Reading in The Woods

a walk in the woods with coffeeIt’s camping season! Time for stories around the fire, nature walks, campfire concoctions, and for me; Extra Reading Time! I’m always up super early when I camp; and there is nothing better than starting a small fire, brewing a hearty cup of coffee, and relaxing to the sound of the breeze and the birds, with a good book of course.

Here are my suggestions for Reading in the Woods:

Gossip From the Forest
by Sara Maitland
Fairy tales are one of our earliest cultural forms, and forests one of our most ancient landscapes. Both evoke similar sensations: At times they are beautiful and magical, at others spooky and sometimes horrifying. Maitland argues that the terrain of these fairy tales are intimately connected to the mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils. With each chapter focusing on a different story and forest visit, she offers a complex history of forests and how they shape the themes of fairy tales we know best.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

The Yearling
by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
When young Jody Baxter adopts and orphaned fawn he calls Flag, he makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming. There has been a film and even a musical based on this moving story, a fine work of great American literature which won Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings a Pulitzer Prize
Rated 4.5 on amazon.com

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”  ~Lord Byron

Enchantment
Orson Scott Card
The moment Ivan stumbled upon a clearing in the dense Carpathian forest, his life was forever changed. Atop a pedestal encircled by fallen leaves, the beautiful princess Katerina lay still as death. But beneath the foliage a malevolent presence stirred and sent the ten-year-old Ivan scrambling for the safety of Cousin Marek’s farm. Orson Scott Card has been honored with numerous awards, immersing readers in dazzling worlds only he could create.

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Faerie Dusted Clouds
Put a handful of marshmallows in a cup, steam milk and pour half over marshmallows stir well, add the rest of the milk, top with a dollop of whip, sprinkle with sugar crystals and dust with vanilla bean powder. (For the cold version use ice cream instead of marshmallows.)

A Walk in the Woods
by Bill Bryson

Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

download (1)Book Bean: S’more Coffee Please!
Espresso, pulled over dark chocolate chips, add steamed milk of choice, stir, top with graham cracker crumbs, lots of marshmallows, broil for a few seconds (if you can) and drizzle with chocolate


Galapagos: A Novel

by Kurt Vonnegut
A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’ s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.
This one may not be for everyone, it might have you jumping at every creak and pop in the woods!
Rated 4.2 on amazon.com

“You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” ~Saint Bernard

The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood
by Howard Pyle

Arguably the most popular rendering of the legend of Robin Hood, the yeoman-thief of Sherwood Forest. Each chapter offers new and exciting stories, including the famous scenes of Little John and his staff besting Robin on the bridge, Robin winning the golden arrow at the Sheriff of Nottingham’s archery contest, his complicity with courageous Will Scarlet and musical Alan-a-Dale, the continual outsmarting of the Sheriff, and many others.
A great choice to bring along for the little ones, or the young at Heart!

Rated 4.3 on amazon.com

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Book Bean: Leaves of Green Latte
Matcha Tea with Steamed Milk and Mint Leaves
Use Match powder to make a strong brew, add mint leaf and stevia and stir, steam milk of choice and pour over green tea, sprinkle with vanilla bean powder and garnish with mint leaves.

The Forest Unseen
11797368by David Haskell
A biologist reveals the secret world hidden in a single square meter of forest
In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one- square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life. Written with remarkable grace and empathy,  a perfect guide into the world that exists beneath our feet and beyond our backyards.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

Dare I mention this favorite of mine again?! Between the Quirky Radagast and the Enchanting Wood Elves, how could I resist!

Hobbit
J.R.R. Tolkien
Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure. They have launched a plot to raid the treasure hoard guarded by Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon. Reluctantly Bilbo joins their quest, unaware of what lies ahead on the journey to the Lonely Mountain.
Rated 4.7 on amazon.com

coffee-cup-2926638_960_720.jpgBook Bean: Muddy Mocha
Just a little bit of everything!
Espresso, cinnamon, chocolate, almond extract, steamed milk, sprinkled with nutmeg and clove, garnish with cinnamon sticks

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
by Cheryl Strayed
Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State, and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.”
Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

In A Cottage In A Wood
by Cass Green
A strange encounter
Neve comes across a troubled woman called Isabelle on Waterloo Bridge late one night. Isabelle forces a parcel into Neve’s hands and jumps to her death in the icy Thames below.
An unexpected gift
Two weeks later, as Neve’s wreck of a life in London collapses, an unexpected lifeline falls into her lap – a charming cottage in Cornwall left to her by Isabelle, the woman on the bridge.
A twisted secret
Alone in the dark woods late one night, she finds a sinister-looking bungalow with bars across its windows. And her dream home quickly becomes her worst nightmare, a house hiding a twisted secret that will change her life forever…

2521_black_forest_coffee_2Book Bean: Black Forest Frappe
Brew you coffee strong, let sit, add ice to blender (or just poor ingredients over ice and enjoy), poor coffee over ice, add milk of choice, add grenadine and almond extract to taste, blend, place in cup of choice, top with whip, dark chocolate shavings and a maraschino cherry!

