Foolproof French Press Coffee

I have been drinking a lot of coffee lately. I’m not entirely sure why, though I think learning code has something to do with it; my father was a software programmer, and he always drank coffee while coding. Also, I have several friends who are into coffee. Also also, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is second in coffee obsession only to Seattle (IMO).

Foolproof French Press Coffee

I like my coffee dark, and I like my coffee strong. Espresso: delicious. Espresso-based drinks: make it a double. Plain coffee: I expect to see grounds in the bottom of my cup. (I am not ashamed to add both milk and sugar.)

Drip machine coffee doesn’t do it for me. I try it, now and again, and I’m disappointed every time. Same goes for those fancy-pants pod coffee makers. I sampled a newer kind this month (rhymes with Toureg), and while it was indeed convenient, the coffee was too watery for me. Boo.

If your taste is similar to mine, give the French Press a try. There’s actually less set up and clean up than a drip machine, and if you do it right, the coffee tastes glorious. How do you do it right? Glad you asked!

  • Keep your grounds coarse. A French Press screen is more porous than a coffee filter and you want to avoid excessive sediment. (Bonus: some roasters have convenient French Press-sized grinds.)
  • Take your water’s temperature. The ideal water temperature for French Press coffee is 195-205°F. Colder water makes the coffee oily and limp; hotter water makes it bitter and acidic.
  • Use proper technique. Add coffee grounds to the French Press carafe, cover with hot water, cover, and let sit for 1 minute. Uncover, and stir. Cover, and let sit for 4 minutes. Slowly press handle down, and pour coffee into serving pot or thermos. The first minute allows the crema (that lovely caramel-colored foam) to develop; the subsequent four brew the coffee.

You can buy a French Press nearly anywhere these days: online, grocery stores, kitchen stores, big box stores… heck, Ikea sells them. If you’re looking to shake up your coffee routine, give this a whirl.

08. November 2017 by Deborah
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3 Quick and Easy Fruity After-school Snacks

Hello Everyone, and happy weekend! Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks that I love to eat after school. All of them have fruit in it and they are super easy to make!

Flavored Water: Yeah, fruits are sweet and juicy. But what about water? I try to drink 2 liters of water a day and to make it a bit more exciting for me I put berries in it. :)

Ants-on-a-slice: This is quite similar to the ants-on-a-log snack. I just spread out some peanut butter on an apple slice and sprinkled it with cranberries and chia seeds. You can basically put anything on these babies. And if you are allergic to peanuts you can use almond butter or even better… Nutella. :)

Yogurt: Greek yogurt is so good for you because it is contains probiotic cultures and is lower in lactose and has twice the protein content of regular yogurts. I love to top it off with any fruits I have and sliced almonds or granola and a drizzle of honey.

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a great rest of the week! What are some of your favorite snacks?

06. November 2017 by Deborah
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Different Solutions To Portable Water Heater For Coffee

I love coffee and I would hazard a guess that those reading my article probably feel the same way, which is why they are looking for tips on getting an awesome portable water heater for coffee.

Now, finding a portable water heater for my cup of Joe was a task I took seriously. I tried to look for several gadgets or pieces of equipment that could heat my water for me.

It took a lot of time and effort, but eventually I was able to find solutions to my problem.

Let me share with you some of the solutions that I found:

One of the best solutions I found for heating my cup, mug if we are being really technical here, of coffee is an immersion heater. An immersion heater is basically this small device that you dip into the cup of water in order to heat it.

Heating a cup of water with an immersion heater can take several minutes or so, which is a bit slow. That being said, the real beauty of this device is in its small size.

Sometimes I like to go abroad and sometimes the hotels I stay in dies not having anything I can use to heat water. Thanks to the miniscule size of the immersion heater, I never have to worry about going anywhere without something that can give me hot water.

Another good idea is using water heater for the kitchen sink to boil water and heat coffee because it would cost less in electricity than boiling 51oz of water on the stove each morning. A good tankless water heater make it easy to prepare coffee, tea or other hot beverages. There are inexpensive model that will heat up to 190 degrees for our coffee. Read tankless water heater reviews and make sure you have the best gas or electric model for your household.

Tips On Buying An Immersion Heater

There are only really two things that I can suggest for those of you who intend on getting an immersion water heater.

First, make sure that it has an auto volt feature. The immersion heater is great for long trips so using one that works with either 110 volts or 220 volts would be awesome.

Second, read the product feedback. There are plenty of generic looking dual voltage heaters out there and finding the right one can take some time and effort. My advice is to persevere because the effort will eventually pay off.

