Post #60 – What I can’t say no to

 

Tree reflection in water

Good blogs, great books, fresh black coffee, lattes, writing, long conversations with friends, laughing, cardigans, black v-neck tees, sweet flats, traveling, learning new languages, baking, trying new recipes (especially from Espresso and Cream), taking pictures, experimenting with my camera, etc. … the list goes on and on.  I love all of these things!

But what I can’t say no (or at least I haven’t been able to say no to yet), is a cranberry orange scone.  I know, I know… scones aren’t the healthiest pastry on the planet.  But I just can’t say no.  I love them!  It’s ridiculous, but true.  I love cranberry orange scones.  I blame Starbucks for this since I first got introduced to them at Starbucks.  Oh well… such is life.  I suppose there are worse things to not be able to say no to.

What can you not say no to?

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Post #55 – What do I want to eat right now?

So there may be some benefits to blogging when I eat my breakfast.  You know, like being more consistent since I do eat breakfast every day.  Also, getting my post done early so I don’t have to think about it later when friends want to hang out.  And last, but certainly not least, not having to think too terribly much about the topic, which is what happened today since the topic is what do I want to eat right now (and who would it be with)?

Though I am making a delicious breakfast consisting of a glass of milk, a cup of Espresso Roast coffee from Starbucks (brewed at home), a banana, and toast with melted peanut butter (which would only be better if it was crunchy peanut butter), that is not what I would pick if I could eat anything I wanted right now.  I would eat a cranberry orange scone with a grande nonfat latte at Starbucks with Lo.  That is what I want to eat and who I want to eat it with.  Since Lo currently lives in Portland, and I am broke and trying to eat more healthy food anyway, I will enjoy the previously mentioned breakfast.

One of my best friends Lo and I!

Since I don’t frequently get to purchase Starbucks’ cranberry orange scones, I recently decided to try my hand at making them at home.  Below is a fantastic recipe from Taste of Home.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 10 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup cold butter
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Glaze (optional):
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Orange Butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons orange marmalade

 

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, 7 teaspoons sugar, orange peel, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the cranberries, orange juice, cream and egg. Add to flour mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.
  • On a floured surface, gently knead 6-8 times. Pat dough into an 8-in. circle. Cut into 10 wedges. Separate wedges and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Brush with milk; sprinkle with remaining sugar.
  • Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack.
  • Combine glaze ingredients if desired; drizzle over scones. Combine orange butter ingredients; serve with warm scones. Yield: 10 scones.

 

Nutrition Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 331 calories, 17 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 65 mg cholesterol, 396 mg sodium, 43 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein.

 

 

Ka fei and kam pei

With the decision to change the name of this blog already made and executed, I still don’t know exactly what I am going to use this blog for.  I love it too much to let it die completely.  I’m debating using it as a free space to write whatever I feel like or actually focusing it.

For right now, I’ll use it to announce that I am going to write a book about my experience in China.  The working title is Ka fei and kam pei.  Which translated means “Coffee and bottoms up!”.  My book will deal with Western and Eastern interaction through my experiences.  I like it.  We’ll see what publishers think when I finish it.

That’s about it for now.  I’ll decide what to do with this blog soon.

Things I miss from the States

While it is amazing how similar life in China can be to life in the United States, there are few key differences as well, which is definitely to be expected of course.  The following is a list of things that I dearly miss in no particular order.

  1. COFFEE
  2. coffee shops, namely Starbucks (note they do have 1 in the entire Hunan Province, but it is 2 hours away)
  3. public libraries
  4. bookstores
  5. Twizzlers
  6. plain milk (all the milk here is flavored)
  7. kettle cooked chips, especially bbq chips
  8. toilets
  9. toilet paper and soap in public restrooms
  10. free wifi
  11. binding straightforward work contracts
  12. individualism
  13. tampons
  14. FRIENDS
  15. Mexican food
  16. Jed’s
  17. dryers
  18. soft mattresses (you can dribble a basketball on my mattress)
  19. unlimited access to the internet, including facebook, hulu, and youtube
  20. boneless chicken breasts (all the chicken in China has bones still in it)
  21. ground beef
  22. regulated traffic
  23. 8-5 work hours
  24. family
  25. evenly paved roads and sidewalks
  26. convenience and proximity to grocery stores and restaurants

These things I miss dearly!

On Simple Thoughtfulness

This morning I arose an entire half an hour early.  Why you might ask?  Simply to love and encourage a friend.  He was going to Starbucks around 8 am to get coffee before he had to be at work on campus by 8:30 am.  It was his first day at a new job that he felt totally unprepared for and was therefore nervous.  The small, insignificant catch is that I work at my internship for the Mid-American Review from 8-11 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So, when falling asleep last night, I had the brilliant idea to set my alarm a half hour early so that I could go to work at 7:30 then duck out for coffee from 8 to 8:30.  Mind you, I don’t particularly enjoy getting up before 7 am.  And before I leave for work, I have to make coffee, shower, and pack my lunch and snacks for the day.  So it takes me about an hour or so to get ready.  That being said, I set my alarm for 6, 6:15, and 6:30 this morning.  I got up, got ready, and actually was at work by 7:30am.

When 8 am rolled around, I wrote a quick note to my boss, in the off chance that he decided to show up before 10, and went to Starbucks.  My friend didn’t know that I was going to be there.  So when he walked in, he was pleasantly surprised to find me sitting there, waiting for him.  He asked why I was there, and I told him that I was there to give him an encouraging hug before work.  We chatted for a few minutes, then we each headed to our respective jobs.

Later that morning, I got a text saying that he really appreciated the encouragement and my thoughtfulness.  I was so glad that I had been able to be there for him and encourage him.  It was totally worth dragging myself out of bed early.  And it wasn’t even really that difficult.  Show up for a cup of coffee, which I always enjoy, and give a friend a hug.  Sometimes, it is the simple gestures that mean the most.  The everyday, common, little things that touch someone’s heart.  And the best part of it all?  It is really easy.  Just think of little ways that you would love to be encouraged and do them for the people you care about.  Simple thoughtfulness can make someone’s day.

On Caffeine Dependency

I will be the first to admit that I am most likely dependent, if not addicted, to caffeine.  Depending on how busy, no hectic, my day is and how much sleep I managed to get the previous night, I enjoy anywhere from one to eight cups of coffee each day.  Now, that may sound a tad bit ridiculous.  However, please realize that one cup is only 6 fluid ounces – not 8.  So, while my consumption of coffee is nowhere near a healthy moderation, it is also not as bad as it may intitially seem.

Recently, I have begun to wonder whether or not I am completely dependent on caffeine or if it only relative.  Could I go without caffeine, or at least with just one cup of coffee, for a day?  For multiple days?  Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I do occasionally go random days without caffeine – usually 2 or 3 at a time.  And to continue my honest admission, those days that I typically choose forgo coffee are also days that I am able to indulge in abundant nights of slumber.  But maybe that is the point.  I’m only dependent on artificial stimulants when I don’t allow my body to rejuvenate.  So I suppose the question has changed.  Will I take care of my body or allow myself to be dependent on artificial stimulants like caffeine?

Now, when I am taking care of myself and getting at least the required minimum of 7.5 hours of sleep, coffee has a completely different effect on me.  Instead of stimulating my body to function as normal, which means going nonstop for at least 12 hours, coffee stimulates my mind.  And I must disclose that I absolutely love it.  Adore it.  Everything becomes so clear in my mind.  My best, creative, intelligent work occurs when I partake in the deliciousness that is coffee.  Let’s just say – I love coffee.  Regardless of whether it is a physical or mental stimulant.