Mason Jar Matcha https://wraysofsunshine.com/2016/09/28/drink-menu-mason-jar-matcha/

Drink Menu: Mason Jar Matcha

masonjarmatcha_5Matcha madness started early summer 2016 at the counter at Starbucks at Fred Meyer in Greenwood. In Seattle. Here we are, someone offering me a beverage of my choice, and me with no idea what to pick, but a mighty thirst. It’s a well-known bit of Sunshine trivia that Starbucks coffee tastes burnt like they strangled that goddamn coffee bean for more than it was worth. Matt says I’m crazy, half the world gulps it by the gallon, but I am not onboard. I did have a lovely latte at the original store in Pike Place Market once, though. Not only was my barista the sweetest, her foam art was transcendent. I digress. But, of course, you say, Starbucks is a wonderland of many beverages, not just crispy coffee, Bri. Chill out. Usually in this situation I’d order the only thing I could always trust—a basic bitch caffe vanilla frappa-goddamn-cino. Yes, I want whipped cream. How could you ask me that? Layer it. Make me a parfait. Can I get a name for your order? Brianna. Like Rihanna the singer? No. Not like that.

But not today, today I just threw words together that I never had before like some kind of pro [I still call the Grande a medium, because it’s a medium.] I’d like an iced green tea latte, sweet, please.

If I hadn’t had to take breaks for oxygen and all this thing could’ve been swallowed in one incredible gulp. So yummy! But Starbucks is not a place to frequent if you’re trying to pinch your pennies, so I sought out to find matcha on my own. Starbucks does not sell its proprietary powder. I found this one on Amazon, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. Several friends told me to visit Uwajimaya, which is a magical place, but it’s nowhere near my day-to-day routine. So when we strolled near the HT Oaktree Market on North Aurora I had to stop in and see if I could find some green gold. The HT is pretty spread out and includes more international choices than expected. And they had fruits we—and we includes a professional produce man—could not identify. If you make it to the tea aisle, you’ve gone too far, though. They keep their matcha behind the counter on account of people stealing it constantly. ‘Cause it’s so good.

So now we’ve spent $8 for more than 10 drinks’ worth. Sweet.

 

Mason Jar Matcha

  • Servings: 1 matcha
  • Time: 5 min
  • Difficulty: SO easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Milk of your choice—I’ve tried whole, 2%, skim, coconut, and almond all to terrific results. Soy is also an option!
  • 1 ½ teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweetener—I’ve tried simple syrup, brown sugar, and agave nectar. Agave being the best, but honey is also an option. And it’s quite yummy unsweetened, too.
  • Mason jar
  • [Optional] Sippy straw mason jar attachment

Process:

  • Combine ingredients together. I’ve tried this in every possible order. It mixes best when you start with the sweetener and matcha and then add the milk. I also experimented with heating the milk and then icing it later. Was essentially the same. The rest is easy, just put on the lid and shake until ingredients are combined. I’ve heard tell there is a special whisk you can buy for this, but you almost get an arm workout in shaking it so might as well.

So good. Sooooo good.

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Are you into milk teas? What you got in that cup? Try this and lemme know if you can dig it in the comments below. Still hungry? See our whole Menu.

 

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Credits: All images and ideas are by Brianna for Wrays of Sunshine. If you like it, put a link on it.

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Meet: Justin Blackwell

Hai guys, welcome back. Today we’re hanging out with our friend from way back, Justin Blackwell. He’s a mechanic, an engineer, just an all-around what-do-you-need-done-it’s-done kind of guy. We met here in Seattle, but since then he’s moved to Kentucky. The accompanying photos are from his recent visit. Yay!

Do you consider yourself an artist?

I’ve never been considered an artist, but there is an art form to some of the things I do.

When was the last time you danced?

I guess last night would count as dancing since I was pretty well popping and locking to Bust A Move by Young MC. LOL

What was your favorite thing about living in Seattle?

My favorite thing about living in Seattle was the music scene and the diversity of people who I was able to meet on a regular basis. Made some damn good friends out there.