This is quite the quirky solution to my coffee needs. This product is basically a coffee mug that doubles as a heater that can be plugged into the outlet inside the car. All I have to do is make sure the mug is not empty and place it firmly in my car’s cup holder then plug it in.

The mug is quite convenient and great for those who find themselves always on the go but needing hot water for whatever beverage they might want.

Another portable solution is to use the kettle version of the product that I just described above. Basically, the kettle version is an improvement in the sense that it can carry a lot more water than the single mug. My only real issue with using a kettle is that it is quite big, which is why I only use it as a portable water heater for coffee when I’m using an RV for a camping trip or something.

25. July 2017 by Deborah
Categories: Coffee | Leave a comment

Coffee at the Apocalypse

I am not referring to the latest trendy coffee shop on the block. Sadly I find myself sitting at my regular spot at my local coffee shop in complete disbelief. Let me start from the beginning.

I start my day with a few exercises, stretches and some time spent upside down hanging by my ankles on my inversion table. Strange I know, but it helps ease my back pain, and somehow I like the upside down perspective it gives me on the world. After my “hang time” I usually stop for a coffee, read the news and take stock of the day before I head off to work.

Today is different. Instead of the regular news, updates and politics, I feel like I am in fact witness to the apocalypse. Ok, I know the news tends to be sensational and mostly negative, but what I see at the moment is ridiculous. I’m no conspiracy theorist or religious fanatic, just a girl staring in disbelief at what is going on in the world around me.

In my little corner of the world, Cape Town, yesterday started with storm winds of over 80km an hour. People were literally being blown away. On the other coast waves of over ten meters were spilling over the roads, washing away any people and debris in its path. On the other side of town riots broke out, and chaos ensued as people suffer from abject poverty and just plain disgusting circumstances. On the other side of the bay, a wildfire broke out, spurred on by the roaring winds leaving devastation in its wake.

I turned on the news only to see thousands more suffering and dying along the “Mother Ganges River” in India. Factories and industries along the river dump their toxic chemical waste into the water source that irrigates over 2500 hectares of crops and provides drinking water to thousands who live next to the river. I’m not just talking about a little pollution, members of every second household are dying from water poisoning or severe tumours.

Monsanto has got the world’s food supply in its grips, and most of us are being forced to eat foods doused with Roundup. Roundup is extremely poisonous and carcinogenic. Corporate greed and political mayhem are sowing devastation and destruction on every corner of the globe. Useless wars continue to rage displacing thousands of families.

And here I am in this ridiculous predicament, drinking my morning coffee watching “Apocalypse Now” rise up around me. Instead of being consumed by the helplessness of the situation, I suggest we recognise the beauty of this opportunity. In the wake of all the destruction let’s make use of the opportunity to create the world we wish to see.

Spend time in silence and send intentions of love and compassion to all those beings who are suffering at the moment. Treat your fellow beings with love and respect, we are all on the same ship here, regardless of your race, religion or creed. Be kind to the earth. We can do better.

18. March 2017 by Deborah
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Corona Cupcakes

This past weekend not only marked Cinco de Mayo, but it marked the first Cinco de Mayo that I’ve ever made anything Mexican to eat. It seems silly since Mexican cuisine has so many vegan and
vegetarian options to choose from, but that just means that this girl never needs an actual occasion to break out the refried beans. Seriously, I’d eat them for breakfast if nobody judged me
(oh, you won’t? Thaaaaanks). But realistically, my cravings for Mexican have never really coincided with the 5th of May. This year, with one of my oldest friends in town from Portland, I
decided to make a festive weekend out of it, and the obvious go-to ingredient for such festivities was Corona (sorry beans, another day).

Since I am somewhat of a cupcake connoisseur, I decided to combine this talent with the booze to make Corona cupcakes. Well, I’ll be honest, I’d also seen the recipe here previously, so I’m a lot less original than I’m leading you to believe. Although I accidentally over-baked these, we didn’t care–we ate them anyway to see if we could get cupcake-drunk. It didn’t work, though, because we failed to remember that we’d only used half a cup of Corona in the cupcake batter. All was remedied, however, by the fact that we still had 5-1/2 good, un-cupcaked beers left over, which we drank while basking in the non-sunlight of my basement apartment. We knew it was sunny above ground though, so it’s the thought that counts.


