hot cocoa

Talking Shop…

coffee shop

This isn’t the “cleanest” post…you’ve been warned.

But I sort of have this obsession with coffee shops lately.  I am SO curious (nosy) and intrigued by what people order at their local coffee shop.  I asked some of my friends what they order and got some really delicious sounding responses. Alaya Sexton who owns my gym with her husband Chad isn’t a huge coffee drinker but when she does indulge at Joe Beans in Lynchburg she likes hers with a lot of cream and adds coconut flavoring.  I tried this recently and IT IS SO GOOD.  Chad on the other hand LOVES coffee and just takes his with a splash of cream.

Tiffany is a fancy at home coffee drinker.  She uses organic beans from Fresh Market and grinds them fresh every morning (#goals). She takes hers with a little organic whole milk or unsweetened almond or coconut milk.  Mary makes a tasty coffee drink at home on mornings where she needs something to fill her up for a while.  This is her concoction: Trager Brothers Coffee thrown into the Vitamix with a teaspoon of honey, a tablespoon of organic cold pressed coconut oil, full fat coconut milk, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pinch of turmeric!  They put me to shame!

Let me also say I have never been a huge Starbucks fan. Ever. BUT. The one down the street from my house has a drive through. I have a newborn. Enough said.  I also go to Joe Beans!  The staff is super friendly and helpful when I want to try something new (which is often).

I look forward to my coffee shop outing a few mornings a week. This emerging addiction has required some research however. Like with anything that I am consuming on a regular basis, I want it to be somewhat decent for me and know what’s in it.

At Starbucks I get a grande (or “medium” as my husband would say), iced (this may change with the weather), decaf (ughhhhh), soy (bear with me), single (I like it milky), latte. Why soy you ask? It’s the only organic product they have and it’s easier on me and my EBF son than dairy. It is sweetened which is not my preference so I never add syrup or sugar. I get decaf for now while I am nursing just in case but that will change one day.

Now, to eat! Hold the phone. The new Caramelized Banana and Dark Chocolate Oatmeal is unbelievable. AND not without the calories, crap, and sugar either. BUT it’s my treat once or twice a month. It is so good. Other mornings I grab a Kind bar at checkout or get the Classic Oatmeal.

My friend Jen taught me a trick. You can get your oatmeal prepared with steamed milk as opposed to hot water! AMAZING. My recommendation would be to get the Classic Oatmeal with steamed soy milk and add half the dried fruit (it is sweetened), all the nuts, NONE of the brown sugar, and a heavy dash of cinnamon (I learned the half fruit tip from Tiffany).

At Joe Beans I get a decaf soy milk latte with coconut flavoring (thanks to Alaya!).  They also have Umpqua Oats that make for a good quick on the go breakfast.

You may not care what I get BUT I am dying to know what and how you order!  Any coffee shop tips you can share with me?


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My latest addiction. Hot, energizing and delish.

Brewed Cacao blog

As Mary and I sat at Millie’s Living Cafe, our favorite place to eat in town –with work piled up to our ears–our computers and papers sprawled out taking up way too much space in this little cafe, our friend Dave (and owner of this amazing vegan restaurant) became our knight in shining armor.  He whisks up to our table (desk) and is carrying a french press and (trust me) we were immediately excited about some caffeine! As he started pouring we smelt something different in the air. This was NOT coffee. And so he began….telling us about this warm liquid. Brewed Cacao. He asked if we wanted some coconut sugar and coconut milk in it, we said no. We wanted to try it plain to get the true unadulterated flavor, even though we thought it would be extremely bitter and possibly a little nasty because we have tasted raw cacao (soooooo good in smoothies) and it is pretty darn BITTER. Not to insult this kind gesture, we take a sip. And then another. We giggle. Smile. Finish our cups. Then, we actually begged for more. It’s not just the flavor we loved, it’s how it made us feel. ENERGY. From what? Well, there are only small traces of caffeine so it’s not that. But whatever it was, we left there with a bag  for ourselves and a few more for gifts for our clients. We have had a cup every afternoon since.

So when I sometimes hit a 3pm Slump…..I brew up a pot. Even my 11-year-old has a cup with me. I just add a touch of organic milk to his cup and he feels all grown up like he’s having coffee with Mom.

crio bru brewed cocoa

So what is this stuff?

Crio Brü is brewed drink made from 100% cacao beans (also known as cocoa beans), roasted to perfection. Named after the most prized of cacao beans, the Criollo, Crio Brü will astound your taste buds with its complex chocolaty flavors and subtle aromas which come right from the cacao bean itself! It is 100% natural and 100% pure.

Crio Brü is the ultimate superfood. It is low in calories and contains no sugar, no fat, no dairy, no sodium, no cholesterol and practically no caffeine, yet is extremely high in antioxidants, theobromine and a host of other vitamins and minerals.

