Monday, January 20, 2014

2.



Every morning at 6am it's the same thing. Chuck's iPhone alarm goes off but this household barely needs the technology anymore. We're all awake, our dog and cats nagging and nagging and nagging Chuck as he shuffles down the stairs and feeds them their breakfast. I roll over, dull as a rock, and check my emails. (A terrible habit.)

At 6:01 this morning I bolted straight up, and a few minutes later I was wide awake, talking to an old friend across the world on Google hangout, crying and laughing and screaming because he proposed to his girlfriend this past weekend.

For some reason all I could think about was all the breakfasts they will have together. How great the weekend ones are going to be. I wonder if they'll have PB&J and cappuccinos on their nicer plates— not the every day white plates and not the wedding china, but the set in the middle and cracking up at the effort. Marveling at being married even three and a half years in. Twenty, fifty years in. That is my wish for him, for my wonderful friend.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Knitting washcloths.

One of my singular accomplishments of the 2013 holiday season was learning how to knit from my husband's crafty mama. I failed miserably at learning how to sew from her last spring, but I picked up knitting in one winter afternoon. I have so far completed around a dozen irregularly-shaped washcloths. Yes.



Knit washcloths are the bomb, people. They are far superior to your plain store-bought cotton dishrags. The secret is the right yarn: organic cotton. This is key. This stuff is super absorbent and dries super fast. You will love wiping your counters and every other surface of your home with these things.

You can learn how to knit from this video. It is much easier to learn from an experienced knitter, but in case you don't have one of those, watch the video and try not to get too irritable while you're learning.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy Caturday



Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Erica's Guide to Portland: Coffee Edition

Okay, everyone. This is Post #3 of my first week of blogging 5 times a week and I am so over this resolution! However, I am thrilled to have finally completed this post which I started writing back in October.

That was the month that Chuck and I spent a week in Portland, Oregon, not to be confused with the one in Maine, which we visited in the fall of 2012 and which is equally ace. This recent trip has convinced us that cities named Portland are the only ones worth visiting.

I'm splitting this guide up into a few posts not because I'm tricky and looking to fill my weekly quota with content from one post, but because do you see how long this has already gone and I haven't even gotten to the guide yet? Jesus. Anyway, let's start with ...

The best coffee shops in Portland, Oregon (in order of awesome):

1. Barista
Mocha with Valrhona chocolate. WHAT. Best mocha I've ever had and I'm still dreaming about it. Also, the morning we went to the Pearl District location was pure autumn perfection and there was a chocolate lab waiting outside. This place was basically custom made for us. I mean, look:



2. Stumptown coffee roasters
The one on SW 3rd Avenue is next to the Ace Hotel and is in my absolute favorite area of downtown Portland. If you like bookstores (Powell's is one block over), boutiques (seriously amazing boutiques like Frances May and Canoe and Alder & Co), food trucks and food in general, you should look to spend one or three leisurely days just chillaxing in this neighborhood.

3. Spella Caffe
Best espresso in the city I AM NOT EXAGGERATING THIS.

4. Courier Coffee Roasters 
Really really good coffee, and second best mocha after Barista.

5. Behind the Museum Cafe
They brew Extracto coffee, plus have a great selection of Japanese tea, treats AND antiques/crafts (I was this close to buying a kimono). Their tiny matcha muffins are served warm and are so delicious! Plus a lot of academics seem to go here and it's always so fun and infuriating to eavesdrop on academics.

6. Case Study Coffee
We were the first customers here one morning at 6:30 am, when we stumbled in for caffeine before heading on a day trip to Seattle. I watched them brew my coffee in a Chemex and that was the day I decided I was no longer going to be the kind of person who uses an electric coffee machine.

7. Ristretto Roasters
Their mocha has a hint of cardamom, or maybe an even fancier spice that I just don't have the vocabulary for.

8. Spielman Coffee Roasters
I got a tiny mocha in a little art deco cup and also their bagels smelled amazing.

9. Fresh Pot
We went to the one on Mississippi Ave when it was hot and I was therefore cranky, and all the damn vintage stores on this block just basically got on my last nerves that day. So it's hard to be objective about this place. But, they serve Stumptown and it was delicious and it's next to a store called Salty's where they sell quality things for your pets. And Fresh Pot put a bird on it! So they take the last spot on this list.



I know what you're thinking. How can someone who consumes so much mocha speak with any authority on legitimate coffee places? Okay first of all, I only caved on a mocha in half of these places and got a straight-up coffee at the rest (including at many more coffee shops we visited that didn't make this list.) (Yes we went to a lot of coffee shops.) (And don't judge people who drink mochas.) (Mochas are an art.)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Cinnamon Bun Aebleskivers

Have you had aebleskivers before? If not, I'm pleased to introduce them to your life. I'm pretty sure this culinary delight hasn't hit the American mainstream yet so I'm doing my part to make it a thing.



Aebleskivers are basically fluffy little filled pancakes. Filled with what, you ask? UM ANYTHING YOU WANT THAT'S THE BEST PART. But you can start with little slices of apple if you want to do it the traditional Danish way.

Plus they are cute. I mean, they are so tiny and dainty and that's what attracted me to them for sure. They take some practice to get right, though. They also take the right products. Here's what I bought to get started:

1. Aebleskiver pan $25

2. Turning tools $12.95

3. Batter dispenser $8.95

The first one is essential. The last two are nice to have ... really nice to have. I tried to get away with using chopsticks instead of turning tools and it wasn't pretty. And the batter dispenser makes things virtually mess-free (they are great for making regular pancakes and waffles, too).

To make cinnamon bun aebleskivers, I got a little help from this great recipe by Williams-Sonoma.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Blogging resolution.



Wow. This blog was super boring in 2013. Scroll down for last year's Christmas photos, everyone! I'm so behind that I will NEVER get around to posting about the washcloths I learned to knit during Christmas this year. And that is a loss for everyone.

I posted a total of three times this past year. And what is that last post even about? Being patriotic or something? Lazy.

This year, I resolve to post 5 TIMES PER WEEK. You read that right. I mean, I'm already tired and super bored thinking about a goal like that. But this blog brings a lot of happiness to my husband, my mom, my aunt and 1.5 cousins in the Philippines. I owe them that much! Plus maybe I'll get more readers. I read somewhere that posting more gets you more readers. Truth.

5 posts per week, people!

(Already working on my "I give up" post for Friday!)

Monday, July 08, 2013

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Country.


Chuck and puppy and I spent Independence Day weekend up in Mount Shasta and I am not ready to go back to regularly scheduled programming, people. Please excuse me while I tend to a proper adult-sized post-vacation meltdown.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The morning routine.

Every morning I walk past the living room at 6, 6:30-ish and head straight for the coffee pot. I grind the beans the night before so I can just flip the machine on and sit in a foggy haze while the smell of coffee slowly fills the house. A beloved ritual.

Anyway today something in the living room caught my eye en route to the coffee pot. The cats were just chilling on the mantle, watching me as I walked slowly past.

"What are you doing there?" I inquired. "You look like statues."


Blink. Blink blink.

Whatever.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas slippers.

Chuck gave me these slippers for Christmas. They will forever remind me of the first Christmas we celebrated with Maple.