• Coffee ‘n’ Black Bean Soup – in 30 Minutes!

    by John Knotz | Sep 15, 2016

    One of my favorite memories from living in New Orleans is learning to make traditional red beans and rice from a local who had been serving up this favorite dish – to throngs of people – her entire life. We soaked, drained, combined, stirred, seasoned, mashed, and tasted … what a learning opportunity for a Midwestern native!

    And though I often still make beans the way she taught me, time – or lack thereof – can be an issue. So, canned beans are a wonderful option. Their texture is spot on. And just like starting with dried beans, they are a nutrition powerhouse, providing protein, fiber, potassium, folate, iron and zinc.

    This hearty soup is designed to be a satiating meatless meal option with layers of flavor developed from sweet, smoky and hot peppers, cumin, chili powder, tomatoes, broth and coffee. You won’t necessarily taste the brewed coffee, but its roasted, earthy notes heighten and complement the other flavors. (Check out Don’t Just Sip … Eat Your Coffee! for more on cooking and baking with coffee.)

    Feel free to add a ham bone, ham or chicken if you want. Or, serve with steamed rice to turn the beans into a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids. And definitely consider topping your bowl with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, avocado, cilantro or one of the other options listed. This soup has a mild-to-medium heat level which can be adjusted by adding more or less of the chipotle, serrano or jalapeno peppers.       

    Oh, and I almost forgot what some will consider most important. If you have all of your ingredients gathered, (and depending on how fast you are with a knife, maybe have chopped the vegetables ahead) this soup comes together in just 30 minutes. Gotta love that!

     

    Easy Coffee ‘n’ Black Bean Soup

     

    Soup:

    1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
    1 large onion, diced
    1 red bell pepper, diced
    1 yellow bell pepper, diced
    3 cloves garlic, finely minced
    2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
    1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, finely minced (optional)
    1 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon cumin
    3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, undrained
    1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
    1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
    2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
    1 cup brewed Community Coffee
    Salt to taste

     

    Optional (but great!)Toppings:

    Avocado, sliced or diced
    Plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
    Pickled jalapenos
    Fresh cilantro, chopped
    Fresh lime juice
    Steamed rice

    In large pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and red and yellow peppers. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft, 5-8 minutes. Add garlic, chipotle peppers, serrano pepper (if using), chili powder and cumin; cook and stir about 1 minute. Mix in beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth and coffee. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, about 15 minutes.

    Using an immersion or hand blender, puree half of the beans. Season with salt to taste. Serve with desired toppings. 

    Makes about 8 (1 ½-cup) servings

     

    Notes:

    • Dice and mince vegetables in advance to speed preparation.
    • The beans are undrained in this recipe. Why? The starchy liquid adds creamy body to the soup.
    • It’s well documented that most Americans consume more sodium than recommended each day. To reduce sodium in the soup from canned beans and tomatoes, choose lower sodium or no added salt options and season accordingly.
    • Make this soup vegetarian by using vegetable instead of chicken broth.
    • Using a blender to puree a portion of the soup creates a creamy consistency (along with some whole bean texture) and beautifully combines flavors. If you don’t have a hand or immersion blender, remove a cup or more of beans, completely mash, then add back to the soup and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes until thickened.   

     

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.


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  • Build A Game Plan For Your School

    by John Knotz | Aug 25, 2016

    It’s that time of year again and two things are about to kick off. That’s right, football season and our Community Cash for Schools® program. Entering its 28th year, local schools have earned over $6.7 million by clipping and returning proofs of purchase back to Community Coffee Company. The program supports and cultivates future generations by allowing educators to direct funds to programs and projects that best serve our youth. So how can your team score big this year and earn funds to support your school?

    Get in the Game.
    Playing is easy. Individuals at your school collect proof of purchase—the label that appears on all Community® brand packages including coffee and tea. Your school receives 10 cents for each one you return. The program is open to public and private schools from Pre-K to 12th grade, and runs from August 18, 2016 through January 31, 2017. Last year, 820 schools participated earning approximately $368,000 with 94 schools earning $1,000 or more.

    Develop a Game Plan.
    Strategy is a must, so decide what your school needs funded and set your goals. Most schools seek funds to support technology improvements such as computers or white boards, while others upgrade textbooks or playground equipment. Some schools have really thought outside the box supporting music programs, and even a chicken coop to help teach kids about biology and the poultry business. Most schools are more successful when they determine what it needs and set a specific monetary goal to reach.

    Execute Your Playbook
    Next, it’s time to put your plan into action. Make sure you communicate your participation in the Community Cash for Schools® program to your team—including teachers, staff, students and parents. Invite them to reach out to friends, neighbors and family members to collect proofs of purchase. Use in-school communication to remind students and families to keep up with their clippings at home in a special drawer, zip lock bag or folder. Community Coffee Company even has sample artwork and communication ideas on our website.

    Call an Audible.
    Want to boost your ability to score more points? Visit local offices, churches and other businesses to ask if they would donate their Community® proofs of purchase to your school. Commercial customer coffee proofs of purchase (for restaurants, hotels, offices, etc.) are located on the corrugate case for our Community® commercial products.

    Everybody Wins!
    One of the best things about the Community Cash for Schools® program is that everybody wins. You turn in proofs of purchase and earn money to fund much-needed projects and equipment at your school, and Community Coffee Company gets to support education and self-betterment right here where we live and work.

    For more information on the Community Cash for Schools® program, go to CommunityCoffee.com/CashforSchools and enroll online or call 800-884-5282. Here’s to a great season!

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  • Capturing the Distinct Flavor of Louisiana

    by John Knotz | Aug 09, 2016

    What makes Louisiana unique? As people who come here from elsewhere can attest, there’s an unmistakable feeling that sets the state apart — something in the air. People born and raised here feel it too when they return home from traveling. There’s something familiar about the way we do things in Louisiana, something comfortable.

    They say “time changes all things,” but when it comes to the heart and soul of our home state, three constants remain.

    Food is a Way of Life

    Bold, rich flavors and recipes steeped in Cajun and Creole culture are a staple here; seafood gumbo, red beans and rice, cochon de lait, boudin sausage and beignets are just a few of our favorites. Hours of work go into creating the complex flavors that Louisiana families enjoy together. We captured the distinctive flavors of our region in the Louisiana Blend® of our Private Reserve® coffees. The coffee’s dark, rich profile develops a bold flavor with a mild, fruity aroma.

    Local Community is Important

    We don’t mean only the Community® coffee you drink out of a mug. People here are friendly, and they treat strangers like family. When our founder, Cap Saurage, opened his first country store in Baton Rouge, he named his secret blend of rich, bold and smooth coffee “Community Coffee” to honor the friends, family members and neighbors who supported his business. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here and a strong sense of duty to help others and make our neighborhoods, towns and cities better. That love and commitment is why we created the Louisiana Blend®, as a way to thank the region for its support and to honor its heritage.

    Traditions Run Deep

    Louisiana’s history is steeped in traditions, some as old as the Mississippi River is long. Jazz music was born here; masked krewe members have been throwing trinkets from fanciful Mardi Gras floats for nearly 150 years; many football fans have been tailgating in the same spot on LSU’s campus for as long as they can remember. Four generations of the Saurage family have overseen the expansion of the Community® brand since the company began nearly 100 years ago. And while we continue to grow, our heart remains in Louisiana. So sit down with a cup of our Louisiana Blend® and drink up the distinctive flavor of the place we call home.

