Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Cold Drink On a Cold Day

It's the middle of winter in Sydney right now and while it's not as cold as it can get at home, it's still really cold in my opinion. Because I came over here in March and am heading home the end of August, I'll get three winters in a row this year. You read that right: three. Aside from the small stint of summer when I arrived here in March, my two weeks in roasting hot Vietnam in June, and the last bit of summer in Seattle in September (I'm hoping it says warm!), this year will be a cold one for me! 

Because I can't seem to escape the cold, I pretty much just throw all the rules out the window. As in: Who says cold drinks aren't for cold weather? This morning I made Cold Pressed Caramel Frappuccinos. YUM. I found the recipe on Pinterest through one of my favorite blogs, Minimalist Baker. Since I can't have dairy and I'm off of sugar right now, this recipe was sort of a dream come true. And it looked so simple!

The recipe calls for frozen almond milk and luckily, we had some that was homemade and already in the freezer. Ash makes her own almond milk quite often by blending almonds and water and then draining the chopped up mixture through a cheesecloth. It tastes so good and I love that there are no additives: it's literally just almonds and water. I know people have been making their own almond milk for years and while I've thought about making my own before, it's always seemed like too much trouble. Thanks to Ash, I've learned that there's a good chance I'll be able to handle making my own someday!

The recipe also calls for date caramel. While I'm still trying to decide if I like dates plain, they are delicious as caramel. And like the almond milk, the caramel is super easy to make and there are literally just dates in it. 

Here is the recipe from Minimalist Baker:

  • 2 cups (480 ml) Almond Milk
  • 2 cups (160 g) coarsely ground dark coffee
  • 4 cups (960 ml) filtered water
  • 15 pitted dates (200 g)
  • 3-6 Tbsp hot water
  • 16 almond milk ice cubes
  • 2 cups (480 ml) cold brew coffee
  • 3-5 Tbsp date caramel

Step-by-step instructions are here: Cold Brew Caramel Frappiccino

Note: There's more prep time the day before then when you actually go to make it. You have to freeze the almond milk, make the caramel (which doesn't take more than 5 minutes), and refrigerate the coffee until it's cold. It's well worth the wait though. Just plan ahead accordingly! 

Call me crazy, but this was one of the best drinks I've had in a while. If you try it, let me know what you think! Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How To Speak Aussie

This video has been making the rounds on Facebook and it's hilariously accurate. Aussies literally shorten every word, or so it seems. It takes some adjusting at first, but after awhile, you start to see that they're on to something. I'm pretty guilty of using quite a few of these at the moment! We'll see if they stick when I move back to Seattle. ;) 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy 4th of July

Photo credit

Happy 4th of July, my friends!

This holiday has been a little weird for me this year for a few reasons: 1. I've never been out of the States over the 4th before. Other than once when I was younger, I think. Either way, not since I can remember. 2. It's cold in Sydney right now. Like really cold. I'm pretty sure I've never worn a sweater with a scarf on the 4th before. Or in July, for that matter. 3. I didn't see any fireworks, which is one of the best parts of the 4th of July. 

That being said, it was a really good day for a couple reasons: 1. I got to spend it with two of my favorite Americans, Ash & Anderson, and our honorary American, Pete.

The Americans! 

 2. We celebrated Christmas in July with some good friends and had a lot of super delicious food. 

Group photos are hard so the photo quality is rubbish. ;)

The idea behind Christmas in July this year was to make your favorite Christmas foods from your country. Representing America, Ash made a turkey roast, sweet potatoes (the ones with the marshmallows on top - the best), and a peach crumble for dessert. And representing Germany, Julia made pretzels, and potatoes where you cook your toppings (anything really: we had tomatoes, pineapple, onions, ham, salami, mushrooms, corn, and cheese) on a hot plate at the table. I'm not sure where the Aussie themed food was...I guess it was because they weren't doing the cooking! ;)

Hot plate for the German potato toppings

Beautifully set table by Julia

Red napkins with stars shaped like a Christmas tree = Christmas in July on the 4th of July all in one! 

All in all, it was a great day! Lots of time with family and friends and good food. At the end of the day, that's all that matters! And to all the Americans reading this right now: enjoy the fireworks, BBQ, and everything American that you possibly can. I'd love to hear how you celebrated so I can live vicariously through you! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Blue Mountains

My Aunt Zoe and Uncle Bruce were visiting Australia the past couple of weeks. Uncle Bruce was here for work so Aunt Zoe came along. We're so glad we got to spend time with them! I don't even get to see them much as it is as they live on the East Coast of the United States, let alone living across the world right now.

Last weekend we rented a bigger car that could hold us all and took a day trip to the Blue Mountains. I've always wanted to go, but hadn't had the chance to check it out yet. It was a gorgeous day, though a little chilly, and the views were stunning.

The Three Sisters

We stopped at one of the viewing areas straight away, took some photos, and then decided to go find a cafe for lunch. 

After lunch, we headed to Scenic World for the afternoon. Scenic world is an awesome way to see the Blue Mountains. There are four different rides/activities: The Scenic Railway, The Scenic Skyway, The Scenic Cableway, and the Scenic Walkway.  

Of the four rides/activities, my favorite was the Railway. While the others has amazing views, the Railway was the closest to a rollercoaster ride as you can get on the side of a mountain. So much fun!

Much steeper than it looks in the picture.

Heading down the mountain

We took the skyway across the mountain and back. Then we rode the railway down the mountain, took the walkway to the cableway and took it up back the mountain. 

Very glad this wasn't our actual railway car!

Taking the Cableway up the mountain

It was a really fun day! So great to spend quality time with family and check another place off my list of things to see in Australia.