october, lately + bake off update

hi guys. it’s been a strange start to the school year this time around. i’ve had a few work switcheroos and cancelled lessons throwing me for a loop – not exactly the kind of thing you want to have happen a month or so before you go on a big trip.

ohhh, did i mention i was going on a trip next month? more perceptive readers will know i tend to post my travel plans on this page as soon as i’ve scheduled them, but i haven’t yet got a chance to mention that next month, one of my biggest travel dreams is going to come true. one that i have hinted about on social media for months, actually! not only that, but i’m going to be able to see my family (mom + bro) because we’re headed back to….



i have been wanting to go to the iceland airwaves music festival even before the very first trip to iceland i took in 2011. for years, i have been watching the streams and following along with the icelandic music scene, thanks to my favorite seattle radio station and international pioneer of music, kexp. i don’t know why, but i quickly developed a deep love for all things icelandic music related. maybe it’s because the music scene there reminds me of the scene in my hometown of anacortes, wa.

whatever the reason, boy am i lucky enough to have my family join alex and i there! i feel like the luckiest gal in the world this year.

meanwhile, it’s been a busy but lovely month as octobers usually are. we’ve had quite the “babí léto” this year (indian summer) and the past entire week has been gorgeous and warm. not complaining! sandals have even made a reappearance as you can see, above.

i’ve been thinking a little bit about ways we all, as different people, choose to spend our free time. on most days of the week (except for saturdays, which i tend to fancy as a glorious “do nothing” sort of day a lot of the time), i have an extremely structured regimen of how i prefer to use my time. if i have free time, the priorities for me are laying out the mat and doing some yoga (if it’s morning), or cracking open the books and studying language (if it’s any other time of day). other activities (herbal studies modules, reading, etc) take a back seat. because i’m doing the bake off bake along right now through the rest of the month, sunday baking is taking up those afternoons… it’s all really quite regimented. 

on one hand, i prefer to pencil things in this way because i have so much i want to do and want to make sure i accomplish it all, but on the other, isn’t it strange to plan so many things to do for yourself that you no longer even feel like doing them, even if they were supposed to be fun? 

the past couple sundays (don’t know why it was on a sunday, pure coincidence) i hadn’t been feeling that well, but the first of those days, i plunged ahead with my regimen, not realizing what poor shape my body was in and that i needed to take a time out for a bit of extra self care. (the second sunday, i was able to realize this in advance and take better steps) in the end, balance is always the key, isn’t it.

do you prefer to have a more regimented daily routine or just do things spontaneously as they come?

speaking of sunday bakes, i have the past few weeks of bake off bake along to share! is anyone else immensely enjoying this season? i love the themed weeks so far and sandy and noel just really make it, for me, channel four switch be damned. rahul cracks me up on the regular – the flavors he chooses are mesmerizing! but kim joy’s my favorite. i am absolutely intrigued by the way her mind works, not to mention she is a fantastic artist and i dig her aesthetic. 


for week #4, dessert week (“but isn’t every week dessert week?” – alex), i decided to go with the signature challenge of a meringue roulade… never having made meringue before. i have once attempted to whisk egg whites into stiff peaks (necessary for the creation of meringue) with utter failure. i don’t own a stand mixer, so it all had to be by hand, but after some research and self-pep talks, i was absolutely successful and hand-whipping beautiful stiff peaks! the meringue was so pretty, i didn’t want to roll it all up! 

i decided to make mary berry’s classic strawberry meringue roulade recipe with only one tiny hiccup: i overwhipped my whipped cream. (doh!) i still used it, but it would have been tons better at the normal consistency. at least the meringue itself was up to snuff! the strawberries which i froze at peak freshness late last spring where absolutely delicious.

for week #5, spice week (perfect for this time of year, really), i chose the signature challenge (a ginger cake) and created a fantastic pumpkin ginger cake with speculoos crumbles! the icing wasn’t so thick and lovely (surely i’d get marked down for a thin icing) because i outright refused to use another two sticks of butter in the icing when the cake already had plenty. but the cake was the real star here – absolutely moist and delicious. it tasted very similar to my favorite pumpkin cookie recipe or the starbucks pumpkin scone. the photos were utterly horrible so i’ll spare you, but i highly recommend that recipe if you want to make the perfect, moist autumn-inspired dessert.

on week #6, last weekend, i just took a pass. i’m going to come out and admit it! it was pastry week, i had no idea – choosing between an extremely complicated dessert, samosa (did not want to deep fry anything), or a hand-shaped pie – and i wasn’t feeling well. the rest instead of an afternoon in the kitchen was one hundred percent worth it, but i’ll be back to try a vegan week (#7) challenge tomorrow.

going to try a thing and write more regular (but perhaps shorter) posts + i have one coming up combining a berlin + czech interest! 

hope you all have a great weekend. 

above photo of our “first day of october” monday morning coffee date on a boat. (life in czechland is not so bad!)