How has Thursday been for you?  Mine’s been really good because I went shopping!  I’ll fill you in on my finds in just a hot second, but before I get to that, I am sooo glad you enjoyed & appreciated the Readers’ Recipes Tribute Post!

Finished Kale Chips layered on top of one another
Spoonful of chia seed pudding
 

I’ve been wanting an Espresso maker for years.  Recently Miss Meals-n-Moves Janetha had her shiny espresso maker in a post and that kinda sealed the deal that I just had to do it.  So, I did.

I went to Bed Bath & Beyond with my trusty stash of 20% off Coupons that I hoard, and had my heart all set on a Breville until the sales guy and I were talking.  The Breville Espresso makers are semi-automatic.  Meaning you have to “tamp” your beans, and basically pretend like you work at Starbucks in your own kitchen.  I didn’t really want to do that.  I also didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars for a Fully Automatic Espresso Maker.

Well, apparently the Coffee Gods were smiling down on me because there was a massive markdown on this Krups Fully Automatic Espresso Maker, and with my 20% off Coupon, it brought this machine and me into perfect reality & harmony.

Krups Compact Automatic Espresso Maker in box
Back of Espresso Maker box

Let’s just say when I got it home, I felt a bit like a scientist.  There was a pH strip to test your water’s hardness to tell the machine how much filtration to do.

pH Test strips for Espresso Maker in package
Hand holding pH test strip out of package

There’s also a removeable water tank.

Hand holding removable water tank full of water
Water take for espresso maker attached to machine

There’s a computer that tells you everything you possibly need to know.  This machine is idiot-proof.

Front of Espresso Maker on countertopLED display showing time and different strengths of espresso or coffee you can make

That’s the compartment for the beans.

Coffee Beans in compartment of Espresso Maker

So what have I been making in it?

And it makes coffee by the cup and I love doing that and adding foam from steamed lowfat vanilla almond milk.

Brewed Coffee in mug topped with almond milk and almond milk container in background
Overhead of steamed almond milk in mug

And lattes with steamed lowfat vanilla almond milk.

One empty mug and one mug with steamed milk latte
Steamed almond milk latte in mug

And I have been playing barista after all and making:

Vegan Carmel Macchiatos
Coat your cup with Carmel Sauce

Mug drizzled with caramel sauce

Pour Two Shots of Espresso and Steam some Lowfat Vanilla Almond Milk

Mug with steamed almond milk and mug in machine brewing espresso

Combine the shots & steamed milk, and drizzle Carmel Sauce on top.  Savor every last HFCS drop.  But it’s vegan.  haha!

Combined steamed milk and espresso shots in mug drizzled with caramel

Carmel Macchiatos are also really good with these Nutridel CookiesI received.

Two Nutridel cookies one almond one pecan flavor

I got the Almond and the Pecan Flavors to Try.  Here’s the Nutrition Info:

Nutritional Facts on back of Almond Cookie package
Nutritional Facts on back of Pecan Cookie package

The cookies are crunchy, crispy, light, sweet.  The perfect vegan cookie! 
From their site: Our products are 100% natural, contain no additives, preservatives, artificial colorings, flavorings or sweeteners of any kind. They are loaded with seeds, grains, nuts, fiber and sweetened with a touch of molasses.
Two thumbs up and can’t wait to buy some of these for myself.  Thanks, Nutridel!

But it hasn’t been all coffee & cookies ’round here, I did make a great salad with greens, cukes, carrots, tomatoes, yellow peppers, and dressed it with balsalmic, EVOO, & cracked black.

Green salad with mixed vegetables and homemade dressing

Also made myself a kale salad with cauli, brock, asparagus, tomatoes, and dressed that one with my homemade Vegan Slaw Dressing.

Kale salad with mixed vegetables and homemade dressing

And for dessert, I may have sampled a Raw Vegan Chocolate Turtle

Raw Vegan Chocolate Turtle on parchment paper

And maybe also indulged in a Raw Vegan Peanut Butter CupAhhhh.

 Raw Vegan Peanut Butter Cup split in half on paper liner

And I ate my desserts on Skylar’s plates she painted at our Mommy & Me Pottery Painting event we had last week.   Picasso, no doubt.  I did write her name on the one plate, but everything else is her handywork.  Let’s call Sotheby’s right now!

Painted plate made by child
Up close of painted plate made by child

Yoga Today is Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana (One-Legged Upward Facing Bow, or One-Legged Backbend)

Woman doing Eka Pada Urdhva Dhanurasana yoga pose

Tip of the Day: Have an open mind.  Just because you previously thought that something will be perfect or will never work, the situation may surprise you.  For example, I went to BB &B thinking I was going to get X espresso maker and ended up with Y, and am thrilled with it.  Or, with the holidays coming up, don’t automatically assume that your family will drive you nuts or that they will pick on your diet/lifestyle/choices that are different from theirs, or that there will be drama in some capactity.  There may very will be all of those things, but try going into the situation with an open heart and you may just be surprised that when you’re putting out different energy, you receive different energy back.

What’s your stay sane trick as we’re approaching the holidays?  Mine is not getting caught up in the gift-giving or gift-receiving craziness.  If I want something in July, I buy it.  If I see a cute something for my sister in April, I buy it and send it to her then.  If I am thinking of special friend in September, I send raw treats then.  Basically, I try not to set myself up for gift-giving pressure by spacing things out throughout the year.  A little random, but it works for me to keep me more balanced.  What do you do to stay sane throughout the holiday season?

Stay Tuned For Reader Tribute Post Number 2…

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.