The final day at the Cooking Cottage started with a heart-pumping and adventurous workout sponsored by Snap Supercandy.
Our hour-long workout started with a dynamic warm-up in the backyard. It also included some fun, animal-inspired moves (i.e. bear crawls, frog jumps), which are always a good time. Haha!
Then, we headed to the woods to do some trail running, which included a number of sprinting intervals and plyometrics. We were constantly changing exercises, rep schemes, and intensity during this workout, so the variety kept me motivated and engaged the entire time.
After the workout, we all quickly showered, got ready, and then enjoyed a coffee tasting and brunch, hosted by Starbucks.
Each of the three brunch courses included a special coffee pairing to compliment the specific dish’s flavors. I love this concept. It’s such a near idea. I kind of want to host a tasting at my house with some friends. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Anyway, onto the food!
First course: Asparagus Flan paired with Starbucks Reserve Jamaica Blue Mountain Amber. The asparagus flan was so, so, so good—fresh, flavorful, and nothing like I have ever tasted before. Someone asked for the recipe, but, unfortunately, the chef is keeping it a secret. The flan paired really well with the Jamaica Blue, and it definitely brought out some interesting flavors!
Second course: Fall Vegetable Frittata Napoleon paired with Starbucks Reserve Sumatra Wahana Estate. Sumatra is one of my favorite coffees, so I was excited to try this one, and it was excellent. It was smooth, interesting, and delicious. The smell of freshly brewed Sumatra = heavenly.
Third course: Nutella Crepes paired with Starbucks Reserve Panama Geisha Auromar. This was my favorite course of the meal. I mean, Nutella crepes with banana? C’mon, you can’t get much better than that! And the chef grilled (yes, grilled) the Nutella to enhance the flavor and give it a little crispiness inside the crepe. Incredible, right? And the Panama Geisha was really something special too. The flavors were so complex—it’s almost like they were layered. The initial taste was fruity and floral and then finished with a wonderful sweetness—all in one sip. It was pretty cool.
After brunch, we switched gears and learned about Cooking Matters, an organization that provides adults, children, and teens with the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to make healthy and affordable meals. If you haven’t already heard about Cooking Matters, they are an amazing organization.
We met Megan Bradley, RD, who gave us a guided tour of the grocery store, which was similar to what Cooking Matters provides to families. During these tours, families are taught how to shop for affordable, healthy food, including how to read labels, compare prices, and store fruits and veggies at home.
A few great tips from Megan that I found especially helpful:
- Shop the produce at the front of the store—it’s typically the most affordable and in-season
- If you have fresh produce that is about to spoil, such as berries or chopped peppers, use a sheet tray to freeze them, so you don’t have a big, frozen clump later on.
- Even though a leaner meat is typically more expensive than a fattier one, you’ll lose more of it because so much of the fat cooks off. It’s also a healthier option!
After the tour, the group participated in a “Ten Dollar Shopping Challenge” to show that it’s possible to cook a healthy dinner on a budget. I ended up selecting the ingredients for a Sweet Potato Hash made with sweet potatoes, ground turkey, spinach, and onion, which rang up around $9. (I look like such a soccer mom in this photo. Derp.)
After everyone made their grocery selections, we shared our dinner ideas and then all of the food we purchased was donated to a local food pantry.
Then, we all headed back to the cottage to cook lunch.
Megan showed us how to make an easy peach salsa and gave us some great ideas for turkey tacos.
She taught us how to make a homemade taco seasoning with just four spices and suggested mixing all kinds of grated veggies into ground meat for some added nutrients. Our turkey tacos had grated zucchini and carrots mixed into the meat, which added some nice color, flavor, and, of course, nutrients.
We also made a Fruit Crisp for dessert. The recipe was so easy and works well with pretty much any kind of fruit. We used sliced banana and frozen blueberries, but apples, pears, peaches, and even grapes would work too.
Lunch was delicious—make your own turkey tacos with all the fixings!
And Blueberry-banana crisp with a cinnamon-honey yogurt. Mmm!
After the Cooking Matters session, we all packed up our things and said goodbye. Even though I had just met the folks at the Cooking Cottage, it was actually a little sad saying goodbye.
Once I loaded up my car, I drove to the ferry, rode the ferry across the sound, and then drove to Providence where I am staying until Tomorrow afternoon for a media trip with CVS.
What an amazing few days at the Cooking Cottage. I had such a wonderful time. Thank you, Cercone Brown, for inviting me to experience it!
Questions of the Day
Have you ever done an adventure race/mud run?
What’s your favorite Starbucks coffee/drink?
Have you ever heard of Cooking Matters?