Now?  As much as I enjoy seeing those Janoy skis hanging up in the wood shed, I now have good gear that keeps me dry, warm, and safe and gets me places in the back country.

And as for outdoor cook gear? I have gone on too many camp trips where my coffee went cold pretty much the moment that it was poured in the cup.  If there is any sort of morning chill in the air, you are not going to be drinking even remotely hot coffee.  Take a look at these top-of-the-line cups and mugs listed below from the Cabin Door Coffee Store and think about the hot coffee that these cups promise.  They are best-sellers and of good quality.  You only need one of these to keep you going for years.  No chipping, no denting, and no cold coffee!

And as for my blue granite camp cup that kept me company around all of those fires?  I still bring it along, but I now use it for my morning Bircher muesli.  Some old favorites I’m just not ready to quite give up yet.   And speaking of Bircher muesli, I am thinking that I will share my favorite recipe with you tomorrow.  It is perfect for the trail, for camping, for glamping, and for home.  You can make it the night before and have it ready to go in the morning if you are running late.

And then there’s my Dutch oven.  It is the best.  I am not going to trade it in for anything new and fandangled.  At least not while I have a cook box that will accommodate the size and the weight.  Dutch oven biscuits, baked with the finesse and attention that a Dutch oven asks, are the absolute best.  I mean it!  They are like magic in a pot.  I am thinking that we will have to check a few Dutch oven recipes out later this week as well.

I digress!  Get me started on camp gear and one thing leads to another!  Have fun checking out these most-excellent options for keeping your coffee hot.  Oh, and don’t think that you have to be sitting around a smokey campfire to enjoy these  fantastic options.  I can think of a time or two in recent history when I was running for a city bus in Seattle and my fancy die-hard camp cup was the perfect commuter cup as well.  Nothing says coffee like a great cup!  And in these colors?  Lime, plum, teal, burgundy, red, orange, stainless . . . these colors put the fun in functional out on the trail and on the city bus.

Click on the links or the images below and peruse these cups that are some of the best in camp gear.  It really is the littlest things that make for the best experiences.  Enjoy this fun stuff!

Signing off.  xox Boots xox


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Finding Your “Just Right”: Time to Drink Some Toddy

rooster and cowboy bootsBoots here.  I’m back to finish up this series on Toddy Coffee.  This post is all about drinking . . . drinking Toddy as both a hot and a cold beverage.  After a sip of Toddy, you are going to want to stand up and salute the day with vim and vigor!

You now have your concentrate all good to go.  [Note: Be sure to keep your Toddy concentrate refrigerated.]  It is recommended that you  start with a ratio of 1 part coffee concentrate to 2-3 parts water, milk or whatever non-cow liquid you prefer.  I know that soy is a common moo-juice alternative, but heck, why not step into a new paradigm and try cashew, coconut, almond, rice, or hemp milk?  Whatever your moo-free preference, experiment and find the one you enjoy best.  Doesn’t a caramel sauce & cashew-milk iced mocha sound?

[To read an interesting article on these alternative “milks,” (with info on calories, protein, carbs, sugars, fats, and saturated fats) check out http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-best-cows-milk-alternatives.html]

Mix your Toddy beverage to taste, making your coffee as strong or as weak as you prefer. This is going to be a Goldilocks thing.  Try it.  Taste it.  Adjust it.  Find your Just Right.

ICED COFFEE: For iced coffee, Toddy is truly the best.  Simply pour the Toddy concentrate and water, milk, or moo-free alternative over ice. No need to double-proportion your coffee grounds for a hot-brew method to get a good iced coffee.

HOT COFFEE: Combine your Toddy concentrate with steaming hot water for a bolder, gentler cup of hot coffee — kind of like an Americano — but not really.  Once you tasted the carmel-ly smooth flavor of Toddy, you will know what I mean.

You really want to experiment with all of the fun ideas.  Here are a few more:

  1. Add Toddy to your morning smoothie.  Toddy would be great with a chocolate-banana smoothie.  Yummy!
  2. Be creative with whatever it is that sounds good to you.  Coconut milk?  Protein powder?  An almond butter-mocha-coffee frappe?
  3. Freeze your Toddy in ice-cube trays, and add cubes to your iced beverages and smoothies for that extra-cold punch.  This will keep your drink colder longer and not diluted by water-ice cubes.
  4. alarm clockToddy is versatile and so convenient.  There is never a need to feel strapped for time in the morning as you are dashing out the door.  If you are a fan of the Snooze Alarm, you can even get your drink ready the night before in a pint jar, put it in the fridge, do your crazed morning dash to work, and heat up your coffee right in the pint jar in the office microwave.  Voila! Fabulous coffee with no morning hassle.
  5. And don’t hesitate to add a little Nudge (aka Hooch to my bootleggin’ granny) to make a hot-coffee cocktail — as long as you are not going to be shoeing a horse or operating any heavy equipment.  Irish whiskey is a traditional Nudge additive, but you can try adding vanilla vodka for something a little different.   I am thinking campfire and some yarn spinning right about now!

