Thank you so much for your enthusiastic response to last week’s lesson in coffee brewing! I chose to start with the French press because it’s the most well-known of the four manual brew methods. However, the Clever Dripper, which we’ll learn about today, may be the perfect starter method because it’s inexpensive and easy to use.
Over the last few years, French press coffee become a popular addition to hipster coffee shops and Sunday brunch menus across the country. We discovered our own love for it at Lot 2, a modern restaurant in the Benson neighborhood of Omaha.
Here’s a quick primer on the French press:
About a month before our big move from Nebraska to New Jersey, our hardworking Keurig machine sputtered and brewed its last cup of coffee. Although we both relied on the convenience of the Keurig for single servings of coffee throughout the day, JB and I chose not to replace it, as it would end up in storage only a few weeks later.
Instead, we pulled out the old-fashioned drip coffee maker and — blech! — reheated our refills in the microwave. Remembering that I used to use a simple pour-over coffee brewer to make individual servings of coffee in college, I went online to purchase a new one.
In addition to cheap plastic cones, however, I discovered an array of fancier manual coffee brewing methods. I’ve had French Press coffee before and seen the Chemex sold in stores, but other methods, like the Clever and Aeropress, were unfamiliar to me… READ MORE!
Now that it’s officially fall, I’m beginning to crave apple everything: homemade apple sauce, warm apple pie, and fresh apple cider. Honestly, it’s like I have a Pavlovian response to the change in seasons.
Additionally, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at tonight, and it’s customary to eat apples with honey to symbolize a sweet new year. A traditional Rosh Hashanah meal often includes a honey cake, however; since apple season is in full swing, I think we should make room at the table for one of these tempting apple desserts… READ MORE!
When we put our house on the market in late June, one of my major concerns was how we’d be able to keep it spotless for showings. While it would never qualify for an episode of Hoarders, it almost always had that “lived-in” quality with a toddler, a baby, and a dog running amok.… READ MORE!
After years of hosting birthday parties, you’ve finally mastered cake cutting. You can cut and remove evenly-sized triangular slices with nary a crumb out of place. And you don’t even need to cheat.
The traditional way of cutting triangular slices out of cake is fine if you plan on finishing the entire cake in one sitting. But if you anticipate leftovers, there’s a better way — a scientific way — to cutting a round cake that will prevent dry slices and maximize “the amount of gastronomic pleasure,” according to British author Alex Bellos.
Bellos, also known as Numberphile, demonstrates in this video how to cut slabs out of the middle of a round cake, a technique devised by British scientist Francis Galton to keep cake moist up to three days. Galton described his method of “Cutting a Round Cake on Scientific Principles” in Nature magazine over a hundred years ago.
I’m now excited to
make buy a round cake for Levi’s third birthday next month so I can try Galton’s cake cutting technique. Obviously, one of my criteria for selecting a location for Levi’s party is whether we can serve cake.
I’d love to have his birthday party where we take weekly music classes, but the owner doesn’t allowed food inside the studio. (Not that I blame her.) As an alternative, she suggested I hand out cupcakes to Levi’s friends as they leave, but that’s not gonna fly. To a toddler, birthdays aren’t about growing a year older or even celebrating with friends. They’re about singing “Happy Birthday,” blowing out candles, and cutting a cake.
Plus, sneaking bites of leftover cupcakes just isn’t as satisfying as shoveling forkfuls of birthday cake into your mouth when nobody’s looking.
A few weeks ago, my dad emailed me a link to a New York Times article about the new — and slightly ridiculous — products available to cultivate “intelligence, manners, and communication skills” in our pets. The piece touched upon everything from an interactive feeding product to an electronic activity monitor to smartphone apps for dogs.
The writer tested many of these products on his own pet, including a doggie DNA test that, according to the company, can “help you understand your dog’s unique appearance, behaviors and wellness needs.” You can then customize your mixed-breed dog’s training, exercise, and nutrition programs based on his genetic background.
At the very least, you can learn that the mixed-breed Maltipoo you rescued from the Nebraska Humane Society is actually a purebred Bichon Frise.
Here’s what happened…
Five-and-a-half years ago, I stumbled upon a four-month-old male Maltipoo puppy available for adoption from the Humane Society, and we brought him home that night. He was somewhat of an impulse purchase; we knew we wanted to get a dog soonish but weren’t actively looking.
While we were playing with him in a meet-and-greet room, JB and I questioned whether it was a good idea to bring him home. We still had two weeks left in our apartment before we were moving into our new house, and the building wasn’t exactly “pet friendly.” But when the Humane Society volunteered told us that there were three other couples waiting to meet him after us, we simultaneously replied that we wanted him.
We named our small white puppy Briscoe after Law & Order’s Detective Lennie Briscoe, who was played by one of my favorites, Jerry Orbach. I actually lived in the same New York City apartment building as Jerry and would occasionally see him in the elevator and the lobby. It was back in 2004 that I decided I’d name my future dog after his L&O character.
