Trader Joe’s Green Tea infused Mints

March 24th, 2015

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You can get your green tea fix in a 33 ounce tumbler covered with a Kup Kollar Grande called Lavender Hawaii. The cup wrap is designed with fabric I bought in Hawaii on a trip to learn about tea farms.

Or you can get your tea fix with a colorful tin full of Trader Joe’s Green Tea infused Mints. These mints aren’t flavored but infused with matcha green tea grown on single-estate tea farms in Japan.  Green tea extract, pure peppermint oil, cane sugar, and honey are added to the finely milled green tea powder to make these lovely mints.

I love the subtle taste which isn’t overly sweet. The mints don’t leave an aftertaste in your mouth.  I keep my tin next to my computer for a splash of minty antitoxins the first time I sit at my keyboard!


Herb Tea Echinacea from Japan

March 22nd, 2015

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My daughter Colleen gave me Herb Tea Echinacea when she came home from Japan. She knows I take Echinacea tablets if I feel a cold coming on. She also chose a tea cup for me with colors that I love.

The Echinacea tea has a mild celery taste. I stirred a splash of raw honey from a local bee keeper into the mug for more health benefits. The Kup Kap keeps the tea hot so I can sip it. Slowly drinking hot Echinacea tea is much more fun than swallowing tablets!


High Protein Brownies recipe from Trader Joe’s

March 11th, 2015

After tasting Trader Joe’s yummy Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans, I checked their website for a recipe using the espresso beans. I found High Protein Brownies which is like no brownie recipe I have ever baked.

Organic Black Beans? No flour? All ingredients mixed in a blender? It was so unusual I had to bake some. A five minute prep time had the pan in the oven quickly.

They’re moist and very fudgy. The texture is a combination of smashed beans and cake.  I tasted chocolate first, coffee next, then a slight flavor of black beans. Top your brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream for an even tasty dessert!


Cropped photo from Recipes on Trader Joe’s web site.

High Protein Brownies

1/3 cup TJ’s Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

1 can TJ’s Organic Black Beans, drained and rinsed

3 TJ’s Large Eggs

3 Tbsp TJ’s Grapeseed Oil

1 tsp TJ’s Vanilla Extract

3/4 cup TJ’s Organic Sugar

1/4 cup TJ’s Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 tsp TJ’s Baking Powder

TJ’s Canola Oil Spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan with canola oil spray. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Serves: 12 – 16


Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans

March 8th, 2015

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You can get your caffeine fix in liquid form or in a solid form. I call Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Espresso Beans “portable coffee” easily carried and stored. When you pop one in your mouth, you’ll taste chocolate then coffee when you bite into it!

These espresso beans were made by using the panning process. The dark roasted 100% Arabica coffee beans are covered with hundreds of layers of rich dark chocolate which is finely sprayed onto the beans in huge copper bowls. The tilted bowl turns like a rock tumbler and makes the candies shiny.

Only $4.49 will get you a 14 ounce tub of kosher certified Dark Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans at Trader Joe’s!


Where to find Girl Scout Cookies

March 5th, 2015

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The first Girl Scout cookies were baked in their families’ kitchens under the supervision of their moms. In the 1920’s and 30’s, one dozen cookies cost 25 – 35 cents. Today ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers are licensed to produce the cookies for the annual sale. There are eight different kinds including vegan cookies.

If for some reason you can’t eat the cookies, buy for gifts or donate cookies to a community senior center or teen center for their next event. Your support = her success!

Click the link to learn the nearest locations to buy cookies.


Girl Scouts Cookies – Thin Mints and Do-di-dos with peanut butter

March 1st, 2015

There are 3.2 million girls and adults grateful to Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low, who gathered 18 girls from Savannah, Georgia, on March 12, 1912, for a local Girl Scout meeting. The girls and teens have been learning goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics selling cookies for over 100 years.

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Girl Scout cookies are on sale in Colorado Springs, Colorado this week. I keep my mint cookies in the freezer so I don’t eat the whole box at one time!

To find locations in COS or your location, click the link, put your zip code into the search box, and read a list of times and places the cookies will be on sale. Remember they aren’t sold year round!


Exploring Old Town Alexandria, VA

February 26th, 2015

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Leaving the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria, I walked along the waterfront and discovered Founders Park. The shadows were getting longer and the air cooler.


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I bought a hot tea take-out and slipped on my cup wrap. Pulled my gloves out of my coat pockets and slipped them on my hands. My drink and hands stayed warm!


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Old Town Alexandria has a trolley that gives free rides to visitors up and down King Street.

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I like to walk the cobblestone streets for a closer view of things and a pause now and then. On a side street I saw this dog who stood politely while I shot his photo. His owner told me he would recover from his head injury!

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As the sun dropped lower in the sky, I turned back towards the Metro Station. I had had a great day exploring Old Town.


Lori Katz ceramic teapots in Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, VA

February 22nd, 2015

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Why would you call a building that has over 165 professional artists working there, the Torpedo Factory Art Center? Because from November 12, 1918 until June 1945 workers in the building manufactured, maintained, designed, and tested torpedoes for the USA! The photo shows the Mark XIV torpedo made here in 1945. It was painted bright green so that the Navy could find it in the water when it was tested.

In 1969, Alexandria, VA city officials bought the building from the federal government. Five years later after many hours of hard work renovation and clean-up by artist volunteers and city personnel, the Torpedo Factory opened to the public.

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Many more renovations continued to improve the building for artists who have studios there. Over a million visitors a year see artists designing and creating beautiful works. You can also shop in the studios. I have purchased yarns, jewelry in various mediums, and ceramics.

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This is a Lori Katz teapot we bought in the Torpedo Factory. We met Lori and enjoyed learning about her process. There is a second cup and saucer colored opposite of the one in the photo.

The set makes a beautiful center piece setting for the dinette table when it’s not brewing our favorite tea. Our daughter calls it our Alice in Wonderland teapot set!


Spite House, a tiny house in Alexandria, VA

February 19th, 2015

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After reading about the Spite House on Queen Street in Alexandria, VA, I made this my first stop. The house is a landmark building and measures 7 feet wide, about 25 feet deep and is 325 square feet in two stories.

In 1830 the space where the Spite House sits was an alley between two homes. John Hollensbury, the owner of one of the homes, wasn’t happy with horse-drawn wagons going through the alley or the loiterers hanging out there. He built the tiny house to fill in the alley. One of the interior brick walls of the living room has gouges from wagon-wheel hubs on it.

Check it out if you are in the area but don’t knock on the door of the blue home because a family lives there!


Uptowner Café in Alexandria, VA

February 15th, 2015

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On a crisp autumn day, I rode the Metro from our hotel to Alexandria, VA to explore the area. Arriving at noon, I stopped in the Uptowner Café on King Street to eat lunch.


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I chose the Prince Street sandwich with white bread instead of a bagel. The spread was scallion cream cheese. It was filled with smoked turkey and fresh veggies. The iced tea was tasty. I packed my jack o’ lantern cup cozy for the trip because it was October. This excellent lunch was a great way to begin my day of exploration on foot!