Finally! A cheaper solution to my daily Iced Coffee addiction!

images (3) Yes, you are correct. I am still searching for the perfect way to make an amazing cup of Iced Coffee at home.  It’s been a dramatic fight over something that probably seems silly to a lot of people out there.  Especially people who don’t drink coffee or understand the cravings that come along with it. Wow, if I can digress for a second I have to point something out.  Did that last sentence sound like something a cigarette smoker would say?  I am 100% of the mind that coffee is extremely addictive. Back to my point.  Iced coffee is amazing, but often feels like either too much work to make at home or that it always comes out bad when made at home.  That’s why I decided to write about my issues surrounding Iced Coffee last week.  I discussed the challenges of finding the perfect recipe or method for preparing the perfect cup of homemade iced coffee.  A solution that doesn’t require me to spend $2 to $3 per day on one cup of iced coffee a day and doesn’t involve me drinking a cup of watered down homemade iced coffee that tastes like bath water.  Oh, and is also the same temperature of bath water. That is just a deal breaker. Three options presented themselves when I approached this issue last week. To refresh your memory those options, found on the Runners World website, included:

Option 1 You need a standard coffee maker, ground coffee, water and ice. Brew your coffee twice as strong as usual (issue with this is that I don’t really know how much coffee I usually use…). Use the same amount of grounds and half the amount of water. When it’s done, pour it into a mug and load it up with ice. The first cubes will melt, bringing the coffee to room temperature and diluting it. Once you have some cubes that aren’t melting, it’s cold and ready to drink.

Option 2 Apparently takes a couple of hours.  You need a standard coffee maker, ground coffee, water and at least one ice-cube tray. Brew a pot of coffee as usual. Pour the coffee into the ice-cube tray and freeze. Use these in standard-brewed hot coffee to cool it down without diluting it. Keep in mind that you’ll need a few to cool down hot coffee and will end up with more coffee once the cubes have melted.

Option 3 Sounds like something I won’t even attempt.  They say you need a Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker*. Nope, the point is to use what I have already so I won’t bother with this.

Those three options really didn’t suffice for me. Option one is too watery and weak. Option two ruins you ice trays.  Thankfully my friend warned me before I ruined any of my current ice trays.  I could just go and buy ice trays specific to my coffee, but my freezer is small and I don’t have room for that.  Option 3 wasn’t tested at all. From there tested a fourth option. That option was to fill a pitcher full of freshly brewed coffee on a Sunday and let it cool off in the fridge over night.  Come Monday morning I did have a pitcher of coffee to poor over ice that didn’t melt the ice down diluting the flavor. The issue that arose was one I mentioned last week.  I still am having a ridiculous time trying to get the recipe right.  How many scoops of coffee grounds do I use for this? That’s when I found Option 5.  Yes, hold onto your panties everybody!  Option 5 isn’t as cheap as the options listed above, but it does cost less than $2 to $3 a day. Today, however, I found an option that is a pretty decent solution. Let’s recap my list of must haves for the perfect Iced Coffee method:

  • I have to be spending less than $10 a business week on coffee.
  • The coffee cannot taste weak, warm, watery or too strong. It has to be perfectly balanced.
  • I must not waste any time in the morning.

Options 4 and 5 are the winning options and I don’t think you can go wrong with either one because they both have their strengths. How does option 4 and 5 compare on these three must-haves? With option 5 :

  • I would be spending $5 a week on iced coffee or less.
  • The coffee taste perfect in flavor and strength.
  • It takes no time to prepare.

With option 4:

  • It cost less than $5 a week to make.
  • The taste typically is good enough, although option 5 has a consistent result in flavor.
  • It takes a little preparation time on a Sunday, but also takes very little to no prep time in the morning before work.

