an optimistic recipe

 one of my very favorite warm weather drinks is the iced white mocha. i usually hate fancy coffee drinks AND white chocolate but this drink is an exception. i recently rediscovered our stove top espresso maker and in an effort to make spring arrive i've started making myself iced drinks.  so without further ado here's how i make an iced white mocha {which coincidentally is very close to the caribou coffee recipe...but not close enough to get me in trouble for sharing my secret training!}

the cast of characters: 

coffee. good coffee. finely ground. 
{begin coffee rant} it doesn't need to be an espresso roast although it will taste more authentic if it is. espresso refers to two different things, one is a roast, one in a brewing method that involves high pressure and high temperatures. you can make espresso with any coffee. so long as it's good coffee. buy it whole bean and grind it at home. never, ever, ever no matter what anyone tells you, put your coffee in the freezer! so bad. little moisture droplets form and crystalize on the coffee then turn into moisture then back into ice. its bad news for the flavor and freshness. store your coffee in an opaque container away from the sun. {end of rant}
milk. it will taste better the fattier it is, but we use 1%. if i'm feeling totally crazy at a coffee shop i order a breve latte. that's a latte made with half and half. just so darn good. 
white chocolate chips. mini chips would be best but you can use regular old white chocolate chips or shave bits off of a white chocolate bar. the goal is tiny, uniform pieces.
ice. the bigger the pieces the better. melts slower & keeps your delicious drink from getting watered down too quickly. 

the process: 
yuck! yes i cleaned the stove immediately after looking at this photo. i'm a messy cook.
1. prepare your espresso. have you ever used a stovetop espresso maker? they're a fairly inexpensive way to make some delicious espresso! i didn't failed to document this part of the process BUT the wonderful kim of yellow songbird has already posted all about making espresso. go over to her post & see step by step photos!

the quick how-to: 

fill the bottom with water, to below the steam valve. 
fill the filter with very finely ground coffee and tamp it {pack it in}. i've found filling it all the way to the top makes slightly bitter espresso, so i underfill just slightly.
screw the lid on as tightly as possible. you want to make a good seal so the steam is forced up through the coffee grounds.
put the espresso maker on your stove at medium high heat and wait.
once the water starts boiling the espresso will force its way into the top chamber. at that point remove the espresso maker from the heat and let all espresso bubble up to the top. 

you will probably get 3 or 4 shots of espresso from your pot, but i only used this much. probably 2½ shots. 

2. dump some chocolate chips into your cup. not too many or they won't melt and things get gross. if i were one to measure i would guess we're looking at about 2 tablespoons? maybe 3.  

3. pour the espresso over the white chocolate chips and stir until melted. this will take a lot of stirring if you don't want sludge at the bottom of your cup!

4. fill the cup up the rest of the way with milk, add a few ice cubes to help it continue to cool, add a straw and you're done! if you're feeling adventurous, top this with some homemade vanilla flavored whipped cream. truly delicious. speaking of caribou coffee recipes... ;)

a quick note: you could easily change out the white chocolate chips for milk or dark chocolate chips & turn this into a regular mocha!

i'm linked up with what i whipped up wednesday at sugar & dots!


He is risen indeed!


"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 
While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood
by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and
bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, 

'Why do you seek the living among the dead? 
He is not here, but has risen
Remember how He told you, while He was still in Galilee, 
that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men 
and be crucified 
and on the third day rise.'

And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest."
Luke 24:1-9

Have a blessed Easter! Rejoice today, knowing that death has been conquered & your debt has been paid!


saturday snapshot

tomorrow is my dad's birthday so today i'm linking up this sweet snapshot of the two of us! aren't we cute? i've been a daddy's girl and a cubs fan since birth! love you daddy! happy birthday! 


leaving on a jet plane!

today is the day! it's finally here! right now i'm on a plane on my way to phoenix, arizona for creative estates! i have been looking forward to this weekend for months and i can't believe it's finally here!

we were delayed about 20 minutes this morning because there was pretty dense fog in chicago which kept the plane we were using from landing on time. once we got on the plane they let us know we'd be delayed even longer because the plane was too heavy. what? isn't that something they can calculate before we're ready to leave? so we sat awhile and then pulled away from the gate. hooray! but no. we just taxied out away from the gate and then they brought out a little cart to move things around so we wouldn't be so heavy. how does that work? we finally left an hour late and the little flight tracker website tells me we're about to leave missouri and fly over a small corner of nebraska. hooray inflight wifi! which is the only thing this flight has going for it. no movie, no audio channels and tiny seats. i usually like to listen to the aircraft control channel, but i think that might be just united? speaking of united, i really hate the new logo and airplanes. that is all. 