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What is your favorite life advice / inspiring quote?

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Stopped in for provisions to visit Honeybee at Marketime.

Justin is the wild card character that you’re always happy to have at hand. Whatever you do, don’t ask him to smile for your camera, though. He will make this face. And he will hold it.

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Thanks for kicking it with us for a minute. Friends are a blessing and we are some lucky Wrays. Want more? Meet our other friends. And subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine.

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Menu: Personal Peach Pies

I have yet to taste a peach as good as a Georgia peach. Perfect texture, unreal juiciness, just everything you could ever want from the Earth. Bounty. A treasure. And now it’s been so long since I had one the memory’s locked, golden, in time. There hasn’t been much close until our buddy Nathan brought these farm fresh peaches from Walla Walla. There was no salvaging the situation, if you bit one of these peaches you succumbed to the peach dribble storming down your chin renewed with each bite. He brought us so many that eating them all straight up was out of the question. Demasiado, en español. All of a sudden we had to have pie. Everything was pie. Pizzas, color wheels, the world! Trouble is, I’ve never made a peach pie in my life. Turns out it’s the easiest, best thing.

Personal Peach Pies

  • Servings: 4 mini pies
  • Time: 30 min+20 minutes cooling
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 8 peaches
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoon Smart Balance [butter, whathaveyou]
  • 2 pie shells
  • flour for stretching dough
  • 1 ½ cups water

Deseed and half peaches. Boil in water for 20 minutes. As peaches soften, remove skins. Break some peaches up with a spoon; leave some in larger bits, too. Add brown sugar. Stir until desired consistency is achieved. The longer you cook it, the more concentrated the peach intensity. Cool. Follow instructions for your dough, but mine required 15-minute’s pre-baking before filling could be added. We’ve moved into a new place where our oven is a multi-setting high-class toaster oven affair. My pie shells were ready in 5 minutes. I cut and set aside some dough for the toppers. What’s a pie without a little latticework?

Om nom. Nom Nom.

I’m sad there weren’t more pictures of these little guys. My Honeybee took ’em out! No survivors! I sent one to Bethany because she’s always baking up something amazing and sharing with me and that was it. Poof, another golden peach memory.

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Note: I ended up freezing half the cooked peaches—which is going to blow my own mind when I thaw it out at some point late fall, so if you’re going to use them all, you’ll need to double up on pie shells. Or you could just half the amount of peaches in the first place. Adjust to your pie needs. It works out to about a peach per pie.

Think about it, though, wherever you are just now, you’re only 20 minutes from peach pie. So, things are lookin’ up.

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Credit: All images and writing by Brianna Wray for Wrays of Sunshine. 

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You Can & You Will

Yup. It’s the difficult thing. Once again, the hard way. The high road. Or the low road. Whichever one you come out too sweaty for the circumstances with scratches and cuts along your ankles and soul. But uphill battles are crucial for building strong calf muscles, it’s 100% worth it in the end. You can and you will succeed. If it is at all possible, you’ll get it done. It’ll be in the bag and you can take that bag to the bank. You could put that bag in your pipe and smoke it.

And if it be impossible, then let it be. Something better will be along just after it. That’s how it works. Adventures come in waves.

I believe in you, boo!

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I Smile Because I Want To | You Shine So Bright | You Can Shine Today

Credits: Illustration and text, You Can & You Will by Sunshine

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Word of the Day: stultify

Hi there! Sunshine here with a new word for ya. It’s not new-new per se, but in an effort to keep our vocabulary fresh, we’ve got to use it or lose it, amiright?

I recently reread the Harry Potter series. When school is in session and I’m bogged down with projects, I get my HP fix by watching the movies which is all well and good. This summer, though, I’m taking advantage of the extra time on my hands to reread the books which have some very noteworthy differences. In fact, I’ve already ranted about how the folks at Warner Bros missed THE ENTIRE POINT of the series and chose to omit the very point of the story.

And the more you read about the slavery and injustice that exists in the foundations the wizarding world, the more parallels are drawn between it and our society. I can’t help but think that maybe if the true story were the common knowledge story, there might be some young person able to translate  that revolution into terms that our society can benefit from.