Crio Brü is both a new drink and an ancient one. Ka’kao was an everyday drink of the kings and peoples of the great Incas, Mayans, Olmecs and Aztecs for hundreds of years, but was changed when the Old World met the New. The incredible health properties of cacao are currently lost in the process of making modern chocolate, but with Crio Brü, they are preserved.

Happy Brewing…xoxoxo

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An Alternative to Coffee (ONLY IF YOU WANT ONE!)

I promise I am not going to try to take your coffee away, ever.  (Especially YOU Tiffany Tatom!)

But…if you’re looking for an alternative for whatever reason, I have one for you.  The last time I had coffee was in Puerto Rico the first week of May.  I had two cups of Puerto Rican (delicious) coffee but got SUPER SICK afterwards.  I am not sure if it was because the coffee I make at home is very weak and this was very strong or what…but I had to stay in my room, unmoving for almost half of the day.  I felt anxious, nauseous, and shaky.  My heart rate was up and I was altogether a mess.  Great way to spend a day in paradise!

So that scared me enough to seek an alternative.  I love tea of all kinds: iced tea, Big T NYC, hot tea, hot chocolate.  But none of those were really quenching my thirst for coffee.  I didn’t drink coffee for the caffeine like most (ALL!), I really just love the process of making my coffee in the mornings, adding a lot of my favorite cream and sugar, sitting in my office, and getting to work with a cup of something warm and tasty.

That something for me now is Dandy Blend.  After reading the reviews I was sold and ordered a HUGE bag on Amazon.  (Order it here).  It really is a large bag and I keep it in the freezer to maintain freshness.


dandy blend


What the heck is it?

Straight from their super informative website Dandy Blend claims:

  • It tastes remarkably like a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee, no brewing, dissolves instantly in hot or cold liquid.
  • It is caffeine free, and has no acidity or bitterness.  It is the only herbal coffee substitute in the US that features both the health benefits of dandelion root and the rich, full-bodied flavor, smoothness and texture of real coffee. Many say that, because it lacks bitterness and acidity, it actually tastes better than coffee.
  • It is made of water-soluble extracts of roasted roots of dandelion, chicory and beets, and the grains of barley and rye. Nothing else is added. While we make no claims for Dandy Blend other than that it is a delicious herbal beverage with the taste, body, and texture of coffee, the ingredients – dandelion, chicory and beet roots, and barley and rye grains – are all health-promoting foods respected throughout the world.
  • It contains no gluten. Gluten, which is comprised of proteins that are not water-soluble, is left behind in the grounds to be composted during the extracting process, leaving Dandy Blend gluten-free.
  • The sweetness some perceive in Dandy Blend is primarily from the fructose that occurs naturally in the roots of dandelion and chicory. Many people require no additional sweeteners.
  • It contains over 50 trace minerals in each cup, most of which the body uses to help synthesize compounds needed in metabolism.
  • There are no headaches or other withdrawal symptoms when switching from coffee to Dandy Blend. It is like switching from one brand of coffee to another. Most people generally can’t tell that they aren’t drinking coffee.
  • On top of all this, Dandy Blend costs as little as 7 cents a cup – less, on a per cup basis, than coffee, or instant coffee alternatives that do not contain dandelion.

Y’all, all I know is I combine equal parts of unsweetened coconut milk with water (about a cup each) and almost bring to a boil. Then I add coconut sugar and a little bit of coconut creamer.  Voila.  It is super tasty and sort of a combo of coffee and hot chocolate.  SO GOOD!  I SWEAR!

I don’t make this every morning but have a feeling I will make it a lot more as the fall and winter temperatures drop. So, again only if you WANT an alternative, give Dandy Blend a whirl and let me know what you think.

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HOT! Cardamom Milk!

So I get that it’s finally Spring and instead of warm, soothing, milky drinks you’re probably already craving fruity, iced, umbrella topped cocktails.  But this drink is so delicious, I like to drink it before I go to bed and it sometimes serves as my dessert year around!

Cardamom is one of my favorite spices.  It tastes exotic and has a hint of spice.  It is also loaded with health benefits.  It’s great for digestion, detoxifying your kidneys, fighting depression, and it is loaded with antioxidants.  You can read more about the health benefits of cardamom here.  Combined over heat with unsweetened coconut milk, raw honey, coconut sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of pink salt…it is heavenly and zaps your sweet craving.

Delicious Cardamom Milk
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Drink
  • 1½ c. unsweetened organic coconut milk (or whatever milk you prefer)
  • 2 tsp organic raw honey
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 12 heavy shakes organic cardamom
  • 2 heavy shakes organic cinnamon
  • 1 pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and stir occasionally until it almost boils. Pour into your favorite mug and sip slowly. Enjoy!


Like all of my “recipes” it is super simple, fast and delicious.  Tweak it if you like, but it is so good the way I make it, you may never change the recipe!



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