Fun with Coffee-mate’s New Flavors

Written by Lotus on Monday, 2 of September , 2013 at 5:19 pm

I recently had the opportunity to try Coffee-mate‘s new flavors inspired by Girl Scout Cookies.  I tried the “Thin Mints” and “Coconut & Caramel” flavors.  In partnering with the Girl Scouts, they’re also “scouting” for a Girl Scout to appear in their commericial.  You can view the submissions here.

Here’s the thing though… I don’t drink coffee.  Instead, I wanted to see if I could use them in new and unique ways.

The first idea I had was Palmiers.  Don’t let the fancy French name fool you. If you use prepared pastry dough it’s super easy.  After defrosting the dough in the freezer, I laid it out on the counter top.  I mixed 1/2 cup of Coffee-mate’s Thin Mints and 1/4 cup of sugar in a small bowl.  Then I brushed mixture on the dough.  Then I rolled up the dough on the long sides until they met in the middle.  Wrap the dough in wax paper and freeze for 30 minutes to make it easier to cut.  Then cut in 1/4 inch slices and put on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes or until golden.


The second thing I made was Coconut Chicken Nuggets.  I soaked chicken tenders in the Coconut & Caramel Coffee-mate for about an hour.  Then I coated in egg and seasoned breadcrumbs.  I fried them in some olive oil, but you could also bake them.  The Coffee-mate added a little bit of sweetness, which made them so delicious.  Kids would probably really dig them.  Assuming the adults leave them any.


In addition to the above recipes I tried, I think either of the Coffee-mate varieties would be good in hot chocolate (or iced chocolate!), in protein shakes, or even “affogato”-style — a shot or so poured over gelato or ice cream.  I hear you can also put it in coffee!



Last night I mixed 1 ounce of Smirnoff Kissed Caramel vodka and a splash (maybe 1-2 tablespoons) of Coffee-mate Caramel & Coconut.  So good.



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Category: Food,LOTUS Recommends

Make a Dessert from Fresh Summer Fruit

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 27 of July , 2013 at 5:03 pm


The next item I did on my/Martha Stewart’s Summer 2013 Bucket list was to make a dessert with fresh summer fruit. Someone bought me a dozen juicy, ripe peaches from a farmer’s market, so I put them to use. Of course, I did have to enjoy a few on their own first.


I used this generic recipe for Fruit Crumble from Epicurious.  The only thing I did differently was use honey-roasted almonds instead of plain almonds.


Not pictured: The perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Category: Food,Summer 2013 Bucket List

Go to a Farmer’s Market

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 14 of July , 2013 at 9:55 am


Item number 21 on my Summer 2013 Bucket List was to go to a farmer’s market.  Truthfully, I will do this several times before the summer ends.  On Friday I went to the local market just a few miles from my house.  I purchased the grape tomatoes and cherry heirloom tomatoes in the photo above.  Not pictured: The ham and cheese croissant I nearly devoured on the drive home.

I used a handful of each tomato to make a shrimp salad.  It’s a random mix of my favorite things, so feel free to make it your own.

Shrimp and Avocado Salad

8-10 cooked shrimp

Half an avocado, cubed

1/4 cup fresh or frozen cooked corn

10-15 cherry and/or grape tomatoes, cut to your liking

1/4 cup crumbled Feta cheese

Coarse salt, as needed

Mix all in a bowl.  If the avocado is ripe, it will coat all the ingredients as a sort of dressing.  I also like a bit of Green Goddess dressing on top.


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Category: Food,Summer 2013 Bucket List

Curbside Cook-Off: A Girl with a Plan

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 11 of July , 2013 at 8:50 pm

This Saturday in Washington D.C. the Food Truck Association is hosting the first Curbside Cook-Off, a gathering of popular food trucks, music and unlimited beer to benefit the local charity, Miriam’s Kitchen.

I am obsessed with food trucks and their battle with those trying to regulate them out of business.  Unfortunately, I have only eaten at a few. Needless to say, I’m pretty excited and I don’t want to be overwhelmed, so I have to approach this awesome event with a plan.

– Don’t fill up on drinks.  I’m not a beer drinker, so this piece of advice is more of a public service.

