Friday, October 5, 2012

Chai Spiced Espresso

I'm not a big chai tea person but I am a coffee lover! In this recipe I have combined the signature spices you find in chai tea with espresso and created a nice little "chai-scented" brew.


1/4 cup espresso
2 tsp Chai Spices (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, anise, all spice, black pepper)
2 TBS Honey
1/2 cup Rice Milk, Almond Milk, or Non-fat Cow's Milk

Set Up
I ground my chai spices freshly in a coffee/spice grinder. I spooned the freshly ground spices onto the packed espresso in my moka.

You can read more about a moka here & here. I got mine in Italy but they are available at Bed, Bath, Beyond  and Amazon.

Brew the espresso on your stove top just like you normally would in a moka.

If you don't have a moka you can use a traditional coffee maker. Add you grounds to the basket or filter and sprinkle the chai spices on top and brew.

Once the espresso is brewed, add honey or your favorite sweetener to the bottom of the cup.

Next pour the hot espresso or coffee over the honey. Then top with foam and spices.

I foamed my milk in a Nespresso foamer but you can froth yours on the stove with whisk or a traditional espresso frother.

Non-fat cow's milk creates the best foam but you can get a pretty good "froth" with rice or almond milk.

 I topped mine with a few additional chai spices. You can make this as sweet or as "milky" as you want. You could even add a scoop of canned pumpkin to make it a "Pumpkin Spice Latte."

You can find more chai recipes on Mary's blog & Christina's blog this week!

Photos take by Alisa Lewis. Edited by Mary Banducci.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hanley House Remodel Progress

This is my favorite part of the property. It's perfect to store my vintage furniture and I hope for it to be a studio some day!

Here are some before pictures. They are VERY bad! But wait till you see the current pics at the bottom!

Kitchen. Yep, that's the washer next to the refrigerator. I knew that was NOT going to work for me.

Here's what that wall looks like now. Still need to stain and seal the counters, add the last strip of flooring, knobs for cabinets, and a new sink. But it's 100% better than before and NO washing machine!

This is the old East corner of the living room. We got rid of that wood stove and my desk is there now. 

Progress of the East corner. I'll have curent pictures once I get my desk settled and cleaned up.

This was the bathroom. It was disgusting!

We turned this bathroom into the laundry room. It has a sink, cabinet, water heater, washer & dryer. We added a shelf and hanging closet rod above the washer and dryer for more clothing storage. 
We painted it Benjamin Moore Opal Essence. It's a soft blue green color. I will be adding that gold mirror above the sink and a shabby coat rack below the window. 

This is how the outside looked when we bought it. It still looks that way. The inside was more important to us at this point. 

We did remove those little tiny windows on the east side of the house and added three little ones and one long skinny one above the shower. I love the look.

We have purchased all new windows for the rest of the house and hopefully those will get installed this weekend.

Here are some more of our kitchen. We took out a huge closet right where the new island is and moved the pantry & furnace to the other end of the kitchen. We still need to purchase doors for everything but I'm loving the pantry right now!

Our appliances are all different brands...a mix from the Fred's appliance ding & dent sale. We purchased all of them in about 15 minutes as they were closing up one night. That was in May...we are just now looking at them again.

Our counter tops are from Ikea. They are beech wood and I have some SafeCoat stain & sealer that still needs to arrive before we have finished counters. 

I was inspired buy Trina's kitchen counters here.

Our cabinets are all custom made for this house from Huntwood in Liberty Lake. I chose shaker style. the main wall is white and the island is beech wood stained in the kodiak color.

All of our tile for the new shower is from Home Depot. We chose a shiny porcelain tile in a soft sand color. We used epoxy grout instead of traditional grout hoping it would make cleaning easier.

Sophia love to help her daddy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Diesel's Story

Dogs' lives are too short.  Their only fault, really. 
 ~Agnes Sligh Turnbull

Every dog has a story and touches our lives in some way! 
(already crying as a write)

Diesel was the big fella we rescued from a Bull Mastiff rescue center when we were first married. Well, I rescued him and I was the one who wanted a dog. My husband, Kyle, drove me to get him and helped me get all set up to have a dog at home. Kyle liked Big D but he was definitely my buddy. 

The photo above is the one we took when we made a rest stop on our way home from Seattle with him. He was overweight, stinky, dirty, and slobbering from the moment we got him.

Diesel passed away in the evening on August 16th at our home. 

This is the last photo we took of Diesel.  I took it on the day he passed away not knowing it would be our last day with him. He was acting like a puppy and jumped up on the guest bed which he couldn't do in months. So I took time out of my busy day to lay around with Sophie & Big D for an hour or so as we napped and played on the big bed. Sophie thinks its so funny when a dog jumps on the bed. She crawled all over him, hugged him, and tried to pick his nose.

This is the photo I saw on the Bull Mastiff Rescue website moments after they posted that Diesel was available for adoption. I knew I had to have him even though my family thought I was crazy for driving 7 hours to adopt a giant beast like himself.

Diesel would always find something to give us when we came home or when a visitor would come. Fence boards, paint rollers, brooms, socks, bowls...the closest thing he would bring us as a gift when we returned. 

 He had many bad habits when we got him. He couldn't be around other animals without attacking them and trying to kill them. He was a gentle guy to all people and kids but his first response was to kill any animal. He weighed as much as I did so I could never hold him back. Taking him on walks was like walking the neighborhood with a ticking time bomb ready to launch an attack on any bird, rabbit, cat, dog. Thankfully, our kind dog-loving neighbors in Spokane helped us break him of these habits and had him over for play dates with their pups often. This picture below is Diesel lounging with his buddies after a long day of playing. 

