Pass me a cold one

Over the past few weeks I have noticed that Cold Brew Coffee has been popping up everywhere, so I decided to see what all the hubbub was about and DIY it at home. The result: I can definitely see what all the fuss is about!

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Cold brew coffee is an alternative to your normal cup-o-joe in that you never heat the water to steep the grinds, instead you allow the brew to sit at room temp for 24 hours. This seems like an eternity compared to most insta-cup-o-kerig-lattes, but trust me, there is a reason. So plan ahead & start your Monday morning coffee on Sunday morning for best flavor.

So what makes this a superior to brew your joe? Well two main reasons, smooth taste & low acidity. Brewing the coffee over a long period of time brings out every last drop of flavor without grabbing the bitter qualities. The brew will naturally be smoother & sweeter, so hold off on sugaring this little baby up until you take a sip. Secondly the acidity is much lower, up to 67% according to some & this can do wonders for the taste & for your stomach.

This week I decided to give it a try & I’m officially a convert. I am a latte girl so here is mine.

You will need:

A mason jar or bowl with a lid + 1/2cup coffee grinds to 1&1/2cups room temp water + 2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional) + Almond Milk + A strainer + Patience

Measure out the coffee grinds into the mason jar or bowl & then add the water. Top off with cinnamon then stir with a wooden spoon & then put on the lid (tight) & roll it around in your hand a few times to make sure everything is stirred in. Wait & go about your day as usual (24hours). The next day, use a coffee strainer (i poured my mason jar contents into my french press and then strained it back into the jar) to separate the grinds from the liquid. To drink (finally) pour a serving of coffee into a glass filled with ice & top off will Almond Milk & a sprinkle of cinnamon. Then ENJOY! 

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Here are some other things you should know about cold brew. 

The flavor is more concentrated so you can dilute it with water or milk to your taste.

You WILL use more coffee grinds, just how it is.

Leftovers will last up to a week in the fridge without loosing its taste. No more day old bitter coffee for you!

Some say you can brew anywhere from 2 – 24hours but you might as well go all the way right?

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Get A Little Rest

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Sometimes our bodies give us signals. This week, mine was knee pain. I worked out heavily every day since Friday, including a double workout on Saturday. There is lots of information on why we should work out more, but sometimes we also need a rest. When you are beginning a workout regiment it is important to schedule your rest days. For me this is usually the weekend. However this weekend I helped with a boot camp at my work & therefore continued on through the weekend. Come Monday my knees were knocking during kettle bell squats.

So why is rest so important? During rest days (or recovery days as they are known in the fitness world) our tissue rebuilds from breakdown & our glycogen (energy) stores are replenished. The cool thing about this is that we are still burning calories on our rest days! (yes you read that right). Exercise post oxygen consumption or EPOC, is a fancy way of describing what is happening in our bodies after intense exercise. In simple terms, when we workout intensely ie: lift weights, cardio, basically anything that gets your heart rate up above normal, our muscles get worn out. They must repair in order to grow stronger. In the process of recovery, EPOC uses oxygen to help repair the muscle, this requires energy & energy uses calories!  So don’t feel bad about taking a day off. Relish it & burn baby burn.

Yesterday I was off all exercise, today it is back to the gym with Ryan, my trainer at Desert Fitness. I know it is going to be intense because we are just more than 2 weeks out from the Mrs. Arizona competition. (eek, time to get nervous!)

If you would like to get involved with my competition visit my Facebook page. I am having a raffle for some prizes to raise money as I wrap up my last few weeks. If any of my fellow bloggers out there would like to donate goods for the raffle please contact me.

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

Coachella 2013 Wrap-Up

,hjgjkgfhujygfCoachella was such a whirlwind experience for me. It wasn’t even something I had thought I would be going to, but my old time friends just happen to have another set of friends back out, leaving two tickets up for grabs. It was everything I had hoped it would be: style, art, life, & the collective noise of voices in the night as concert goers reveled in the awesomeness of music. During our walk home my husband queried as to what made me feel so alive at these type of events. When the music is playing & people are singing & dancing without reserve, it is great to feel a part of something big. Something bigger than any one person.

There is going to be lots of great reviews online of the bands that played this weekend, so I won’t spend too much time, just want to list a few that I liked in particular:

Postal Service: so amazing to see them back in action. Yes they are just as good as I remembered them to be

XX: my husbands pick & one of the best shows of the weekend. 3 years ago they were playing in the smaller stages but this year they headlined on  Saturday night & complemented their indie pop/electronic sound with a light show.

La Roux: I was surprised to see her on one of the smaller stages, but it just meant less people to get in the way. She made an amazing show.

Other music I discovered this weekend: Of Monsters & Men, Pretty Lights, Passion Pit, & Youth Lagoon. There was really too much goodness to see it all.

At the end of the weekend, I am tired & fulfilled, revved up to go again someday in the future. Check out the Coachella Facebook Page for pictures of the weekend (I was too involved in the music to bother reaching for my camera). Below is a shot of closing night at the Red Hot Chili Peppers Show.

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Even though I loved the shows, hanging with my Husband & friends takes the best memory. 

We took the doors off the Jeep & drove around all weekend shouting “somebody stole our doors!” Weird looks soon followed.

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What was your favorite Coachella experience?