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  • Making great coffee and making a difference

    by John Knotz | Jul 28, 2016

    At Community Coffee Company, taking care of people is a cornerstone of our philosophy. And it’s our belief that no matter what we do, we can do more. Our historical social responsibility programs have supported the local communities where our high-quality Arabica coffee is grown for generations.

    The objective of our latest project is to create a program that partners to directly support the coffee growers and their families. ECOM Foundation, a 501c3 organization, provided that platform. Creating spaces and opportunities for education and the dissemination of knowledge are key factors to reduce poverty and improve livelihoods at origin. In partnership with our customer Southwest Airlines and through the ECOM Foundation, we were able to support the construction of two new school buildings, outfitted with electrical generators, computer equipment and classroom furnishings. The building project improved availability and quality of education resources and services to the isolated coffee farming communities of Union Buenavista and Tierra y Libertad located in Chiapas, Mexico.

    The problem

    The towns of Union Beunavista and Tierra y Libertad are situated on unpaved mountainous roads 2-3 hours from the closest town, creating obstacles for teachers and students to reach educational programs, especially during the rainfall season when mudslides and damaged roadways are prevalent. Additionally, the local communities had limited and low-quality educational resources, with infrequent teacher interaction, no adult education or training resources for community members and no opportunity for university education.

    The solution

    To support these communities whose economy is based on coffee farming, Community Coffee Company in partnership with Southwest worked with the ECOM Foundation, to fund the construction and maintenance of two satellite schools. These schools provide a space for grade school education plus further learning for coffee farmers and the entire local communities through health, practical skills training and much more. Further, the program established an alliance with Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey (ITESM) for the curriculum to be delivered online via satellite Internet.

    A member of the community is employed as School Director to act as liaison between ITESM and students and manage the center operations. Further, a committee of local community members are responsible for maintenance and school activities to generate greater community buy-in and involvement.

    ChiapasBlogImageBenefiting more than 2,400 people

    An integral part of the program involves the specialized curriculum. Coffee farmers are provided advanced agricultural training to improve their productivity and reinforce the long-term stability of their communities’ livelihood. The local youth are provided access to a world-class education. Youth ages 12-18 will have the opportunity to gain technological and academic skills, inventive-thinking behaviors, and values and discipline to better prepare them for success in the global marketplace. Other community members may receive on-going training on the use of computers, email and Internet. Finally, the entire community will have the opportunity to access university education without relocating. 

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  • Fight Boredom – Take Action!

    by John Knotz | Jun 30, 2016
    If you’ve ever felt stuck in a rut or bored, relax. You’re not alone! In fact, someone even went so far as to have an entire month – July – dedicated to anti-boredom.

    What’s the Cause?
    Psychologists have studied what fuels feelings of boredom and found that awareness and attention are important factors. They say that at the heart of boredom is the desire to engage in a satisfying activity, which requires attention. And when a person is unable to do this, frustration and “boredom” set in. This feeling is not only unpleasant but has been correlated with overeating, drug abuse, gambling and low productivity and performance errors at work.


    Boosting Attention
    Though there’s not a great deal of research on coping with boredom, caffeine has been widely studied for its role in enhancing attention – an important element in preventing boredom. As little as one, 8-ounce cup of black coffee with about 100 mg of caffeine has been linked with increased alertness and concentration. The stimulating effects of caffeine begin 15-45 minutes after drinking caffeinated coffee and last about 4 hours. And caffeine’s positive effect on mood and memory has been documented, too.

    Keep in mind that more caffeine isn’t necessarily better. Individuals metabolize caffeine at different rates, and consuming caffeine too close to bedtime may affect sleep. Also, caffeinated energy drinks – often targeted at youth – may have high caffeine concentrations, along with other additives.


    Change It Up
    Realistically, boredom can’t always be avoided. And some experts even argue that it can encourage creative thinking. But if you feel inclined to make a few switches in your daily routine, check out these thought-starters …

    Exercise – If you’ve been doing the same thing – or not very much – for quite some time, your muscles and mind may be ready for a change. Grab a friend and try a new class, park or part of town to explore while skating, jogging, biking or walking. And just for fun, read Caffeinated Workouts…the Truth in the Buzz before you go to learn about how caffeine works during exercise and its potential benefits.

    Menu – Adding a few new foods to your current routine can add health and interest to your diet. Ask friends who like to cook if they would like to do a simple recipe exchange of their family favorites. And set an attainable goal. Just including 1 or 2 new dishes or foods from the grocery store each week will add variety. Here’s an easy way to enjoy a new, refreshing beverage when it’s hot outside: make cold-brew coffee at home

    Sleep – Most experts recommend 7 to 8 hours nightly for adults. If you’re not getting enough, try to get more. It could mean fewer colds, symptoms of depression and even consuming fewer calories.

    Free time – Add a new hobby, sport, reading genre, etc., to your repertoire. Or pursue something on your bucket list that’s been there for a long time. July is as good of a time as any to plan and make it happen!




    Einother S.J.L. & Giesbrecht T. (2013) Caffeine as an attention enhancer: reviewing existing assumptions. Psychopharmacology, 225(2):251-274.

    EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) (2011) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to caffeine and increased fat oxidation leading to a reduction in body fat mass (ID 735, 1484), increased energy expenditure leading to a reduction in body weight (ID 1487), increased alertness (ID 736, 1101, 1187, 1485, 1491, 2063, 2103) and increased attention (ID 736, 1485, 1491, 2375) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061. EFSA Journal; 9(4):2054.

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.

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  • Dessert-Inspired Coffee Takes the Cake

    by John Knotz | Jun 23, 2016
    Dinner is great and breakfast is fine, but we all know the best meal of the day is dessert! The smells, the sight and the sugar all pull you in (even when you know you
    shouldn’t) to somehow always leaving room for dessert.

    So what happens when you combine cake, pie, cookies, custard and coffee? Probably
    a weirdly delicious mess, but in this case you get a mouth-watering list of new
    recipes to try. Now, desserts aren’t just for eating…you can drink them, too! This list
    is quite the treat as we take classic desserts and turn them into delicious coffee
    treats. Try them all for yourself!


    Red Velvet Cake Latte

    Who doesn’t love a classic red velvet cake? Now you can have this sweet dessert in
    latte form! Enjoy the smoothness of red velvet with the extra boost of the latte as
    you sip, slurp and savor this delicious treat from PopSugar.com!


    Ingredients

    2 cups whole milk
    1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
    1/2 cup cold-brewed coffee
    Whipped cream, for garnish
    Red sugar sprinkles, for garnish

    Directions

    In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a simmer. Remove from heat and
    mix in the chocolate chips and red food coloring until the chocolate is completely
    melted.

    Add 2 tablespoons of coffee to each mug. Divide warmed chocolate milk over coffee.
    Finish with whipped cream and red sprinkles.


    Oreo Cookie Frappuccino

    What is it about Oreos that make them milk’s favorite cookie? Is it the chocolatey
    goodness? The creamy and addictive center? One thing is for sure…Oreo is now
    coffee’s favorite cookie, too! Combine this classic cookie snack with a cool and
    creamy frap to make one of this summer’s most irresistible drinks by Thrifty DIY
    Diva
    !

