chai latte recipe with ashley pahl

| handmade

This week I thought we would take a break from the espresso, and share a recipe for the tea drinkers: the creamy, chai latte. While this method of making a chai may be a little unorthodox, one of the points of this series is to save a little money and make drinks at home, using what you hopefully already have.


1 cup of water

3 tsp darjeeling tea (or experiment - whatever you have handy!)

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 tsp ground ginger

10 whole cloves

1 orange peel

1/4 cup honey

1 cup of milk (regular or soy)

Additional ingredients for more spice (optional)

2 tsp crushed black peppercorns

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

6 anise stars


Place the tea leaves, cinnamon sticks, ginger, cloves, orange peel, and optional ingredients in a paper-lined filter basket of a drip coffee maker. Run 1 cup of water through. Use your coffee pot, or a tea pot if your coffee pot is currently occupied (like mine was!).

Split the honey into the bottom of two empty mugs. After tea has brewed, pour in the mugs, and stir.

Steam 1 cup of milk or soy milk with a wand, or simply heat in a pot on your stove. Pour into mugs, top off with the foam, and drizzle with a little honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Too many ingredients for your taste? Try this simple method with chai tea bags from

For every 8 oz serving, place 1 chai tea bag, 3/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of milk in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, lower heat, and simmer for 2-4 minutes. Pour into cups and sweeten with sugar or honey.

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty projectAshley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titled Etsy shop.

dwell studio

| home decor

dwell studio

dwell studio

dwell studio

dwell studio
probably most well known for their draper stripe duvet, dwell studio is much more than just bedding. with home decor, furniture and an extensive line for babies and kids, they make it easy to modernize your home. i love the geometrics, bold colors and smart lines that most of their items feature, and have wanted some of their striped bedding for a while now.  with rugs, pillows and even fabric you can purchase by the yard you can get their look in no time!

dad update

| bonnie forkner

happy friday! just wanted to give you all an update on how my dad is doing (read here to catch up), as i know many of you have been thinking about us this week. i'm so very pleased to announce that he came through the surgery with no complications and is doing great. we are still waiting on his pathology results (should be getting those today) but the doctor expects to find clear margins and a successful outcome. praise the Lord! we got home from the hospital yesterday and he's been in such great spirits. he's been cracking jokes since the minute he woke up from surgery and has had us laughing the whole time- that's helped keep our spirits high.

i'm taking care of all of their meals this week, and am trying to get some healing goodness in him despite his pickiness! he's a simple guy, and doesn't like things too fancy. plus, i'm a veg-head so that only complicates the matter. i've got a couple of veggie soups planned and some simple salads, but it's everything i can do to keep from sprucing things up a bit. ha!

i wanted to thank each and every one of you for your prayers, sweet comments, support, kindness and patience! i know this week has been a bit off, but things will get back to normal come monday. i am so thankful for the community we have created here and i love knowing that we can count on each other and always be there for each other. you really are the best!

love, bonnie

how to make your own tea

| DIY projects

hello, friends! today i have a very special guest post for you from my dear friend christy from nordgrains! as our husbands work together, it wasn't long before we found each other and became quick friends. she writes a fabulous blog on healthy living, yoga and nutrition (a must read!) and today is sharing with us how to make our very own tea. i've had several cups and it's just about the yummiest tea i've ever had!

how to make your own tea
Tea is funny. It is both companion and social prop. “Come, let us have some tea and continue to talk about happy things,” Chaim Potok writes in his novel, The Chosen. But C. S. Lewis said, “Tea should be taken in solitude.” In wintertime I cannot help but wish for tea nearly every day. I am not picky: it tastes good in the presence of company or in the company of silence. There is indeed something magical about good tea, but there is even more magic in great tea, and even better—in pretty tea. A couple weeks ago I accepted an invitation to explore the verb “create.” It is a tricky verb--that business of creating--especially if one’s greatest temptation is comparison. Comparison and competition stripped away, I am creative. One of my most delightful qualities is my uncanny ability to explore and marry flavors. So I set out to make my own tea. I was so inspired by the abundance of options before me that I soon penciled in a new goal: one day cultivate my own tea garden from which I can harvest rich, home-grown flavors.

