Coffee Kit

There is NOTHING better than making a perfect cup of coffee at home. That’s why I’ve curated my coffee kit over the past 2 years. Investing a lot of time in gathering some of the best coffee making products, I’ve definitely mastered this art of coffee making at home. Harry and I are crazy about coffee and it’s the one thing we will never quit.

However, the one thing I would like to add to this in the future is a burr coffee grinder. We really just don’t have room for one right now. For now we just grind our beans when we buy them at the store or cafe.

Bonavita 1.0L Gooseneck Electric Kettle – This is a staple for pour over. But with its quick boil time and simplicity, it’s very multipurpose.

Bonavita Programmable Glass Carafe Coffee Brewer with Warming Plate – 8 Cup – This is one of the greatest automatic coffee makers out there. Especially with the glass carafe; the coffee is never bitter. The taste of the coffee that this makes is a lot like a pour over but much smoother and balanced. 10/10 would recommend.

The Basic. Coffee Pour Over Stand – It’s just so cool. The glass, again, creates a coffee that’s never bitter. Quick and easy to use, especially with the Bonavita kettle.

French Press – Oh so classic. I had these growing up and I’ll probably use one for the rest of my life. A very bold and creamy coffee, simply the best.

Pantone Percolator – For a good espresso at home, get a percolator. Cost effective and easy to use. Great for making lattes and other coffee drinks.

HAY Clip Clip – I just love this so much. I got it in Oslo at the HAY store but you can get it at other retailers in the US. It has a clip on the reverse that serves as a clip for your bag of coffee, genius.

So, how do you like to make your coffee?

Note: I didn’t picture our handheld milk frother but I do love using it. It was a bit of an after thought because I use it mostly in fall/winter for making lattes at home. But this is the one we have.

Bonavita Kettle/ Bonavita Coffee Maker/ Pour Over Stand/ Bodum French Press/ Pantone Percolator/ HAY Clip Clip

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Homemade Spiced Gingerbread Latte

I’m a sucker for homemade coffee recipes. There is something about making coffee at home that is so “comfortable”. But that’s probably because I can make coffee in my pajamas. Also, it usually makes me feel like a scientist in a lab. Whipping up different homemade coffee potions has lead me to make this spiced gingerbread latte more than once.

Now that we have some holiday decorations up, making one of these on a Sunday morning, sitting next to the tree and reading a book makes me feel so festive. When doing lattes at home there are two main components: percolator and milk frother. With these two tools, homemade lattes become so much more desirable.

So to make this spiced gingerbread treat:

*recipe makes one latte

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk, of your choice
  • 3 or more bags of Celestial Gingerbread Spiced Herbal Tea
  • Maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice
  • A dash of a spice blend (cinnamon, cardamon and nutmeg)
  • a piece of a cinnamon stick for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons of espresso
  • water

Process:

  1. Prepare the percolator and heat over low flame on the stove.
  2. While the espresso is going, heat the milk, tea bags, spices and maple syrup in a saucepan.
  3. Bring to a low boil and remove from heat. Remove the tea bags and transfer to a liquid measuring cup and use the milk frother to get the milk to a smooth and creamy consistency. I usually stop frothing once the milk volume has doubled.
  4. Once the espresso is finished, pour it into the bottom of a coffee mug. Then pour the frothed milk slowly down the side of the glass until only the frothy part is left. Pour the frothed part on the top.
  5. Sprinkle some spices on the top and add the piece of cinnamon stick.
  6. Sip and enjoy!

I hope all of you have had a wonderful holiday weekend and if you decide to give this homemade latte a spin, let me know what you think in the comments!

Guide to Shopping Small and Local on Saturday 

Black Friday is upon us, but it doesn’t have to be. Why not take the day off, lounge around in your pajamas all day, sip coffee, read some books and all the while spend time with family and friends? And instead of buying all of your holiday gifts this year from the big box stores, try Small Business Saturday this year.

Upon moving to Milwaukee 3 years ago, I became instantly engulfed in the the local business community here. Milwaukee is full of them. Literally brimming to the top with them. And they are all amazing in their own ways. I’m talking, coffee roasters, candle pourers, jewelry makers, artists, craft brewers, and the list of artisans goes on and on. That’s really the only reason one should need to go out and shop local this Saturday.

Even more so, shopping local does so much good for the local economy and for the environment. The stats have been piling up over the years and it’s evident, shopping local is better than the big box stores. Here are some links to stats and facts incase you’re not 100% sold.

here

here

here

here

here

here

So here is the stock list of my favorite local Milwaukee shops and spots to hit this Saturday:

Enjoy your Black Friday off and I’ll see you on Saturday for Small Business Saturday!