    Ingredients

    1/2 cup cold brewed coffee
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    4 Oreo cookies
    Whipped cream

    Directions

    In a blender, add the coffee, milk, vanilla and Oreo cookies and blend for 1 minute.

    Poor into a coffee mug or a Mason jar, and top with whipped cream and a crushed Oreo if you wish.
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  • National Tea Day

    by John Knotz | Jun 10, 2016

    If there's one thing the South is known for, it's our love of sweet tea. While we drink our fair share, tea is actually the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. It is the only beverage commonly served hot or iced, anytime, anywhere, for any occasion. On any given day, over 158 million Americans are drinking tea. We at Community Coffee Company join tea lovers across the U.S. celebrating National Iced Tea Day held annually on June 10.


    Steeped in History

    It’s said that tea is nearly 5,000 years old and was discovered in 2737 BC by Chinese Emperor Shen-Nung, when as legend goes, some tea leaves accidentally blew into his pot of boiling water. In the 1600’s, tea became highly popular throughout Europe and the American colonies and if you recall The Boston Tea Party, you’ll remember how the product played a dramatic part in the establishment of the United States of America. The U.S. spurred usage of tea after inventing the tea bag and iced tea, both in 1904. By the First World War, Americans were buying tall glasses, which became commonly known as iced-tea glasses and long spoons suitable for stirring sugar into taller glasses.

    Cheers to Good Health

    Today, tea comes in different varieties and formats: black, green, herbal, hot, cold, etc. In addition, research shows the drink has numerous health benefits, especially green tea, which is loaded with antioxidants and may lower your risk of certain types of cancers. Tea has no sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar and is virtually calorie-free. Human population studies have found that people who regularly consume three or more cups of black tea per day have a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Drinking tea has also been linked to higher bone mineral density (BMD) and has been shown to boost bone-building markers and improve muscle mass, both of which may reduce the risk for osteoporosis and fracture. In addition, several studies suggest drinking calorie-free tea may help with weight management.

    Versa-Tea-lity

    As tea’s popularity has grown, innovative tea lovers have expanded how this delicious beverage may be enjoyed. Whether you like it hot or cold, tea is the perfect vehicle for a range of ingredients. Lemon has been a long-time favorite, but almost any other fruit can be added such as strawberries, oranges, or kiwi. Some people intensify tea’s flavor by adding lemon or orange zest, or even mixing it with lemonade. Unique sweeteners like honey, stevia, or agave nectar all add distinct flavors. Spices and herbs such as cinnamon, clove, mint, ginger, allspice or star anise can liven up any brew. The English are known for adding milk to their tea, but coconut milk and almond milk are being used by the more adventurous. As you can see, the ways in which you can enjoy your tea are as varied as your imagination.

    A New Look for Community® Tea

    Just in time for the warm months ahead, Community® tea will soon hit the shelves with a new look. Still the same delicious, high-quality products you know and love, our Family-size and Individual Tea Bags have a fresh, new package design that embodies our Southern heritage and passion for high-quality ingredients. Whether you like it iced, hot, sweet, or with a hint of fruit added, tea makes a refreshing, delicious, healthy drink that’s more popular today than ever.


    Sources:
    http://www.teausa.com/

    11 Larsson SCVirtamo JWolk A. Black tea consumption and risk of stroke in women and men. Ann Epidemiol. 2013 Mar;23(3):157-60. 

    12 13. Arab L, Liu W, Elashoff D. Green and Black Tea Consumption and Risk of Stroke. A Meta-Analysis. Stroke. 2009;40(5):1786-92.

    13 Hakim IA, Alsaif MA, Alduwaihy M, Al-Rubeaan K, Al-Nuaim AR, Al-Attas OS. Tea consumption and the prevalence of coronary heart disease in Saudi adults: results from a Saudi national study. Prev Med 2003;36(1):64-70.

    14 Geleijnse JM, Launer LJ, Van der Kuip DA, HofmanA, Witteman JC. Inverse association of tea and flavonoid intakes with incident myocardial infarction: the Rotterdam Study. Am J Clin Nutr 2002 May;75(5):880-6.

    1Peters U, Poole C, Arab L. Does tea affect cardiovascular disease? A meta-analysis. Am J Epidemiol 2001;154(6):495-503.

    24 Vernarelli JALambert JD. Tea consumption is inversely associated with weight status and other markers for metabolic syndrome in US adults. Eur J Nutr 2012 Jul 10.

    24 Hursel RViechtbauer WDulloo AG et al. The effects of catechin rich teas and caffeine on energy expenditure and fat oxidation: a meta-analysis. Obes Rev 2011 Jul;12(7):e573-81.

    25 Hursel RViechtbauer WWesterterp-Plantenga MS.The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis. Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Sep;33(9):956-61. Epub 2009 Jul 14.

    2Dulloo AG, Duret C, Rohrer D, Girardier L, Mensi N, Fathi M, Chantre P, Vandermander J. Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. Am J Clin Nutr 1999 Dec;70(6):1040-5.

    27 Chantre P, Lairon D. Recent findings of green tea extract AR25 (Exolise) and its activity for the treatment of obesity. Phytomedicine 2002;9(1):3-8.

    28 Venables MC, Hulston CJ, Cox HR, and Jeukendrup AE. Green tea extract ingestion, fat oxidation, and glucose tolerance in healthy humans. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87(3):778-84.

    29 Nagao T, Hase T and Tokimitsu I. A green tea extract high in catechins reduces body fat and cardiovascular risk in humans. Obesity. 2007 Jun;15:1473-83.

    30 Nagao T, Komine Y, Soga S, Meguro S, Hase T, Tanaka Y, Yokimitsu I. Ingestion of a tea rich in catechins leads to a reduction in body fat and malondialdehyde-modified LDL in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2005 Jan;81(1):122-9.

    31 Tian CYe XZhang RLong J et al. Green Tea Polyphenols Reduced Fat Deposits in High Fat-Fed Rats via erk1/2-PPARγ-Adiponectin Pathway. PLoS One.2013;8(1):e53796.

    3Murase T, Nagasawa A, Suzuki J, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. Beneficial effects of tea catechins on diet-induced obesity: stimulation of lipid catabolism in the liver. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2002;26(11):1459-64.

    33 Murase THaramizu SShimotoyodome ATokimitsu I. Reduction of diet-induced obesity by a combination of tea-catechin intake and regular swimming. Int J Obesity 2005 Oct:1-8.

    34 Shimotoyodome A, Haramizu S, Inaba M, Murase T, Tokimitsu I. Exercise and green tea extract stimulate fat oxidation and prevent obesity in mice. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2005 Nov;37(11):1884-92.

    35 Murase THaramizu SShimotoyodome ATokimitsu IHase T. Green tea extract improves running endurance in mice by stimulating lipid utilization during exercise. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2006 Jun;290(6):R1550-6.

    36Hegarty VM, May HM, Khaw K-T. Tea drinking and bone mineral density in older women. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71:1003-7.

    37 Wu CH, Yang YC, Yao WJ, Lu FH, Wu JS, Chang CJ. Epidemiological evidence of increased bone mineral density in habitual tea drinkers. Arch Intern Med 2002 May 13;162(9):1001-6.

    38 Devine A, Hodgson JM, Dick IM, Prince RL. Tea drinking is associated with benefits on bone density in older women. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86(4)1243-7.

    39 Lloyd T, Rollings NJ, Kieselhorst K, Eggli DF, Mauger E. Dietary caffeine intake is not correlated with adolescent bone gain. J Am Coll Nutr 1998;17:454-7.