You are probably sitting on the edge of your seat asking what the heck is this amazing option number 5?  Let me tell you, Starbucks has come to the rescue and I never expected it! I never thought I would say it, but I am in love with their pre-made product I found at the grocery store Sunday.  For $5.00 I got a 48 ounce bottle of unsweetened pre-made Starbucks Coffee.  All it requires is a cup, ice and any cream or sugar you may want to add. I do know what you may be thinking.  You probably are thinking this is no different than the single served ice coffee drinks that Starbucks has had on the market for years.  Trust me, it’s better!  Those single served things are always overly sweet and filled with too much milk. This has no milk added and is unsweetened. You can tailor it to your liking! Considering your average glass is about 8 ounces in size or your average reusable iced coffee cup is about 16 fluid ounces.  By the time you add ice to your cup you will only be using around 8 ounces of liquid coffee a day.  That equals 6 cups of iced coffee from one bottle of this product.  That answers all my problems.  I cut my expenditure in half when comparing this to going into a Starbucks or similar coffee shop and buying a cup of iced coffee with a splash of soy every day. Yes, there is the issue that a bag of coffee grounds lasts a lot longer than a one week bottle of liquid coffee. None-the-less it is an easy way to get iced coffee at home for roughly 50% less than I would be paying otherwise. Now for your benefit. My how to guide of Option Number 5: Starbucks Pre-Made unsweetened and uncreamed Iced Coffee!

STEP 1: Open the cabinet that holds your glasses. That’s easy right? IMG_2329








Step 2: Grab a glass. Go ahead, just pick one! IMG_2330








Step 3: Get ice from your freezer and fill your cup with it! IMG_2331 IMG_2332













Step 4: Get the 48 oz bottle of Starbucks Iced Coffee out of your fridge and shake it! IMG_2333 IMG_2336














Step 5: Pour your liquids! Just simply pour the coffee over the ice and add any creamers you like! IMG_2341 IMG_2343













Step 6: Look amazing while drinking your iced coffee at home! Boom! You’re done!

IMG_2349 IMG_2345

How do you make the perfect cup of Iced Coffee at home?

2004411537A couple of years ago I wrote a satirical piece discussing my love for coffee.  I still love it, but I think, like with wine, my brain gets better with age.  Now that I am an entire two years older I can tell you that my true love goes to the Baristas and other people who make my coffee.  That includes myself when I make it from home. Well, I shouldn’t go that far.  It includes myself when it comes to every other cup of coffee I attempt to make for myself.  My ability to make a gold star cup of coffee is not very consistent.  Why is it so difficult to make the perfect cup of coffee?  Yes, I do use the cheapest drip machine possible.  It’s a standard 5 cup machine, although it barely pumps through all 5 cups of water I pour into the tank to make the coffee with. No matter what I do, even if I do the same routine 5 days in a row the coffee comes out differently every day. My first issue has been figuring out how much coffee to put in.  I have a tablespoon size coffee scoop and I put between 6 and 7 scoops of ground coffee into my filter. It comes out pretty good, but strong.  The other issue is that I drink iced coffee 90% of the time.  What do you do with that? Do you have to adjust the recipe to account for melted ice in your coffee? Ahhhhhh why is this so confusing? My homemade iced coffees always seem to come out lukewarm, kind of like drinking bitter bathtub water. It’s just not pleasant on top of never adding the right amount of coffee and water into a machine that doesn’t pump all the water in its tank through the coffee grounds and filter then into the coffee pot.  What, what, what do I do? This may all sound trivial to you.  Especially since I have written a lot about serious topics lately like teachers who make inappropriate decisions involving their high school aged students. None-the-less, you try looking me in my tired and baggy eyes at 8:00 am to tell me all of this coffee dilemma is trivial. I get it. Kids are starving all over the world.  People are homeless. Some people have no access to health care.  I honestly get it.  Obviously I get it, I’ve dedicated the past 6 years of my life to working for nonprofits in all of those areas.  Regardless, we all have our problems and bad coffee happens to be mine this morning. images (3)That’s why I view people who I can buy coffee from as my newest best friend.  I’d bow at their feet and kiss their shoes if it meant getting a better cup of iced coffee in the morning than I made myself today. The only problem with depending on these coffee-making friends is that it’s expensive to buy your coffee everyday.  Whenever you read articles about personal finance and cutting back expenses it seems one of the things mentioned is cutting out buying coffee everyday from places like Starbucks. It’s true, it’s just expensive. Not to mention, I don’t really need new friends. I just need to learn how to make iced coffee that doesn’t suck! Luckily I came across an article on Runners World titled Three Ways to Make Iced Coffee At Home.  I kid you not, when I came across this article and read the title I think I heard angels singing. If there is one thing I know to be true is that runners know coffee well.  Runners, like many competitive athletes, have to wake up extremely early in the mornings to run.  This is particularly true when it comes to racing. Runners need coffee just to get up to enjoy their hobby of running. Of course the article first mentions, “you could just throw some ice in your mug, but that leads to lukewarm, watery coffee. Don’t do it!”  Woah, okay Runners World. Way to speak directly to me! So I will try their three suggestions:

