tag: hot

cue the bikinis!

July 7, 2011

Posted by in handmade

ani bikinis

ani bikinis
ani bikinis

ani bikinis

ani bikinis

welp, the high here today is a balmy 94°, so i say.. cue the bikinis! especially if they are as beautiful as these ani bikinis. aren’t they stunning? they feature a striking selection of hand-dyed, textured fabrics and crochet knits that bring their personality to life. visit them on their website, etsy and facebook to see more.

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hot cocoa mix with ashley pahl

February 14, 2011

Posted by in handmade

I first made this hot cocoa mix over the holidays, and it was a huge hit. I know I will never buy hot cocoa packets again. It’s easy to make a big batch of this mix, and keep it on hand for when you’re craving a warm mug. The best part is that the powdered milk can be switched out for powdered soy milk, to accommodate vegans or those with allergies.

The marshmallow hearts idea came from Martha Stewart – great for Valentine’s Day!

Recipe adapted from Alton Brown


2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
2 1/2 cups powdered milk (or powdered milk substitute)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cornstarch
1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Hot water


Place all ingredients into a large bowl; mix well. Store in an air-tight container. To make one serving: fill a mug with 1/3 cup of homemade hot cocoa mix. Fill the rest with hot water.

To make heart marshmallows: simply cut large marshmallows in half, and use a greased mini heart cutter to punch out the centers. Perfect!

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty project Ashley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titledEtsy shop.

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Posted by in handmade

This week I thought we would take a break from the espresso, and share a recipe for the tea drinkers: the creamy, chai latte. While this method of making a chai may be a little unorthodox, one of the points of this series is to save a little money and make drinks at home, using what you hopefully already have.


1 cup of water

3 tsp darjeeling tea (or experiment – whatever you have handy!)

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tsp ground ginger

10 whole cloves

1 orange peel

1/4 cup honey

1 cup of milk (regular or soy)

Additional ingredients for more spice (optional)

2 tsp crushed black peppercorns

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

6 anise stars


Place the tea leaves, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves, orange peel, and optional ingredients in a paper-lined filter basket of a drip coffee maker. Run 1 cup of water through. Use your coffee pot, or a tea pot if your coffee pot is currently occupied (like mine was!).

Split the honey into the bottom of two empty mugs. After tea has brewed, pour in the mugs, and stir.

Steam 1 cup of milk or soy milk with a wand, or simply heat in a pot on your stove. Pour into mugs, top off with the foam, and drizzle with a little honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Too many ingredients for your taste? Try this simple method with chai tea bags from BigelowTea.com:

For every 8 oz serving, place 1 chai tea bag, 3/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of milk in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, lower heat, and simmer for 2-4 minutes. Pour into cups and sweeten with sugar or honey.

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty project Ashley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titled Etsy shop.

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how to make your own tea

January 27, 2011

hello, friends! today i have a very special guest post for you from my dear friend christy from nordgrains! as our husbands work together, it wasn’t long before we found each other and became quick friends. she writes a fabulous blog on healthy living, yoga and nutrition (a must read!) and today is sharing with us how to make our very own tea. i’ve had several cups and it’s just about the yummiest tea i’ve ever had!

how to make your own tea
Tea is funny. It is both companion and social prop. “Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things,” Chaim Potok writes in his novel, The Chosen. But C. S. Lewis said, “Tea should be taken in solitude.” In wintertime I cannot help but wish for tea nearly every day. I am not picky: it tastes good in the presence of company or in the company of silence. There is indeed something magical about good tea, but there is even more magic in great tea, and even better—in pretty tea. A couple weeks ago I accepted an invitation to explore the verb “create.” It is a tricky verb–that business of creating–especially if one’s greatest temptation is comparison. Comparison and competition stripped away, I am creative. One of my most delightful qualities is my uncanny ability to explore and marry flavors. So I set out to make my own tea. I was so inspired by the abundance of options before me that I soon penciled in a new goal: one day cultivate my own tea garden from which I can harvest rich, home-grown flavors.

