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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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Colin Rhodes

Chief Technology Officer

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Published on November 7, 2019

27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes)

27 Healthy Pressure Cooker Meals (with Easy Recipes)

Do you want to be able to make healthy meals on a weeknight, but feel like it just takes too long?

This is where pressure cooker meals come to the rescue! With an electric pressure cooker, like an Instant Pot, you can make meals a lot faster than on the stove or in the oven. You also just set the time, and let it do its thing while you do yours, until you hear the beep.

Taking advantage of this time-saving device to make healthy meals is easy, but it’s hard to know where to start in searching through all of the recipes online. It takes forever to browse around and find something you want to make.

Let’s get you started with 27 easy recipes for healthy pressure cooker meals you can make this week – along with some info on why they’re healthy to motivate you to make them.

1. Chipotle Burrito Bowls

    This recipe is not only spectacularly delicious, but shows you how to use the pot-in-pot method for your pressure cooker to make rice and beans at the same time. This way, you can flavor them differently, and portion out each section of your burrito bowl for a gorgeous meal.

    Check out the recipe here!

    2. Maple Bourbon Chili

      Adding sweet potatoes and a little splash of maple syrup and bourbon takes an already delicious chili to the next level. This one is also vegetarian, so it’s free from cholesterol and saturated fats, and the kidney beans bring cholesterol-lowering fiber and homocysteine-lowering folate for a heart-healthy bowl of goodness.

      Check out the recipe here!

      3. Butternut Squash & Sage Risotto

        Risotto is so luxuriously creamy and rich, but the traditional method takes a lot of time and constant stirring. Making it in your electric pressure cooker means you can set it for five minutes, and let it go on its own. This recipe pairs slightly sweet butternut squash and earthy sage for a perfect fall meal.

        Check out the recipe here!

        4. Lentil Ragu

          Lentils make a perfect stand in for ground beef in this hearty and flavorful ragu. They’re a good source of folate, iron, B vitamins, and fiber – all of which help contribute to your energy levels and heart health.

          Check out the recipe here!

          5. Moroccan Winter Squash and Chickpea Tagine

            A lighter take on a traditionally slow-cooked North African dish, this vegetarian tagine from is cooked quickly in the pressure cooker. The easy pickled raisins sound like an exciting flavor boost to try!

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            Check out the recipe here!

            6. Chickpea Bolognese Spaghetti Squash

              Swap the meat for protein- and mineral-rich chickpeas, and the spaghetti for vitamin-rich gluten-free spaghetti squash! Cooking spaghetti squash in your pressure cooker cuts the time down significantly from baking it, so you have this delicious and nutritious meal on the table quick enough to enjoy even on a weeknight.

              Check out the recipe here!

              7. Lasagna Soup

                All the delicious comfort of lasagna, but as a one-pot stew you can make quickly in your pressure cooker. Richa gives the helpful tip that because pasta cooking times can vary, look at the time on the package you’re using and divide by two to get the time you should set on your pressure cooker.

                Check out the recipe here!

                8. Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Quinoa Salad

                  Learn how to make perfectly cooked quinoa in your pressure cooker with the helpful video, and then toss it into a tasty salad that you can pack up for lunches on the go.

                  Check out the recipe here!

                  9. Thai Coconut Chickpea Stew

                    A flavorful, creamy, protein-rich soup with just five main ingredients, and ready in twenty-three minutes. Perfect for a weeknight, with enough leftovers to take for lunch the following day.

                    Check out the recipe here!

                    10. Pasta Puttanesca

                      Making pasta in your pressure cooker is easy and quick, and perfectly flavored here with capers, olives, and tomato sauce. Including crushed red pepper flakes gives a little kick of spiciness, and also works as a slight appetite suppressant, so that you’ll be less likely overeat this yummy dish.

                      Check out the recipe here!

                      11. Butternut Squash Soup

                        This gorgeous golden-colored soup is full of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory carotenoids. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and oil-free – but doesn’t skimp on flavor! The addition of a granny smith apple is brilliant, to add to the depth of flavor and bring out the natural sweetness of butternut squash.

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                        It has a little kick from some curry powder, but if you wanted to appeal to younger taste buds you could leave that out and it would surely be a hit.

                        Check out the recipe here!

                        12. Minestrone Soup

                          Minestrone is a perfect example of comfort food that’s wholesome at the same time. It usually needs to simmer for quite a while to cook the potatoes, but in your pressure cooker, it’s done in no time. Packed with vegetables, kidney beans, and pasta, this is a fully balanced meal in a bowl.

                          Check out the recipe here!

                          13. Chana Masala

                            Using an authentic blend of Indian spices, and perfectly pressure-cooked chickpeas, you can create your own restaurant-level chana masala at home! Spices like ginger and turmeric are anti-inflammatory, and cumin may help with blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar balance.

                            Check out the recipe here!

                            14. Quinoa Pilaf

                              Pair protein-rich quinoa with anti-inflammatory turmeric, along with a heap of whatever vegetables you have on hand, and turn it into a delicious healthy meal in 20 minutes. This is proof that easy and healthy meals definitely don’t have to be boring!

