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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Art of Avoiding Homework, or What's Your Favorite Breakfast?

I've spent most of my day avoiding doing my homework. Posting to my blog seemed like a nice productive way to rationalize not doing my homework, but then writing a post seemed an awful lot like homework. So instead I'll post a meme I found on Karen's blog at Do Better.

You Are Cheerios

Like other Cheerios eaters, you want to be a responsible adult. But you can't help but still be a kid at heart! You try to make good decisions. You're a clean cut, conscientious person. You're the type of person who would never skip breakfast.

Part of you thinks that breakfast is too important to miss...

But a bigger part of you knows it's too fun to miss!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Give your eyes a break

clouds, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

I spent a good 20 minutes just watching the clouds today. I had things to do, places to be, people I needed to talk to, but I left the phone inside and just went out and sat and looked and appreciated.

I feel much saner now.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cambozola: a little wedge of heaven

Midnight snack, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

Cambozola is my new favorite cheese. To my untrained palate it tastes like the love-child of brie and bleu cheese.

I made a salad with arugula, spinach, apples and pecans with a raspberry vinagarette. It needed something else so I added chunks of cambozola.

Oh my goodness.


Spring Blossoms

cherry blossom

The cherry trees are in bloom on campus at the University of Washington. It's just so beautiful.

spring blossoms

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg

I read Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bonesthe first time in 1990. I was twenty and had just decided that I want to be a writer when I grow up. I had never imagined such a book: a writer writing about writing. It's a simple concept, I know. But it blew my mind. I devoured every word and then went back and read it again. I was so full of hope and ambition and passion. I went out and bought myself a big beautifully bound journal in which I would practice my craft.

I went to a bustling cafe, sat down with my big steaming cuppajoe, got out my new pen and stared at the blank page while I waited for a jewel of inspiration. Nothing. Nothing in my head was worthy of that fancy journal. Crap. Drivel. Cliche. Not a single thought that tickled my brain or twitched the nib of my pen was good enough to commit to paper. How the hell do writers do this? Everyday?


I missed the basic premise of the book: just do it. Don't wait for it to be perfect, don't repaint your walls to create the perfect writing room, don't wait for the soundbites that everyone will still be quoting 50 years after you're gone. Just write. You find the good stuff in editing.

Eighteen years later I reintroduced myself to an old passion that never died; the dream of making a living as a writer. It's different this time. I write every day. Most of what write is crap, and that's a beautiful thing. I celebrate the shit. I write in spiral bound notebooks that pile up and clutter our apartment. I write, I doodle, I daydream, I do timed writes, I write even when my head is completely empty. I write when I don't know what to write. Sometimes I just write "I don't know what to write" over and over until my pen writes something else. It's not glamorous, it's not inspirational, it's not perfect. It's just writing down the bones.

I re-read Writing Down the Bonesand this time I got it. You have to be willing to be not perfect. I still have times when I find it critically important that I reorganize my files, or transcribe an entire spiral bound notebook into my computer, but on closer inspection that usually means I'm procrastinating and I'm afraid I might write crap. So then I sit down and write crap anyways.

Friday, April 25, 2008

CoffeeJitters' Photo Featured on Seattlest

I woke up this morning to find that Seattlest featured one of my photos in this post.

It's a happy, surreal feeling to see your work acknowledged and featured. Thanks Seattlest.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A little visual summertime

095, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

I am so ready for some sunshine.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spiced Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cookies and Milk, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

Tonight I was in need of cookies. Desperate need of cookies. Not just any cookies, I needed chocolate chip cookies. But then I wanted something a little less ordinary too...

I rummaged through the pantry and pulled together what items I had on hand and found a collection I thought might be nice in chocolate chip cookies, that included pecans and coconut as well.

My package of chocolate chips was from Safeway's O Organics line and had an interesting recipe on the back so I used that as a starting point. I used that as a starting point because, of course, I cannot follow directions from start to finish, I have to make it my own.

Here is the O Organics "Really Delicious Organic Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies" Recipe as it is written on the back of the label:

1/2 lb butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp powdered ginger
2 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
1 cup O Organics chocolate chips
1 cup raisins
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Here's what I used:
1/2 lb butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed golden brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp powdered ginger
2 cups quick rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coconut
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Obviously the changes were not drastic, but the cardamom really brightens up the flavor of the cookie.

The remaider of the directions follow standard cookie baking conventions.

Preheat oven to 375
cream butter with sugars on low speed until blended. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Slowly add powdered indgredients until incorporated. Add oats, coconut, chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Obviously my changes to the cookie recipe were not that drastic, but the cardamom really brightens up the flavor of the cookie and adds a bit of an exotic dimension.

Unfortunately, I think it needed salt and maybe a little extra something for crunch. Maybe next time I will crumble up some potato chips and add it to the batter.

Don't think I'm kidding, that sounds yummy!

Fish Tacos at Aguas Verdes

Fish Tacos at Aguas Verdes, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

On the south end of Seattle's U-District sits a little lakeside cabin that houses the Agua Verde Cafe and Paddle Club. The cafe menu is short and simple: Mexican food made with fresh, healthy ingredients. Fresh house-made juices, such as the watermelon juice, taste like summer. Fish tacos are a house specialty with cabbage an avacado dressing, and your choice of bacalau, smoked salmon, mahi mahi, or catfish. I come back for the smoked salmon taco time after time and can't get enough.

I'm not a fan of most of their salsas, I find them much too sweet. And the guacamole is merely a mash of onion and cilantro, what little avacado is in there lends no flavor. But the fish tacos have flavor enough on their own and any additional salsa would detract from this amazing balance of flavors.

