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Life Secrets of a Barista

Life Secrets of a Barista

Let’s face it – I’m a coffee fanatic. I need my properly brewed flat white to kick the day off right. Without it I’m just mental mush.

It took me a while to pick my “local”; the coffee shop I would frequent every day early in the morning to watch people grapple with life as they went through their morning routines. Over time I gravitated towards my local Starbucks and found within its walls a crew of Baristas I came to know by name.

Like any writer I can’t meet someone without getting curious about their life story, the events of their day, and their interactions with others. So I started listening carefully to their conversations with customers and then began asking probing questions. Did these humble servants of the bean have a secret life; perhaps some caffeinated stories to tell?

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Please note: Starbucks did not condone this article and it was not written on company property, nor did company representatives participate on company time or give specific details about company practices or company secrets.

First The Good ..

Researching this article really made me appreciate the positive aspects of being a Barista. Unlike staff in other retail jobs, Baristas really know their customers, and I’ve heard heart-warming stories that really surprised me. For example, did you know that at some stores staff attend funerals for selected regulars? I’ve even heard stories about birthday cards being sent by snowbirds, and fruit-baskets being brought in for staff who were sick. This hints at the kinds of relationships that can be built over the counter.

Creepiest Story of All Time

One happily married Barista described a story where a guy came in when the staff had decorated the store with balloons and streamers. There was one placard saying “Kiss me I’m 40”.

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The next day his wife found a Craigslist missed connections article saying “I saw the Kiss Me I’m 40 sign and I just wanted to kiss you”, printed it out and gave it to the Barista for a joke.

A couple of weeks later the same guy applied for a job at the store. Can you spell S-T-A-L-K-E-R?

What drives a Barista nuts?

The general consensus is that while many customers are worthy individuals, some can be challenging to say the least. Here’s some things Barista’s absolutely loathe.

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  • Don’t reload your Starbucks card during the morning rush with eight people in line.
  • Don’t forget to tip if your drink is complex. Baristas make a good wage but a little extra goes a long way.
  • Don’t use your phone at the counter. It’s rude to talk on the phone or surf the internet while ordering. Show some respect for your your Barista.
  • Don’t pick up the wrong drink. If you ordered an Americano, then don’t pick up the passionfruit ice tea for godsake! Pay attention people!
  • Don’t order stupid drinks. A grande frappe double mocha chip is fine, but a non-fat with whip is just stupid.
  • Don’t ask dumb questions about your order. Asking, “did I put whip in that” is not going to make you popular. Know your drinks.
  • Don’t hit on the staff. It’s endemic as well as unappreciated. One staff member we spoke to told me of an incident when a 50 year old man made a highly offensive sexual comment to her while on break. Now she goes outside and sits in her car to avoid harassment.

What’s the dumbest drink ever ordered?

As one veteran Barista put it so well “oh lord .. there are so many to choose from.” Here’s three of the best!

  • Barista #1: Mocha Frappuccino with a scoop of matcha powder, and a shot of espresso.
  • Barista #2: “Venti” pumpkin spice latte with ten pumps of syrup three times a day. The entire crew wondered if he had diabetes.
  • Barista #3: A skim anything with 2% foam. Enough said.

Dirty little secrets?

Starbucks is full of people cheating on their spouses, and believe me, the Baristas know who’s who as well as who’s doing who. I’ve heard stories about well known members of the community conducting trysts under the green and white sign, hands locked in lovers embrace – with their wedding rings noticeably missing.

There’s something of a code of silence that Barista’s have about such issues. They’re often treated to the same information that’s potentially damaging and they understand that what goes on in the store, stays in the store.

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Featured photo credit: Wikipedia Commons via upload.wikimedia.org

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Published on October 12, 2018

15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters

15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters

I think you’ll agree with me when I say that finding one meal that everyone in the family likes is a challenge!

But as busy parents we also don’t want to have to make separate meals for the kids either. The good news is there are some amazing healthy family meals out there that are:

  • Healthy
  • Cost-effective
  • Easy top prepare
  • Great tasting
  • Sure to please kids and parents alike

There are a lot of food and recipe sites out there, but we’ve whittled down the thousands of recipes to these top 15.

These healthy family meals are sure to please even the pickiest of eaters and will make a great addition to your dinner table. More importantly, these winning recipes meet the challenge of today’s busy families.

