Monday, July 25, 2011

Cheap Mama Coffee Tricks

I like coffee.  A lot.  And when I became One Cheap Mama I mourned the loss of my fancy, expensive coffee.  I had been used to drinking flavors of coffee with names like Buttered Pecan, French Vanilla Hazelnut and Bananas Foster and all of a sudden I was drinking...REGULAR COFFEE!  I whined and wept and tried to find ways to make my cheap coffee taste like the good stuff but I never found any great ideas until NOW!  I am so excited to share these secrets for all you fellow coffee lovers.

Just so you know that these tricks truly work within your Cheap Mama budget, I use these tricks with my Wal-Mart Great Value coffee.  A side note: The coffee cans from the GV coffee brand can be repurposed into great containers.  Cheap and chic!

Cheap Mama Coffee Trick #1 - Replace the aspartame with something better.
Just recently I went to see a Naturopathic Doctor for an undisclosed reason.  If you're thinking, "Oh, she's plum crazy" don't worry - my husband agrees with you.

Once there I discussed the fact that I have suffered from headaches for the past 15+ years and pretty much have them on a daily, continuous basis.  They asked me if I drank diet Coke.  Uh, does a bear...?  Never mind.  I answered yes, lots.  The Sonic carhops practically know me by name.  It's not like I didn't know of the bad press around aspartame.  It was just that I never realized how truly awful it was.  Or maybe I just really didn't want to have to give up my diet coke.  Either way, not until I was faced with the choice of A) Keep drinking diet coke and putting the pink stuff in my coffee and have headaches or B) Give up the crack cocaine diet coke and rid my body of the aspartame did I finally agree to stop drinking anything with aspartame.

Instead of the pink or blue or yellow packets, I now use xylitol which can be found at most health food stores or the green packets if I can't make it to the health food store that week.

Cheap Mama Coffee Trick #2 - Add cinnamon to your coffee grounds before brewing
This AMAZING idea originally comes from Vivienne Wagner whom I met on Twitter.  You can check out her post complete with pictures here.  I have been searching for an idea to make my cheap GV coffee taste like coffee-house coffee and this idea is genius!  All you do is sprinkle some cinnamon (enough for your liking) on top of the coffee grounds prior to brewing.  As it brews the cinnamon flavors the coffee and the bonus is that it turns out cinnamon has awesome health benefits to boot.  The taste created when I add cinnamon to the coffee grounds before brewing is absolutely delicious.  I now use cinnamon every time I brew a pot of coffee and I actually feel a teeny bit like my old fancy-coffee-drinking self again.

Cheap Mama Coffee Tricks #3 - Perfect iced coffee from The Pioneer Woman
Just like The Pioneer Woman I had been on the quest to make the perfect iced coffee.  I had tried brewing coffee in my coffee maker and transfering that to the refrigerator but the taste was always too weak.  Thus, I was left to either forego the iced coffee that I love so much or load up the kids to make a coffee run at three o'clock in the afternoon.  Neither option was sustainable.  Then I found PW's recipe for The Perfect Iced Coffee and now my life is complete.  I now keep a pitcher of this divine concoction in the refrigerator so that I can enjoy a delicous iced coffee any time!  Heaven.

Cheap Mama Coffee Trick #4 - Bring the used coffee grinds into the shower
After you have brewed your coffee in the coffee pot or have the extra pound of grinds from the iced coffee recipe, bring those grinds into the shower with you.  Don't worry, it's not anything kinky.  This is another great idea from Vivienne.  I think she loves coffee as much as I do.  Maybe even more.  Caffeine is the active ingredient in all of those cellulite-reducing creams and Vivienne has discovered a way to cut out the middle-man, so to speak.  She uses the grinds as a kind of coffee scrub focusing on her legs and feet.  Who knew coffee was so versatile!

However if you have small children and barely have enough time to shave your armpits in the shower, let alone exfoliate your thighs with coffee grinds, you can try

Cheap Mama Coffee Trick #5 - Use the used coffee grinds as fertilizer
Coffee grinds are a great fertilizer for acid-loving plants such as roses, hydrangeas and blueberries but it can also be used as a fertilizer on other plants because the acidity level is not so high that it can't be used on other plants in your garden.  When you're done with your pot of coffee instead of dumping the grinds in the trash, be a good little recycler and use them on your plants.

If anyone else has any great Cheap Mama coffee tricks, please leave a comment!

Happy drinking, you coffee-addicted Cheap Mamas!


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