Sunday, August 30, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews VIII

The bottom of the box is in sight!

Previous installments, in case you arrived at this page in some unusual way and need them:

K Cup Sampler Reviews VII
K Cup Sampler Reviews VI
K Cup Sampler Reviews V
K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I

EKOCUPS Organic Artisan Coffee, Light

Zero aroma, not much flavor, but the texture is pleasingly smooth. I don't know what to do with it. I mean, I can't call it bad coffee. It isn't. I can't call it good coffee. It isn't! I guess for people who want to like coffee, but don't, this might be a good introduction to help them acquire the taste for it? Otherwise, pass.

2.5 stars

Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend

I was in a huge hurry and kind of groggy when I drank this. I also had it from a cheap thermos in the car/at work. So I tasted it in the sense that I found it coffee and unoffensive. Sorry, review fans, I have failed you. When you change your phone alarm, always remember to hit save. I can attest to the fact that the caffeine content for this one is far from spectacular.

3 stars *

Barrie House Columbia Reserve

This is not the brew that is true. I enjoyed their other varieties much more. This one wasn't good flavor for me, even though I had an okay experience with one of their even darker roasts - they rate this one at level 7. It was just middling in all aspects from taste to texture to aroma. I was actually kind of disappointed because I had saved this one to get me through cups that I expected to be less than laudable. For shame.

2 stars

Rio Grande Roasters Premium Dark

Okay, you caught me. I varied my prep method on this one because I was literally afraid of how bad it might be. I added an additional splenda and a hint more 'creamer' before letting it sit on the counter for an hour and reheating it in the microwave. And by god! It was worth it! It stank. REALLY. But after the extra work, it still stank, but it actually tasted rich, warm, dark, and earth, not like gas station coffee at all. So relieved! I would recommend this as an excellent accompaniment to over-spiced, homemade Mexican food. Good to the last drop!

3.5 stars

Victor Allen Coffee, French Vanilla

As someone who prefers flavored coffee, medium roast, in a big way, I decided to end with something I hoped to enjoy, even if from a mediocre brand. Not disappointed. This coffee has a sweet, recognizable flavor without any harsh or chemical notes. The texture is pleasantly smooth and enjoyable. This is the kind of coffee I like to start or finish the day, although I do wish it had a little more kick. It is certainly one of the better, although not the best, French Vanilla from the box.

4 stars

And that concludes my review of the sampler. I will try and motivate myself to create an organizational post later on. So look for that!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews VII

And from this point on...coffees I would never have chosen for myself. Worry, worry...

Previous installments, in case you arrived at this page in some unusual way and need them:

K Cup Sampler Reviews VI
K Cup Sampler Reviews V
K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I

Brown Gold Brazilian

Smells like burning poop, but tastes pretty much okay for a bolder type of coffee. That first sip will require courage! I want to say it's worth it, but this is really middling dark coffee. Plus it has a heavy residue at the bottom of the mug, which may say quality to some, but just say yuck to me. I am not a fan of this one, although I will admit that for a bolder coffee, the flavor is not gas station-coffee, just deeper, darker regular coffee.

1.5 stars

Crazy Cups Coffee, Jamaican Me Crazy

This is the coffee that smells like happiness, warm beaches, and irresponsibility. Yes, coffee can smell like that. Nice aroma! The flavor is very good, but I've had slightly better coffee by the same name. The caffeine is enough to immediately quash a caffeine withdrawal headache, but not too much. Just right for a late morning or afternoon. Smooth texture. Not overly sweet. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this one, but a cup of it every so often would be nice, not as a treat, but for the uplifting experience of drinking something that conjures the Caribbean.

4 stars

Diedrich Coffee French Roast Blend

I don't know the brand at all, but it was the only one of its kind in the sampler. I don't care for the strong aroma of French roast, or at least not this one, but the taste is okay. I don't hate it, although it is super bitter coffee-yo. This one is just another dark roast to me. I don't think I would ever drink it regularly, but there are plenty of people who probably would.

2.5 stars

Tim Hortons Original Blend

I have never eaten at the restaurant, so I don't think I can speak to the authenticity of the K Cup vs the restaurant's actual coffee, but it is better than I expected, given that I don't care for restaurant coffee in general. The coffee has a very nice color and a mild aroma. The flavor is that of good instant coffee with a hint of nuttiness. The label doesn't say so, but I would call this a light roast. Not at all bitter. Pleasant and enjoyable, but for some, it might be considered weak. I can definitely see how a cup of this would be great accompaniment to breakfast or another meal.

4 stars

Polka Dot Cafe Donut Shop

The K Cup for this one is very pretty, not that it matters much. I have had limited luck with donut shop blends in general. This one's much milder and smoother than the others I have had. Not too much aroma, and what aroma it has is deceptively bitter. I'm not in love with it or anything, but I wouldn't mind having it occasional as something different or as a stand-by coffee for when sweet or flavored varieties would do. An afternoon coffee...maybe.