that's my "we're finally in the air" face! 
i am so looking forward to learning, soaking up some sun and finally hugging some wonderful girls in real life this weekend. i am so blessed to be attending this event and will do my best to blog & post photos during the conference! make sure to follow me {@crafteemcgee} and the #creativeestates hashtag on twitter to be included in all the fun!


handmade with purpose

have you heard about this yet? 

over 20 handmade shops and blogs have joined together to give back.
during the month of april 2011 each of the participating shops 
will be donating proceeds to the charity of their choice.
please help us give back by:
-buying handmade goods from participating shops
-sponsoring participating blogs
-donating to designated charities
-spreading the word on your blog, facebook, or twitter {#handmadewithpurpose}
-visit our blog, Handmade with Purpose, to receive updates and future information

so for the entire month of april, 20% of all sales from craftee mcgee's will be donated to the american red cross to help with relief efforts in japan. immediately after the earthquake and tsunami i decided to give in my own small way. i am happy to be extending this through the end of april. if there's nothing you like in my shop you can donate directly through the red cross.

please stop by and check out all the wonderful shops and blogs who are making a difference this month!


secondhand saturday!

two posts in one day! crazy huh? 
i already link up to yellow songbird's saturday snapshot party but i've been meaning to start a secondhand saturday post. remember when i introduced it way back when? i thought about moving it to another day but i think i like secondhand saturday more than thrifty thursday. what do you think? which sounds better? is there another day that works?

the thrift stores up here in the woods are magical. really, really wonderful! the goodwill in wheaton had wonderful clothes. i'm pretty sure there was a woman exactly my size who shopped only at jcrew and banana. she must have donated once a week! my entire work wardrobe was from that goodwill! vintage items in wheaton were either really hard to come by or crazy expensive because everyone is looking for vintage. i thought that when we moved i would be trading my wonderful goodwill for overpriced touristy antique stores. i was so very wrong! every store up here is full of vintage and no one seems to notice! my theory is that as the older people who live up here decide they can't handle the winters anymore they clean out their homes and donate things. vintage things. vintage dishes!

i started looking for vintage pyrex when we lived in wheaton and couldn't justify what people were asking for the simplest piece. all these pieces here were purchased for under $20 total. maybe under $15! i love finding a piece at a store for $1.49 then running home to check the pattern online and see how well i did.

so here is the beginning of my newest collection!
from left to right:
pattern: floral bouquet. this one is a corning ware casserole dish & came with a matching lid. hooray! i hear this pattern includes a coffee pot. that's something i need to find!

: early american. brown with golden symbols of americana! lamp, kettle, federal eagle, coffee grinder, etc. this is a one quart casserole no luck on the lid but i'll find a discarded one somewhere. this is part of a cinderella set so there are 2 more matching casserole dishes out there to search for. 

: square flowers in verde. round casserole {also part of a cinderella set}. this might be my new favorite pattern. pyrex love tells me that this pattern is relatively common but also mysterious. they aren't sure that 'square flowers' is actually the original name of the pattern. whatever it is, i like it!

both of these are the "crazy daisy" pattern and i'm hoping to find the rest of that mixing bowl set! this one isn't in fantastic condition but it was 75¢ so who cares! i plan on using the mixing bowls anyway so used condition is just fine. how cute is that little creamer? also 75¢ and makes me want to collect all the different pyrex creamers! i also found this pattern in a bunch of corelle plates that will soon be making an appearance in the shop in the form of fantastic dessert stands. 

i'm off to finish up some laundry for creative estates {woooo hoooo!} but stayed tuned til next saturday to see the super fabulous set of dishes i got this week. one of my best finds yet!

saturday snapshot

well it looks like i've been a bad blogger this week since my last post is also a saturday snapshot. fail. fear not i have much fun planned for you this week. so for now i'm linking up to kim's saturday snapshot party! on to the snapshot!

i posted a couple months ago about missing my sweet papa. this wednesday would have been his 90th birthday so i've been thinking about him a lot. this picture was taken at my house probably 22 years ago. we were celebrating my little sister's birthday and i felt the need to bury papa under a pile of toys. he was such a good sport and i look so proud of myself! he was really the best grandpa a girl could ask for, when i was 5 and when i was 25.
love you papa & i miss you everyday!

head on over to yellow songbird to see all the other saturday snapshots & have a great weekend!