Wednesday, July 31, 2013

New Coffee in Town - Peet's Coffee and Tea

Chocolate covered coffee beans. 

This made me a sucker for Caribou Coffee. So I was more than a little sad about all their local stores closing.

But as of today, I'm a lot less sad. I was invited to the Peet's Coffee and Tea in Solon to preview the store before it's grand opening tomorrow.

I've been to Peet's while traveling so I was excited to hear that they would be opening their 1st coffee shop in Ohio just minutes from my house. Founded in Berkeley, CA in 1966, Peet's has a 47 year history of quality coffee. Did you know that Peet's supplied Starbucks with their first beans? But don't think that they are just another chain coffee shop.
Peet's is serious about their coffee. They roast their beans to order every day in Alameda, CA. All their coffee proudly includes the roasted on date so you know exactly how fresh your beans are. In their stores, coffee is always served within 30 minutes of brewing so you are guaranteed a fresh cup every time. And all their bakery is from a local supplier so it's delicious. Here in Cleveland, the exclusive supplier is Mediterra from the West Side Market
And in honor of their grand opening, $1 from every cup sold on 8/1 will be donated to Planet Aid, a fabulous charity that collects and recycles used clothing and shoes to protect the environment and support sustainable development in impoverished communities around the world. If you haven't heard of them, I'm sure you've seen their bins.
source: Planet Aid
Tomorrow August 1st is their official grand opening in Cleveland. Both Solon and Tower City will be serving their 1st brews. 
Click here to get a coupon for a free cup at either location thru August 5th.
We got to experience cupping - a tasting with lots of slurping

** Disclosure: I was invited to experience Peet's and was given samples of their coffee and pastries in addition to this awesome swag bag. As always, my opinions are my own. **

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, July 25, 2013

2 Glasses of Wine

This was recently shared by Fox 8's Stefani Schaefer and it's really great! I just had to share it with all of you. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Two Glasses of Wine
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the two glasses of wine....

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. 

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was. 

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled onto the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the far was full. They agreed it was. 

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "YES!"

The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed. 

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things, your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only THEY remained, your life would still be full."

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car. The sand is everything else; the small stuff. 

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "There is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you."

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand." 

One of the students raised their hand and inquired what the wine represented. 

The professor smiled. "I'm glad you asked. It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend."

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bark for Life - A Canine Event to Fight Cancer

Hey dog lovers! Here's a great event for you and your four-legged best friend to attend together. Plus it helps a really great cause. Now THAT'S something to bark about!

  • What: A Canine Celebration in the Fight Against Cancer!

  • When: Sunday, July 28 - 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.

  • Where: Legacy Village @ The Lawn

  • Time:
    • 8 a.m. - Registration 
    • 9 a.m. -  Opening ceremony, followed by a 1 mile walk! Followed by games, activities, food, treats & fun!
    • 10 a.m. - Closing Ceremony

  • Cost: $10 Pre-Registration* Fee per dog. The first 200 dogs to register will receive a Bark for Life Bandana! (*$15 day of registration fee)

Contact Molly Smith at for more information.

Click here for a Bark for Life Registration Form 

RSVP to the event on Facebook!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

CLE Aquarium's Fish Days of Summer - Fresh Catch Dinner at Pier W

** This event was cancelled**

When I think of summer, I think of ice cream, flip flops and cookouts. Lightning bugs, s'mores and sundresses too. But one of my favorite things about summer is taking a dip in a pool. Well, more like splashing around and cooling off! Especially with how muggy it's been lately, I find myself even daydreaming about jumping in Lake Erie!  And that leads me to thinking about the beach and palm trees and coconut scented suntan lotion.

So what does this have to do with fish? Well, if you're like me, you take the lakes and oceans and all their inhabitants for granted. We assume that any time we want a big plate of grilled shrimp or sushi or mahi mahi we can just go to any restaurant and order it off the menu. 

The sad reality is that a lot of fish are endangered. One of my favorite resources of what to order and what to avoid is the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch List. The best part about this list is that is gives you lots of choices on what to order instead of the fish you may normally choose that are on the avoid list. It makes making smart choices really easy!

Aquariums and fish go hand in hand and our Greater Cleveland Aquarium is partnering with my local favorite seafood restaurant Pier W to create an event that will not only educate you but will delight your taste buds as well. It's a perfect pairing for a delicious and educational event!
On Thursday August 22nd from 6:30 - 9:30 you will experience a 4-course health conscience meal featuring sustainable seafood from all over the world paired with wines. The ticket price of $90 also includes a pass to the aquarium ($80 for pass holders.) "Fish in Human Conservation" is the theme of the evening.

