Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Perfect Cappuccino...or my version of Starbucks Cinnamon Dulce Latte

The Second Annual Festa Italiana

Will be starting March 9th, click below if you want to get in on this great Festa at either or

This is something I make for myself and my friends all the time. When espresso based coffees became all the rage, I went out and bought myself a small inexpensive espresso maker. I used it for several years, but it was a bit of a hassle to get the milk to steam and foam just right, and after awhile the machine just wouldn't produce a good shot. So I gave up and bought my drinks. As my children grew up and began to love coffee, the cost of purchasing our drinks was getting very pricey. So I contemplated a high end machine. Then through all my procrastinating I began to recognize some of those old school espresso pots showing up in my local T.J.s So I purchased one and gave it a shot. (no pun intended ha ha) I found it was easy to use. It did not take up any space on my limited counters, and the price was right. For about $20.00 you can purchase a stainless steel stove top espresso maker that is simple to use and makes perfect shots every time. For the foam all you need is another simple product that takes up little space and works like a charm. It is a traditional Italian hand pumped frother. I love being low tech and not always needing to have a fancy machine. I have even given up my coffee maker for a simple French Press.
Here is my basic equipment for a great drink.
You fill the reservoir with water to just under the steam escape valve seen on the left.

I fill my basket with Costco's Kirkland Espresso Blend (roasted by Starbucks) and tap down gently.

Place the espresso pot on high heat. Make sure it is screwed together nice and tight. Then you need to quickly assembly the rest of your ingredients. The pot takes only a few minutes to get to the right temperature to force the hot water up through the grounds into the top reservoir. At this point you must move quickly. It is important to use the shots right away and not let them sit in the pot once it is done. So I try to have my milk already to go.

My pot makes four shots. On the left I am making a straight shot for a single espresso. The two larger mugs are for a latte, and a cappuccino. I put in my syrups first. For my favorite Cinnamon Dulce Latte, I use one pump of Dulce de Leche (DaVinci brand) and one pump of cinnamon syrup. For a double tall (two shots) I add an extra pump of the Dulce. Now you can adjust this according to taste. I do like my coffee strong and not too sweet. This is my milk frother. I like this one because it is ceramic and therefore sturdier than the glass ones I have seen around. I fill this 1/3 of the way up with cold 1% milk. It takes maybe 6-8 pumps to froth the milk. Then I remove the frother part, and place the ceramic mug in the microwave for less then a minute. At this point it is critical to watch and make sure the foam doesn't rise over the top. Just when it about hits the top of the mug, stop the microwave.
There are some timing issues here. You want to pour some of the hot milk into the cups before the shots are done. Adding the espresso to the milk first prevents them from sitting and being what they call "burned shots". I have learned this from two of my kids who have worked high school and college jobs as barrister's. That by the way has proven to be a nice savings as family members get a discount! Add your shots to the milk, give it a stir then pour in the rest of the milk. At the end top off with the delicious foam thick and heavy for a cappuccino, and just a light touch for a latte.
From left to right we have an espresso, cappuccino, and a latte.
The very final touch for me is always a fresh grating of nutmeg....mmmmmm...delish!

The very top picture was my attempt at foam art...I was going for a heart, and I got lips :D

If anyone out there knows how to do foam art...please let me know :>

Up date on the milk frother:

The name of the frother is Cappuccino Creamer Frabosk Italy

The above url was the cheapest I could find it on a quick search of the web...$24.00 sounds a bit much???

My sister Knitting Mania picked it up for me from a shop in Fresno, CA. As I recall they were very reasonabley priced. I think you could use a glass one to pop in the micro wave. I see those at places like T.J. Max's, Tuesday Mornings, and Ross.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dan's Update

Dan is doing extremely well! The surgery went with out a hitch. The Doctor said he could be hit by a train and not pop out the joint. Dan's pain has been minimal so far. Thank God for good drugs. He is already able to lift his leg a little and wiggle his toes.

Thank you all for prayers and well wishes, we felt them all day long!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Today is the Day!

Some of you may have caught that my husband was facing hip replacement surgery this spring in a previous post. Well today is the day. After a lot of prayer and research, we believe God has led us to the right doctor and with the surgery for the job. Dan will be having a minimal invasive procedure done, where the muscle tissue is not cut. They say in four to six weeks he will be a new man. Since early last fall he has been dealing with a lot of pain. We think it has been an accumulation of his love for extreme sports ie skydiving and such that has dealt a lot of extra trauma to his joints. Like father like son in my case. It has been quite the challenge being the wife and mother to these two men. But it is who they are...adrenalin junkies.

So prayers are welcome as we go through the surgery for the skill of the doctors and for Dan's body to respond well to the whole procedure. And for a speedy and quick recovery. It is going to be interesting to have him home for six weeks. Kind of like a pre- trial retirement

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Puddin Toe Update

I know I have shared this before. Lately though I have been getting a lot of comments on my grand daughter's photos. So I thought I would give an update. She is a beautiful little girl for sure. I must tell you that her pictures are extra amazing because of the work of her mom who is turning into quite the photographer. Last spring she got a very nice camera, the software and computer to go along with it for her graduation gifts from various family members. She started out just wanting to take some of her own shots of P.T. Really good photographers were so expensive. So she thought she could do it herself and get what she really wanted. Well before she knew it, all her friends...even those with the exact same camera, wanted her to take pictures of their own children. Now she has started a very nice little part time business to supplement their income while she is so blessed to stay at home with P.T. Here is a peek at some of her most recent work.