Tea bags are surprisingly easy to come by. I ordered mine online but also found a small variety at local health markets. Some resources suggested making tea bags out of cheesecloth. One problem: I am a sans sewing machine, completely novice DIY-er.

how to make your own tea

My first purchase was a big handful of organic Colorado mountain mint. I rinsed the leaves and made small bouquets to hang in a dark, dry space. I also cleaned and chopped organic tangerine rind. My flavor collection was completed in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods where I gathered cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise stars, cardamom pods, a few other spices, and some jasmine green tea leaves.

how to make your own tea

Always somewhere between hateful and grateful of our semi-arid climate here on Colorado’s Front Range, I did not wait long for my mint to dry. Now here’s the deal. When you buy regular old tea bags, the ingredients are so minced and chopped that you eventually stare at a mass resembling a soggy cud, having no visual connection to any real plant-based ingredient in the cotton satchel. Tea should be pretty. I did not chop and crush my mint leaves. I broke them only small enough to fit inside the tea bags. This way the leaves expand, grow, and turn a brilliant green in the tea cup!

how to make your own tea

Tea tags? Organic cotton string, card stock, and a stamp pad.

how to make your own tea

As I was reaching for my stamp pad, my hand brushed my button bucket. I know, it is probably strange to have a button bucket when I do not know how to sew, but I recently learned that I have a strong attraction to button buckets: they are a rite of passage for women. Does not every woman have a button bucket? I should be horrified to learn the negative. My own mother had a small, rarely used sewing space in our house. As a little girl, I found the specific sewing implements frightening and bizarre, but I loved to steal away and run my fingers through the button bucket. Back to the business of tea, I decided that tea tags should be lovely, and what better opportunity than to decorate with beads and buttons? This way, I can give tea to others and contribute to other women’s button buckets. My tea will be the gift that keeps on giving.

how to make your own tea

The final order of business was to examine the individual tea leaves, spices, and “things” I had collected and start crafting real brews. Here is what I landed on. None have disappointed.

nordgrains Nordgrains is about health and wholeness. Like seeds, we already have the substance to grow and live big, vibrant lives. Sometimes we forget what we already have. I hope to help you find nourishment for your continued growth.

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Posted by in handmade

While mocha is a popular latte flavor, to me, nothing can beat fresh vanilla beans with coffee and milk. When I started making my own lattes from scratch, vanilla was the first flavor I tried, and it has continued to be my favorite. The recipe is quick, and only requires five simple ingredients!


– ground espresso beans

– water

– milk

for the syrup

– 1 cup of water

– 2 cups of sugar

– 1 vanilla bean, moist

– small sauce pan

– air-tight container for storage

Making the vanilla syrup takes longer, so I like to start this recipe with that.

Split the vanilla bean in half and scrap out the seeds with a sharp knife. If you need to see a demonstration, view this vanilla bean splitting tutorial on YouTube.

Alternatively, you can cut the whole bean into segments, split the segments, and leave the seeds in the pod. Both methods will provide a great vanilla flavor.

Combine the sugar, water, and vanilla beans (or pod segments) in the small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and watch how the sugar melts into the water.

Let it boil for a couple of minutes to really let the vanilla flavor out of the beans. You will be left with a clear mixture with seeds and/or pods floating in it.

This makes two cups of syrup; the extra syrup that you don’t use today can be kept in an air-tight container such as a jar, bottle, or even a clean soap pump if you want to store it like Starbucks does!

Making the Espresso

For one latte, make 2 ounces of espresso with an espresso machine, or use 2 ounces of very bold blend coffee if you don’t have an espresso machine. Steam 2 cups of milk on the stove or with a milk steamer nozzle on the espresso machine.

Coffee Geek has a great tutorial on steaming milk both on a stove top and with a steaming wand.

Blend espresso, milk, and vanilla syrup together, using an ounce or two of syrup to your own liking. If there is any foam from the steamed milk, hold it back with a spoon while pouring the milk into the coffee, and then spoon it on top as a finishing touch!

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty project Ashley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titled Etsy shop.

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