My Simple Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte!

(Better than Starbucks - I promise!)

 

 

Autumn. The leaves on tree-lined streets turn vibrant pops of reds, yellows & oranges. High boots and long sweaters come out of hiding as the lazy days of summer seem far behind. Whether we realize it or not - we somehow gear up to that 'back to school feeling' getting better organized & focused with the turn of the season. The air smells of a crisp beginning.

 

Nothing however, reminds me of my favourite season more than the scrumptious taste of a great Pumpkin Spice Latte. I will admit - when I am on the run and need my 'fix' I'll resort to the over priced Starbucks PSL. But when I do have the time - oh how worth it, it is!

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte:

 

This recipe yields one delicous cup - adjust accordingly.

 

Ingredients:

 1 cup of milk or almond milk divided into 2 equal parts.

1/4 cup of brewed espresso or strong coffee

1 teaspoon of brown sugar (add more or less to taste)

1 tablespoon of pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice (if you don't have this substitute 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

 

Directions:

 In a small saucepan heat together 1/2 cup of milk, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, sugar and vanilla extract over low heat. Whisk as it heats on and off for about 5 minutes.

 Add in espresso or strong coffee and whisk together over low heat for another minute. Pour into mug using a fine-mesh sieve to remove pulp.

 In the same saucepan add remainder of milk. Using an immersion blender, frother or whisk & blend warm milk until desired frothiness.

 Add frothy milk on top of mixture.

 Grate whole nutmeg for garnish.

 Oh & Enjoy!

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Summer is in full swing and with that comes longer days, shorter dresses and time spent outside. The garden becomes the focal point for lazy afternoons basking in the sun, sipping lemonade & gatherings with friends and family.

 

Have your Garden Summer ready with these Simple Tips:

 

1) Try using raised beds to plant your vegetables and flowers


2) Group like vegetation


3) Use the help of a trellis to weave plants such as roses, vines and wisteria to add a gorgeous shaded floral "roof". - see picture above


4) Bring the indoors outside by hanging chandeliers and placing sofa like outdoor furniture for fun outdoor entertaining. You can even hang artwork in some areas to really bring it home.


5) Hanging baskets are a great way to bring visual interest vertically and are super easy to maintain.


6) String some edison style outdoor lights for when those evening BBQ's that turn into nightly chatter.


7) Get a wicker storage box to hideaway pillows and blankets for guests who want to cozy up. Throw some pillows on top of the box and you've got extra seating!


8) Clean up hedges and border gardens with rocks, bricks or stones for a put together look.

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1 Dress like you’re on vacay. Why the heck are you wearing khakis and socks at home?! The less you wear, the higher you can set your thermostat (aim for 25°C), and the more energy you can save. So get out the shorts/tees/tanks and or sundresses!
 
2 Get grilling. Barbecuing outdoors avoids heating up yourkitchen (which often causes us to blast the AC). 

3 Take your entertaining outdoors, too.
 Why dine indoors (and use extra lighting and AC), when you could dine al fresco?

4 Join the fan club. A ceiling fan saves you mucho dinero by maximizing air circulation. Paired with open windows or screen doors, fans allow you to restrict energy-guzzling AC to just the hottest days. 

5 Garden strategically.
 Plant deciduous trees and shrubs against the south and west sides of your home. In summer, the leafy foliage shades against solar heat, while in winter, bare branches let warm sunlight stream into your home. As shade trees grow, so do your energy savings. According to the US Department of Energy, three big shade trees will chop as much as $250 off your annual energy bill. 

6 Add a storm door. Today’s airtight, all-season doors don’t require storm doors. But consider adding one anyway. Why? Having the option means you can open your home to cross-breezes. If all you’ve got is an all-season door, air conditioning is your default.

 

7 Improve the energy-efficiency of your central air conditioning system by booking a start-of-the-season tune-up and maintenance session.



8 Or if you’ve got a window air-conditioning unit, improve its energy-efficiency by cleaning the filter. Once a season is mandatory. Got furry pets? Opt for weekly maintenance. 

9 Trade the old for the new(ish). If you have an ancient in-window air conditioning unit, upgrade to a new (or even just new-ish) model. According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, the efficiency of in-window room air conditioners improved 47% between the 1970s and the 1990s. So whether you upgrade to a brand-new, Energy-Star rated unit, or even a not-so-new Craigslist find, you’ll still improve the efficiency of your hand-me-down unit by half. 

10. Dry your laundry outdoors.
 Line drying uses zero energy, your laundry smells fantastic, and putting up and taking down laundry provides exercise! (swimsuit season is here, after all). Win-win-win!

11 Flaunt sexy beach hair. Skip the energy-using blow dryer, flat iron or curling iron. Just wash and go: the warm summer breeze will take care of the rest. (Sticklers can apply styling product and “scrunch” it in, first.)

12 Set your outdoor security lights on motion-sensor settings.
 That way they come on only when needed. This makes them greater deterrents and lesser energy thieves!

13 Draw curtains and shades. Even if you enjoy the view during your morning cuppa, draw your shades before leaving for the day, to protect against solar heat. (If you have cats or dogs that enjoy the view, this isn’t an option, but easy-to-install window filmis!) 
     
14 Mow it old school. Why use a gas- or electricity-sucking power mower when you could push a quiet, zero-energy-using reel mower? 


15 Get unplugged. Even when turned off, many appliances suck small amounts of energy that can really add up. So get your home electronics – computers, TVs, stereo system, wifi, PVR, DVD player,anything you don’t need to have on 24-7 – onto power bars and turn them off at night, and especially when you leave on summer vacation.

 

Information courtesy of Style @ Home.

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