Option 1 You need a standard coffee maker, ground coffee, water and ice. Brew your coffee twice as strong as usual (issue with this is that I don’t really know how much coffee I usually use…). Use the same amount of grounds and half the amount of water. When it’s done, pour it into a mug and load it up with ice. The first cubes will melt, bringing the coffee to room temperature and diluting it. Once you have some cubes that aren’t melting, it’s cold and ready to drink.

Option 2 Apparently takes a couple of hours.  You need a standard coffee maker, ground coffee, water and at least one ice-cube tray. Brew a pot of coffee as usual. Pour the coffee into the ice cube tray and freeze. Use these in standard-brewed hot coffee to cool it down without diluting it. Keep in mind that you’ll need quite a few to cool down hot coffee and will end up with more coffee once the cubes have melted.

Option 3 Sounds like something I won’t even attempt.  They say you need a Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker*. Nope, the point is to use what I have already so I won’t bother with this.

Oh goodness. I think I have an addiction to coffee. It’s gotten that bad! hillary-clinton-starbucks


Not Ready to Make Nice with this goal – Coffee is just my addiction

I just can’t help myself.  For the first time in a long time I am writing one of my “song of the day” blogs.  If you aren’t familiar with these let me give you a brief background.

Last year when I was faced with a divorce I had to find a way to channel all my emotions.  I tried everything!  I walked two miles to work and two miles home everyday as well as daily runs to try and increase the amount of exercise in my life at the suggestion of my mother.  I tried drawing, but then remembered it’s not one of my strongest skills so I ended up just being frustrated.  From there I tried spending more time with friends, which was beneficial but at the same time didn’t allow me to reflect on my feelings.  That’s when I remembered how much music has been a positive part of my life since birth.

My mom is an amazing trumpet player.  I’ve grown up listening to her play off and on for as long as I can remember.  My father plays the trombone which I followed in his foot steps and played for seven years.  My sister also played trumpet.  My brother plays piano and sings incredibly.  He actually does backup on major Christian Rock CD’s from time to time.  As a family we have always sat around the house blasting music and singing along. I mean that we did this daily.  I know it sounds strange, but music always connected us. From there I got into dancing and color guard.  Both of which allowed me to express myself through dance and music.

With that in mind I realized that in addition to the many things I was already doing, it was a good idea to do something involving music to channel my energy.  That’s when my friend suggested I start writing blogs with every post relating to a song.  After that simple suggestion my Song of the Day blogs began and proved at the time to be very beneficial when it comes to the goal of channeling my emotions.

Over the past year however, I have transitioned away from these postings, but not completely.  Today I am writing about a song that has graced the pages of this blog more than once, Not Ready to Make Nice by the Dixie Chicks.

sleeping beautiesWhy am I choosing this song?  I felt it necessary to share with you where I stand with my fight against coffee and a transition to a healthier lifestyle, which I wrote about yesterday. Today, I’ve decided I am not ready to make nice with this decision!