    40 Lloyd T, Johnson-Rollings N, Eggli DF, Kieselhorst K, Mauger EA, Cusatis DC. Bone status among postmenopausal women with different habitual caffeine intakes: a longitudinal investigation. J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19:256-61.

    41 Shen CL, Chyu MC, Yeh JK, Zhang Y, Pence BC, Felton CK, Brismee JM, Arjmandi BH, Doctolero S, Wang JS. Effect of green tea and Tai Chi on bone health in postmenopausal osteopenic women: a six-month randomized placebo-controlled trial. Osteoporos Int 2012; 23(5):1541-52.

    43Ling Tao, Jong-Yung Park, Joshua D. Lambert. Differential prooxidative effects of the green tea polyphenol, (–)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, in normal and oral cancer cells are related to differences in sirtuin 3 signaling. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2015 Feb;59 (2):203-11. [Epub 2014 Nov 17].42

    http://www.nationalicedteaday.com/




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  • Community Cash for Schools® Program

    by Jordan Feeney | Apr 20, 2016

    Throughout the history of Community Coffee Company, education, self-betterment and entrepreneurship have proven to be profound parts of our business. We've always had a sense of community which is the very basis of our name. That architectural fabric that consistently produces a delicious cup of coffee also created an educational program. Now in its 27th year, this program is woven into the landscape of the communities we serve.

    C4SRefresh_400x413_DLocal public and private schools have earned well over $6 million by saving UPCs through our Community Cash for Schools® program. The program supports and cultivates future generations by allowing educators to direct funds to programs and projects that best serve our youth. Schools are free to allocate funds in the best way they see fit, which has opened many doors for hundreds of schools. Most schools participate in pursuit of funds to support technology improvements, upgrades in textbooks and playground equipment as well as other activities that support children’s exploration of learning. However, we have seen some other outside-the-norm, yet innovative, ways to spend the money, including building a chicken coop.

    This program thrives when communities of businesses, parents, students and educators work together to collect UPCs. Each Proof of Purchase is worth 10 cents, which adds up fast when you have a large number of coffee-drinkers on your side. Our roots are firmly planted in future generations and we encourage coffee lovers to soulfully sip their delicious cup of coffee and civically cut the label for their local school in need.

    For more information on our Community Cash for Schools® program, or to register your school as the school’s representative, please visit CommunityCoffee.com/CashforSchools.


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  • Coffee, Cheesecake, Pie … One True Love

    by Johnny Hoell | Mar 31, 2016

    Pie. Cake. And coffee. They’ve always gone well together, and this make-ahead recipe beautifully highlights them all in the same dessert. It’s a perfect treat to make any time you want to excite your taste buds!

    The pie crust couldn’t be simpler. Just mix together three ingredients and press them into the pan. You can choose the chocolate or traditional graham cracker version. The creamy filling shines with subtle coffee notes – both from brewed coffee mixed in with the cheese and from coffee ‘n’ chocolate swirled on top. Also, there’s no last-minute frosting, garnishing or fussing. Make this several days before serving so dessert is completely stress-free.

    And here’s one more thing to love. The new 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (released in Jan. 2016) talks about incorporating moderate daily coffee consumption – about 3-4, 8-oz. cups or up to 400 mg caffeine – into healthy eating patterns. So, go ahead and serve a hot cup along with dessert, too!

    Coffee Cheesecake Pie

    CoffeeCheesecake_VertCropCrust:
    1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (from about 20 wafers) or graham cracker crumbs
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    3 tablespoons butter, melted

    Swirl:
    ¼ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
    2 tablespoons strongly-brewed Community® coffee

    Filling:
    2 (8-ounce) packages Neufchatel cheese (lower fat than cream cheese), softened
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ⅓ cup strongly-brewed Community® coffee, cooled
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 large eggs

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    Crust
    Combine wafer crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add butter and thoroughly mix. Place in 9-inch pie pan sprayed with vegetable cooking spray; evenly press up sides and over bottom. Refrigerate until ready to fill.

    Swirl
    In small microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, place chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons coffee. Heat coffee to a simmer in microwave; do not boil. Stir until completely smooth. Set aside to cool.

    Filling
    In large mixing bowl, beat Neufchatel cheese and ½ cup sugar until smooth. Add ⅓ cup coffee and vanilla; mix until combined and smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, mixing on low speed and scraping bowl after each until blended. Pour over reserved crust.

    Drizzle reserved coffee mixture all over filling; gently swirl with a knife tip. Bake in middle of oven for 30-40 minutes or until center is almost set. Let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

    Cut into 8 slices

    Notes:

    • American Neufchatel cheese has about one-third less fat than regular cream cheese. Though you can use full fat cream cheese, this version lightens the dessert up a bit without sacrificing creamy, satisfying cheesecake texture.
    • To soften Neufchatel cheese, unwrap both packages and microwave on high power 30 seconds or until slightly soft. If it’s too cold, Neufchatel cheese won’t easily blend and small lumps will remain.
    • Crust short-cut: process wafers and sugar in food processor to make fine crumbs; add butter and process until well-mixed.
    • The pie pan will be quite full before baking so carefully place in oven.
    • You certainly can omit the coffee, chocolate swirl … but it adds mocha flavor and immense eye appeal.
    • Cracks in the cheesecake may occur. So? Simply consider them homemade beauty marks!
    • Check out “Dietary Guidelines Committee Gives Coffee Thumbs Up” for more information on coffee, diet and health.

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.


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  • A Guide to Coffee Roasts

    by Johnny Hoell | Feb 25, 2016
    Many people prefer one coffee roast over another. To get the perfect cup of any roast, there is extensive preparation and perfecting of the process known as roasting.

    Roasting is a heat process that transforms raw beans into the fragrant and flavorful dark brown beans we know and love.

    The task is a technical skill that combines science and art. It takes years of training to become an expert roaster with the ability to ‘read’ the beans and make decisions with split second timing. The difference between perfectly-roasted coffee and a ruined batch can be a matter of seconds.

    Roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans. A green coffee bean has none of the characteristics of a roasted bean.  It is soft, with a fresh grassy smell and little or no taste.  Roasting causes numerous chemical changes to take place. The sugars, fats and starches that are within the beans are emulsified, caramelized and released as the beans are rapidly brought to very high temperatures. When they reach the peak of perfection, they are quickly cooled to stop the process. Roasted beans smell like coffee and weigh less because the moisture has been roasted out. They are crunchy to the bite, ready to be ground and brewed.

    guidetocoffeeroast_2Most roasters have specialized names for their favored roasts.  In general, roasts fall into one of four color categories—light, medium, medium-dark or dark.  The perfect roast is a subjective choice that is sometimes determined by national preference or geographic location. In the U.S., people on the West coast tend to drink a darker roast, while those on the East coast generally prefer a medium roast.

    The Roasts

    Within the four color categories, you are likely to find common roasts as listed below. As coffee roasts get darker, they lose the original flavors of the bean and take on more flavor from the roasting process. Consequently, caffeine moderately decreases as the roast time increases. Regardless of roast level, all roasts will differ in taste. Two coffee varieties grown in different environments are likely to taste different even when roasted to the same level, so it is important to try a variety of coffee to find what best suits your taste.

