this post is about coffee, not headstands

The summer before I went to college, I worked as a barista. Obviously not a long stint, but the importance of a good espresso was – and is – a big deal at that particular coffee shop, so I learned quickly. That was the summer my affinity for fancy espresso drinks truly blossomed.

In the eleven years since that summer (omg WUT), I’d been an off-and-on coffee fan. Sometime in the last couple years I settled firmly in the “on” camp, and I intend to stay here. My love of espresso-based beverages, however, never waned. But somewhat recently, I developed a latte obsession that just won’t quit. In the interest of not spending a dick-load of money at coffee shops, I promised myself I’d only purchase one latte a week.

Well, I don’t want to only drink one latte a week. Obviously the best way to solve this problem is to purchase an espresso maker, right? I say yes. I looked at little stove-top guys, but I kinda really wanted a milk steamer. I then set my sights on this guy, which is also available at Target. I figured it would be a great Christmas gift. I’d worry about the counter space when the time came.

But then, fortune smiled upon me. Every year, or almost every year, my office building hosts a sample sale. The companies that show up are always the same (I don’t remember if they’re building tenants or what), and they unload their wares at low, low prices. In the past I’ve picked up various baking items I needed, or replaced worn out kitchen equipment. This year’s sample sale happened yesterday, and I purchased just two things: new drip pans for my stove (yes, I rent, but they were $3 and there are some things that I’d rather just deal with myself), and this stove-top cappuccino/latte maker. It was only $15, guys! I’m pretty excited. It basically works on pure science, and possibly witchcraft. I tested it out once last night, but the manual says to make and discard three pots before you consume one, so I didn’t actually get to taste it. I can say for sure that it was super easy, really quick, and it looked delicious. I plan on running the other two discard-pots tonight, and then I’ll probably make myself a nice evening latte. Mmm, satisfying.

this is turning into the headstand chronicles

So in addition to working on my tripod headstand (poorly illustrated in the post below), I also want (/wanted. spoiler alert: totally did it) to learn to do a bound headstand. That’s the one where you keep your forearms on the floor and wrap your hands around the back of your head, forming a triangle. I can do it against a wall no problem, so after doing that for a bit I started bringing my feet away from the wall to work on balance.

Again though, my issue is knowing exactly where my feet are when they’re above me. This time Darren told me (should’ve had him do that yesterday for the tripod version, derp), but I need to be able to discern it for myself. One step at a time!

Thanks to the internet, I’ve been able to break down all my headstand-doing into step-by-step processes.

With the tripod, once you get your head and hands positioned properly, you balance your knees on your elbows (as shown two posts ago) and then push your legs into the air.

For the bound headstand, once your head and arms are in place, you do sort of a downward facing dog with the rest of your body and then slowly walk your feet toward your torso, then tuck in a knee. Then you have to muscle your other leg into the tuck, and then unroll your legs upward. I managed it a couple times tonight, with the wall behind me in case I started to fall in that direction.

bound headstand

Really, headstands are something pretty much anyone can pull off if they put a little effort in. But I’m pretty excited about it anyway. What other awesome things can I make my body do?

Today I was like “it’s been a while since I tried to do crow, I wonder if I can?”

And I did. So then I thought, “what comes after crow?”

tripod

I plan to eventually turn this into an actual headstand. It’s good to have goals.

“Life is great. Cheese makes it better.”

I made cheese!

I’ve long been aware that basic cheese making is incredibly simple, but as with most of my ambitions it took a while before I got around to trying it.

Recipes for basic farmer’s cheese (which is the same as paneer) are all over the internet. All you need is milk, lemons, and cheesecloth. A fine mesh strainer would probably do fine in place of the cheesecloth, but I actually used both.

Seriously, all you do is slowly heat the milk to gentle boiling, then turn the heat down and add lemon juice (I used a bit more than 1/4 cup). The juice separates the whey from the milk solids. Then you strain it all through your cheesecloth and squeeze out the remaining liquid.

I lined my mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a bowl to catch the whey. I’m freezing the whey to use in bread and soups. I salted my milk while it heated up, otherwise unsalted whey has several more uses.