– Make a beeline for Red Hook Lobster Pound.  As I wrote here a couple years ago, one of my food regrets is not getting their lobster roll when I saw there was no line.  I wrongly assumed they only took cash (most food trucks accept credit cards, some add a very small fee like 40 cents).  I will not make this mistake again.

– Falafel. I’ve never had it. It looks like there are several trucks that offer it, so I should take advantage.

Goodies Old Fashioned Frozen Custard and Treats. This is the only truck I’ve visited more than once.  It’s where I had my first (ever!) root beer float.  They’re always coming up with new and interesting treats.  All are as delicious and smooth as the owner.

– Cookies!  Clearly, I would need a food truck to tow me home if I were consuming full portions of everything.  The great think about cookies is that they are totally portable and, in theory, can be saved for later.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I’ve also heard good things about Captain Cookie and the Milkman.  It would be an insult to not take my friend’s advice to try them.

– We plan, God laughs.  As I said, there are several foot trucks I’ve never been to, so I look forward to talking with other people there and hearing about their favorites and trying something new.  Here’s the list of all the trucks that will be there.

Here’s the list of venues for this weekend’s and future venues.  Hope to see you there!

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Category: Food

Things I’ve Learned from Pinterest

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 11 of October , 2012 at 1:38 pm


That old t-shirt is best used as a dusting rag. Not a scarf. Not a “cute new top.”

Pinterest Board

Apparently, I should have been wearing boot socks all this time.

Everyone does their nails (except me).

Everyone has a wedding board (except me).

Everyone wears scarves (except me).

Click-bait makes me angry. If the link doesn’t go to the store where you can buy an item, I’m not pinning it. I don’t want to aspire to own those shoes. I want to own those shoes.


People are obsessed with recipes with pumpkin and making food look like a pumpkin.

Anything can be made in a crockpot. Anything.

I will repin any recipe with the words “Salted Caramel” or “Nutella” in the title.

Cauliflower is not a suitable replacement for anything. No potatoes. Not pizza crust.

People love “copy cat” meals. I just don’t understand why people want to copy anything from Olive Garden.

Sandra Lee is just lazy.  Busy women (and men) on Pinterest make their own seasoning mixes, brownie and cake mixes, and freezer meals. 


“Take an old…” projects are almost never worth it. (Also, see old, t-shirt above)

Anything can be made into a chalkboard.


People are serious about dog breeds. Don’t you dare say that English Cream Dachshund is a Golden Retriever and Dachshund mix!  One woman’s quest (she’s commented on pins of same dog several times).

The only thing better than a photo of a sleeping puppy is a photo of many sleeping puppies.

And, finally, that this is possible.

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Category: Fashion,Food,Random Stuff

My Favorite Super Bowl Sunday Recipes

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 28 of January , 2012 at 1:29 pm

I thought I would share with you some of my favorite recipes for game day.  If you’re still keeping to your healthy New Year’s resolutions, these recipes will not help.  However, you could use vegetables (carrots, grape tomatoes, zucchini) as your dipping device or get a small plate and keep yourself to a small serving rather than camping out at the dip location.  Just don’t mess with the mayo.  Seriously, there’s something about the fat-free and reduced fat mayo that ruins these dips.  Rather than mess with these recipes, serve other healthier options like crudités and hummus. 


Buffalo Chicken Dip
3 – 12.5 ounce cans of all-white meat chicken (drained)
3 – 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
1 cup of ranch dressing
12 ounce bottle of Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (NOT hot sauce)
12 ounces of shredded Mexican cheese blend

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large pot or skillet, mix chicken, cream cheese, ranch dressing, and wing sauce on medium-low heat until combined and smooth. Mix in 1 cup of cheese. Transfer to 9 by 13 pan. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Serve with bite-size tortilla chips.
(Note: The original recipe I pilfered from a friend’s ex-boyfriend included diced celery, so feel free to add a cup if you’re a fan. I am not.)

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
1 package of frozen spinach, thawed and drained (press through colander several times until all water is removed)
1- 12 ounce can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all ingredients until combined and there are no large chunks of spinach. Transfer to 8 or 9 inch pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges start to brown.

Serve with tortilla chips, pita chips or crusty bread.

