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Morning Rituals + Pancakes

Morning Rituals + Pancakes

Breakfast is the perfect meal for people who love routine. For some reason natural social conventions dictate you cannot eat the same foods for dinner every night. If you eat spaghetti seven nights a week, you’re crazy. That rule doesn’t apply to breakfast however. I eat the same oat-bran pancake every single morning, and I don’t get bored of it. In fact, mornings in general rely on routine. You wake up at the same time, brush your teeth at the same time, check Facebook at the same time and leave the house at the same time. It’s only natural that breakfast follows suit.

Amazingly this doesn’t apply to weekends. On weekends you can sleep in as long as you want. Unless you are a truly spectacular person you don’t even have to leave the house at all. So, on weekends I don’t eat my oat-bran pancake. On weekends it’s basically okay to eat dessert for breakfast. Foods like donuts, chocolate muffins and crepes are actually considered “breakfast” foods. Tra and I love eating Saturday-morning french toast, which is really just sugar-covered eggy white bread. French toast fills our stomachs like cement. After only three or four slices we have to call it quits and migrate to the couch. Unfortunately once you digest the toast it feels like you skipped the most important meal of the day.

Another weekend breakfast Tra and I enjoy is German Pancake. If you want to enjoy this dish too we’ve included a recipe and a step-by-step guide with photos!

Recipe! Courtesy of The Kitchen Paper, tailored to my own liking.

You’ll need…

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 tbsp butter (I know.)
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 450 F (or 220 C for my Kiwi oven)

Mix eggs, vanilla and milk together in a small bowl

Add flour a little at a time until it’s blended together

Add butter to the cast-iron skillet, then place it in the oven until the butter is melted

Once the butter is melted (be very careful the pan is SO HOT!) Pour the batter into the pan

Bake for 10-15 mins

Serve and enjoy! (We like powdered sugar with syrup and some fruit, but you can add whatever you like!

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music please email me.

This week I’ve chosen a collaboration between from the talented Bellingham-based singer Madaleine and my wonderful boyfriend, Tra. Give it a listen and maybe consider giving Madaleine a follow on Soundcloud.

Aspiring to Minimize: Simplifying made easy

Like most people I go through silly internet phases. In one moment I’ll find myself obsessing over YouTube videos about beauty hauls and then the next week filling my podcast queue with commentary podcasts about The Bachelor. But inevitably I always return to my tried-and-true: Teen Mom 2 and This American Life. The other day while I should have been working on homework or my blog post I was watching a YouTube video when Tra looked over my shoulder. “Is that another video about minimalism?” he said as he chuckled. The screen in front of me showed a man unpacking his “suitcase,” which was really a bag the size of a carry-on item, that held everything the man used to travel with for 90 days. I was hooked.

I became obsessed with the concept of minimalism when I stumbled upon a trailer for the documentary: Minimalism. Since then I have subscribed to podcasts, YouTube channels (Light by Coco, Rachel Aust and Sadiya Marie) and probably read a dozen articles and blog posts.

Minimalism isn’t just about getting rid of the items you own and don’t use, it’s about ensuring that you will get the most out of the items you own and decide to purchase in the future. As one blogger put it, why would you spend $200 on a special-occasion dress that you plan to wear once and $20 on bargain shoes you plan to use everyday? Minimalism is also about being a conscious and responsible consumer. If you worry less about your things you create more time for the things you love.

Things are often connected to emotions. Sometimes we collect things as a way of preserving memories. If we didn’t, souvenir shops wouldn’t exist. Other times things are stored for more sentimental reasons. Couples often keep remnants from the earliest days of their relationship. We keep all sorts of items from loved ones who have passed away. These emotions are all valuable. But, it is important to separate the ‘thing’ from the emotion you are trying to preserve. If you let go of that old sweater your grandmother used to wear, are you letting go of your feelings towards your grandmother? Of course not!

To try and put these ideas into practice Tra and I started small. We sorted through all of our clothing to identify every article that had no place in our already cramped closet. It was hard to let go of my favorite blue sweater. I remember when I bought it on the sale rack at Nordstroms. I had no idea how attached we would become. It was a great piece to dress up or dress down and was my go-to item when I didn’t know what to wear. But, as you can see, it was so worn! So, with some reluctance, I threw it in the pile.

One of the items Tra chose to let go of was an ill-fitting collared shirt that he had never worn. He purchased the shirt in anticipation of New Zealand job interviews and it didn’t quite fit. Not only was it just too big for him, the arms were too long. He found himself keeping the shirt just because it was brand-new, even though it would never fit him… unless of course his arms grew another couple inches. Every time he opened the closet it only reminded him that he bought the wrong size. Freeing himself of the shirt was liberating.

My obsession with minimalism might fade, but I hope that a part of the philosophy stays with me. My feelings that are connected to things are important, but those feelings aren’t going anywhere just because I choose to declutter my life. When I moved to New Zealand I left a whole room of things back home. I haven’t given any of it a second thought. Fitting my life into two suitcases was already an exercise in minimalism, but I can still improve. From now on I will focus my purchases on quality items that will last, instead of the best deal. If any of you are looking to buy any of the items pictured in this post, you can find them at Dunedin’s local thrift shop.

