Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Say goodbye to Fall with a Hot Caramel Apple Cider

Adam hates when people start to celebrate Christmas too early.
And too early means before December 1st.
So every year since we've been married the few days between Thanksgiving and December 1st cause a little tension between us and the level of merriment that is "tolerated" around our house.
So today, in honor of my husband, and any of you who carry that same holiday celebrating philosophy, I thought we should do one final fall drink before we embrace the season in full force.

So here's one last cheers to fall with a Caramel Apple Cider.
Savor each sip.
It's been a great few months.

I found this recipe here.

Here's what you need:
1 1/2 c apple cider
1 1/2 T caramel sauce
1/2 t vanilla

Here's how to do it:
Combine ingredients into a saucepan over medium-high heat
Stir constantly until the caramel is melted and cider is warm.
(you can probably do it quickly in the microwave as well)

Enjoy a few minutes for mini fall farewell today.
And think of a couple things you have been thankful for.
Maybe even tell someone about it.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Swizzle Sticks (DIY Drink Toppers)

You know how lately cupcake toppers seem to be all the rage?
We love them. They're adorable.
So adorable in fact, that we decide to work on our own product line extension for them...
we bring you Drink Toppers.

They can also be referred to as "Swizzle Sticks", but what's great about drink toppers is that they aren't only limited to drinks that need stirring,
they can go in any drink!

Just add a cute word, phrase, graphic, or in our case, our logo (for the launch party),
the same way you would for a cupcake topper
 set it into your drink,
 and BAM!
 the oh-so-cute-topper is brought to life in another way...
through your drinks

We even made a tutorial for you just to show you how easy it is:

Step one: Design your topper, print, and cut out.

Step two: get your sticks
(unlike cupcake toppers, you need a stick that's larger than a toothpick so your swizzle stick/drink topper doesn't get wet. We used wooden skewers cut in half)

Step three: tape the stick to the topper on the backside
(Another great use for the printed masking tape, can't get enough of this stuff)

Then place into each cup for the party.
Or, you can put all the toppers into one cup and let your guests add them.

And that's it!

We're in love.

Funny when little details can make all the difference.

Any up coming parties you're throwing that might need a little drink toppin' love?
Tell us, we want to hear!


Sip Guru: DIY Chai Tea Bags by Micalah from Project Run&Play

Hey guys! Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!
(I know we sure did!)

We were a bit busy while we were away...

Our fam decided to do our own "Turkey Trot Wobble" 5k around the park on Thanksgiving morning...

...And we were featured on Kojodesigns for their Gifts for Guys Series (why are boys so dang hard to shop/make for??) with some Whiskey Flavored Salted Caramels...

...and mostly just hung out with family, ate lots, played games, and of course, went shopping... 
This is seriously the only picture I took through the whole holiday and I took it tonight with Adam's cell phone just before we left his parents house, so sorry for the blurriness and poor quality).

But now we're back. Well, kind of.
We're here today just long enough to introduce the founder of one of our favorite blogs:
Project Run&Play
We think it's such a genius idea for an online contest and love checking it out during each season to be sure to vote for our favorites!
it's a little addicting actually.

Recently Kedron showed you how to make homemade Chai.
Well, today, Micalah is going to show you her recipe for homemade chai and how to make them into tea bags! (what a fun gift idea!)
Micalah is great and we're excited to share her recipe for homemade chai tea bags with you today:

Hey! I'm Micalah and you may know me as the founder of Project Run&Play (although, probably not- I stayed mostly behind the scenes). I got to know Kirstin during the first cycle when she was part of Team Kojo, and again when they guest posted for Boys Week this last cycle. I was so excited when she approached me with the opportunity to guest post for Sips, Etc. What a great idea for a blog! And, as a former barista, and wife of one of the biggest coffee snobs EVER, I have a few yummy warm drink recipes up my sleeve. I was really torn on what to share though- lattes can be difficult to make at home, everyone has a favorite hot cocoa recipe, and I've already spotted several apple cider recipes this season. Then it hit me- chai.
I never liked chai until I started working at a coffee shop a few years ago. They made their own chai (as opposed to a syrup or powder) with real spices and it makes all the difference! It is a really flexible recipe- you can brew it as tea, steam (or froth) it with some milk for a latte, or brew it and chill it for an iced tea or latte. This recipe makes 1 serving, but you can easily make multiple batches. You can also adjust the spices to your preference.
1 tsp cloves + 1/2 tsp sugar + 1/4 tsp pepper (I know it sounds weird but it gives it a special kick) + 1/4 tsp ginger + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + a sprinkle of nutmeg
I used a Lipton black tea, but you can use any black tea (even loose leaf if you want to make your own bag). Cut off the sealed top and tag.
I mix the spices together in a small measuring cup with a spout to make it easier to pour.
Pour into either side of the open tea bag. I try to split it up pretty evenly.