Hot Crab Dip
4 ounces of softened cream cheese
½ cup of mayonnaise
½ cup of sweet onions, chopped
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
½ teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
6 ounces of fresh or canned lump crabmeat, drained
5 crushed buttery crackers (like Keebler’s Club crackers)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Caramelize onions in small sauté pan with olive oil. Drain off any excess oil. Combine with cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Old Bay and crabmeat. Mix until all is incorporated and there are no big lumps of cream cheese. Transfer to small baking dish or crock. Sprinkle crushed crackers on top. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until cracker topping is golden brown.

Serve with your favorite crackers. I like the Townhouse Flip Sides with this dip.


If you want to give your guests an entree in addition to appetizers and dips, go with something that is easy to make in large quantities.  I like chili with fixings (cheese, onion, Fritos, sour cream, etc.) or pulled pork with small potato rolls and cole slaw.  People will be filling up on appetizers all day, so no need to go all out on the entree.  Save some money by doing an entree that allows people to have as small or as large a portion as they want.

If you want to offer dessert, go simple.  A perfect batch of chocolate chip cookies beats most desserts.  Get a few pints of ice cream and have guests make their own ice cream sandwiches.  For a healthier option, make a fruit salad and let guests make it as bad as they want it — chocolate syrup, whipped cream (or Cool Whip), shortcake or biscotti.

Enjoy the game (and the commercials)!

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Category: Food,Let's Get This Party Started

Salted Caramel Sauce

Written by Lotus on Friday, 16 of December , 2011 at 11:51 pm



This year my favorite thing to give away is the salted caramel sauce.  I found the recipe on the Epicurious iPhone app.  However, I made a few adjustments (adding vanilla, butter, sea salt) to give it a richer flavor.  It’s great on ice cream.  Enjoy!

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan. Stir medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture turns a deep amber color, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat. Carefully add whipping cream (you may want to stand back — mixture will bubble vigorously). Add butter, sea salt, and vanilla. Stir with small whisk over low heat until all caramel bits are incorporated and sauce is smooth.






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Category: Christmas,Food

Missed Connections: Food Edition!

Written by Lotus on Thursday, 21 of July , 2011 at 11:02 pm

Have you ever read the Missed Connections on Craig’s List and wondered if people really do find one another?  Well, this list is my version of that — missed opportunities to indulge in tasty food.

– A few weeks ago I used a Groupon for Arrowine, a great cheese shop in Arlington, VA.  My $30.00 was quickly spent on a few cheeses, apricots and wafer crackers.  The minute I paid for everything I turned around and saw the freezer case for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream.  Staring right at me was the Pistachio and Honey.  I love pistachio ice cream and gelato, but sometimes there’s not enough sweetness.  The addition of honey sounded like a great combination.  I didn’t want to do another transaction, so I left.  Now that I’ve checked them out online, I also see they have a flavor called Bourbon Buttered Pecan.  Sigh…red-hook.jpg

– I’m obsessed with food trucks.  I watch the Cooking Channel show about them.  I follow them on Twitter.  I check Washingtonian Magazine’s daily list of locations.  But, guess what?  I’ve never had food truck food.  One of my favorites to follow is the Red Hook Lobster Truck.  I’ve heard and read that they do fantastic lobster rolls.  One day I was meeting a friend for lunch in downtown D.C.  I don’t even remember where we ate, just that I had a very mediocre tuna salad.  As I was walking back to my car I saw the Red Hook Lobster Truck WITH NO LINE. (For those outside of D.C., this truck, apparently, always has a line.)  I didn’t have any cash on me.  I thought about finding an ATM, but then remembered, “Oh yeah, I just ate lunch.”  I relunctantly kept walking.  I later found out that many food trucks, including Red Hook, take credit cards.  Red Hook Lobster Truck has become my great, white whale.  Hopefully, we’ll meet again soon.

