DIY Latte

I love a good latte, I would love the convenience of a latte machine, but they are so big and take up a lot of precious counter space. Here’s my little system that is simple and easy:

Tools:
($65 for non essentials, $46 for essentials)

  • First, the moka pot. My friend who has lived and worked in Italy says every Italian kitchen has one of these. This makes me feel culturally authentic and pretentious, a scary combination.
  • Tamper, coffee shops use it, so I should too? This is non essential, but I did notice a surprising difference in taste when I started using it.
  • Milk frother, this is magical.
  • Frothing pitcher, this is convenient.
  • Or, you can skip the pitcher and frother and get one of these. I have used one and they are pretty awesome. I still like my set up better though.
Ingredients:

  • Espresso grounds, this is just regular coffee grounds more finely ground. I grind my own (on the finest setting), I bought this coffee for the container once. I don’t regret it. In a pinch, regular ground coffee works.
  • Milk
  • Water

How To:

  1. Open up your moka pot, fill the bottom with water and put espresso coffee grounds in the coffee basket. I use 2 Tbs of grounds with my 3 cup moka pot. Use your tamper or a spoon to press and compact the beans. Put the moka pot on the stove (if you have a gas range, make sure the handle is not over the flame).
  2. Fill up half of your coffee mug with milk (whole milk tastes better and froths easier IMO). Throw it in the microwave for 60 seconds. The put the milk in the frothing pitcher and use your frother (video of the process). I usually tilt the pitcher to the side to avoid a mess and I think it works better.
  3. Once the coffee has percolated (you will tell by the noise). Turn off your burner and pour the espresso in your mug. Then pour your frothed milk over that and voila! You have a latte!

Emily’s French Toast

The Sunday morning routine growing up at my parent’s house included getting 6 people through the shower before church, walking around the corner for Mass, then coming home and have a big breakfast. As a young girl and still today, my role in the breakfast was making french toast while my father made the sausage, bacon, potatoes or whatever else we were to eat. This was the first recipe and probably only real thing I cooked when I was young. The strange thing is I never memorized this simple recipe, I can however tell you that it is on page 159 of the cookbook in my parent’s house! Even last week, my Aunt Kathleen called me asking for the recipe to which I replied “4-6 eggs, about a cup of milk, 1T of sugar, a splash of vanilla and a pinch of nutmeg? Maybe?”. Yep, that was totally wrong. Sorry Kathleen!

Its only appropriate that I share this recipe on this blog as this was the first WPWW project that I taught others!

 

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1.5 C milk
4 T sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla
(Janet’s Helene Vanilla if you are lucky like me)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
(if you are out, cinnamon works)
1 loaf of bread
Directions:
1. Crack your eggs into a deep pie dish (or the anything with a flat bottom, a bowl will do, but the pie dish is really handy). Beat your eggs with a fork (breaking the yolks and beating at the beginning makes sure the batter doesn’t separate later).
2. Add the milk, sugar, vanilla & nutmeg then mix it all up with a fork.
3. Turn your electric skillet on to 350 degrees or a pan on the stove top to med/high, butter the pan then dip your bread in the batter and cook. When the french toast starts steaming its time to flip!yield: 24 pieces of french toast

The most fun part is the dressing, I usually use syrup or powdered sugar BUT I recently went to brunch where the french toast was served with whipped cream and lemon curd, fantastic. Today, I whipped some whipping cream by hand and got a little lemon curd from the cupboard. It was great, it had all the benefits of going out to brunch without having to pay someone or get out of your pj’s :)

ftc IMG_9625

 

Toddlers and a Hot Summer: Not a good mix

Now I know many people do not think 100 degree weather means you can’t go outside but I along with many Oregonians (Abigail not included) just want to hide inside when the sun comes out.

This isn’t generally a problem unless you have an 18 month old that has to burn off x amount of calories everyday before they will nap. This calorie burn usually involves a walk or a trip to the park but today I just didn’t want to do either of those things.

Instead I thought, “I would love to have an indoor jungle gym!” while yes I did find a lot of ideas on Pinterest none of them were doable today. So instead I looked around the house and came up with something in about 3 minutes. I created an obstacle.

I have several boxes full of wipes and diapers, and even empty boxes that are sturdy enough for Wyatt to climb and stand on. I also found our foam letter mats that we haven’t used yet. I stacked them all in the hallway so that he couldn’t move around them. Now at first, he just tried to move them but I explained that he had to climb over and the fun began! I would jump to one side of the pile and tell him to come get me and then play with him and then jump to the other side and do the same. We had a super fun time and he was all tuckered out when it was time for his nap.      – Kathleen

Blog Post 1

Blog Post 2

blog post 3

 

What a beautiful sight!

Quilting for Cheaters

I have been quilting for a year and am loving it. There’s an element of problem solving and a sense of completion, its great. Since I have been quilting, I have heard about this mythical ‘paper piecing’ on blogs and in conversations. It sounded so complex and every finished work I saw associated with paper piecing looked amazingly technical and difficult.

Well, I’m here to tell you. Its cheating. Its amazing. I’m a convert.

All of those pieces with perfect points are now attainable and its all thanks to this tutorial:

SO EASY! Right? You just sew on the lines!!?!??! Fantastic. The only pain is when you make a mistake, its much harder to rip out because your stitches are so small.  I found this pattern on this blog post and am making some progress on my next quilt!

The Best Cake Ever

I don’t even like cake, but I am obsessed with this chocolate cake with cloudburst frosting. Its the sort of cake that actually lives up to hype that a birthday or other celebration brings. I first learned of the cake from the wonderful blog, Posie Gets Cozy. Here’s a link to the original recipe and the recipe below (in case she ever deletes her post).

Hershey’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup steaming hot (brewed) coffee

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9″ round cake pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes. Carefully stir in boiling water and coffee (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks and

Cloudburst Frosting

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup WHOLE (it has to be whole) milk
1 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

  1. In a small pan, gradually add the milk to the flour, whisking them together into a totally smooth mixture — you don’t want any lumps here. Simmer (barely) until thick over low/medium heat, whisking constantly so you don’t get any lumps. You want it to be the consistency of pudding.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool completely but not in the refrigerator. Let it cool for a few minutes, and then push a piece of plastic wrap down on the surface of the mixture (so a skin doesn’t form) and let it sit on the counter for an hour or two or three until it’s completely cool.
  3. Cream together the butter and almond; add the confectioner’s sugar and beat on high for several minutes until it is very fluffy. Add the milk/flour mixture and beat until it is super fluffy. The frosting will sometimes appear to separate when you add the milk/flour mixture, but just keep beating it on high until it whips up into smooth, fluffy clouds.
  4. Cool completely then frost your cake! I like to decorate the top a little bit with edible flowers, cacao nibs or coconut flakes.

 

Enjoy!