Autumn Spice & Books So Nice

Back to schoolAutumn is here! My favorite time of year. In Portland the weather is clear and sunny, the temperature comfortably drifts between a perfect 50-75 degrees, and the rains are held at bay for a few more weeks.

The air is filled with beautiful colors, savory aromas, and
the sound of boots crunching golden leaves.
Is there anything better?
Well yes, lets just add some fall-icious books to the equation shall we!

Here are a few harvest reads and warm drinks to ‘fall’ in love with 😉 :


A pocket Full of Rye

The Queen of Mystery and acknowledged mistress of suspense brings us this fall worthy mystery.

The bizarre death of a financial tycoon has Miss Marple investigating a very odd case of crime by rhyme.

Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Cocoa-Nut Mocha
An ordinary mocha gets a little nutty. Mix in 1/2 tsp of nutmeg to cocoa powder/syrup (etc.) and make mocha as usual. Top with whip, crushed hazelnuts, and a drizzle of Nutella.


The Cider House Rules

Set in rural Maine in the first half of this century, it tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch–saint and obstetrician, founder and director of the orphanage in the town of St. Cloud’s, ether addict and abortionist. It is also the story of Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan, Homer Wells, who is never adopted.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com
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Book Bean: Cider House Teapuccino
Tea of choice steeped dark in hot cider (in lieu of water.) While waiting for tea, steam, froth, or simmer milk. Combine frothy milk and tea, drizzles with honey and enjoy.



James and The Giant Peach

The story of a young boy on a magical adventure. After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen.

Rated 4.6 on amazon.com

royal-rose-hot-toddy-saffron.jpgBook Bean: Harvest Peach Tea
Combine approx. 10 oz peach nectar, 5 oz orange juice, and 1/8 cup brown sugar in a large saucepan. Tie cinnamon and cloves in a small cheesecloth bag. Drop into saucepan. Steep, mug, and love!



Lark Rise to Candleford Trilogy

An immortal trilogy, containing “Lark Rise, Over To Candleford” and “Candleford Green”, a heartwarming portrayal of country life at the close of the 19th century. This story of three closely related Oxfordshire communities; a hamlet, the nearby village, and a small market town, is based on the author’s experiences during childhood and youth.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

vegan-pumpkin-hot-chocolate-editedBook Bean: Countryside Cocoa
Heat and simmer milk of choice, melt/ mix in cocoa powder and/or dark chocolate, and dark brown sugar to taste. Add mix to a blender and spoon in apprx. 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, a dash of pumpkin spice, a drop or two of orange extract. Top with cream and a sprinkle of spice.


The Wretched of Muirwood

In the ancient and mystical land of Muirwood, Lia has known only a life of servitude. Labeled a “wretched,” an outcast unwanted and unworthy of respect, Lia is forbidden to realize her dream to read or write. In the midst of a land torn by a treacherous war between a ruthless king and a rebel army, Lia finds herself on an ominous journey that will push her to wonder if her own hidden magic is enough to set things right.

enhanced-buzz-18848-1442882378-5 (1) - Edited.jpgRated 4.4 on amazon.com

Book Bean
: Fall Sangria
I will defer this one to Mr. Flay, because I saw this recipe,
and it looks amazing!

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/
fall-sangria.html


Tess of the d’Urbervilles

The daughter of a poor and dissipated villager, learns that she may be descended from the ancient family of d’Urbeville. In her search for respectability her fortunes fluctuate wildly, and the story assumes the proportions of a Greek tragedy. It explores Tess’s struggle against the social mores of the rural Victorian world which she inhabits and the hypocrisy of the age.

Rated 4.2 on amazon.com
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Book Bean
: Spiced Steamer
Steam or simmer rice milk (almond is also nice) over low heat. Mix in agave syrup, vanilla bean, cinnamon, nutmeg, dash (very small) of cayenne, all to preferred taste. Pour in cup and sprinkle lightly with spices, garnish with cinnamon sticks, and let it warm your soul!

books-fall-writingWhat are some of  your falltastic reading go-to’s?