More of her work can be seen on her web page and her blog.

Now for my non professional photo's...taken with my fancy camera phone ;)
Just Nana and Puddin Toes hanging out together

Dining with P.T.

First time coloring
A walk in the garden today...I could not get her to stand still long enough to get a shot of her face. She was very busy...walking all over the place.

We finished the day off at the mall taking a plane ride, while mommy got a much needed break.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

What is blooming on your window sill?

Well I have finally taken all the "winter decorations" down. Now I am left with a bit of bleakness till spring. What I resort to this time of the year is to find anything that is alive and fresh with new growth . Even the smallest of bloom can make my day. Just last week I was in hyacinth heaven. Did you know that you can stick these bulbs in a little water and they will bloom for you?

This works great for those bulbs that I didn't get to planting in the fall. I planted my tulips finally in January...luckily I could stick some of them in the outdoor pots that are over wintering in the garage, as well as some choice indoor planters.

Today at the grocery store I just couldn't resist a few fresh stems of lilies on sale the day after Valentines Day. The scent of lilies and hyacinths are particularly welcome this time of the year in doors. mmmmm

And here is one more part of finishing up some decorating issues. I finally decided on two of these chairs from Pier One. Not because they were the most practical...I am just a sucker for cream and white.

It seems like I am starting a series here...sooo...What is blooming on your window sill??? It can be anywhere in your house really. Let me know and I will post the links here if you have something you want to share. I already have a few in mind...

Check out Barbara's orchids blooming for her...I am extremely jealous of her indoor green thumb here in the orchid department.

Looks like Judy has some lovely blooms...check out her background

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Who is going to the Seattle Flower & Garden Show?

Just about this time of the year, that need for green hits me. We actually had a snow dusting two nights ago...not what we would normally expect around here, or in England apparently. Did someone say global warming??? Any ways in just a few weeks I can jump in my car and head over the pass to a most wonderful mid winter get away. The Seattle Flower & Garden Show. The second largest garden show of its kind in our country. I imagine close to your home town they have something similar, but no where near this scale.  This show is absolutely amazing to me. That first hit of floral scent that assaults you when you walk through the doorway puts you immediately into what seems like a fairytale fantasy world. Then your whole being adjusts and you let out a great big sigh as you enter the lead way into the show, full of gorgeous grandiose floral arrangements. The crowds are thick and excitement is in the air, as we all gasp and swoon over each new arrangement. Oh I forgot the music. As you take the three story escalator in the convention center up to the entrance you are serenaded by real musicians playing classical music on one of the floors. Then you see all the people coming down the escalator that got there before you did, grasping all their bags bulging with many hard won treasures from the garden mecca shopping venues. There are always those ladies holding excitedly in their arms starts of corkscrew willow, beautiful orchids, bags of lily bulbs, and some amazing looking rusty iron garden trellises of some fashion or another. And you think oh no, I hope there is something left for me to buy! Then you enter the display areas, where sometimes whole buildings are brought in, five year growth forest, unbelievable decadent displays of full blown landscapes, grass, boulders, flowering cherry goes on and on...lots and lots of flowers in full bloom. You get so excited trying to take it all in, you totally forget about the flower and garden market's that beckon you beyond, and you just get lost in the amazement of how did they do this...right smack dab in the middle of winter. Then I see a delphinium in its full regal six foot bloom and I am done in for. Gone to heaven and ....

In doing some research for this post I just found out some shocking news...Organizer Announces 2009 as Final Year of Northwest Flower & Garden Show !!!!!!!!

My heart has dropped to my toes.  Now I have to go.  I guess the economy is hitting everything. This show has been running for 21 years...sigh

Now I just have to find a buddy to drive over that blasted pass with me...anyone planning on going???

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Winner Is!!!!! drum roll...

You each were given a number in the order you entered the contest. Then I just rolled the dice.

First roll

Second roll

The winner is Sara @ Much Ado About Something.
Congratulations Sara!!!   I know you will really enjoy reading this book.  Email me your address and I will have it shipped pronto :]

Do yourselves a favor my blogging friends and take some time to stop by and congratulate Sara this week.   As a  fellow reading enthusiast you must take a look at Sara's yearly reading list on the side of her blog. Choose a year and click on it.  I promise you will be amazed. It is incredible.

Sorry to those who did not win. You may still get your own copy of Prisoner of Circumstance at Amazon if you so wish.

This post in the future will be a wonderful reference post for me. Thank you to all who entered. Enjoy taking a look at other peoples entries. So many good reading idea's out there. It has been so interesting to see what other fellow blogging buddies are reading.

My good friend Nadine Zawacki , author of the GIVE AWAY book Prisoner of Circumstance, is my former ex-pastor's wife.

They moved last fall to the great big state of Texas. Pastor Tom is serving with John Paul Jackson at Streams Ministries. l have missed them both dearly!

Feel free to check out both their blogs @ Just Being Me & Emancipation of the Freed
and don't forget to say hi to them for me:]

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Today is the last day!!!

If you are just stopping by today, feel free to join my GIVE AWAY.  (see post below for details) by telling us What is on Your Night Stand. I will be glad to take your entry up till midnight Saturday the 7th.  It doesn't need to be a whole pile of books, it could simply be your Bible or some magazines.  It doesn't even have to be your officail nightstand. Just where ever you sit down to grab a near by book and read.

I feel like a late night infomercial... hehehe!
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