But I digress. Don’t get me started, I could do a whole series on the subject of elf rights, centaur legislation and the blatant ignoring of canon (Star Wars fans wouldn’t take that ‘ish!). Today, though, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban – book and movie – can help us understand our word better.

Remember the bogart? The shape-shifting creature that takes on the form of what the viewer fears most? To defeat a bogart, one must use the spell, Ridickulous, whilst transforming the fear into something funny. This is a useful skill to have whether you’re a wizard or a muggle.

If I were face to face with a bogart, it’d probably turn into…a useless bachelor’s degree and a stack of art crap I made that nobody wants. Then, I’d step up to it, wand at the ready, and I’d stultify my fear by envisioning that same art degree useful and gleaming and that art in galleries or, better yet, in the homes of folks who love it.

The goal of working for oneself, making beauty to share with the world writ large is the sort of thing that occurs to me endogenously.

See what I did there? If you missed it, check out last month’s Word of the Day and tune in next time for more Wrays of Sunshine!

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Summer Reading

As a matriculated student at the UW, during the on-season I’m stacked with projects to work on, so that by the time this summer arrived my must read list runneth over. So, beginning where I’d left off at Kurt Vonnegut’s Timequake. I love Timequake as much for its own story as all its many references to other stories and books and the days when an author could make a living from short stories published in newspapers no one reads anymore. (And long sentences. Followed by really shorts ones.) The man lived and died years ago and somehow everything he wrote is still so on point and true. And extra especially because he mentions one of my all-time favorite books, Catch 22, by Joseph Heller in high regard. Game recognize game, my friend.

After that I regressed into my youth, rereading the Harry Potter series from Cupboard Under the Stairs to Godric’s Hollow. As I finished a book, I’d watch the movie and yell at the know-nothings at the Warner Brothers who removed the very heart of the story to guarantee box office dollars. Anyone who read those books could tell you what’s missing, Hermione’s outsmarting the wizard media’s nastiest sassy lassy, Rita Skeeter. And, more importantly, Hermione’s entire Elf Rights protest which leads to the entire purpose of the story, that a world built upon foundations of injustice must be shaken all the way down to those same foundations and rebuilt correctly. Or as Killer Mike said it when he visited UW last year, “make it fair for everyone or burn it the fuck down.”

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But between wondering what America might be like if the WB had told the whole story, I realized I wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to the wizarding world yet and, thankfully Rowling, Tiffany & Thorne’s Harry Potter & the Cursed Child obliged. Despite the drastic change in format, the story picks up right from where the Hallows leave off, some nineteen years post Voldemortum. No spoiler alerts here, but I had a lot of questions about what Voldemort got up to in that time he bided at Malfoy manor. A couple few questions.

One day I found a promising looking book in one of the Little Free Libraries all along my jogging path here in the very progressive, very literate city of Seattle. Its jacket said anyone who read Rowling would love this. One of the endorsements on the inside written by one Mister Mickey Rapkin of GQ Magazine said, “I felt like I was poppin’ peyote buttons with J.K. Rowling when I was reading Lev Grossman’s new novel The Magicians…couldn’t put it down.” So there it was, I had to have it. I replaced it with a sci-fi novel and a book on smart entertaining because how else do those Little Free Libraries keep afloat?! It gathered dust until after the Cursed Child and boom.

Down the rabbit hole. I finished The Magicians a couple days ago, but not before making sure I’d downloaded The Magician King and The Magician’s Land onto my tablet, named Sir La Tabla. Mkay, you see how real that is. I had to make sure the next two books were on deck. No pauses. It’s pretty baffling how Grossman can weave a whole new magical world while acknowledging Narnia, Dungeons & Dragons, Lord of the Rings, Magic the Gathering, Alice in Wonderland and, yes, there’s some Hogwarts in there, too.

Excuse me, Sir La Tabla is charged up and it’s off to Fillory!