A Chicago Weekend and Four Places to Visit

Last weekend, Harry and I spent a day in Chicago. Chicago isn’t a new thing for us. We’ve done the Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium and just about every other thing in between.  Harry grew up near Chicago and even went to college there for a short while and as for me, growing up within just car ride away, I got to visit a lot. So, we decided to stick to doing some unconventional things in Chicago. We ended up visiting three great locally owned shops and 1 local cafe in Chicago. We even got to meet up with some friends while we were there. I decided to share them all in case you are ever in Chicago and want to visit them.

Humboldt House

“Humboldt House is an vintage modern home shop specializing in vintage modern furniture, eclectic textiles, Chicago made goods and pitbull love.”

I got to meet Chelsea and her dog Genius when I went in to the shop, both were so nice! Any shop with a dog gets my vote.

(41.9006219, -87.69654149999997)



Asrai Gardens  

“Asrai is the space that brings together the people and beauty that make my life full of joy. I am told it brings something similar to others as they walk through the door. I suppose it is simply my gratitude and wonder on display.”

Chelsea from Humboldt House recommended I go here. I wanted to buy a bouquet of Ranunculus bought I knew that they wouldn’t make it home so, I opted for another air plant. Also, the ladies working there were so nice and friendly.

(41.9103551,-87.676424)

C.C. Ferns

Best latte I have ever had. C.C. Ferns is a bit of a hidden gem, with it’s cozy cabin feel and a deep richness, that is probably brought on by the cigars they have sealed in a humidor. Need to go back ASAP.

(41.8994227, -87.69719150000003)

  

Gather Home + Lifestyle

“Gather Home + Lifestyle is a modern neighborhood general store located in Chicago, Illinois. We bring together a variety of small makers to create a streamlined assortment of minimally designed goods for you and your home. We’re inspired by keeping things simple. Each maker and item in the shop is thoughtfully selected to feel like it belongs next to the other.”

(41.9103551, -87.676424)

Homemade Honey Lavander Latte

Sometimes my desire for coffee can lead to quite some imaginative creations. And when I say sometimes I mean now. The other day, I was craving a latte but I had no desire to leave the house. It was quite the predicament; venture out and get that perfect creamy latte that I wanted or stay home and curl up with a homemade cup of coffee. Obviously I chose the latter. I decided to be a bit creative and make a honey lavender latte with just a few ingredients. Now, I just happened to have been making lavender cupcakes for my birthday and so I had some lavender extract laying around. It’s not easy to come by but I got mine from Sur La Table. I have a feeling I’ll be cooking a lot with lavender in the next couple of months. Anyways, here is a simple delicious latte recipe that you can whip up at home, you know, for those days when you can’t rack up the courage to leave home. There are a few things you’ll need:

  • 1/8 teaspoon of lavender extract
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • coffee beans: mine were a Valentine’s day gift from Harry 🙂 It’s Stone Creek’s special Valentine’s day roast but whatever you have works fine too
  • milk frother, you can also use a whisk
  • 1/2 cup of milk, I used whole milk
  • and some kind of coffee making mechanism, I use a percolator when I want to make lattes, etc. 

Follow these simple steps:

  • brew the coffee to your liking
  • pour the milk into a liquid measuring cup and heat up in the microwave or heat up the milk on the stovetop,
  • whisk or froth the milk until it has a frothy consistency about half way through
  • add the lavender extract and honey to the bottom of your cup and mix them together
  • pour the coffee into the cup and stir together
  • start to add the milk slowly to save the frothy part for the very top of the latte
  • sip and enjoy 

And there you have a delicious homemade honey lavender latte. It has a very subtle flavor of lavender with a bit of sweetness and it’s great to enjoy on a lazy afternoon, curled up on the couch with a good book or magazine.

Goûtez bien!

  

Adventures in Starting a Capsule Wardrobe

A few months ago, I saw some articles about a capsule wardrobe and at first glance I thought it was just one of those fads. You know the ones, where everyone hops on the bandwagon about a miracle, life saving something or other and then a few months later it’s almost as if it never existed? This might be one of those things but despite that, I still feel like this might just work.

