Mid-week Meet n’ Greet

Lets get to know each other:
Share about your love of books and/or coffee/tea!
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Source: Cafe Meet n’ Greet:

Coffee Alternative

Heaven forbid you should need to stop drinking coffee,
tumblr_nm27bktiG71saq5fro3_500or
find yourself
without it!
However, if you had to drink something else, or if you just like to mix it up, what would you choose?

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A Brief Origin of Coffee

images (1)The earliest origins of coffee are from Ethiopia. There is not an exact history about how people started roasting and drinking “coffee” only legends and myths. However, it was originally viewed as a food. The Ethiopians chewed the plant for it’s obvious stimulant properties, and also ate the fruit raw (the pulp is sweet and caffeinated.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
They also pounded coffee cherries and mixed it with animal fat to mold into pellets. There are records that show the cherries were also used to make wine.

artists_thumbnailThe earliest use of coffee as a hot beverage entailed roasting the entire hull over an open fire and then mixing with boiling water for 30 minutes until a yellowish liquid came through.

9The drink stayed a green drink until aprx. the 13 century when they began to first dry the beans. With more  experimentation, the process was adapted further, and the practice of roasting formed.

22adf105-ebf0-4ca9-a446-e7a2789166dc Once coffee became the dried, roasted, and brewed drink we know it as today, it was mainly used for “medicinal” purposes and in religious practices. However, once it became increasingly popular, and a demand grew, the original coffee houses started opening.
Coffee-House1Persian cities became known for having stylish and elaborate coffee houses. They were reputed for serving coffee quickly and efficiently. They became famous social spots, where people gathered not just for coffee but also music, talking, and even dancing.

Turkish-CoffeeGradually the coffee house trend made its way to Turkey. The Turkish however drank just as much coffee in home as at coffee houses. This increased popularity and demand. By the 1600’s news spread and export and trade began throughout the Middle East; supplying Venetians and Europeans with beans.
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Eventually the coffee tree made its ways to the East Indian Dutch colony of Java. From there plantations started sprouting in neighboring colonies; Sumatra, Timor, Bali, and Celebes.

ExploreWithEd_FoodThrough the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee became popular in England as well. Oxford’s Queen’s Lane Coffee House, established in 1654, is still in existence today. Coffee was introduced in France in 1657, and in Austria and Poland after the 1683 Battle of Vienna, when coffee was captured from supplies of the defeated Turks.

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The coffee economy was therefor set in motion and began to adapt and increase  more and more, as it is still increasing even today.

A beverage as black as ink,
useful against numerous illnesses, particularly those of the stomach. It’s consumers take it in the morning, quite frankly, in a porcelain cup that is passed around and from which each one drinks a cupful. It is composed of water and the fruit from a bush called bunnu.

— Léonard Rauwolf, Reise in die Morgenländer (in German)

Heart Healthy Winter Drinks

Here are 10 comforting cozy drinks to sip on by the fire.
As a bonus they are heart healthy and easy on the waistline, in case anyone over-did the feasting 🙂

184832349Mulled Cranberry Cocktail

Simply flavor cranberry juice with a little ground cinnamon and cloves, bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer.

 

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Dark Chocolate Cocoa

Use almond, soy, or hemp milk – that is low in saturated fat. You can also use fat-free cow’s milk or 1 percent milk. Make your cocoa with dark chocolate, this is an added health boost!

 


Spiced Cinnamon Cider6a00d8358081ff69e20168e5ddf801970c-800wi

Wrap whole cloves and whole allspice in a small piece of cheesecloth and add it to a saucepan of apple cider along with a few cinnamon sticks. Set on a stove burner and turn the heat to low; the spices will bring out the flavor of the cider as it warms up.

Healthy Eggnog

In saucepan combine and heat a can of low-fat evaporated milk, light-eggnog_7-colorful-punch-recipes.jpgfat-free
or 1 percent milk, and nutmeg, let simmer for about 10 min. In a blender or mixer beat egg until light, gradually add it a little sugar till small peaks form. Gradually add milk mixture to egg mixture as it cools. Add vanilla extract at the end of the cooking process to ensure a vibrant vanilla flavor in your drink.

apple-cider-close-upHot n’ Sweet Ginger Tea

Simmer sliced fresh ginger in hot water for about 5 minutes. Strain out the ginger and add brown sugar and honey to taste. You could also add a little lemon juice to taste, and garnish with lemon and anise.

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Herbal Hot Toddy

Make toddies with eight herbal tea bags, a gallon of water, some chopped ginger, and a few cinnamon sticks. When it’s brewed, sweeten to taste with honey and add fresh lemon.

