Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thanks a Latte

While on the search for beads for my "feminist rosary", I just had to stop for a little caffeinated goodness at the local Starbucks.

My favorite drink of theirs in the fall is the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I asked the barista for a tall one and she said to me "that'll be four dollars".

I nearly passed out.

Since graduating, I've been attempting to be frugal with my meager income and so I decided I would make my own version of the Pumpkin Spice Latte with whatever I found on the spice rack in my kitchen.

Kaitlin Adele's Already in Your Pantry Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 shot (or really however much you want) of super strong coffee
1 1/2 cups of milk, heated up and frothed
Pumpkin Pie Spice, which includes cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice
A sprinkle of cinnamon for the top
1 tsp vanilla
2 packets of Splenda (if you like it sweet and low fat)

Brew coffee in the coffeepot, usually at 2 parts coffee to 1 part water depending on how strong you like it. Pour 1 1/2 cups milk into cold sauce pan, heat on low/medium until it begins to bubble gently, constantly stirring so as not to burn it. Add Pumpkin Pie Spice (however much you want), vanilla and Splenda to the milk, continuously stirring until hot and desired sweet/spiciness. If you want froth, take a wisk and wisk the milk vigorously until bubbly froth appears. Take off heat.

Take coffee and pour one shot into a mug, add milk. Spoon froth on top and sprinkle a little cinnamon (or if you have it, cinnamon sugar) for an added kick.

This was the result:

Pardoning the Santa cup, which is sorely out of season, the latte turned out pretty decent. I had my brother, Jameson, test it out just to make sure I hadn't messed up and he said it wasn't half bad...which is a compliment coming from him.

If you wanted to get even more creative, a vanilla bean sliced and de-seeded would be amazing, or even a cinnamon stick used as a stirrer. If you're not as freaky about sugar as myself, you can use granulated sugar, of if you're feeling mapley, some brown sugar.

Happy Frothing!

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Little Pumpkin Baking!

'Tis the season for holiday treats of the orange and black variety, and since my return from Minnesota I thought all of you would enjoy some fall baking ideas.

I was inspired by the beauty of St. Paul, the crisp, clean air, and the apple orchard down the road as well as the abundance of pumpkins.

When I was a little girl, my mother made these muffins that became an autumn hit.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (a Mimi Pat classic!)

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs (brown or white, doesn't matter! Keep it organic if you like)
1 cup plain pumpkin (half of a 1lb can, but if you want you can try using the natural stuff after a carving with your kids!)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips (but I like to use the whole bag :-D)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients in one large bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Pour the wet into the dry and add the chocolate chips, folding the ingredients in with a spatula until all the dry ingredients are moist.

Bake 20-25 minutes (time various with each oven) until the tops are springy to the touch.

These have been a party favorite amongst my friends. My friend Lyz has been making these for her cousin's Thanksgiving dinner since I met her, almost 8 years ago! Every year she asks for the recipe, so just in case I put it online for her :-).

When my mom started Weight Watchers, she began using all low fats and Splenda, and made them mini sized with a mini-muffin pan and mini chocolate chips. When wrapped up nicely they make the best housewarming gift.

Next on my autumn agenda is pumpkin seeds! When I was in college last year, my roommate and her fiance carved pumpkins and I took the seeds, soaked them in water to get rid of the pulp and baked them up to perfection.

Kaitlin Adele's Pumpkin Seeds

As many pumpkin seeds as you can find
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or melted butter in a spray bottle)
garlic powder
a little cayenne pepper

Lay pumpkin seeds in one layer on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with EVOO (thanks Rachel Ray!) and however many spices you think you need. I usually put a little garlic powder on one half, and cayenne on the other. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and crunchy. If you use butter, be careful as the seeds have a tendency to burn. You can use pretty much anything in your pantry to garnish your seeds, but if you just like them simple, a bit of sea salt makes them delish!

These were a great snack during my five class days, especially since they were all film classes. They're a great alternative to popcorn or sugary snacks at the movie theater or in your own home!

I am taking suggestions for more Fall treats and will feature a really good one up here on my blog for all to see, so please email me suggestions at and I'll make a post all about my attempt at baking your dish (pictures too!)

Thanks so much and Happy Baking!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Little Down Time

Greetings from Minnesota!

I took a mini-vacation to the St. Paul area to babysit/housesit for my relatives and decided I'd take in some local flavor with my aunt before I drove her and my uncle to the airport. So far I've been to farmer's markets, the Mall of America, apple orchards and everywhere under the sun.

After two days of this I had to take a break and try shopping via the internet. My dogs were barking so loud I had to soak them in a nice bowl of hot water while I perused the World Wide Web!

I can't seem to get enough jewelry these days and after a few failed attempts at making my own necklaces, I searched for personalized jewelry and found

Now that I've grown up a bit, especially since leaving school, I want jewelry a bit more streamlined and sophisticated and Wildflower Lane delivers. The Triple Strand Rice Pearl Necklace was so pretty I had to force myself to hold back and search the rest of the site.

I was excited to learn that they also had wedding gifts; my roommate is tying the knot in a few months and I wanted to get her something original and lasting. The Star Letter Opener caught my eye, if only because Sarah's very organized, plus I can personalize it. She's going to be opening lots of Christmas cards once she becomes a teacher :-)

At some point, I'm going to have to try making my cat, Theo, a little collar, but until then, I might be investing in some pet stuff.

All in all, it was an appealing site and colorful! There are so many site now-a-days that are so blah and boring; Wildflower Lane was the complete opposite, full of beautiful, personalized

Happy Shopping! And more stories from Minnesota to come :-).