Half Baked in Seattle

A blog about dining in, dining out and everything food.

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Archive for the ‘Shopping’ Category

How much is too much for a coffee pot?

When I purchased my Kuerig Brewer, my husband thought I was nut so spend over $150 on a coffee pot, but I am still pleased with it and now my mom has one too.

Being from the Seattle area, Coffee is a big part of my world. I can smell it roasting every day on my way to work from the freeway and I have met very few people under the age of 12 that don’t like a quick trip to Starbucks now and then. With our dreary grey skies and wet weather, Coffee is the pick- me-up-drug of choice in the NW.

In the 70’s, I remember when my mom got her first Mr. Coffee machine. I guess she has a percolator before, but I don’t remember what it looked like. I remember how she was excited by the new technology of the drip coffee maker.

As the years passed,  I recall such innovations in the coffee world as self timers to turn them off and on for you and coffee pots that made smaller amounts for the single drinkers. As time progressed we decided that we had to have espresso and home espresso makers popped up and coffee grinders so you could buy your coffee by the whole bean. I have seen pots that grind your coffee for you, and pots that keep it hot for hours in thermal carafes, but I think the newest coffee maker by SAECO has to take the cake for being the most over the top, over priced, coffee gadget of them all. For a $3100 price tag, you could have a down payment on your own expresso stand!

What does it do?

It can make 6 different kinds of coffee drinks and it does froth and steam milk and it basically cleans itself. You can choose how strong or weak you want it make your coffee and it grinds the beans accordingly. So …there are other machines on the market that can do this? What makes this special? It remembers up to 6 individual users and how they like their coffee and it uses fingerprint technology to do so!  WTF? This seems like frivolous use of some pretty high tech stuff.  I am not trying to protect government secrets, I only want a cup of joe.

So what happens when I want to sleep in on Mother’s Day and my daughter wants to make a cup of coffee for mom with her breakfast in bed? Does she have to drag me by my finger to the coffee pot to get my chosen selection?

I am sure it has the ability to make cups manually, but for the price of a small used car, I would rather drive to Starbucks than fork over this kind of cash. Coffee is expensive as it is!

Farmers Markets in the NW

Pike's Place Market
Creative Commons License photo credit: jc.westbrook

Thank you to Nancy Leson at Seattle times for reminding me that it is farmers market time! I have never been so anxious about it until this year.

While trying to maintain my mostly raw diet, the late fall/early spring selection of fruit and veggies has left me craving more variety and I can’t wait to explore farmers markets for local produce!

You can find a list of local markets here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/outdoors/2011849415_nwwmarkets13.html

My favorites have always been Puyallup and of course Pike Place , but this year I intend to spend more time exploring the weekend markets and possibly the local weekday ones such as Renton.

What is your favorite farmers market?

PCOS: Natural supplements or medication? and all Shape Up my butt shoes!

I have taken a short break from blogging (only due to lack of time), but am back.

I have been dealing with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) for about 6 years now and I am always trying to read and learn and find out more.

Soulcysters.com has been a good resource as well as some facebook groups. I generally try to avoid too much information from commercial sites that provide education as a means to try and sell me something, but recently I came across Insulite Labs and found that it really appears that they have done a lot of research and have a lot to offer. I turned back to the soul cysters message boards to see if there was any information and found that there were some success stories.

I didn’t run right out and buy this stuff because $100 for a months supply of supplements is a lot of money on what feels like a crap shoot, but I figure at this point it can’t HURT me, so why not give it a try.

For those not familiar with PCOS, “The symptoms of PCOS can vary from woman to woman and may include excessive weight gain, irregular or completely absent periods, ovarian cysts, excessive facial or body hair known as hirsutism, male pattern hair loss (alopecia) obesity, acne, skin tags (growths on the skin that can be as big as raisins), high cholesterol levels, exhaustion or lack of mental alertness, depression, anxiety, decreased sex drive, excess male hormones and infertility. PCOS is directly caused by excessive weight gain and obesity brought on by Insulin Resistance.” (Insulite Labs). “PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder of women, affecting as many as 1 in 10.” (Soul cysters). Read the rest of this entry »

12 Days of Kitchen Gadgets: #1 Keurig Single Cup Coffee Maker

I have finally arrived at my favorite kitchen gadget!  I love my Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System .

I have always been a fairly light coffee drinker, and since I am the only one in the house most of the time that does drink it, making a whole pot of coffee is a waste of time and coffee.   I hate messing with filters and grounds and the mess in general.Yes, I am lazy, so I found that with limited time and the hassle, I often found myself stopping for coffee on the way to work more than brewing a pot for myself.

Now I have a new best friend in my kitchen that makes me a cup of fresh coffee  from power on to hot cup in about two mintues. It takes me longer to figure out what variety I want than to make the cup.

This machine uses K-Cups and between Amazon and Keurig, there are many varieties of coffee, tea and hot cocoa to choose from. I highly recommend buying the cups from one of these two places. Bed, Bath and Beyond also carries them in a pinch, but the prices are higher.

The brewer has an easy to read display and a simple to operate timer function to auto turn on and off for you, temperature control and it will even tell you when it is time to clean it.

You can choose from three different cup sizes .

The water reservoir  is removable and holds enough water for several large cups. I used filtered water from my refrigerator dispenser to keep from having build up and thus not having to clean the machine as much.

I now wonder why I didn’t buy one of these sooner, but what finally tipped my wallet was the fact that I was not locked into buying k-cups.

There is a re-usable k-cup filter that can be used with your own favorite coffee. I have used it a couple times with my favorite coffees from Old Brisbee Roasters.

K-cups come in so many varieties, it is hard to choose where to start, but some of my favorites are :

Kahlua, Pumpkin spice, and Emeril’s Vanilla Bean Bam.

I also love the Pure Peppermint tea and the English breakfast. There is also a great lemon flavoried iced tea that I used a bunch in the summer and Deejster and my daughter both like the Dark Chocolate hot cocoa . (I also like this made half and half with coffee).

12 Days of Kitchen Gadgets: #2 SmartPower Duet Blender/Food Processor

Cuisinart is an name that has always been associated with quality in my kitchen and I find that my Cuisinart Smart Power  Duet Blender/Food processor is perfect for my needs.

For the most part, my blender gets used for smoothies (Try Lemonade, Frozen strawberries and Lime Sherbert-for your own version of Jamba Juice’s Strawberry surfrider) and blended drinks and this unit works great for crushed ice and making smooth frozen drinks.  The no-drip glass pitcher is heavy duty and holds a full 40 ounces. I find that good glass blenders are hard to find these days and they are so much better than the plastic type.

The food processor is smooth and I have read many reviews of this product that say that it is not very sturdy , but I have had no issues with it. No it is not a full sized food processor, and no , you probably can’t crush rocks in it, but you can grate cheese, crush cookies for pie crust, or make some killer salsa with it. I would warn that if you are not careful, this is more of a pulverizer than a processor. It is powerful and it doesn’t take much to take your chopped nuts to nut flour if you are not paying attention.

If you are going for an all around versatile machine, this is a great buy and would make a great gift.

For entertaining, you can make the Margaritas in the pitcher, then switch it out and grate cheese for nachos and make fresh salsa all with one machine.

All parts are top rack dishwasher safe (glass portion can be put in the bottom) and since the buttons are electronic push, they are sealed and this makes clean up a breeze. My old blender was always getting gooey stuff down in the button area and it never really ever seemed to get clean.

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