 

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On Meeting Stephen King

stephen-king-3.jpgGetting the chance to meet Stephen King on Tuesday was truly a once in a life time chance and I will never forget it. I learned a lot from the experience and though I wish I could, I don’t know if I’ll be able to document it completely. I was so entranced most of the time, that unfortunately recording it was an after thought. However I will to the best of my ability share with you all what stuck with me.

Here is what I learned about Stephen King:

First off it was exceedingly clear to me that Stephen was and is an excellent father. For him to be so busy, famous, and successful, and yet maintain a decent, let alone good relationship with his children is beyond amiable. He has written books with both of his sons, and I believe the ability to work with one’s parents on such an intimate level is evidence that the relationship is well formed.

stephen-king.jpgI was able to hear from Owen King, and hearing him talk about his childhood was moving. Sure he grew up with wealth and privilege, but that has never (in and of itself) determined how a child would be raised. Owen however talked of a father that aside from his time working, was present kings1and involved in his children’s lives. A father who participated in the local community and even taught little league. To watch Stephen well up when his son praised the time they spent together on this book project, was again, insight into the heart of the relationship. More than anything else, learning how invested and loving Stephen King was as a father (though, as with anyone, he had his flaws) impressed me the most.

Stephen showed an amazing sense of humor; he was constantly making little jokes and even making fun of himself. He certainly loves life, and yet he sees the value in not taking it too seriously, this is a beautiful balance.Stephen King On Writing

On the flip side, he also showed a vulnerability and deep side, that I had not expected. You can tell that he loves to connect; whether with family, or fans, or with Molly aka the Thing of Evil. He finds curious, strange, and equally remarkable ways of doing this. One of the greatest stories I heard was about how he would have his Children dictate books on tape. Audio books were the big new thing and he loved it, but you couldn’t find very much variety back then. So this was a great way to not only expose his children to literature, but also get to listen to books, what a phenomenal combination and what a gift! It all started because Owen was 8 and wanted to start earning money. He asked his dad if he could mow the lawn to earn some, but Stephen said “No, I’ve got a better idea.”

la-et-jc-fathers-day-20170616.jpgStephen has clearly influenced his children in an extremely valuable way. They produce writing and have an abundant knowledge of literature, and of course a love for books. These characteristics are priceless. He was greatly influenced by his mother as well.  The moment he knew he wanted to be a writer was when his mother was reading aloud The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and when Stevenson was very descriptively describing the crunching of bones, King knew in a flash “that’s what I want to do!” Referring to writing of course…

 

King child.jpgHis mother was clearly someone that the apple did not fall far from. She read to them all matter of mystery etc. she loved a good thrill. King described the first time he was ever really truly scared: His mother would wait until they were asleep to listen to a late night radio station, I believe called Mystery Theater. 99309c6b4f8f8a34ded75db8e3f0a10a

The children were not allowed to listen, because it was too scary. Stephen of course would wait till is brother was asleep, crawl out of bed, and then listen to the station through the crack at the bottom of his door. Such tenacity towards a blooming passion! I wish I could accurately describe for you the way I got to hear his recollection of this particular show, but it was a wonder to hear.

6c0461f0d021c8f043cb062c6cc139e5I believe from the way he talked, that his mother was also someone that contributed to his understanding and respect for women. When Stephen talked about this new books “Sleeping Beauties” you could tell he has an admiration for women, that is an uncommon thing to find in many men. I believe being raised by an intelligent and loving single mother was something that greatly impacted his views. He has also been married to his wife for 45 years now, and he talks of her with love and respect, it was lovely. His son Owen follows in his father’s foot steps with this quality.
The fact that these two men could take on the humbling and daunting task of writing a book about the ramifications and chaos, of a world without women, is brave and insightful.

stephenking130Getting to know the wit, depth, and humor of the Master Stephen King, in such an intimate way, was extraordinary. His dialogue was so untainted and real; no frills, no bs, he was just genuine. And it revealed only that however genius and successful he may be, ultimately he is completely ordinary, human, and sane. Sure he had his daughter dictate The Bundy Murders and she didn’t sleep for a month, and sure the family sat around on holiday watching Christine…
He’s Stephen King for goodness sake, there’s got to be a little weirdness allowed! Simply put, he is a man who has lived with passion and character, is refreshingly down to earth and funny, who just happens to write brilliantly, and loves the hell out of books.