Let’s review the best healthy family meals for your picky eaters!

1. Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers

    This recipe, courtesy of Melissa d’Arabian of The Food Network is delicious, healthy and surprisingly easy to prepare. It’s no wonder it has over 100 reviews and rates 5 stars!

    Melissa is the host of Ten Dollar Dinners and The Picky Eater’s Project. She’s also a mother of four and recent first-time cookbook author.

    This amazing recipe features:

    • Store-bought puff pastry saves a lot of time
    • Only 20 minutes prep time
    • Kids will love the “hot pocket-style” but the flavor of a traditional chicken pot pie

    ~ Check out the recipe here!

    2. Mini Meat Loaf

      This healthy family meal, courtesy of Susie Cover’s book The Supper Club: Kid-Friendly Meals the Whole Family Will Love and published on Parenting.com is a healthy option in that it can be prepared with either ground beef or turkey.

      Kids will love that these fun-sized mini meatloaves are easy to dip in ketchup. They are also perfect for packing for a school lunch or picnic.

      Susie has over 15 years as a professional chef, cookbook author, and founder of a series of prepared food companies.

      This future family staple:

      • Tastes great warm or at room temp
      • Can be formed to any size – no wasted food!
      • Can easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free panko breadcrumbs

      ~ Check out the recipe here!

      3. Cheesy Cauliflower Pasta

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        This delicious and healthy mac ‘n cheese alternative comes to us from Hillary Smith over at Bon Appétit.

        Hillary is the associate marketing director at Bon Appétit, but clearly knows her way around the kitchen too. Here, Hillary does the unthinkable and gets picky eaters come back for seconds on cauliflower!

        This new family favorite:

        • Is easy to make
        • Features delicious parmesan and pine nuts
        • Roasts the cauliflower to get it tender with a deeper flavor

        ~ Check out the recipe here!

        4. Barbecued Chinese Chicken Lettuce Wraps

          This 5 star recipe is from Rachael Ray, courtesy of The Food Network’s 30 Minute Meals.

          This amazingly flavorful dish:

          • Can be made in 25 minutes
          • Is so delicious kids won’t even question eating lettuce
          • Is packed with veggies

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          5. Eggplant Parmigiana in a Pasta Sauce

          This amazing recipe re-do comes from Ole & Shaina Olmanson and Babble is a much healthier, but just as tasty a version of traditional eggplant parmesan.

          This fantastic dinner option:

          • Cuts the fried eggplant and lengthy prep stages
          • Calls for ground beef but could easily be made vegetarian
          • Tastes even better the next day!

          ~ Check out the recipe here!

          6. Po-tacos!

            This creative reinvention of the classic taco comes from Weelicious founder Catherine and her friend Joanna. The idea is to use a baked potato split down the middle as the “shell” for your taco.

            Of course a baked potato is healthier than a fried taco shell or fat-laden tortilla. But she also gets incredibly creative with the topping options, going far beyond a typical taco.

            This new classic:

            • Has endless filling possibilities from pesto veggies to pulled pork
            • Could easily be made with sweet potatoes instead
            • Only take a whopping 10 minutes prep time!

            ~ Check out the recipe here!

            7. Crispy Chicken, Ham, and Swiss Roll-Ups

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              This tasty addition to our healthy family meals comes from Jiselle Basile over at Cooking Light. Jiselle has taken the classic ham and cheese sandwich and reinvented it as a roll-up.

              This “meaty, cheesy, moist and crunchy” treat gets healthy by going in the oven instead of into a frying pan.

              This amazing recipe:

              • Is only 351 calories per serving
              • Uses all white meat chicken and ham
              • Is low in sugar and saturated fat

              ~ Check out the recipe here!

              8. Easy 30 Minute Orange Chicken with Rice

                This amazing redo of everyone’s favorite Chinese takeout comes from Kristen over at A Mind “Full” Mom.

                Kristen has crafted a recipe that is not too spicy or sweet. That makes the kids happy. But it’s has enough complex flavors to have the adults coming back for seconds.

                Healthy family meals never tasted so good!

                This fantastic recipe:

                • Is ready in under 30 minutes!
                • Uses fresh orange juice
                • Skips the fryer and the unnecessary calories

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                9. Noodle Pudding

                This creative recipe, courtesy of Barbara Wener and Country Living is a great way to get kids to eat cottage cheese and cut the fat from traditional baked pasta dishes.

