Small Joy: Cold Brew

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This summer has been unusually hot for this part of the state. Usually things cool off during the night and I need a light sweater on the way to work. But instead, we’ve run our ancient hand-me-down air conditioner multiple nights and hid out in the bedroom (the only room that the AC can cool). In the morning, a hot cup o’ joe is the last thing I want. Consequently, I’ve been dabbling in the world of homemade cold brew and iced coffee.

Once I figured out a technique that works for us, my dabbling quickly descended into an addiction. When I tasted how much smoother and less bitter cold brew is, it’s hard to go back. I am not exaggerating when I say that my coffee has become my 2nd or 3rd favorite part of every day.

In case I’ve piqued your interest, here is the recipe that works for me. You may need to tweak it for yourself, but don’t be discouraged. It took me a couple tries to figure out exactly how I like it. (in fact, my batch from last night didn’t turn out very well because I didn’t give it the full brew time. C’est la vie.)

Ingredients:

  • 4.5-5 cups water
  • 1 cup course ground coffee beans (I would recommend a medium roast like this)
  • milk (I love this coconut-almond milk)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • ice!!

Equipment

  • A french press (or a carafe and sieve)
  • Coffee grinder
  • a drinking straw or two
  • your favorite glass or drinking jar (I drilled a hole in a canning jar lid because I refused to pay $10 for a pre-made one. It works great and keeps me from spilling in the Jeep on the way to work)

Instructions

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  1. I like to grind the beans fresh and coarsely. I’m not too particular, but it does help to have the grounds coarser.
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  2. I dump 1 cup of the grounds into the french press with the water. I used to measure, but don’t anymore because it holds just about the right amount of water. I let the mixture to sit for 18 hours on my counter. I usually make my brew at dinner time and drink it for breakfast — easy peasy. coffee2
  3. After 18 hours (give or take, this isn’t a science. Just figure out what works for you), I push the french press down and either stick in the fridge or mix with milk and a bit of maple syrup. I used to remove the grounds and filter through a coffee filter, but have gotten lazy, especially because keeping the grounds at the bottom haven’t made that big of a difference in taste to me. I usually do 1 cup cold brew, 1 cup milk and 1 tbsp syrup with 4 ice cubes. I like my brew stronger, so the milk creates a lovely iced latte.coffee1
  4. The best part is sipping on such a yummy drink. I love using a fun glass and straw. Somehow, it’s never quite enough.

If you try this and have any success I’d love to hear about it. Small daily joys like these are crucial in a wold where evil and hurt are so prevalent.

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Friday: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere

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Happy Friday! Sooo, If you follow along on Instagram you’ve seen me go on a bit about how much I like La Croix. Well, this summer the hubs and I became a bit obsessed. It actually started back when we were in Europe over Christmas and loved all the different flavored sparkling waters, but when we got home we tried some seltzer water and stuff like that and it just wasn’t the same.I don’t remember why we tried La Croix at the beginning of the summer, but we did and since then it’s been all downhill. I’m to the point where flat water (read tap water) doesn’t feel like it quenches my thirst… it’s a little bit bad.

I also love Leelanau Cellars Summer Sunset. But wine makes me sleepy, so I don’t usually indulge on week nights. I know this isn’t groundbreaking for the rest of the world since wine spritzers have existed long before me, but one night I added a splash or two (or three) of my rosé to my water and added a couple frozen raspberries to keep it cool and my mind was blown. It’s the easiest “mixed” drink and my most favorite. Not overly sweet, the wine adds just a bit more flavor to the La Croix and the raspberries make it fancy and then taste so good when the liquid is gone. It’s a super light and fresh drink for these steamy summer days.

If you’d like to join me in this yumminess you’ll need a can of La Croix (I love the Cran-Raspberry for this), your favorite Rosé or sweet white wine, and a couple frozen berries. I usually pour about 1/4 of my glass full with wine and then fill the rest with the water and plop in the berries. I’m sure there are infinite combinations. I have a hunch a slice of lemon or lime would be a wonderful addition. Let me know if you give it a try!

Late Night 5-Minute 5-Ingredient Quesadilla

20150620These happened at midnight one evening after I lost track of time while working on a project and needed to eat something before going to bed. I usually over complicate recipes and add anything that I think might be good to a dish. This is a super simple recipe and only requires 5 ingredients. I will be making these again for sure.

Ingredients per quesadilla:

  • 1 Flour Tortilla
  • 1-3 TBS Black Beans
  • 1/2 tsp Taco Seasoning
  • 1/8-1/4 cup shredded Cheese
  • Dipping Sauce (I used sour cream with some hot sauce and chopped cilantro mixed in, but salsa or anything you’d like would work just as well)

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet on medium low heat with 1-2 TBS of oil.
  2. Place tortilla in the pan, lightly layer cheese on half of it, add black beans and finish off with Taco seasoning and more cheese on top. Fold the second half of the tortilla over the filling.
  3. Once the bottom side of the tortilla is crispy brown, flip with a spatula. (I flip it on the fold side because I struggle with filling falling out when I don’t. The cheese should melt and the tortilla crisp.)
  4. Remove from pan and slice into little yummy triangles. Dip in sauce. Eat up. Guten Appetit!