  • 1/4 cups + 2 tbsp Earth Balance butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup Corona
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • Lime wedges and sanding sugar for garnish (optional)for the frosting
  • 6 oz dairy-free cream cheese, cold (I used Tofutti brand)
  • 3 tbsp Earth Balance butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange/lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.Add eggs, beating after each addition then add the vanilla and zest.
  • Combine milk and beer and alternatively add this mixture and the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture with the mixer on low speed, starting and ending with the flour.
  • Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
  • When cupcakes are done, poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes with toothpicks and brush some beer on each while still warm.For the icing, cream together the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.Add the citrus juice and zest and gradually add the powdered sugar until well-combined.
  • Beat until smooth for about 2 minutes.
  • Load frosting in a piping bag fit with a large star tip and pipe cupcake tops once cooled.
  • My sincerest apologies for the ridiculous batter measurements in this recipe. It’s originally designed to make two batches of cupcakes, and required a lot of math skills to make the conversion. I kind of have a headache now, but I’d do it again for you any day. The moral of the story though is that you should just make 24 cupcakes and call it a day.
  • And get cupcake-drunk.

16. January 2017 by Deborah
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Rhubarb Crumb Muffins

Rhubarb Crumb Muffins
My first recipe post! And appropriately it is about muffins. Muffins get made pretty frequently in our household. Matt always requests them when I’m ready to get baking. They are easy to make and quick for him to grab on the way to work.

I had actually never tried rhubarb until I made this recipe. The vegetable (fruit? no, I think it’s definitely a vegetable) was a little intimating to me. But when I saw the fresh stalks in the grocery store I thought why not give it a shot.

These muffins turned out to be fantastic! Now they are now one of my favorite muffin recipes. Although, to be honest, they taste more like mini cakes then muffins. You don’t notice the tartness of the rhubarb at all. They are flavorful and buttery and delicious! And no, they probably aren’t the healthiest muffins out there, but they are great for a treat :) Definitely give them a try next time you see rhubarb in the store!

26. December 2016 by Deborah
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Pumpkin Gingerbread Muffins

Thank god for the weekend!

After a particularly stressful week at work (and yes, I’m only in week three!), all I could think about on a couple of those days was getting home to my apartment and de-stressing. And after surfing around through some of my favourite foodie blogs, I found the perfect medium to do just that. Spotlight on Angela Liddon’s (Oh She Glows) Pumpkin Gingerbread.

Every year around mid-september, I develop an obsession with pumpkin. So far I’ve made pumpkin cupcakes (2 batches), pumpkin soup, pumpkin lattes (still trying to perfect this one), and I’m nowhere close to being done with this delicious autumn vegetable. How can something so tasty be so good for you? Who cares, I’m in love.

Anyway, back to the gingerbread. Yes, it’s practically vegan (I used an egg), but it’s absolutely the best gingerbread I’ve ever had. The density and texture is perfect, which means it’s made it into my hall-of-fame recipe book full of tried and true concoctions. I would highly recommend this to anybody as a de-stresser, vegan or not, it’s that good. So here we go!

Pumpkin Gingerbread (adapted from Oh She Glows)


  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup Splenda
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (or canola), softened
  • 1/4 cup blackstrap molasses1 egg
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (OR 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 th tsp ground cloves


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a loaf pan to prevent the bread from sticking.
  • Combine pumpkin, maple syrup, Splenda, coconut oil, molasses, and egg in a medium sized bowl, and mix well.In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
  • Add together the wet and dry ingredients, and stir well.
  • Pour the batter into the pan, and smooth out with a knife or spatula. Bake for 55 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center and it comes out clean.

Allow to cool before removing from pan (I can never manage to wait for this!).So there you go! The most delicious fall snack that you can enjoy at home with a bit o’ butter on top, or at work as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. What’s not to love?

Back to reality. After my stressful week, there are a few things I’ve learned now that I’m in the real world, and I thought I’d share them with you: If someone points out that you aren’t doing something right, it’s not a personal attack. This isn’t university anymore, and people don’t have time to sugarcoat things, or sit down and walk you through it. Everyone has deadlines, and that’s the priority. Work hard, learn, and that’s the best you can do!

Admit when you don’t know something! I’m working in a completely new field, and there’s a lot that I’m not familiar with. That’s okay. They know that, and they don’t expect me to be an expert. Just remember that they hired you for a reason, and that you’re capable of everything. The learning phase is the toughest part (and it can also be the most rewarding).

Business casual is an interpretive term. I was so excited to break out my professional wardrobe (now that I can afford one) and rock that every day, but in reality, work is not a Banana Republic ad. Dang. I’m still going to dress like it is when I get up in the morning, though.

Alright, that’s it for me. I’m off to bake some cupcakes!

