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Using my Google Home in the Kitchen

Like many of you, I welcomed a “smart home” device into my living room a year or so ago. 

I did a bunch of research, Google Home vs Amazon’s Alexa. I chose the Google Home for a few reasons: first off, I’m not a huge Amazon shopper. I don’t have Prime, it’s not my go-to for shopping like many people. On the other hand, I’m pretty entrenched in the Google universe–I use gmail primarily, I have Google Drive, and it just felt like a better fit for me. 

Google Home in the Kitchen

The other thing I didn’t like about Amazon’s Alexa is that it gets triggered by saying the word “Alexa.” So, if you’re having a casual conversation and drop the word “Alexa,” it turns on. With the Google home, you have to say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” to trigger it, and I find that works better. 

So I bought a Google Home mini for Christmas a couple years ago, and last year, I invested in some smart plugs that allowed me to turn our Christmas lights on and off from my phone (or with my voice command). 

So, I’m sure many of you have similar devices, and you use them to listen to music and podcasts (as do I) and to do things like turning lights off and on. My friend Peggy has hers set up in her house so that every day they have a wakeup routine to get them out the door. 

Google Home Mini

I also like the broadcasting ability. We live in a tiny apartment, so I don’t need to broadcast to Michael that dinner’s ready if he’s in a different room, but sometimes we use it to talk to our cat when we’re not home. ‘Cause yeah, we’re weird like that. 😉 

But the purpose of this post is to share with you how I use the Google Home in the kitchen. 

It’s a misnomer–the Google Home actually lives in my living room, and I just shout at it from the kitchen, but you get the idea! 

There are three main things I use the Google Home in the kitchen for: 

Google Home Shopping List

  1. Shopping list. This was one of the main reasons I bought it! Whenever we run out of something, Michael or I just say “Hey Google, add x to the shopping list.” Then, when I’m in the grocery store, I just pull up the shopping list on my app and I know exactly what I need to buy. It’s a great system, and it works for both of us. If you have multiple people that buy groceries in your house, it works great for that too, just add them to the list. 
  2. Recipes. You may have noticed while browsing the internet, that you’ll come across a recipe and underneath it’ll say “send to my google home.” I love this feature! When I’m in the kitchen, sometimes my hands are gooey or sticky and I don’t want to touch my phone. You can control it all with your voice. The recipe feature allows you to choose if you want it delivered to you by ingredients or by instructions. I have quite a bit of knowledge about how to make things, so I choose ingredients, and it pauses in between each one. Then I just say “Okay google, next ingredient,” and it gives it to me. It’s a really smart way to do recipes. 

3. Timer. You’re baking cookies? They need 12 minutes? You just say “OK google, set a timer for 12 minutes,” and you’re good to go. 

And while I’m cleaning up? I’m probably listening to one of my Spotify playlists or a podcast on the Google home. 

How do you use your Google Home in the kitchen? I’d love to hear if there’s any awesome tips I don’t know about. 

Kouign Amann in Vancouver

Gentle readers, meet my newest obsession, the Kouign Amann. 

If you’ve never heard of this deliciousness, two things: I am sad for you, and go remedy the situation and get some now!

Kougin Amann

The Kouign Amann hails from the Brittnay region of France, which is almost a peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. Known for its pinkish beaches and ancient standing stones, it’s about 400 km from Paris. It’s actually quite close to the UK (which maybe explains the name). In terms of food, the area is famous for seafood (makes sense), crepes, and this fantastic confection: the Kouign Amann.

It’s a little like a croissant (to find out who has my favourite croissant in the city, click here). The dough is created using lamination, which folds sheets of butter into the dough (which is how you make croissants). But this dough includes sugar as well, making it sweeter than your average croissant, and also creating a crispy, caramelized, almost brullééd crust. They are baked in round tins, which is what gives them the distinct round shape, unlike the crescent-shaped croissants.

So, picture soft, buttery dough with a sweet, crunchy shell. That, my friends, is Kouign Amann.

Inside cross-section of a Kougin Amann showing layers

There are a few places here in Vancouver where they are available, though they are much harder to find than croissants.

Kouign Amann in Vancouver

Angus T: this was the first place I ever had a Kouign amann, and man, was my mind blown! Yaleown’s Angus T serves nothing but croissants, so you’d assume, rightly, that they make them well. The Kouign Amann here is baked in such a way that it has these lovely “leaves” that sprout up out of the pan.

Kougin Amann

The Bench Bakehouse: this may be my favourite Kouign Amann in Vancouver. The Bench opened in January, 2019 on Commercial Dr, and the husband-wife team that run it trained in both Paris and San Francisco, so they are legit. It’s buttery, it’s soft, it’s crunchy… they finish it with a sprinkle of fleur de sel… it’s a party in your mouth.

Kougin Amann

Beaucoup: what makes the Beaucoup Kouign Amann distinctive is its punchy cardamom flavour. This is not traditional, but if you’re a fan of that warm spice, you’ll like this one.

Kougin Amann

Nemesis: Nemesis is one of my go-to coffee joints when I want to get out and write where there are people. It’s bright and clean, and the coffee and snacks are good. I have to get the Kouign Amann when I’m there to dip in my coffee. It’s so, so good.

Kougin Amann

Batard: If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that Batard makes my favourite croissant in the city. Their Kouign Amann is also good. Maybe order both???

Okay! What have I missed? Share with me below where you find Kouign Amann in Vancouver and I’ll add it to my list!

UPDATE: September 2020:

Their There supposedly makes a cereal milk Kouign Amann. Yeah, that’s right, it tastes like Fruit Loops!

Kouign Cafe YVR has just opened in Chinatown. Theirs features a mochi inside, and they are trés instagrammable.

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