Starbucks celebrates 40th (with free goodies)

To celebrate 40 years of taking over every other corner of the world, starting in Seattle, Starbucks has a couple ways to celebrate this year. (I kind of joke about the every other corner part, you know what I mean.)
Not being a coffee drinker since I was probably 12 years old, it took me a lot longer than most to jump on the Starbucks grande latte, no foam, skim milk, coffee craze. (I don’t even know if that’s a real drink.)
It wasn’t until I was introduced to the Frappuccino – frozen cappuccino – less than 10 years ago that I was sucked in. Though it’s not a daily ritual, I admit I like to treat myself to an occasional caramel frapp – being caffeine sensitive, a little of that goes a long way for me.

First, in celebration of this milestone, Starbucks will offer one free Starbucks Petite to each customer purchasing any beverage on Customer Tribute Day, from 2 to 5 p.m. today, March 10, through March 12 at participating stores in U.S. and Canada.

Starbucks Petites are eight petite sweets, perfectly sized
for an afternoon treat, that are made with
only premium ingredients and all under 200 calories. The treats range from whoopie pies to mini cupcakes and more.


I took advantage of this deal today and cooled down with a sweetened iced green tea. I decided to try the red velvet whoopie pie. The size was definitely perfect. If I was a giant, it would be a crumb but trying to be lady-like, I took a few bites to devour this little goodness that was filled with a sweet cream cheese filling and topped with a red little glaze. Careful, there was a lot of red dye in the glaze which left me with pink fingers. This was actually my first whoopie pie and the cake was moist and delicious.

At $1.50 each, it would have to be a special occasion or a bad-day pick-me-up to grab one of these small desserts. I picked up a latte for a co-worker and she tried the birthday cake flavored cake pop with light pink frosting. She said the cake was moist and sweet. She had tried other cake pops before that were crumbly but was surprised how well this one held up.

Starbucks is also launching its Starbucks Tribute Blend that pays tribute to “customers, partners (employees) and the accomplishments of coffee farmers and roasters over the past 40 years.” The new coffee is a blend of four coffees, from three coffee growing regions using three different coffee processing methods such as Aged Sumatra, that is semi-washed and aged; Sun-dried Ethiopian coffee that is naturally processed; Washed coffee from Papua New Guinea; and Washed coffee from Colombia.
The Starbucks Tribute Blend will also be available as Starbucks VIA Ready Brew.


Baskin-Robbins ice cream for 31 cents

Scoop Night is back! Head to any participating Baskin-Robbins to get ice cream for 31 cents from 5 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, April 28.


Each scoop of ice cream is 31 cents. The limit is three 2.5 ounce scoops per person while supplies last.

The event is held annually to raise funds for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Find a location near you.

Who doesn’t love camping?

Yes, I was one of the many crazies who went out of town this holiday weekend. High gas prices, traffic and all.

Me and about 40+ friends and family headed up north to Yosemite for some good old-fashioned camping.

I love camping and I was so excited to go back to Yosemite, which I’ve only visited once, when I was about 13. I was also excited to take my 13-year-old sister for her first sleeping bag and tent camping trip.

She’s stayed at a cabin in Big Bear with my brother before, but it was a full-furnished cabin and I don’t think they saw any bears.

That was great and all, because it was still family, and my nephews were too young to be outdoors in a tent.

But she’s old enough to handle the great outdoors now. (Maybe I should have made her watch some John Candy movies in preparation.)

And she’s never roasted marshmallows out on a real fire!

What kind of kid would you be, if you’ve never had the chance to roast marshmallows to black melty-death on a piece of stick or twig you picked up off the floor?!


11736-smores2-thumb-200x298.jpgYup. I’m talking about good old gooey-marshmallow-chocolatey-graham-cracker goodness. S’mores.

When I think back on the many camping trips I’ve taken, I think – Man, all we do is eat!

Hot dogs, hamburgers, pork and beans, sandwiches, scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage, granola bars, cheez-its, chips, s’mores of course, and if we had the money, some good carne asada and tortillas. 

But it’s a great challenge to try to cook and eat in the outdoors, especially with bugs flying all around. I always feel vindicated when I’m able to finish my meal before the bugs can even touch it. Take that bug!

So while some of you are enjoying your weekend in the bug-free, AC, comfy-couch/chair/bed, home indoors, I’ll be roughing it on a rock, with some bears, swatting the flies off my s’mores.

And loving every minute of it. 


Strawberries ‘n Cream Pie


Sometimes, it’s all about compromise.

Some people like fruit pies — apple, cherry, strawberry. And other people prefer cream pies — banana cream, coconut cream, custard.

This pie is a great compromise. I’ll start from the bottom layer:
– Graham cracker crust. (The pie I bought used a darker graham cracker crust, which was crunchy and not super sweet
– Thin layer of vanilla cream. (This is the same type of cream used in the banana cream pies)
– Thicker layer of strawberry cream. (Small bits of chopped strawberry).
– Top layer of sliced strawberries and whipped cream.

If you like Marie Callender’s fresh strawberry pie, you’ll probably like this one too. However, I found the slices of strawberries weren’t as satisfying as whole strawberries in the fresh pie.

For those of you who like cream pies, there’s plenty of cream here to satisfy.

Even better. Marie Callender’s is having a sale on the Strawberries ‘n Cream Pie. $10.99. Compare that to the 13.99 fresh strawberry pie.
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Ice cream vs. soft serve vs. Pinkberry

We’re in nebulous period between winter and summer. It can get very cold and very hot within a couple of days or hours. Still, it’s not too early to start thinking about ice cold summer treats. With some input from around the newsroom, here’s a pros and cons list for ice cream, soft serve and Pinkberry-like frozen yogurt.


Ice Cream Pros
Super rich and creamy
Sundaes, Banana splits, shakes, floats
Ice cream sandwiches
More than 31 flavors
Chocolate and Peanut Butter ice cream from Baskin Robbins

Ice Cream Cons
Really fattening
Brain freeze
More fat, sugar and calories
Freezer burn
Feeling so full you don’t want to get up


Soft Serve Pros
Easy access (McDonald’s)
Good ice cream substitute
Goes well with chocolate syrup
Great with toppings
Served in baseball helmets
It swirls!

Soft Serve Cons
Somewhat fattening
Fewer flavors
Can’t “mix-in” toppings
Melts easily


Pinkberry Pros (or similar frozen yogurts)
Won’t weigh you down
Nontraditional toppings — Cocoa Puffs, Mochi, Specialty fruits
Fewer flavors
Healthy bacteria (better BM?)
Trendy, therefore cool
Cute name

Pinkberry Cons (or similar frozen yogurts)
Fewer locations, not sold in stores
Not like ice cream
Can get expensive
Not usually served in a cone
Long lines
Trendy, therefore for followers
There are no pink berries in Pinkberry
Sounds too much like Blackberry

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