15. March 2016 by Deborah
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Love coffee? Love the natural look? Then you must need a substantial coffee table. Coffee table is one of the predominant pieces of furnitures and takes up a lot of valuable estate in your living or family room. Whether your coffee table is a pair of $7 Ikea end tables, or a simple DIY project, its worth time to get any style you like. To make your coffee table special, you can build your own table with wooden crafts from store or even street.

You all know I’m huge fan of pallets for many reasons. They are free and make things amazing. To make this pallet coffee table, I bought the inexpensive wooden crates from a local store. Unlike the Washington D.C. where there is hard to find these crates, our local store offers a wide range of storage. What’s more, it’s really cheap, it only costs $50.

  • First step is cut all wooden crates to same size by using a miter saw, then attach the sides of the table to the legs. It’s really easy!
  • Drill two pocket holes at each end of the 1 x 2. I just drilled pocket holes in the boards with my Kreg Jig.
  • Place all four crates on their sides that their mitered ends are all oriented the same way. To attach them side-by-side. I just laid the table on its side. Once you finished this step, then it was time to build the planked top.
  • Secure the crates together using a drill and a few screws.
  • Next, the best way to attach the top is to set it in place and slowly lift it up.
  • You can also find the castors in the home improved store, to the corners of the bottom panel.

It’s a simple rustic look coffee table. To make it look good. I plan to make it useful than just place things like coffee maker or cups on the surface. I hope you love this coffee table as much as I do! I can recommend this project to everyone who don’t want to spend money on a table.

Another amazing thing I found, your pet will love it. It must smell AMAZING to them!

My last question is: which coffee table look is your favorite?

  • Rustic neutral
  • Color splash
  • Feminine elegance

More Great works:

02. March 2016 by Deborah
Categories: Coffee | Leave a comment

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This weekend was a throwback to 8 year old me. In 1995 I was an arts and crafts fiend, a connoisseur of the hot glue gun. I practically had a degree in popsicle-stick jewelry boxes, and man, could I make a mean friendship bracelet.

I don’t know what it was that prompted this throwback, but there was just something about Friday night that screamed ‘art project!’. It scared me a bit, being as artistically challenged as I am (I once had to make a toy snow otter for art class. My classmates sewed stuffed animals, while I covered a shoe box in white paper and glued on a margarine container for a head). Despite my shortcomings, I thought… why not?


Vancouver, you can be so hard on the eyes sometimes.

The primary focus of DIY night had a pretty stellar outcome actually, for only about 7 bucks (the former student in me loves that). If anybody’s been surfing around on Pinterest lately, I can’t imagine you wouldn’t have seen this. All you need is canvas, crayons, and a hair dryer, and you’ve got yourself the kind of project that even someone like me can pull off. If you’ve got a bare wall in your house and want something quick and easy to jazz it up, or if you have kids/nieces/nephews around, this is such a good idea (apologies for the amateur photography here).

It was nice to spend an evening on something that I can continue to enjoy even after my night of the arts, but my crafty weekend didn’t just benefit my walls. For anybody wondering, I did actually meet the goal that I set for last week. It wasn’t easy though, and the conversations were not nearly as in depth as I’d have liked them to be. I’m not making any excuses, I’m just saying that it’s more difficult than I thought it would be to wiggle my way into new workplace relationships. I also realized that work is not the only place I should be focusing my efforts on. I’d like to go beyond my company, and just try to get a better feel for my industry as a whole.

This is where I really got crafty. Without the hot glue.

Let’s just think for just a second. Reflect. If I want something, and I am not getting something, shouldn’t I be the one to do something about it? I mean, it’s only practical.

I’ve been sitting on an idea all weekend (and part of the week) that involves organizing my own “networking” event. It doesn’t need to be jazzy or formal, it just has to be fun, social, and facilitate re-connecting.

And really, Vancouver isn’t that big. Many of my old classmates from engineering work in or fairly close to the downtown core. So, why don’t I organize a mini-reunion? It’s only been a year and a half, but why should I rely on my school to do it when I’m just as capable. All you need is an informative email invitation and a restaurant reservation and bam! It’s a new-grad networking extravaganza. Even better, the intimidation factor that usually accompanies a networking event is eliminated, because these are people you already know and just haven’t seen or spoken to in the last little bit. What’s not to love about that?

Here’s something else to think about. Millennials (a term used for my generation, or Gen Y) are becoming known for their rejection of the one-company career path. The US Department of Labor estimates that the average millennial will have held 10-14 different job titles by the age of 38. Considering we typically graduate at age 22, that’s a new job every 1-4 years. Holy guacamole batman.

