Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finally! A GREAT homemade Iced Coffee!

It's no secret that my husband and I are coffee "snobs".  We are absolutely in love with good coffee and  espresso based drinks!  Our oldest son loves going to Starbucks as much as we do (he orders his own tall ice water), and our 4.5 month old made his first trip to one when he was just a few days old.  

I often joke with my mom (who is as addicted as we are, so she GETS it), that we could afford a decent vacation every year, if we gave up our coffee habit...but that I am totally okay with giving up a trip, if it means I get a mini vacation each time I get to sip on a latte.  In all honesty though, the cost does add up.  I have often found myself trying to find homemade alternatives, that are as satisfying as my coffee house drinks; the at home versions of lattes, as well as different brew methods have never been just right though.  When it comes to iced coffee, I prefer to drink it black and unsweetened, which means the coffee it self, has no room for error; it has to be just right, since I can't adjust it with cream, sweetner, or flavored syrup.

FINALLY!  I have found my method for a delicious, homemade iced coffee!  This has taken trial and error, and adjustments to recipes I have tried.  This completely satisfies my Starbucks cravings.  This recipe uses the cold brew method, and makes a strong cup, which is great because it can be watered down to meet individual tastes.  It is very smooth, and not as bitter as the hot brew methods I have toyed with.

If you give it a try, let me know how you like it!

Homemade Iced Coffee
Makes about 8 cups (full strength ) or more (if watering down a bit more)


  • 1 1/2 cups ground espresso (I used my grocery store brand, which saves even more price wise!)
  •  8 cups water (I used filtered, for a cleaner taste)
  • Additional water, to taste preferences 


  1. In a large container, stir together coffee and water.
  2. Cover and brew for 24 hours.
  3. Filter the coffee through a strainer lined with a coffee filter and into a pitcher.
  4. Add water to taste now, or leave strong so each drinker can adjust as needed. (I like to add about 1/2 a cup to each cup, while hubby likes about 3/4 water to each cup of coffee)
  5. Refrigerate (which keeps it from getting bitter)
  6. To make a perfect glass of homemade iced coffee:
  7. Fill a tall glass with ice.
  8. Add your coffee, and add water to taste (if needed)
  9. Add in half and half or sweetener if you are like my husband.
  10. Enjoy the smooth and delicious iced coffee (which you made, instead of a barista!)

Espresso, measuring cup for water, and jug to cold brew in. 

All mixed up and ready for the fridge!

Straining the coffee grounds, after 24 hours in the fridge.

Looking good!

And time to enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

That boy can dance!

Nolen just finished up his first dance session through our Parks and Rec program, this past week.  I have said since he was a baby, that I wanted to put him in dance.  Ever since he could first stand, he would bounce around to music, and even now that he is four, he still loves to dance to the music on Pandora ("Uptown Funk", being his go to dance favorite!).  

When we first signed him up for the summer session, there weren't many options for pre-school aged boys for any summer programs in our county.  We decided on one science camp, and one session of dance.  The dance class we signed him up for, was basically the only one for his age that didn't also have "princess" in the title.  I saw that a mom in my playgroup, was actually the teacher for his class, so I messaged her to ask some basic questions (what would he need to wear, what shoes and so on) and to give her the heads up about him being in there.

 About a week after talking with her, she posted in our play group, asking if any other boys would be interested in an all boys dance class.  My response was a huge "Heck yes!", and we signed him up for the all boys class too.  

At this age, it's mostly creative movement.  At the end of each class, Nolen would run out of the room, so excited and red in the face.  It was a great way to burn energy and also help him work on his gross motor skills.  He loved both classes, but the boys class was by far his favorite.  When we asked him if he wants to continue to dance, he excitedly told us yes!

Unfortunately, the programs has to be submitted spring for the upcoming year, and it looks like we may have a year before another all boys class is offered.  In the meantime, we will keep him in his little dancers class, and down the road we hopefully get him into hip hop classes....because who doesn't love a boy who can dance ;) 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Chipotle Turkey Burgers

PI Proud of myself for this one!  I am not usually experimental in the kitchen...bit of a rule follower if you will, plus I don't want to screw up and waste food! 

We have been clean eating and doing the 21 Day fix.  Having a new baby, means meals have to be easy to make and eat, or I will often run out of time to eat at all.  Turkey burgers have been my go to for lunches, because they can be made ahead of time for the entire week, and can easily be eaten while nursing if I have to.

Regular Turkey burgers have been fine, but I have been wanting something a little more fun and drool worthy. These Chipotle Turkey burgers are just that!  My husband's coworkers have even asked him to bring one in for them to try, after smelling his at lunchtime.  

This Turkey burger sneaks some greens and sweet potato in for added nutrition and has a great smokey chipotle kick to it. The amount of the chipotles in Adobe sauce I use, packs in some heat, so adjust accordingly to how spicy your taste buds are.  It is yummy enough, that we look forward eating it each day for lunch the entire week.

Please note, this recipe is made to feed two adults for the whole week.  Adjust it for less meals as needed.

Chipotle Turkey Burgers


3 pounds ground Turkey Meat

2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 bag of Spinach 

1 cup grated sweet potato, uncooked

Small can of chipotles in Adobo sauce

1 tsp Chipotle chili powder (optional for an extra kick)


1. In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon on medium-low heat.  Pour spinach into the pan, and sauté until the spinach is fully cooked.  Remove from pan and Into a large mixing bowl and let cool.