3.5 stars

Thursday, August 27, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews VI

I hate to admit it...but I ordered another sampler. This time with an awesome coupon from the source (SPECIAL20). Worth it! Especially since I picked my own cups and still saved over grocery store prices. Ha-ha!!

Previous installments, in case you arrived at this page in some unusual way and need them:

K Cup Sampler Reviews V
K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I

Twin Ridge Roasters French Vanilla

I am accustomed to many things called French vanilla being overly artificial in taste. This one was hardly real tasting, but it didn't have that note of petroleum byproduct to its soft and sweet flavor. It was quite pleasing, although not perfect. Some aroma, for a medium roast, but not enough to fill the kitchen by half. I thought the texture was creamy and smooth - nice. I sip my coffee, but this cup was done before it had even fully cooled. That's unusual for me. Overall, I really liked it, especially for a dessert or instead-of-dessert coffee, although it may not fully satisfy all sweet-tooths. Mine was sated well enough.

4 stars

Martinson Coffee Breakfast Blend

This one is labeled as a light blend and a breakfast blend, which I thought had a certain appeal since I'm not really a dark roast person. The aroma is that harsh, gas station coffee smell, but the taste is more of a warm, medium roast with a hint of bitterness that fades nicely. The texture is smooth and pleasant. I would consider this one a good wake-up alternative for people who don't like flavored coffees early in the day. The quality seems good, plus it's at the stronger end of light coffee. I don't think I'll be drinking it often, because of my preference for flavored or t least sweeter brews.

3.5 stars

Barrie House French Roast

I am still impressed by the sheer weight of their K Cups compared to other brands. They do not skimp on the goods! Their intensity scale seems fairly accurate, weighing this one in at a 9, which is very, very true to its dark intensity. It is my first cup of French roast ever. I never had a good reason to drink anything so robust. The flavor is not what I like in a coffee by any means, but it is interesting for a dark roast newbie in a wham-bam, thank you, officer way. I am not going to drink this ever again, but it did earn my respect. Recommended for the-darker, the-better type coffee drinkers, especially those switching from standard brewer to K Cups.

2.5 stars

Green Mountain Coffee Vermont Country Blend

I was examining the pod more closely as I waited for the Keurig to heat up and was pleased to see this brand also does the whole fair-trade thing too. Nice to know. This blend has very little aroma (and I hate that almost 90% of my reviews say that, but my usual morning choice had so much that it wafted outside the apartment and into the front yard!) So, yes, coffee aroma, important to me. Anyway, the texture is wondrously smooth. The flavor is mild, but pleasing. It would make a good base for experimenting with additives or adding a scoop of ice cream or whip topping or maybe a SToK Caffeinated Black Coffee Shot to amp the caffeine without over-bittering the coffee. No trace of bitterness in the blend, just...mild coffee flavor and creamy texture. Yum.

4 stars


The aroma whilst brewing smells like walking into a Starbucks and lingering by the stuff-that-you-add counter. Heavenly. Tastes a little like shoe and cardboard. Not pleased! Total fake out. Not a pleasing flavor by any standard I can imagine. Watery, unpleasant, thin. Not vanilla! I don't know what that is, but I know I don't like it. Gah! Gah!

1 star

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews V

I drank one of my regular work coffees this afternoon. I liked it before, but now I would only give it maybe a three out of five. Am I becoming a coffee snob? Maybe...

Here's links to previous editions:

K Cup Sampler Reviews IV
K Cup Sampler Reviews III
K Cup Sampler Reviews II
K Cup Sampler Reviews I

Next contender please!

Brown Gold, 100% Costa Rican Coffee

The packaging is pretty horrible, so I expected shitty coffee. Fortunately, like books shouldn't be judged by their covers, coffee should not be judged by its pod. This one was actually pretty good if drank as just regular morning Joe. Or maybe even afternoon Joe. Nice texture, slightly bitter, yet good taste. They call it a light roast, but honestly, I'm thinking to me, it's actually closer to a happy medium. Decent aroma. I was a little out of it this morning, so I might need to give it a second go, if I ever get the chance, but overall, I was unexpectedly pleased with this one.

4 stars

Cake Boss Dulce de Leche

I wanted to save this one for the end of one of my longer-than-average days to have as what I hoped would be a special treat. I don't want to say that it wasn't, because it was a very nice cup of flavored coffee. It just wasn't that special in terms of complexity of flavor, sweetness, aroma, or texture. It was just okay, but basically, it was so okay all around that I'm reluctant to complain except to say not-special. Underwhelmed here, all right? I would drink it again, but with less anticipation, like a regular cup of coffee, not a treat. For most people, it's probably an okay dessert coffee or sweet-start weekend coffee.

3.5 stars

Crazy Cups Sumatra Tiger Bold Dark Roast Coffee

With all the flavors that Crazy Cups makes, pretty much stretching the imagination, why did I have to luck out and get this stuff? It smells like gas station coffee and tastes like almost nothing. On the one hand, glad it's not offensive. On the other, bold? Really? Where? The texture is okay. If it's really made for Indonesian coffee, that would be interesting at least, but I can't say either way on that, obviously. Overall, I think it's a good guy-coffee. No frills. Good caffeine level. I drank the whole cup, but would opt out of doing so again.