Fun Facts: Fun little tidbits I learned
 #1: He also mentioned Bambi being the very first time he was ever afraid. “Man is in the forest” he said, “scared the hell out of me.” I live in the N.W. and this summer I sadly witnessed the horror that really is, man in the forest, so I heard him say that line with new awareness and deeper meaning.
#2 is Stephen Kings favorite book: The Lord of The Flies, The Catcher in The Rye being a close second.
#3 When asked what his favorite work was, of his own, he struggled to answer for awhile. He said it was like picking a favorite child. However he eventually did mentioned On Writing and one other that my brain misplaced, but then he finally settled quite resolutely on The Dead Zone.

Know any fun tidbits about Stephen King? Feel free to share 🙂


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Stephen King!

Stephen-Kings-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Writing-Successfully-in-Ten-Minutes
Tonight I have the amazing privilege of meeting Stephen King. He is touring with his son Owen King for their new collaborative novel 
Sleeping Beauties. This is such an exciting opportunity, and I am counting the minutes! 


So this boasts the question, what do I ask Stephen King?

Stephen Edwin King born September 21, 1947
He is an American author of 
horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, many of which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television series, and comic books. King has published 54 novels, including 7 under the pen name Richard Bachman, and 6 non-fiction books. He has written nearly 200 short stories, most of which have been collected in book collections. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine.

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His novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption was the basis for the film The Shawshank Redemption (widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time.)


So In my contemplation of this pivotal event, I decided I wanted to bring it to all of you. I want to discover from a myriad of perspectives, if you had the chance, what would you ask 
?

For those curious, here is a little tidbit on the much anticipated new novel Sleeping Beauties:

Sleeping Beauties
 by Stephen and Owen King

A 700-page tome that is part plague thriller and part fable. It’s the story of a sleeping sickness (nicknamed “Aurora” after Disney’s drowsy princess) that overtakes all the women and girls of the world, leaving the men of the planet to sort things out on their own. Guess how that works out.


I cannot express how excited I am to get my hands on this book!
I have been in agony waiting to read it, because I wanted to hold out until I had the special copy I will receive tonight (okay I am a bit sentimental.) This book is going to have it all, suspense, fantasy, character, and even hints of fairytale. It would almost seem too good to be true, if it wasn’t produced from the genius intensity of King!

Have you read it, what were your thoughts? No spoilers!

 

Top U.S. Coffee Houses 

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To celebrate national coffee day here are some of the best coffee houses across our nation.

Coffee culture is booming and with it more high quality coffee houses are opening. Each have there own style, coffee blends, unique menu items, and techniques.

There are many great coffee houses, however I chose to highlight a few that stand apart. These coffee houses are well known for uniqueness, quality, popularity, and dedication to the art of coffee.

Here are my top picks for Noteworthy Cafes in the U.S.:

Madcap Coffee (Grand Rapids, MI)

17160486-standardMadcap Coffee has won me over by offering tasting flights, use of latte art, and serving espresso in snifters.Madcap-Coffee-table-of-cups

However, what really set them apart most of all was implementing a zero waste policy; trading trash cans for bus bins and sorting all of their trash into compost and recyclables.

Heart Coffee (Portland, OR)

original-5983-1404617574-3Coffee drinks & gourmet baked goods offered in stylish, industrial-chic quarters. Taking an absolutely obsessive approach to excellence and quality in roasting and brewing, Heart Coffee is one of the best cafes in the U.S. Try the affogatto; espresso dolloped over homemade coconut ice cream.

1369 Coffee House (Boston, MA)

the-139-coffe-house-in-cambridge1369 serves up Espresso drinks alongside homemade soups, sandwiches, and freshly baked pastries. Locations in Inman Square (1369 Cambridge Street) & Central Square (757 Massachusetts Ave). download (5)

 

It is a top-notch coffee house that draws local creative types and features a gallery.