My New Favorite Room

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Somehow I spent an entire week staying up until 1am painting and I survived. And now that I have a fresh and cheery bathroom, I actually think it might have been worth it. It isn’t done, but the most dramatic transformation is. While the pictures don’t go from terrible to amazing, it did become a pleasant space. Here is a little before/after comparison:Bathroom-beforeafter

My original plan was (full post here):

  1. Visually make the room feel larger with a lighter wall color (it’s still the bright blue you see in the first image) — I’m thinking a light gray.
  2. Incorporate some bead board — Just because I love it!
  3. Find a new solution to the medicine cabinet issue — probably just take it out and replace with a mirror against the wall
  4. Rework the space over the toilet to work better for storage.
  5. Set the storage situation up to prevent clutter on the vanity.

So far I’ve accomplished:

  1. New paint! A darker gray than I thought originally wound up being light enough to brighten up the whole room. And I painted one wall white which also helped.
  2. Bead board wallpaper in the toilet nock and east wall — this stuff is so cool. Cut it with scissors, wet it down, hang it up and then paint it. No sawing, nailing or heavy lifting work necessary the way true bead board would require. Magical!
  3. I removed the medicine cabinet and have a place holder mirror up for now — still looking for a pretty mirror to go above the vanity. I also updated the lighting above the vanity with a new fixture. It was my first adventure into electrical work, and I’m pleased with the result.
  4. The space above the toilet still is not finished, but I am currently working on a solution to create a bit more storage for all our extra toiletries and such. Keep an eye out for what I come up with. I’m excited and hoping my idea turns out as cute as I think it will.
  5. Storage — I’m a huge clutter bug… I leave my make up out and never put away my things. It drives me crazy, but I’ve realized I have to set myself up for success and create solutions that make keeping things tidy super easy. So the little cubby shelf next to the vanity helps quite a bit. We added 3 baskets that I can dump my curling irons and hair dryer into and sweep my hair products into another. It isn’t perfect, but it’s working better. Plus we have 3 cubbies for towels and toilet paper storage.

So far so good! I think the bathroom has become my favorite room in the house, which is awkward since I can’t just hang out in there. Dave-man and I are still commenting a couple times a day how much we love the transformation. This one goes down as a win in my books.

I’ll sign off with a couple more pics.

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Have a wonderful day!

Refresh

Now that I can call the little yellow house that Dave-man has been fixing up for a year and a half “ours,” I’ve started to think of a couple things that we can do to it to make it even nicer. While I’ve been a pretty big helper with all the painting and cleaning and landscaping in the past, I never felt like I was free to voice my opinion any more than a suggestion when asked. But now?  Now it’s “my” home too. Now I feel free to let all my decorating and nesting powers loose.

First up is the bathroom. Here is a lovely picture from the Zillow page of our house (this is pre Dave-man purchase):IS-ssb3wdb0xw7x

It’s a tricky space to photograph and someone didn’t try too hard. 

To give you and idea of what this space looks like I drew up this super fancy floor plan:

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As you can see the room is long and skinny. There are no alternative options to layout and very few storage options. Currently there is a shallow medicine cabinet above the sink that sticks OUT into the room. Whoever thought that was a good idea…. well they’re a dummy. Having it stick into the already limited space in this room makes it feel smaller. The only other storage space is under the sink (ew) and another super skinny cabinet above the toilet.

Now that I’m done complaining, let me say it really isn’t that bad. The sink, toilet, and bathtub are fairly new and clean and it will only take a couple smaller tweaks to make this space much better. Here’s what I’m thinking:

  1. Visually make the room feel larger with a lighter wall color (it’s still the bright blue you see in the first image) — I’m thinking a light gray.
  2. Incorporate some beadboard — Just because I love it!
  3. Find a new solution to the medicine cabinet issue — probably just take it out and replace with a mirror against the wall
  4. Rework the space over the toilet to work better for storage.
  5. Set the storage situation up to prevent clutter on the vanity.

Here is a little inspiration board I put together to visualize that I’d like to do. We received the shower curtain, tooth brush holder and towels as wedding gifts, so I want to build the whole bathroom look around those.

 

Now to get working on it!

Scarves for Days

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset This is the easiest tutorial. If you’ve never ever sewed anything in your life, this is the thing to get you started. It’s about 5 straight seams and you’re done. Zero complicated things. Since scarves + flannel + plaid is one of the winningest combos ever I suggest you make a couple for yourself and a few as Christmas gifts. I’m going to have a hard time giving away any of mine, I want to keep them all for myself.  ScarfTut_24.JPG Materials: — a 2 yard piece of flannel fabric — enough for 2 scarves, but you need it to be 2 yards long. — Scissors — straight pins — thread to match fabric — iron — sewing machine — if you don’t have a sewing machine, you could sew this by hand, as only straight flat seams are necessary. *Note on equipment: My sewing machine is a garage sale find (under $20) and my iron is essentially an heirloom from my grandma. So really don’t worry about fancy equipment, you just need a couple straight seams and to iron them to keep things neat. Continue reading