Yeah, I’m Drinking Coffee Again

July 2nd, 2010

Want to make something of it?

Sorry.  If I sound a little testy, it’s because I’m exhausted.  Once I gave up coffee and started eating really healthily (yogurt and berries for breakfast, salads for lunch, heavy on the veggies for dinner, one small glass of wine before dinner and one small piece of chocolate for dessert . . .), I stopped sleeping.

It wasn’t exactly what you’d call positive reinforcement.

For about a week, I lay awake in the wee hours of the night, trying to calm my brain (stoopid uncalmable brain) and will myself into feeling tranquil and sleepy.  Sometimes I got up to read for a while.   Back in bed, I tried slow breathing exercises and those muscle-clenching then relaxing methods that are supposed to relax you.

The fourth or fifth night that I watched the room fill with light as the sun rose, I cried.

I tried sleeping pills.  Sometimes they even made me sleep.  But they never made me feel rested.  I just kept feeling worse and worse each day, more and more irritable, more and more depressed, more and more afraid of going to bed each night and lying awake.

And then one morning I felt so groggy I knew I needed coffee to be alert enough to drive my daughter to camp.  So I had some coffee.

It’s a slippery slope.  What isn’t?  One cup led to more.   “Just this one, because I need it,” I told myself.  But I always felt better after drinking the coffee, a little more alert, a little more energetic, a little more like my old self.

And what’s coffee without a pastry?  One day, too tired to get real work done and craving something delightful to take my mind off my lack of sleep, I baked “yeast cakes,” an old specialty of my mom’s, puffy little mini sweet breads made with sour cream, butter and chocolate chips.

Guess what they go well with?  Coffee.

Guess who slept well last night?  Me.

Shove over and pour me a cup.  Let’s talk.

Due to a number of requests, here’s the yeast cakes recipe.  I have no idea where it originated–I copied it over decades ago.  It’s a fairly rudimentary recipe, since I didn’t bother copying most of the directions, just the amounts.  Enjoy!

Boil together 1 pint of sour cream, 1/4 lb stick of butter, 8 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Cool and add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.

Dissolve 2 packages of yeasts in 1/2 cup of warm water.

Add two eggs then mix everything together and add 5 to 6 cups of flour.  Keep warm and covered until doubled in bulk.  Punch down, divide into 5 pieces.  Roll each out either into a rectangle which you then paint with melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix, then raisins or chocolate chips, roll into a fat log and slice, OR into a circle, which you paint with butter, sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mix and raisins or chocolate chips, then cut into triangles, like a pizza, and roll up like a croissant, big end to little end.   Let rise a few inches apart on baking sheets, 45 minutes to an hour.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350.  (Oh, you can do the rolled up log-ones in a round cake pan and they’ll come out looking like cinnamon rolls.)

Mom used to dip the rolled up ones into more butter and cinnamon and sugar before baking, but I didn’t bother, just sprinkled the cooked cakes with powdered sugar.  They’re wonderful warmed up in the microwave until the chocolate melts a little.  (I only did choc chips–my kids hate raisins).

Let me know if you have questions.  Happy baking.


  • annie says:

    I need that recipe for your mom’s yeast cakes! I knew there was something missing with my coffee.

  • Katherine says:

    you are not alone. I have these same issues, but it still sucks. My husband’s head hits the pillow and he is asleep after 5 minutes, I get so jealous. Most nights I go to sleep but wake up from 2:00-4:30 and go back to sleep right about the time his alarm goes off and the sun is rising. Lately I have been moving around the house sleeping on our couches. Sometimes changing rooms helps and the sofa kinda hugs me.

    • Claire says:

      I’m such a fragile sleeper that I have issues with every room in the house except mine (too much street noise, too light, too close to front door, etc.). I wish I were a heavy sleeper. That must be so nice.

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