It’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
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
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
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.)
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
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
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
by 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!
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
Book 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…
Book 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?
This is my newest Café concoction and obsession The Tango Latte!
Book Bean: Tango Latte
1 espresso shot pulled over 1 tsp of orange infused powdered sugar, 1 pinch cinnamon and 1 pinch vanilla extract powder (I pre-mix mine and do approx. .5 tsp,) approx. 1/3 cup steamed (or heated and frothed) milk of choice (I use 1%,) topped with orange zest and lightly dusted with cinnamon sugar.
This drink is spectacular, Orange Mochas have always been a favorite of mine, but this latte has surpassed that love. It’s smooth yet zesty and bold. I perfect drink for those who like things interesting and flavorful, but without too much sweetness
This exotic latte would pair beautifully with
Evita: The Real Lives of Eva Peron.
What do you think?
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)
Madcap Coffee has won me over by offering tasting flights, use of latte art, and serving espresso in snifters.
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)
Coffee 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)
1369 serves up Espresso drinks alongside homemade soups, sandwiches, and freshly baked pastries. Locations in Inman Square (1369 Cambridge Street) & Central Square (757 Massachusetts Ave).
It is a top-notch coffee house that draws local creative types and features a gallery.
Everyman Espresso (New York, NY)
Coffee & 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.
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)
A 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.
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.)
Considered 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)
Offering sandwiches, homemade pastries and cookies, excellent coffee, and a No Laptop Policy; this independently owned and operated cafe, bakery, and roastery is
a popular New York hangout.
Café Grumpy is also a Member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
Panther Coffee (Miami, FL)
This 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.
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)
A craft coffee house in historical downtown Savannah, Georgia featuring the pour-over coffee brew method as well as pastries, cheese boards, wine and beer.
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)
Nashville’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)
Café 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)
Ritual 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.
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?
Its Friday so here are some Fun Facts!
Just a few coffee tid-bits nothing too deep:
- Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and the first to make a beverage from the roasted beans around 1300 AD.
Coffee was originally used by monks and “prescribed” medicinally.
- Today coffee is grown in more than 70 countries – all in subtropical regions – and more people drink coffee than any other beverage except water and perhaps tea.
- The United States consumes more coffee – 300 million cups a day – than any other country as a whole, but other countries drink more per capita. The average citizens of Finland drinks about 2.64 cups of coffee a day, higher than any other nation.
- Workers who drank coffee rather than napping were more alert and performed better on the job, studies show.
I don’t know how accurate this is, but considering I can’t nap, I’m going to choose to believe it. 😀
- Most research shows that drinking coffee has a variety of health benefits and may be good for heart health.
- It takes about 5000 pounds of coffee cherries to produce 1,000 pounds of green coffee beans; the beans lose another 20 percent of their weight in the roasting.
- Coffee is a relative of the gardenia plant family and is thought to be indigenous to the African region which is now the country of Ethiopia.
The flower is also beautiful and smell similar to Jasmine!
- Coffee beans have up to 800 flavor characteristics that our senses can detect. Red wine, by comparison, only has 400. Most coffee connoisseurs prefer mild roasts because the longer a coffee bean is roasted, more characteristics are burned off.
- Espresso Coffee has just one third of the caffeine content of ordinary coffee.
This is why I always use medium roasted coffee for my lattes and cappuccinos. Okay the flavor is actually why, but hey, good to know right!
- The process of roasting causes coffee beans to begin to release carbon dioxide. When you pour hot water over freshly roasted and ground coffee, as in a French press, you will get a foamy head like that from a dark beer.
- A coffee tree lives for between 60 and 70 years.
Long live the coffee bean!!!
The Coffee plant is one INCREDIBLE edible,
fragrantly delicious creation!
There are ancient accounts that attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheikh Omar. According to the ancient chronicle (preserved in the Abd-Al-Kadir manuscript), Omar, who was known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha, Yemen to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar chewed berries from nearby shrubbery, but found them to be bitter. He tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor, but they became hard. He then tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was revitalized and sustained for days. As stories of this “miracle drug” reached Mocha, Omar was asked to return and was made a saint. From Ethiopia, the coffee plant was introduced into the Arab World through Egypt and Yemen.
Do you know any fun coffee facts?