Friday, September 30, 2011

A September Friday With the Forum

The office has been meeting on Friday's, enjoying speciality coffees for over a year.  In June we developed the Forum, choosing the mission of taste testing new products.  Our Friday Forum posts have been among the most visited.  In the past week there have been a slew of visitors, from Europe, across all the Friday posts.  We welcome anyone who enjoys a fun group, drinking beverages or eating to join us in our mission.  Leave a comment for us to share on Friday.

Coffee: It's a Group Thing

It's Friday: Sip, Nibble, Enjoy

Our 18 Cents from the Friday Forum

Taste of Texas Brewing: It Must be Friday

Friday Forum Catch Up   

 Here's what we've been tasting and thinking.

We worked through the H.E.B. Cafe Ole coffees I purchased on my last trip to Austin.  We finished with Texas Pecan, which M., in the middle, declared was her favorite of the bunch.  There are a couple more varieties left to try and I will be in Austin soon to make those purchases.

With the Texas Pecan V. provided three new varieties of Snyder and Rolled Gold pretzels.  Several of us agreed with V. who weighed in with this comment, "SNYDER’s Pumpernickel and Onion Pretzels should be provided by the state as a nutritional staple!"  We all wrinkled our nose at the sound of this flavor but it proved to be down right tasty.

Today's coffee has been a standard but N added, "
If I were Consumer Reports, I would rank today’s Eight O’ Clock Vanilla Bean coffee as a ‘best buy’. Really smooth and delicious – no flavored creamer needed to have a great vanilla taste!"

M., out front, thought, "The coffee today was Vanilla Bean and was fantastic! Went down smooth. We nibbled on candy corn, granola and kolache’.  I had never heard of kolache until we moved to Texas so I naturally thought it was a Texan thing, however I was incorrect. I googled it and found out that it originated from the Czech region. Either way, I ate one too many and they were delicious."

E was in agreement, "The kolache's were tasty! I loved the bread, warm and chewy!"

If you have a favorite treat, snack or coffee let us know, we'd like to give it a try. 
Here's hoping your Friday was a tasty one.

Pictures from:

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Treasures of the Heart #3

We are five weeks into the empty nest.  The Empty Nest Syndrome (ENS) has taken shape, for me, in quilting.  I've finished one, will finish another this weekend and have bought new tools to work on another.  

My Treasures of the Heart originated through Luke 2:51#1 and #2 explains.

Entry: 4/21/2005
Cleaning up papers brought home from 3rd quarter projects of 6th grade.  There was a blue construction paper star with TRUTH on one side and LIES on the other.  It says this:

Lies, the dark moldy infestation of Earth
They look like peacefulness of a hidden trap
They smell like the sour-sweetness of something rotting
It feels like the wet, slick feel of a leech
It tastes like old peanuts
It sounds like a scream

Truth, the bright, warm thing that cures the infestation
It looks like a bright star in the middle of the night
It smells like spring
It feels like a warm blanket
It tastes like moist chocolate brownies
It sounds like people cheering

L. is doing very well at school. D and I are keeping each other entertained but we'll have a nice set of quilts before the ENS subsides.
Pictures found at:

Friday, September 16, 2011

High School T-Shirt Quilt Complete!

Alright.  I'm raising my right hand, bending at the elbow and patting myself on the back.  L. is about to start his fourth week of college and I have completed the quilt made out of his high school t-shirts.   

Last November I made a quilt out of family reunion t-shirts to test out a serger my sister gave me.  My saying holds; "Have Serger will travel."

The pattern was modified as L. had so many t-shirts that I was able to piece both sides.  A summer weight blanket was used as the batting, cutting it into squares and assembling a completed panel.  A gold thread was used on the top stitch (high school colors were black and gold) to show on the serger side. 15 panels on each side made for the perfect dorm bed size.

 N. (a member of the Friday Forum) suggested that I use old jeans for the edging because what says teenager more accurately than jeans and t-shirts?  It took three pair of jeans to complete this edge.

There remains a stack of t-shirts from elementary through junior high waiting to become the next project.  The serger worked very well but with the batting and four sheets of fabric I was trying to put a bit more under the serger foot than it was designed for.  I'm going for a brighter and larger quilt on this next one and have found a Rag Quilt design that should fit the bill.