I woke up this morning after a restless night feeling even more exhausted than I did yesterday.  After clawing my way out of bed and dragging my body to the shower I started thinking as the water splashed down upon me, “what can I do to wake up?”

I ran 4 miles the night before so exercise was out of the question, not to mention I was running behind schedule this morning. To figure out what was left I mentally reviewed the alternative natural things that can help energize me in the morning.

First I popped a multivitamin, but realized that was pretty pointless considering the level to which I was exhausted.

After 15 minutes of waiting for that to kick in I realized how ridiculous I was being.  I’m exhausted! Green tea or natural energy products just won’t cut it so I caved.  In a defeatist move, I set up the coffee pot and started brewing my delicious cup of my favorite pick me up.


Next I decided to try Mio Energy, a liquid enhancer that you add to water. It contains 60 mg. of caffeine per 8 fl oz. serving and provides 10% of your daily value of vitamins B3, B6, and B12. It has no artificial flavors and zero calories per 8 fl oz. serving.

Then I realized how guilty I felt for failing one day after saying I was finally going to attempt to stop drinking coffee.  What a rough addiction to quit, and don’t kid yourself! Coffee is addictive and hard to kick.

With that all explained, I find myself not taking a step forward today.  Tomorrow is another day and I will try my hardest to stay away from the warm embrace of a cup of coffee, but in the meantime this failure got me thinking. Maybe I shouldn’t just be looking at ways to energize myself in a healthy manor, although I am proud of myself for taking on this transition and starting to exercise more.  Maybe it’s time I look at what is causing me to wake up so exhausted and not sleep through the night?

I may not be ready to make nice with my plan to cut out coffee, but I will keep fighting until I am living the healthiest lifestyle possible.  The day I walk into my cardiologist or gastrologist and am not given strict instructions to change things about my diet like coffee will be the day I know I have been successful.

Fighting a case of the Mondays


Waking up on a Monday morning is the same for me no matter what coast I am living on. It’s simply brutal.  The alarm clock goes off and I instantly groan.  Within seconds, but rarely feeling like it is quick enough for my liking, my boyfriend hits the snooze button. We then cuddle until the alarm sings out a second time, then a third and often a fourth time.

57437109Finally, that awful announcement rings out one last time telling me I am pushing my luck and need to stop allowing that snooze button to be pushed. From the side of the bed with its mocking instrumental song that I swear would be saying this if there were lyrics to it:

It’s Monday, it’s beautiful, get up off your butt you lazy fool. Look at me, I am as chipper as I am every other morning of the week as should you be!

I always wish I can just set the alarm clock on fire and roll back over, but without a second thought, I roll over as my boyfriend hits the snooze button a last time. It’s Monday after all so I guess I have to get up!

After 45 minutes of this snooze button routine I find the strength to pull my body out of bed and stumble to the bathroom. As I approach the mirror I am immediately thankful that I took my contacts out the night before, the first time I had taken them out in over a month, because my morning mess of hair isn’t fully visible to me as I stand in front of the mirror.  I know I have to look like a tragedy and that’s the last thing I need to witness when tired and grumpy!

The typical Monday anxiety swept up and down my chest as if I was about to go over a drop on an old rickety wooden roller coaster and I thought once again to myself, “well shit, another Monday”. Then stepped into the shower to wash the weekend fun off of me and out of mind so I could focus and start the week with a clean slate.

Trying to make it through my morning routine often seems impossible. I guess the shower doesn’t clean my mind well enough because I tend to still be dragging after.  This morning in particular I dragged as much as I could without making myself late to the office.  It’s strange because yesterday consisted of nothing but resting and relaxing. You would think I had set myself up for the perfect Monday morning, but it’s almost as if nothing I do can get me past a “case of the Mondays” as they would say in the movie Office Space.  It’s the same for me on every coast of the United States and across the world for that matter. I’m just not a morning person regardless of timezone or circumstances.

