10 Things I Learned While Working at Starbucks

Helps me know a little more heading into training..yay!

Lauren Loves Good Food

For the past eight months, I’ve been working at “a coffee shop.” I’ve hinted that said coffee shop was Starbucks, but I don’t think I’ve ever said it outright.

Surprise, now you know why I was always drinking so much chai and eating so much pumpkin bread.

With only two weeks to go before I officially resign from my job as barista extraordinaire, I thought it would be nice to impart on you some things I’ve learned in the past 8 months.


1. Training is overwhelming.

I spent the first couple of weeks having numbers and “repeatable routines” drilled into my head. There are different numbers for pumps of syrups for in hot drinks and cold drinks, different numbers of espresso shots in different drinks, numbers of scoops of this, that and the other. It all seems second nature now, but when you start out, it feels like you’ll never

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EvCC Gluten Free Friendly?

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Although I attend a community college, we have a good size café, a bookstore sponsored by Barnes and Noble and a coffee stand (owned and operated by Alumni). All three of these venues have gluten free options, but may not be the safest allergen-wise or are lackluster in taste. I would know, since I myself am gluten intolerant. I love cake as much as the next person but if I have it, I balloon and have a hard time swallowing. 

me(That’s me, cooking with my favorite cookbook!)

Being gluten free has benefits but there are also some negative things. Nutrition teacher at EvCC Laura Wild states, “ gluten free diet would be a benefit to those with gluten intolerance (celiac disease) or gluten sensitivity, but for most of the population, there is no benefit to removing gluten from the diet.  In fact gluten is a good source of protein, and whole grains with gluten are excellent sources of nutrition.  In fact the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise us to consume more whole grains.”

Allow me to show you some of our “choices” at EvCC for those of you who may be gluten impaired!

Our cafe is run by Lancer Catering and has some options available for gluten free students and staff. Most of the options are products that are already gluten free – i.e. chicken breasts, salad – however, they also offer gluten free hamburger buns and bread. It’s rather hit or miss if they have it available every day. This is the most frustrating thing for me, personally. Having to go from being excited about a hamburger to excited about a vegetarian salad is not that great.


Celiac student Frances said “I think that the cafeteria does an okay job at providing some gluten free options I was pleased to see that they had two salads and pad thai that I could get gluten free but as someone with celiac disease I do worry about cross contamination. I would love to see them label the things in the food bar as to whether they were gluten free or not, but again cross contamination is always an issue for someone with celiac disease.”


The coffee stand, my favorite morning stop, has great gluten free breakfast like options. These items are labeled “wheat free, casein free”Raspberry oatmeal bar, apple oat muffins and cookie of assorted flavors are available for just $.25 more than the normal products, which is pretty good price-wise. (On the plus side, these items are also super yummy…)

Thai Kitchen Pad Thai pk

The bookstore doesn’t advertise the availability of GF items however; individual items usually have it on their packaging. There are a few Pad Thai like noodle dishes you can heat up and assorted snack foods – nuts and Bugles!- but all of these things are a bit expensive. I’m not sure why that is, but the price difference isn’t astronomical so I don’t worry too much.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 11.44.52 AMMap Evcc -> Safeway 2.1 miles

Easy things to buy from Safeway, just a few large blocks from the college, are PF Changs skillet dinners. Most of these are gluten free, and I supplement them with rice. Other common things I buy for convenience at Safeway are:

  • Rice cakes with peanut butter
  • Juanita’s tortilla chips
  • Glutino poptarts

Nutrition teacher Laura Wild answered told me why gluten free has become such a big deal. “Some people have a medical need to restrict gluten in the diet.  For those with celiac disease, consuming gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye, causes damage to the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients.  Other people may restrict gluten because they are sensitive to its effects.  Still others think a gluten-free diet is healthier or helps with weight loss.  There isn’t any research for these last claims.  When people go gluten-free, they may lose weight just because they are eating fewer processed carbohydrates like white bread, cookies and cupcakes, or they may eat less food altogether without bread/pasta/cereal.”


Overall, EvCC really does try to help out Gluten free and Celiac students, however, a lack in education about the food allergens is a problem.

Sauteed Shrimp and Artichokes

Officially Gluten Free

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This Sauteed Shrimp and Artichoke recipe makes a delicious appetizer or can be served on top of your favorite pasta. For an extra sizzle, place your skillet in the oven, on broil for a few minutes. Then transfer the shrimp from your frying pan into the hot skillet right before serving.


2 Tbsp Butter

4 Cloves of Garlic

3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1/2 Lb Shrimp (peeled and deveined)

1 6 oz Jar Artichoke Hearts

1/2 Tsp Dried Basil

3 Tbsp Heavy Cream

2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese


1. In a frying pan, melt the butter. Add the garlic and lemon juice. Let simmer on low for 2 minutes then add the shrimp. Once the shrimp is cooked, add the artichoke hearts and let simmer for another few minutes.

2. Add the heavy cream then stir until well combined. Let simmer for 2-3 more minutes. Toss in the parmesan cheese…

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Refrigerator Quinoa

solar cooking challenge

It’s the week before grocery shopping, and we have odd stuff left in the house. I moved the rice aside yesterday to find a whole trove of quinoa. We had cooked black beans in the frig already from a meal that didn’t quite make it the day before, and there was still corn in the freezer. Thus my refrigerator decided dinner.


1 cup uncooked quinoa

2 cups water

1/2 an onion, chopped

2/3 cup cooked black beans

1/2 cup frozen corn



Lime juice


I cooked the quinoa first. Put just the quinoa and the water in a dish, cover, and solar cook till the seeds open up and it looks fluffy. Then put all the remaining ingredients in a baking dish with about one and a half cups of cooked quinoa. Season to taste. I like about a teaspoon of cumin and about a tablespoon…

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Sausage and Sauerkraut Spring Rolls

OH MY GOODNESS I want to try this… Deutsch Deutsch Deutsch!

Officially Gluten Free

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These crispy gluten free Sausage and Sauerkraut Spring Rolls are oven baked and are inspired by Sauerkraut Perogies. They are made with rice paper instead of a traditional egg roll wrapper. Serve with Sour Cream.


1 500 g Pkg of Hot Italian Sausage

2 Cups Sauerkraut

1/2 White Onion

Rice Paper

1 – 2 Tbsp Olive Oil


1. In a large pan, fry the sausage. Remove from the casing before cooking, if you’re not using  ground sausage. Once the sausage is fully cooked, mince, then add the onion. Cook for a few minutes, then add the sauerkraut. Mix well then let simmer on low for 15 – 20 minutes.

2. Pre Heat oven to 425 F.

3. Fill a large bowl half way with water. Let the rice paper soak, a few at a time. Once the rice paper is soft enough, place onto the counter. Put 3…

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