2 stars

Victor Allen Kona

Kona makes me think of the David Mitchell book Cloud Atlas. Anyway, yeah...if Amazon doesn't. Although, I have to say, this one isn't bad. Definitely a medium roast with a hint of unusual flavor, but nothing overwhelming. Just pleasant. Not very aromatic, although it kind of makes me think of cigars in a way. Good texture, although slightly speckled. I would call it an okay choice for an office coffee or lunchtime cup. I wouldn't necessarily buy it or order it on purpose, but I wouldn't avoid it either.

3 stars

Rio Grande Mesa Sunrise

A coffee that's just like my ex-boyfriend - thin and slightly bitter. I wasn't expecting much from the brand because of how the last one tasted, but this one is just mediocre, not outright bad or anything. I think the name (Mesa Sunrise) refers to having to seriously water down the coffee on the trail in the Old West to make it last longer. Either that or the makers intended for it to be a breakfast coffee. It would work for that in a household of low expectations. Overall, yeah, maybe not terrible, but it doesn't have a single laudable feature either. I did finish it.

2 stars

Monday, August 24, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews IV

What should I do when I reach the bottom of the box and find that I only have dark and/or unflavored coffees left? Do I persevere?? How? Let me know!

Now for our next contestant...

Green Mountain Coffee Mocha Nut Fudge

I haven't had good experiences with Green Mountain so far, but doesn't this one sound just delicious? Well...the flavor isn't as strong as the name lets on. It's actually middling in terms of richness, creaminess, and chocolate flavor. I get the mocha part, though, but barely. And nut? Really? Nice way to stand out from the usual-suspect flavors, but it means nothing here. That said, okay, the coffee is quite drinkable. I might or might not go back for another cup. I would say this one makes an ole standby first morning cup, but not really strong enough for anything else, or sweet enough for dessert. Part of me wishes I had some sort of syrup to put in it to see if maybe it just needs help.

2.5 stars

Eko Cups Organic Artisan Coffee, Guatemalan

Again, I like the company's dedication to fair trade and organic coffees, but that doesn't make a so-so cuppa taste any better. This one is quite so-so, in fact, even for a plain coffee. The flavor is just enough different that I can concede that the beans were grown somewhere interesting, in this case Guatemala, like it says, but I have never been enough of a coffee gourmand to recognize regional flavors on my own. Anyway, not too dark for me, decent texture, some aroma. This coffee is the definition of adequate. I wouldn't necessary recommend it, but if someone wanted an office coffee that might impress people because of the label and have broad appeal because it's so mundane, this would do it.

2.5 stars

Barrie House Jamaican Me Crazy

I expect this must be an upscale coffee brand in part due to its weight and in part due to the taste/aroma. This is that classic good-coffee smell. Plus it goes down like really rich, smooth coffee with just the right amount of...everything. Even though it is ranked with 6 on the intensity scale - so helpful! - this is my happy medium right here. Seriously, not any fancy-pants flavoring, just excellent coffee that leaves craving more, but not at all disappointed. I could drink this every day, I think, although I might want something sweeter for a dessert coffee. Otherwise, it's just crazy good. Oh and the aroma fill the kitchen to the max.

5 stars

Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend

I was aware of this brand prior to now, but I can't think of from where, so it's familiar and yet...not so much. The coffee came out somewhat redder in hue than most coffees I have sampled. Not off-putting, but noticeable. The aroma was a bit scanty, yet nice enough. I was standing closer to the brewer than normal, so I got the full measure of it. The taste reminds me of my less than pleasant experiences with donut shop blends, but milder and less offensive. It's drinkable, but barely. I hate to think that this is the brand's signature coffee...

1.5 stars

Indulgio Cappuccino, Sweet & Salty Caramel

I really don't like this brand due to their HIGH sugar content and a bad experience I had recently with another flavor. That said, I like the instant coffee-style aroma, even though, yeah, it smells sweeter than anything should but a sugar factory. And yes, it taste super-sweet too, although the more complex caramel flavor helps make this less off-putting, although after a while, maybe three-quarters through the cup, it does get a bit cloying. The saltiness is insufficient to counterbalance this. Plus it's the kind of salty the conjures semen, not anything food-like or normally tasty. Too...biologic. I would  only recommend it as a dessert coffee for someone with an impaired sense of taste/trouble detecting sweetness. Otherwise, smell, but don't drink.

1.5 stars

Sunday, August 23, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews III

I decided that breaking these up into groups of five made sense. If I can remember to do so, I'll do an index post at the end.

If anyone cares, this is ENORMOUS fun, even when some of the coffee pods aren't stellar.