– A little over two years ago I cut pasta, rice and bread out of my diet, as well as cut down on portion size in general.  It’s paid off and I haven’t made any exceptions.  Naturally, the gourmet burger has taken D.C. by storm and I’m left wondering what the buzz is all about.  Ray’s Hellburger, Good Stuff Eatery, BGR Burger Joint all seem to have outstanding burgers that I’ll never eat.  Exotic condiments. Various cheeses.  Bacon.  Sure, I can (and have once or twice) gotten a burger without the bun, but it’s not the same.  I once organized an event for Dr. Laura, talk radio host who converted to Orthodox Judaism.  Someone asked her what she thought heaven would be like.  She said she thinks heaven is unlimited bacon cheeseburgers.  Praise Cheeses!

ronald-bake-boss.jpg– At CPAC this year the Reagan Banquet celebrated President Reagan’s 100th birthday with a cake from Carlo’s Bakery of “Cake Boss” fame.  Everyone said the cake was fantastic.  Unfortunately, I was too busy to try a piece.  Road trip to New Jersey, anyone?

– The worst thing about Trader Joe’s is that once you find a great product it seems to disappear.  Frozen Mashed Potatoes (seasonal), Identity Crisis Tortilla Chips (discontinued), Salted Chocolate-covered Caramels (seasonal).  I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that come to mind.

– A few weeks ago I wrote about my trip to Fire Island.  No disrespect to the great people I met (or to Betty), but the highlight of the weekend was the watermelon gazpacho. It was a blended soup (my favorite), topped with crumbled feta cheese and swirls of creme fraiche and avocado cream.  My regret?  I didn’t finish my bowl before the next course came out.  Thankfully, I got the recipe.  I can’t wait to make it.  I just hope it’s as good as the original!

Have you had an tmissed food connections?  Feel free to share in the comments!

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Category: Food

Texas “Fudge”

Written by Lotus on Saturday, 1 of May , 2010 at 12:05 pm

This recipe is modified from the Hickory Neck Episcopal Church Cookbook. By the way, church cookbooks always have the best recipes.  This one is from my mom’s church in Toano, VA, but you can find others in used bookstores.

16 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese (grated)

14 ounces (2 cans) of Chopped Green Chiles (drained)

16 ounces Sharp Cheddar Cheese (grated)

8 Eggs (well-beaten)

1 teaspoon Garlic Powder

1 teaspoon Onion Powder

12 strips of Bacon (cooked, crumbled)

Line 13 by 9 inch pan with aluminum foil.  Layer Monterey Jack cheese in pan. Cover with green chiles. Cover with Cheddar cheese. In bowl, mix eggs, onion powder and garlic powder.  Pour the egg mixture over the layered cheese mixture.  Add crumbled bacon evenly on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly.  Do not let it brown.  Cut in squares to serve.  This may be served hot or cold.

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Category: Food

LOTUS Embraces San Francisco Lifestyle

Written by Lotus on Sunday, 21 of June , 2009 at 4:58 pm

Following surgery, I’ve been on a liquid and mushy food (baby food) diet for the past 6 weeks.  During that time I’ve been perusing several food blogs.  Pants off, mouth open.  When all you have is photos to satisfy you, the food at This is Why You’re Fat is totally unappealing (sorry, JOTUS).  Instead, I’ve been enjoying blogs that focus on the healthier, organic, seasonal food.  I think it started with a segment on  60 Minutes last week about Alice Waters, mother of the organic food movement and founder of Chez Panisse in San Francisco (of course).  While I don’t think that any lifestyle should be forced on Americans (even for their own good), I do agree with her food philosophy.  Yes, it’s elitist and, yes, it’s totally inconvenient.  However, there are some tips you can take from  her, like supporting farmer’s markets, eating only seasonal fruits and veggies, skipping fast food, and enjoying the process of cooking and eating your meals.  The recent NY Times Bestseller, Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel (my favorite from Housewives of NYC), follows this philosophy.  It’s a great book, but I do have one criticism — THERE ARE NO PHOTOS!

Here are some of the food blogs I’m adding to my Blog Roll:

So Good

Cooking with Trader Joe’s

Cook to Bang

Zesty Cook

DC Foodies

So, what am I cooking for my first non-mushy meal at home?  Salmon and Turkey Bacon Soft Tacos!  Lots of tomatoes, a little sour cream, and a little goat cheese.  Yeah, I’m probably more excited than I should be.  Pants are still on though.

UPDATE: Salmon tacos were good, but I inadvertantly bought low-carb tortillas.  They were kinda gluey.  Boo.

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Category: Food,LOTUS Recommends


LOTUS lives in Northern Virginia. NOTE: The views expressed on LOTUS blog are the author’s alone. Organizations listed on this blog are for identification purposes only.