Let me explain what exactly is a capsule wardrobe. It’s simply a refined wardrobe consisting of 37 versatile pieces that you absolutely love. At the base of the idea is the phrase, “less is more.” By paring down the items in your wardrobe to about 37 pieces, you have more room to keep track of your clothing and have an easier time picking out something to wear. Having only 37 key pieces of clothing might seem scary but by having less you get more of the things you love; you get a wardrobe that you actually like. Obviously 37 isn’t a cut and dry number, you can have as many pieces of clothing that you absolutely love but 37 is a good start.

The capsule wardrobe is a season dependent wardrobe. Meaning that at the end of each season, you go through your wardrobe and clear out the things that you won’t be able to wear into the next season or you just didn’t wear it as much as you though you would. When starting out at first, pair down what you already own to 37 items and try to live with them for a week or so without doing any shopping. This way you can really see what is lacking from your wardrobe and what you absolutely need to get. Once you’ve got your ideal wardrobe, start a shopping fast until the next season. This might be a deal breaker for some but in all honesty you probably won’t want to shop as much because you’ll be truly happy with your wardrobe the way it is.

So after being a little fed up with a constantly messy wardrobe and feeling like I have nothing to wear all the time, I decided that this would be a good option for me. I went through my entire wardrobe, took everything out, and looked at each piece of clothing and placed them into one of four piles.

  • I love it and I would wear it right now. It fits, it’s well suited to my lifestyle, and I feel confident in it. These are the pieces that are going to start your capsule wardrobe so put them back into your closet.
  • Maybe. These are items are ones that either don’t fit right, you paid a lot for and don’t want to get rid of, it has sentimental value or you just don’t wear it. Pack these clothes into a box and store them away for now. At the end of the season, if they are still in the box then it’s time to donate.
  • No. You never wear it and don’t even like it. Donate.
  • Seasonal. You love these pieces and they are a necessity but don’t work for the season that you’re in. Store these away and come back to them in the next season.

 Now I got rid of stuff that I wore in high school and things that really don’t suit my personal style anymore as I’ve grown quite a bit in my personal taste. Some of the stuff I couldn’t believe that I still owned. I really do feel like I have more clothes to work with despite having less because I have cleared out all of the “cluttered” clothes from my closet and only have what I really love.

Next, we’re on to how to structure your capsule wardrobe. Everyone’s will be different but a good base is to think in terms of three’s. Three tops, three sweaters, and three button-up’s and then fill in with a jacket or vest. Three jeans, three pants and three skirts and fill that in with a dress or another piece like that. Seasonally you might opt for two winter jackets, or maybe three pairs of shorts instead of pants. Shoes are another part of the Capsule Wardrobe and a really good number to start with is six pairs. For winter you might have tall boots, ankle boots, sneakers, slip-on sneakers, oxfords and maybe a pair of heels. The capsule wardrobe doesn’t include handbags, accessories or clothing essentials like undergarments, formal wear and gym attire. This leaves you a lot of room to change up different outfits with different handbags and accessories.

With only just starting my capsule wardrobe I already feel at ease when deciding what to wear in the morning and it really does shorten my getting ready time. The whole point of the capsule wardrobe is to have an efficient wardrobe that fits your everyday lifestyle. Look for my next seasons post on my capsule wardrobe update and new purchases. If you try this out, let me know how it goes!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts

I’m not one to partake in the hype of Pumpkin Spice but these home-made, baked Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts have changed my views on Pumpkin Spice. In my defense when I first saw the recipe I somehow believed that this was going to be a sweet potato doughnut recipe. Anyways, I saw this recipe and felt really completed to make them, it was probably the photography on Pastry Affair that got me as that is usually the case. First things first, I set out to find a doughnut pan. Believe it or not, there are doughnut shaped pastry pans out on the market, crazy right? I got mine from Target, low and behold. Harry has told me that the doughnut pan is one of the best purchases ever made, and  I have to agree. These pumpkin spice doughnuts conjure up everything that you love about being cozy. Wrapped in a blanket on the couch, favorite record on in the background, book in your lap, doughnut in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other one. I maybe outstretching the bounds of the pumpkin spice by bringing it into winter instead of staying fall but who doesn’t want to feel that cozy, soul soothing feeling all year round?

I followed this very simple recipe from Pastry Affair. You can follow the recipe here exactly but can easily be summarized. Preheat the oven, grease the pan, mix the wet ingredients, add in the dry ingredients, pour into a pastry bag, fill up the doughnut pans with the batter, bake for about 15 minutes, cool and then enjoy. The icing recipe is quick to whip up and adds something to these doughnuts but they would be just as good without it.

This recipe makes about 12 doughnuts but you can always wrap up the left-overs in aluminum foil to save for later and warm them in the oven another day.