Come for a day, come for an hour. Rent a kayak and explore Lake Union and Lake Washington, then follow up with drinks and dinner in the cafe. It's a wonderful way to enjoy this beautiful city.

Watermelon Juice at Aguas Verdesaguas verdes paddle clubaguas verdes094
Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club
1303 NE Boat Street, Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 545-8570

Agua Verde in Seattle

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Consider the Rutabaga

Rutabaga, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

Rutabaga, also known as swede, yellow turnip, or in Scotland, neeps, originated as a cross between cabbage and turnips. I thought about neeps and tatties for dinner tonight, but it's a drizzly, gray Sunday afternoon and Mr. H is still recovering from pneumonia. I think this calls for a hearty beef and root vegetable stew.

Rutabaga has a very strong flavor that becomes even more pronounced the longer it cooks. It is important not to overcook or it may become bitter.

Beef and Root Vegetable Stew
1.5 lb beef sirloin, 1 inch cubes
4 good sized potatoes
1/2 rutabaga
4 parsnips
6 carrots
1/2 onion

Let the meat get a nice carmelization over medium high heat before lowering the heat. Chop all vegetables to 1 inch cubes and add to the pot. Once the veggies are almost fork tender, make a roux of bacon fat (or whatever floats your boat) and flour, add a bit of the broth from the beef and vegetables and stir till smooth and add to the stew (or you can just deglaze the pan with broth or red wine).

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Sunset, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

The view from Mom's new apartment: sunset over Puget Sound with the Kingston Ferry.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Aspirations, or Why I Want to be a Food Writer

According to Womens Wear Daily, during Monday's New York Women in Communications' Matrix Awards, "Top Chef" judge Padma Lakshmi was quoted saying:

"I'm living my mother's dream, I sit on my ass, I eat and I talk."


School Supplies

School Supplies, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

Shopping for school supplies just isn't what it used to be.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Cooking with Leftovers: Curried Chicken and Lentil Soup

What does a starving student cook when the pantry's paltry offerings are little more than leftover chicken, lentils, chicken stock and some leftover vegetables? This starving student made curried chicken and lentil soup.

I simmered the lentils in the chicken stock, chopped and added the chicken, seasoned with curry and cinnamon (the secret ingredient and key to this soup), and then added the veggies shortly before serving. The entire dish took about 20 minutes to complete. A quick and easy dinner that was absolutely delicious.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Craigslist: Stoner says thank you for best pizza ever

Thanks to Cory at Boing Boing for bringing this happy post to our attention.

To The Stoner Who Works At Cottage Inn Pizza
Date: 2007-09-18, 11:30AM EDT

You: the guy who answers the phone at cottage inn pizza
Me: Hungry and stoned out of my gourd

I called you from my cell phone but had completely forgot who I was calling by the time you answered the phone. Of course, you were also baked to bajeezus and forgot to tell me that I had called Cottage Inn.

When you answered and said, “Whatsup?” I thought about it, and after a 20 second pause I told you that was hungry. You suggested I try a pizza, and I agreed that it was probably a good idea.

Then I asked you if you sold pizza and you said that you could make me one. I said I wanted anchovies and something else on my pizza. You asked me what that something else was.

We spent five minutes listing toppings until we figured out that I was trying to remember how to say: “Sun dried Tomatoes.” When you said: “We'll bake that right up for you,” we both started laughing uncontrollably.

It was the best pizza I ever had; I just wanted to thank you for helping me out.

I needed a good giggle today.

Friday, April 04, 2008

fried bananas

fried bananas, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

I stepped into Mom's kitchen this morning and she peeked up at me with a sheepish look like she'd been up to something naughty. The place smelled wonderful and I looked around the kitchen as I quized her on what she'd been up too. Fried bananas. That's what she'd been up to. She was standing at the stove nibbling away as I walked in the door. I snapped a picture of what was left and then helped her finish them off. Yummy. If you love bananas and especially if you have green bananas and not enought patience to let them ripen, you must try fried banans.

Fried Bananas
(all measurements to taste)
- butter
- sliced bananas (lengthwise or crosswise, your choice)
- marmalade or other sweetener like maple syrup or brown sugar
- booze (optional)

over medium high heat melt the butter then add the bananas. Saute till they start to carmelize. Lower the heat before adding the sweets to avoid burning. Top it off with a bit of booze (anything from amaretto to rum or whatever your heart desires). Some people flambe at this point, but that just burns off all that lovely booze and who needs to deal with that fire, especially if this is for your breakfast.

Serve this lovely concoction over ice cream or pancakes, or like me, eat directly from the frying pan while standing in front of the stove.

yes I am that much of a heathen.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

If you have to announce it with a big yellow vinyl sign...

Ambience, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

This sign made me giggle.

One of the Great Truths

Wine a bit, originally uploaded by coffeejitters.

I could go for some wine right now.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Timmy is moving to Seattle too!

Tormenting Timmy - 11/4/07After the fiasco of transporting Mom's stuff to Seattle from Alaska via the ill-maintained U-Haul (see this post for the back story - we're still fighting U-Haul on getting a refund), my brother Tim decided to hang around for a couple days and see if there are any good job opportunities for him around the Seattle area. Wouldn't you know it, House of Harley needed a parts guy and my brother happens to be a Harley Davidson parts guy. Match made in heaven.

The new job starts on April 21, so Timmy has three weeks to give notice at his old job and pack up his house and drive his truck, his Harley, and the rest of his junk back down the Alcan. I'm hoping this time he wont go with U-Haul again. Is there any other option out there?

Slowly but surely my whole family is making their way to the Seattle area. Of course this is good news.

© Judy Haley. All rights reserved.