If you’re interested in what it means to be an ethical and responsible consumer, check out this great video by Grist.

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.

This week I’ve chosen a song from the Philadelphia-based artist Alex G. Give it a listen and maybe consider downloading one of his albums on Bandcamp.

A Brief History of my Infatuation with Coffee

A Brief History of my Infatuation with Coffee

I don’t think of myself as a coffee snob. My Instagram feed would have you believe that I would only savor my precious double shot lattes in cafes that have an affinity for the color white and lightly-shaded wood. For me drinking coffee is a sacred morning ritual that I rely on every single day. I don’t hate franchise coffee chains. In fact I know that they serve a very valuable purpose. I find myself visiting Starbucks and Dutch Bros when I’m in a hurry and need a quick caffeine fix, and I don’t feel guilty about it. For a lot of people coffee is a comfort, and for me the cozy atmosphere of a locally owned cafe is more comforting than the consistency and familiarity of a large franchise.

My obsession with coffee began when I found a perfect spot to study near Clark College. This spot happened to be in a beautiful coffee shop near the railroad tracks lining the Columbia River. I wasn’t a huge fan of coffee, but over time, and probably too much money spent, I really grew a liking to it.

I always loved the idea of working in a coffee shop. The hustle and bustle, the steam from the machine, conversations with smiling customers and the constant flow of caffeine. So when I saw an ‘Intro to Espresso’ class offered through the student union I jumped at the opportunity.

The class was three hours on a Saturday. The shop was a little outside of my regular walking radius but I eventually found it among the industrial area near the Otago harbor.

We began by looking at raw beans which honestly looked like a type of nut. The shop owner showed us his range of beans from places like Nicaragua, Brazil, Ethiopia and Indonesia. Then we moved onto my favorite part… the espresso machine. I’d never actually stood behind one before, so I had to hide my giddiness. I viewed espresso machines the way dogs view dinner plates full of human food. Why do they get that when I’m the one who wants it the most? In my head I knew it was not a big deal. Hundreds of thousands of people use these machines everyday. But wasn’t it? I had been looking forward to this moment for far too long and finally I got my chance. For those who think I am exaggerating, I promise I am not.

My coffee turned out okay.

We learned to “pull a shot” and we looked for slow, dark coffee to pour out of the machine and into our cups. Once we mastered that we moved on to texturing the milk and eventually making drinks! I made a cappuccino and a flat white. I really enjoyed the experience and at the end of the class we were given ground coffee to make ourselves.

So, I give you my guide to making pour-over coffee in a Chemex!

For Christmas my wonderful mom gave me this Chemex. Well, actually I received two. Tra and my mom bought me the same gift! So, I returned one and pocketed the cash… thanks, Tra!

What you will need:

  • Kettle for boiling
  • Fresh coffee
  • Grinder (unless your coffee is ground)
  • Chemex
  • Chemex paper filters
  • Scale (optional)

STEP ONE

Boil your water. Ideally you’d have a kettle like this, but since I’m a “starving student” as my dad says I’ll do with what I have. It makes it harder to pour but it’s not terrible. Some people are very precise about measuring their water and beans… I’m not. But if you are, check out Blue Bottle Coffee’s recommendations.

STEP TWO

Unfold your Chemex filter, I use the “tri fold method.” Wet the filter. This step is important because you definitely don’t want your coffee to have any hint of filter taste. Wet your filter with your boiling water to rinse it. Make sure you dispose of the water that drips through before continuing.

STEP THREE

Pour your grounds. I like to put as many tablespoons as cups I’ll be drinking. So for two cups of coffee I’ll pour 2-3 heaping spoonfuls of grounds, depending on how strong I want it.

STEP FOUR

Now you will need to pour just enough water to wet the grounds. Let it sit for 30 seconds to one minute. This will let the coffee “bloom” or “awaken.”

STEP FIVE

After your coffee is awake, slowly pour the water around the center and make sure it doesn’t hit the sides. Brewing should take 3-4 minutes. Take your time and pour gently, be careful not to pour water around the sides or too much as it will bubble over.

STEP SIX

Relax and enjoy your filtered coffee! If you’re like me and don’t read enough use this as an opportunity to thumb through that book you’ve been meaning to get to. For me, I’ve checked out this beautiful interior design book from the library. Now that I think about it, it might be overdue. Oops.

Next week on the blog: Beautiful Waiheke Island. I promise to only dedicate two sentences max on coffee! If you haven’t done so already, sign up for our email newsletter. Seriously, what is wrong with you? It’s by far the best way to keep up to date with my posts.

Thank you again for reading!

Music Pick of the Week

Each week I try and highlight an Indie music artist at the end of my blog post. If you would like me to consider your music email me.

This week I’ve chosen a sweet little song from the local Portland/Vancouver band Foreign Talks. Give it a listen and maybe even consider following them on Soundcloud or pre-ordering their new album on iTunes.