 

Everyman Espresso (New York, NY)

fromthegroundup_6_everymanespressointerior.jpgCoffee & espresso from direct-trade beans offered in a small, no-frills setting or to grab and go. Sam Lewontin was the champion of the 2015 Northeast Barista Competition. With his love for coffee and knack for mixology, he offers unique drinks at his SoHo coffee shop.

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Everymans Espresso is also known for having the best espresso shot in New York. If that wasn’t enough they also have unique offerings like almond milk as well as sheep and goat milk.

 

Seattle Coffee Works (Seattle, WA)

Seattle-Coffee-Scene-Seattle-Coffee-Works-12A modest coffeehouse with an espresso bar & a slow bar for comparing single-origin beans. Seattle Coffee Work is located at 107 Pike Street close to the Pike Place Market.

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They roast quality coffee, and boast direct relationships with farmers. Their impressive brew bar offers a “slow bar” utilizing Chemex, Hario pour-over,
Aeropress, and syphon brewing.

Peregrine Espresso (Washington, D.C.)

Peregrine-Espresso-800x533.jpgConsidered by coffee connoisseurs as the premier place to go for a cup of delicious, micro brewed coffee. Peregrine Espresso is owned by husband and wife team Ryan and Jill Jensen, and has a strong focus on great service, education, and sustainability.They have both coffee and tea option, cold press juices, bakery items, sodas, and Mexican chocolate.


Café Grumpy
 
(New York City, NY)

location_chelseaOffering sandwiches, homemade pastries and cookies, excellent coffee, and a No Laptop Policy; this independently owned and operated cafe, bakery, and roastery is

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a popular New York hangout.
Café Grumpy is also a Member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

Panther Coffee (Miami, FL)

8023902019_280ec98f25_bThis coffeehouse first started as a cart on a bicycle serving cold brew at food truck roundups. Now with three locations, with more on the way owners Joel and Leticia Pollock have established themselves reputably in the coffee business. l-11

At Panther Coffee they roast their own beans, curated from small farms (such as Grupo las Cuchillas in Nicaragua.) The coffee shop also showcases information sheets about the growers; your cup’s story from plant to cup is entirely accessible.

 

The Coffee Fox (Savannah, GA)

IMG_5808A craft coffee house in historical downtown Savannah, Georgia featuring the pour-over coffee brew method as well as pastries, cheese boards, wine and beer.ls (1)

 

 

A quirky coffee house in a charming town, what could be better. Aside from the enchanting atmosphere the cafe also offers a fun and interesting menu with items such as a Mexican mocha, cold brew coffee, and a horchata latte.
This is a coffee house worth visiting.


Barista Parlor
 
(Nashville, TN)

bbp31Nashville’s Barista Parlor does credit to the cities culture. It is housed in a former auto repair garage in Music City’s hip east side. The coffee house serves artisan espresso, as well as local seasonal cafe food.

 

Not only is the location hip with a cool industrial vibe, but they also offer unique drinks such as a bourbon vanilla latte.


Cafe Du Monde
 
(New Orleans, LA)

New-Orleans-Cafe-du-Monde-0414-1-lo-res - EditedCafĂ© du Monde French for “CafĂ© of the World”, is a coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is best known for its world famous cafĂ© au lait and its French-style beignets. The Original Cafe Du Monde Coffee Stand was established in 1862 in the New Orleans French Market.


Ritual Coffee Roasters
 (San Francisco, CA)

0345b2414c34f54efdfcdc5acda86a83Ritual has been a pioneer in this delicious shift in coffee consciousness since they opened their doors on Valencia Street in 2005 and started what some call a coffee revolution in San Francisco.

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Ritual’s San Francisco cafes are also known as popular hangout and working spaces for tech workers in the city.

 

I am sure there are so many coffee houses that are absolutely wonderful and I wish I could give credit to them all. The venues listed here came up reputably in my research for high quality unique coffee houses.

Please share about a great coffee house you have visited. What set them apart?