If you go early, you can take advantage of Pier W's fabulous Happy Hour (available in the bar only) for a snack and a cocktail. Click here for the menu. The Vodka Cucumber Lemonade is one of my favorite choices.

Order your tickets here. In case you've never been to Pier W, here's a map. You turn off Lake onto Gold Coast Lane and it's in Winton Place.

** Disclosure: I was offered two tickets to the event in exchange for blogging about my experience. As always, the opinions expressed are my own. **

Monday, July 15, 2013

Grapes & Ale 2013

I'd like to start off today by thanking @InTheCLE for making me their Tweeter of the Week last week! It was really fun focusing on all the fun things to do in Cleveland and I found a lot of new people to follow. If you would like the opportunity to Tweet your stuff, you can apply here.

Now on to me FINALLY sharing the awesomeness of Grapes & Ale with you! It's been a crazy couple of weeks around here and I've been dying to get this posted. Why does this event rock?

  1. It benefits Our Lady of the Wayside - a fabulous local charity that helps people with developmental disabilities. They do great stuff and help a ton of people.
  2. The location is great! Progressive Field is the perfect mix of being outside while still having the shelter from sun or rain that the concourse offers if needed. It's super fun to be able to leisurely walk around the stadium without worrying about missing part of the game. We like to visit Heritage Park while we are there too.
  3. Grapes and Ale. Need I say more? We love being able to sample a little of everything but it's nice to be able to accommodate people who either can't or don't drink one or the other at one event. The selections are generous and diverse. From tasty reds from Duckhorn to local brews ReHive Ale and Buckeye Brewing to Bud Light's Lime-a-Rita and Straw-ber-Rita there truly was something for everyone. 
  4. BBQ! Everyone loves a good BBQ and this event always features a wide assortment of local favorites. This year the featured restaurants were Famous Dave’s, Hot Sauce Williams, Corleone’s, Mavis Winkles, Y.O.L.O. Battery Park Wine Bar, The 100th Bomb Group and The Wayside Grille. 
  5. Fun people! It's always a great time because everyone is so friendly at this event. We love running into old friends and making new ones. 
Thankfully we grabbed the last bites of Famous Dave delicious corn bread and sausage - it was the best of the night so I'm not surprised it was the first to go. Mavis Winkles showed that they can do more than Irish favorites when they served up some tasty ribs. The chicken kebob from Corleone's was really delicious too and got bonus points for ease of eating. The mini hot dogs were a huge hit - especially with all the different toppings that were available. Overall, the food disappeared pretty fast this year. Last year I totally missed out on the desserts so this year I was on a mission. Desserts were wiped out early in the evening so my plan to eat dessert first was a good one. Becker's was back but NO DONUTS! Their nutty squares more than made up for that though - they were excellent.

But the BEST part about this event? They raised over $75,000! Way to go Wayside! 

The next event is an Amateur Golf Outing on Aug. 12th. Click here for details. In September you can join the Labor of Love Run 4 The Wayside. And every Wednesday you can Wash Your Ride for the Wayside.

*Disclosure: I was given two tickets to attend the event and two to giveaway to a reader. As always, the thoughts expressed are my own.*

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4th of July Recipe - Cowboy Style Baked Beans

Happy 4th of July everybody! 

I hope everyone is enjoying the day in spite of the gloomy weather. 

We're headed to a parade watch party/breakfast bash to kick off the day, then a cook-out later.

What am I bringing to the cook-out? It's my favorite kind of recipe - dump and go and it won't heat up your whole house. It's super easy and incredibly delicious - Cowboy Style Baked Beans. If you need a last minute recipe, this is perfect. Consider it a guideline because you can easily add or omit ingredients to your liking or depending on what you have on hand. Like it spicy? Add some jalapenos or chipotle peppers. Like it sweeter? Add some honey. Other additions are smoked paprika, chili powder, hot sauce - your imagination is the limit. I've even added jelly to it when I didn't have any brown sugar.

Cowboy Style Baked Beans

  • 1/3 lb bulk pork sausage
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 2 large cans of Bush's baked beans, pick your favorite flavor
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • one large sweet onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 c BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 4 T mustard
  • 4 T molasses
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 T pepper
  • Place beans in crock pot or slow cooker. Brown and drain sausage. After cooked, place in food processor and process until finely chopped. Add to beans. In same pan, brown ground beef and saute with onions, carrot and garlic. Drain and add to beans. In same pan, cook bacon until crisp. Chop and set aside.
  • Add BBQ sauce, molasses, ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and seasonings to beans. Mix well. 
  • Add 1/2 the bacon, stir again and cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for up to 8 hours. You can also cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 
  • Just before serving, top with remaining bacon. Enjoy!