So if you are forest bound and unafraid of the woods, don’t forget a good book, I suggest something new and unexpected!

What are your favorite camp-out reads?

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Wake up Wednesday: Cocoaccino

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This weeks Café concoction The Cocoaccino!

Book Bean: Cocoaccinno

2-3 espresso shots pulled over 1 tbs cocoa powder, powdered sugar (1tbs or to taste,) and 1 tsp vanilla extract powder. Add frothed milk and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

 

 


A very decadent drink; The perfect stress reliever and pick me up!

This indulgent delight pairs sweetly with a book of verse

 

I recommend Shakespeare’s Sonnets:

The title of a collection of 154 sonnets by William Shakespeare, which covers themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality.

Rated 4.4 on amazon.com

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?

 

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 - EditedCafé du Monde French for “Café 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 café 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?

Why I Love Coffee

Why do I love coffee..? Let me count the ways.
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The taste of coffee is comforting and grounding.
When I drink coffee I feel a nostalgia that is hard to explain; a warmth.
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The aroma, the taste, the buzz, the culture, and the connections, all are worthy reasons.
In the morning coffee lifts me up and boosts my day.

I love the culture and variety of coffee:

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I enjoy learning about the different countries that grow coffee.

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I’m intrigued by different roasting and brewing techniques. I love the roasted nutty smell and taste of good coffee beans. Experimenting with coffee flavors and styles can be a lot of fun.

cupsI am fascinated with all the wonderful different ways to enjoy the incredible edible coffee bean.

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Coffee is soothing on a rainy day, and melts away the brittle snow or ice of winter. When a day is full of hustle and bustle, taking the time to enjoy a cup of coffee calms me.

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Drinking coffee also induces community. People like to drink coffee together. It makes talking easier and more comforting. It may be tea or some other beverage, but the concept of sitting around in comfy couches or chairs drinking something steamy and talking, is oh so inviting.

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I suppose many people just drink coffee because it is caffeinated and a good energy boost, and that is certainly a good reason.

However, to me, coffee is an experience; something to slow down for, to savor and enjoy.

Of course what better experience to share coffee with, then curled up with a great book!
Good-Morning.jpg What do you enjoy most about coffee? 

The Most Brewtiful Cafes II

lookbookThere were already so many stunning cafes in Part: I and yet
you will find in Part II that this world has many more incredibly
beautiful and interesting cafes.

Here is part II of The Most Brewtiful Cafes:

Bar Topolski (London)

Topolski gallery-bar-café-venue is a unique London space set in the railway arches near Waterloo Station, in the former studio of artist and illustrator Feliks Topolski RA (1907 – 1989).

Knoll Ridge Cafe (Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand)

Knoll Ridge Cafe is the highest cafe in New Zealand and has incredible views over the upper slopes. Serving a wide array of meals, including a fresh salad bar, hot dishes from around the world, café style snacks and espresso coffees.

Cafe Central (Vienna, Austria)

The café was opened in 1876, and in the late 19th century it became a key meeting place of the Viennese intellectual scene. Until 1938 the café was called the “Chess school” because of the presence of many chess players. The café occupies the ground floor of the former Bank and Stockmarket Building, today called the Palais Ferstel. Palais Ferstel was renovated in 1975 and again in 1986 after closing post WW2.

Dreamy Camera Cafe (Yangpyeong, South Korea)

This incredibly unique cafe stands out on the hills of Yangpyeong as a red, rectangular building in the exact form of a Rolleiflex.

Balzac’s (Toronto, Canada)

Balzac’s Coffee Roasters micro-roasts the finest selection of Arabica beans at their roastery and serves some of Canada’s best coffee at their Ontario cafés.

Callas Cafe (Budapest, Hungary)

The Art Deco style Callas Café & Restaurant has a prime location on Andrássy Avenue right next to the Budapest Opera House.  Budapest is a city of cafés. Its famed historic cafés can still evoke a reflection of the lustre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s past…

Cafe Majestic (Porto, Portugal)

Belle Epoque-era cafe with ornate interior featuring carved wood, mirrors & chandeliers. This gorgeous cafe is rich with luster and history. Click here for More on The Majestic
“The Majestic Café is a wonderful place, where muses, thinkers and artists can get together to live the best moments life has to offer: simply sharing communication through words and gestures,glances smiles and even a few tears sometimes.” ~ Gloria Montenegro (President of the Paris Academy of Coffeeology.)

Well there they are, some of the most beautiful and interesting cafes in the world. I hope you enjoyed viewing them as much as I have. 
Please share if you have visited any of these magnificent cafes.

Which ones would you want to visit?