Target Alert!

Ever think, gee, my house could sure use some cute farm style baskets to hold my stuff? Maybe something a little like this?

Target Threshold basket

I guess $14.99 isn’t an awful price… but what if you could get it for $3?

$3 Target basket

Fresh from the Dollar Spot at Target, I bring you… the $3 wire basket!

Price tag closeup

Yeah, that’s right, $3. Nailed it. I bought 2.

 

Basic Scones

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My first two years in St. Louis were spent teaching middle school (through the Teach For America program). I had never worked so hard, slept so little, or gotten up so early in my entire life. It was hard. Rewarding! But really really hard. As a way of keeping my sanity, I developed a set of little traditions and rituals to keep me going. My favorite of these was that every Friday morning, I would stop at the coffee shop a block away from my apartment and get a hot drink and a scone for breakfast. The hot drink varied – usually just tea, but sometimes a chai latte or an actual latte if the week had been really rough – but the scone was always the same. Mango Pecan. On the morning that they didn’t have Mango Pecans in stock, I knew it was going to be a bad day. Sometimes, the thought of that scone was all that got me through the week.

These are not those scones.

These are better.

These are light, fluffy, mildly sweet, amazing when spread with jam, and perfect fresh out of the oven or straight out of the fridge. Plus, who’s going to stop you from adding some pecans and mango bits? Not me, that’s for sure.

Basic Scones

by The Jess Mess

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (8 scones)

  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 8 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) cold butter
  • 1/2 C buttermilk

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400

Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter (or your hands!) until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and mix until just combined.

Transfer dough to a floured board and shape into a 3/4 inch thick round. Cut the round into 8 wedges and place them individually onto a greased (or parchment paper covered) baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Serve with tea and jam.

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On Tea

My love affair with tea started in high school, when I dated a guy whose father hailed from England. His family taught me how to drink and appreciate tea “properly” (ie black tea, with milk, frequently). While my tastes have expanded far beyond the ubiquitous (but completely amazing) black tea they served,  I still find myself drawn to it every time I need soothing or comfort. That’s why I was so delighted this morning to look at the new tea bags I had just picked up from Trader Joe’s to see this:

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Kinda hard to see? It’s a quote by Bernard-Paul Heroux that says “There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea”. I think it’s completely true, and I knew immediately that I needed to hang it in my house somewhere. So I whipped up this quick printable, and I wanted to share it with all of you!

There is no trouble so great or grave that it cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea

This file is a PDF, and the image itself is 5″x7″, perfect for cutting out and sticking in a frame (or just pinning up over your desk, ahem). Enjoy!

Download the free printable HERE!

The Easiest Desk Breakfast Ever

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Honestly, I could have called this post a lot of things. My options included:

  • How to make 5 breakfasts in 3 minutes
  • How to make 5 breakfasts for $1.25!
  • How to make a week’s worth of 200 calories breakfasts
  • How to make a super portable breakfast in adorable mason jars
  • How to make a heart healthy, potentially gluten free breakfast that still tastes good

…but I went with Easiest Desk Breakfast Every because that’s what appeal to me most. I always eat breakfast at my desk at work (for a variety of ridiculous reasons). It’s just how I function best. I’ve tried to eat at home before I leave, but it just does not work for me. If it works for you, great! Fantastic! You would get along great with my husband, who cooks himself a hot breakfast every morning. But that’s not me. I eat at my desk, and I have been experimenting with different meal options for (what feels like) forever. I did nutrigrain bars for a while. I’ve gone the screw-it-I’m-buying-a-donut route. I’ve tried a certain Mr. Egg McMuffin. I’ve tried making my OWN Egg McMuffins. But by and large every option was either too time consuming, too expensive, or too calorie-rich.

The only thing that stuck for any length of time was buying a crapton of instant oatmeal packets, storing them in my desk, then making oatmeal every morning in a coffee mug. This sucked for a few reasons. One, instant oatmeal is either really sweet or really meh. I don’t want a super sweet breakfast OR a meh breakfast. Two, it left me with a gross oatmeal covered mug to deal with – did I wash it at work, with the super gross sink sponge (only to dishwasher it again at home), or did I throw it in my purse and pray it didn’t make anything else gross?  Three, it rankled me to know I was paying a premium for what was essentially oats and sugar (2 of the cheapest things at the grocery store).

But this weekend, I had an epiphany. I could make my OWN instant oatmeal… and I could package it so that I was left with ONE dish that was easy to transport, heat up, and clean.

You just need FOUR THINGS to make this awesome office desk breakfast!

  1. Mason jars (mine are 8oz wide mouth jars I found at my grocery store in a 12 pack)
  2. Your base – quick cooking oatmeal. It needs to be the quick cooking or instant variety, otherwise it’s going to take a heck of a lot longer to cook up at meal time.
  3. A sweetener – I recommend brown sugar (C&H, specifically!)
  4. A special extra – In this recipe I use mini chocolate chips. They’re delicious in oatmeal – they get all melty and swirl in when you mix it up.

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Once you have all of those things, it will take you LESS THAN 3 MINUTES to assemble all of your breakfasts for the week. That’s faster than pulling into a gas station to buy a crappy donut (and definitely faster than going out of your way to that one awesome donut shop, although I will only judge you for doing that if you do not bring me a donut, too). Trust me. I’ve timed it. Plus this way you get all the awesome benefits of oatmeal AND chocolate with none of the guilt and sugar hangover of that donut.

Mason Jar Oatmeal

by The Jess Mess

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Keywords: breakfast

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • Quick oats (½ C per jar – so you’ll need 2 ½ cups for a normal week)
  • Brown Sugar (1 tsp per jar)
  • Mini chocolate chips (1 tsp per jar)

Instructions

Assembly Directions:

Line up your mason jars with their tops off (scandalous!)

Dump ½ C quick oats into each jar (a funnel or just a piece of wax paper rolled into a cone might help with this step)

Add 1 tsp sugar to each jar

Add 1 tsp mini chocolate chips to each jar

Put the lids back on the jar

DONE!

Cooking Directions:If you have a microwave:

Fill the mason jar about ¾ full of water. Check the side – there should be a handy 6 oz line on the side. That’s the ¾ mark!

Give it a good stir to make sure the water got all the way down to the bottom

Pop it in the microwave for about a minute on high. Watch it like a hawk to make sure it doesn’t cook over! If it does, it’s done. If it needs more time, go ahead and give it another 30 seconds.

Enjoy!

If you have a hot water setting on your office water cooler:

Fill the mason jar about ¾ full of water. Check the side – there should be a handy 6 oz line on the side. That’s the ¾ mark!

Give it a good stir to make sure the water got all the way down to the bottom

Enjoy!

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How can I make it more interesting?

Besides mixing it up with the extras, you might try adding in some cinnamon. I used cinnamon sugar instead of brown sugar in my last batch, and it was pretty awesome.

What, you don't keep your cinnamon sugar in an old basil jar?
What, you don’t keep your cinnamon sugar in an old basil jar?

Another thing I would recommend would be adding a dash of salt to each jar. Literally take your salt shaker and give it one good shake over the jar. Then stop! This will enhance the flavors you’ve already got going on in there.

Price breakdown per serving:

Oatmeal:   $0.22

Sugar:   $0.01

Mini Chocolate Chips:   $0.03