I think our funniest Diesel story in our family is the pecan pie story. A few years ago for Thanksgiving our family from Minnesota, California, and Italy came to visit us in Idaho. Kyle, Diesel, and I stayed up at my parents house that weekend. We all decided to go out after Thanksgiving dinner into town and we all just kind of scrambled out of the house in a rush, jumped in the snowy cars and went to town. None of us thought to lock the dogs up or put any food away. Diesel was the largest of the four dogs and the sneakiest. 

When we got home that night, I was the first one to unlock the door and come in the house and something felt wrong (and smelled wrong). I ran into the kitchen before my dad could get in the house. Thankfully he was chatting out in the snow with the rest of the family. 

I glanced around the kitchen and noticed there were no dogs around but an empty pie plate, shreds of plastic bags, and a gigantic pile of dog poop. My dad has little tolerance for things like this in his house and I knew it had to have been my dog.

I tried to think fast so I grabbed the pie tin and scooped up the dog poop as fast as I could, grabbed the plastic shreds and tossed it all onto the patio table on the back deck as I rushed off to inspect the rest of the house for further damage and find the dogs.

At this time everyone was starting to come in the house and talking about having some of that Costco sized pecan pie they have all been dying to try. I couldn't get to the back door faster than my dad. As he goes out to grab his "pie" and comes back in with a steaming platter of poo. My cousin said, "What is that, Shit Pie?" All of us were rolling on the floor laughing, crying, and trying not to pee our pants as we saw my dads reaction to his pecan pie. 

This is Diesel saying sorry to my dad and rolling in pain from the Costco sized pie and 12 Costco sized bagels he devoured.

We had many adventures with Diesel. He loved the car and I would take him anywhere I could. Whenever I would go into a store, he would always be in the drivers seat when I came back covering my steering wheel in drool.

Another funny Diesel story...he loved to eat barbecues. We don't have a big one just a small camping sized one. I think he has disassembled and licked every piece at least 15 times. 

When we lived in Spokane, we thought leaving it up on an unfinished concrete pedestal in our backyard would be safe. We had planned to use it that night. Who puts their BBQ away in the garage every day in the summer?

Our neighbors heard a huge crash while we weren't home so they went over to inspect our backyard. They found Diesel had knocked the BBQ off the 5' pillar and was licking it clean. They just left him. LOL!

Before we had Sophia we had a huge garden in Spokane. Big D would spend hours in it with me, eating bean and tomatoes. He loved pear & sungold tomatoes right off the vine.

This photo above is when we first brought Sophia home. Diesel was scared out of his wits of her and acted depressed for months. 

He didn't understand what this screaming, pooping machine was that I held all day long. 

Once Sophia was about three months he started warming up to her. He was SO gentle with her. He let her pull his ears, pick his nose, and crawl all over him.

 About two months ago I noticed Diesel was not acting himself. He couldn't get anything off the counters and he couldn't even jump in my car anymore. I had to lift his 115 pound butt into my car to take him anywhere. 

One night he was really struggling to breath and acting really weird. I couldn't take him to the vet until the morning so I tried to keep him comfortable. We took him to see our friend, Kate, at her vet clinic and they discovered that he was hours from death. Hypothermic, hypoglycemic, and they couldn't hear his heart or lung tones. 
We agreed to send him to a radiology specialist who discovered he had pericardial effusion (fluid around his heart). They did further tests and discovered a heart based tumor was causing the pericardial effusion and other unusual reactions in his body.

We decided to let them drain the fluid from his heart and I would bring him home. I've never been more thankful for my Hospice nurse experience. I felt confident that given the right medications I could keep my big fella comfortable at home and help him die naturally or keep him comfortable until it was time to put him down. 

The thought of having to make that decision was impossible for me. In hospice, we help earthly lives end naturally so I just couldn't even think about choosing to end his myself.  

We brought him home expecting him to live a few days at the most. But the next day he acted like a puppy, ate a ton of food, and played with Sophia. I could I put him down if he's acting like this and still wagging his tail at me. So I got more meds for him and continued to keep him happy & comfortable. 

We did our best to spend as much time with him as we could in the midst of my busiest wedding season. 

Sophia loved to hug and rub him when he was sick.

When Sophia wakes up in the morning, the first thing she looks for is Diesel. "D?" she says. We always would go find Diesel, give him a hug. I would get his breakfast ready first and feed him so she could watch him eat through the screen door. She wouldn't eat her breakfast till he was done with his. Then he would come and lick up all the crumbs from her high chair.

Sophia's favorite thing was to feed D all her food. He loved her and her food!

Another video of Sophia hugging Big D when he was sick.

Sophia always loved having D as a buddy in the back of the car. He would sit right next to her carseat while we drove along!

I already miss his slobbery drool face so much! I'm thankful I could give him a safe and healthy home for 2 1/2 years. The saddest thing is that Sophia lost her big buddy, Mr. D. She still looks for him around the house if she hears a dog bark or if I say a words that sounds like "D" or "dog." That part is so sad!

I find my self ready to call his name while I'm cooking and drop something on the kitchen floor. Then I realize he's not there. 

It's weird not walking over his big bed in our laundry room or having him sleep at the foot of our bed. 

Diesel passed away last Thursday evening right after I left the house and right before Kyle came home. It's probably a good thing I didn't see him that way. He most likely had a heart complication and died quickly and pain-free. 

Kyle came home to find him and quickly cleaned him, wrapped him in a quilt, and took him to my parents. I wanted to bury him next to, Shadow, our German Shepherd. I know that property will be in our family for a long time so I wanted him there. My mom saved his collar and took a paw print for me. 

Kyle told me about it a few hours after it happened. I'm so thankful my husband went through all the trouble of giving Diesel a peaceful grave spot in my childhood backyard. 

We miss our big fella, Diesel, so much!