Get Your Hot Cakes!

So, who is currently a full-time student and has worked 60 hours in the last 10 days?

This girl!

An opportunity fatefully presented itself, and I felt the pull to seize it; thus, 60 hours of work in 10 days happened…in addition to attending to regularly scheduled scholastic activities. Fun times!

It really is crazy to think about the way life happenings play out. Several significant events have occurred/are occurring in the homeland recently (revolving around super important people in my life!), all for which I want/ed to be present, but I never could pull the trigger on booking a flight to make it happen. As it turns out, if I would’ve gone home, opportunity would have been compromised. Really, crazy to ponder over. But, that’s neither her nor there. I know you’re wondering what said opportunity is, specifically.

And I give you: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, located in the super fun Seattle neighborhood/district/whatever that is Ballard. I really, really urge you to visit the website and let it do itself justice. I’m serious. Hot Cakes is a dessert shop, but I can guarantee you it is FAR from anything you’ve experienced.

From the website: “Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery crafts organic, American comfort desserts and other original and innovative confections. We were founded in 2008 by Autumn Martin with the dessert that gave us our name: Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar.” Awesome, right? Go here and read more.

Autumn has been running Hot Cakes since 2008, but the storefront just had its Grand Opening this weekend. It went so well, and I wish I had more quality photos to share. The space is so unique and perfect. There was a media party on Friday night, so I’m hoping to find more photos when I have the time to search.

View from one corner of Hot Cakes. Photo taken at the media party.

Looking out from behind the bar.

Notice the clothespins, old photos, gum ball machine, and other decor.

While I wish I had all the time in the world to tell you of my involvement in this awesomeness, I do not. Details forthcoming, though. I promise.

I do, however, need to share something of the utmost importance, which regards Hot Cakes and is oh-so-pertinent.

Hot Cakes needs your help! You may or may not be familiar with Kickstarter, which refers to itself as “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” Basically, projects (like Hot Cakes) set a fundraising goal for themselves, which is to be met in a given time period. People make pledges to support the project, and if the goal is met within the timeframe, then the project is awarded the funds. No pledge goal met = no funds for project.

Hot Cakes launched a Kickstarter campaign and is less than three days away from its ending. The goal is $25,000, and a little over $20,500 has been pledged thus far. Autumn has participated in an amazing video, which explains what Hot Cakes and the needs for the funds are all about. Please, please, please! watch this video (you can find it below). If nothing else, you will get a little glimpse of what I’ve excitedly gotten myself into.

You should also know that Autumn is graciously giving all those who support the project (with a gift of $25+) a serious hookup of sweet treats. These desserts are DEE-LISH, and I promise, promise, PROMISE you will never regret supporting Hot Cakes! Please, watch the video, visit the Kickstarter campaign page to learn more about how truly awesome Autumn and Hot Cakes are, and make a pledge! Hot Cakes is so close to meeting its goal, and the implications are huge! If you do make a pledge, PLEASE let me know, so I can give you a big hug. Maybe I’ll even send you more treats. Probably I will, actually. And Autumn will definitely send hugs, too. Your support is appreciated.

NOW WATCH THE VIDEO. 😉

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1185564491/hot-cakes-an-organic-molten-chocolate-cakery/widget/video.html

Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my organic and dessert-loving heart!

Peace, Love, and Hot Cakes.

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On Bonfires, The Black Keys, and (Awesome) Black Socks

I had a kind of busy few days last weekend/the beginning of this week. Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, so obviously there was a little fun to be had. That day also happened to be the birthday of a school friend, so that was just more reason for fun. The birthday boy hosted a casual bonfire at his home, complete with Mexican-inspired cuisine. I love being in a nutrition program. Social gatherings are always accompanied by awesome food…which I did not photograph. Oops.

Back to the bonfire.

‘Twas a good time. It was a really nice evening, and there was a variety of people there, so we pretty much just sat around and talked random things. I allowed a naturopathic medicine student to palpate my radial artery (i.e. take my pulse) for a solid minute in an attempt to guess my dominant Dosha, as determined by Ayurveda. … I’m not kidding. And he was spot on. How do I know this? Because my curiosity caused me to research Ayurveda and figure out my dominant Dosha ages ago. Don’t act like you’re surprised.

Also while around the bonfire, we kept our eyes toward the sky to analyze the Supermoon, which I’m still a little confused about. We had a hard time seeing the “super” part. Oh well.

Andrea and myself sitting entirely too close to the blazing bonfire

Backdrop of a bonfire, Washington style

So that was that. Happy Cinco de Birthday was a good time. I’d like to note that Andrea made some phenom(enal) specialty cupcakes, for which she had to reduce raspberries and such, and I made some phenom specialty cookies. Word on the street was that the birthday boy went into a sugar coma the next day due to consumption of leftovers. I call that baking success.

On Sunday I found myself at the Lake City Elk’s Lodge for an event at which I volunteered. It was called Empty Bowls, and it was to benefit North Helpline–a food bank that I have volunteered with on a semi-regular basis since moving here. My friend/classmate, Rebecca, volunteered with me, and we had a pretty okay time.

Basically, a bunch of local artists donate (a ton of!) ceramic bowls, and ticket-purchasing patrons get to pick a bowl that they keep and which they can also use to eat soup that is donated by various local restaurants/cafés. The full lunch included soup, salad, bread, dessert, and beverage. There was also a gigantic silent auction, a wine raffle, a quilt raffle, and live music–local bands, of course.