Commitment issues aside, why wouldn’t you want to know what other companies, opportunities, or projects are out there for you in the future? I’m not at all suggesting that I am in any sort of discontent with my own job, because I’m most certainly not, but I am saying that there’s nothing bad about knowing your options. If the time did come where you felt you wanted to move on (and up, of course), you’d be a lot better off if you already knew what was out there. So, in the spirit of being prepared, I think an event like the one I want to organize would be great for just that–getting the information you need from the people you trust. Aren’t we in the information age, after all?

Anyway, this event in the first stages of development. I definitely don’t want to throw my name on something that turns out to be a flop, so it’s going to take a bit of effort to put together. I’ll keep you posted. And on the note of keeping posted, I did end up making those red velvet cupcakes. I actually made minis and took them into the office on Friday (a little bit of sugar-bribery never hurt anyone’s networking efforts), where they were an instant hit. So, if you wanted to hold your own ‘my big red bicycle is gone’ pity party, you might want to go set your oven to preheat. To 350˚F, by the way.

Even mildly droopy icing tastes delicious!

Red Velvet Cupcakes (from Vegan Machine)


  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar (I used Splenda)
  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp liquid red food colouring (I used a 28 oz. bottle)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt(for the icing)
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance butter (room temperature)
  • 1 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond milk (to achieve desired icing consistency)


Preheat oven to 350˚F. Place cupcake liners in your cupcake tin

Combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a bowl, and let it thicken for 5 minutesCombine sugar, oil, food colouring, and extracts in a large mixing bowl. Once the milk mixture has thickened, add as well and combineAdd the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix until all lumps are gone.

Fill the cupcake liners to about 2/3 full and cook for 17-19 minutesUse an electric mixer to combine frosting ingredients while your cupcakes are baking

Wait at least 30 minutes to frost (I am horrible at this, and always end up with melty icing)

This recipe will make 12 regular sized cupcakes, or about 30 minis. yum. Happy creating! xo

25. February 2016 by Deborah
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The Importance of Keeping a Lid on a Coffee Cup while Changing a Tire

The perils associated with making it to work on time are as unlimited as minutes on Jim’s shiny-new cell-phone plan. One particular morning, Jim decided to hit the snooze button one too many times and did not have time to brew his usual pot of high-caffeine coffee and perform his ritualistic consumption in front of the morning news programming.


“No problem,” Jim tried to subconsciously convince himself, “I’ll just go through the drive through at the closest coffee shop to the office.” As innocent as an idea as is seemed, Jim was in for a startling awakening that far superseded the alertness factor afforded to him by his morning Joe.

So, about 5 miles from the congested rat trap that is downtown Jacksonville on a busy workday morning, Jim spots the local Starbucks that is closest to his place of employment. Since Jim usually brews his own morning pot, the possibilities of the Starbucks menu send him into a virtual trance as he imagines what his choice will be. He eventually goes with the plain Americano, which is a blend of high-powered espresso and water, and was classically served to American soldiers in Italy during World War II who could not stomach drinking the concentrated espresso customarily served in Italy. Jim orders this drink with 3 extra shots of espresso in order to match his normal caffeine intake. When he gets to the window, he is terribly shocked by the $4.00 price of the simple coffee-based beverage, but begrudgingly pays this price, noting in his mind that this is a one-time occurrence.

During his mesmerized period of looking at the expanded drink menu, Jim unknowingly ran over a nail in the parking lot, and after returning to the freeway for the final 2-mile stretch before his exit to his office, the nail decides to exit from its hole, causing an immediate loss of tire pressure that results in Jim suffering a complete tire blowout at about 60 miles per hour. The trusty cupholder in Jim’s center console prevents the overpriced Americano from spilling, as Jim pulls over to the side of the road.

“No problem,” Jim again tries to convince himself, “I’ll just use the floor jack, throw on the spare, and be on my way.” Jim places his coffee on the hood of the car, sans lid, as he gets his aftermarket best racing floor jack out of the trunk, along with his spare tire. His tire is changed in no time.

Jim finishes up, releases the pressure on the jack, and throws the punctured tire and the jack back into the trunk. He then gets to the front door and notices his coffee cup on the ground, tipped over, with coffee running down the hood and side of his car. He thinks of his $4.00 spent on the drink and becomes quite disappointed.

It is at this point that Jim resolves to his own conscious mind that he will never betray his morning ritual pot of coffee and early news programming ever again.

06. February 2016 by Deborah
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