Sunday, 14 December 2014

Leaving Halifax

I'm currently sitting in the airport waiting for my first of three flights to board! I'm extremely excited to see my family tonight. It was really hard saying goodbye to Aaron and Findlay Bear, but I'm sure they will keep each other company. Here are a few photos I took of Findlay over the last two days! He is so adorable.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Holiday love

I absolutely love this time of year! I started decorating for Christmas as soon as we got home from Seattle. I wanted to make sure that I could enjoy it all for at least a whole month before I head to Albuquerque for Christmas. Our living room is home to most of the decorations, but I put snowflakes in every window of our apartment. The kitchen also has my cute rosemary plant decked out with ornaments! Findlay has only knocked the tree over twice so far, which is a huge improvement to him knocking it over closer to two times a day last year. However, I think he thinks that he is a Christmas decoration, as he is always hanging out and posing with them. But he also likes to knock over the flowers and chew on them, and move everything off the radiator to stretch out and sleep. I wish I was going to be with Aaron and Findlay for Christmas this year, but it's going to be so nice to see my family in a week! I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, 1 December 2014

DIY: Roast your own coffee for Christmas gifts

I've mentioned before that Aaron roasts the best coffee right here at home, but today I thought I would write a detailed DIY guide, because fresh roasted coffee is just about the best Christmas gift, in my opinion.

I love it when Aaron roasts coffee. The whole house smells delicious. And having fresh roasted coffee every day is pretty incredible. We always roast coffee in small batches so that we can constantly have fresh coffee.

What you will need:
Green coffee beans- we order ours from Buy Coffee Canada, and we've never been disappointed.
Popcorn popper - we use this one.
Measuring cup
Tea towel
Mason jars

1.  Measure out one half cup of green coffee beans. Place coffee beans into the popper.
2. Place colander underneath the popper (where the popcorn would pop out). In order to make this step less messy, Aaron usually places a damp tea towel over the colander to help catch the chaff that comes off the beans while they roast.
3. Turn on popper. The coffee will start to roast and rotate in the popper.
4. Listen for the coffee to start making a loud cracking noise. After the first crack, leave popper on for another minute or two. For us, 7 minutes total always gives us a nice medium roast. However, we only got to that time with significant amounts of trial and error. The time you roast your coffee will vary greatly depending on what type of popper you are using, the beans you are using, and the humidity. Our popper does not get hot enough to get the beans to a dark roast, which we don't mind, because we both like medium roast. If you like light roast, keep experimenting with the popping time until you find a cook time that works for you!
5. Remove tea towel, and dump roasted coffee beans into the colander. Using a colander during this part allows more air to reach the coffee so that it cools quickly, rather than continuing to roast. Keep the coffee beans constantly moving until they are cool, either by rotating the bowl or siring the beans with a spoon. If you want to be really thorough, you can use a fan directed at the colander to help cook them while you stir or rotate them.
6. Once coffee is cool, put your roasted coffee into mason jars, but do not close them! The coffee must release gasses for about 12-24 hours. You should also wait this long before you grind up and drink your coffee.

If you are giving your coffee as gifts, you can decorate the jars to make them more festive! I just used kraft paper and alphabet stamps to make the labels, and embroidery thread to tie a tag onto the jars detailing what kind of coffee is in the jar, and the date it was roasted.

It's a relatively simple process once you get used to it. Let me know if you have any questions! I hope that you enjoy roasting coffee at home as much as we do! Are you planning on making any gifts this year?