K Cup Sampler Reviews I
K Cup Sampler Reviews II

Marley Coffee, Organic Lively Up! Espresso first thought about the brand was: Oh, no, it's not going to taste like ganja, is it? Which is of course, silly. And, yes, I like the music, but we're here to talk coffee. Marley Coffee has a great website... The Lively Up! K Cup required an extra splenda for me, because, hey, espresso is pretty potent, this one more than usual. Unlike most strong brews, this one tastes pretty good, even if I need help with it. Not much aroma, though. It might be psychological, but I'm pretty sure this stuff has a nice (fast!) caffeine kick. Definitely a morning drink. A Monday morning one, at that. Nice texture, real coffee. I would definitely recommend this for my dad who is big on black coffee. ETA: I got the coffee jitters from it. Yowzah!

3.5 stars

Martinson Joe's Coffee, Vanilla Velvet

I am not a fan of the packaging - it looks cheap and dated - but let's talk about the contents instead, shall we? The aroma while brewing was fantastic - the coffee-ness of it all overwhelmed even the smell of curry in the slowcooker. That's aroma! Unfortunately, the coffee itself was mildly gritty with a lot of speckled floaters. I find that a little off-putting. You say vanilla bean; I say bug parts. No, not really, but that's how my mind workers when my coffee sports little spots. The taste was mild, but I could detect hints of vanilla, and not the chemical taste we call French vanilla. Just nice vanilla. It's a good, standard flavored coffee, but not terrifically special.

3 stars

Copper Moon French Vanilla Cappuccino

Another one that's not link-able to a product page on Amazon. It's like voodoo when that happens. Anyway, this one advertises having probiotics and added vitamins and minerals. I am really BIG into that right now, so I've kind of been on pins and needles waiting to try this one. It has a very nice color, but shy on the aroma, which I guess is to be expected with a Cappuccino. I probably shouldn't badmouth French vanilla so much, because this one is yummy! Very sweet, creamy, and hints of caramel and vanilla and maybe, maybe nutmeg or very distant chocolate? It's got some complexity for a faux-coffee beverage. It longs to have cookies dipped in it or to be combined with rich chocolate ice cream. Very much dessert here. Again, yum!

4 stars

Cake Boss - Buddy's Blend

I don't actually know who Buddy is, because I never watched the TV show, but I do know he likes really bitter coffee. How? I just drank it. Basically, it tastes like a cross between a donut shop blend and breakfast blend, although not quite as strong as the former. It's just a basic coffee with a guy carrying a rolling pin on the label. No big woohoo here. Not much aroma either. The texture was okay, basically. If someone wanted to give up flavored coffee and go old-school without too much palate-offense, this might work. Otherwise...just meh.

2 stars

Wolfgang Puck Hawaiian Hazelnut

I am kind of giving Wolfgang the stink-eye on this one. It's gritty/speckled. We've talked about that, right? Not on! Plus zero aroma unless your nose is deep in the mug. The taste is mild, but not unpleasant. Not very hazelnut either. Unless Hawaiian hazelnut is blander on purpose. Then...goal. Not a terrible lunchtime coffee choice - it wouldn't class with food of any kind on account of not having much flavor. Just as a note - these pods tend to weigh a lot less than most others, so it could just be that there's not enough in them to produce a decent sample. If so, for shame on that one too. It's 13g compared to 17g of Crazy Cup or 19.5g of Barrie House. Just for the info.

2.5 stars

Friday, August 21, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews II

I have decided to split these up, since I'll be reviewing 40 different K Cups.

Part I is here for future reference. I accidentally deleted it, but it should be fine now.

For info, my usual morning coffee is Cameron's Chocolate Caramel Brownie, which I love for it's sweetness, aroma, texture, and no plastic aftertaste! I bought the cups locally, but one seems to be carrying them.

Rio Grande Vanilla Hazelnut

I have several of this brand in the box, which makes me unhappy, because this one just wasn't good. I think they shorted me on actual coffee in the K Cup. It was weak! Very weak! Plus the flavor? I tasted maybe 30% coffee, 70% hazelnut, and 0% vanilla. What gives? Not a complex flavor at all, and we know I'm not a huge fan of hazelnut coffee in general. This confirms my worst impressions of that flavor. Bleh! Smelled better than it tasted. Not much caffeine power in it either, even for a medium roast.

2 stars

Cafe Indulgencia Horchata Cappuccino

This one breaks the holy writ on If you can't find it on Amazon, it must not be real. I couldn't find it for sale there for a link-back. Strange stuff indeed!! Okay, so this is one of those dicey all-in-one coffee drinks that I normally won't trust because I believe it contains added sugar and carbs. I'm taking one for the team here just drinking the thing. Got that? The color was perfect; exactly like I normally take my coffee. Plus it even foamed a little, although I don't want to ponder the chemical soup that caused that effect. Nice aroma, although not very strong. The cinnamon smelled like real, not artificial cinnamon. The taste was advertised as cinnamon and vanilla (and after my earlier cup I felt owed vanilla), and this one tasted more like a caramel-vanilla combo. Not a complaint! It was a very good taste. Complex, sweet, rich. Yummy. I wouldn't be willing to drink a cappuccino everyday, but as an occasional, treat this one would be nice.