2. Remove chipotle chili peppers from sauce, and finely chop.  Add the sauce and chipotle chili peppers to the bowl of spinach.  Use less peppers and sauce to reduce spice, or add chipotle chile powder if you prefer more heat.

3. Add grated, uncooked sweet potato and turkey meat to the mixing bowl.  Mix thoroughly.

4.  Form 10 patties.  Preheat large frying pan with the remaining 1tablespoon Olive oil. 

5. Cook patties, for 7-8 minutes on each side or until fully cooked.  

We sometimes serve on hamburger rolls, but will also go bun free, depending on where our yellow container count is for the day.  Top with sliced cheese, mayo, lettuce and tomato if you like (and again, if containers allow!)

Did you try this out?  Let me know how you liked it, and any changes you made! 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

I had that dream again...

(A bit of creative writing, just for fun) 

"I had that dream again." I told my roomate and best friend, Layla.

She stood by the sink of our suburbian town home, washing the frying pan she had used earlier to cook her omelette.   Even completing simple tasks like this, on a Sunday and sans makeup,  She looked like a model; tan skin, long legs, gorgeous dark brown hair, and a face plastic surgeons only dream of being able to recreate.

While I wasn't necessarily plain, I always felt that way standing next to her when we went out.  Layla often told me she would take my bright blue eyes and naturally blonde hair in a heart beat, And While I would agree that those are probably my favorite features, I had to work harder to keep myself at a healthy weight, which these dreams werent helping. 

From early childhood, I had occasionally had a reoccurring dream, which for some reason had been happening a lot more frequently these last few months.  Whenever I awoke from them, I was always in front of the fridge, crying and binge eating things straight from the freezer.  Ice cream, frozen chicken patties, green name it and I had stuffed my face full, while I was asleep.

"Again? I thought I had just bought a box of waffles..." she tried to joke, but quickly stopped once she saw my concerned face,  "Sorry Lace.  Was it still exactly the same or did anything change this time?"

"Same" I sighed

"Lacey, I know you said you didn't want to see a psychologist, but that's the third time this week.  Maybe it would be a good idea to get some help from a professional." Layla advised

"I feel crazy enough as it is...I just can't bring myself to go see a shrink." I explained, for probably the hundredth time this month.

"Seeing a therapist doesn't make you weak;  it means you're strong enough to ask for help and support when you need it.  Honestly, I'm worried about you.  This isn't normal and I'm kind of freaked out from seeing you dead asleep and gnawing on my frozen dinners.  I just think maybe getting a perscription for a sleep aid or finding out why this keeps happening, can help it all stop." Layla had a look of concern on her face.

I know this whole ordeal hadn't been easy on her either, but I wanted to wait it out.  This dream had come and gone ever since I could remember, usually with months in between.  If I gave it enough time, I figured they would disappear again, and my nights would get back to normal.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Enjoy the rain

I think one of the coolest life lessons anyone has ever taught me, is to enjoy getting soaked by the rain.  Anyone else ever savor that?  It is especially rewarding in a summer shower, when it feels like the perfect break from the scorching heat.  

The girl who taught me this was my babysitter, and she was about 16 and I was around 8 years old.  We had been outside playing on the playground, when a quick summer down pour started.  I hid under the slide, trying to stay dry, as I watched her and her friends dance and goof off in the rain.  I thought they were crazy.  After all, aren't we taught to be inside when it rains? 

She coaxed me out at some point and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would fact, it was fun! I don't think I played in the rain again though, until I was 18.  During middle school and high school, I cared what people thought;  girls worried about their hair in the rain, so I pretended to care too and ran for dry cover with the rest of them, while I secretly wanted to dance in it instead.

 As soon as I graduated from high school, I was hired for an administrative position.  I had always been mature for my age, and while going to community college, I held a 40 hour a week "grown up" job in a real estate office.  I had been there about a year, and one particularly slow day (when all the owners were gone...I couldn't have gotten away with this with them there!)  the perfect, soak-you-to-your-bones, rain came. 

 I remember standing by the front desk, watching the rain, and wanting to be out there. I thought back to about 10 years prior and how much fun it had been that day on the playground.  I mentioned that to the receptionist (such a wonderful woman, and mama hen) and the only real estate agent who was left in the office for the day (a guy who was only a few years older than me, but I think he viewed me as a baby still, which looking back, I was).  I think I received more of an eye roll, rather than encouragement...but for some reason I got the nerve to go out there anyways, which was totally out of my usual, "mature" comfort zone.   

I ran out and twirled around for a bit, until I was soaked from head to toe.  Coming back in, I received more eye rolls (especially from the guy...more proof to him that I was a kid I'm sure) and I made my way back to my desk.  I was soaking wet and cold, but it had been so worth that minute of feeling carefree.  It had felt like childhood.

Summer is upon us again.  As I get a little bit older each year, childhood feels further and further away.  In the pouring rain though, I can be 8 again and forget about adulting for a few minutes.  During a storm, when the cashier or stranger makes the comment about how awful the rain is, I get to smile and say I don't mind it.  I know the Magic getting soaked by the rain holds, and I walk back to my car, while the rest of the world seems to run.