Dear Starbucks, Thanks For Always Being There

Dear Starbucks, Thanks For Always Being There

Thanks for never letting me down.

Dear Starbucks,

To my home away from home, the place that provides me with a beverage with energy when I need it most. It’s truly amazing that you can automatically boost my mood when I step right through your doors.

From your comfy chairs, to the inspiring music that plays in the background to the aroma, you’re the perfect place. I can spend time working on homework or catching up with friends. I don’t know what it is about you, but I find myself in complete focus when I’m there. My favorite time of year is during the holiday season when my venti red cups are filled with Peppermint Mochas. However, you never fail to amaze me with your Passion Iced Tea Lemonade or your Caramel Macchiatos during the other times of the year.

Some may call it an obsession, I call it love. Where would I be without you? My parents sometimes are concerned that I have had gold status for this long. But where would I be if I didn’t have you, the caffeine and warmth you provide me? It’s hard to forget something as amazing as you, Starbucks.

Sometimes, Starbucks, you do get on my nerves. Every once in a while, you spell my name wrong – Alex, Alexis, Alexia. The wait sometimes is ridiculous, but I do it anyways.

Thanks for always being there,

Me, your number one fan

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Meatballs in the Crock-Pot Recipes

Party Friendly, Appetizing, Deliciously Cooked Meatballs

Meatballs can be a party favorite appetizer. There are so easy to make, and can even be bought pre-cooked at the grocery store. The following recipes are crowd-pleasing as they are tasty, quick, and inexpensive to make. All you need is to employ the help of a Crock-Pot or slow cooker, and a few key ingredients. These recipes can be made on the stove top too if preferred.

Sweet BBQ Grape Jelly Meatballs


1-Two bags of Armour Original or Homestyle party size meatballs (you can choose the taste and ball size you prefer).

2-One 18 oz. bottle of Sweet Ray's Brown Sugar barbeque sauce.

3-A 18 oz. Welch's Concord Grape Jam container.

4-Kraft's Parmesan Cheese for garnish (optional).


In your Crock-pot mix the content of the SR's barbecue sauce with the grape jam. Whisk the ingredients together until a unified mixture has formed. Pour the two bags of meatballs into the mixture and with a large serving spoon coat the meatballs. Once all meatballs have been coated with the mix, distribute them evenly in the pot, cover your Crock-pot and set the temperature to high. Stir the meatballs occasionally to avoid them from sticking together. Cook the meatballs until they appear caramelized. Set your Crock-pot to warm. Now, you can have your guests serve themselves the meatballs from your pot. Just remember to set a serving spoon, plates, toothpicks, and napkins next to you Crock-pot for serving.

These meatballs can be served as a side dish, with mixed vegetables and brown rice. Your favorite hot sauce can be used as one of the ingredients for added spiciness. This recipe can also be substituted with Ketchup instead of BBQ sauce. Raspberry and/or strawberry preserves can be used too instead of grape jelly/jam. This feeds up to 10 guests.

Meatballs in Marinara Sauce


1- Two bags of Cooked Perfect Homestyle party size meatballs.

2- One 16 oz. jar Ragu Italian Marinara sauce.

3- One Contandina tomato paste 4 oz. can.

4- 3 tablespoons of Goya Olive Oil

5- 3 tablespoons of salt

6-2 teaspoons of Domino sugar.

7- 2 cups of water.


Pour the two cups of water into Crock-pot. Follow by pouring the whole content of the Ragu sauce along with Goya Olive Oil. Whisk together water, sauce and olive oil. Add the meatballs. Spread meatballs evenly in the pot making sure they are covered with the sauce mix. Set the Crock-pot on high. After 20 minutes of cooking time stir the meatballs and add 4 oz.of tomato paste, salt, and sugar. Stir meatballs once again to avoid sticking. If desired you can add parsley, cilantro, and oregano to taste. Let the meatballs cook for another hour. Take out of meatballs and taste it to see if thoroughly cooked. Once meatballs are ready serve them with a side of pasta of your choice. Best choice to go would be spaghetti.

Just cook your pasta according to package instructions. Rinse the pasta and serve meatballs on top and pour some sauce. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if desired.

Or serve on a toasted baguette for a meatball sandwich.

Sweet and Sour Spicy Meatballs


1- Two bags of your favorite brand frozen meatballs. Another great brand is Shady Brooks Homestyle turkey meatballs.

2- One Sweet Baby Ray's 18 oz. Chili Sauce.

3- 1 Sweet Baby Ray's 18 oz. Sweet and Sour Sauce.

4- 8 oz. of Smucker's Apricot preserves (half jar)


In your Crock-pot combine Chili Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce and Apricot preserves. Whisk all ingredients together until a new mixture is combined. A spatula can be used too. Set your Crockpot to low for 20 minutes and proceed to make your meatballs. If, using Shady Brook Homestyle Turkey Balls just add them after 5 minutes. Then, increase the temperature to high. Let cook for an hour and a half. Meatballs are cooked when the sauce is simmering and balls appear caramelized. Serve as an appetizer or as a side dish with French fries or mash potatoes.