                Country Living features the best food and drink recipes that are delicious and easy to prepare. The recipe was handed down to Barbara from her mother and remains a family favorite.

                This tasty treat:

                • Has under 400 calories per serving
                • Will have kids gobbling it up like mac n’ cheese

                ~ Check out the recipe here!

                10. One Pan Chicken and Potatoes with Garlic Parmesan Spinach Cream Sauce

                  The key to truly healthy family meals is getting picky eaters to eat their vegetables.

                  This fantastic recipe, courtesy of Christina Cherrier, editor at Eatwell101, does just that.

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                  Christina has crafty a yummy cream sauce that packs a flavor punch of garlic, tomato, spinach, and cheese. Even the pickiest of eaters will be back for more.

                  This amazing dish:

                  • Lightens the fat with half and half instead of cream
                  • Gets kids to eat their spinach
                  • Saves on clean up by using just 1 pan

                  ~ Check out the recipe here!

                  11. Super Easy Skinny Veggie Crockpot Lasagna

                    This no-hassle lasagna recipe, comes to us from Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum.

                    Lindsay and her husband Bjork run both Pinch of Yum and Food Blogger Pro and are here to save us a boatload of time, cutting calories in the process.

                    This amazing dish:

                    • Is all done in the crockpot
                    • Is loaded with veggies
                    • Calls for uncooked lasagna noodles

                    ~ Check out the recipe here!

                    12. Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken Strips

                      All kids love chicken strips. Thankfully this classic recipe redo skips the fryer and still delivers a delicious healthy family meal.

                      Amy Roskelley, of Super Healthy Kids, walks us through the simple steps to get extra crispy chicken without the deep fryer. Amy is mom of 3 and has a background in health and nutrition and in shows!

                      This amazing dish:

                      • Skips the salt, fast & preservatives of fast food chicken nuggets
                      • Are amazingly crispy
                      • Packs 36 grams of protein per serving

                      ~ Check out the recipe here!

                      13. Sausage, Brocolli & Rice One Skillet Meal

                        This delicious weeknight staple comes to us from Kasey Schwartz over at All Things Mamma.

                        With a hungry husband who helps parent their 3 kids, Kasey knows a thing or two about healthy family meals. Her recipes are designed for busy parents looking for quick, easy and healthy meals during the school week.

                        This tasty mealtime option:

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                        • Is ready in under 30 minutes
                        • Is a great way to get kids to eat their broccoli
                        • Can be made with turkey or chicken sausage to cut the fat

                        ~ Check out the recipe here!

                        14. Baked Chicken Chimichangas

                          This simple, yet tasty Mexican-themed dinner staple comes from Christy Denney over at The Girl Who Ate Everything.

                          Christy makes healthy family meals for her husband and their 5 kids. And with 5 kids, you can bet Christy knows how to please even the pickiest of eaters.

                          This awesome dinnertime staple:

                          • Are oven baked instead of fried
                          • Can be prepared in under 15 minutes
                          • Goes great with guac and low-fat sour cream

                          ~ Check out the recipe here!

                          15. Baked Gnocchi with Sausage, Kale, and Pesto

                            This delicious baked pasta dish comes from Maria & Josh over at Two Peas and Their Pod.

                            Maria & Josh love cooking, entertaining and creating healthy family meals that are simple, fresh, and kid-friendly. We think you’ll agree!

                            This delicious dish:

                            • Is a great way to sneak kale into kid’s diets
                            • Can be prepared in under 15 minutes
                            • Cut even more fat with lower fat sausage and cheeses

                            ~ Check out the recipe here!

                            Did you find some new favorite healthy family meals here?

                            In this post, we looked at the challenge all parents face in creating healthy family meals that everyone in the family will actually eat.

                            Finding ways to overcome picky eating habits with our kids can be a challenge.

                            To help, we researched and found 15 amazing recipes that even the pickiest eaters will love and want more of. So if you’re getting resistance at the dinner table and aren’t sure where to turn, the recipes above will quickly get you what you need.

                            All the winning recipes linked above were hand-selected.

                            They are the answer to your dinner-time problems and will help all parents by removing a little bit of that stress at the end of a long day.

                            Make sure and bookmark your favorites as you’ll assuredly be back for more.

                            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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