And speaking of campfires, doesn’t this look like a fun addition to your summer evenings out on the patio or deck? Grab the S’more fixings, pour yourself a coffee nudge using your Toddy concentrate and indulge in the fact that you are in the great outdoors and only just a pebble’s throw from your own door.

What a hoot this stand-alone fire pit would be on your patio!  It would really open up your summer to the great outdoors.  Just click on the image or link below.

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I hope that this little foray into the world of Toddy has been fun for you!  I remember back to when I first tasted it with that fussbudget sister of mine and, at the time, I had to admit to her that it tasted really good.  I generally forego Toddy during the winter months, as I like a fresh, hot brew.  But the summer?  It is so perfect!

And hail all of you hikers, campers, and glampers!  Think about how great Toddy would be out on the trail.  Put it in a  coffee-tight container and you would be good to go for your entire trek.

And you can click here for a comprehensive PDF from the Toddy experts.  There are all sorts of cool recipes in here for lattes, mochas, iced coffee beverages, smoothies, and even ice cream!

And check out this Kindle option for learning more about Toddy:

[Subscribers read for free!]

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Happy Toddy Trails!

xox Boots

Now . . . Time to Brew Some Badass Toddy!

old boots. s135179597364799095_p1_i1_w693Boots the Badass Coffee Babe here!  And I’m back to talk more about Toddy!  In the last post, I talked about equipment and the chemistry behind why Toddy tastes so darned good.

This post is going to be all about how to make good Toddy.  Getting set up, directions, dos and don’ts, how to store your finished Toddy . . . all of this fun stuff to learn!

First of all, here is a demonstration video — brought to you from the Toddy gurus — that walks you through all of the steps necessary to start brewing.

And here are a few tips from me that urge you to be mindful as you go about brewing your Toddy.  Some of these are a repeat of what the expert in the video advises, but I am not afraid to go overboard when it comes to helping someone else avoid a kitchen disaster. None of the points below can be overstated!

  1. Do not jam the plug into the bottom of the white plastic brewing container/funnel.  Setting the plug using conservative, non-Amazonian strength is sufficient.  You are not going to spring a leak.  Promise.  And attempting to get an over-zealously-jammed plug out of the bottom of the funnel that is full of cold-brew slurry is tempting fate and just plain scary.  One little extra tug of ambition will send your cold brew pouring all over the kitchen.
  2. toddy maker illustrationWhile your Toddy is brewing, put it somewhere SAFE.  The definition of SAFE in Toddy lingo is a place where . . .
    1. . . . your cat won’t tip it over.
    2. . . . your roommates won’t tip it over.
    3. . . . sloppy cords from other appliances won’t slither forth and coil around the Toddy maker such that when you pull your blender out to make a smoothie, you won’t topple the whole Toddy system when you do so.
    4. . . . your other critters won’t have a heyday with it (bird, ferret, sugar glider, etc.  Beware of the darting sugar glider!)
    5. . . . you won’t tip it over.
    6. . . . and again: . . . your cat won’t tip it over!
    7. Use a coarse grind to make your Toddy.
    8. Use good, filtered water.  I cannot emphasize this enough.  If your water tastes like hard well water and you use it to make your Toddy, well . . . you can guess what your Toddy is going to taste like: coffee-flavored hard well water.

There is a theme here: Use good water and don’t tip the dang Toddy over!

Okay!  You now have 12-24 hours to wait until you can pull the plug and drain your Toddy into the glass decanter.

Boots here until next time then when we pull the plug and taste some Toddy!

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Click on the image or the link to view the Toddy brewing system!

And while you are dream-shopping, here is a really good water filtering pitcher.  This pitcher delivers great-tasting water!

Click on the images or the links below.

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Or how about this kicky purple pitcher?

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Goat Cup Coffee: Kaldi & the Goat Gang

coffee arabicaOkay, coffee lovers!  Time to get out your pom-poms (or pompons for you grammarists) and pay homage!  This post is about the origins and discovery of our beloved coffee bean!

I absolutely love recounting this epic tale, as it is a testimony to fact being stranger than fiction and to the powers of observation and to sharing fun stuff with others.

Enjoy this bit of coffee lore.  And share it with your friends the next time you are driving by a field of frisky goats!  You are sure to impress them with this little-known fact about the most popular beverage on the planet!

