I work as a freelance consultant, which means that my office is my home or a good coffee shop. I’ve sampled my share of coffee shops in Kansas City and my favorite is … The Roasterie in Brookside. This is also a locally owned company with an interesting story.

The most important criteria for judging a coffee shop is the coffee and the brew rocks. I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee here — my favorite is the Vanilla Latte. While you’re at it, order one of their amazing pastries. The cinnamon or blueberry scones are particularly good.

Best of all, the atmosphere is conducive to getting a lot of work done. One wall is entirely windows so the light is terrific, and if you are particularly lucky, you can snag a table on their outdoor patio. You’ll find a laptop on nearly every table because this is a favorite haunt of both the self-employed and the students at nearby UMKC. I’ve written half an e-book at this place! Judging by my lagging work output in recent weeks, I need to visit the Roasterie again soon! 

If you need to take a break from work, visit the cute shops right around the corner … The Dime Store, World’s Window, the Reading Reptile and the best gift shop/artist emporium in Kansas City — STUFF.

Leave a comment and tell me YOUR favorite coffee shop in Kansas City. I need to find some additional work locations!

(Photos courtesy of Man Seeking Coffee.)



Three Healthy Dinners

by Cathy on October 16, 2012 · 0 comments

in Food

We spent the weekend at Iowa State visiting our youngest and realized that Ames, Iowa has some very decent restaurants. We ate, went to the football game, ate, went shopping, went to a pancake feed at her sorority and … ate. And I don’t regret a single bite. This week, however, we are paying the piper. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Here are three healthy meals to prove my point. I’ve also included the source for each healthy recipe.

Dinner #1

Foil Baked Fish With Black Beans and Corn from Pink-Parsley


Baked Parmesan Cheese Tomatoes from Eat Well

Tossed Salad

Dinner #2

Turkey Ranch Club Wrap from Skinny Mom’s Kitchen

Zucchini Boats with Roma Tomatoes from Proud Italian Cook

Fresh sliced fruit

Dinner #3

Tandoori Chicken Burgers from Baked Bree

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Line Dressing from Eating for England

Sliced Melon

Dinner is served!




Five Favorite Foods for Fast, Healthy Meals

by Cathy on October 10, 2012 · 0 comments

in Food

The cooking situation has changed quite a bit at our house. With our two girls in college, we spend many weekends at one campus or another watching football games. Weeknights often find us getting in a late-night bike ride, going to the gym or meeting with friends. So big, fancy dinners that require lots of time and even more dirty dishes? Not so much! These five favorite foods provide several meal options that go (mostly) easy on the waistline.

Trader Joe’s Marinated Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini. Tonight, we rolled out some whole wheat pizza dough (Trader Joe’s refrigerated dough that comes in a bag), topped with a thin layer of olive oil flecked with minced garlic. We thawed the veggies in the microwave, placed them on the dough along with canned mushrooms and topped them with grated Kraft Italian Three Cheese. Bake it at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, add a salad and dinner is served. The veggies can also be topped with marinara sauce, grated Parmesan cheese and heated in the microwave for a few minutes. Place the goodies on top of whole grain spaghetti and you have Eggplant Parmesan.

Kirkland’s Grilled Chicken Strips from Costco. I created white chili in minutes using these strips. First I sauteed 1/2 cup of chopped onion and 1 tsp. of minced garlic. Then I added diced chicken strips, two cups of chicken broth ( buy the carton of Swanson’s broth), a can of navy beans (drained) and one can of Old El Paso chopped green chilies (drained). Simmer for 10 minutes, then dig in. These chicken strips will work in place of any recipe requiring diced chicken.

Tyson’s Grilled Steak Strips. I make fast fajitas by sauteing one orange pepper cut in strips and one small onion cut in strips. Add the steak strips and heat on medium heat for ten minutes. Serve on flour tortillas topped with guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese and salsa. Yum! Again, you can make anything that requires steak strips (stroganoff, steak soup …) with these goodies.

Shady Brook Farms Turkey Meatballs. Warm the meatballs in a skillet with marinara sauce. Then place on a bed of whole grain spaghetti or on top of a wholegrain hot dog bun for a meatball sandwich. Top with some grated Italian cheese and viola!

For dessert? (Okay, this is supposed to be “healthy” eating but work with me here!) Trader Joe’s Apple Blossoms. These are like individual apple crisps. Top with a bit of vanilla ice cream and you have a winner! 



Kansas City has become a rich stew of flavorful local artists but when we visited Art Westport a few years ago, we found it, well, a bit bland. Last night, though, we sampled the various art from local artists and found it quite tasty. The funky Westport area was alive with artists’ booths full of photography that makes you want to travel the world, crafted jewelry that makes you want to blow your paycheck in one night and paintings that are so varied, I couldn’t begin to describe them. Here’s just a brief sampling:

(Photography by Karen Geisler of Photographic Escapes)

(Work from artist Nyle Gordon)

(Jewelry by Michelle Babcock of Michelle’s Enamels)

Then we ate a late dinner at the Beer Kitchen, where we split a Reuben sandwich that a reviewer on said was “the best reuben you will ever eat. Period.” It was pretty darned tasty. We also split a “build-your-own mac and cheese” that we topped with burnt ends and bacon. It was so bad for ‘ya that it was GOOD. This place had over 200 reviews on Yelp — I know, 200! I don’t even like beer but this place is great. I did have a blackberry pear cider, though, and I liked it — a lot.

