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tray chic coffee station

Raise your hand if you like coffee.  Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever been staying out of town with friends or family and you wake up and there is no coffee to be seen and you feel like such a creep poking around in their cupboards looking for some of the liquid gold trying not to make any noise? Yes, it’s happened to me too.

It is for this very reason that I make up a little coffee tray when I have visitors. Not only is everything in one focal area, but also people don’t have to sneak into my fridge wondering if I have milk or cream or sugar or whathaveyou.  There are two big reasons why I think making a coffee tray is a brilliant idea. 

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When it’s been raining cats and dogs for the last 20 days and all of your efforts to entertain outdoors have been foiled, you start to really get a big build up of festive thoughts with nothing to do about it.  Does this happen to you? I literally thought I was going to explode if I didn’t host something good.  Something fun and different. I usually host a big party about once a season, but this was different.  I HAD to have a party, it was oozing out of my pours as I sat day after day, happy hour after happy hour indoors, watching the rain pour down.

It’s almost as if I was trying to challenge Mother Nature when I felt the need to schedule an outdoor Moroccan dinner party.  And sure enough, she took my challenge.  The original date of the party got rained out, so I turned right around and rescheduled it for two days later.  Did I mention that if I didn’t host something I was going to explode? 

whole 30 cocktail

Ok, I’m going to disappoint a lot of you here, but this Sangria has no alcohol. WHAT?!?! Yes, you read that right.  Sans alcohol, alcohol free, virgin. Which leads you to your second thought… why in the world would you want to drink a cocktail without the best part? Well, mostly because Matt and I are smack in the midst of another Whole 30.  So, we haven’t been drinking for the last 20 days.  In that 20 days, I got really really nostalgic about summer happy hour. I was just drinking my sparkling water with lime and was a little underwhelmed. I also have a few pregnant friends right now, and I think they were feeling a little underwhelmed with their drink choices too, so I whipped this recipe up.

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Here is how the idea came to me, I was minding my own business at the grocery store last week and picked up a bottle of Kombucha (which is Whole 30 friendly) and thought that although it’s super trendy and that kind of bothers me, I’d give it a try anyway.   I immediately wondered where this had been all my life and why I had been reluctant.  It’s my new favorite thing – whole 30 or not.

The Kombucha (if you’ve never had it) is a fermented tea that has live and active cultures (like yogurt, but I detest yogurt).  When I opened that first bottle, I was pleasantly surprised that it’s lightly effervescent, and has a little bit of an acidic kick (like other fermented things (sauerkraut, kimchi… wine?!?!)). The idea of wine popped right into my head and I thought, this would make an amazing sangria.  A sangria that is alcohol free, low in sugar, and has those active cultures?!  Sign me up.