    Light Roasts

    Light roast coffees have a light body and pronounced snappy acidity. There is no oil on the surface of the beans. The original flavors of the bean are retained to a greater extent than in darker roasted coffees. Light roasts retain most of the caffeine from the coffee bean. Community Coffee Company’s signature light roast is known as our Breakfast Blend.

    Medium Roasts

    Medium roasted coffees are medium brown in color with more body than light roasts. Medium roasts exhibit a more balanced flavor, aroma and acidity.  This roast is often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States.  Community’s American Classic Blend is a perfect example.

    Medium—Dark Roasts

    Medium-Dark Roasts has a richer, darker color with some oil on the surface of the beans. A medium-dark roast has a heavy body in comparison with the lighter or medium roasts. Our ground Café Special® is a better known medium-dark roast.

    Dark Roasts

    Dark roasts are dark brown or almost black. The beans can have an oily surface and a pronounced bold rich body. As roasting times increase, acidity decreases which provides smooth mellow flavor.  A perfect example of a dark roast is Community® Signature Blend Dark Roast blend which provides Dark rich satisfying flavor that Dark Roast drinkers are known to love.

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  • Coffee Pairing: The Perfect Match

    by Johnny Hoell | Feb 12, 2016
    Valentine’s Day. You can smell the love in the air! Or is it just Community® coffee brewing? This Valentine’s Day, there’s no need to stress about what brew goes with your favorite treats. We specialize in coffee and it only makes sense to provide Valentine’s Day perfect pairings for you and your perfect match.

    Here are some irresistible combinations for you and your special someone:​
    • To start your Valentine’s Day off right, try a steaming cup of our Breakfast Blend and a plate of blueberry pancakes. You can also impress your honey with the rich yet smooth taste of medium-dark roast Café Special® blend. Pair it with your favorite breakfast foods like cinnamon scones or sausage casserole.
    • Our Café Special® coffee blends well with a creamy dessert like coconut custard or bananas foster. Creamy desserts and sweet cakes, such as cheesecake work well with this semi-sweet, full-bodied medium-dark roast coffee.
    • The Colombia Toledo-Labateca coffee is the perfect complement to a tart key lime pie or lemon pie. Rich cakes and pies, like carrot cake or pecan pie benefit from the strong flavor of a dark roast to balance the tastes.
    • For later in the day, Community® coffee French Roast and brownies are a perfect combination. The rich chocolate in this treat plays very well with the full-bodied and smoky taste of this coffee.  For a less smoky flavor, pair rich chocolate sweets with premium dark roast coffees, such as our Signature Blend Dark Roast.

    A general rule of coffee-pairing thumb is the richer the dessert (i.e. chocolate, praline or peanut butter flavoring), the darker the roast. If you need help finding a great heart-felt recipe utilizing Community® coffee as an ingredient, check out our previous post.  

    Take our advice and surprise your Valentine this year with one of our perfect pairings. What’s not to love?

    Valentines Gift Giving Ideas

    Valentine’s Day, while romantic, can be fraught with gifting and planning stress.  The average consumer spends over $100 on their valentine. This year, swap out conventional for innovative with some non-traditional gift-giving ideas for your special someone. Here are some tips and ideas on how to elevate traditionally popular gifts like flowers, chocolates and jewelry to a truly personal, memorable experience.

    The New Relationship: Don’t go overboard. For a just budding relationship, consider giving a gift you might bring a hostess at a party: wine or treats. Try something other than candy. Choose cookies, a favorite snack food, or dinner at a new restaurant in town.

    Flowers are a great go-to option.  Make sure that the memories last longer than the bouquet by making flowers part of a special event or moment.  Plan a romantic picnic at your local botanical gardens or park.

    Personalize: If you're in a longer-term relationship, from 6 months to 6-plus years, you probably know enough about the other person to personalize your gift. Show how much you appreciate and care for your significant other by putting a special twist on an otherwise ordinary gift.

    You can’t go wrong with chocolates.  To show that you put some extra thought into your gift, consider ordering custom monogrammed chocolates with your loved one’s initials. If you’re sending chocolate to your loved one’s office, a good tip is to send enough for his/her officemates.  You’ll be a real hero among the co-workers.

    Jewelry is always a luxurious, well-received gift, but it can sometimes feel a little impersonal. Take the extra time to have it personalized with a small engraving, whether initials, I love you, a special date, etc. If you plan far enough in advance, have the jewelry custom made based on your loved one’s favorite stones, colors, designs.

    It Really IS the Thought That Counts: Catering to your love's special interests or giving something that promotes you being together will mean much more than three dozen red roses or expensive jewelry.

    Going out to dinner or even dining in on Valentine’s Day is pretty standard fare, but there are ways you can make it a more memorable occasion. If you are dining at home, have a special bottle of wine chilling on the table and a menu planned that features their favorite foods or meal. To complete the perfect meal, pair your favorite desserts with a Community® coffee blend as suggested by our coffee pairing guide.


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  • St. Thomas More Uses Funds to Support Teachers

    by Johnny Hoell | Jan 15, 2016
    Big things are happening behind the doors of St. Thomas More Catholic School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. With the help of the Community Cash for Schools® program, the school earned $3,300 to put toward fun, educational items. Each school can allocate the money to various things their school needs, whether it is textbooks, playground equipment, computers or anything else the school sees fit. St. Thomas More has a different approach to the funds. They distribute the money to each teacher who then purchases items for his or her classroom based on what they think is best. Teachers get pretty creative with their funds.

    StThomas_400x413_AThis year, St. Thomas More’s teachers bought puzzles, parachutes, exercise equipment, and bracelets. The bracelets were Mr. Quantrille’s idea to teach children valuable character traits. Mr. Q, as his students call him, implemented a reward system that allows his students to receive beads for certain characteristics they display. Each bead is color coded to match a characteristic, such as red for caring, yellow for respect, and blue for honesty.

    In addition to the bracelets, the physical education classes are enjoying a new parachute, jump ropes, balls, and other equipment. Inside the classroom, children can continue the fun with educational items for all ages. In Mrs. Burke’s classroom, the kids can play with new, interactive puzzles. These new items are focused on making everything from learning to exercising fun and engaging for the children.

    St. Thomas More is committed to educating the whole child—mentally, physically, and spiritually, which helps the children become the best they can be. The Community Cash for Schools® program continues to help schools work toward their goals and provide for the teachers, the students, and the whole school community.

    Community Coffee Company supports schools by paying 10 cents for every proof of purchase turned in to teachers. Coffee products, tea products, creamer, sugar and coffee filters contain eligible Proofs of Purchase. For more information on the Community Cash for Schools® program, visit CommunityCoffee.com/CashforSchools or call 1-800-884-5282.
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  • Have your cake … and drink it, too!

    by Johnny Hoell | Jan 14, 2016
    A party is best shared and so is a pot of coffee, which is why we like to bring Mardi Gras on the road with our Mardi Gras King Cake coffee. Community© Mardi Gras King Cake coffee hits shelves in late December to kick off the carnivale season.

    SlicedCakeBlogImageOf course, what would Mardi Gras King Cake coffee be without a little King Cake as well. Mardi Gras season and King Cakes go hand in hand with literally hundreds of thousands of King Cakes being consumed at parties and office lunch rooms every year.

    The coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. This is referred to as the Feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night.  King Cake continues the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany with a special cake to honor the Three Kings. This tradition originated in Europe where a bean or a coin would be hidden inside of the cake for good fortune to the finder. In Latin America a small figure, representing the Christ Child was placed inside for the same purpose.