It’s pretty tasty, especially with honey. I’m going to put some on tacos tomorrow.

Pictures after the jump!

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dessert and downward-facing dog

I made truffles last night. Making truffles was one of the easy items on my 30 by 30 list, so it doesn’t make for a particularly interesting blog post. But there were a few other things on the list that I didn’t write about for the same reason, so here’s something.

I used this recipe from Instructables. To flavor the cream, I followed the second method and put ground coffee into a tea ball to infuse it while it heated. I ran into a minor problem though, because I only had half the amount of chocolate the recipe called for and was too lazy to go buy more. The taste turned out fine – great even – but it meant that when I rolled the ganache into balls they were melty as hell. So I have wonky truffles. I popped ‘em in the freezer and then rolled ‘em in cocoa. Tasty wonky truffles accomplished.

So ugly, but pretty yummy.

So ugly, but pretty yummy.

Oh, surprise! I actually did another thing.

I mentioned in my last post that I’ve been going to yoga classes at Tula Yoga & Wellness. This afternoon I attended an aerial yoga workshop, which is a prerequisite for their regular aerial classes.

It. Was. Awesome.

The sling is a prop, so not everything is done off the ground. Spinal alignment is a big focus. That said, we spent plenty of time in the air. And upside down! We definitely did this:

photo by Tula Yoga & Wellness, via FB

(FYI, These photos aren’t from today).

Savasana is done in the sling and it’s super comfortable. I could have fallen asleep.

photo by Tula Yoga & Wellness, via FB.

photo by Tula Yoga & Wellness, via FB.

I’m looking forward to future aerial classes. These ones have a fixed price (whereas most of their other classes are donation-based) so I might not be able to afford it quite as often as I’d like, but that’s okay. Variety is the spice of life, and all that.

Apologies in advance if I become a full-blown yoga fanatic. I promise I’ll talk about other things too. Probably.

photo by Tula Yoga & Wellness, via FB.

photo by Tula Yoga & Wellness, via FB.

Fair Day and other things

It’s nearly September and I’m a little hurt by that. I do love fall, but it’s a bit spoiled by what comes after. That said, the end of summer means one big thing: the Great Minnesota Get Together. That’d be the State Fair for you non-Minnesotans. As has been tradition for the past decade plus, I went with Kate, Kelsey, their father, and of course Robin. Kate’s boyfriend joined us for the first few hours and did very well.

We spent about 14 hours there, although about an hour of that was spent taking our customary nap/break behind the dairy building. At the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing: the food list. What did we eat this year? Let’s see…

  • Cinnamon rolls w/ milk (or coffee)
  • Mini donuts
  • Footlong
  • Beef sticks
  • Giant turkey sandwich
  • All-you-can-drink milk
  • Lemonade
  • Beer gelato
  • Four beer flights
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Pretzel curds
  • Oven fresh brownie w/ milk
  • 1919 root beer
  • Sweet corn
  • Corn & blue cheese fritters
  • Coconut macaroons
  • Cream puffs w/ milk
  • Sweet corn ice cream
  • Lobster roll w/ fries
  • Dairy barn sundaes (or a cone)
  • Deep fried Snickers
  • Porketta wings
  • (Kelsey and Robin had schnitzel strips without us)
  • Another footlong
  • Red velvet funnel cake

Over all the summer has been pretty standard. The annual Ladies Cabin Weekend happened at the end of July. My oldest brother, Cody, got married at the beginning of August, then Darren and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary a few days later. Probably the most exciting thing is learning that I’m going to be an aunt again – Kyle and Jenna are expecting a wee one in March. Hooray! I’m going to teach him (or her) all about Doctor Who and musical theatre. Nerd child.

I started going to yoga last week and it’s one of the best thing’s I’ve done for myself. Once upon a time I did Core Power’s free week, but most studios are so expensive to join and even drop-in classes are spendy. Since then I’ve practiced a little at home, but mostly just in the form of simple stretching. Tula Yoga & Wellness in St. Paul is donation-based, so you can take most of their classes for as little as $5. They also have aerial yoga which I am excited to try eventually. /accidental commercial