Knowing that I was screwed if I didn’t take action to combat this vicious case of the Mondays I decided I would treat myself to a Starbucks grande coffee. My magic weapon against my Monday morning exhaustion.  On my way into the office I swung by Starbucks and grabbed just that.  A nice, steaming cup of coffee with a splash of soy milk and a dash of Sweet N’ Low.  It’s like a warm embrace for my throat as I took my first sip. A smile came to my face with every sip that flooded between my lips, past my tongue and down my throat into my stomach.  It didn’t take long for me to feel the rush of caffeine as it seeped into my bloodstream.

The first few sip hit my lips like a charge of electricity.  I knew my Monday wasn’t going to be totally awful after that.  Coffee was in my hand.  With no care in the world when it comes to the fact that my cardiologist, general practitioner, psychiatrist and therapist have all told me to cut back or cut out completely the amount of coffee I drink I just walked to my car sipping away at my bitter, dark and luxurious happy juice.

As I approached my car, a sexy Jeep Grand Cherokee, I placed the paper Starbucks coffee cup on the roof and opened the door.  Heaving my body into the driver’s seat I got physically situated and then reached my hand up blindly to grab my coffee.

Without more than a second of hesitation my hand found it as if the cup had a beacon calling for me to drink some more.  I pulled it into the Jeep and started to place it in the cub holder closest to me when all of a sudden my hand was drenched in hot black liquid.

My eyes darted down to see that some how the cup had gotten squeezed.  The cap Coffee Cuppopped off and coffee exploded from the cup as if it was lava bursting out of an active volcano.

How the heck was I supposed to deal with this? I found some tissues and soaked up as much liquid as I could and then thought to myself, “maybe this is a sign?”

As I mentioned, countless medical providers have told me to either cutback the amount of coffee I drink each week or cut coffee out of my diet completely. From my cardiologist to my gastrologist to my general practitioner to my psychiatrist, no medical provider left the coffee stone unturned. apparently coffee isn’t good for my heart, it’s not good for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) which I have, it isn’t good for people with anxiety and in general it is a good idea to not drink a ton of coffee on a regular basis.

Having this in mind both before I purchased the coffee, after I purchased the coffee and while I looked at my spilled coffee all over my Jeep I had one thought come to mind, “Is this karma?”

Coffee was a thing of New York for me.  I use to drink it by the gallon, grab a cup every morning with friends and a refresher every afternoon. Here in California though, the people I surround myself with have been advocating for me to try more natural alternatives to coffee.  Maybe it’s time I find a new secret weapon against a case of the Mondays. There are plenty of ways to energize myself in the mornings including:

  • Exercise: I’ve been trying to run in the mornings, but goodness knows my inability to wake up on a regular day has prevented me from waking up early enough to run on a running day.
  • Water: Drinking tons of water is supposed to help with energy so I have increased the amount of water I drink each day 10 times over.
  • Green Tea:  Green Tea actually contains a large amount of caffeine so you can get that caffeine jolt with out the coffee shakes.
  • Multivitamin’s: Apparently these are supposed to help give you energy, but I don’t notice it in the instantaneous way I do with coffee.
  • Wheatgrass Juice (and Green Smoothies): This is a natural source of energy containing tons of vitamins, minerals and other things to help energize your body.  Tons of my colleagues drink wheatgrass juices and other green based smoothies in the morning.  I’ve tried it once or twice, but still need to give it a fair shot.

There are many other alternatives, but these are some of the ones that are most mentioned to me.  Maybe it’s time I take the next step forward with getting my feet on the ground here in LA and kick the coffee habit I developed in NYC.  I have a feeling Green Tea would stain less if I absent mindedly spilled it all over the car in a half-asleep state of mind like I was in tonight.

What’s your favorite remedy for Monday exhaustion?