    Today, the tradition continues with people all over the world. The tiny baby in the King Cake is generally plastic now and many times provided with the cake so the party host, and not the baker, can insert the “baby.” In offices, schools and homes the King Cake is a weekly tradition from January 6th until the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday, with whoever gets the baby usually buying the next cake. And, of course, whoever gets the baby in the cake on Mardi Gras day has to bring the first King Cake next year on January 6th.

    Originally, King Cakes were a simple ring of braided dough with a small amount of decoration. The top of the ring or oval cake is then covered with delicious sugar toppings in the traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green and gold. Some bakeries have been creative with stuffing and topping their cakes with different flavors of cream cheese and fruit fillings. We’ve also gotten creative too and added Community© Mardi Gras King Cake coffee to our offerings.

    With the King Cake being the centerpiece at many Mardi Gras parties throughout the season, it only makes sense to pair it with the “king” of all flavored coffees, Community© Mardi Gras King Cake coffee.

    Share the Mardi Gras spirit while having your cake and drinking it, too!
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  • Mardi Gras: The Greatest Free Show on Earth

    by Johnny Hoell | Jan 07, 2016
    GreatestShow_King_CroppedThe carnivale season officially begins each year on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, 'King's Day', with traditional balls occurring in the weeks that lead up to the big event. Spectacular parades with beautiful and creative floats begin parading approximately two weekends prior to Mardi Gras Day. And don’t forget the private carnivale clubs, called krewes, which take on royalty status and throw beads, doubloons and toys to parade goers, while visitors quickly learn to say "Throw Me Something, Mister!"

    However, the traditions of today migrated from medieval Europe and evolved in south Louisiana over generations beginning as early as 1699 when French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles south of New Orleans, naming it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" since it was the eve of the holiday.

    Jean Baptiste ultimately established New Orleans in 1718 and quickly instituted traditions from Rome and Venice including parading to signal the coming Lenten meat fast, which occurred on Fat Tuesday. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans, but not with the parades we know today. In the early 1740s, Louisiana's governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls, the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.

    mardigras_400x413By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Dazzling gaslight torches, or "flambeaux," lit the way for the krewe's members. In 1856, six young Mobile natives formed the Mistick Krewe of Comus, invoking John Milton's hero Comus to represent their organization. Comus brought dazzling floats (known as tableaux cars) and masked balls. In 1870, Mardi Gras' second "Krewe," the Twelfth Night Revelers, was formed, with the first account of Mardi Gras "throws."

    Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance. Beginning in 1886, full color images were printed, doing justice to the fabulously ornate floats and costumes of world-renown designers whose works were brought to life by talented Parisian paper-mache' artist Georges Soulie', who for forty years was responsible for creating all of carnivale's floats and processional outfits.

    A King of Carnivale, Rex, was invented in1872 by a group of businessmen to preside over the first daytime parade. Honoring visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, they introduced his family colors of purple, green and gold as carnivale's official colors. Purple stands for justice, gold for power, and green for faith.

    In 1873, floats began to be constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth signed the "Mardi Gras Act," making Fat Tuesday a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is.

    Like Comus and the Twelfth Night Revelers, most Mardi Gras krewes today developed from private social clubs with restrictive membership policies. All of these parade organizations are completely funded by their members. Therefore, many New Orleanians call Mardi Gras the "Greatest Free Show on Earth"!
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  • Boost Your Resolution Planning

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 24, 2015

    When you pour your first cup of coffee, it will come as no surprise that caffeine boosts attention and focus, but it’s especially good for simple cognitive tasks. Anywhere from 40 mg to 250 mg of caffeine increases alertness. That’s less than you think – simply one cup can provide the boost you need to power through some of your more routine tasks.

    You can take full advantage of that little extra momentum to clean out your inbox, sort mail, make necessary callbacks, any of those little tasks that many of us put off and allow to pile up.

    It’s a great time to enjoy your java while writing down your resolutions. If your New Year's resolutions from last year have gone unresolved, you're not alone. But here are some quick tips to help you get a little further along this year.

    • "Put some thought into it," says Richard O'Connor, author of Happy at Last: The Thinking Person's Guide to Finding Joy. Avoid knee-jerk New Year's resolutions, he says. "I encourage people not to make cheap resolutions, but to save it for something meaningful."
    • Limit your list to a number you can handle. "It's probably best to make two or three resolutions that you intend to keep," says O'Connor. That way, you're focusing your efforts on the goals you truly want.
    • Don’t wait until the last minute. If your resolution is a big one, it is good to think about it in advance. Start to change your way of thinking gradually, so as you tackle it in the New Year it isn’t as much of a shock.
    • Make a plan. Everyone needs a path to get to where they want to be. Create a goal with a series of measureable, specific steps to check your progress along the way and ensure you achieve your resolution.
    • Use the buddy system. Make friends and family aware of your goals. They will hold you accountable while still motivating you to actually reach your goals.
    • Avoid repeating past failures. If you make the same goal every year, and have yet to reach it, it’s probably time to try something new. By making the exact same resolution every year, your drive and self-confidence will already be low. If you are really set on making the same resolution that failed in the past, evaluate why it might not have succeeded before and adjust it based on your results!
    • Write down the goal and visualize it regularly. Writing and visualizing are effective tools for fulfilling a goal because they fix it firmly in the subconscious, says Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

    In general, remember that life can be unpredictable. Resolutions are much easier to make than to keep, so forgive yourself if you can’t maintain your plan perfectly. Just keep adjusting and moving forward toward your goal.

    Happy 2016!


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  • Serve Up Simple Holiday Comforts

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 18, 2015
    Everyone deserves a warm welcome during the holidays — especially your loved ones. But instead of working all day in the kitchen while the kids are home, fill up your fridge with mouthwatering snacks. Then you can do what you do best: get comfy and focus on your family.

    From savory shrimp cocktail with a make-ahead sauce, decadent bacon wrapped potatoes, to a hearty spinach dip, there’s something for even the pickiest eater in your family.

    Plus, many of these recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less. So what are you waiting for? Get cookin’.


    CARAMEL POPCORN
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 1
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
     

    Ingredients:
    3 quarts plain popped corn
    1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    1/2 c. corn syrup
    1/2 c. butter
    1/2 tsp. vanilla
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. baking soda  

    Directions:

    In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir constantly until the mixture starts to boil, and continue to boil and stir for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda, and stir. Pour over popped corn in a large bowl.  

    Note: Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


    SNAPPY SHRIMP COCKTAIL
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 2
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour


    Ingredients:
    2 tbsps. olive oil
    1 small shallot, finely chopped
    1 tbsp. mustard seeds
    1 tsp. ground ginger
    1 clove garlic
    Dash of salt and pepper
    1/3 c. tomato paste
    1/4 tsp. of Worcestershire sauce
    1 tsp. sugar
    2 tbsps. finely chopped fresh cilantro
    1 1/2 pounds cooked, peeled and deveined shrimp

    Directions:
    Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot, mustard seeds, ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallot is soft, about 3 -5 minutes.

    Next, add the tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce to the saucepan and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the sugar and 1/2 cup water and stir to combine. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Fold in cilantro and serve with the shrimp.

    Note: Cocktail sauce can be made up to a week ahead. Shrimp can be cooked a day ahead and served cold.