Are you reading anything good these days? Leave in the comments below, boo! Have you seen the Magicians teevee show on SyFy? I haven’t seen any of it, I can’t won’t until I’ve finished all three books and fully digested the series before I can open myself up to another director, especially after what WB did to me. Just too wounded, just a little sensitive right now.

xo,

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New Labor Day Tradition

Happy Labor Day, Sunshine!

This year I’m blessed to be off work officially, but after a good summer’s chillaxin’ I didn’t want to see the day wasted. Instead I decided to labor only for myself. That is, scheduling creative projects like I would meetings in a regular work day. One after another an onslaught of healthy awesomeness. I replaced the morning commute with a jog into North Seattle College campus and back, then got to work fun.

  • jog & plank
  • shower & nutritious breakfast
  • cut up giant watermelon
  • write this weeks menu
  • record glockenspiel for new song, Affirmative
  • upload Super Plaid music
  • make tea
  • make mini peach pies
  • abstract painting for top secret clandestine project
  • sketch denim jacket ideas

We’ll see if I make it through the whole list, but so far I’m steaming right along. Hope your day is lovely, honey! I leave you with a lovely dahlia I spied on my jog this morning.

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Sunshiny Florida

One of the best memories of the Summer of 20016: FLORIDA TRIP

It was amazing because I’ve known my Honeybee for years and have, no doubt, told him crazy stories about Orlando but to be able to show him made all the difference. And it was a trip of many firsts.

He’d never been to a theme park at all ever, so you could imagine his excitement as we pulled up to Universal Studios. I’ve been there several times, but had never seen to whole Wizarding World of Harry Potter experience, since they practically announced they were building it the day I moved. But that meant there was something new for both of us.

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We couldn’t get many photos there since there were several wet rides. I didn’t even bring the dSLR and my phone was mostly tucked safely inside a plastic bag.

Plastic bags! They use those still! I’m such a tourist.

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Actually, in general, I was a little disappointed with the lack of photos and of the quality of the photos that I did have. There are no images of the yummy seafood crab and shrimp pasta dinner we shared. No photos of Jelian’s buoyant baby bump or audio clips of her yelling at Muggles skipping the line. There’s no evidence of Mama Juana’s fresh, perfect tamales—of course they were victims of their own deliciousness, barely reaching the plate before getting drenched in salsa and demolished. Or of Kat & Rawko’s epic hugs and art! Ultimately pictures are only representations of a slice of a memory and those memories themselves are in tact. For example, after the photo above was taken, I switched to video and captured Honeybee exiting the beach. After that he admitted that he didn’t believe that the water would be warm enough to enjoy comfortably. He genuinely thought we were exaggerating. He’s a believer now, though.

See the video on the Wrays of Sunshine Youtube channel.

And later that evening I shared the best memory with Heather. I won’t go into details here, but Heather knows. And I’ll never forget.

Thank you for all who made this trip possible, it truly takes a village. Learning to take a break really offers more benefits than just a tan, we’re able to look around and see just how blessed we are.

Don’t forget to like, comment & subscribe for more Wrays of Sunshine!

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Word of the Day: endogenous

Not to be confused with indigenous or androgynous, the word endogenous means proceeding from within or derived internally. All our beauty is endogenous. Our understanding, our belonging, our place in the natural world originates endogenously, for it is from within that we building the strongest foundation.

Do you love language like me? At some point this past winter I realized I was missing studying vocabulary like we used to do in those SAT days. Then I realized it’s never too late to learn more! And especially now that school is out, I can read new non-school-related books and learn all sorts of new things. Let’s learn together! Try using endogenous in a sentence today.

What are your favorite $10 SAT words in your repertoire? Comment below!

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Pickin by Lauren Kelley

The other day Honeybee came home to find me frantically assembling this giant purple afro wig of wonder which I call my Ebony Splendor. His eyes lit up as he recalled a ‘fro he’d seen in the Stranger.

And I was like, “I know, I know, I’m already in love.”

Go to Lauren Kelley’s website and tell her how dope she is!

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See it at the Northwest African American Museum in their show Posing Beauty in African American Culture which runs now through September 4th.

See you there, boo!