Peppermint Mocha Soap

Peppermint Mocha Soap 1

When the cold weather hits, you can almost always find me with a hot beverage in hand – cider, tea, hot chocolate and nearly any type of coffee concoction. One of my favorite wintertime treats is the peppermint mocha. It’s the perfect drink to kick off the Christmas season – chocolatey, minty and needlessly caloric. What more could you ask for?

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Farm Wanderings at Heritage Prairie

Last week, I shared over at FOLK Magazine & Blog about my recent wanderings at Heritage Prairie Farm. I thought I’d share a few more pictures from my visit. They have so much great stuff I just couldn’t squeeze it all in one blog post!

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Creative & Simple Entertaining Ideas

Last Saturday, Tiffany and I hung out with my brother and sister-in-law at their open house for FreshGround Roasting. We had a blast preparing appetizers, decorating and learning about coffee. One of the things that I loved was how my sister-in-law, Krista, set out the food. We had hearty appetizers, local cheeses, amazing cupcakes from The Sugar Path and fresh fruits and veggies. Krista used vintage and household items to make the spread look as good as it tasted.

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Offbeat’s Picks: Know Hope Burlap Bags

It’s no secret that I love all things coffee—coffee ice cream, coffee décor, coffee soap…and of course, coffee beverages. This past summer, my coffee-roasting brother invited my husband and I to attend CoffeeFest with him at Navy Pier in Chicago. Let me think…an entire convention dedicated to the love and art of coffee?! I’m in!

I definitely enjoyed watching some master baristas and chatting with quite a few coffee connoisseurs, but the coolest find was from an organization called Know Hope. We walked up to their booth and found awesome bags, journals and wallets made out of recycled burlap coffee sacks donated by roasters.

I love a good upcycled product as much as the next DIY blogger, but the best part about these bags is how they help kids in need. Know Hope is a registered 501c3 non-profit organization and the proceeds from their products are donated towards serving children around the world by providing food and humanitarian relief.

Who knew you could do so much good with some old burlap?

Coffee Cupping and a Giveaway!

Have you ever stopped to truly taste your coffee? I don’t just mean taking a sip and commenting on whether you like it or not. I mean taking a sip and being able to identify whether it tastes citrusy, chocolatey, floral or earthy. Pondering how the coffee feels in your mouth and how the aftertaste differs from the first note of flavor.

Welcome to the art of coffee cupping.  Coffee cupping involves observing the taste and aromas of a cup of coffee. This practice is what the pros use for quality control as well as determining how to roast specific types of beans and creating blends. Even if you’re not a coffee expert, learning the basics of cupping will take your morning beverage routine to a whole new level.

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Ditch the Drip & Perfect the Press

So it seems like we’re unintentionally running with the coffee theme these last couple days! Between Tiff’s AMAZING soap recipe and the tutorial for today, I think it’s time to stock up on some coffee beans! Well, it’s always time to stock up for me…I just can’t get enough coffee! (Can you tell I’ve already had too much today!?)

Anyway, I’ve got to tell you my EXCITING news. I’ve reached a monumental moment in my coffee life. I’ve ditched the drip! Despite the fact that my drip maker has a wonderfully convenient timer that will automatically start brewing my morning addiction before I even make it downstairs, the reality is that’s it’s just not my favorite way to make coffee anymore.

My hubby and I have enjoyed experimenting with different brewing methods, and one that I love is using a French Press. You’ll get a bold brew that really highlights the natural flavors of the coffee. You can also get a press that makes a great looking pitcher. You’ll definitely impress your dinner guests when you pour this at your table!

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A Recipe for Cafe Soap!

We had a soap party last weekend! A few friends came over and we spent hours melting, mixing, pouring, and having a blast. Coming up with soap recipes and creating them with friends are probably the 2 most enjoyable things about soaping, other than using your very own homemade bar for the first time!

One of the new recipes we tried out was for a coffee soap with jojoba oil. This soap is made with a double-strength coffee base instead of water, used coffee grounds as an exfoliant, and jojoba oil for its great nutrients and skin conditioning properties. We cut the bars last night and now we’re impatiently counting the days until they’re finished curing. We’re really excited to gift these when they’re ready – that is if we don’t end up hoarding them all for ourselves…

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Offbeat’s Picks: Coffee

Ever since high school, I’ve been a coffee drinker. I was the 16 year old who always had a cup o’ joe in hand when the first bell rang. I even convinced my first period teacher to let someone run to Dunkin Donuts each morning so they could bring back coffee and breakfast for everyone in the class. We all rotated who was on “pick-up” duty and enjoyed a bagel sandwich and coffee while studying Music Theory. Oh the perks of being at a small school.

Anyway, in my youthful innocence (hah!), I simply knew I liked coffee and had to have it every morning to stave off that headache. But I didn’t really know about coffee. Now ten years later (yikes—didn’t really realize it was that long ago until I just did the math!), I’d like to think I’m ten years older and wiser—at least as far as my morning beverage choices.

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