As a way to keep my sanity and productivity up during the school year (hey, it’s tough juggling taking classes, doing research, and delegating to undergraduate assistants!), I started implementing “take-a-day Thursdays.” As a graduate student, I could conceivably work 7 days a week because my schedule is so flexible and I could just go into my office whenever. There isn’t as clear a divide between work and home life as in other professions (in my opinion). So, to avoid working every day, I take Thursdays off and often work through the weekends. You can probably start to expect a lot of updates on Thursdays…
Today started off in the best way possible: Sleeping in!!!! I didn’t set an alarm and instead chose to rise when my body felt like it…at 11:30 AM. Kinda gross, but most of the time I’m up and at ’em bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 5:15 AM. I think I deserve one morning like yesterday. After my obligatory morning email check, I decided to hit up Sip Coffeebar in Northeast Minneapolis. This place is across the street from CrossFit Minneapolis’s first warehouse location, in the old Grain Belt Brewery Keg House. Even though the gym was across the street, I didn’t go into this place until last November when I had a Groupon to redeem. And now I wish this place was closer!
I love the environment of the place: Cool decor, good music, a few patio seats outside. And since it’s kind of off on a deserted street – lots of street parking and not too many people! I think most of their business comes from the people who work in the area (artists, mainly). They serve sandwiches and daily special hot soups for lunch and have a good smattering of breakfast baked goods, although those are all wrapped individually in saran wrap, which makes me cringe a little for the environment. But the real reason to go is because they serve coffee beverages with Torani Toasted Marshmallow syrup! Last time I went, they were out of stock, but I’m glad it’s not just a seasonal syrup. I was excited to try out what I thought would taste like a roasted s’more – a toasted marshmallow MOCHA!
Sooooo, in all honesty, it didn’t live up to the hype in my head. The chocolate flavor in the mocha was overpowering to point of me even wondering if the barista had even put in the specialty syrup. Perhaps it would work better as a latte on its own and/or with vanilla syrup instead? Not sure…but I’m not going to give up on this syrup just yet. It’s just too intriguing a flavor!
After coffee, I came home to let the real work begin: Making ice cream!!! I neglected to buy bananas at the store for my original idea of banana brown sugar ice cream (this girl is SMART), so I resorted to making “fleur de lait” or “milkflower” ice cream. It’s essentially just milk, cream, and sugar; pretty basic flavor, but definitely not vanilla! I had to use brown sugar instead of regular white sugar, so I’m sure the actual flavor (and color) is not genuine fleur de lait, but hey, it still tastes good. I realized the trick to making a good thick ice cream also was properly letting the mixture cool in the fridge before transferring it to the ice cream maker. And proper coolage requires about an hour or so in the fridge. Patience is a virtue, right? But look at how nice the consistency of the ice cream is:
In the past, my ice creams have been a little runny in the maker and I have to put them in the container and then freeze them in the freezer for them to look better. Live and learn…
Recipe for Fleur de Lait Ice Cream (from David Leibovitz’s The Perfect Scoop)
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar (I used brown sugar, but technically you’re supposed to use white granulated)
Pinch of salt
3 Tb cornstarch
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk with the sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream with the cornstarch, then slowly whisk that mixture in with the milk. Heat until the mixture starts to bubble up, stirring occasionally. Seriously, the “stirring occasionally” bit helps the sugar not stick to the bottom, so DO IT! Once it starts to bubble up, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool in the fridge. BE PATIENT! Transfer to your ice cream maker and blend according to your machine’s instructions.
If only all recipes were this easy! After finishing the ice cream, I headed to CrossFit for a workout that made my legs twitch afterward and then came home for an ever-important “give myself a manicure” session. It’s been a while since I’ve painted my nails, so I popped in The Dark Knight, settled into my LoveSac, and set up my nail polish on the floor. I did something a little edgy with the design, opting for a hot pink base topped with the wildly popular OPI Black Shatter crackle polish. I think it looks pretty cool, if a little dark, for the summer.
Gotta love me some take-a-day Thursday!