    BACON WRAPPED TATERS
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 3
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes


    Ingredients:
    1 1/2 pounds new potatoes (about 15), halved
    15 slices bacon, halved crosswise
    3/4 c. mayonnaise
    1/4 c. buttermilk
    2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
    1 tsp. caraway seeds
    Salt and pepper

    Directions:
    Steam the potatoes in a steamer basket in a large saucepan until tender, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool. Heat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Wrap each potato with a piece of bacon and place, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Bake until the bacon is crisp, 18–20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, buttermilk, dill, caraway seeds and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Serve with potatoes.

    Note: Bacon-wrapped potatoes can be made a day ahead and reheated before serving. Also, consider serving on bamboo skewers.


    SPINACH AND CARAMELIZED ONION DIP
    Serves: 8
    Difficulty: 3
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes


    Ingredients:
    3 tbsp. olive oil
    2 medium onions, chopped
    Salt and pepper
    1 16-oz container sour cream
    1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and      squeezed of excess liquid
    1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
    Broccoli and cauliflower florets, endive spears and radishes, for serving

    Directions:
    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 12 – 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let cool. Add the sour cream, spinach, vinegar, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to the onions and mix to combine. Serve with the veggies.

    Note: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


    WHITE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRIES
    Serves: 6
    Difficulty: 2
    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients:
    1 bag of white chocolate chips
    1 container of strawberries
    1 c. chopped and toasted cashews

    Directions:
    Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl or a double boiler. Dip strawberries in chocolate and coat with chopped, toasted cashews. Place on a wax paper covered tray. Refrigerate until set.

    Note: Place chocolate dipped strawberries atop wax paper in a plastic container. Layer the wax paper between strawberries before shutting lid. Freeze strawberries for up to a week and served when chilled.


    For even more recipes, tips and cold-weather comforts, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
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  • Give The Gift of Comfort This Season

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 10, 2015
    Busy marking gifts off your holiday shopping list? Join the club. ‘Tis the season of giving — and all the buying, wrapping and shopping that comes along with it.

    We all know that it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of giving your loved ones the perfect gift during the holidays. So much that sometimes, we forget about the gift of giving back.

    Never fear. There’s plenty of holiday spirit to go around.

    Here are a few ideas of how you and your family can join together to give to others in need — all the while making cherished memories.

    GIVE YOUR TIME
    Feed A Needy Family
    Put food on the table — and smiles on the faces of a hungry family near you. When you volunteer with Family-to-family.org, you get matched with a household in need.

    Help The Homeless
    The very idea of the holidays conjures up images of comfy homes, yummy food and happy family gatherings. But for the homeless, the holidays can bring on a sense of isolation. Fortunately, the National Coalition for the Homeless offers a number of ways for volunteers to combat homelessness by serving food at shelters, building homes, or offering job training. Give the gift of comfort this season.

    Deliver A Hot Meal
    Share a meal with a lonely person in need this holiday season when you sign up with Meals on Wheels’ food-delivery program.

    Volunteer For Vets
    There are plenty of ways to show your gratitude towards the veterans who put their lives on the line for our safety. Simply visit the Department of Veteran Affairs for more information on how to make their holiday season just a little more comfortable.

    Befriend A Senior
    More than 50 percent of senior citizens in nursing homes never get visitors, according to the Senior Source. Bring a sense of family to someone who doesn’t have one by volunteering in a center near you.

    Make a Furry Friend
    Volunteer with furry, loyal creatures who are waiting to find the purr-fect home. Find an animal shelter that needs your help here.


    GIVE OTHERS GIFTS
    The Salvation Army
    Each holiday season, the Salvation Army amps up its fundraising efforts to help support the elderly, the homeless and other underserved populations. Join the cause today.

    American Red Cross
    “Give something that means something” when you get involved with the American Red Cross. Choose from many different charitable opportunities, which include vaccinating a child and buying phone cards for troops. Then, feel good for doing good.

    Toys for Tots
    Marine Toys for Tots Foundation collects gifts for children whose families are economically disadvantaged. No drop-off center? No problem. You can also start your own. Find out how to get involved here.

    MyTwoFrontTeeth.org
    Stumped by what to give this year? MyTwoFrontTeeth.org helps you figure out what to donate by posting requests from charities, preschools and day care centers. Find out more here.

    Angel Tree
    Angel Tree helps people in prison give their children gifts during the holiday season, to help ensure these separated families maintain a strong connection — despite the distance. To get involved, click here.


    For even more Community® coffee recipes, tips and cold-weather comforts, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.
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  • The Perfect Gift For Everyone on Your List

    by Johnny Hoell | Dec 02, 2015
    Don’t let the pressure of finding that picture-perfect gift stress you out. Take a few deep breaths and find your happy place. Then, take a peek at our 2015 Holiday Gift Round Up. There’s guaranteed to be something special for everyone on your list.

    For the foodie:
    Have a cheese lover in the family? Know someone who can’t get enough curds and whey? Get them the Deluxe DIY Cheese Kit — and let them make their own mozzarella, ricotta, goat cheeses and more from the comfort of their kitchen.

    For the sports lover:
    Every season, he dons war paint. His jerseys are pressed and ready for the playoffs. He’s a super fan. And he’s ready for the perfect gift. No, not the Heisman Trophy. Give him a personalized Sports Nation poster — complete with his name, witty message and favorite sports team logo.

    For the chocoholic:
    For the chocolate lover who truly has it all — or at the very least wants it all — comes Mast Brothers’ Chocolate.  Finely wrapped, deliciously seasoned and uniquely flavored, any or all of the Mast Brothers products will be sure to please.

    For the human pretzel:
    Frequently seen standing on her head or showing off her latest crow pose, the human pretzel has everything a girl could need: flexibility, poise and the ability to withstand the effects of the Earth’s gravitational pull. She’s got everything, except a custom-monogrammed yoga mat. Personalize the carrying bag and mat by choosing from a dizzying array of colors and embroidery styles here.

    For the cat lady:
    The fancy cat dishtowel, complete with stylish pink bow and coy stare, will keep any cat lady company while she’s doing the dishes. Let’s just say its catnip for the cat lovers.

    For the fashionista:
    She’s got style. She’s got grace. She’s obviously got great taste. So why not indulge her fashion sense with a stunning day planner? With black and white stripes and a 17-month agenda, this little planner is every fashionista dream come true. Keeping tabs on life has never looked so good.

    For the hands-on musician:
    Crafty guitar players will love this! Get the musician in your life the Original Pick Punch. Use this tool to transform virtually anything into a guitar pick — from old credit cards, plastic takeout containers, vintage records to pressed wood, so the musician in your life can stop loosing picks, and start making them.

    For the beard aficionado:
    Any lumberjack will tell you winter wrecks havoc on your whiskers. Help out the bearded fellow in your life with Simply Great Shave Oil and give him the gift of a smooth, soft beard.

    For the not-a-morning person:
    We all know one: the I-can’t-wake-up-without-my-morning-brew guy. The I-don’t-open-my-eyes-before-my-third-cup gal. Give them all an eye-opening gift — our Coffee of the Month Program. Say good morning to 12 months of yum!

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  • Don’t Just Sip … Eat Your Coffee!

    by Johnny Hoell | Nov 25, 2015
    Coffee is among America's top choices when it comes to beverages. According to a 2019 study by the National Coffee Association, 63% of American adults drink coffee.