4 stars

Wolfgang Puck Breakfast in Bed

I have enjoyed many of his other products over the years, especially the organic soups. Breakfast in Bed sounded like a great coffee to start a very leisurely Saturday morning with. I was let down that it had zero aroma. The taste, sadly, wasn't what I was hoping for either. It's breakfast in bed if you suddenly woke up at your desk at work. Decent texture and not bad coffee, but didn't meet expectations either. I think coffee drinkers who object strongly to flavored coffee, but still like a medium roast would enjoy it well enough. Plus I wouldn't necessarily turn it down at 3PM after a long meeting.

2 stars

Victor Allen Donut Shop Blend

I don't know the brand, but a little research tells me that it's an older brand under a parent company whose coffees I haven't enjoyed so far. Yes, I tasted it before learning that. The aroma was nonexistent, except for when drinking it, then it smelled like burning. The taste is very basic, plain black coffee with whatever additives you choose - for me that's CarbSmart milk and splenda. Maybe I'm thinking the wrong thing when I hear the words donut shop. Maybe they're just known for icky-ass coffee. I've never had coffee from one, so keep that in mind. Anyway, tastes darker than advertised to me. I did, however, drink all of it.

2 stars

Barnie's Coffee Kitchen Santa's White Christmas

Again, an unfamiliar brand, but I have to say that the packaging is quite cute. The aroma filled maybe half the kitchen, which is a big improvement over some of the previous choices. The coffee looked weak in the cup (before the creamer I added), but the taste is a solid medium roast coffee with undefinable hints of flavor. Seriously, it tastes good, but not terrific, and yet it doesn't scream any particular flavor. Maybe white chocolate? Maybe vanilla? I would drink this as an everyday mid-morning coffee or maybe dessert coffee on a day when I felt too guilty to enjoy an uber-flavored cuppa. I wouldn't mind trying additional flavors of this one.

3 stars

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

K Cup Sampler Reviews I

I ordered the 40-count Coffee & Flavored Coffee Single Serve Cups For Keurig K Cup Brewers Variety Pack Sampler from Amazon and it arrived today! Basically, it's a pretty random selection of K Cups from different companies, in different flavors, etc. I wanted to try different coffees without the *gasp* commitment of buying a ten or twelve pack. Plus, economically, as long as all of these are drinkable, it's nice savings over grocery store prices.

12 for $11.59 vs 40 for $24.90?

About $1 per cup compared to about $.62 per cup.

Plus humans will pay more for novelty, right?

Note: I take my coffee with three Splenda packets and just under 1/4 cup Carbsmart milk. Your mileage will vary.

Okay...first out of the box!

Guy Fieri Hot Fudge Brownie

I enjoyed watching a lot of episodes of Triple-D before becoming single again, so I have a mild positive association with Guy as a cooking/eating guru. Turns out, oh-yeah, this stuff is incredibly good. It actually does taste like a super-heavy chocolate brownie. The flavor has depth and staying power too. Half an hour later, still with me. Maybe not a good thing in some people's books, but potency and staying power are awesome in coffee and chocolaty things. The caffeination level was standard for a K Cup. I would call this one an afternoon or dessert coffee, because most people will find it too yummy to have with their cereal. I will definitely try to get some of his other flavors - Bananas Foster sounds great!

Five stars

EkoCups Hazelnut Coffee

I have never tried this brand before, but I like the idea of organic and fair trade products. For the sake of fairness here too, I have to admit that hazelnut coffee is not a favorite of mine. This particular, K Cup, however, very much exceeded expectations in terms of taste and consistency. It's very mellow, yet rich. I would definitely consider this one as a morning standard coffee. The amount of caffeine is quite decent for what's probably a medium roast. I am open to trying other flavors of this brand or maybe even making this one a regular. I would most highly recommend it to people who are ambivalent about flavored coffees.

Five stars

Crazy Cups Italian Chocolate Cheesecake

Crazy Cups is kind of a hip and popular brand, so maybe I set my expectations a little too high with this one. The lack of aroma, coffee or otherwise, was a clue, but I tried not to let it influence me too much. But, yeah, this one just isn't that good. Slightly sweet, but not flavorful. Nothing like cheesecake or chocolate. Maybe a slightly chemical-tasting? The texture is okay. I drank all of it, so maybe I shouldn't complain so much, but honestly, I doubt I'd go for another. I have other flavors from Crazy Cups in my sampler, but it might be a while on those.

Two stars

Green Mountain Coffee Dark Magic

This is a fairly ubiquitous national brand, but I had never had their coffee before. I am not impressed with Dark Magic; however, as someone who favors light to medium roasts and flavored coffees, not surprising. I started the day low on sleep and wanted a more functional (read: high caffeine) brew. This one tastes like give-me-your-cheapest coffeehouse coffee, and the not-terrific aroma sort of reminds me of what my dad used to drink at the local one. Good memories, bad coffee. I have no idea how anyone could drink it more than once, but I imagine plenty of people do. For the record: did not finish it.