Spur (Small) boots signaturexox

Boots the Badass Coffee Babe

And a quick PS for you introverted, infatuated-with-your-favorite-barista folk: Have you been wanting to strike up a conversation with that really cute barista?  Dazzle him/her with your trivia knowledge? Maybe get his/her number?  This cup would be the perfect way to get that convo started!  At the very least, you are going to have to demonstrate to him/ her how your unique cup stands upright while they are making your bar beverage.  Am I right?

On to the history lesson . . . Do you want to guess who gets credit for discovering coffee? Some Spanish explorer?  No.  Some Ethiopian King’s personal chef?  No.  Some extra-smart herbalist roaming the planet?  No.

Goats

It was GOATS.  Yes, goats who discovered the power of the coffee bean!  Of course, it took the observing eye of the good goatherd Kaldi to do the subsequent and necessary Hear ye!  Hear ye! about his goats’ discovery of the benefits of the coffee bean.  After all, the grazing capra aegagrus hircus needed a voice to spread the word.

According to the National Coffee Association , there once were some amazing and ancient coffee forests — yes, forests! — on the Ethiopian plateau.  It was here where our good buddy Kaldi was not only grazing his herd but paying attention as well.

Kaldi’s goats were gadding about like goats do and were eating berries from a particular tree — a coffee tree.  After eating the berries, Kaldi couldn’t help but notice that the goats had become so energetic, they refused to go to bed at bedtime.  All they wanted to do was romp and play throughout the night.

Imagine poor Kaldi.  All tuckered out from herding goats all day . . . and then having to factor in a marathon caffeine buzz to all of that jumping and hopping around that goats are so good at doing.  Kind of like giving a bunch of pre-schoolers a few bags of Oreos and some chocolate milk right before you expect them to go down for naptime.  Impossible.  And you have to remember that Kaldi was probably doing his own un-caffeinated thing at that time — probably some herbal concoction that had a zero caffeine boost.   Poor guy.

Aberrant behavior and frisky goats aside, Kaldi managed to make it through that frivolous first night, and he reported his observations to the abbot of a local monastery.  The abbot make a concoction with the berries . . .(I can just see him in some Curie-esque, Ethiopian, monastic laboratory with beakers bubbling over with the new brew.) . . . and, lo and behold, the good abbot found that the New Brew kept him remarkably alert through the long and rigorous hours of evening prayer.

The abbot, being a good sort of chap, shared Kaldi’s discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and the word spread more quickly than a wildfire during lightning season in a drought year.  Word then moved east to the Arabian peninsula and so the Coffee Movement was born.

Pretty darned cool, huh?

In honor of Kaldi and his rambunctious goats, I found this very fun cup for all of your coffee commuting needs.  Think of it as a hands-free commuter’s tribute to the Gang of Goats that surely must have suffered some post-caffeinated let down when they likely weren’t able to put 2 and 2 together in order to keep the Coffee High going.  I like to think that they did return to said-coffee-tree ,and they continued to munch away to their insomniac-state of delight.  Perhaps they ultimately passed their caffeine-spirited genes down to their boisterous prodigy.  You have to admit . . . goats sure can jump!

Let’s call this product the Kaldi Kommuter Kup for purposes of alliteration and to pay homage to Kaldi & the Goat Gang.  Nothing like being prepared and cool at the same time!  And . . . anyone who unwittingly comments on you sporting this rather absurd-but-super-cool-looking commuter cup will be sure to get an earful regarding the backstory of Kaldi & the Gang.  You can dazzle them with this little story that you now have tucked away in your Trivia Arsenal.

“GOAT Mug is a one-of-a-kind coffee mug that was inspired by the first coffee discovery. Its horn shape is a dedication to goats that discovered this elixir of life and it also lets you drink the very last sip. It comes with a set of 2 straps that allow you to carry your coffee, but at the same time reply to a couple of e-mails and carry around your newspaper.”

Click on the image below:

And click here to view the fun video.
About the Product
  • A special horn-shaped coffee mug holds 16 oz. (470 ml) of your favorite coffee drink
  • Comes with a set of 2 straps, long and short part, so carrying your coffee mug around is a blast
  • Holder can easily transform into a stand, which easily enables placing the mug onto a flat surface
  • It’s BPA free and 100% leak proof
  • GOAT mug is creating an exquisite experience from coffee drinking

Sporting your horn-shaped Kaldi Kommuter Kup will give you the same euphoric feeling as when you change from jeans to pajama bottoms.  Guaranteed!

Check out Carmella below!

like changing from jeans to pajama bottoms

like changing from jeans to pajama bottoms

 

 

Cowboy Coffee Gear Store

Cowboy Coffee. This post is all about Cowboy Coffee, dutch ovens, and grub box gear. Click on the images and you will find some great pots and paraphernalia for your next camping adventure. Have fun daydreaming about the campfire as you peruse the pots and gear.  So many fun things to consider adding to your grub box! Life is good!

Happy trails, you outdoorsy souls! xox Boots