The final touch is in the lower left hand corner on the serger side.  Placing a kiss, including a prayer and adding a tag that says it all:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dating & Mating #7: Leave the Excess Baggage

We all carry emotional baggage.  The journey through childhood cannot be made without bags and adult life is a series of picking up extras.  When starting a new relationship the healthiest thing you can do for yourself, and the future of a new relationship, is to shed excess baggage.  If you cannot shed it then claim it, up front.  Be honest and forthright and explain to your new #1 what it is you are hauling around.

Excess baggage is most often packed with unmet expectations and unresolved anger brought on by thoughtless behavior and bad decisions; either our own or someone elses. Some bags are much larger than others but all of them are heavy and all of them, unless sat down, will adversely affect a relationship. Long term dating will eventually reveal excess baggage initially detectable through red flags.

Men and women carry their baggage differently. 

Women are generally more open and free with their emotions.  They expect friends, male and female alike, to be able to read their expressions and non-verbal signals accurately.  They are more willing to take, and abuse, prescribed medications.  Women will quietly and slowly allow their anger to turn into bitterness.

Men are much less likely to share their emotions and use a brooding silence as their primary, non-verbal signal.  In order to carry the heavy baggage men tend towards self-medication with alcohol, drugs and irresponsible sex.  Anger is expressed in outbursts that can be violent and destructive.

Few want to introduce their excess baggage because we THINK it will be a deal breaker.  If they know they won't like me.  If your baggage is a deal breaker your partner has a right to know before entering a committed relationship.  You are wrong to withhold information and you lose trust if they find out from anyone else but you.

You have only your baggage to lose.
Excess baggage should be resolved for your own good but especially for the good of ALL your relationships.  Help begins by asking for it.  Start with this book: Making Love Last Forever and then begin a study on the concept of forgiveness. 


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Friday Forum Catch Up

Several Fridays have passed, time to catch up on our product endorsement and coffee recommendations.  I made the trip to Austin recently and planned a stop at H.E.B. grocers to pick up A Taste of Houston, A Taste of San Antonio (this is a favorite) and Texas Pecan, all from the H.E.B. Cafe 'Ole coffee brand.  While in Austin we ate at the Magnolia Cafe and their coffee was so exceptional we made the trip across town to the supplier, Trianon Coffee, and purchased a pound of their Magnolia blend to share with the Friday Forum.

On the coffee front our Forum received approval to purchase a new brewing system which was installed and has made all the difference in brewed coffee flavor.  It is important that your coffee brews at the correct temperature, with good water, into a clean pot.  Thanks to those in charge for bringing the office coffee brewing system up to speed.

V. has been steadfast in providing yummy new samples to try and the Forum has spoken. 

N. says: Keebler Wheatables Nut Crisps Crunchy Cashew Crackers (that’s a mouthful of a name!)
These are delicious – perfect for when you come home from work a bit hungry and dinner is still 2 hours away. We’ve bought 3 boxes since trying.
Popcorn Indiana Kettlecorn Sugar and Cinnamon – light, crunchy, tasty; would be great for a party
World Table Dutch Caramel Cookies – I was massively unimpressed with these dry, slightly unpleasant tasting cookies.

C. remarked on the KettlecornYummy!! How many calories?

E. declares: “Love the kettlecorn! It is light and not too sweet. Perfect balance of sugar and cinnamon.” Along with M.M.: The popcorn was surprisingly good. Very rarely do I like to eat it but I actually enjoyed it!

And V. herself thought:
BLUE BUNNY Red Velvet Ice Cream … best specialty cake ‘infused’ ice cream out there. And despite the fact that Ben and Jerry’s (premium ice cream compared to Blue Bunny) also has a limited edition of Red Velvet Cake ice cream out right now, they don’t hold a candle to the Duff Goldman ‘Ace of Cakes’ inspired BLUE BUNNY version!

 Ritz Brown Sugar and Cinnamon … not sweet enough to stave off an attack of the ‘I need something sweet, and now’ moments. Very lightly sugared, and I couldn’t find anything to top one with that did anything for me …. Seems more suited to the recipes on the back of the box.

World Trade Dutch caramel cookies … look thin and VERY sweet, but not so. Really nice with my Saturday morning coffee.

Cinnamon; Sugar Kettlecorn by Popcorn Indiana … although you expect it to be kettle corn sweet, it’s not!! First thing you notice is obviously the light sweet taste and cinnamon, but you are also able to taste a hint of butter/salt in the background … it’s a beautiful thing!!

M added: The kettlecorn was light and satisfying…and nice that it is already popped. Convenient and satisfying.
Red velvet ice cream was yummylicious and would be dangerous to have in my fridge.

Here's hoping your Friday's are a pleasant experience.

Photo from: