Dark, rainy and cold – that is not the usual description for San Diego, but unfortunately, that was how San Diego was for us. California ended its four-year drought with a rare rainy weather, meanwhile we decided to escape the Chicago winter, thinking we could use some warm weather in San Diego. So…there was no beach weather for us and we wore our sweaters and raincoats everyday.
Trying Airbnb for the first time, we picked a relatively cheap lodging in the Chula Vista area, about 10 minutes from the border with Mexico. The stay was surprisingly nice, and might actually be much better than hotels and for half the price at least. Our host left us snacks and drinks, and pretty much freedom to use most of her home. She worked in a hospital and left for work early in the morning, and was asleep by the time we got back. We went days without meeting her, and for a while, thought we would never get to meet her in person. There was this strange feeling we were pretending to be someone else, leading a parallel life. Finally, we caught up with her one early morning before she left for work and got to know her. How could a hotel beat the intimate experience and a chance to be immersed in the local life in a cute home in a random suburb?
Best Aeropress Brewing Method by Joshua from Everybody’s Coffee Chicago
Nothing starts the morning off like a cup of coffee. Or really, the afternoon… or the work week… or even the weekend! With so much coffee, shouldn’t it be awesome? Joshua from Everybody’s Coffee in Chicago is a coffee aficionado who has studied, and perfected the art of the Aeropress inverted brewing method. People come from around Chicago to enjoy his brews, I’ve seen them at the shop… This video and recipe outline the step by step instructions to craft an amazing cup of coffee that doesn’t suck, right at home!
The recipe video begins by explaining the grind size and how it should look (like a coarse sand) for the best result. We used the Hario Ceramic Slim Mini Mill hand grinder with 6 clicks from closed on to get the perfect grind for this variety.
“If your coffee tastes too acidic, grassy/vegetal, or weak, go down one click at a time (a finer grind) & if your coffee tastes too bitter, drying, or harsh, go up one click at a time.” -Joshua
Turn the Aeropress upside down and toss in the grounds. Josh then shows us how to use the Bonavita Kettle to properly moisten the grounds with a swirling motion. This sounds a little silly at first, swirling and pouring slowly… but it helps to open up the flavors and get the hot water more evenly throughout the Aeropress chamber. Can’t argue with results… Once the chamber has reached capacity, give it a gentle stir with a metal spoon or the included stirrer. Replace the lid and LET IT BREW!
Josh uses a basic kitchen timer to track the brewing time which totals just about two minutes, 1:40 for brewing and about :30 for the plunging. He makes it look so easy… that you will definitely have to try it at home. To really geek out on the Aeropress, stop by Everybody’s Coffee and pick Josh’s brain or look up the World Aeropress Championship (no kidding!) for creative and crazy recipes.
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How to build your Bokashi composter and start composting today!
We moved to the suburbs and now I am composting. We simply eat a ton of veggies and generate some serious green waste. It makes me sad to send the scraps from high quality food off to a landfill to be buried with batteries and plastic bottles for eternity. I spent money on that organic trash yo. This lead me to begin the COMPOST QUEST! We are living in a town home with a professionally landscaped yard, so I am not sure where I will put it once complete, but hey it won’t be in the dump.
First off I bought a rotating composter to put on the porch. This filled up within about 3 weeks. Now it’s brewing for a while.
Then I bought a worm factory for the garage. The worms are hungry, but don’t knock out the compost as fast as I was hoping. Also not as stinky as one might think.
Now I am off to try the Bokashi composting method! There are a few great resources for supplies and buckets to compost, but they carry a significant price for a 5 gallon bucket with a spigot. This lead me to make a few Amazon and Uline orders so that I could DIY the Bokashi composter.
The Bokashi method boasts some major advantages over traditional composting, such as the ability to compost meat and dairy scraps, smell free, faster, etc. Can’t wait to see if it is true…
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Let’s face it when you get hungry, you gotta eat something… And you can’t just bake a chicken or make a fresh kale salad every time the HUNGER strikes! These coconut macaroons sweet, filling and store well for at least a week. That is if you can resist eating them all at once…
Recipe Inspiration: Lynnette Astaire – LiveLynnette.com
For this post we’ve brought in the lifestyle expert and healthy food queen Lynnette Astaire to help us out with a healthy snack recipe. She is a true health fanatic and loves to share her tips and tricks for a great life on her site www.livelynnette.com. The content is raw, real and super funny! Her recent Beyonce 7/11 parody video had me cracking up as her and a friend lip-sync the song on the beach in Mexico.
This recipe was inspired by one of Lynnette’s favorite snacks from Whole Foods. The only problem was, she loved them so much that the pre-packaged price tag was eating a hole in her pocket. With a bit of ingredient list research and a few Google searches, voila Coconut Macaroons on the CHEAP!!
This recipe includes almond flour (or meal) to keep it gluten free and gives it nice nutty flavor. This is a new ingredient for me, but it is a fun one! Angela the Baker first introduced almond meal to me with the Peach Crumble recipe where she combined it with ground up quinoa for a tasty grain-free topping.
This dish with Quinoa, Black Beans, Cucumber and Avocado with Eggs is light, but hearty enough to refuel your tanks and support your journey to greatness. The combination of the vinegar, limes and cilantro creates a wonderful freshness that reinvigorates your soul through your daily grind.You never know, a great idea might even hit you over the head after lunch when you are NOT a wandering zombie in an afternoon coma…
Lunch is often a “human maintenance” meal for me. This translates to: I need food that fuels me through the rest of the crazy day, without leaving me ravenous or sleepy an hour later. Since I love to eat, it also kills me to just grab some junk food and call it okay. So I have been on a quest to find a lunch “supplement” that is filling, enjoyable, and healthy.
This recipe evolved from a bean and quinoa salad dish that my mom regularly makes at home. From that inspiration, I added some avocado and eggs to make it a little more savory and substantial enough to call it a meal. Without the eggs, it can also be a great side dish.
I like to use organic dried black beans cooked via the pressure cooking method, but you can use canned ones. I recommend spending the additional nickel and grabbing the organic ones if available. The organic version will have fewer preservatives and I usually feel less “musical” after the meal. Even if the upgraded beans are a couple bucks, you are nowhere near the cost of a cheeseburger! Treat yourself!
This is a great meal to partially prepare ahead of time, especially the beans and quinoa. I like to make a large batch of beans and quinoa, and store them (separately) in left-over containers in my fridge. They last for about a week without getting funky. With these prepped, you can pull together all kinds of healthy meals on the quick (and cheap).