One star

Donut House Chocolate Glazed Donut

I think we all know my weakness for donuts, but since I have given up my favored binge-food, this Donut House blend might be as close as I get to their wicked goodness. And it is pretty good coffee! Just sweet enough with a hint of glazed taste - not necessarily donut, but the glaze-y-ness is believable. A little low on caffeine-power for me, but then, if you're drinking for taste or want a good dessert accompaniment, how much does the caff matter, right? I wish it had more aroma and a little more flavor, but otherwise, solid choice for a sweet one.

Three stars

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Eleven pounds later and I feel better

I pretty much stopped eating after my last post. All things considered, I may be taking in 400 to 500 calories per day in coffee creamer, sugar-free handy candy and gum, soup broth, and raw apples (small) and baby carrots. Aside for a salad at  social occasion on Thursday, I am meal-free.

The results are mixed. I am never hungry, because of the candy/gum, but I am always bloated, so I don't feel any less heavy than when I stopped eating. I expect this to pass in time. Even so, I have dropped 11 lbs. That's incredible. More than a pound per day with extremely minimal suffering. I miss cooking. That's my suffering. Along with the bloating.

My blood-sugar is in the normal range for the first time in a while. I am still taking a multivitamin and drinking plentiful of fluids. My energy level is unchanged, except that caffeine seems to give me a slightly bigger boost. I am concerned about the lack of protein, but I think if I add light tuna that might take care of it. I am sleeping well and dreaming of mostly pleasant things.

My birthday is tomorrow. I do not plan on eating anything in celebration, but I am banking the day, so to speak, for when my weight is under control again. Then I'll splurge. Maybe a full-sized apple. Kidding! Whatever and whenever, it will be something with chocolate involved.

I'm not especially worried about disordered eating on a clinical level. At the end of the day, I love food too much to give it up forever.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Kind of having a shit day

Why, yes, I am resorting to stock photos!
And since it's close to two in the morning, I'm not sure which day I mean - technical yesterday or technical today. Maybe both, in which case it's a shit weekend.

I have a lot of issues right now, ranging from new job to slowly dying car to unrequited love, and that kind of glosses over a few things. But the one that keeps me up at night fabricating fantastic plans and just plain torturing myself?

My weight.

For those of you who haven't seen recent pictures, I am a Hobbit-like creature with small boobs and an enormous butt. Brown hair and a moon face pretty much complete the picture. My DNA is human, but the resemblance stops there. Phenotypically, I am all monster, albeit not a scary one. Just sort of discomfiting and pitiful (on my better days). Like a vintage Troll doll, only generally clothed. Hairstyle may vary.

Is that a Packard??
Anyway, my weight. All other physical flaws fail to compare with that one. I went from an okay 150 lbs about 15 months ago to 185 lbs as of Tuesday. My doctor would back my play here - it's primarily been due to emotional eating due to stress, along with higher doses of insulin (Type I diabetic coming at you) to combat food-induced high blood-sugar. Old-school - I should stop eating so much, but have no willpower and am thereafter sub-human. New school - I have an unhealthy relationship with food and if I fix my psychological problems, I'll stop eating so freaking much.

I don't entirely subscribe to either school of thought, although I think they both nail it when they indicate that it would be good to stop eating so much. As a digression, I am also in a job that keeps me sedentary in a big way, compared to my old job where 10,000 steps a day was not even a proper challenge. But...exercise and weight don't correlate the way that food and weight does. Plus it takes like what? eight flights of stairs to burn of a single whole-grain Cheerio? A marathon to burn a half-cup of pasta? Somehow, I don't see myself burning off my caloric intake any time soon.

So it stands to reason at this point that I should make it clear that I want to lose weight and if possible, be 150 lbs again.

Things that would help:

  • Jardiance or Victoza - these are diabetic medications that have helped in the past, but are not covered by my worthless insurance and/or are too expensive. Jardiance is pretty amazing. Victoza helped me skim off about 12 lbs.
  • Gastric banding - yes, I am totally serious. I have the requisite BMI and medical condition. I just don't think I have any way to pay for it or the sick-time required to have it done. I'm at three days right now. Maybe some day?
  • A low-carb diet plan that I can stick too. I did South Beach and Primal Blueprint. I lost a ton on both of them, but then boredom set in or it became too expensive or life hit me like a ton of bricks.
I'm pretty sure other suggestions for this list would include appetite suppressants (don't work on emotional eaters), Weight Watchers (not a joiner), getting off Prozac (need to function - sorry!), and seeing a nutritionist (I don't think we have those here).

So right now I'm at an impasse. I am going to try to reduce my carb and calorie intake, using a...let's call it a Thinspiration remind myself daily, if not more often, why I need to lose weight now. I'm sure anyone who's good with context clues can recognize why now. I'm also going to try and get approved for Jardiance again, or failing that, something in the same broad family of drugs that my insurance (eff you, Humana) might actually approve. Lower blood-sugar, less insulin, less weight gain. I hope.

But even dropping 35 lbs wouldn't make me a statuesque blond, just a thinner, slightly less moon faced brunette.

I won't insult anyone's intelligence by complaining oh-crooool world about our value on beauty. That aspect of human behavior remains perfectly natural.

Just as I would remain the troll (doll) under the bridge.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The heck is that?