For nearly five years, we told people that Briscoe was part-Maltese, part-Poodle — and for nearly five years, people commented that he looked a lot like a Bichon Frise. Even his groomer thought he looked more Bichon than Maltese! But I grew up with a Bichon Frise, and Briscoe is much taller and lankier than my childhood dog, Timmy. Of course, my dog was the runt of his litter.
Then at one of Briscoe’s recent grooming appointments, I noticed he looked nearly identical to two other dogs getting haircuts — both Bichons. From afar, I even thought one of them was Briscoe!
So when JB saw that a doggie DNA kit was deeply discounted on Fab, we decided to find out definitively what breed of dog Briscoe is. We swabbed his cheek, mailed in the sample, and waited for an email with the results.
I was sure we were going to learn that his genetic background was Poodle and Bichon. So you can imagine our surprise when his family tree showed him to be a purebred Bichon Frise.
And to think what we COULD have paid for Briscoe if we had gotten him from a breeder instead of the Humane Society!
What type of dog do you have? If you own a mixed breed, would you ever perform a doggie DNA test on him or her?
(Photos were taken on April 26, 2014 at Bark in the Park, an annual fundraising event for Omaha’s dog parks.)
Do you eat breakfast every day? I’ve never understood people who skip breakfast. Don’t they know it’s the most important meal of the day? Also, I’d be famished by lunchtime!
Not that I’m able to enjoy a leisurely morning meal anymore. Gone are the days of sitting down with a well-rounded breakfast, a cup of hot coffee, and something to read. Now I have to eat breakfast in a hurry — my mornings are just too crazy!
Between getting Levi fed, dressed, and ready for school and taking care of Asa’s needs, I barely have time to change out of my pajamas before tossing both boys in the car. (Somehow we’re always rushing to get Levi to school on time, no matter what time we start our day.)
But I can’t wait to eat breakfast until after I return home. I’m just too hungry by 9am when I’ve been up since 6:30. So I’ve started making myself breakfast to-go as if I were commuting to work. I spend almost 30 minutes in the car roundtrip, and if Levi’s playing on his “game phone” (my old iPhone) and Asa’s sleeping, I can listen to the radio and eat my breakfast in near peace. (At the very least, it’s quiet in the car after I drop Levi at school. Assuming Asa isn’t crying because his pacifier fell out of his mouth.)
I usually just grab a protein bar for the road, but I recently had the chance to try the new line of breakfast items from Tyson Foods, and I have to say, Tyson® Day Starts™ breakfast sandwiches are a much more satisfying. In the time it takes to brew a cup of coffee in the Keurig machine for my travel mug, I can pop a Tyson® Day Starts™ breakfast sandwich into the microwave. They’re made from high quality ingredients like fresh eggs and Tyson® sausage, ham and chicken, and offer a protein-rich way to start the day.
Oh yeah, and I can eat them one-handed while driving the car.
I’d love to know how other moms find time to eat breakfast. Do you eat with your kids or before they wake up? Do you eat something in the car or skip breakfast all together?
Tyson® Day Starts™ sandwiches are available in seven varieties, including biscuit sandwiches, breakfast flatbreads and wrapped omelets. I want to try the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit Sandwich next. Want to try one, too? Please visit Tyson.com to download a $1 off coupon and check the product locator tool to find out where Tyson® Day Starts™ products are sold at a store near you!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
I’m pretty sure there isn’t anything in my home that would suggest I have bohemian or hippie sensibilities, and “retro” isn’t an adjective I’d use to describe my style. So I find it surprising* that I’m suddenly drawn to the look of woven wall hangings, a vintage-inspired decor trend that seems to be making a comeback — at least among the people I follow on Instagram.
Inspired by photos of colorful and artfully crafted textiles in my feed, I began to do a little bit of research on woven wall hangings. Turns out that Grace shared 20 examples of wall hangings on Design*Sponge in March, and Decor8 explored this micro trend last year.
Of the various styles of wall hangings featured on those sites, including macramé and flat weaves, my favorite is a combination of thick yarn and tassels. I love how they add dimension and warmth to a wall.
One fiber artist prominently featured on both blogs is Maryanne Moodie, whose work I first spied in an Instagram photo posted by Natalie. Maryanne is a rising star of the design community — and for good reason. Her wall hangings, which gently hint at a Southwestern aesthetic, somehow feel simultaneously modern and vintage.
Maryanne is going to be teaching two weaving workshops for DesignLoveFest in Los Angeles, so if you live nearby, you should definitely attend. I wish I could!
Around the same time that Natalie snapped a pic of her new weaving up on her living room wall, Rachel from Smile and Wave began posting photos of mini-weavings she was crafting for the May Faire at her son’s school. Rachel isn’t a professional fiber artist like Maryanne, but I’d spend money on her handiwork! I especially love the white wall hangings with neon pink yarn.
Rachel taught herself how to weave using a loom she crafted from an old dresser drawer. On her first attempt, she created this woven textile using pink and brown twine. Amazing, right? I’m almost inspired to try my hand at weaving, too. Almost.
How do you feel about woven wall hangings? Do you think they’re fashionable wall decor or just old fashioned?