Tea bags are surprisingly easy to come by. I ordered mine online but also found a small variety at local health markets. Some resources suggested making tea bags out of cheesecloth. One problem: I am a sans sewing machine, completely novice DIY-er.

how to make your own tea

My first purchase was a big handful of organic Colorado mountain mint. I rinsed the leaves and made small bouquets to hang in a dark, dry space. I also cleaned and chopped organic tangerine rind. My flavor collection was completed in the bulk aisle of Whole Foods where I gathered cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise stars, cardamom pods, a few other spices, and some jasmine green tea leaves.

how to make your own tea

Always somewhere between hateful and grateful of our semi-arid climate here on Colorado’s Front Range, I did not wait long for my mint to dry. Now here’s the deal. When you buy regular old tea bags, the ingredients are so minced and chopped that you eventually stare at a mass resembling a soggy cud, having no visual connection to any real plant-based ingredient in the cotton satchel. Tea should be pretty. I did not chop and crush my mint leaves. I broke them only small enough to fit inside the tea bags. This way the leaves expand, grow, and turn a brilliant green in the tea cup!

how to make your own tea

Tea tags? Organic cotton string, card stock, and a stamp pad.

how to make your own tea

As I was reaching for my stamp pad, my hand brushed my button bucket. I know, it is probably strange to have a button bucket when I do not know how to sew, but I recently learned that I have a strong attraction to button buckets: they are a rite of passage for women. Does not every woman have a button bucket? I should be horrified to learn the negative. My own mother had a small, rarely used sewing space in our house. As a little girl, I found the specific sewing implements frightening and bizarre, but I loved to steal away and run my fingers through the button bucket. Back to the business of tea, I decided that tea tags should be lovely, and what better opportunity than to decorate with beads and buttons? This way, I can give tea to others and contribute to other women’s button buckets. My tea will be the gift that keeps on giving.

how to make your own tea

The final order of business was to examine the individual tea leaves, spices, and “things” I had collected and start crafting real brews. Here is what I landed on. None have disappointed.

nordgrainsNordgrains is about health and wholeness. Like seeds, we already have the substance to grow and live big, vibrant lives. Sometimes we forget what we already have. I hope to help you find nourishment for your continued growth.

book page bunting by oh, buckets

| DIY projects | handmade

hello, lovelies! today's guest post comes to you from one of the sweetest gals, jes from oh, buckets! she found ghtr in it's early (early) days, and we've been friends ever since. whether it's a diy project or a new item for her shop, she's always up to something new and whimsically beautiful. i hope you enjoy getting to know her and learning about this great project! xo, bonnie

book page bunting
My little Sofia turned 5 this past weekend and we celebrated with her requested butterfly and heart party – what a sweet combination!  I was able to use a table cloth that once belonged to my great, great grandma.  It was made from an old flour sack and beautifully embellished with none other than butterflies and blue embroidery!  I also made an adorable cake topper for Sofia’s little flourless chocolate heart cake, and a party pom out of cupcake liners!  But, the stars of the show were the book page buntings proudly announcing Sofia and her brand new age!  Read on for a super simple how-to:

What you’ll need:

An old book – I found mine at a thrift store for $0.50!

A hole puncher

Reinforcement circles

Ribbon – I used 3 yards

A sharp blade and scissors

Glue or decoupage – I used the latter

Paper to make your letters/numbers/shapes or pre-cut options

Your browser may not support display of this image.

book page bunting

Begin by cutting out the number of book pages you will need.  I used a sharp blade, but scissors would work just fine.  Since my little lady was turning five I chose to (mostly) use pages containing the number 5.  You can cut out whatever pages you like!  Then, punch two holes in the top of each page (this is where the ribbon will run thru).  Because old book pages are fragile, you will want to line the back of each punched hole with reinforcement circles.

Next, cut out your letters and/or pictures.  I used a Slice machine, but any similar tool would work!  You could also print the letters on the computer and cut them out or purchase pre-cut letters and/or pictures from a craft store.  I chose to adhere my letters with decoupage, but you could use glue.  Allow the letters to dry before adding the ribbon – about 20 minutes should do.

book page bunting

Finally, lay your pages out in the order you want them to hang.  Begin running your ribbon thru the holes - starting from the underside of each page, coming out the top, and then back down thru.  Make sure to leave enough ribbon at each end for hanging.  And, wa-la you’re done!

vanilla bean latte with ashley pahl

| handmade

While mocha is a popular latte flavor, to me, nothing can beat fresh vanilla beans with coffee and milk. When I started making my own lattes from scratch, vanilla was the first flavor I tried, and it has continued to be my favorite. The recipe is quick, and only requires five simple ingredients!