So, if you head over there today during this gorgeous weather, you can catch Art Westport on its last day. If you don’t make it this year, be sure to mark your calendar for next September. It was a winner.




One of the perks of blogging is the occasional invite to fun events around town. Rainy Day Books, a (wonderful) independent KC bookseller, invited my family of bloggers to hear Food Network Star Rachel Ray tell us all about her new cookbook, the Book of Burger. Rachel did far more than share about burgers — she is a great storyteller!

We learned about her cooking roots at the family restaurant in Cape Cod … about her early years running the fresh food department at Macy’s that led to the 30-Minute Meals Cooking Classes, which led to the 30-Minute Meals Cookbook, which led to a TV and cookbook empire … you get the idea.

Her Book of Burger is a collection of 200 burger recipes, plus 100 sides, sandwiches and “messies.” The book includes her famous friends’ essays on burgers they have loved. The cookbook even has QR codes in the book. Scan the code and the smart book takes you to a web site with more recipes. Gotta love the gal who said, “Having a rich life does not mean having a rich bank account.”



Easy Graduation Party Idea

by Cathy on May 20, 2012 · 2 comments

in Food,Ideas

I’m not sure how it is where you live but in my hometown, high school graduation can be a bit over the top. This past month has been an endless stream of awards banquets, senior picture photo sessions (Can you say “expensive”?) events, ceremonies … and then we have the graduation parties. I, however, am not an over-the-top gal. I’m all about family, friends, warm memories. I’m not out to impress anyone. This girl just wants to have fun. So for my daughter’s graduation party last weekend, we did our own thing and it WAS fun.

We hosted a dessert and champagne/sparkling cider open-house at our home with two other families. It was much simpler than providing a whole meal, was very casual, and filled with great conversations and laughter. I saw people who were dear to me but didn’t know each other before the night engaged in lengthy conversations. A lot of people came but it was very relaxed. Best of all, my daughter was blessed. So if you haven’t planned your child’s graduation party yet, go easy on yourself. And did our guests have fun? All I know is that most of them spent the entire evening at our house.

Here is a look at our table decor and links to some of some of the dessert recipes. (I’m guessing on some of the recipes since the other families also baked.) My daughter added some fun touches, such as the mason jars tied with ribbon that held the silverware and the chocolate-dipped pretzel rods. She is both girly and artsy so the pink with black/white color scheme suited her perfectly.

Cake Pops
Lemon Bars (a mix)
Oreo Truffles
Cookie Dough Dip with Graham Crackers
Chocolate Cupcakes (a mix) with Buttercream Frosting
Easy Pretzel Buttons
Plus Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries and Pretzel Rods



Two Tasty, Healthy Breakfast Recipes

by Cathy on January 17, 2012 · 0 comments

in Food

If you are trying to get your health on track for the new year, eating a healthy breakfast is a huge step in the right direction. These two recipes are tasty, healthy and easy to make. In fact, one only takes minutes to assemble. Using Greek yogurt, which is loaded with protein, will fill you up, though you could serve either recipe with a scrambled or hard-boiled egg for good measure. Both recipes contain fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy and protein, which is a balanced meal.

Healthy Breakfast Muffins
3 cups Fruit and Fiber (or other whole grain flake cereal)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of white flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 egg
1 cup of low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup of canola oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Add rest of ingredients and mix well. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!


Breakfast Parfait
1/2 cup of berries strawberries, blueberries and/or raspberries
1/2 cup of Low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of low-fat granola
Directions: Layer each of the ingredients in a parfait glass. That’s it! You DO have time to make breakfast!



Healthy Breakfast Casserole

by Cathy on December 11, 2011 · 2 comments

in Food

If you are looking for a healthy breakfast casserole, perhaps for the holidays, this one is a winner.

Healthy Breakfast Casserole
10 eggs
2 cups of low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 teaspoons each of garlic power and onion powder
1/3 cup each of chopped mushrooms, tomatoes, fresh spinach and red pepper (You can substitute fresh broccoli, zucchini or other favorite veggies.)

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then pour into a 13 X 9 inch glass pan that you have sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated oven  at 325 degrees (350 degrees for a metal pan) for 40 minutes until firm. Cut into squares and serve with fresh fruit for a very healthy breakfast.




STA Travel Australia sent filmmaker Rick Mereki, actor Andrew Lees and traveler Tim White on an amazing trip around the world: 44 days, in 11 countries, 18 flights, totaling 38,000 miles. Three one-minute videos feature their journey of a lifetime. The videos each focus on a different subject: eating, learning and (see the previous post) traveling. Where do I sign up for this job?





This Week’s Recipes and More Cooking Blogs

by Cathy on September 19, 2011 · 0 comments

in Food

My previous post that listed the week’s recipes and some great cooking blogs was a big hit. So, for you foodies, here is this week’s addition.

Lemon Chicken from Annie’s Eats

Creamy Shrimp and Mushroom Pasta from Chaos in the Kitchen

Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork from Can You Stay For Dinner?

For dessert? Two Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze from Big Red Kitchen

Bon appetit!



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