Mister Coffee

All my emotions and thoughts are tied into one thing leaving me at a loss of what to write about today.  So I am left with nothing else to do but write about one of the best friends I have had since college.  Who?  Well Mr. Coffee of course.

Yes, I am talking about the drink and no I am not crazy.  Let me tell you a thing or two about my dear friend Mr. Coffee.  Coffee has been there for me since I was reintroduced to a steaming hot cup in 2004 (I say reintroduced because I tried some here or there in my youth and hated it).  That’s right, like many people, I didn’t like coffee when I was young.  Then I went off to college and all of a sudden I embraced all things bitter in life.  Seriously though…. mmmmmmmm yea, Coffee.

That first cup came to me the night before an exam.  I needed support from somewhere to encourage me to pull an all night study session even though I was beat.  Someone, I don’t remember who now, placed a cup of coffee in my right hand.  I was desperate, so even though I hated coffee I placed the rim of that cup to my lips and let the first sip drip into my mouth.  It was like heaven on earth.  It was like a warm hug for my tongue as the bitter, and yet sweet, liquid splashed inside my mouth.  Then it seeped down my throat like a whisper of encouragement saying, “you’ll make is sweetie, just keep studying.”

Let’s cut the crap, Mr. Coffee is one of the best friends you could ever have.  He is supportive to the core!  Have no doubt, ff you’re having troubles sleeping Mr. Coffee will be there for you first thing in the morning to perk you up.  If you have to stay up later than your body will allow, you can count on your dear friend Mr. Coffee to stay up with you.  If you are cold and need something hot to warm up your insides once again your friend Coffee is there.  If you are hot and need something refreshing you know Mr. Coffee will step up to the plate and jump into some ice just to cool you right down.

I have to ask, Mr. Coffee, why are you so good to us?

Now, don’t take your friend coffee for granted.  It’s a relationship of give and take of course.  You can’t just walk out of bed and have a cup in hand (depending on the machine you use to make it of course).  No, you have to set up your french press or coffee maker, but it’s worth it.  All true friendships are about give and take… right?  Make sure you give in this relationship and make the effort because when you get back from your friend Coffee life is just so good.

As that black liquidy goodness pours down the back of your throat you know you are in for a treat.  From the flavor to the after effects of spending some time with Coffee… You know his support will stick around throughout the day and if need be he can pay a second or third supportive visit.  Any day you wake up thinking you will not make it through the day and every time you start to crash down your dear friend Coffee can be there.  Coffee really is like a superhero.  (Don’t judge, someone had to say it).

So to summarize, when you need help or support to get through the day listen to what we all learned as children.  Turn to your friends for support.  And in this case turn to your good friend Mr. Coffee.

Disclaimer – please don’t take me seriously. I am delusionally tired at the moment.

Song of the Day – I’m So Tired by the Beatles

Song of the Day – I’m So Tired by the Beatles

After a handful of consecutive nights without much sleep I felt it only appropriate to post this song as my song of the day.  The only meaning behind the choice is that I am so damn tired.  For the first time in over a week I actually took the time to make coffee this morning.  Without a little boost from my dear friend coffee I am sure I would be face down on my desk right now.  I am so damn tired.

Unfortunately this song is so slow it’s putting me to sleep! It’s the strangest feeling lately.  I am exhausted all day and wiped at night.  I lay down in bed, close my eyes and I don’t sleep.  If I do fall asleep it is in such a state of angst I get no benefit out of it. I am so tired.

Tonight I will attempt to use some aromatherapy to relax my mind before bed.  Then I will have a cup of herbal tea.  Most likely something like Yogi Tea’s Relax Mind Tea or Bedtime Tea.  Then when I realize that natural attempts at helping me sleep is all bull, I will go to the bathroom and take two of those little blue over-the-counter Tylenol PM pills that will help me doze off for one night of restful sleep.

In the mean time as we all drudge through our day, for those of you who are also tired, please enjoy an old classic from one of the greatest groups to ever walk the planet.  I’m so Tired by the Beatles.