These recipes are very easy to follow. Plus, they have the advantage of costing very little. Remember you can use any brand of frozen meatballs you like or follow your favorite recipe. Hope you try them and enjoy them.

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7 Places You Have To Visit If You're In Winchester, Indiana

A lot of times, people like to focus on the negatives of small town living. Small towns still have a lot to offer, though, and these are some of my favorites.

My hometown is a teeny tiny place near the Indiana-Ohio border called Winchester, Indiana. There are many negative things I could say about living in a small town, but, as it so happens, I’m going to focus on some of my favorite things about the town I call home. There may not be a whole lot to do, but if you find yourself cruising on State Highway 27 and happen to pass by Winchester, here are some things you just can’t pass up.

1. El Carreton

There may be a little bit of bias here seeing as how I could eat Mexican food every day of my life for the rest of my life, but you have to go here for a meal. Even if you don’t like Mexican food, you can still enjoy the friendly staff, the cheery music, and the giant fruit sculptures that decorate the restaurant (along with the other art). If you do like Mexican food and don’t know what to order, you can’t go wrong with Daniella’s Special or a classic chimichanga. If you’re good on time, I’d recommend ordering the fried ice cream too (it’s the best I’ve ever had).

2. Mrs. Wick’s

Half of my favorite memories from high school were made at this small, cozy eating establishment. Like many of the restaurants in Winchester, it is family owned, and I promise that you will not find better food for a better price and/or experience anywhere else. I’m very partial to their breakfast food (shout out to the French toast, omelets, and GIANT cinnamon rolls), but really you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. In addition to the amazing food, it goes without saying that you have to “try the pie.” If you’ve ever heard of Wick’s Pies, this family business is where they come from. Coconut cream is my personal favorite, but yet again, you literally cannot go wrong.

3. Haines

If the best memories of my childhood were not made at Mrs. Wick’s, they were made here. Haines is the quintessential small-town experience. Their vanilla cokes are TO DIE FOR. If Dusty Shannon is working, tell him what a wonderful human being he is, and, if your sweet tooth is especially hangry, order a marshmallow vanilla coke. Just trust me on this one, it will change your life. In addition to the soda fountain, Haines serves as a gift shop with countless greeting cards, gifts, and memories that you won’t soon forget.

4. Pizza King

First thing’s first, if you’re not an Indiana native, you need to drive yourself to a Pizza King right away. Now if you’re really devoted, drive specifically to the one in Winchester because my biased opinion thinks it’s definitely better than the ones in the rest of the state. My favorite thing to get from here is sausage and mushroom pizza (which I won’t eat anywhere else, mind you. It’s just that good). Pizza King is one of the very few places that stays open until the wee hours of the morning, thus making it a perfect stop after school dances, football games, and any other activity that leaves you hungry after 8 pm. The real secret to their success, though, is their breadsticks. Treat yourself to an order of ¾ baked bread sticks and you won’t regret it, I promise.

6. The Force of Winchester

Disclaimer: The Force is not a place, but an organization, and it’s near impossible to talk about Winchester without mentioning our award-winning marching band. If you get a chance during your summer to hear them play, you won’t regret it. The work that the students and staff put in to put together a brilliant and well-performed show each year is unbelievable. You try holding and playing a tuba for the duration of a show while coordinating your feet to the music, and let me know how easy you think it is (I played the piano so I sat there and minded my own business, but I’ve heard it’s not easy). They have a specific community viewing close to the day they are to compete at the Indiana State Fair where you can sit down with ice cream and appreciate the hard work that everyone puts in. Obviously I recommend checking them out seeing as how they’re on this list, but seriously go watch them play.

Here’s a link to the show I was in the summer after my senior year (the little piano bit you hear is me, and I won’t pretend like I wasn’t playing it in my sleep for two months after band season was over):

7. Mardi Gras

Don’t let the title of this item confuse you. Winchester doesn’t actually have a Mardi Gras festival during the time of Mardi Gras. What we do have, however, is a pretty neat week in October where there are more than slightly sketchy fair rides, an abundance of fried food, and a chance to walk around the square exploring some of the small businesses our town has to offer. Even though I’m in college, I still make an effort to go home sometime during the week of Mardi Gras to snatch an elephant ear that’s so big it has to be put on three paper plates to be held. If you’re going to try and catch a slice of the fun, I’d recommend going on the Saturday at the end of the week so you can make it to the parade. Speaking of slices of fun, I also recommend the aforementioned Wick’s Pies deep fried sugar cream pie.

I could probably add 50 more items to this list, but I’m reaching a word limit that is going to have you quit reading if I don’t stop soon. The places and people behind the items on this list are some that have given me some of the greatest memories of my childhood. Small towns aren’t always exciting, and I, for one, have complained my fair share about there being “nothing to do.” On a positive note, though, the items on this list are some that I want to share with the world so that they can see just how great the place that raised me can be. Growing up in Winchester is just another piece of the puzzle that is who I am, but maybe it can have a place in your life as well.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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