                              Check out the recipe here!

                              15. Cajun Red Beans with Sausage

                                Infuse some red beans with cajun seasonings and vegetables, then toss in some vegan sausage if you like. This is perfect for batch cooking, to portion your meals for the week or freeze for later, so that you don’t resort to take out on those hectic days.

                                Check out the recipe here!

                                16. Cuban Black Beans and Rice

                                  Soft cooked black beans and rice, seasoned with garlic, onion, cumin and topped with an easy salsa of fresh lime juice, avocado, tomato, and red onion sounds like an absolutely perfect meal. Not only is this delicious, but you’ll get thirty-two percent of your daily protein needs in just one serving.

                                  Check out the recipe here!

                                  17. Creamy Vegetable Soup

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                                    This soup has a whole lot of vegetables packed in for maximum nutritional power, including cauliflower which is loaded with cancer-fighting compounds. At the end, you stir in cashew cream to create a rich creamy broth without any dairy.

                                    Check out the recipe here!

                                    18. Chik’n Stew

                                      Go a step beyond chicken soup by adding all sorts of veggies and chickpeas for a hearty and nourishing stew. It’s so easy to put together: simply put everything in your pressure cooker, set the time, and then stir in some spinach before serving.

                                      Check out the recipe here!

                                      19. Split Pea Soup

                                        Split pea soup is so rich and hearty, and usually takes a long time to cook on the stove, so it’s a perfect one to speed up in a pressure cooker. This recipe uses all the classic flavors of split pea soup, but replaces the saturated fat and nitrates of bacon with a dash of liquid smoke. The smoky tempeh crumbles are perfect toppers, and if you don’t make your own, you could just use tempeh bacon.

                                        Check out the recipe here!

                                        20. Thai Peanut Chickpea Soup

                                          Peanut butter adds such a full, rich flavor to this soup, and packs so many vegetables in to get you all kinds of nutrients. It’s gluten-free, oil-free, vegan, uses the one pot of your pressure cooker, and is ready in just thirty minutes.

                                          Check out the recipe here!

                                          21. Portobello Pot Roast

                                            With zero cholesterol and saturated fat, this makes a healthy version of hearty comfort food – all made in your pressure cooker for a quick dinner with minimal cleanup!

                                            Check out the recipe here!

                                            22. Three Sisters Soup

                                              The three sisters are the Native American trinity of corn, beans, and squash that were planted together because they were mutually beneficial as they grew. This soup brings them together with the beautiful flavors of sage and ancho chili powder.

                                              Check out the recipe here!

                                              23. Indo Chinese Corn Soup

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                                                Indo Chinese cuisine is Chinese recipes adapted to Indian tastes, so this hearty soup is flavored with toasted sesame oil, cumin, and ginger. It’s thick enough that as Kristina suggests, you could enjoy it with rice for lunch the following day.

                                                Although corn isn’t always thought of as a health food, it’s a good source of B vitamins and iron for energy, as well as zinc and selenium for immune health.

                                                Check out the recipe here!

                                                24. Goulash

                                                  A bit like the building blocks of minestrone, but with paprika, this Hungarian soup makes a nourishing, wholesome, and delicious meal the whole family is sure to love. This recipe replaces meat with cholesterol-free and high-fiber lentils for a heart healthy version.

                                                  Check out the recipe here!

                                                  25. Indonesian Black Rice Pudding

                                                    This is so wholesome but also so delicious it can double as breakfast and dessert! With just three ingredients, it’s simple to make, and cooks a lot faster in your pressure cooker than on the stove. As Katie points out, the black color of the rice indicates that it has the same powerful antioxidants as blueberries.

                                                    Check out the recipe here!

                                                    26. Blueberry Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

                                                      All you need are three ingredients and two minutes on high pressure to make this delicious and protein-packed breakfast bowl. It makes four servings, so you can portion it out for the week ahead. Top it with maple syrup, pecans, and almond milk for the full experience.

                                                      Check out the recipe here!

                                                      27. Sugar-Free Apple Butter

                                                        This is so easy to make, and with the sweetness coming from the natural sugars of the apples and dates, you can’t go wrong!

                                                        A great dish to make in a big batch after going apple picking, so you can enjoy it all winter. Spread it on a bagel, scoop it on top of your oatmeal or pancakes, or have a little bowl for a snack or healthy dessert.

                                                        Check out the recipe here!

                                                        So there are no excuses left, now that you have 27 easy recipes you can start making healthy meals in your pressure cooker. The beauty of having healthy food ready to go is that it makes take out that much less tempting. And the magic of electric pressure cookers is that you can set it and forget it, while you unwind after work and come back when you hear the beep to dish up the goodness.

                                                        For more easy pressure cooker recipes to explore, check out 17 Power Pressure Cooker Recipes for Rushed Weeknight Meals .

                                                        Featured photo credit: Ella Olsson via unsplash.com

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