Mad props to anyone who knows the name of this piece of farm equipment.

I've only seen a few of them so far, but wow! Any higher and people would be trying to drive under them instead of passing the normal way. Wild!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Basic pic-spam from my new area

This is the river not too long before sunset. The shore you're seeing there is actually in another state. Unfortunately, so is the water, which is why we have nasty hard water on my side of the river. Our water is probably pumped from underground sources, like wells. Still...they can't stop us from looking at it, right?

About half an hour from the river within the bounds of a really big state park. Even this panorama does not do the vista justice, especially considering the reputation of Midwestern states from being flat and treeless. Anything but! At least here.

Also at the state park. The shelter dates back to the 1940s, but has been decently maintained. My camera gives a false impression of illumination, but the interior was actually fairly caliginous since it wasn't in use. I would love to the see the hearths lit, but alas! I doubt I ever will have an occasion to return.

The hill is pretty interesting looking. I saw it from both sides - in the park and the meandering drive back - and tried to think of what geological processes might have formed it and those like it nearby. My first guess was that they are moraines left by the outward edges of glaciers. Basically, just rock and sediment humps. But moraines are typically longer and rounded on top, not round. Who knows?

Anyway, this area is basically home for me now.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

One weird and vivid dream

I usually don't record many of my dreams anymore, owning to a lack of time and frankly, most of them not being that interesting, even to me. This one, however, is worth it, I think.

The dream took place in some poorly defined era of early modern China - people who know me well will recognize that this is due to my fascination with the Eastern world in terms of history and non-modern culture - along the banks of an enormous river and surrounding areas.

Some kind of armed conflict was going on. I don't know if it was a civil war or invasion. Everyone looked Chinese/Asian to me, including myself. I was a young Chinese women, probably around the age of 20, in the company of other young woman that age and slightly younger. An old man was in charge of a small contingent of non-uniformed fighters, mostly young men in Western dress.

The dream really began taking shape once fighting reached our side of the river, thanks to women archers on the other side, who covered the crossing from boats. They killed the old man's infant/toddler son by somehow knocking his creche into the water, drowning him in the bassinet. That took the fight out of him.

What ensued was chaos and running. I ended up trying to hide behind a door in an upstairs bathroom - I could still see the river through a window covered with fluttery, translucent yellow curtains. Needless to say, I was found out pretty quickly and made prisoner.

At some point - it gets fuzzy here - we were given a last meal that included shrimp. I tossed the tails over an outdoor railing to a very ill-tempered cat below who had yellow eyes and long, faded black/brown fur.

Then one or two of the young women and I were taken abroad an enormous (and fancy) river barge that belonged to the victorious warlord. He was huge man in armor. The armor did not conform to any particular Asian style, according to what I have found on a google image search, but it sort of resembles this without the helmet. He also had a drooping mustache.

Anyway, the barge had a fire grate built into the floor/deck at one end, enclosed on three sides, but open to the main deck on the other. The idea was that the warlord was going to burn alive several young women from each province he had conquered. We were made to walk through a room that coated the bottoms of our feet with pitch. Then we were herded into the grate area. I think maybe a dozen of us.

We immediately began looking for things to put into the grate to cause smoke, so that we would choke or faint before being burned alive as that seemed preferable to most, but not all of us. I remember frantically scraping gray wood chips into the grate at my end.

Then the warlord came to us and asked each of us whether we could read and write, so that we could leave a record behind of where we had come from and so on. I told him that I could only read/write English. He told me that was foolish, but gave me a circular piece of paper and heavy writing instrument and ink anyway. The writing instrument was like a pointed ivory drumstick at least 18 inches in length.

I had a lot of trouble with writing and eventually just scribbled "remember me" over and over. I considered trying to use the instrument as a weapon in hopes of making a break for it or forcing them to kill me outright. Think about it - no one wants to burn, right?

As we were waiting for them to light the fire, I began wondering if I was dreaming and decided I had nothing to lose by trying to wake myself up. I succeeded.

So that was my night/early morning.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cooking lamb

I have cooked lamb before, but as part of a cassoulle type dish, so it wasn't front-and-center. Today, I actually am cooking an English cooking-inspired lamb shoulder and vegetables dish in the slowcooker. Happy Slowcooker Sunday!

Beforehand, I did some research on lamb. I had originally intended to marinate it overnight, but read in several places that lamb is so tender that a marinade can ruin the integrity of the meat. So I opted against marination.

Because I live in a small town in the Midwest, I didn't have the choice of cuts that I might have back home near Atlanta in an over-privileged suburban community. In fact, it was shoulder-steak or nothing. In a way, that made it easier.

Lamb has quite a bit of fat on it, and not knowing very much about the shoulder's origins, I opted to remove the fat pad thing and quite a bit of the other fatty bits. More on this later. After extensive handling, I understand why cultures that value cleanness also value lamb. Unlike handling chicken or pork, it has a nicer texture. I am not big on touching raw meat, but the lamb did not bother me in the least. It felt clean.