 

hot_milk_punch_cocktail_cinnamon_half_and_half_brandy_rum_tasting_table_test_kitchen_articleHot Vanilla Milk Punch

Use fat-free milk, unsweetened almond milk, or soy milk. Sweeten the milk to taste with a simple syrup. Once the punch is sweetened to your liking, heat it until very hot, then flavor generously with vanilla extract.
ladle into cups, and dust with a light sprinkling of ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon.

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Sweet Chamo-Adenline

Simmer equal parts apple, cranberry, and pomegranate juice until steaming hot, then pour over a chamomile tea bag in a large mug. Once it steeps for a few minutes, you can sweeten the drinks with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar.

images-1Cinnamon Ginger Brew

Simmer chopped and peeled ginger with cinnamon sticks in a pot of water for about an hour to make this sweetly spiced hot drink. Add agave to taste.

 

2011-11-13-orange-spiced-cider-final-500Hot Cran-Orange Wassail

Cranberry Juice, orange juice, and/or apple cider can be the basis of a wintery Wassai. Flavor with whole cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks. To heighten the spicy flavor and provide some color, add some red hots or cinnamon candies while you simmer the brew for an hour.

What’s your keep it healthy winter pick?

Courtesy of mealsonwheels

12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 8 of 12
A lovely tale of a girl with the audacity to seek out her dream

The Christmas Wish
by Lori Evert
A brave little girl named Anja wants to be one of Santa’s elves. So she leaves a note for her family and helps her elderly neighbor prepare for the holiday, then she straps on her skis, and heads out into the snowy landscape. From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa. This heartwarming story filled with extraordinary photographs is a special book for the
holiday season.
Rated 4.8 on amazon.com

applepiechaiBook Bean: Crisp Apple Chai
In saucepan heat up half water half apple juice or cider and simmer with green apple slices.  Add in Chai powder mixture or concentrate. Add mixture to blender and blend till smooth. Serve with garnish of apple and topped with whip and/or caramel, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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12 Days of Christmas: Mini Book-Beans for Children

literary-advent-6-edited-1DAY 2 of 12:
Candy Cane Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses

The Legend of the Candy Cane
by Lori Walburg & Richard Cowdrey

This charming and pious story about the origins of the candy cane is definitely a change of pace.
A stranger arrives in town one dreary November and begins hammering and sawing away at his newly rented storefront.


When a small girl offers her help, she’s in for a childhood fantasy-come-true, as it turns out all the shelves and counters are being built for a candy shop. After offering young Lucy gumdrops and lollipops, Mr. Sonneman launches into the history of the candy cane.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Candy Cane Cream
In a sauce pan heat up milk and vanilla extract. Add white chocolate and candy cane pieces (or candy cane Hershey kisses work marvelously.) Whisk together until smooth. d2bbd5ab8d46516ae7d69e94998c9279-edited
Add mixture to blender and blend until frothy. Add in a dollop of whip and blend (you can also whip up your own whip cream which is double delicious.) Serve with a candy cane to swirl in extra yum.

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WISO: Let It Snow

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This year I decided to stray from a few of my favorite Christmas reads and read some new books. I’ve had quite a number of them piling up in my tbr list and new ones pop up every year.


Here’s What I’ve Been Sipping on:

Let it Snow

Last week I stumbled across this book; a compilation of 3 short intertwined stories written by 3 popular author’s. The stories were well written and I liked how the stories intertwined. However, it was not necessarily my style book; it was too focused on teenage romance for my taste. Contemporary fiction (especially romance) is probably my least favorite genre, but still it was entertaining enough, and a quick read.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

“I may have been a complete lunatic, but I was a complete lunatic
with manners.
0e3f21ce-4da6-4d14-813a-31d56f918c51~Maureen Johnson

Book Bean: Peppermint Mocha – No Whip
One of my two go to favorite drinks this time of year


I am now reading :
The Christmas Sweater
by Glenn Beck.

I started reading a sample and decide to keep with it. So far it is very well written and has a very intriguing beginning. I am looking forward  to seeing how it unfolds.

“You can either complain about how hard your life is, or
you can realize that only you are responsible for it.”
~Glenn Beck

make-starbucks-eggnog-latte_coffee-step-10Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

Book Bean: Eggnog Latte/Cocoa – Extra spice 😉
The second of my holiday favorites, been drinking
a lot of these!


Click here for an update on The Christmas Sweater

What have you been sipping on?