I made my own pretty tag with two pieces of scrapbook paper glued together with a piece of cotton crochet thread in between.
I made a small loop at the end of the thread and tucked it into the tea bag (and, yes, spilled spices all over my machine). This ensures that the thread will catch. Using the zipper presser foot and a small stitch length (I set my machine to 2), I sewed the top of the tea bag closed.
All done! Boil some water, brew for 3-5 minutes, add some honey and/or milk, and enjoy! Or make a couple and wrap them up with a pretty mug for a gift for a friend!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Autumn Pear Cranberry Sparkler

We're heading into the season of sparkling cider. 
It was such a highlight of my holidays growing up.
Bubbly. Sweet. Flavored. What's not to love?

If you're looking for a versatle drink to share with the whole fam, you have to try this Pear Cranberry Drink.
(We made it for Jordan's early thanksgiving when their family was in town back in October, and we've had a couple requests for the recipe since then!)

Here's what you need:

1 bottle Sparkling Pear Juice (Pear flavored sparkling cider)
1 bottle Blackberry Izze
Splash of Cranberry Juice
One pear, chopped
Real Cranberries (If you freeze them, they should float at first)

Here's how to do it:

Pour the Sparkling Pear Juice (the whole bottle) into the pitcher, add the Izze (the whole bottle) as well

Splash in some cranberry juice, stir slowly with a spoon (don't shake or you'll lose the fizziness)

Finally, drop in the desired amount of cranberries and the chopped pears. Be sure if you froze them to serve pretty much immediately if you want them to float.

Serves 4-6

You can also keep a couple of pear slices to the side and use as a garnish. So pretty.



Monday, November 21, 2011

H2O Bar

We have another party suggestion for you. (Hopefully you're not on overload yet).
 But this one really is a great example of why we started this blog:
We're about taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary,
 and let's face it, it doesn't get more ordinary than water.

But why not get creative with it?

How about adding a few things to customize the flavor of your water?

And how about setting up fun glasses to it drink out of?
And what about adding festive straws to SIP from?

...Throw in a little signage...

Then what happens?
Your boring pitcher of water
becomes a colorful buffet of "create your own" awesome-ness.

What a great add on to your thanksgiving feast this Thursday, don't you think?
We used sliced lemons, limes, and cucumbers.
Can you think of other customizable options could you put out?
(We love hearing your suggestions!)


Friday, November 18, 2011

barista banter- the wonderful world of chai

Easy Chai Tea As we looked at the spicy Pumpkin Spice Latte last month I wanted to keep with the theme and explore a non coffee option that is equally as synonymous with the holiday season and the spices all we love.

Yep- you guessed it: CHAI!

The best part about Chai is that, like espresso, it really does make a good base drink to platform dive into all sorts of yummy warm drinks!

My sister a couple years ago tried a Chai with Mocha which is delicious. A Caramel Soy Chai (made with the vanilla soy) has the perfect balance of sweet and spice. Now that holidays are in full swing, I have a lot of people ordering Chai Eggnog Lattes (I have to be completely honest here and say this one is not my favorite but only because I could never get past the thick texture of eggnog so all Nog drinks have been nixed for me!) But I know some people who wait all season for these treats! Combine the nutmeg of eggnog with the nutmeg of Chai and people go nuts..haha get it...NUTmeg..NUTS....oh never mind..

Back to Chai and it's versatility.