Feeling the Burn

At first look I am a thin, 20 something who thrives on a diet of “rabbit food” as my coworkers call it & an occasional bag of Cheetos. When I say to someone, “I want to loose weight” you should see the looks I get. Everyone thinks I must be anorexic. But I assure you, this is not the case. Though I daily struggle with an emotional attachment to food (another post on that), when I say I want to loose weight (or rather when I think this to myself for fear of a lashing from society) I mean I want to get back to  to my svelte self I was when I was spending an hour at the gym 4x a week & on my feet all day bartending. I could chow down on Snickers all day but never look it because I constantly needed the energy. It isn’t so much a specific “weight” I am trying to attain, but rather a general condition where I feel amazing, fit & full of energy. Now sitting at a desk 7 1/2 hours a day a new strategy is needed. Enter Ryan, a trainer at Desert Fitness. They have so graciously become a sponsor for my Mrs. Arizona competition & are training me to get ready for the big day.  It’s been two weeks now & this past weekend I reveled in the post workout burn that pulsed through my arms every time I reached overhead.

Already I can see my progress in the strength of my body. My first week I struggled to keep my knees balanced when doing a high single leg step up, but yesterday I was able to complete the exercise (10 reps, 2x) without any assistance at all. GO ME! I am realizing how much I have missed the gym over the past year. I highly suggest working with a trainer if you have been out of the gym for awhile or if you are looking for a good way to kick start your exercise routine. The extra pair of eyes really helps with form as well. If you aren’t doing the form right you will not receive all the benefits of the workout. They also provide accountability & when you decide to chow down on a bag of Cheetos & a Snickers for lunch, you better believe they will ask you about it.

I am missing my weekend workout to head to Coachella tomorrow, but plan on swimming at night & being on my feet all day at the festival. I think I will be expending more than enough energy. Heading to the festival too? Let me know & we can plan a meet up. Other wise follow my Twitter @rachelschoeff for updates during the festival & check back next week for a recap of the weekend festivities.

Take Care

wrapperThis week has been a crazy series of ups & downs, and it seems like all my friends have been experiencing the same. With everything going on I was reminded yesterday by my Dove Chocolate wrapper to “take good care of myself”. I love these pithy phrases on candy wrappers that mean nothing outside of a proper context. Immediately I got on Pinterest (I always look here before I go to Google or some other search engine because I feel as though people who pin things here are more like me than the people running SEO stats…but I digress). I searched Pinterest for “ways to take care of yourself” & came across this article of 55 Ways. I was utterly exhausted after reading it. Stretching, walking daily, wearing pretty clothes all sounds well & nice but then you are also supposed to make worry lists, gratitude lists, track your achievements, take weekends off, keep your workspace tidy, meditate & on & on. Don’t get me wrong, in a perfect world this would be great, but realistically there is no way a modern woman has time for all that.

So I will choose 3 or maybe 4 of those things to try to care for myself daily. Stretching is good, wear pretty clothes, & eat fruits & veggies. Done.

Tell me your 3 (or 4) ways that you take care of yourself.

P.S. be sure to check back next week as I have a big announcement…

So Long LA

Driving to LA last weekend to visit my best, I was all excitement, day dreaming of being a West Coast Beach Lovin’ Babe with my awesome Surfer Hubby. We could live in a little place on the beach just the two of us….then we hit LA traffic. Ahhh yes, this is why I live the next state over & not on the California coast (not to mention the smog & taxes).

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Don’t fret Californians, you have one up on Arizona with your culture. Everywhere we went over the weekend was local & full of character, life, microbrews, & trendy dressed persons. All in all it was a fabulous holiday & if you are ever in LA (on around Culver City) needing something to do on a Saturday night, check out Boardwalk 11. They were the only bar in the area that not only hosted the UFC fight but also a smashing Karaoke set.

Here’s to Los Angeles, I am sure we will meet again soon. 

Better than IHOP


Pancakes are my new favorite breakfast! However syrup (or rather brown colored high fructose corn syrup) & I are not great pals. I seriously loathe the stuff. Not only is it too sweet but nothing in it even remotely resembles the caramel sap dripping from a Maple Tree. In lieu of, we have used honey for a long time, which seems to satisfy the demanding sweet tooth of my 8 year old. But alas, I am left wanting more from my breakfast. Enter my new breakfast obsession: Pancakes. 
 
To start, I switched up the pancakes: out with old (nutritionally void) boring flour, in with buckwheat. I buy my mix from Fresh & Easy. Next throw some berries into the batter, or bananas, even a splash of OJ. I know it sounds strange but trust me; it will liven up your morning. My husband & daughter have both suggested using bacon as well, but I haven’t quite ventured that far. 
 
Next cook them. Got that? Okay. 
 
Now for the toppings: applesauce goes great on banana pancakes, or mash up some blackberries too. Peach & Strawberry yogurts are also a favorite of mine. I like to lay out a buffet of choices at the breakfast table to suite everyone’s taste. Remember your mother said: don’t knock it till you try it. This will revolutionize your mornings & provide a far healthier option too the morning sugar rush offered at your local IHOP. 
 
My current favorite is berry buckwheat pancakes topped with cinnamon applesauce & fresh blackberries (pictured). 

How would you give your pancake a makeover? Anyone willing to try some bacon?