The photo below was taken pre-event. The centerpieces were basil plants, which were for purchase. Cool! Rebecca and I contemplated buying one. They were huge.

So that was a noteworthy event. A lot of volunteer things we participate in are way smaller and less exciting. I think Empty Bowls is a pretty huge fundraiser for North Helpline, so it was cool to be a part of that. Also, side note on Rebecca friend: I asked a fellow volunteer to take a photo of us (for blogging purposes, obviously), but it turned out horrible. Sad. Rebecca will undoubtedly make a blog appearance soon. She is a solid member of my crew here and fully supports this blogging habit. She even encouraged me to take iPhone photos in biochemistry lab today. Haha. (Hi, Rebecca. :))

Anyway. Moving on. On Tuesday night, I practiced a little irresponsibility again and attended The Black Keys! With Arctic Monkeys! In Seattle! It was a really good show. Andrea and I decided to go kinda last minute and purchased tickets last week. She is a longtime fan of The Black Keys, and I hinted to her that we should go because I heard they put on an amazing show. Our seats were far away, but the show did not disappoint.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys

I’d say The Black Keys were all they’re cracked up to be. I’m hooked for sure. Also, Arctic Monkeys were awesome. I was familiar with them, but that’s about it. Andrea had no prior knowledge, but we both concluded that they were really impressive. Definitely fun to watch, too.

So that was my busy few days. The day after the concert was marked by an 8:00 am quiz, followed by a three-hour-long Whole Foods Production cooking lab, and then a biochemistry lecture from 3-5:00 pm. Andrea fell asleep during biochem lecture. Haha. Sorry, Andrea- it was sort of hilarious. While I did not fall asleep during biochem, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t majorly struggling. I also realized during biochem that I had forgotten socks for my planned post-biochem workout. Good one. Be proud of me, though: Instead of bailing on my workout (like I really, reeeealllyy wanted to), I decided to just rock my tall socks.

Be jealous of my awesomeness.

Hippie Alert

First of all- I’d like to note that I am always conflicted as to how to spell ‘hippie’. Hippy? I am not sure which is more correct. Thoughts on spelling preference would be appreciated.

Anyway. My school has this neat thing called Herbal Ways Club, and several weeks ago my roommate came home and was insistent that I get out of my comfy bed to come sample some elderberry infused honey that he had concocted in said club. The honey was good, and I was mildly intrigued by Herbal Ways Club at this point. I’d heard of it (thanks to campus-wide emails, of course- love those) but had not really thought about going. I know nothing about herbs. Okay, that’s a lie. But really, my herbal knowledge is limited. I’d for sure be a poser if I went. But after this honey, and the tea and the lip balm and the hand salve and the herbal knowledge with which he came home in the following weeks, I decided that–poser or not–I was going to check this Herbal Ways thing out. I mean, you pay $2 to attend, get to use all of their resources, and get to keep whatever you make. Pretty legit deal.

So I went. Holy overwhelming situation. Again, limited herbal knowledge here. Brandon (roommate) had given me a book to look through before going so I could figure out what I wanted to do. I browsed through it thinking, “Oh…this is kind of cool…but way too intense for me…I’ll just make some tea.” Not smart. Should have been more focused. My school does not mess around.  Here are some options for ingredients, as offered by Herbal Ways:

Holy tons of herbs

This is merely one wall. And this little room is separate from the huge kitchen of stoves and other stuff necessary for herbal concocting. Told you- overwhelming.

The guy in charge (a fellow student, I think) was super nice and talked to me like I wasn’t an herbal idiot, though we both knew I was. He was incredibly helpful and it would’ve been a pointless excursion for me without his guidance. Even with his guidance, though, I spent most of my time digging through these:

Interesting stuff, I tell you. Seriously.

So anyway, I made some tea. And by “made” I mean more like ‘finally-decided-on-some (random?)-stuff-to-mix-together-in-whatever-proportion-I-wanted’…and then called it tea. David (herbal guide extraordinaire) was again super helpful. I told him I wanted something with rose and he helped me go from there.

In the beginning, there were rose petals

So, what I ended up with was rose, lemon balm, spearmint, hawthorn, and motherwort. Lovely. Seriously, it was good. It smelled SO good. And it tastes good, too. All the herbal pros who were running around concocting herbal amazingness were impressed. Yay!

Rose is supposed to be good for skin. Interesting, right? Makes sense that people cleanse with rose water. Motherwort is calming/therapeutic. Apparently it is sometimes put in saunas? I liked it a lot. Spearmint added a nice flavor, as did the lemon balm, but the herbal properties of all it are escaping me now. I know that what I made was a calming/soothing tea, though not at all a sedative of any sort.

Herbal Ways Club success!

I really want to go back and make more cool stuff. Like, a cleansing white clay/rose face mask/wash thing I read about in this book.

This book is awesome. It is beyond informative and is so user friendly, which is important for herbal idiots/posers like myself. I guess it is no longer in hardcover, so I was informed to buy it –no matter the price–if ever I see it in hardcover. While I did not rush to search for a hardcover copy, I did rush to the library to check it out. I have to be prepared for my next Herbal Ways Club adventure, duh.

So what is the take-home message here? The take-home message is that I’m switching from nutrition/dietetics to herbal sciences… Joke. Calm down, Mom and Dad, people. The real take-home message is that my school is awesome. For real. Things like Herbal Ways Club remind me of the reasons I chose to come out here. How many students can say that they had opportunities like this? I’d guess not many.

The other take-home message is that I am fully embracing my inner hippy/hippie ways. And loving it.