Today I will be showing you how to make a real homemade chai with all the spices that are in it. I remember a few years back, ok, really it's been about 6 years now, but our sister Jordan had come home from the middle east for the holiday season and with her she brought the recipe for true chai that some friends she had made in the beautiful country of Oman had shown her.

Now the real unfortunate part of this is, in true Keje fashion, I have lost the recipe and had to go on a search for a replacement :) Now the great part, and partly why I shared, is because going into my search I had already had a really good recipe so my bar was set really high! I knew what a good homemade chai could taste like and didn't want to settle for anything mediocre. SO without further ado- with much research and trial and error, here is the best recipe I found for Homemade Chai. This recipe is taken from Real Simple website.

Makes 4 cupsHands-On Time: 05m Total Time: 20m


  • cardamom seeds
  • cloves
  • black peppercorns
  • cinnamon sticks
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • bags black tea (such as Darjeeling)
  • 8 teaspoons sugar or more, to taste


  1. Place the cardamom, cloves, and peppercorns in a resealable plastic bag and crush with a heavy skillet.
  2. Place the crushed spices in a medium saucepan, along with the cinnamon sticks, ginger, milk, and 2 cups water; bring to a boil. Remove from heat, add the tea bags, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain into cups. To each cup, add 2 teaspoons sugar or more, to taste.
One of the reasons I chose this recipe was because of the pure simplicity of it! I forgot to add my own step though. Step Four: Start a fire (preferably in a fireplace- I don't want the countries firemen upset with me), grab a good book, and ENJOY! 

*Your Barista in Residence (aka- Kedron)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Flavored Whipped Cream, So Delicious!

Did you know you can add flavors to your whipped cream? I might be the only one who didn't know this life-altering information, but when Kirst told me this, I knew I had to try it ASAP. In fact, I pushed for trying it the next day, as a little addition to our Latte Bar at the Launch Party.

It's a super easy little trick that makes such a big impact.
We used this Whipped Cream Recipe and just added our flavor of choice to taste (for us, it was Baileys Irish Cream, my mouth is watering as I type this).

Just use the recipe, and add the flavor before whipping. When you're done, it should look like this:

Then, just use it to top your favorite hot chocolate or latte, and enjoy!

What flavors do you think you'll add? Have you ever tried this before? Any tips?


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sips Guru: Tam from Sew Dang Cute Crafts

Remember I told you about surprises this week? Well you get one of them already, because no one likes waiting for surprises... 

We have another Sip Guru here to share one of her special drink recipes with you.
But before you get to meet her, let me tell you a bit more about Tam from Sew Dang Cute Crafts...

In addition to being a wife, mom of four, and an Ironman (!), Tam also heads up Crafting With the Stars (an online competition between some of the best crafters out there), has been on TV (!!) lately and has awesome style--love those boots!, has great tutorials and recipes, and just a couple days ago wrote the best post about bloggers in real life.

So now that she's been properly introduced, here she is to share her Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix recipe with you:

Hello to all of you sips, etc. peeps! I’m Tam from Sew Dang Cute Crafts.
My site is full of tutorials and projects that are mostly DIY and sewing, but I do venture out in other areas – like paper crafting. Pretty much I just love to create!
Knock-off-skirtGuest-BedroomSpider Cider Jars Purple
I’m thrilled to be here today sharing with you my favorite drink (especially this time of year when the weather turns cooler).

Hot Chocolate

Now some of you may be thinking. Why make your own?

1. This makes A LOT of the mix, and when your family goes through it as fast as mine does – this is much more economical.
2. You don’t have to worry about little packets. You can add as little/much mix as you like so your hot chocolate is just to your liking! Be right back
3. This is such a YUMMY recipe!!!

Hot Cocoa Mix
12 cups powdered milk (25.6 oz. box)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 lb. can Nestle Nesquik
1 cup creamer
Generic ingredients work great for everything except the Nesquik.

Mix it all together and you are done!

Now go add it to some hot water in your favorite mug, throw in some marshmallows, and sit down to relax and enjoy!!!

Thanks so much for having me here Tricia and Kristin!

I hope you will all come visit me over at Sew Dang Cute Crafts!

Wouldn't this be such a fun homemade Christmas or winter birthday present for someone? Love it!
Thanks for sharing Tam!