    It’s a favorite way to begin the day and research in recent years has cited many good health benefits of coffee. Of course, there's also the versatility and the variety of ways you can drink your coffee or dress it up to entice your taste buds. In fact, many countries around the world have their own special way of enjoying the popular drink.

    There are many ways to create unique coffee concotions by incorporating your favorite blend into different drink recipes, but Epicurious, Food Network, Reader’s Digest, Martha Stewart Living and more have lists of favorite recipes – from main dishes to desserts – with coffee as an ingredient. Looking back to 2006, Redbook called out coffee as the “secret” ingredient in its barbeque sauce.  Chef Ina Garten told Food and Wine in 2007 this recipe note about one of the most fabulous chocolate cakes she had ever made: “… the bit of coffee in the cake and frosting keeps the sweetness in check.”

    Why Cook and Bake with Coffee?
    Well, it doesn’t add sodium, sugar or fat. And depending on the amount added, the recipe doesn’t have to contain much noticeable coffee flavor. But here are important, wonderful roles performed by coffee in a recipe:

    Savory Situations
    • Coffee’s acidity helps to tenderize, so it’s useful for marinating tougher cuts of meat.
    • The smoky, roasted, earthy notes in coffee complement and heighten the flavors of barbeque and savory sauces or glazes, salad dressings, hearty stews and soups.
    • As a rub, ground coffee can be combined with other herbs and spices and then rubbed on cuts of beef, pork, lamb or chicken to add depth to the spice mixture and to enhance the meat flavor.
    Sweeter Side
    • Chocolate and coffee are a classic, timeless pairing – and for good reason. Coffee intensifies and enhances the flavor of chocolate. It will up the chocolate impact in pudding, sauces, cake, cookies, brownies, truffles, mousse, frosting …
    • Coffee adds depth to spices and dried fruit. Try it in cakes, bars, quick breads – even bread pudding – flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, raisins, currants, etc.
    • For desserts that shout coffee flavor, consider traditional tiramisu or coffee ice cream or custard.

    Tips for Using Coffee as an Ingredient
    Coffee often is called for in various forms in recipes, including strong brewed coffee; brewed espresso, espresso powder or instant espresso; finely-ground or ground coffee; instant coffee granules. If you don’t have exactly what is stated in the ingredient list, no worries. Just keep these tips in mind:

    • The amount and strength of coffee added to a recipe will determine the level of coffee flavor. For mocha or true coffee flavor, add more coffee; for heightening other flavors, add less.
    • If a recipe calls for a liquid form of coffee, interchangeably use brewed coffee, strong brewed coffee or espresso.
    • For adding dry forms of coffee, espresso powder, instant espresso, finely-ground coffee or instant coffee granules may be used interchangeably.
    • If you don’t have a coffee grinder but want more finely-ground coffee, place ground coffee (along with other dry ingredients, such as flour or sugar, from the recipe) in a food processor to achieve a smaller coffee particle size.
    • Remember, it’s okay to experiment and add more or less coffee flavor than a recipe states. If you are changing liquid coffee amounts, however, be sure to adjust the other recipe liquids to total the same overall amount.
    This brownie recipe is a super yummy place to start using coffee as an ingredient. Even if you’re not into baking from scratch, try replacing the water in a boxed chocolate brownie or cake mix with brewed coffee!

    Grandma W’s Extra Chocolaty Frosted Mocha Brownies
    Since childhood growing up on the farm, my family has lovingly made thousands of brownies from a time-tested recipe handed down from my Grandmother. But being a chocolate lover, I always craved more chocolate flavor. This version of the original recipe delivers intense, moist, dense chocolate along with a hint of coffee. And Grandma would approve of a little added nutrition from whole grain flour, too!

    Brownies:
    ½ cup butter, melted
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    3 tablespoons strong brewed Community® coffee, cooled
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    ¾ cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour

    Mocha Ganache Frosting:
    2/3 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
    ¼ cup strong brewed Community® coffee

    Preheat oven to 300°. In medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in microwave. In separate medium bowl, whisk together sugar and cocoa. Add sugar mixture, coffee and salt to butter; stir until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla to the butter-sugar mixture; mix in completely. Stir in flour just until combined.

    Pour into an 8” X 8” baking pan lined with parchment paper or sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out moist, with crumbs attached. Don’t overbake. Cool completely in pan.

    Frosting:
    In medium bowl, place chocolate chips. In microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, heat coffee to a simmer in microwave. Pour coffee over chocolate and stir until completely smooth. Let cool about 1 hour. Beat with mixer for 1-2 minutes or until fluffy. Spread over cooled brownies and let frosting set. Cut into 16 squares.

    Notes:
    • Coffee in both the brownie and frosting heightens chocolate flavor.
    • The frosting has a mocha flavor and could be left off … but it really makes the brownie!
    • White whole wheat flour has all the nutrition of whole wheat with a less assertive flavor and a texture similar to all purpose flour.

    Beth Witherspoon, MPH, RDN, has a passion for communicating culinary and nutrition information. She is a registered dietitian/nutritionist who consults with Community Coffee Company to help communicate the flavor and health benefits of coffee.

    This blog article was updated in March 2020.


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  • Rollins Place Elementary: Innovative Solutions to Educating our Children

    by Johnny Hoell | Nov 23, 2015
    Educators can be especially creative when it comes to stretching dollars to facilitate broadening the minds of future generations. Children learn in so many different ways and Rollins Place Elementary, located in Zachary, La., is a great example of creating an environment of continuous, innovative learning.

    What do chickens, music and robots have to do with education? Well, at Rollins Place, everything. The school is focused on expanding children’s minds through every day activities in and outside of the classroom. With the help of funds earned from the Community Cash for Schools® program, Rollins Place was able to incorporate cutting edge and innovative educational tools into its teaching curriculums.

    First, Rollins students are learning the biology and business of chickens. Their physical education classes have been assigned to help care for five chickens, manage the coop and collect the eggs. Additionally, students will learn the ropes to setting up a business by selling the eggs to parents and community members. The classroom course work is transferred to the onsite chicken coop that they call the Wrangler Ranch all in an effort to support learning.

    C4sRollinsPlace_400x413Also, studies have shown that music programs in schools support math and language development and art is known to have critical developmental benefits in children, including improved motor skills, decision making and cultural awareness. The addition of learning tools to these programs helps promote and encourage student creativity.
    In addition to the focus on music and the arts, Rollins Place students are constructing functioning robots. Students learn team building by working together to follow a diagram to build a robot and program it to kick a soccer ball. The hands-on activity challenges students to think in new ways and problem-solve issues as they construct their robot and ensure it functions properly. The project further instills confidence and a sense of accomplishment in each student as they collaborate and complete an assignment with their classmates.

    Rollins Place was one of hundreds of schools that participated in the Community Cash for Schools® program. With the $6,000 that the Zachary elementary schools earned, Rollins Place built the chicken coop, and purchased musical instruments, art supplies and Lego robot kits.

    Community Coffee Company supports schools by paying 10 cents for every proof of purchase turned in to teachers. Coffee products, tea products, creamer, sugar and coffee filters contain eligible Proofs of Purchase. Schools can choose to allocate the money toward new textbooks, computers or events. For more information on the Community Cash for Schools® program, visit CommunityCoffee.com/CashforSchools or call 1-800-884-5282.

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