I couldn't determine the direction in which to cut the shoulder. The grain in beef is usually easy enough to find, although I'm a complete neophyte here, but the lamb was baffling. If it turns out that I did so badly as to render the lamb unchewable, I'll edit this post later.

The excess fat, shoulder bone, and a bit of attached meat are currently in the oven for the dog. She was very nice while I did my cooking and prep work, so I'm giving her the extras as her reward. Plus, yesterday was her birthday, and it wasn't a great one. I had to go into the 'office' for a half-day, so she spent more time alone than I wanted her to. Solution: lamb!

Anyway, the lamb is cooking and will be ready in about five hours.

I didn't work from a specific recipe, but rather read many recipes and noted the similarities, such as the inclusion of onion, garlic, and rosemary along with red wine. Potatoes and carrots are also popular. I added leeks and celery, along with black pepper and a hint of thyme.

I don't keep alcohol in the house on account of my ex and still being messed up and angry about that, but I found a sweet onion and burgundy flavor pack. I tasted it before adding and found the flavor pretty wonderful. We shall see.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, but the lighting in my kitchen is terrible right now.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


I don't think apples are exactly in season right now, but a friend turned me on to eating more varies than my occasional Granny Smith. Because of that, I thought I would 'review' a few of them I have tried so far. Just for fun.

Pink Lady

These are generally a nice medium size with a pink to reddish color. In general, I have found them to be consistently good - flavorful and juicy with a decent crunch. I tried the organic variety by accident once and liked the smaller size, along with the retention of the good qualities of a regular apple.

Cripps Pink

These apples may look quite a bit like Pink Lady apples, although lighter in color, but the similarity ends there. They just don't have as much flavor. In fact, I'm not certain they actually taste like an apple at all. The Cripps are very woody. For those who want an apple that tastes like it came straight from an ancient forest, I'm imagining these are them, but not in a good way.


They are very small, mostly reddish, and incredibly inconsistent, but the worst ones taste a lot like a lunchroom apple circa 1987. The better ones are crisp and juicy, but the others can be so mealy, that I'm wouldn't take the chance myself. They are often quite inexpensive, so if a lackluster apple is better than no apple, go for it.


These are huge and have the visual appeal of apples from a storybook. They also require a napkin to eat as they are the juiciest apples on this list. I don't juice, but I imagine these would work well for that, although, of course, I would guess they are higher in sugars as well. Still, they're my favorite of the bunch.

Organic Gala

These seem unusually likely to have minor blemishes, but they have a really unique flavor, enough sweetness, and a satisfying crunch. The size is at the small end of medium, which is great for those like me who've started watching their calorie count.

But what about Granny Smith?

I haven't had one in over a year, I believe, so comparing memory to recent taste wouldn't be fair. If I have one, I may update.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Recent media consumption

I don't think I live within convenient driving distance of a real movie theater anymore. You know, one that has stadium seating and first-run movies. That limits what I'm actually seeing, since I now have the time and freedom to catch the occasional film.

Instead, I have been checking out movies and shows from the library like mad! They have the largest selection I have ever seen (or imagined) at a public library. Incredibly well curated too. The librarian that managed the collection must have been a mad, mad genius.

So far...

Serenity (film)

Yes, I know. I have seen it four times now, but it never fails to hurt when Wash...Oh, don't make me get weepy now. I'm a little embarrassed by how much dialog and expression from the ,movie and show have worked their way into my everyday built-in vocabulary. For goram shame!

Deadwood (film)

I'm midway through season three and the language stills gets me. My ex-partner talked just like that. Otherwise, Ian McShane is absolutely amazing to watch. The man has talent and range like-whoa. For reasons best left to the imagination, I'm watching the show with subtitles. It's an interesting experience. Try it some time.

Ready Player One (audio book)

I just started this last week and am loving it! I think it will eventually end up on my recommended-reads list. My current library has it shelved in young adult; my former posting, adult fiction. Anyway, I'm only on disc two, but I am enthralled by the gaming culture, technology, social problems, and the nostalgia for the late 1980s.

Eve by Anna Carey (book)

This was on my to-read list forever. I'm just over half finished with it and am largely unimpressed. But a good ending could still save it!

I've also read some rightist political stuff in the last couple months on the recommendation of a dear friend. I'm not inclined to review it, but I must admit that the tenor of certain parts of that wing is becoming easier to stomach as they discover that you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.

I'll talk about my own politics later, but I still daydream of geritocracy. I promise.

To come:

I hope to see The Mazerunner and to reread the Bhagavad Gita soon.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Let's see...since my unplanned hiatus I have:

  1. Finished graduate school
  2. Uncoupled and lost my shepherd
  3. Got a smaller dog
  4. Got a new job in my field
  5. Moved 500 miles away
  6. Got a very small tattoo
What does any of that mean for this blog?

I don't know yet, but I feel like writing and posting pictures again.

Anyway, don't expect me to name the city I'm living in these days. I want to keep that as much on the QT as possible. See #2 above and let your imagination run wild, kids. You won't be far off.

Spring is on its way. Expect pictures. Hope for ranting, if you dare.

Thanks for all the visits during the unscheduled break in programming!