Sunday, July 20, 2008

Little bit of country in the Golden State

I'm on vacation! I suppose if you'd managed to read my posts on my personal blog, you'd already know that. I'm certainly not hard up for COUNTRIFIED things to see and photograph around here in the old gold country of Calaveras County. Unfortunatly, most of those things are whizzing by me at 60 miles an hour (or rather I'm whizzing by THEM) so I'm going to work harder at doing the "PULL OVER HONEY!" maneuver to get some decent shots. I'd like pictures of my favorite subjects: Old barns, windmills, outhouses... oh wait, I got one of those.

This outhouse lived in the old gold mining town of Columbia in California. It's a beautiful drive to get there from nearly any direction, and there is lots to see for the kids. We didn't pay a dime for anything, except the sarsaparilla and a couple postcards.

Look what else I found. CHICKENS!!
Pretty little bunch of Dominiques hanging out enjoying the company. What a treat for the kids - they even had nest boxes you could spy into to see if there were hens laying or eggs left behind. Fun! My kids, who live with a ton (give or take) of chickens thought this was one of the best parts of our visit. It was a short lived visit, however, which I will explain further over at Tales from the Back Acher.
I also found this gorgeous old house with delightful gardens and the most peaceful picket fence ever. *sigh* Wouldn't you just want to live here for awhile??

Happy Summer everyone!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Kicking it up Coffee style

Summer brings about steamy weather, oven temp cars and hot mommas. One delightfully sinful way to cool off (for those of us that dream of Dutch Bros in our sleep) is iced coffee!

Here are some tips to make your own iced coffee not so BLAH and your insides go Hurrah! (Wow, that was a stretch.) It's the bomb, especially when you need your caffeine fix, but don't want to sweat through all your nice clothes with a steamy cup o'Joe in the afternoon. Plus, it's FRUGAL - as you're making less trips to the drive through coffee joint every afternoon for your addictions treats.

I have seen people just say to use leftover coffee from the morning. Go ahead - do that, if you want. It's certainly frugal and I applaud that! But in my case, the need for caffeine doesn't show up until it's too warm outside to have any hot coffee. Plus, it's a little too bitter tasting for me after I let it sit for a long time. So, I brew a double strength dose of the dark deliciousness and wait just a lil bit for it to cool somewhat. If you really plan ahead for this stuff, you can brew it the night before, and let it chill overnight in the fridge. Just don't ever set your hot pot of coffee directly into the fridge. Better yet, make coffee ice cubes. If you like sweetness, then add sugar or dry creamer only when it's still hot. They will not dissolve into cold coffee later (artificial sweeteners will do fine in either).

When you're ready for a tall glass of HELLO I LOVE YOU, you pull out a LOT of ice cubes (or your coffee ice cubes) and place them in a mason jar with a lid This makes it look much more country-glam while you mix it. Or, if you're hard up for time to find a clean jar and a lid, just put it into a tall glass.
The McDonald's coke glasses work really well for this drink. And, they're summer looking. Plus, they were free with the purchase of an extra value meal. I have extra value hips right now, how about that?

If you'd like, you can put in a little milk, liquid creamer or flavored syrup now. I like to do this before adding the coffee because it's just cool like that and it's easier to blend. I'm using Creme Brulee today because it's OOOHHHH MY GOSH GOOD.

Then, pour coffee over the top of everything and mix well or shake it up. If you're using a jar, don't forget to put the lid on before that very last direction. If you don't, your feet will have an iced coffee bath. Which, at the moment, doesn't sound so bad really.
Here's one more just for effect. Mmmmm!!

After everything is perfectly mixed, blended or shaken, remove the lid and drink directly from the jar pour your beverage into tall glasses and over more ice if necessary.

Enjoy your iced coffee! And, enjoy all that moolah you just saved by making it yourself at home.

Totally Useless Fact:
Did you know that Farmers Union Iced Coffee outsells Coca Cola in South Australia??
Hey, I can see why.