- ground espresso beans

- water

- milk

for the syrup

- 1 cup of water

- 2 cups of sugar

- 1 vanilla bean, moist

- small sauce pan

- air-tight container for storage

Making the vanilla syrup takes longer, so I like to start this recipe with that.

Split the vanilla bean in half and scrap out the seeds with a sharp knife. If you need to see a demonstration, view this vanilla bean splitting tutorial on YouTube.

Alternatively, you can cut the whole bean into segments, split the segments, and leave the seeds in the pod. Both methods will provide a great vanilla flavor.

Combine the sugar, water, and vanilla beans (or pod segments) in the small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and watch how the sugar melts into the water.

Let it boil for a couple of minutes to really let the vanilla flavor out of the beans. You will be left with a clear mixture with seeds and/or pods floating in it.

This makes two cups of syrup; the extra syrup that you don't use today can be kept in an air-tight container such as a jar, bottle, or even a clean soap pump if you want to store it like Starbucks does!

Making the Espresso

For one latte, make 2 ounces of espresso with an espresso machine, or use 2 ounces of very bold blend coffee if you don't have an espresso machine. Steam 2 cups of milk on the stove or with a milk steamer nozzle on the espresso machine.

Coffee Geek has a great tutorial on steaming milk both on a stove top and with a steaming wand.

Blend espresso, milk, and vanilla syrup together, using an ounce or two of syrup to your own liking. If there is any foam from the steamed milk, hold it back with a spoon while pouring the milk into the coffee, and then spoon it on top as a finishing touch!

cofee with indie pretty projects

ashley paul indie pretty projectAshley has been coffee-crazy since college when her husband bought her an espresso machine for Christmas. Armed with a pot of dark roast, she spends her days writing Indie Pretty Projects and creating for her self-titled Etsy shop.


| handmade


{untitled by une**}

hello lovelies! i just wanted to share some personal news with you, as we're all dear friends here, right? this weekend, i'll be flying home to spend some time with my family for the next week. we found out over thanksgiving last year that my dad has prostate cancer, and tuesday morning he's having surgery to remove it. it was a miracle that we found out as early as we did and the doctors have a great feeling about the surgery and the outcome. they expect to fully remove it and therefore leave my dad completely cancer free. for that i am so thankful! however, the c-word is never something you want to hear. my grandpa (his dad) died from prostate cancer about ten years ago, and to hear the news again has been really hard. however, we are all in high spirits and have great faith that everything will be alright and that he'll be back to his old self in no time. in the meantime, your prayers would mean so much.

my family

{this is my family! sister, hub, me, mom & dad; photo by altmix photography}

want to know a little about my dad? he's pretty much the best man/husband/dad i could ever imagine. he's the most thoughtful, selfless and generous man i know. he has always put his family first and nothing has ever been more important to him than 'his girls'. we were raised with daily hugs and were always told how proud we made him. on early winter mornings, we would always find our cars cranked (as he wanted us to be warm), and to this day he still hides a little money for me when he knows i'm going shopping. he always makes sure that i have mace with me anywhere i go (ha!) and he never let's us forget how much he loves us. if we need him, he is always there for us. he now needs me, so i'm going home.

what does this mean for ghtr? well things might be a little light for a while, but i've got some really great guest posts lined up for you next week. i should be back by thursday (1/27) and return full swing by monday the 31st. i'll try to send out updates on how everything is going via twitter, so feel free to follow along there.

until then! here are a few things to catch up on:

this week's sweet talk: 10 reasons to avoid artificial sweeteners

do you remember this article on the femivore's dilemma? it's still one of my favorites!

love this post on 4 easy ways to eat more vegetables by jenny hoople

this week's recipes: butternut squash & red onion pasta & baked bartlett pears with cinnamon

see you soon! love, bonnie